Monday, July 30, 2007

the kind of news I like

SFist reports that a limo got beached on Potrero Hill. I hate those giant gas-guzzlers, so often a menace when they venture into the neighborhoods like mine, with narrow, curving streets.

advice! answers!

Occasionally here at Drunken Housewife Industries we have a moment of caring, where we pause in our spate of anecdotes and rants to reach a hand out to the readers and answer their questions. This time we invited readers to submit problems as well as the more traditional questions, although only one reader was brave enough to try that. The Sober Husband's answers are in bold; the Drunken Housewife's in italics:

That classic beauty, Missy, current reigning holder of the Mrs. Drunken Housewife title, asked, "What's the DH's favorite recipe that Sober Husband likes--but also does not involve the more pricey of ingredients and the more time consuming of preparation?"

Sober Husband: The most precious ingredient in my favorite foods is my wife's love. It is not for sale.

Also, the sober husband likes to try new things. The DH is a culinary adventurer, and the sober husband tags along. Given a menu of choices, he tries the thing he has not had before.

I think the answer to this question is that potatoes-ricotta-pasta dish, the "glutton" one. It's ingredients are common, and we keep coming back to it.

Drunken Housewife: In Italian cooking, pasta cooked with potatoes is referred to "pasta in the style of a glutton." To Americans, the idea of pasta with potatoes seems grotesque, but the reality is magnificent. I have a couple of different recipes for this, but the basic idea is potatoes in small pieces, cooked with olive oil and garlic, along with pasta. It's a real crowd-pleaser.

Silliyak, the dashing holder of the Mr. Drunken Househusband title and former firefighter, inquired, "Can hallucinations have IQ's?"

Sober Husband: The only meaning I see behind the term "IQ" is as a test score. So if your hallucination can take a test, it can have an IQ. You just have to measure it.

Drunken Housewife: It depends upon how good your hallucinations are. One of the best hallucinations I ever had was when I was 22, and in my first experiment with hallucinogens, I hallucinated that I was a plate of Chinese food. That was a high quality hallucination, but I don't think an IQ test would have reflected that.

Our beloved and intrepid Hughman said, "all i wanna know is more about the parrot. does it talk? what's its name? how do the cats respond? the kids? etc, etc."

Sober Husband: Oh, the parrot talks all right. It's getting it to shut up that's the trick.

We call it "Zoe". We don't know whether it's a boy or a girl. Science will tell us for $75, which isn't worth it. The girls want to make a nest and see if it will lay an egg.

She bites everyone and everything, except for me, whom she loves dearly. (And she's got a mighty beak. She can break a pencil in half with one chomp.)

Every morning when she hears me coming down the stairs, she starts squawking. I put her on my shoulder and feed her toast while I read the paper. Then I put her away and clean up the mess of crumbs she leaves behind.

She appears content to live with us and will never escape. We take her outside all the time, even when her flight feathers are long enough to fly. She always climbs onto my hand the moment I allow it.

In contrast, the DH can not pick her up at all because she fights so hard. When it is absolutely necessary to move the bird without me, the DH breaks out a tough leather glove that goes up to her elbow called "the hand of authority".

Drunken Housewife: the parrot is definitely in the doghouse today, as she literally bit the hand that feeds her. She lunged and bit me as I was in the very act of filling her dish this morning. More positively, I was happy this year when she finally learned to say my name (for years, she'd call out, "Anton! Anton!", followed years later by adding on "Iris! Iris!" and now, at last, she calls for me, too. Lola claims the parrot also knows her name, but I have not confirmed that.

Hughman later inquired, "Also, do the girls read junie b.?"

Sober Husband: I don't know what "junie b." means. An author?

Drunken Housewife: As a former library volunteer, I've spent plenty of time reshelving the many volumes chronicling the adventures of Junie B., First Grader. Iris Uber Alles read one or two of this series, and her reaction seemed to be, "Eh." It was okay but failed to grip.

A commenter who wishes to remain anonymous shared through email:
So I have this business, and a business partner. This is his sixth business and my first. He has a lot more experience than I, and is responsible for nearly all of the business that has been brought in. I've been working with this guy since college (2003) and it has been very very good for my career. People hire us because they are so impressed with him, and justifiably so. He's a spendthrift though, and just asked to borrow $1k from our business because some money juggling he did with his own accounts has fallen short. He called to ask my permission, which I gave. I'm not sure how much choice I had to say no, but I think I had some. It's not a matter of overhead, as the business can well afford it. I'm not worried about him paying it back - he will. And most of the money is "his" anyway. I am more worried that this is a shady practice, and that we must not do it. I am also worried about his spendthrift nature getting away from him. He ruined one of his earlier businesses by assuming too much risk. I think he chose me as a partner because in many ways, including this one, I am the opposite of him. We're both gay, so it's not a romantic relationship, if that matters. Also, I need some kind of support system outside my partner to ask these sorts of questions of, and am not sure how to go about finding one. What do you think?

Drunken Housewife: I have two basic thoughts, which are (1)that $1,000 isn't worth harming a valuable relationship over, but (2) you need to do this properly, just in case there are ever any audits or legal issues which come up and also to set a good precedent for the future. There are a number of ways to do that. If your business is in the form of a partnership, your partner could take a draw in the amount of $1,000 and just forego future draws to make up for it. (Both partners need not take a draw at the same time). If you want to do it in the form of a loan, the partner should sign a note and pay interest. There have been problems with the IRS cracking down on sweetheart loans which should be treated as income, so there should be either a realistic interest rate OR this should be treated as income to your partner. I think that what you need is a friendly accountant or attorney for these times. Email me for the name and number of my guy, who is both an accountant and an attorney, if you don't have such a person already. Incidentally you could also sign up for a business mentor with the Chamber of Commerce to have someone to ask for guidance from time to time.

Sober Husband: I have three different perspectives on business ethics always in my head. Each has its own voice that whispers in my ear when I'm figuring out how to do business with someone.

The first voice is the oldest, from when I was a simple academic. That voice tells me that what matters is what you produce, that ones goal in work should be to benefit people and posterity. This voice is not at all informed about how to get along with other people. It only knows parables about famous individual contributors, the simplistic scientific bibliographies that clutter textbooks. It took me a long time even to consider the problem of how to get along with other people at work.

The second voice comes from my actual work experience. This has taught me the obvious lessons that it is critical to choose carefully the people you work with up front, and that ethics would not be an interesting subject if the ethical course did not sometimes conflict with ones own self interests.

The third voice is that of Tony Soprano. The guy's a gambler, he takes out $1000 for a dumb reason, but you need him so you keep your mouth shut. Everybody's got to survive. Not everybody can be proud of what they do to feed their children.

My only advice is to recommend Jack Welch's book "Winning". You can't tell whether he's saying what he really thinks or what he wants you to hear, but it doesn't matter. I think you can find whatever meaning you need in it. It's like an oracle.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

in our car

"You drive so slow! Are you trying to drive me crazy? Is there a reason you can't drive at the speed limit?" said the Drunken Housewife to the Sober Husband.

A debate followed regarding whether it is safer to drive ten miles below the speed limit, as that theoretically gives you a greater following distance and stopping time behind all the traffic traveling at the speed limit, or whether it is safer to travel at the prevailing speed of traffic in order to avoid provoking one's spouse to madness and possibly driving other drivers into potentially lethal road rage.

"You should drive like me, graceful and effortless! I drive like a swan!" said the Drunken Housewife.

"I think I drive like a swan!" said the Sober Husband defensively.

"Kids, who drives more like a swan? Mommy or Daddy?"

Seven year-old Iris Uber Alles: "Mom!", followed by a several block-long critique of the Sober Husband's driving.

Four year-old Lola: complete silence (probably the wisest course of action).

surfing, everybody goes surfing

The Drunken Housewife is joining a chain of links, giving us all a chance to see some new sites we might not find on our own. Some of these sites are about monetizing a site, like Cash For Comments and JohnCow. Others include the work and advice of a graphic designer, David Airey at Graphic Design , unusual observations about Japanese culture at Jamaipanese, and the musings of a Starbucks barista at the Barista Brat. Check out some of these sites, and if you wish, join in:

** Start Copy Here **

We all know how important getting link backs is and with this chain, you can get the ball rolling! You don’t have to be an established blogger to take part in this chain.

Here are the rules:
1. Copy this post from the point where it says “Start Copy Here” to the point where it says “End Copy Here”

2. Add yourself and 5 of your favorite bloggers to the end of the list.
3. Post this on your blog

Enkay Blog |Ms. Danielle |Cash For Comments | Betshopboy | JohnCow | Mr. Gary Lee | Jon Lee | Dosh Dosh | Some Make Money | The King Kong Blog | RomanDock | Michael Kwan | Ed Lau | Jane May | Sam Breadstone | Windows Tips, Tricks and Hacks |ProBlogger | The Beef Jerky Blog | The Prize Blog | Online Coupon Codes | Jamaipanese | Rugjeff | ShadowScope | The News Press Net | JohnWaraas | Online Opportunity | Sara | Gaje Master | Graphic Design |romandock dot com |RevieWOW | the Drunken Housewife|Dlisted|Defamer|the Comics Curmudgeon|Hughman|the Barista Brat|Rowan Forest Homeschool

**End Copy Here**

Friday, July 27, 2007

it's time to Answer the Readers' Questions again (so ask already)

One of the occasional features of this blog is Ask the Sober Husband, where readers submit their questions for the Sober Husband (usually either questions about scientific issues or cats) and I compel the poor man to write up some answers. This time, we'll try a new variation. Tell us about your problem/issue/quandary
/burning curiosity for knowledge, and you'll get a (possibly helpful) response from both the Drunken Housewife and the Sober Husband.

Leave your question in the comments or, if you wish to be more clandestine, email it to

Thursday, July 26, 2007

his crazy is showing

Lola's orange tabby, Al, has always been dimwitted, but in an easy-going, jovial way. It was his laid-back, loving nature which won this former foster kitten a place in our home. One day, Lola (then three) leaned over the banister and dropped Al from the top story to the bottom story, and Al's reaction seemed to be, "So that's what we're doing today. We're dropping me down the stairs." (Al was unhurt, Lola was disciplined, and no animal was ever dropped down the stairs again). He was also more than game for being carried around like a baby and being driven about the house in a doll stroller, plus he loved to curl up on my chest and purr.

Poor Al has always been a bit of a freakshow. He's emaciated, a walking orange skeleton. As a foster kitten, it took him a whole summer to reach the magic 2 pounds adoptable stage(this is a big part of how he won his place in our home. After we'd had him for so long, it seemed wrong to turn him in). He doesn't have feline HIV or feline leukemia; he has been tested repeatedly. The only thing vets can figure out is that "he is allergic to his own teeth." Aside from his breathtaking skinniness (as a grown cat, he weighs only four pounds at most; his best friend, Frowst, weighs ten), his stupidity is legendary. After over a year, he learned how to use the cat door... to go out. He now can put himself in the backyard, but he can't come back in. Now surely he must notice that his beloved friend, Frowsty, goes in and out all day long, as does Rachel, our other grown-up cat. But when Al gets hungry, he stands by the door and cries.

Weird, skinny, and stupid (but such a cheerful orange color!), Al was beloved by all but the Sober Husband due to his friendly personality. He always loved our foster kittens in prior seasons, grooming them, napping with them, and generally regressing to kitten level with them (he'd go so far as to beg to be given a bottle). But this season, he hates all the kittens, growling constantly. He has moved into the backyard, where he permanently resides. When I'm in the kitchen, sometimes he catches my eye and cries. I've tried bringing him in and closing him up in the master bedroom, with no kittens allowed, but as soon as the door is opened, he tears off back to the yard.

My theory is that he sustained some brain damage. He was his normal, idiotic but friendly self in January when we had our last litter from the last kitten season. Then Al became seriously ill, running a very high fever and living in the closet. His life was saved with IV fluids, antibiotics, steroids, and various other interventions, but I think he "sustained a neurological event", as the saying goes.

That's incidentally the reconstructed version of how Lola came to have a severe speech disorder, by the way (and probably in my simplistic way I've come to believe that's an explanation for everything). Baby Lola was an extraordinarily articulate infant, but she had an extreme fever one night. Anton took her to the hospital in the middle of the night when we couldn't get her fever down (it was something insane, like 113 or so), and she was held for observation. Nothing else of any medical importance ever happened, so we believe that fever sparked a neurological event causing Lola to stop talking and later haltingly speak unintelligibly (but don't worry, my darlings, a super-expensive course of intensive private speech therapy fixed our intrepid Lola, and now the problem isn't getting her to speak, it's getting her to shut up).

Al has become an extraordinarily unsatisfactory pet now, skulking about in the yard. He used to sleep snuggled up with me and follow me and Lola about. Lola likes to visit him in the yard now, and he comes in briefly for breakfast each day, but he's basically worthless as a pet. Speech therapy fixed Lola, but what kind of therapy is available for an extremely dimwitted cat?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


My mother-in-law was never really thrilled with the idea or reality of me, and we had some issues during the early years. As time went by, things gradually came to a sort of peaceful holding pattern, but those early years were certainly more colorful.

After baby Iris Uber Alles was born, the mother-in-law came to visit. On the last night of her visit, I bestirred myself to create a gourmet feast. The Sober Husband was praising my cooking to the sky, and the mother-in-law said, "Oh, it didn't seem that hard to cook. The only hard thing was grating the beets, and we did that." There was a silent pause.

Later in the conversation, the mother-in-law said to me, "I took LSD once and regressed to being a baby. Because of that, I know how newborns think, and I can tell you that the baby hates it when you play with her. You think she's enjoying it, but she can't wait for you to put her down."

I was shocked into silence by this unusual slam on my mothering abilities and its underlying rationale. With l'esprit de l'escalier, I thought later that I should have said, "Well, at least I'm able to distinguish between drug-fueled hallucinations and reality." (Indeed I myself actually took LSD once in my early twenties and God was revealed to me in the person of a green washcloth, but I didn't go on to found the First Church of God The Washcloth of Golden Gate Avenue. I did, however, bring the ex-husband in to meet God, and I was shocked when he mistakenly thought the blue washcloth was the divine one. "Oh, is that one the Antichrist?" he inquired). At the time, I just ate my beet risotto silently and seethed.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

oh, the IQ of it all

For no apparent reason seven year-old Iris Uber Alles became obsessed with learning her IQ. She kept bringing it up: "Hey, Mom, the next time you talk to someone at my school, can you ask them what my IQ is? What? Do you mean to tell me that no one has ever tested my IQ? ARE YOU SURE NO ONE EVER TESTED MY IQ?"

Now I happen to have a chip on my shoulder about IQ tests. I was never formally tested, but when I took online IQ tests a couple of times, I did not do as well as I expected. I don't remember the score I got the first time I took one, but I do remember being upset for days, idiotically enough, and being especially traumatized when I learned my score was far below the level at which one is expected to perform in order to graduate from law school. Ironically enough in general I test fabulously, and indeed the high point of my life, cognitively speaking, was probably the day I took the LSAT, on which I got a perfect score. (This became legend among my college friends, who all looked at the physical piece of paper and shook their heads. A friend-of-a-friend who was very competitive with me actually cancelled her plans to take the LSAT and changed her entire life plan because she didn't want to get a lower LSAT score than me). But there is something about the traditional IQ test which doesn't mesh well with my way of thinking. I like to say that the IQ test is based upon particular, antiquated forms of reasoning, rather than the powerful logic and incisive reasoning measured by the LSAT, but that is only the inane ramblings of a touchy sore loser.

The Sober Husband decided to scratch Iris's itch to determine her IQ. He found her an IQ test online, and she settled down to it. Watching her, I couldn't resist making another stab at it myself, and of course the husband followed suit. I ended up with a respectable score, one which is typical of a lawyer or doctor (evidently over my years as a Drunken Housewife since I last tested my IQ, my IQ improved). The Sober Husband's was 7 points higher, putting him appropriately enough in the research scientist/professor level, which made me quite sulky until I comforted myself by the rationalization that surely my score would have been higher if I were not suffering from severe sleep deprivation (2 nights terrible insomnia, followed by third night of Harry Potter mania involving buying book after midnight, returning home around 1, and reading until about 4:30).

And Iris? The website refused to grade her test when I put her age as 7, as there is a policy against children under 13 using the site. When I input her age as 13, Iris's score was 90, down in the suited-for-manual-labor category. I explained to Iris that if her test had been scored for a 7 year-old, undoubtedly her IQ would be very high and that for a 7 year-old to test at the level of a dumb 13 year-old was actually quite good.

She sucked her disappointment up stoically enough, which was probably a mistake on her part. We gave her a hard time today over it. When she asked for praise for a tree-climbing trick, I said, "Wow, that's pretty amazing for a dumb girl." Her father chimed in: "It's remarkable what you can do for a person with only an IQ of 90." I advised her that "dumb people have to work harder to learn how to do things, so you should get in the habit of working very hard." Agreeing with this, the Sober Husband suggested that Iris develop a winning personality to compensate for her lack of cognitive ability. I countered with the fear that she might become a bimbo and use her good looks to make up for a lack of brainpower. Iris tried to scowl, but couldn't keep a straight face.

Friday, July 20, 2007

a mother's work is never done

Here's an email I sent this morning to the Club Penguin support team:
My daughter worked hard to get enough coins to upgrade Duckduckpeng's igloo to the ice castle two days ago. She was so happy with that upgrade and just started decorating the castle. The next day when she logged in, she had her old igloo, NOT the castle. The ice castle isn't offered in the current igloo upgrade catalogue. Is there some way her ice castle can be restored for her? She put a lot of time in to get that upgrade.

thanks for any help, Carole
p.s. As an adult with an advanced degree, I am embarrassed to be sending this email.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I know that you're all now thinking of the wretched Police song. (Virtually alone in my generation, I never warmed up to the Police. I always thought they were severely overrated. Who can respect someone who sings "De do do do de da da da/Is all I want to say to you" with a straight face? And yes, I do realize that song is about the meaninglessness of words, and I don't care. And don't get me started about Sting's solo career. I hated his pretentiousness and whininess, oh look, it's the "King of Pain." Yes, he's rich, famous, handsome and married to a model, but he's still "the King of Pain." Feh is all I want to say to you). So with that mental soundtrack, let us all take a moment to ponder the phenomenon of synchronicity. Why? Because Silliyak, the current reigning holder of the august Mr. Drunken Househusband title, has requested a post on that theme as his prize from the First, Possibly Annual, Readers' Photo Contest.

I've never been a big believer in the cosmic mysticism of synchronicity the way so many people are. I think in general we notice things because they are, consciously or subconsciously, on our minds, and then our minds imbue the things we notice with consequence and meaning.

Back in my early twenties, I had a synchronicity story I liked to tell. Before any of us met, my first husband, one of my favorite friends from college, and I all went to hear the same Residents show. "We were all in the same room together, but we didn't know each other yet," I'd say earnestly. Of course, at least three ex-boyfriends of mine were in that same room, as well as virtually every black-clad hipster in Boston, so it doesn't seem such an amazing coincidence now as it did then. The importance of it has also faded, since my old friend and ex-husband are no longer in my life (although I did look up the friend online and discovered that he is a published horror author, good for him, and we exchanged friendly emails).

The most fascinating coincidence I've run across is that Philip Zimbardo, the creator of the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment and author of the important and spellbinding book, "The Lucifer Effect", sat next to Stanley Milgram in high school. Milgram is the man who did the chilling experiments where regular people administered shocks on command to an unseen subject. There must have been some interesting dynamics in that classroom, with those future experts on the human capacity for evil.

I can think of no better example of synchronicity in my current life than some small things which happened yesterday. I got out of bed to go talk on the phone to the current owner/poacher of my ex-cat, Bob. Later in the day, I read the following passage in the amazing book "The Blood Spilt" by Asa Larsson:
It was probably some old dear who'd felt sorry for him and taken him in. Some pensioner who had nothing else to do but cook him salmon and give him the cream off the top of the milk.

Sven-Erik was suddenly filled with an unreasoning anger against this unknown individual who took in and adopted a cat that didn't belong to the person in question. Didn't this person realize that there was somebody worrying and wondering where the cat had gone? You could tell Manne wasn't homeless, with his shiny coat and affectionate ways.
Of course, this passage made me think about my own wandering ex-cat, Bob Marley, and the fact that the cat-poacher in my case had called me just that morning. My mind next wandered to the topic of synchronicity and whether this coincidence was good enough to build a post around to fulfill my obligation to Silliyak. Then a few hours later, Silliyak (humorously) gave me a little jab that I'd "jilted" him of his prize... when just that day I'd been thinking of writing it and wondering if I'd finally acquired a good enough example. Cosmic meaning? Your call.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I never thought I would say this.

Last weekend I turned in my perfectly good kittens, Ishmael and Queequeg, to go up for adoption, and I picked up three new, little ones to foster. These kittens are the opposite of Ishmael, who was a very ugly kitten (it's no accident that Iris Uber Alles' nickname for him was "Mangy") with a winning personality. They are pefect looking little balls of fluff, a walking Hallmark card, but they have the worst personalities ever. They are super needy and clingy, constantly meowing and crying, and they are too lazy to walk over to the litterbox. I've put out three new, supplemental litterboxes about the house to make it easy for them, but nooo. They will take a crap right next to the litterbox.

Also, they are picky eaters, and their nonstop crying as they refuse the latest food offering can drive you insane.

Yesterday I decided it was time for some intensive litterbox training, which means confinement to a small space in order to learn not to soil one's one nest. I set up my old playpen (once used for Iris Uber Alles) and put them in that overnight. This morning, I let them out for two hours, and during that time, they managed to take at least four craps outside of litterboxes. One of those "accidents" was again right next to the litterbox. As I write this, one of them is constantly screaming its guts out for no good reason. "I hate that kitten," I confided to Iris. Before I'd met this perfect-looking little ball of fluff, I'd have thought myself incapable of uttering those words.

when you hook up with a cheater

The phone rang at 8:00 sharp. The Sober Husband answered it. "Oh, we haven't seen Bob in ages. Oh. Uh-huh. No, we haven't seen him in days." It was our neighbor, the one who poached my cheating cat off me.

I got out of bed and went downstairs. "Here, let me talk to him." The Sober Husband was more than happy to hand the phone over to me. It turns out that my ex-cat, Bob has been spending a lot of time away from his new home, but he usually stops by around 4 AM for an early breakfast. (I suspect that the obese Bob spends a lot of time in the middle of the night entering every house in the neighborhood which has a cat door and eating whatever he finds. When I've had insomnia, I've seen him sneaking meals here). His new owner was so worried that he had decided to pull an all-nighter to wait up for Bob, watching Tivoed CSI episodes to stay up.

While we were on the phone, the cat-poacher consulted with me about an injury to Bob's tattered ear. "He got in a fight with that white cat again." It felt as though he were angling for me to volunteer to take Bob to the vet, but I resisted. I've paid thousands to patch up that animal from his fights over the years and am happy to hand off that part of Bob's ownership. If he's purring in someone else's lap, that person can take him to the vet to have his ear examined.

The cat reportedly made his entrance during this phone call. "He stays up all night and calls us at eight, and then the cat walks in," said the Sober Husband with disgust.

To me it felt tacky and unseemly that Bob's new owner would call ME to discuss his feelings and concerns about Bob going missing. Wouldn't that remind him of, say, how Iris and I felt when he was snuggling down with Bob in those early cheating days? We shook our heads and settled down to coffee, newspapers, and providing bowls of cereal for the children.

Monday, July 16, 2007

looking for interesting blogs to read?

I love The Rising Blogger. Judd Corizan spends a lot of time reading blogs, and he ferrets out the most amusing, thought-provoking, and well-written stuff from about the net.

total attention whoring

My site was nominated for Hottest Mommy Blogger!

Vote. If you love me, you can nominate and vote for me in a multitude of categories. If you hate me, you can wreak a hideous revenge by nominating me for Worst Blog of All time. Eh, you know you're online anyhow, and it doesn't take long to register. No, I don't expect to win, but just to feel some love. shamelessly and pathetically yours, the Drunken Housewife

appetite for life

A number of people have asked me, "Why did you stop being so depressed?" This query somehow always catches me off-guard. I don't understand why someone would ask that: isn't there a danger that if I stopped to think seriously about the fact that nothing big changed in my life, I might get depressed again? And isn't that the natural progression of depression, it gets better at some unforeseen time if one sticks it out?

There are a couple of things I can think have helped. One is that with school out and the accursed softball season over, I have a relaxed schedule with the girls, with no more wretched scheduling conflicts. Next, I'm not bottlefeeding any kittens at the moment. The time and work needed to foster underaged, bottlefeeding kittens is considerable. Right now, we have five kittens, but they all eat independently, and the worst issue is that they aren't conscientious litter box users. (In fact, there's a sharp shock in store for them: I'm going to keep them in a small pen at night until they improve their habits).

But anyhow, once again I have an appetite for life. One symptom of this is that I'm cooking again, cooking passionately and experimenting with new things. Last night we had friends over, and I made tapas: banderillas; beets in romesco sauce; potatoes duquesa; oyster mushrooms and pine nuts in a balsamic reduction; caramelized grapes & goat cheese; eggs in a parsley garlic sauce and for dessert, a completely-not-Spanish maple pineapple upside down cake with whipped cream.

Here's the partially finished feast:
Iris Uber Alles asked me, "How can you make so many things in one day?" "Because I'm such a good cook," I bragged vaingloriously. Today I woke up with a headache, undoubtedly from drinking too much Spanish cava, but a zest for life and a craving for more caramelized grapes and goat cheese. It's good to be me right now.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

chips off the old block

The other day Lola and Iris were playing bar, and they got into a spat over who would be the bartender. Oh my little darlings, how they make my heart glow. Yesterday I invaded Iris's privacy while she was surfing Youtube (a lame attempt at parental surveillance), and I caught her playing an Amy Winehouse video. Aaaaww, I do love her.

Right now they're learning how to play blackjack. Seven year-old Iris says, "One of my ambitions is to be a blackjack dealer."

I never dealt blackjack professionally, but I did enjoy playing it on my few forays to Nevada. Once I was thrown out of a casino for breastfeeding infant Iris (funnily enough the security had no problem with a tiny infant being in their casino until I put her on the breast discreetly. Her father walked all about holding her with no problem. Then suddenly the laws against underaged children in casinos had to be immediately enforced once that evil, evil breast went into use. Pissed off, I pulled a stool up into the foyer right in front of the glass doors to the casino and breastfed there where every single person would have to walk by us on their way in. Lactivism or pigheadedness? Your call).

your tax dollars at work

We hear a lot about Iraq in our daily newspapers (we read the San Francisco Chronicle and the Wall St. Journal) and on the radio and online, but we rarely hear about the war in Afghanistan (apart from the continuing scandal over the cover-up of celebrity soldier Pat Tillman's death. RIP, Pat Tillman). The latest New Yorker partially remedies that with an article by the intrepid Jon Lee Anderson.

It turns out that our main focus in Afghanistan right now is stamping out the opium poppy harvest. Our allies do not all concur. The Dutch, who have resolved their drug problems by legalizing and controlling most drugs (I believe that is a superior approach to our misguided "war on drugs." Drug-related crime is down in the Netherlands, but where I live, it's raging), do not agree. The Dutch believe that instead we should be offering alternatives and developing that poor country. Not much reconstruction and development have happened so far, and the eradication efforts aren't doing much.

Why am I so worked up about this eradication? Because it is so blatantly, clearly idiotic when you hear the details. First, it's very expensive. It requires a lot of labor to physically destroy the acres of poppies, and the men destroying the beautiful flowers must be protected by sufficient armed guards. (On an eradication strike Anderson went on, there was an attack. An Afghani policeman died, and others were wounded. The operation was aborted with very little accomplished. Score one for the Taliban). Secondly, it turns the poor Afghanis against us. As one farmer tells Anderson, he can make $33 per acre with wheat but $500-700 per acre with poppies. The farmers Anderson talked to were desperately poor and said they had no choice but to grow the poppies.

The very worst part of this idiotic policy is that it directly hurts and alienates those Afghanis who are actually in favor of us and the regime we installed. It's not safe enough to conduct the poppy eradication in the areas where there's Taliban support, so we are ONLY destroying the crops in the areas which support us. Way to go, Bush administration! Go into a poor, beleaguered foreign country and economically ruin only the people who are for us! Need I mention that we aren't offering any kind of compensation to the people whose fields we ruin, and as Anderson noted, when we kill the fields of poppies, we incidentally damage other crops. A farmer whose poppies were destroyed showed how his wheat patch and watermelons had also been ruined. "Now I will have nothing left."

Friday, July 13, 2007

death as a punchline

Back in the 90's, I lived in the Haight, and I was annoyed on a regular basis by a neighborhood watch group. These people wore garish chartreuse T-shirts with the word RAD ("Residents Against Druggies") on the front. Supposedly their mission was to stare down drug dealers and putative buyers on the street. Although I never was involved in a single drug deal, they got in my face all the time.

I noticed that the RAD folks were quite judgmental of people based on how they were dressed. When I crossed their paths as I came home late from the office in my Italian wool business suits and heels, they positively beamed at me. After I'd changed at home and gone out again in a miniskirt and Doc Martens, they aggressively gave me the evil eye.

My ex-husband and I were irritated by statements the founder of RAD, Joe Konopka, made where he said he didn't want to run just "druggies" out of the Haight, but he also wanted to get rid of "stores that sell leather underwear" and other unwholesome things. We were precisely the sort of people who might very well buy leather underwear, and we wished to keep our retail options open. My ex was quite vitriolic on the subject of RAD, and when its activities eventually petered out, we did not miss RAD. I didn't hear anything of Konopka after he made an unsuccessful run for city office.

I think most people forgot about RAD entirely. Last year someone tried to create a citizens' street patrol in the Castro, and the newspapers cooed that this was the very first citizens' group to patrol the streets of San Francisco.

Today I was spellbound to read in the Chronicle that Joe Konopka died in an SM scene this week. It turns out that Konopka had weekly SM scenes at his home in the Haight while his wife was at her school board meetings. His death is being treated as a homicide, although I suspect it was a breath control game which went too far. Someone called 911 from Konopka's home (probably his play partner) but prudently left before the police arrived. The man who wanted a less seamy Haight without drugs or fetishware was himself playing dangerous, seedy games which cost him his life. When I die, I hope it's not in a spectacularly ironic fashion (what would be spectacularly ironic in my case? If I poisoned myself with my own cooking? Electrocuted by trying to blog in the bathtub? ).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

a good cause, a local Angelina Jolie

I happen to know a very energetic woman who is about to adopt an orphan from Ghana to join her family, which already contains three African children, adopted before Angelina Jolie and Madonna adopted their African children (but, in the interests of fairness, possibly after Ms. Jolie adopted Maddox from Cambodia). Like Angelina Jolie, Heidi Kilgore is thin and beautiful and oh so much less lazy than your drunken ocrrespondent.

Anyhow, the new addition to this adorable family will come from Enedaso House, a new orphanage being built by Adoption Advocates International, one of the few adoption agencies doing Ghanaian adoptions. Here you can see the first orphans accepted by Enedaso House playing:

And, for Bay Area types:

Please join us July 14th, 10am-noon at Glen Park Playground for..

of a new orphanage in Ghana

A Family Fun Free Morning of
**Music (African Drummer James Henry, and local dads :o)
**Face Painting**Clown fun**
**Soccer Games for Kids**
Bring a picnic and join the fun!

Heidi will have bins at the event to collect donations, which she will personally take to the orphanage this summer:

-children's vitamins
-Slightly worn or new clothes (12mo.-10yrs, light jackets, sweaters, shoes, even undies!)
-basic first aid supplies (band-aids, Neosporin, etc.)
-slightly worn or new single bed sheets
-dress-up clothes/dramatic play (Dr.Kits, toy-tools,etc)
-children's musical instruments
-educational videos//DVDs
-VCR or DVD Player
-jump ropes
-uninflated soccer balls, basketballs, other balls, ball pump, needles, pop-up soccer goals
-tooth brushes and tooth paste
-puzzles and other manipulatives--can't hardly get these in Ghana
-educational type toys (legos, anything hands on)
-paperback preschool-2nd grade level books
-notebooks of drawing paper
-fat pencils and sharpener
-sidewalk chalk
-kids paint
-paint brushes
-glue sticks
-kids scissors
-construction paper

The Sober Husband has taken this as a good excuse to clean out our garage, and poor Lola has been squabbling with him all week over what toys should be given to the poor children. "Why you got to give them this?"

A Blogin Blog Directory

not sparkly enough

"I want a new mommy," announced four year-old Lola.

"What? You want to replace me?"

"No! Then I'd have two mommies!" She put her hands by her face and gazed off dreamily.

"What would you do with two mommies?"

"My new one would be sparkly! Sparkly mommy!"

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

another Silicon Valley Soap Opera scene

The Silicon Valley Soap Opera is an occasional feature of this blog, wherein our heroine/sot, the Drunken Housewife, resorts to pilfering her poor Sober Husband's life for interesting anecdotes because she doesn't get out much. Names have been changed to preserve the Sober Husband's professional viability.

For the last two years, the Sober Husband has worked at a fledgling start-up software company. For much of this company's existence, there have been three full-time workers: the Italian founder, the Sober Husband, who was the first, full-time employee, and a third, rather cantankerous but skilled programmer, who left the big, successful software company where they all met because of his dream to hit it big with stock options and retire early.

Of course, our three intrepid programmers could not achieve their goals without assistance, no matter how skilled at Java they may be. In particular, the founder hired a marketing consultant part-time (the Sober Husband always called her "the Marketing Lady"). She conducted her arcane marketing maneuvers from New York, but she regularly issued various directives to the programmers and flew out from time to time.

Somehow, the Marketing Lady managed to get on the wrong side of the Crabby Programmer. This wasn't that difficult to do; indeed, the Crabby Programmer had a personal website where he kept a list of things which caused him to enter a rage(The reaction of everyone I showed this page to was, "Does this guy own a gun? Watch out for him").

One day, the Crabby Programmer, as was his wont, was ranting about the Marketing Lady, when the Sober Husband interrupted him. "I bet if you pay Luigi enough, he'll fire her."


"Ask Luigi. He'll do it if you give him enough."

The Italian founder played along and, leaning back in his chair, said, "Two hundred thousand dollars. Give me two hundred thousand dollars, and she's gone."

The Crabby Programmer was dumbstruck. The Sober Husband and I laughed and laughed that night when he told me about it.

Of course, in the end the laugh was on us. The Crabby Programmer did pony up a big chunk of his life savings to invest in the company, and that made him all the crabbier and more stressed-out over whether the company would succeed or fail. One evening spent laughing over the husband's diabolical genius turned into over a year of working with an increasingly irritable and over-stressed colleague.

Monday, July 09, 2007

lift a glass

Current reigning holder of the Mr. Drunken Househusband title Silliyak and his esteemed wife, Moonrabbit, are celebrating their 30th anniversary! Awww, they are an inspiration to all of us. Share your secrets of marital success, please (but in a PG-13 version).

Saturday, July 07, 2007


My ex-husband and I read somewhere ("The New Yorker"? "Atlantic Monthly"?) about research on how a music lover becomes an old fogey. It would seem that in a person's mid-thirties, usually they gradually become unable to appreciate new music. They may be able to find a new artist to love, but only if that person's music is very derivative of something the fogey already learned to love. There was a lot of blather about the aging of the brain and so on which I have forgotten, but the basic point was during the thirties, your taste crystallizes and then after forty, forget it. You have to listen to the oldies channel on the radio station, because each and every generation hates the music that those darn young people make.

I felt I needed to get exposed to as much new music as I could, storing up nuts for the long winter of my brain's old fogeydom. I had a few successes, like Ali Farka Toure, Ry Cooder, and the Mermen. But it seemed the process was already happening: I hated almost everything new I heard. This genuinely upset me (this was before I had children, so I had a lot more time to pay attention to myself. Once I had the children, I didn't have much energy for examining myself any more in depth than that classic query of the parent, "Have I left the house in filthy clothing?").

I felt out of touch with pop culture, adrift without being able to enjoy music. Like everyone, I loved Nirvana (RIP, Kurt Cobain), but all that crap that followed... shudder. Flannel shirts (I wore enough of those growing up in Maine to last me a lifetime). Droning music. And the ridiculous shunning of smiling or ever appearing unsuicidal... I used to look at images from the sixties and wonder, "How did we get from a place where flowers and smiling and being happy were what we all wanted to HERE?" It was the fashion to look miserable on stage, no matter how many millions one was raking in. (Not just rock stars, but the heroin chic phase meant the fashion ads in my magazines were all depressed skeletons splayed about in Prada or Jilsander). It all seemed driven by the dreadful music, the horrible stuff that followed Nirvana.

And then there was the techno, ridiculously popular in the Bayeria. It had such a brainlessly repetitive beat that it could make one want to whack one's brains out against a cinderblock wall. Sillily enough one wasn't supposed to listen to this drek on drugs, which would have possibly redeemed the experience, but just on water and smart drugs at the ideal rave. Back in the 80's, the music I loved had complex and changing rhythmns, and I couldn't tolerate these banal, simplistic programmed drum beats which seemed to go on and on forever. Not to mention emocore (so much whining!). Shudder.

I couldn't bear to listen to the radio very much; everything sounded so terrible to my old-fashioned ears. Alas, there were no radio channels devoted to the 80's New Wave music of my youth, so I couldn't settle happily into old fogeydom. (This was before satellite radio and internet radio. Since those technological revolutions, musical fogies have rich ruts to live in). This was genuinely a source of sorrow to me. I did have one coping mechanism: I started exploring ancient blues, which I did love, preferable from the 1910's and 1920's and preferably from Texas and Arkansas. It seemed fitting for a fogey.

But, as it turns out, I hadn't become a fogey. It's just that the music of the nineties sucked. (I have heard so many people opine that the 80's were the worst decade of all history for music and fashion, but no. We were just fine back then, thank you very much, dancing to the Talking Heads with our gravity-defying spiky hair). Somewhere after the turn of the century, the god-awful music of the 90's gave way to new things, things which are actually fun to hear.

I listen to the radio a lot in the car nowadays, as I drive my child overlords hither and yon, and I'm constantly hearing new songs to love. I heard a rap song about "I'm living in liquor land" which I've never been able to track down since, but it made my whole day the time I caught it on the radio. The latest British invasion is composed of hard-drinking neurotic girls, and I love them. Amy Winehouse! Lily Allen! Over in the East Bay, there's a newish form of rap called hyphy. I don't know how to explain what it is, and the articles I've read about it couldn't articulate a definition, either. All that I know is that when they're doing a hyphy show on a local radio station, it's fun to hear. My favorite hyphy song has the most charming line: at one point, in an encouraging voice, the singer calls, "Go, stoopid! Go, stoopid!" This never fails to make me smile.

Even the top forties music of this decade is relatively palatable. There have been some huge hit songs I adore, like "Hey Ya" by Outkast, which has beautiful rhythmns, a wonderful lead singer, and great words. "Lend me some sugar, I AM your neighbor!" is another line which always makes me grin. All the first graders and I loved Justin Timberlake's "Bringing Sexy Back." That song is truly sexy, with its sinuous beat and that line, "You see these shackles/Baby I'm your slave/I'll let you whip me if I misbehave." (I'm not "in the scene" any more, as we used to say in the old days, but I'm confident that song is becoming a dungeon classic, with its steady beat for whipping to. Perhaps it will become enshrined next to that odd kink classic, the disco version of the Hallelujah chorus, which I suffered through so many times in dungeons. And no, I did not share these insights with the first graders).

I could go on and on. Turn on your radios, people; it's a musical wonderland out there. Even one poised on the brink of musical fogeydom can listen happily and rejoice.

Friday, July 06, 2007


"I am a princess and a king and I own all the kittens! And I'm a rock star!" - four year-old Lola

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

the brown stare

A hand-lettered sign outside a Haight St. restaurant inquires, "Nutella! Can YOU resist its brown stare?"

"Not me," sez seven year-old Iris Uber Alles.

Ah, the compatibility: watching DVDs with those irrepressible spouses.

Revel in the compatibility as these beleaguered spouses attempt to make the most of their precious movie-watching time on those rare occasions when both children went to sleep early enough that both parents are wide awake:

"The Sopranos" (all seasons except the current one) Greatest viewing experience ever. The Sober Husband's complaint, "You always want to watch another one. I need to get some sleep. You can never watch just one, can you?"

"Six Feet Under", all seasons: The Sober Husband: "God, they're talking about relationships again. I just can't stand it. Why do you watch this? (groans) I only like the death at the beginning."

"Forbidden Planet" (rented multiple times, why? why? why?) Plus: can be watched along with children, who love "Robby the Robot", due to lack of adult content. Drunken Housewife: "God, this is so boring. 'Prospero's Books', now THAT was a good adaptation of 'The Tempest.'"

"The Conversation": The Drunken Housewife: "I can't stand to hear them repeat that stupid conversation again. HOW MANY TIMES ARE WE GOING TO HAVE TO HEAR THAT? That is so annoying." Sober Husband (miffed): "You said that already." Drunken Housewife: "I can't stand to look at that guy; he's so ugly." Sober Husband(highly annoyed): "You don't like it; I got it already."

"The Station Agent": Sober Husband: "I didn't expect this to be so good." Drunken Housewife: "They say this is the best part ever written for a dwarf."

"Grizzly Man": Herzog documentary about man living with and obsessed with grizzly bears, who meets a grisly end. Complete and utter fascination exhibited by both spouses, who occasionally pause the film to discuss. A rare success, brought up in conversation for days. Verdict: Werner Herzog is a genius.

"Fitzcarraldo": Sober Husband completely enthralled. Drunken Housewife: "I thought Mick Jagger was in this. Seriously. [pause] You know I went there, right? I went to Iquitos!" Sober Husband makes hushing gestures. Drunken Housewife falls asleep while Sober Husband is riveted by scenes of brutal labor in rainforest.

"28 Days":
Sober Husband: "How can you watch this?" Drunken Housewife: "Zombies are all the rage now. They're cool. These aren't really zombies, though, are they? They're so fast." Sober Husband: "I like it that they're fast." Constant complaining and moaning from Sober Husband ("This is dumb. I can't suspend my disbelief"), hushed by wife ("I'm trying to watch this"). The Sober Husband finally shut up and attempted to fall asleep, until interrupted by the Drunken Housewife: "Look, there's your actor, the one from 'Doctor Who'!" The Sober Husband began watching again: "Christopher Eccleston. [pause] He gives it redeeming value."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Dumb old Mommy!"

Yesterday I took Lola to her swimming lesson, dragging Iris along. Instead of her usual bathing suit, Lola sported a child's wetsuit, and because it was the length of Bermuda shorts, she didn't put clothes on over it. I packed her underwear, towel, robe, and goggles, like I always do, but it wasn't until she was naked in the locker room after her lesson that I realized I hadn't brought her any clothes. "God, I'm a dumb old Mommy today," I said. "Dumb old Mommy!" repeated Lola with relish. Lola was so unhappy at the prospect of putting her wet wetsuit back on ("It itches me!") that I had to promise to take her immediately to the used clothing store down the street, where she chose a floral chiffon dress. Of course, that meant that in the interests of fairness, I had to buy something for Iris, too (funky sage green capris). The price of this mistake: $17 plus the horrors of clothing shopping with both fashion girls simultaneously, not an experience for the weak.

Today I, as is my wont, carried yesterday's coffee grounds out to fertilize the garden before making fresh coffee. After I sprinkled the grounds about, I walked around to admire the plants I put in the day before. Over in one bed, I impulsively grabbed a large, leafy plant, thinking, "Damn, this weed is really taking over", and pulled it out. Imagine my horror when I saw the large bulb that came up with it and I realized I had just murdered a dahlia (I put this dahlia bulb in aeons ago, along with several others, and I had forgotten its placement). I replanted the bulb, but all its exuberant, leafy growth was gone. I felt like an idiot. Poor dahlia, it was doing so well and would have grown beautiful flowers. The moral here is to not do anything murderous in the garden before actually drinking some coffee.

Poor Dumb Old Mommy. God only knows what atrocities of idiocy I'll get up to tomorrow.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I asked Iris Uber Alles yesterday if she knew what she'd be doing in second grade. "For example, we knew before you started first grade that you'd be studying the ocean, because in first grade they always do the ocean. I didn't know you'd be studying space, though."

Iris thought about this. Then she said, "They say second grade is the party year."