A Man I Had To Break Up

Okay okay okay: tomorrow afternoon, my youngest first cousin gets married. That sounds pretty simple, right? It’s anything but: a few years ago, my cousin Tony joined the Army or the National Guard or something, went off to mechanic school and nothing happened for a long time. Finally, he was deployed to Iraq just as his father – my Uncle Frank – was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Uncle Frank is married to Auntie InExcelsisDeo, my father’s sister, and this diagnosis happened the fall after Dad died, so an entire Italian family ran screaming for about six months. Vern Yip redecorated Auntie’s house as a Christmas special and my cousin Sandy put together her wedding in a flash so her father could walk her down the aisle. The Army or the National Guard or something sent Tony home, which was a total shock to the woman he married in judge’s office on Tony’s way out of town, and they decided to get married in front of his whole Italian family, her biker gang and Uncle Frank, who’s building furniture and looks pretty damn good for a guy who was supposed to be dead two years ago, and two weeks ago now, Tony’s legal wife and shiny new real estate license holder Poppy announced on Facebook that she’s pregnant. Goddamn if I know where to shop for an event of this magnitude.

Tony and Poppy are getting married in a Friday afternoon ceremony somewhere near the Jersey Shore, but inland. It’s close enough that you can smell the ocean, but sometimes you can smell that from my house and we are talking about the Atlantic. Also: I’m not sure if it’s indoors or out, so who knows what we’ll smell. This wedding is also in the middle of August, when no one who’s anyone without a back-to-school shopping list would be caught dead in a a retail clothing establishment without a pea shooter and a garbled manifesto. Today, my sister Daria took pictures of half her plastic-wrapped wardrobe. Brace yourself: nothing says Poor Impulse Control like crazy people at a cocktail hour.

Everything I Have In My Hand Floats

A week ago, the massage therapist watched me limp toward him. He pointed at my feet and said something remarkable.

Dude: Stop that.
Tata: Um…um…
Dude: How are you feeling?
Tata: My whole self is pretty good, but as far as you’re concerned I bet I feel less like a hip and more like two wire hangers and a canned ham.

About a week ago, my brain started to feel like a radio stuck between stations and broadcasting from Eastern Europe, but that’s okay. I’ve always wanted to see Prague. My confusion was compounded by Siobhan’s departure for a sparingly glamorous vacation just as it became apparent the Vespa dealers in New Jersey have all lost their minds. The guy in Neptune, for instance, actually said the words, “Yeah, but the color doesn’t matter,” as Fox News blared from the showroom flat screen behind his head. The dealer in Montgomery was pleasant, but allowed as how orange was a safe color for me, though of course it’s safe from me. Finally, the dealer in Metuchen put a quote in writing, then pretended he hadn’t, no backsies. I laughed all the way home, applying my reddest lipstick.

I’m going to make that man cry. Siobhan’s vowed to give up camping for good. So, of course, I feel better.

And You Were Right There

For the past two weeks, we’ve been combing Craigslist for a tenant and hoped we’d finally found one. She seemed charmingly befuddled, geographically distant and linguistically tangled. We emailed back and forth, made detailed arrangements to receive her shipped possessions while she visits family in Finland and waited for some time to pass. She sent a picture of herself in which is appears young and supercute, which made me nervous because she can’t know I’m me and don’t care, but jealous types wouldn’t let a girl like that sleep one room from her huuuuuzbind. She also said a lot of things that didn’t make sense and each letter seemed to require a different Rosetta Stone. Last night, a giant check arrived, ostensibly to cover security, rent and shipping costs, but instead of things falling into place they flew everywhere and landed buttered-side down. A list of demands arrived, including that we cable money to a person in California, though no shipping company was named. My Spidey Sense, which had been tingling, went all 220 volt zot! zot! zot!

Cherries fit for the lunchbox King.

Last night, I made the mistake of trying to jar what was probably the final cherries of the season. Minstrel Boy gave me an off-the-cuff recipe for simple cherries spread. I pitted, halved and dropped them into a saucepan with sugar and the zest and juice of two lemons. Sort of. That’s sort of what he said. Anyway, this tenant stuff was suddenly very messy and the pan boiled over. In the jars, these cherries are a deep, rich, luscious merlot color, though they didn’t jell, which MB attributes to some sort of voodoo curse. Who cares, right? My kitchen smelled sweet and lemony and the cherries would taste great on a garbage can lid.

This morning, the supposed proprietor of the shipping company emailed me. His grasp of English grammar seemed tenuous, his demand for cabled money was suspicious, his email address could be made up in minutes, his company had no fixed address and his phone number went to a call center for the hearing impaired in Georgia. Tonight, I emailed the pleasantly befuddled young woman and said without a thorough explanation for all this, I’m mailing back the check tomorrow. Pete and I can’t have someone we can’t trust in our house and I can’t have someone near me playing weird games with money. It puts a permanent wave in my EEG. Tomorrow, we’ll see what she says, but I have a feeling by tomorrow night, I might be able to think again.

Like the Sun’s Coming Out

Tata: Sean, I’m listening to Atlrok and one of the songs is driving me nuts.

Sean: Which one?

Tata: I don’t know. It doesn’t have any words.

Sean: What’s it sound like?

Tata: I don’t know. I’m working at my desk and suddenly I’m dancing and bagpipers are taking flight.

Sean: What?

Tata: I swear they’re flying around in formation. Duck!

Turns out I was eerily close.

Also in black and white: monsoons have flooded remote provinces of Pakistan, killing over 1000 people and displacing millions. You can help.

Wondering Wondering If You Have Made It

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.


Sometimes the blues get ahold of you.



Zucchini cheddar bread made with whole wheat flour have fabulous flavor and a nice crumb. While the loaves were cooling, Pete walked in with dirty hands and said, “Guess what this is.” His hands were not full, so I couldn’t guess. He’d emptied one of the potato towers and found only a small handful of potatoes. Coincidentally, my hair looks just like Froderick’s.