What can go wrong….(moaning about Monday)

Shall. On a Monday.

Monday quote
This is not usually how I feel…

I am not a Monday hater. I see grumpy cat memes and listen to pop songs lamenting another school week and I shrug. At least I used to shrug when I could move my shoulders. Now I just mentally shrug and on good days lets add a knowing chuckle where I am both “with you” and “above you” Monday moaners.

Steve steps it up even more and walks around with a Weekends are Overrated t -shirt on…issuing a challenge to the undercaffeinated. Now that he works from home I am the only one to read his message. I think I have begun to take on my new role. He is the Monday lover leaving me left to loathe it.

On Monday’s my tea is evil.

How do I know?

Because there are steps to my coffee shop morning routine and I have fucked up each of them in some way or another.

  1. Making an entrance. I have three days to write this week before I take two weeks off and I have a two articles and a blog post to get through before 11. I can do this. First I need to open the door to the coffee shop.  It is a bit sticky and I don’t have time to waste with the extra pull or two so I approached it with gusto. It flung wide to greet me and hit me in the face. I immediately made eye contact with the barista who greeted me with an “its definitely Monday.” I am hear enough so I know that her Wednesday is my Friday making my Monday not her Monday. As I try to calculate which relative day of the week has left her laughing at me I trip over one of the metal stools that is protruding from the coffee bar. It wasn’t so bad. It  wasn’t one tenth as bad as the time I knocked over two tables, three computers, and three cell phones spilling my evidently endless tea on all of us. This time it was a little trip. I was still upright! So I held me head high and went to replace the stool in its place getting it tangled in the legs of its brother. Bang. Scrape. Then I was trying to catch two stool with my phone hand and the whole thing collapsed. It was loud. But there were only three customers that had to look up from their work and I was still standing on two feet. I consider that a win. I walk myself over to…
  2. Select my table. The BEST table was available. It is the end two top that nestles into a wall allowing three chairs.
    fashion shot
    My cousin. His bag and coat will have their own chair! Other cousin took this photo ianliptonphoto.com
  3. So when my cousin and I aren’t waiting for Elijah we have a designated bag and coat chair. It is a luxury. There is also an outlet. Lastly, and most importantly as I mentioned this table is at the END of a row. So I can slide out with my ass to the wall and a friendly smile to my family. When we are next to strangers not only do I have to pretend not to eavesdrop…but I also have to slide my butt along the edge of their table every time I get up to pee or carry a dangerous drink to and from the counter. So only the wall gets my back side. Pleased with my table choice I hang my backpack on Elijahs chair (jew reference) plug in my laptop (already at 100% but it is part of the ritual so it can’t be stopped) and sit briefly to log onto the correct network. Despite working here five times a week my computer has a love affair with AZ2Net876!. Every day I need to break them up. So my role as spoiler over I am ready to get sustenance. With a smile I turn my ass to the wall and begin to exit my area, but I trip over my power cord taking my laptop with me. I actually manage to catch the thing. Yet another win. I am on my way to the counter to…
  4. Place my order and pay. When I make it to the counter to 6 sympathetic and 2 amused eyes I see my order has already been entered into the POS. Usually this would be good but I am not having the spinach sandwich because, lets say, the spinach hasn’t been a happy ending. I consider eating it to make her happy but decide to correct the order. I stumble over this as I try to enter my email for our “spot on” extra credit. I have always liked extra credit and I am amassing points. It takes me three tries though and I back a way a bit sheepishly. I usually enjoy ordering, having a quick chat with the friendly staff about vagina surgery, or anti depressant medication always makes my morning. Instead I have wasted our time together correcting my order and messing up my email. Back at my table without tripping I sigh at the eleventeen open chrome tabs just as Amina arrives with my tab. I had forgotten to tip or sign. So she checked me out with no tip and brought me my card. I try to insist that I head back up there to tip but she won’t hear of it so I sit down with my tab and my tabs and feel guilty times two. On a normal day I would…
  5. Retrieve my order. This Monday I see my tea at the bar waiting to be picked up. I am not going up to get it because I will spill it. I see its liquid forming a meniscus at the top of the custom cup and it taunts me. “I will be on your chest soon caught by your overlarge, undersupported  breasts. I will dribble down your fingers causing you to whimper and jolt and with the jolt even more of me will be free, discoloring your Dansko Women’s Professional Oiled Leather Clog,Black,38 EU / 7.5-8 B(M) USjaunty green clogs and making a big splash on the floor. When you bend down to wipe me up the whole coffee shop will see your butt crack. Ha! I have you! ” Then I remember that I haven’t tipped AT ALL today let alone 100% and I head to get the tea myself…pulling my computer off the table by tripping over the cord. AGAIN. I set it on the table and back into the server who is bringing me my tea. I spill it down his chest. They insist on making me another one. Then they bring it to me.
    My tea...
    My tea…
  6. Work. I have already abandoned the plan. I was supposed to read and share other people’s work then write one parenting article and one sex article (except in the other order because thats how it works.) Then IF there was time I was going to write a blog post. Instead I am here with you…because it is Monday and nothing is going as it should.

What did you mess up this morning?

Ten things I learned on my week off

What do you get when you combine a minor (don’t tell Steve) surgery, a pinched nerve, and a sick kid? Two working adult arms and zero adult working days. Sometimes a week away from life can teach us some very important things.

  1. Oxycodone makes you itchy. If you ever want to see your husband act like an ape just slip him an opiate. It’s pretty funny. It was a live action version of The Itchy and Scratchy Show. Which was even more funny because he had a Simpsons marathon on in the background as he itched and scratched.
  2. I really shouldn’t drive at night. I have been avoiding driving at night for years. Every once in a while I wonder if I have possibly exaggerated my status as a safety hazard. There are times when I allow a preference to become a rule, and it seemed possible that this was one of them. After Steve’s surgery we drove home. I mean I drove home. He lolled next to me itching himself with his good hand and offered turn by turn directions in the style of Garmin, or her cousin Siri. He didn’t once have to recalculate. Despite the impeccable performance of the half human half ape beside me I barely got us home alive. It was like this. Stay between the lines. Just look down at the lines and keep the car between then. Thats it…see the lines. What’s that? Car. Just look at the lines. Car. So many other cars. Wait thats a tree not a car. Thats why it is moving so slowly. Don’t look back at the tree, look down at the line. See the lines. Stay between them. Car. Another car. Tree? No car. All of this is to say I can see almost nothing at night. Cars have lights and are moving. Trees (except those festive ones) don’t have lights and are still. Both can kill you when you are driving as poorly as I do at night. So we will be ubering after the next surgery.
  3. I haven’t hosted the worst 9 year old sleepover. The kid returned with a big smile and a bruised thumb with a not long for this earth nail, a bloody foot and skinned elbow. When I asked him how the sleepover had gone he gave a huge grin. GREAT! He told me showing off his battle scars. “This one is from airhockey, this one is from the treadmill, and this one is from getting the orange off of the fan.” Excuse me? Although we all know the incredible injury risks of air hockey it was the orange fan part that confused me. “Well, it was after we got busted for 12:30 pitch black hide and go seek…then we were hungry so we snuck one at a time to get oranges. Then after we peeled them we needed to break them into section so we threw them at the fan.” “Hm.” I responded. “It didn’t even make a mess.” “Hm.” I responded again. “Ok, so a little mess…and one of my pieces ended in the bottom of the earth.” “Hm.” (Its all purpose people) ” You know so I didn’t want to leave it to rot so I climbed on the top bunk and fished it out of the bottom of the earth. I had turned off the fan light but (name redacted) thought I needed light so he turned it on and then I got a little hurt.” “Hm. Hm. Hm.”
  4. A tired kid speaks the truth. So the next morning (AKA today…Monday…school day) things weren’t so GREAT. He overslept. “Why didn’t you waaaaaake me?” “Hm.” “My thumb hurts.” “Aw.” (Sometimes I mix it up.) “I can’t put my sock on.” “Hm.” Then just shuddering weeping sobs as he limped around the house in one shoe using one hand to gather his things. As the sobbing crested and his face was red and slick with tears I decided to speak more than a syllable. “What is it you need sweetie?” “I don’t know what I need.” He wailed back at me. Isn’t that a truth we can all relate to. “Hm.” I said letting his soggy self melt into my arms.
  5. I can’t write 12 articles a week and like my life or my writing. I don’t think I need to elaborate. But I will. In this week of pain and illness and itchiness I still felt better than trying to squeeze out 1600 words a day. Hm.
  6. I totally dread sneezing. I know you all know how I pee when I sneeze, which has led to me avoiding fabric seats outside of my own home, and screaming out with full lung power to try to vent another way. Since the pinched nerve I have a new problem…each sneeze send an electrical current of pain from neck to finger tip. Which adds injury to insult. You might find me sitting in my own pee, holding my arm, and rocking while humming tunelessly. For a few moments I would be better off in the psych ward.
  7. There are people that don’t like clogs. There are people that don’t like clogs! Take a minute and let that sink in.  I rarely use exclamation points. But listen: there are people that don’t like clogs?!?! A Facebook friend had this as her recent status:

“No matter how many years I live on this Earth I will never get used to seeing people wearing clogs. Exceptions made for medical professionals and Dutch farmers.”

  1. 7b(this is not number one…this is what happens after a quote imbedded in a list when you don’t really know how to work wordpress) In my opinion there are two women on earth that shouldn’t wear clogs…Venus Williams and Alison Janney. The rest of us should learn from the hardest working people on earth….servers and health care personnel. Clogs are the best. They give you height, posture and comfort. You may say they are not stylish, but what is more stylish than being able to stay on your feet without shifting from side to side and counting the minutes until you can get home to take off your shoes? Clog up people. Love your feet.
  2. You need to have strong hands for socks. I know. That sentence doesn’t make sense. I am with you. I used to think getting a tantruming two year old into a snow suit was the worst secondary dressing I could do. Wrong. Putting on my Steve’s socks is the worst. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]My husband’s socks are tighter than a virgin’s vagina.[/Tweet] I stretched them as far as I could and still couldn’t get them over his instep. He was so surprised. “I never realized my hands were so much stronger than yours.” Obviously he has never struggled to open a jar that he used his vise like grip to close. But second, why would you need strong hands for socks. I get my socks on every day without raising my heartrate. Its not as though they puddle around my ankles like a magnum condom on a minor penis…they stay up. So somehow I have learned that I need strong hands for socks. Or that Steve has strange socks.
  3. Never have a bartender at a party. We went to a lovely holiday party.  The food was great, the company stellar. The host balanced keeping the lights dimmed and the tables bussed with actually visiting with her guests. She was poised and welcoming. Not so the aproned woman who stood behind the bar. She mixed specialty cocktails and poured wine with something between a grimace and a growl. At the beginning of a party it feels posh and polished to have a professional. By the end there is a long line of semi drunk guests getting under her skin while they wait for drinks and forget what they wanted. One of the benefits of house parties is being able to mix your own drink. Make it a double in half the time of the pro. I have made this mistake muself
  4. I can’t work the numbered lists on WordPress. See 1b/7b for example.

What about you? What did you learn this week? Also- what is your position on clogs, bartenders and sleepovers. And are you itchy?

Stop right there- setting aside road rage

A few seconds after I back tentatively down my steep, icy driveway (I moved here to get away from ice) and avoid the hazards of elementary children and their distracted parents at drop off I let out a big sigh. Once again no fatalities. A good omen.

I slowed to whatever is less than a crawl but still technically moving as the elderly couple took their morning restorative. As I did this a woman blew though a stop sign on a side street and sped past them. By “blew through” and “sped past” I mean drove the speed limit. But she really did run the stop sign.

“What the fuck, bitch?” As quickly as it came to mind it was replaced by an image of what might be inside the car. Maybe she was a middle aged mom who had driven for 3 days straight to see her children. She had just sat by the bedside of her stepfather and held his hand as he took his last breathe. This was the man who raised her after her mother disappeared, and he would have died alone if she hadn’t left her family to care for him. It had been a long, exhausting month full of acrid hospital smells and the sound of gasping retractions as this man had fought for breathe. In these weeks at his bedside he had talked about her mother for the first time in 20 years. It was a different kind of trial as the shadow woman came to life and the carefully created barrier between her head and heart cracked open as she felt her loss for the first time in decades. When it was all done she got in the car with red bull and bananas and hurried home to hug her own girls. Ready to fill the hole inside with love she would send to her girls. And maybe just a bit to her mother, wherever she might be. Just three blocks from home she encountered a dirty white SUV which was rolling along the road at a pace slower than her stepfather’s death…so she skipped that one stop sigh and got herself home to her girls in time to hug them before they left for school and she had to wait another 8 impossible hours.

Entering the coffee shop there was a guy three steps back from the counter. He was oblivious to how he held up the line of undercaffeinated people at his posterior. It was as if he was learning about hot beverages for the first time as he asked the barista question after question. The line of us became united as we shifted from foot to foot, unzipping winter coats which made us to warm in the coffee shop. Grumbling at each second he was breaking us away from his morning routine.

To keep myself from joining the mob behind me I imagined him a researcher at the hospital lab across the street. He had been working on a non-invasive treatment for spinal injuries since he left medical school in 1999. Last night one of his subjects had risen to his four furry feet for the first time. This man, whose friends and family consisted of the lab tech, the night watchperson, and 24, no…23 mice had stayed up all night watching the creature in wonder. 15 years later this very treatment will be one to get my friend’s son out of his wheelchair after a ski accident. He chose his drink and looked back, seeing us for the first time, blinking in the light of day.

Leaving the coffee shop I watched a woman walk up. She was juggling her phone and a 5,000 bag. She was dressed for a workout and her golden hair gleamed with 1,000 highlights. I kept my eyes forward, anticipating the nothing that she would direct my way. Instead her grey eyes sought out mine. “Hi” she said brightly “How is your morning going?”

“It’s going well thanks.” I told her as we were almost past.

You just never know. I need to stop with the judgement…sometimes people just can’t stop at every stop sign.Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 8.35.57 AM


We are all cheats and thiefs

Talking with some developers the other day I gave them shit for choosing not to pay for apps that they liked and used. In my reasoning they, more than anyone else, could understand that software is not fee. It takes time, sometimes lots, racks up hosting fees, and often has the legal, accounting, and design work associated with four square wall businesses. I wondered about the double standard.

To these two there was no double standard at all. If we build something that has a back door, or a way for someone to steal it we absolutely expect they will steal it. What is there for the taking is there for the taking.

This work around, resetting phone clocks to unlock timed upgrades, or slipping through cracks in the code seems to be part of their lexicon. Hacking is expected if not encouraged.

I have not agreed with them. My objection is to the marketplace we have created around apps, there is an expectations that they should be unsustainably cheap or free. I pay my .99 with glee. As if that supports the above expenses. But the app developers are part of the problem, at least the independent ones set their prices in line with the market place.

We have all read and thought about music and movie piracy, and I pretty much always pay when I can. Its possible that I taped things off of TV back when gerbils ran the VCR, but for now lets set that aside.

I have spent more time than most thinking about copyright law in art.

My father bought a scanner and the very first photoshop program and set up with an iris ink jet printer the size of a small car and went to work tearing pages out of national geographic. Before his cancer he would take entire trees and their root system and spend several years shaping them into human form. Carefully carefully covering his tracks so it looked as if they grew that way.

What was artistry with roots bordered on illegality with the magazine images. It was his way to continue to reshape nature, mountains into breasts, the galaxy into an enormous tidal pool. The letter of the law required “significant change.” As those of you who have studied art history and Warhol’d famous soup can, context can provide just as much relevance in interpretation as each brushstroke, or pixel change. I remember a friend from college walking though my dad’s basketball court sized studio, plucking a small piece off of the wall, holding it upside down and declaring it “significant change.”

So despite knowing about copyright infringement, and finding paying for movies, music and apps a not so secretly strongly held belief I seem to have a double standard for images. I cut and paste screenshots for my blog regularly. I dont know what I really tell myself, that these things are commercial and people have already been paid? Or nothing at all…but I steal images at least once a week.

I came across an artist on pinterest. His work was all over. Perhaps because he was clearly a visual artist I broke with my tradition and wrote him to ask permission before I used his image for a blog post that I was writing for another project.

I sent an email to his studio with a link to the blog draft, explaining that although the product was a commercial venture the blog post was not, it was about working artists in a particular medium. I used his name and linked back to his site.

I also bought a piece of his work, but I didn’t tell him that in the email. However, the email I used to purchase the drawing was the same as the request that I sent, so a little sleuthing might have uncovered it.

I thought he would write back and thank me. Honestly, that was the response I expected. To give me accolades for not being a thief ( at least this time) and to say go right ahead and use my work to exemplify your point.

Instead he very politely responded that I could not use his image for “this purpose” and good luck with my next project.

I was enraged.

Miss, developers more than anyone else should pay for software, was angry at the visual artist for not allowing his work to be published.

A bit of my reaction comes from the fact that his work is all over pinterest, and  other sites. How does permission work there? I will have to dig in. I am fairly confident that those 100s of millions of images are not used with permission. I guess I also am of the “all publicity is good publicity”, and controlling the message is probably futile and worthless mindset. I am not sure.

In any case I knew enough to ask permission and disliked the answer that I got. If my friends had written to the game developers and asked if they could just take the upgrades would they have expected a positive response from the game developers? Probably not.

Reproducing someone else’s work, with credit and context feels more like an homage than thievery.

My email reply is one of the many things out there that I wish I could take back. I sent it though, I put it out there. In this internet age I really believe that once they are out there it is hard to take things back. I have a low expectation of privacy and a lower expectation of attribution.

Here is another case where forgiveness would have been better than permission.

Is there anyone out there who is not a cheat or a thief? Would you have been surprised to have an artist turn you down? Annoyed?

A photograph by greg Heins (that we paid for) of my father's scultpure of Medusa. But I have such a small screen, and such poor software that you can't see the whole piece.
A photograph by greg Heins (that we paid for) of my father’s sculpture of Medusa. But I have such a small screen, and such poor software that you can’t see the whole piece.






I'm sort of shocked it was so low.
I’m sort of shocked it was so low.

Are cats liberal?

Everything about this is what I would expect. Except that liking cats is more liberal than liking dogs. Even my liberalism has an A- grade to it.

If you want to play here is the link. It is a super short quiz developed by time magazine. The intro makes it sound as if your pet and browser choices will be the predictors. A bit of an overstatement as they ask questions about your personal politics that I imagine the algorithm weighs more highly than your loathing for Times Square. Maybe not though.

Who is my most conservative reader? Want to meet for coffee?


5 kinds of first dates.

We can talk about your first date if you want to. We can review the “he said…then I said…then he said” bits. We can wonder if you should email or text or call. But we already know your story. At least if you want to.

I will dissect voice mails and texts all day long. It will keep me off of zillow. I am happy to share this distraction with you. As long as you know it is a distraction.

[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]It has been six weeks since your first date. If isn’t happening…it isn’t happening.[/Tweet]It has been six weeks since your first date. If isn’t happening…it isn’t happening.

It may in fact be the timing or the location. It really may be nothing about you, or him, or you and him together. But if it were going to happen. We wouldn’t be talking texts. You two would be picking out your thanksgiving turkey. The difference between the rose in bloom and the decaying petals on your shoe is how well you can interpret your first date.

Here are five kinds of first dates:

1. Mutual escorts. You have plenty to talk about. You may bump noses in your goodnight kiss. In another life you would be friends. But you are both single so you make plans places together. You try to convince yourself you feel something. He is good on paper. Lists are good on paper.

Next step: Find a gay guy to be your event date. Have lunch with this one. It may stroke your ego, but when he gets possesive cut him loose.

2. Fun until you fuck. Lots of laughs. A long late date. Banter, double entendres, questions in the emails, by the third date you are in the bedroom. He doesn’t go radio silent, but the banter slows, dates spread out. Its a subtle fade away.

Next step? : If you want something casual keep it up. But never, ever imagine it will grow stronger. You had the best of him already. He showed you that with the post coital retreat.

3. Whoosh. It feels good. The date is longer, closer, more intense. He may cook for you. You really connect, you imagine a future. Then he actually TALKS about a future. The next date is one the books. You float away in happiness. He disappears. Gone. Probably dead. I mean, he must be dead because nothing else would keep him away from you. Except the whoosh.

Next step ?: None needed. He’s gone already. Try not to find him on facebook. Nothing good will come of that. And when you run into his friend at the dog park and she asks you how your trip to Boston was? Try to play it cool. She doesn’t need to know about the whoosh.

4. Borderline. This is the tricky one to ID. At least for the person dating him. I can tell from your tone of voice on the phone that he is borderline. You are happy, but not giddy. You have questions, but you interrupt yourself providing logical explanations. He didn’t quite whoosh away. He sends charming texts, almost as if he can sense your questions. He is doing nothing wrong. He is hot, smart, funny. And you are still wondering. That is how you know. If you feel anything but full on pursuit coming from him it is not going to happen. I mean, it could stretch on. You could date for a long time. You could even date exclusively. This is no life partner though. At least not for you.

Next step: Figure out if you are really looking for the one. Maybe 80% of the one is actually what you want. As soon as you give an ultimatum you must bail. That action shows that you want more. This is important information for yourself. Not for him. It doesnt matter what he things because we are not playing games here. So stay or go, but you decide. His actions from here on out are irrelevant.  *Caveat, if you are under 28 he could potentially turn into the one. But frankly there will be a lot of waiting and self doubt involved so I’m not sure I would recommend that. Might be more efficient to end it, see what else is out there, and let him “find you” again a bit later, when he realizes that you are in fact the best.

5. The one. The first date lasts 36 hours. He is super into you and it doesn’t make you feel the least bit creepy. You are just you. You have no list of if onlys. . .(he was over 5 ft 10, he had a hot accent accent, he were a lefty)  You don’t catch yourself tugging at your shirt or powdering your nose or nibbling on the skin by your thumb or using planned out lines or google referenced song lyrics. You ask questions and remember his answers. He asks questions and makes eye contact. You share interests. The idea of going grocery shopping together sounds hot. Your words spill out. Your silence isn’t scary. You give each other permission. For anything.

What’s next: The hard work comes next. Enjoy this part. Its the honeymood phase.

Bottom line. Forget the games. If he doesn’t like you because you like pop music that is just efficient sorting. You will need to meet a lot of these guys before one fits. Make it easy for everyone. Be yourself, ask for what you want and cut loose the ones who don’t make you drop everything to answer their call. When you end it tell them why as honestly as you can without being hurtful. It will help them move on, and possibly make them more appealing for the next person.

I know how exhausting this is. I got a dog to meet a guy. Being single is right for lots of people. If it is not right for you get going. There are going to be lots and lots of dates 1-4 before date 5.

OK readers. Single? Have you seen these types? Are you fruitlessly trying to transition a borderline guy into the one? Married? What was your first date like?

How to interpret your first date.


I opine.

I have strong opinions about lots of things. People ask for my advice and I offer it with relish and without research. If you want me to tell you how I think it is just use this form. (I have an opinion post below this so go ahead and scroll down.)  [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]   All disclaimers apply.

I took a real life question from a non-Vermont based friend to lower the chances of me offending anyone.

Continue reading I opine.