30 April 2011


I recently became unstuck from something that has been weighing on me for many, many years my entire life. In the weeks leading to this breakthrough I was in quite a lot of mental anguish, and despite being most decidedly ON MY MEDS, I was plagued by mild depression, with a light sprinkling of anxiety.

Since I figured things out, I’ve been exhilirated with the sheer joy of liberation. I am so incredibly happy that I sometimes wonder if I am manic — although I know I am not — and then, worrying about the possibility of mania makes me anxious. This is a glimpse inside the mind of the highly self-aware depressive; I cannot help but constantly monitor, reflect and adjust my emotional temperature; it can be exhausting in here.

When I am mentally released from something I like to celebrate with a good housecleaning, and so I spent last Sunday in a delightful spring cleaning trance. It was so satisfying that when I was through, I wanted to relax contentedly on the couch with a shit-eating grin and a cigarette. 
While I cleaned, David gardened and the kids played outside. This meant I could listen to whatever music I wanted, so there was a lot of Kanye West. Before bed I read Tina Fey's book Bossypants, which leaves me fits of hysterical laughter that linger after I put it down.

In the evening I sat for meditation. My mind was extremely noisy, racing with joy, and the competing strains of aggressive, catchy hooks and funny jokes which made it hard to settle. Instead of quieting, I heard this in my head:

Champagne wishes, dirty white bitches
I mean this shit is
Fucking ridiculous

And this:

Wave your hands in the air
Like you don't really care
Middle finger in the air
Like you don't really care
It's like that sometimes, so ridiculous
Life sometimes can be ridiculous

That is a sentiment I can relate to, a kind of gloss on “I used to be disgusted but now I try to be amused,” which helped me quite a lot through my late adolescence. Sometimes it is futile to fight your mind, so I decided to use this as my mantra. This did nothing to calm me, and the absurdity of it made me laugh. At this point the cat began to attack my legs. I was laughing so much I worried that I was disturbing David’s meditation, making me more anxious still. When the timer rang, I was felt slightly calmer, but not sufficiently so to go to bed, so I got nervous that I would have trouble falling asleep, torquing the anxiety spiral higher still.

I was initially drawn to mindfulness practices to help manage depression. Yogis like to talk a good game about being so balanced and centered, but in reality, we are just as, if not more, fucked up than anyone else. The reason people like me gravitate toward yoga is that we desperately need it. 

When I first began practicing yoga, I was so concerned with my Higher Self that I believed if only I practiced hard or long enough I would transcend depression and eradicate my need for antidepressants. Eventually, I got over myself, realized this is total bullshit, and that Western medicine is a very good, extremely helpful thing.  

And so, having finished meditating in an agitated state, I went up to bed, middle finger in the air, and took a klonopin. And with that, I drifted happily off to sleep. 

26 April 2011

Assholes united


The other day I stood on a very long line at Kings during the pre-dinner rush. Many people were perturbed and impatient, and eventually the management opened a new lane. At this point, those in the back of the line who were suffering from RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION DUE TO BEING FORCED TO WASTE THEIR VALUABLE TIME, made a beeline for the new lanes. Although I am patient about waiting in line, cutting really chaps my ass. Waiting your turn is a useful social skill, one which we all had lots of time to master in elementary school. So I was happy when the manager shamed the back of the line usurpers back into place.

Later in the week I was in an exceedingly long line at the Gap. The cashier mentioned that there was no line at another register in a different part of the store. The woman behind me turned around and raced for the register. This of course, annoyed the shit out of me, because of the CUTTING. And so I took a short cut and narrowly beat her to the register. It was childishly self-righteous of me, yet so satisfying because I WON.


Recently I drove across town behind someone going painfully below the speed limit. For a long time. I kept my distance and tried to remain patient, hoping he would turn off. I had the dotted yellow line on my side of the road, so eventually I moved to pass him. At this point he gunned his engine and refused to let me by, but not before gesticulating angrily in my direction.

Later in the week I honked as a car made a fast left turn in my direction and I swerved and honked to avoid getting hit. I wish there were a way to differentiate hostile honking from warning honking, because the latter was what I intended. Clearly I was misunderstood, because the driver proceeded to go out of his way to pull along side me to give me the finger.


A few weeks ago I was running late for my yoga class. I used to be habitually late for classes, but I have turned over a new leaf, and now I arrive early, so I was especially frustrated by my lapse into old behavior.

I live on a narrow road and it drives me crazy when people park right across from my driveway. In my head, I yell THANKS, FOR MAKING IT REALLY DIFFICULT FOR ME TO GET OUT OF MY OWN DRIVEWAY WITHOUT HITTING YOUR CAR, WHICH I WILL THEN BE RESPONSIBLE FOR FIXING ALTHOUGH I THINK YOU ARE AS MUCH TO BLAME BECAUSE YOU DID NOT BOTHER TO LOOK BEFORE YOU GOT OUT OF YOUR CAR. And so I was ashamed when I left my class and found a parking ticket on my windshield for parking in front of someone’s driveway.


Gabriel and Sacha need to be dropped off for school at the same time, on different ends of town. Often Gabriel walks to school, which solves the problem. On the days I drive him, I get him to school a few minutes early, before the car line opens. People are already queueing, but if I wait in the line, Sacha will be late for school. My solution to this problem is to drop Gabriel off on the corner a suitable distance away from the queue to avoid cutting, and let him walk the rest of the way.

One morning last week I was distracted, and instead of pulling up to my usual corner, I pulled past the car line and drove around a corner closer to the car line to let him out. I thought this was alright, because I wasn’t queuing for an adult to escort my child from the car, but as he closed the door, Gabriel admonished, “Mom, you just cut the line.”


I am a bit militaristic about pedestrians having the right of way. People in cars, take heed, as you are much more powerful than the little people on foot! When a car guns down the street while I am walking, I have been known to yell orders to slow down. This embarrasses my children, and does nothing to rectify the problem, but it provides some cathartic release.

Last week as I walked to pick Gabriel up from school I stepped off the curb to cross and a driver began making a turn into me. I held up my hand demanding that he stop to let me, the PEDESTRIAN go. And then, I noticed that the light was red, and I did not have the right of way. Embarrassed, I retreated back to the curb, and tried issuing an I’M SORRY, MY BAD wave, but I I had already created the impression of being a self-righteous ass, and like horn honking, from a distance it is not easy to distinguish pleading gestures of remorse from angry gesticulation.

And this is where my brain spirals in an infinite loop of confusion and guilt, because on the one hand, I like to berate people for behaving badly, but on the other, hello assholes I am one of you!

23 April 2011

Duck for dinner

In our house, you get to choose what’s for dinner on your birthday. Above all else, Sarah loves duck magret, and begs for it frequently. Duck is delicious, but it is also very expensive, and as such, reserved for fancy. This year for her birthday, Sarah requested duck. Her birthday happened to fall on an especially busy day of child-related activities which did not leave me time to shop or prep in advance. And so we went out for sushi, and I issued and IOU.

Life ensued, Passover intervened, and three weeks later I still owed her duck. On Friday night I decided to make good on my promise. She has been very much aggrieved over the last few weeks that I hadn’t paid my debt, so I wanted to surprise her. Sarah hates surprises, so I knew this would cause her some mental anguish, but I figured she would be so pleased when she learned what was for dinner that it was worth making her squirm a little.

She knew something was up when I would not tell her what was for dinner, and David and I banished her from the kitchen to whisper conspiratorily about menus, and shopping lists. Supremely uncomfortable with not knowing what it was, Sarah declared that she would accompany David to the market. I countered that I would go the market with David. I did it in part because the thrill of leaving our children alone in the house may never wear off, but also because I didn’t want to deal with the relentless nagging about what daddy was buying at the supermarket.

We drove to the market, and it was just like an old-fashioned date, the kind we had when we were childless, and had nothing better to do with our infinite free time than to go marketing together. While we were on line I got a call from home. I figured Sarah was just wondering what was taking us so long, and was surprised to hear an anguished tone in her voice.

Sarah: Mommy, I did something really bad, and I feel very guilty about it, so I need to tell you what it is.
Me: Okay.
Sarah: A few weeks ago, I was watching over your shoulder and I now know what the pass code on your iPad is. And I knew you and Daddy were planning something, and I couldn’t stand it, because you know how much I hate surprises, and I knew you were looking at recipes before you left, and NOW I KNOW THAT WE’RE HAVING DUCK FOR DINNER. And I’m really, really, really sorry, but you should also know that I was so excited when I saw what you were making, and also you would have been so happy if you’d seen the look on my face when I found out, I actually screamed, and so I’m really happy, but I FEEL SO GUILTY!

She paused for breath, and I laughed. She composed herself, and continued, in her normal tone of voice, “And I think you should change your passcode.”

I couldn’t really be mad — it was such a minor offense, and the only reason I have a pass code on is to keep Sacha from playing Angry Birds whenever the fuck he wants. I was very proud of her for being honest, and pleased that she trusts me enough to confess her sins without fear of divine retribution.

And so I told her that as her punishment, she had to let me blog this. She countered that she would have editorial approval, and I denied the motion. And now, we are even.

20 April 2011

Mind your manners

Even grading on a curve taking into account age and my undying affection, Sacha is disgusting. His table manners are atrocious. It’s not entirely his fault, because he has significant fine motor delays which make it difficult to use utensils well. Meals end with him saucy and greasy, and although he has a napkin in his lap, because he cannot sit still, it often winds up on the floor. I don’t dress him for school until after he eats breakfast, because I’d just have to change his clothes.

Before dinner I do some mental calculus in order to decide whether I want to strip him for the meal and give him a bath afterward, thus giving him the impression that it is okay to eat in your underwear, or keep him dressed and risk ruining more clothes.

If we’ve sat down to dinner before David gets home from work, he has to do evasive footwork to avoid getting his suit soiled when Sacha runs to greet him. I live in fear of him leaving the table before I clean his hands, because he often runs straight towards our lovely, pale, celery colored couch.

And so I was surprised to hear him say recently that he has very good table manners. All this endless praising of kids to build their self-esteem is bullshit; I prefer a reality based approach. So I went Tiger Mother on him and told him no, kid, your table manners suck.  

Equally disgusting is his air hankie habit; I am always chasing him around with tissues. Among other things, this habit contributed to him getting kicked out of his first pre-school, when he was two, because they found it too ALARMING. Now that he is old enough to know better, he does it in equal part out of habit, comic effect, and rebelliousness, seeing as his poor fine motor control renders him unable to flip me the bird.

Last week as we were driving to school I heard him snorting and reached reached back to hand him my handkerchief. When we got on the car line I turned around to help him unbuckle, and scan him for a snot mustache. His face was clean, so I complemented him on doing a good job wiping his nose. In response, he opened his mouth, and smiling, presented me a with fat lugie melting on his tongue like a communion wafer. It was repulsive, yet funny, and executed with perfect comic timing. I found it nearly impossible to maintain STERN MOMMY PERSONA and scold him, and left me wondering if this is how John Belushi and the Farrelly brothers got their start.

15 April 2011

Meta meta

One of the kids came into our bed in the middle of the night, and it took me a while to fall back asleep. When I finally did, my sleep was fitful, and full of strange dreams. In the most vivid one, I dreamt that the entire family overslept. It must have been the last dream I had before waking, because I woke in a panic, wildly confused as to why David was not in the bed, and how it could be so dark out when just moments ago it was light. Thanks, unconscious for fucking with me!

Before she left for school, Sarah sat with the laptop reading and laughing. It turned out she was reading me, recounting the time I caught Sacha hitting himself and trying to frame Gabriel for it. Her laughter was gratifying, even more so when she commented, “Sacha is more full of it that I will ever be.” This is an astute, and fairly accurate assessment. Three cheers for burgeoning self-awareness!

We were all sitting on the couch watching tv and the kids began fighting over who was taking up too much space and crowding the others out. Some mild tussling ensued, and Sarah elbowed Sacha, who responded, “Hey, I’m supposed to be hitting you!”

13 April 2011

Side effects


My ear infection has cleared up, but it's taking a while for the fluid in my ear to drain. My equilibrium is still off, and I am more clumsy than usual.

In the past week I have: 
  • dropped a fully dressed pizza on the floor as I slid it into the oven.
  • spilled a jar of caesar salad dressing everywhere: on the shelves and walls of the fridge, underneath the vegetable bin, between the grooves of the freezer door, on the kitchen wall, across the floor, myself. I discovered that exploded caesar salad dressing looks alarming like sick, and after I'd cleaned up, spent the rest of the day smelling faintly of anchovy. 
  • scattered a pound of coffee beans to the far corners of my kitchen.


    With my fluid filled ear I am subject to aural illusions. I hear strings of repetitive phrases echoing in my head. This is not unpleasant, and has me wondering if this is what it's like to be Phillip Glass, or Steve Reich. The flurry of buzzing, ringing, high-pitched whirs is more irritating. I hear phones ringing constantly, and I'm only right a third of the time. Since I am now trained to jump like a seal whenever my phone rings, pings, or buzzes, I look foolish running around to answer non-existent text messages.

    Partial hearing loss has exacerbated the problem of marital deafness. Conversations go like this.

    Me: What did you say?
    David: Nothing.
    Me: Can you repeat that?
    David: I didn't say anything.
    Me: What?

    David: Did you see that email?
    Me: I think it's under the sink.

    David: She has a swagger in her walk.
    Me: There’s a spider in your what?

    I spend a lot of time saying HUH? and WHAT? I turn my head at unusual angles when engaged in conversation, in an effort to improve reception, creating the impression that I have a mild form of Aspergers. 

    When we’re in the car, with the kids in the back rows, I can’t hear a thing. One day as we were driving across town I had to ask Gabriel to repeat himself so many times that he grew frustrated, and began to repeat himself loudly, and slowly, as if he were futilely trying to communicate with a non-native English speaker. It was a bit like this (see 2-minute mark):

    My hearing may be off, but it turns out I can still hear well enough to know when I’m being condescended to.

    11 April 2011

    How deep is your love

    I took the boys to the drugstore last week to get birthday cards for Sarah. Their card criteria boils down to cute pictures of animals, so they were quickly done. I had a much harder time. Sentimental cards make me queasy, and joke cards are generally not funny and/or mean. I prefer a blank card in which I can write a simple message, but I couldn't find any. Everything was filled with bad haiku:

    My dearest daughter
    This is a glorious day
    Be happy always

    Of course I want these things for my children, but it’s not always going to be the case. I don’t want to lie; sometimes your birthday sucks, and there will be periods in your in your life when happiness will elude you. I don’t want to be a downer, but I do want to manage expectations. No one has yet found a way to put that sentiment in a card.

    I feel similarly about anniversary cards; I can’t stand the maudlin poetry and false sentimentality. I’d feel squeamish if I found a card for David that encapsulates exactly how I feel about him, because how deep would it be if Hallmark nailed it for you, and a million other people? We like to think our love is one of a kind, but in fact, it is just like everyone else’s.

    Then there is the reality that the ones you love also annoy the shit out of you. If you have found someone to happily share your life with, you are lucky indeed, but coupledom is no walk in the park.

    If I were to write a generic greeting card celebrating married life, I think this would be appropriate:

    There was a time when I thought your shit didn’t stink
    Now I know better
    Happy anniversary my love

    This is what I would say to David:

    I will love you always
    And though I appreciate it that you clean the kitchen every night after dinner
    It really bothers me that you do it in ten minute stretches, with frequent breaks

    His card to me might read:

    You are my soulmate, and I am so grateful to have you in my life
    That said, I wish you would work on your inability to accept criticism, and admit that my way of loading the dishwasher is the correct one
    Here’s to many more wonderful years

    Perhaps I have a future in the greeting card industry.

    09 April 2011

    Sensory overload

    I consider malls a necessary evil, and try to avoid them except when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Malls make me twitchy; there’s just too much humanity crammed into this weird, hermetically sealed space where time has no meaning. There’s too much music, too many smells, too many vendors hawking massages, or makeovers, or squawky, shuddering, battery operated impulse purchases, who are resentful when your children stop to browse, and glare angrily when you refuse to purchase their wares. When I have to go to the mall, I do it during the day, when it's relatively quiet, and I carefully plan my stops in advance, so I can swoop in swat-team style, execute my mission and get-the-fuck-out-of-there. 

    This week, I went to the mall. It was Sarah’s birthday, and I took Gabriel and Sacha to get presents. Sarah and Gabriel are perpetually engaged in gift exchange negotiations. In this way, they are helping each other prepare for married life. Sarah dictated They agreed that Gabriel would give Sarah a gift card to Delia’s.

    We stopped first at Delia’s and Gabriel bought his gift card. And then, we went to Abercrombie so I could get a gift card from David and myself. Nothing makes me feel more like a crotchety old-lady than Abercrombie. I hate their weird soft-core porn advertising, which, combined with their sexy-preppy clothing, puts me in mind of an extremely well groomed, uptight, Ivy League sex party. I hate the dark lighting, heavily perfumed air, and ridiculously loud music. On a good day, all of this combines to give me seizures. In my current state, with my fluid-filled ear, and still unintegrated senses, it was too much for my bad addled brain. I felt like a tender, frightened newborn, and after I conducted my business, I grabbed the boys and ran screaming for the car.

    Today, I am going back to the mall, and unlike my usual precision mission, it is a Saturday, and I will be there for a extended time. For her birthday, I am letting Sarah and two friends loose with some spending money. I plan on parking myself in a bar with a beer and a book. When I get home, I will need to lie in a dark, quiet place.

    I hope some day, when my children look back on their childhood, they will appreciate what I did for love.

    07 April 2011

    Musical leanings

    I am so tired of classic rock. I find Led Zeppelin to be the most odious band in the world. I respect the IMPORTANCE and the influence of the Beatles, but they bore me. I would much rather hear them filtered through Elliot Smith, or the Apples in Stereo, or a zillion other bands than listen to Sgt Pepper, or god forbid, Let it Be. Of course there is a lot of classic rock that I love; I think the Rolling Stones were awesome, and the Kinks are just about the best band ever. But if you put it all in one place I get irrationally angry.

    Here is my idea of a circle of hell: I am stuck in a car with only one radio station that plays the following sequence: David Bowie (love), Van Halen (awesome), Crosby, Stills and Nash and Young (like), Janis Joplin (like), Jimi Hendricks (like), the Byrds (like, but have Issues with stupid spelling),  Blue Oyster Cult (enjoy hearing Burning For You every few years), Cream (eh), Steve Miller Band (boring), Journey (annoying), Creedance Clearwater Revival (dislike), Lynyrd Skynyrd (dislike, and who the fuck taught you how to spell), Styx (god awful), the Doors (pompous), the Eagles (HATE), Moody Blues (DOUBLE HATE), Doobie Brothers (TRIPLE HATE), Yes (OH GOD PLEASE MAKE IT STOP).

    WAKE UP AMERICA, A LOT HAS HAPPENED SINCE 1968. Classic rock is a label that insulates baby boomers from the sad realization that the music of your youth is the golden oldies of the present. While it’s nice to take a walk down memory lane occasionally, we must take heed that a foot does not get stuck there, lest we find ourselves tearing ligaments and ripping tendons in an attempt to straddle the chasm back to the present.

    My favorite radio station as of late is KEXP, which in the New York area, can be heard weekday mornings on WNYE, from fuck-all early until noon. I find it pretty nearly perfect: the DJs are hardly annoying, and their taste mirrors my own: primarily new(er) independent label rock, rounded out with a mix of hip hop, electronica, country, blues, jazz, and sampling of the myriad sub, sub-sub and sub-sub-sub genres that I have never even heard of. They even play CLASSIC ROCK, which, it turns out, free of execrable genre constrictions, I really enjoy.*

    KEXP introduced me to Kanye West. (By introduced, I mean, got me to actually listen to, because I don’t live in a cave.) I liked him enough that I bought My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, my first hip hop record since the Sugar Hill Gang, and I am unexpectedly wild about it. I listened to almost nothing else for a few weeks after I got it, to the point where I had to restrain myself from addressing people as Nigga. For a white Jewess this is DECIDEDLY NOT OKAY.

    My obsession with this record has created something of a parenting dilemma. I know a parental warning means lots of cursing, but not having listened to a lot of hip hop, I underestimated just how filthy this record is. And so I listened to it with the kids, who loved it. Although I see the point of them, I do not want to listen to a censored record. In Kanye West’s hands, swearing is a HIGH ART, and absent the foul language, there is very little to hear. This record is at least an R, and possibly NC-17. And while I enjoy listening to The Exploits of Kanye’s Black Balls and pussy monologues, I can’t be complicit in exposing my pre-adolescent daughter to misogynistic rants. Nor do I yet want to explain to my boys the difference between a prostitute and ho, and why I hope you never fuck either. And so I cut the kids off, which means I have a lot less time to listen to it, because while I have a large child-free swath of the day to myself, during the portion I spend writing, I like listening to something more soothing. Sometimes responsible parenting sucks.

    *I am now considering redacting this sentiment, because today was pretty heavy on the classic rock, featuring, among other things, Another Brick in the Wall, and Pink Floyd is the worst offender on my long list of Why Classic Rock is Insufferable.

    06 April 2011

    Pretty all true

    I enrolled in a writing boot camp this month, and it has me rethinking my schedule so that I can fit more time in for writing.

    With three children in school, in theory I should have lots of time for writing. And yet, I don’t. There is exercising and erranding, cleaning, and laundering and cooking, and I never sit down to write before 1:30.

    More than once, writers have given me the very useful piece of advice that when the children are out of the house, forget about housework and write. My writing coach gave me the same lecture. She asked me if I view myself as a professional housekeeper or a writer, and in five years time, would I like to say I had a very clean house, or you wrote a book?

    It is nothing I haven't asked myself before, and the answer, for me, is both. When I am dead the things I want my children to say of me include, “My mother kept a good home, she taught me well, and was within normal parameters of crazy.”

    I am not a Writer, because I do not get paid to Write. I am a Housewife Who Likes to Write. If I met you at a party and introduced myself as a Writer, you would be correct to think me a pretentious asshole. 

    Keeping a blog is not the same thing as Writing, but it is a good exercise for Writing, if you are so inclined. It would be awesome if more people read this blog, or someone paid me to write, but if I were interested in monetizing, or networking with other bloggers I would be doing those things. At this point blogs are a dime a dozen, and I missed the window in the early aughts where readership magically built. The only way to do it now is to aggressively market oneself, something I am unwilling and incapable of doing. I cringe whenever I send this blog out to my mailing list, because it smacks too much of self-promotion. When I started this blog, the subject matter was a bit more serious, and occasionally write about ISSUES, but it has evolved into a chronicle of things I find delightfully absurd.

    I have an idea for a book, about something absurd that I lived through in my twenties, and I have made a few tentative steps toward writing it. I am not one teeming with ideas for books, or stories that need to be written. This blog is a journal, and because as my children get older I am more mindful of not mining their lives for material, more and more, my subject is me.

    I write to amuse myself, and so that when I do die, in addition to admiring what a good home I kept, my children will have a document of WHAT I WAS LIKE, and WHAT THEY DID WHEN THEY WERE YOUNG, and tangible proof that their mother, the housewife, in addition to being a good cook and keeping a fine home, was funny and interesting. I write because it is important to have a life of the mind, and a life of my own, and for my children see that I have both. I write because I don’t find much satisfaction in volunteering at the schools, but my children are old enough that I want more in my day, and my life, besides housework. But it is not okay with me to tell my children to get their own dinner because MOMMY IS BUSY WRITING.

    If my book gets written but never published, that would be okay too, because I will have the satisfaction of having done it. My children will have a piece of family history, and could marvel at my rapier wit, and my slightly jaundiced, but ultimately life-affirming outlook. Of course, this is not entirely true, because if that were the case, I would just file this journal away on my hard drive.

    I enjoy being a housewife. My younger, more strident self is surprised by how deeply satisfying I find it. I like being here when my children get home from school, and fixing them snacks of cocoa and non-microwaveable popcorn. I like baking cookies for their lunchboxes. I enjoy mulling about what I am going to serve for dinner, and like having it on the table when David gets home from work. And since I’m already wearing an apron, I would happily hand him a gin on the rocks if he wanted it, without feeling the least bit demeaned.

    Or perhaps these are just a few of the things I tell myself to guard against self-doubt. Or because I am lacking ambition. In which case, maybe I should just shut up and get a job.

    03 April 2011

    In which I marvel at how much I have grown

    This morning I had to call Verizon for help resetting my voicemail box.

    Customer service representative: Hello, my name is Ed and I'm here to help you today! Who am I speaking with?
    Me: Pamela Goldsteen
    Ed: Is it okay if I call you Pam?
    Me: No; it's Pamela.

    Here is how the conversation could have gone:


    When I was in my twenties I actually said things like that, and not just in my head, but to real people. But the intervening years have civilized me. At twenty I was insufferable: angry, snarky, confrontational, cutting and suffused with a sense of superiority. I don’t know how I ended that decade with any friends, let alone a husband.

    My forty-year old self knows that Ed was just trying to do his job, and it would have been unkind, and unnecessary to let him have it. If I met Ed at a party I would probably hate him, but that is not a good reason to spew venom in his direction.

    Now, when someone calls me Pam, I do some mental calculus. If I am never going to see you again I just cringe and keep my mouth shut. But if our paths are going to continue crossing, or we may perhaps even become friends, I will correct you. Unless it's gone on entirely too long, and you are in now in the habit of calling me Pam, and at this point I feel awkward, scolding and schoolmarmish for doing something that is entirely reasonable.

    And so Ed and I went about the business of resetting my pass code, and parted ways. But for the rest of the conversation, he called me Pam.

    01 April 2011

    Lost in the supermarket: featuring entirely too much product placement

    I really struck out this week. I am down to my last sack of flour/pound of butter/block of cream cheese, and NONE of these items are currently on sale, nor were they the last time I shopped. Shoprite, why must you forsake me?

    Although I’m not generally prone to chippy things, I am wild for sweet chili flavor Riceworks Brown Rice Crisps. I am quite disciplined about eating; even at the height of my college dope smoking years, I never once ate an entire sleeve of cookies/pizza/tub of ice cream or whatnot. And yet here I am, decidedly not high, consuming entire bags of these, and licking the lining for crumbs. Granted the bag is small(ish), but I’m not even going to try rationalizing that they are healthy, with them being made of baked brown rice, because they’re chips. I urge you to try them. Or maybe not.

    I am looking for a new dish sponge. For years I’ve used Dobie pads, but it looks like we’re going to have to break up. I suspect they’ve been re-engineered for crap, because lately they are very sensitive; as soon as the mesh netting comes into contact with a sharp or abrasive surface  — which is their job — they acquire puncture wounds, spilling their innards in an unsightly fashion. I tried the generic brand, but they’re no better. O Cello makes a similar one, which holds up a little better, and comes in snappy colors like salmon and purple to boot, but I’ve only seen these at Target, and I only go there once a month at best. I’ve tried environmentally-friendly sponges and found them unpliable.  I just bought the kind with the scrubby top and the spongy bottom, but I’m skeptical, mainly because the top portion is reminiscent of pubic hair, and who wants to scrub their pots and pans with a merkin?

    Please forward any recommendations my way.

    Either there are a lot of home schoolers fulfilling a home ec requirement, or every elementary school in the vicinity was on a supermarket field trip yesterday. The market was teeming with children having spirited discussions of price points, and kids were seated at the aisle caps manning tables with homemade games — shell games, puzzles, brain teasers — giving the market a festive, carnival atmosphere. It was sweet, and it would have been nice to support their efforts, but every time I rounded the bend I was too unsettled by the sensation of my brain bobbing around in my skull to indulge them.    

    Spotted in the produce aisle: individually shrink-wrapped baking potatoes, billed as microwavable. Let’s put aside the fact that microwavable potatoes are crap, and even so, I don’t think it’s necessary, or desirable to wrap them in plastic prior to cooking. Is it really too much to expect people to wrap their own?

    Spotted today in the paper goods aisle: Marcal Small Steps, environmentally friendly paper towels. Baby steps: first, you move away from paper toweling made from the guts of freshly killed trees. With that transition successfully navigated, you may be ready to go cold turkey, and switch to rags. Or not. It’s a paper towel, not an existential crisis.  

    Spotted in the hygiene aisle: Kotex pantiliners in festive multi-hued wrappers. (Is there a more odious word in the English language than panties?) I know a lot has been done to spice up condoms, what with flavored ones — does anyone actually fellate a latex-sheathed penis? — and colored ones, meant, I guess, to empower women. Maybe the pantiliners are brightly colored as well; I don’t really want to know. Menstruation is tedious business for sure, and I don’t think the most crack marketing team can do a thing about it. Are they intended to help newly mensing adolescents bridge the gap between girl and woman? If that’s the case, too late; Hello Kitty’s got you beat

    Why not just call it esticles?