27 Oct 2011

A Great Toothpick.

Written by sally @ 8:45 am — Section: sally

From John McPhee’s “Travels in Georgia” (New Yorker, April 28, 1973), about Carol Ruckdeschel and Sam Candler, who work for the Georgia Natural Areas Council. Oh, and they also pick up roadkill, preserve the pelts, and often eat the meat. In this passage, Carol is dismantling a weasel and drinking Scotch:

“I used to love to take clocks apart,” she said. “To see how they were built. This is the same thing. I like plants and anmals and their relationship to the land and us. I like the vertebrates especially.” The weasel’s tailbone was still in the skin. She tugged at it with her teeth. Pausing for a sip [of Glenlivet], she said that sometimes you just had to use your mouth in her line of work, as once when she was catching cricket frogs. She had a frog in each hand and saw another frog, so she put one frog into her mouth while she caught the third. Gradually, the weasel’s tailbone came free. She held it in her hand and admired it. “Some bones are real neat,” she said. “In the heart of a deer, there’s a bone. And not between the ventricles, where you’d expect it. Some animals have bones in their penises –raccoons, for example, and weasels.” She removed the bone from the weasel’s penis. It was long, proportionately speaking, with a hook at the penetrating end. It was called a baculum, she said, which meant “rod” in Latin. She would save it. Its dimensions were one way to tell the weasel’s age. Baculums are also involved in keying differences in species. Sam said he kept a raccoon’s baculum in his wallet because it made a great toothpick. He got out his wallet and displayed his great toothpick.

26 Oct 2011

Quick Question.

Written by sally @ 3:22 pm — Section: sally

1. Let’s say you were in Big Lots.
2. If you think you’re too good for Big Lots, chances are you have not been to Big Lots.
3. Fun fact: Big Lots used to be called Macfrugals.
4. See? It could be worse.
5. Ok, you’re back in Big Lots.
6. Oh, PS: before Macfrugals, it was called Pic-n-Save.
7. In high school, I stole this notebook from Pic-n-Save that said DUMB THINGS I GOTTA DO on it.
8. Then a year later I heard the They Might Be Giants song “Put Your Hand Inside the Puppethead” and I died.
9. (1:25)
10. Ok, anyway, you’re at Big Lots.
11. You’re in line for an incredibly long time.
12. The lady in front of you is about 70 years old, 4’11”, and looks like this from the back:

13. Do you take a picture of her?
14. I did.
15. And yes: of course I muted my phone first! I’m not an animal.
16. A few weeks later, let’s say your friend gets a new iPhone.
17. You text her: “Hey new iPhone haver!”
18. She replies: “I haven’t synced my contacts yet. Who is this?”
19. You say: “This is a photo of me” and send this:

20. She immediately replies: “Hi Sally.”
21. Are you offended that your silliness is so transparent?
22. A few weeks after that, you’re in Hobby Lobby.
23. Please.
24. Are you going to pretend you don’t go to Hobby Lobby?
25. What about Michaels?
26. No, I checked. There’s no apostrophe.
27. And while we’re at it: Victoria only has one Secret.
28. Ok, so Hobby Lobby.
29. You’re buying some iron-on letters to make your son a shirt that says SUPER SPIKE.
30. Do you know that when I told this story to someone at work, that she said “Ugh…I didn’t know you were so crafty”?
31. I ironed my FIST on her FACE!
32. Anyway.
33. Hobby Lobby. Cruising around. Looking at stuff. Fondling the pom-pons.
34. Seriously, it’s spelled pom-pon.
35. You turn a corner, and who do you see?

36. Do you take a picture of her?
37. I did.

25 Oct 2011

A Cat Pee Charade.

Written by sally @ 3:55 pm — Section: sally

Someone has been peeing in my bathroom. This would not be a problem if the someone were a) using the appropriate appliance and b) not a cat. It took me a long time to come to terms with this fact because I didn’t always smell it. Sometimes I could smell it while sitting down (ahem). Sometimes I could smell it while I was in the tub.

On Saturday my neighbors were coming over to babysit Spike (only he thought they were just coming over to play because they’re his friends) and I just could not bear the thought of them discussing the mysterious cat pee smell that may or may not have been wafting into their nostrils. So I mopped. I Lysolled the walls. I cleaned the tub. I was pretty sure I got it! Cat pee, defeated! The neighbors came, they played, they left.

The next morning, I smelled it again.

Have you ever seen Charade? It’s a movie with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. Audrey’s husband has been killed over some buried treasure he dug up but was supposed to split with his army buddies. The army buddies are after Audrey Hepburn and are all “hey lady where’s the money” and she’s all “uh, I don’t know” and they’re all “Ima kill you” and she’s all “please don’t.” It’s set in Paris, she wears awesome clothes 100% of the time, and the soundtrack is by Henry Mancini. I won’t spoil it, but there is a moment when everyone realizes where the money’s hidden — and it is somewhere very obvious where they’ve all looked before. There are extreme close ups to everyone’s faces and some na-NA-NA-NAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! music to indicate “hey y’all we got it figured out!”

Anyway. Sunday morning, when I smelled the cat pee anew, I thought of that na-NA-NA-NAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! moment because it turns out the culprit peed on the rug, which I had been standing on as I very creepily sniffed the wall.


13 Oct 2011

Remember Me When I Am Creepy.

Written by sally @ 2:02 pm — Section: sally

I’ve continued to Amazon Wishlist-stalk my old/former friend Callie, and I’m delighted to report that she is apparently expecting a baby! (Or perhaps her partner is. The grapevine that told me years ago that she’s gay is no longer open for questioning.) She has registered for a Baby Bjorn and hippie diapers and the complete run of the Muppet Show. Who else could I tell this to but you, internet?

Her birthday was last week and I was thisclose to ordering her a present off her list, but then I thought that perhaps this would creep her out and she would make her list private, which would be worse, in a way, than the time she kind of stole my boyfriend, or at least became rather chummy with him after I broke up with him for saying he loved me.

There is also the chance that she wouldn’t think it was creepy, though. When we were in 7th grade, even though we lived a few streets away, I anonymously mailed her a copy of a book called Remember Me When I Am Dead hoping to creep her out, and it totally didn’t work. She just happily opened it and read it, thinking, “Cool! Someone mailed me a book!”

Let’s gloss over the fact that at age 12, I was engaging in the same behavior I am contemplating today. The difference, obviously, is that at 12 I was TRYING to be creepy and at 38 and I am TRYING NOT to be creepy. Here is where, if I were more pretentious, I would quote the first three lines of “Burnt Norton.”

8 Oct 2011

Kudzu, Eczema.

Written by sally @ 1:23 pm — Section: sally

Yesterday I went to the Delta to do a little research emporiuming, and as I saw the kudzu for the zillionth time and for the zillionth time it impressed me, I wondered how many undergraduates in creative writing classes in the south write poems about the kudzu, and decided that number has got to be around one hundred percent.

Other things I saw in the Delta: a snowball business for sale. Cotton ready to be picked, cotton that had just been picked, cotton rolled into big cotton haybale things.

I went in a cute store with wildly overpriced items including, and this killed me, wine stopper holders. Wine stoppers are a decorative item! And now you can buy a decorative item to hold your decorative items. For like, $15 each. I bought a Mississippi-shaped bookmark made out of copper for my mother, mostly so I could be near the store owners, who might’ve been acting extra southern for their customers’ benefit. They had giant hair, tons of makeup, and were complaining about how they don’t teach home ec anymore, so how does anyone know how to cut up a chicken? (They don’t. No one knows anymore! I took home ec in 8th grade and they didn’t let us use big knives. We got to make pizza and cookies, and instead of “spatula” our teacher insisted that we use the term “rubber scraper,” which cracked everyone up. In brief, it was awesome.)

As I paid for my overpriced bookmark, the owner said, “My god! You’ve got the most beautiful skin! It looks as soft as a baby’s butt.” (I deserve an award for not showing her all the areas of my body that are affected by eczema, which is my usual response to any compliment. Person: I like your pants! Me: Thanks! They have a hole in the crotch.) But anyway, I am fairly certain that when Yankees come into her shop and she says stuff like that, they are so charmed that they say, “Ma’am, do you have any wine stopper holders?”

2 Oct 2011

Just an Old Fashioned Blog Post.

Written by sally @ 2:27 pm — Section: sally

I don’t really collect vanity tags like I used to, but I DO still keep a pad of paper in my car on which to write down anything awesome that I see. And I saw this awesome plate the other day:


I also saw a bumper sticker that made me mad, which said I CAN VBAC. VBAC = “vaginal birth after c-section.” Why is this something to promote? I’ve never seen a I CAN GET AN APPENDECTOMY sticker.

I recently took my annual trip to DC in order to hand out pencils to the nation’s schoolchildren, and while the trip is always filled with curiosities, my favorite weird thing that I heard was this: this lady was happily married for 23 years…except her husband left her at year 15, and she didn’t tell anyone…and pretended everything was fine and that they were still married…even though he lived somewhere else. I didn’t get to ask all the questions I wanted to. I could understand pretending your husband was away on business a lot of the time, but what happened at Thanksgiving? Christmas? Did he still help with the house payment? People are so weird and interesting! I love them! (At a distance.)

Also, this older man took a really long time to tell this story: that years ago when Willard Scott was still doing the weather, there was a cold snap in the south, and Willard said, “I’ve been waiting 20 years to say this: it’s two below in Tupelo, Mississippi!” Imagine that story taking at least 20 times longer to tell than it took you to read that. Now imagine that you had to smile and nod while the story was being told AND hand out pencils and stickers at the same time.

I read Just Enough Liebling while I was in DC, and ohmygod it was so enjoyable. If you like this paragraph, you should probably read more of A.J. Liebling:

Above the bargain bookstore in the acute angle of the Rue Racine and the Boulevard is the Hotel de la Faculté, where, in the fall of 1927, I last saw Angèle, one of the pleasantest girls at the Soufflet. Angèle was twenty years old and chunky, and she had a snub nose. On this occasion she complained of having a fever and said she was going to die. Three or four of us from the Soufflet, sitting on her bed, assured her that she would be up and around in a few days. Shortly thereafter she died, and since then I have wondered sometimes what a girl with a snub nose has to do to be taken seriously.

You will be happy to know that I abandoned Rizzoli and Isles halfway through the season. In one episode, Rizzoli and Isles were investigating some shootings at a Revolutionary War reenactment and needed help figuring out who the shooter was targeting. They sought help from John Boy, who was a RevWar professor. They also had to dress up in Revolutionary War costumes in order to attend a funeral for a reenactor. (The shooter, btw, was targeting John Boy, whose mole had raped a former student 18 years previous and impregnated her. The killer was John Boy’s son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Ok, so that episode obviously sucked. Then the next week, they had to attend a seance, and as pretty as Angie Harmon’s eyes are, their exaggerated, HEY YOU IN KANSAS WATCHING THIS ON TNT DO YOU NOTICE MY EYES ARE ROLLING rolling was too much for me. Goodbye, Rizzoli! You too, Isles. (No one cares about you, Isles.)