Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Christmas just ended for me. It started early in the morning on Christmas Eve day with Joel's parents and went straight through in a flurry of meals, traditions and presents and just ended up here in my sister's apartment in Boston. I got hiking boots and ice skates and the Dyson Special British "Never Loses Suction" Pet Hair Vacuum (been DYING for that; I danced around and hugged it)and a home iPod player thingy and Mrs Enders' Homemade Fiddle Faddle (TM) and Chapter 13-and-a-half of Gwen's awesome book and long, satisyfing letters from Scotland and an exciting announcement of a bun in the oven for close friends who are totally going to be kickass parents and so many other amazing good things.

I need a nap.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Garbage Pail Kids

Wetzel, that was just to get your attention, (although a little googling found that Garbage Pail Kids fans are a live and well on the Internet. You can go here to build your own kid.)

I will be in Lancaster for 48 hours. I really want to see you. A handful of the old '97 HHS people are going out for breakfast on 12/26 at 10 a.m. at the Lyndon Diner (the one near E. Bumblefuck and the McDonald's with the playground by the mall, not the one by the CaddyShack). Unless you're an Internet stalker, in which case we're not meeting anywhere, please don't try to find us.

If you come, I will do a multi-paragraph post about Garbage Pail Kids AND build one on that website in your honor. Plus, the Lyndon Diner makes a mean scrapple. It wouldn't be Lancaster without scrapple.

Friday, December 16, 2005

This is why I don't do photo greeting cards.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Me: "Oh, you guys are so cute. Nobody move; I'm going to take a picture of you by the tree."
Fred: (Yawn)
Bella: Pictures? I love pictures! I'm wearing my pretty jingle collar! JingleJingleJingle!

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Me: I know. You're very cute and Christmas-y. (click)
Bella: Did you get my good side? Oh, wait, I think I blinked.
Fred: She's blocking me!

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Me: Yeah, you did blink, actually. We'll do it again. (click) And he's right. Scoot over a little, Bell, I can't see Fred.
Bella: Was that a good one? Can I see it?

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Me: You can see it when we're done. I want to take a vertical one now. (click)
Bella: I'm Jingle Bella! Jing-le Belle, Jing-le Belle, Jingle all the waaay!

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Me: Guys, can you just-
Fred: If you can't see me in the picture anyway, I'm going to go lay on the bathroom rug and lick my balls.
Bella: Someone's touchy.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Me: Fred, don't leave. I just want to get one good shot by the tree. Just one. Bella say you're sorry for being an attention whore
Bella: Sorry for being so much prettier and better at this than y-
Me: YES, *thank* you, that will do.
Fred: Meow.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Bella: See Fred? You just sit in front of the tree and look adorable. Like this! Ta da!
Fred: I swish my tail defiantly in your general direction.
Me: (click)

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Bella: Amateurs!

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Me: No, you are NOT calling the ASPCA. Just sit. right. there. Good. (click)

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Fred: You got human cooties on me! Unclean! Unclean!

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Me: Fine, fine. Lick the cooties off and let me take this picture. (click) We are NOT sticking our tongues out for this photo. Just smile normally. Bella, I need you looking at the camera so I can just take it whenever Fred is ready.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Bella: I seemply can not vork like zis!
Me: Why are you French all of a sudden?
Bella: Yeah, I don't know.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Fred: Screw you guys.
Me: That's it. I'm getting the Whiska Lickin's as bribes. That's what you really want, isn't it?

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Fred: No! Okay.... Yes.
Bella: I will just sit here by the tree looking photogenic, because I am above the need for sodium pressed into little fishy shapes.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Fred: mmmm.. munchy munchy fishy shapes... It takes like "happy!"
Bella: They do sort smell yummy.
Fred: Mmf? mm hmm. Yummy.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Bella: But.. but.. but the human says we can't get the treats until AFTER we do the thing she tells us to. Fred! You don't get the treats 'til AFTER. That's the rule.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Fred: Whatever, fool.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Bella: Well, maybe I'll have just one.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Me: Is everyone sufficiently bribed and ego-stroked now? Because I do have a life too, you know,
Bella: (snort)
Fred: Meh?
Me: SHUT UP! I just want one nice picture of you both by the tree. (click). Thank you. You can both go back to licking your dainty bits now.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ooh.... Aah....

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Here. Have a nice, random nature photo for your viewing pleasure.

(It was cold as f*ck next to this lake.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Fancypants Fountain with Scum in It

I feel like I have a handle on the holidays. Things are getting done, I guess. Gifts are getting bought, or at least, they're arriving from mail-order catalogues and websites. They are definitely getting wrapped, because hoo boy, do I love me some fancy paper from the Container Store.

At the same time, I'm marking new milestones, redefining old relationships, figuring out the new boundaries, and coming to terms with the fact that some things just take more time than we want them too. Some of it is hard work. Some of it is easy, really fun and feels completely right. Tonight I was feeling stuck in the middle between who I was and who I'm becoming and with the true meaning of the holidays and how I'm spending them differently *this* year for the first time *in* years and WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I was getting all caught up in this thought bog at the Fancypants Stepford Mall because a basketball game I was supposed to be covering was cancelled due to a snowstorm that hasn't materialized yet, which I don't really get, but hey! Why work when one can shop? Also, Joel and I spent more time this last weekend hunting for the elusive "right menorah" than we did picking out the "perfect Christmas tree" and I had a discount thingy for Crate and Barrel.

Then I got distracted by children who were fascinated by something in the fountain that's on the ground floor, three levels below the food court. There was some sort of foamy, fountain scum floating around. When you look at it up close, it really, really looked like a soaked kaiser roll. The thought of some disgruntled mall employee chucking round rolls into the ornate fountain by Tiffany's made me smile, but it was definitely scum. The kids were SO. EXCITED. about the scum. (I felt bad for their parents.)

I stood there for a moment, looking at the Fancypants Fountain with Scum in It, feeling stuck, wanting to find a perfect, pain-free place to carry the best of my past while running headlong into my future,and wondering if it's even possible or worth it, because damn, my future is looking pretty great and I'm tired of crying.... when PLOP! a quarter dropped into the fountain right in front of me, tossed by someone making a wish on level somewhere above me... It was a tiny thing, really, a small reminder that some things can fall into place because we really hope they will.

Best of all, I have a Christmas tree AND a menorah in my house now. I love that.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

How I know my sister is devoted to her husband.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
I've written before about my friend Brad being my hero and kicking ass. Aside from his general kick-assitude, (aw, look at him humoring me on Thanksgiving by not shooting me his best "I Hate Being Photographed" Death Glare. He's single, ladies; line forms to the left), I will now tell you a story about me, Brad, and my sister, and yes, it will retrospectively reveal her devotion to her new husband.

When I was in first grade, my mom took us to her school's annual FunFest in May, and miracle of miracles, both Amanda and I won goldfish in little bowls by bonking them on the head with ping pong balls. Go, us.

After whipping ourselves into a frenzy brought on by prolonged exposure to funnel cake and cheap plastic crap, my mom piled us and the Plotner kids into her little hatchback Datsun and drove us home. I still can't figure out how we all fit, except that we were small, Greg may have not been with us, and everyone in the entire Plotner clan has always been a skinny marvel of metabolism. Also, I was scrunched into the fun, seatbelt-free zone under the hatchback door known to children of the 80s as "the way back."

I cooed lovingly over my goldfish in its inflated plastic baggie almost the whole way home, until we stopped at a red light by the Fulton Bank, Hayden Zug's and Gargano's in East Bumblefuck. I leaned forward to say something, putting the plastic fish baggie over the barrier between the way back and the backseat. Amanda leaned back, popped my fish baggie and SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER as my goldfish flopped spasmodically around on the seat.

Brad calmly took Amanda's plastic fish baggie out of her hands, gently loosened the knot, and being my hero, plucked my dying fish off the seat and plopped him in with Amanda's fish. I'm giving you all this background because you need to know that dealing with dead and dying pets, especially slimy dead pets, has never been Amanda's, um, specialty.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
About the same time chronologically that my miracle goldfish was eaten by a new, larger, beautiful and apparently cannibalistic fish we added to the tank, in another state, my brother-in-law Tom got a frog for his birthday.

In an email forward I received earlier today, Tom writes: "It wasn't exactly a frog, but rather the equipment to take care of a tadpole and nurture it into a frog and a coupon for one tadpole from the Grow-A-Frog company.  The small aquarium, instruction booklet and other items were passed around the living room until someone (I don't know who) noted that while Grow-A-Frogs had a life expectancy of five years, they had been known to live fifteen years."

Eight-year-old Tom named his tadpole Clyde after one of the Pac-Man ghosts.
Tom's email continued: "'You mean Tom could have this thing when he's in college?' remarked Dad. Much mirth followed with Mom and Dad making creaky old person voices pretending to be on the phone with an older me.  'Tom, it's your mother; come home from college and feed your frog.'"

Clyde, indeed, lived through college AND law school. He's featured in their wedding video AND their wedding album. Today, Clyde went to the Big Freshwater Habitat in the Sky, I'm afraid. Tom is taking this pretty hard. He writes, "One out of four days I will have on this Earth began with feeding Clyde...He lived a long time, was probably more loved than any frog in history."

While I know a great deal about the bond between people and their pets, I have to confess I'm a little bit more touched by the phone conversation I had with my sister tonight. She was on her cell phone, clacking through Boston's blustery downtown business district to her firm's annual Christmas party. You have to have met her to picture her as I do, probably wrapped in her Burberry scarf, Blackberry most likely thrumming in her fashionable pocket as she told me how her morning began: trying not to scream as she skimmed her very sad husband's dead pet frog out of its little plastic home with a slotted spoon.

She went on to describe the way she positioned him just so and then re-positioned him as respectfully as possible- and here's where we come full circle, readers- in, you guessed it, a plastic baggie. She also described her success ordering a reasonably priced memorial stone made from river rocks over the Internet AND how she called the company right back immediately to have a duplicate made so that Clyde can be buried in the river near Tom's childhood home AND have a memorial in their apartment.

Did I mention the part about the slotted spoon? THAT is devotion, people.

"It's not easy bein' green. 
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things. 
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water- or stars in the sky. "
-Kermit the Frog

Rest in Peace, Clyde. I always liked you.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Heartbreak: Month 10

I fall asleep every Thursday and Saturday night with my head resting on the shoulder of my new lover. I still get goosebumps every time he touches the back of my neck or reaches for my hand. My body just responds to his presence. I don't know how long that particular phenomena will last, but I love it. Thanksgiving- for all my bloggy crabbiness- was great. Joel charmed my Nanny, remembered all the names of the sisterfriends (and most of their husbands) and insisted on driving in my hometown so he could learn his way around. His friends have folded me into their routines for things like hanging out and holiday gift-giving. We just... fit. All in all, Plan B is going swimmingly.

And yet, I'm writing a heartbreak entry for the first time in months, since Month 6 when I announced I was back in the saddle. One of the major hurdles of this heartbreak, for me anyway, was the sudden way things ended. Maybe it's the time of year, knowing that Stephen was thinking about breaking up with me around now. As the holiday decorations go up all around me, I catch myself walking the same streets thinking, "Was this when the ground started shifting? Were we at this ice rink when he started slipping away? Was it the fight we had the night I covered this annual holiday gala that made him stop loving me?"

The answer I came up with months ago was that it doesn't matter, because it's over. I'm a stronger person for it, in a healthier non-long distance relationship, and so is he.

There is one remaining hurdle in my heartbreak. There's a child turning five on the other side of the world today. I remember when his parents announced that the "goalie was out of the net," as it were, and we wished for him with all our hearts.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
I remember the night he was born, listening eagerly to one side of the cell phone call in a driveway in Syracuse, trying not to slip on the ice.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
I remember the first time I really got to hold him and play with him. It was Father's Day. I was taking picture after picture, hoping his father's chemo would be successful, hoping that the photographs would just be a few pages in an album and not what he would use to try to remember his father as he grew up.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
I remember him coming out of the bath, warm and damp and sweet.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
I remember him asking for milk in a language I don't speak, stroking the inside of my arm as he snuggled up to me for a story.
I remember when he first began loving fire engines and Spiderman, telling us, "I like school."

I remember recording him singing "Jingle Bills" in the clear, slightly off-key, confident notes that only children are unselfconscious enough to sing in public. He stalls at one point, and I join in to prompt him, though I edited that part out in the CDs I burned as Christmas presents for his family last year. I doubt I will ever listen be able to listen to that duet again.

On this child's birthday, I'm wishing that his life is wonderful. I'm wishing that he gets to have many more adventures as he lives in countries all over the world. I'm wondering if his dad will ever again be in the type of post where ninjas come in the middle of the night if you open the wrong door and hoping he has fun with that. I'm hoping that he gets to grow up with two whole, healthy parents until he's very, very old. I'm hoping he conquers whatever challenges that come his way. I'm hoping he gets hours and hours to spend with his uncle who adores him, who can do endless silly voices and keep a straight face for hours before giving him a "serious word." I'm hoping all of that with the same silent fervor one feels as they lean over to blow out the candles on their birthday cake.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
And yet, for all my memories, I know he was probably too young to remember me. He will never know how much I loved him, though maybe when he's an adult he'll realize make a connection to the dozens, maybe even hundreds, of photos of his earliest years, and realized that when someone takes *that many* pictures of you, they really cherished you.
This is the final hurdle of my heartbreak. I knew it would be.