A Million Miles, A Million Miles

My office is reorganizing, which turns out to be a reason to do the Happy Dance. I used to nest in the middle of the room, where I was forced to eavesdrop on my co-worker who can’t trust her grown sons to call their own banks, not to mention feel the whoosh! each time someone ran past my desk to bang on the copier. Obviously, using my powers for Good has its limits. I was so sick of the running I was planning to put down tire spikes, and if you think I wouldn’t, think again. Fortunately for everyone, I ended up in a cubicle in a remote corner of the room, where no one notices my hair standing on end like a plasma ball. Two conversations, this week:

Mary: What’s with the pottymouth on Poor Impulse Control?
Tata: I am a foul-mouthed wench, duh!
Mary: Sure, but every paragraph? What’s up?
Tata: I’m testy with piquant hostiility.
Mary: Will you help me and my divine daughter learn how to can fruit?
Tata: Okay, if you don’t mind an attitude that might shatter glass.

And Wednesday morning, 8 a.m. in the ladies room:

Beth: I’ve been meaning to ask your help with something.
Tata: Who, me? I do three stupid things before breakfast every day.
Beth: I have this problem and I don’t know what to do about it. Maybe you could –
Tata: Maybe I could eat cheese and wear at least some of it. What’s bothering you?
Beth: It’s just so weird and I don’t really know –
Tata: Spill it!
Beth: I glued my foot to my flip flop and I can’t get my foot unstuck and –

Beth curls her toes. They are stuck to nothing.

Beth: Oh! Never mind!
Tata: I need coffee…

No, really. I’m doing the Happy Dance.

To Fall Down At Your Door

Siobhan’s sister had a baby today, and there’s a distinct possibility this new human may get a familiar name: Fifi! Siobhan and I could have matching Fifis. You know what that means?

This may be the first child in history to sashay into pre-school with a feather boa.

Let the shopping begin.

I Can Smell the Chemicals

Remember this motherfucker?

“I think it’s hard to argue that families that can contribute to their shelter cost shouldn’t,” Robert V. Hess, the city’s commissioner of homeless services, said in a telephone interview Friday. “I don’t see this playing out in an adverse way. Our objective is not for families to remain in shelter. Our objective is to move families back into their own homes and into the community.”

But Ta, you say, the world is full of motherfuckers. Remind me: who was this guy and what mothers was he fucking?

Mr. Hess acknowledged that if a family does not pay the required rent, it could be told to leave the shelter, but he noted that residents can contest the rent required through a state hearing.

Oh. Right. Those mothers. Thank you, New York Times. Anyway, Mr. Hess isn’t through making the homeless more homelesser:

The new policy gives the city greater latitude to push families out of the shelter system, which had swelled to a near-high of 9,720 families as of Sunday. Families could always be evicted for illegal behavior like bringing in drugs or weapons, but they can now be ousted for any of 28 violations, including failing to sign in and out or not keeping an active case file with city welfare agencies.

The new policy is also meant to encourage families to more readily accept permanent housing, even if it is not to their liking.

“We would only expect to use this process in the most egregious of situations,” said Robert V. Hess, the commissioner for homeless services, in an interview on Monday. “We do have a small number of families where temporary emergency shelter is really being used as permanent housing.”

Evictions are for a 30-day period.

I’ve read those four paragraphs about ten times, and if those words make sense in that order I need a new native language. And watch this exhilarating turn of phrase:

Mr. Hess said it was not clear where families removed from shelter might turn. “The most likely outcome is that the family would demonstrate that they do have a place to go,” he said.

Or…they might be homeless and have nowhere but the sidewalk, which by this motherfucker’s definition is a place to go. But it’s only for 30 days, right?

An instructional guide provided to shelter operators appears to leave open the possibility that families will be subject to the elements. It instructs shelter operators that no families should be ejected during a “Code Blue Winter Weather Alert,” or when the temperature drops to 32 degrees.

Compassion like that brings a tear to the eye it does.

Robert Hess, Commissioner of Homeless Services:

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City:

Government agencies sever parental rights over shit like failing to provide shelter. So why is the city doing it?

You’re Gonna Rise Up Singin’

Perhaps you’ve noticed I cope with insecurity through artmaking and prodigious swearing. Times are terribly uncertain. I’m armed with Dad’s Ball Jars, one-sixth of Dad’s remaining cookbook collection and a bad fucking attitude. About two weeks ago, I started pulling down cookbooks and reading them with what I was seeing in the farmers markets in mind. You will be surprised to hear I couldn’t find a single goddamn recipe for canning sugarplums, but that turned out fine since I couldn’t find sugarplums either. On Sunday, Pete and I jarred blueberries with a buttload of sugar and a spoonful of rum. As jarring processes go, this one was truly simple. Cleaning up afterward required dedication and produced bleach-pruned fingertips. Later, we played Edward Scissorhands with eggplant and jarred some zingy caponata. I love you and all, but touch my caponata and I will stab you repeatedly with a grapefruit spoon. Do not give me the boo-boo eyes. I am a hard woman!

Dad died two years ago, and this dehydrator sat in Pete’s basement nearly the whole time. We have no idea if this thing will dry fruit or achieve low-earth orbit, so tonight we peeled, cored and sliced apples – for SCIENCE! Currently, the mothership emits a hot, moist apple vapor that is immediately swept outside by an overworked window fan. I haven’t found much in the cookbooks about dehydrated foods, but as a preservation method dehydration is kind of interesting. I’m sure I’ll have storage questions. The Ball Co. book says storage is no problem: sterilize jars, let ’em dry and store your dried whatsises in a cool, dark place, and I say whatsises because the book intimates an industrious yet insecure person like myself can dry just about anything. Whatever you do, do not picture clam jerky. Just imagine the pretty, pretty fucking jars.

A Different Shadow On the Wall

Remember when I used to write a blog? It seems like only last week I wrote my often humorous musings on aging, politics, public transportation, food, gardening and green living, not to mention the surly extended family and the supercute grandson, at stultifying length and and interminable detail. Ah, those were the days. I was so young then!

Yesterday was the eighteenth birthday of my baby sister Dara. I called and sang “Happy Birthday, dear doofus” to her voicemail and was surprised when I wasn’t her one call from county lockup somewhere, but today, the night is still young and she might figure our sister Daria might be an easier mark. A bazillion years ago:

Daria: Daddy, if Domenica and I had gotten arrested swimming in the reservoir would you have bailed us out?
Dad: Hell no! I drink that water.

Okay, it wasn’t all that long ago, and our arrest records remain curiously clean, but everyone knows Dara’s an evil genius who forgets to plot escape routes from her crime scenes, and colleges care about that shit. So if there’s a lesson to be learned by the youth of America, who have spent every second of their brief lives under surveillance, it’s this: your fingerprints and DNA are probably on file in some government system. Your best bet for a life of crime is in computer science unless you can clone a good twin you can play for a patsy. Bon appetit!

Burn Your Eyes On You Moving

So I’m watching the Today Show this morning and something – I can’t quite put my finger on it – is making me very uncomfortable. What –

Last night, the president of the United States said nothing surprising when he observed that members of the Cambridge police “acted stupidly” in arresting a man in his own home after he had identified himself as the owner. Even the whitest and rightest of morans could figure out that’s a stupid, outrageous, disgraceful way for cops to behave. Talk about government overreach!

No, the real shocker was the audible gasp from the mostly white press corps as Obama said it. They don’t seem to understand, truly understand, that the United States elected a black man to be its president.

That’s close, but no cigar. When Matt Lauer asks rhetorically if it’s appropriate for the President of the United States to comment on his friend’s racially motivated false arrest, he’s not asking an etiquette question. Nope, he’s asking if it’s appropriate for a Black man to mention Black men have problems specific to being Black men, because the dominant paradigm says they don’t. I stopped huffing my breakfast polenta when I heard the word appropriate which was bad enough, but I got up, shut off the TV and brushed my teeth when I saw Michael Smerconish was going to discuss race with Michael Eric Dyson, and I knew Dyson was going to be told by two white guys that Mr. Obama had no right to mention racism.

Here’s the clip. Maybe you have more nerve than I do.

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