Day Two Hundred Seventy Eight

We're doing this thing right now that someone, I think it was Deb Rocks, described once to me as killing our relationship so thoroughly that we will never be able to rebuild it. This has all very conveniently happened over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and I will have more to say about that later. 

My blog turns eight in a few weeks. I've had this blog longer than I've had my daughter, and in those eight years it's become an issue with him more than once. It really became an issue last week, and I'll have more to say about that later, too. 

Sometimes you just have to take the fuel away from the fire, you know? So I shut my blog down on Christmas Day, because it wasn't worth the battle it was causing, and I'll have more to say about that later, also also.

But then my friend Elan asked me if she could use this post of mine in her 2012 Five Star Friday wrap-up post. I don't actually know how to make that post public, but none of the other ones, so for right now, the blog is back up. Because I am physically incapable of telling Elan no, shut up. 

So much of what I don't say it out of fear. I don't even know what I'm afraid of anymore, is the thing. I lost him, I lost my husband, I lost the man I thought at 20 that I would love forever and ever to a bottle of vodka and it didn't kill me. In fact, it worked out kind of nicely for me in the end. I realized after a really long dark time in my life that I was able to love, and able to be loved in return. Of course, entering into a healthy, happy relationship with my best friend 18 months after I asked for a divorce makes me an adulterous whore if you ask my husband, or his family, probably because he was too drunk at the time to remember me asking for a divorce which is, of course, completely my fault/problem, but you know what? So be it. I'd rather be a happy 37 year old adulterous whore than a miserable co-dependent enabling self-deluded trapped asshole.

But I'm still kind of afraid he's reading this, even though he's twice promised he would leave my blog alone and once demanded that I write about him on it so that I could resume being "a really nice lady" to his face, and I'm kind of afraid that he'll use it against me, even though I have been summarily forbidden from using anything against him that happened anytime before, oh, five minutes ago because i'm just a vindicate bitch who lives only in the past, you know? 

But I think I need to read day fourteen again, and I think I need to read days 1 and 22 again, and any of the other days which I mustered the courage to put pieces of this out here where they sit under the bright flashing florescent lights of the internet waiting to be dissected and picked apart and twisted and mouth-fed back to me by people who have never, it turns out, really given two shits about me at all. 

Why this continues to be a surprise to me is anyone's guess. Fool me once and all. 

So I don't really know what I'm doing next here, with this old blog that has seen this same story told over and over again. But for today, I know that a whole bunch of people who have written truly extraordinary bits of wonder on the internet are being celebrated here, and I'm so super humbled to be one of them, and everything else I have to say about this can wait until tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the day after that, when I am feeling less angry and more brave. 

A Canadian, a former math teacher, a Chinese Harvard grad, and a blond girl walk into a book club...

The first book I ever read alone, front to cover, was the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I was four. I am not kidding.

Around age seven (my daughter's age as of yesterday, GO SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BABY) I discovered Erma Bombeck, and life became good. Gooder. The goodest.

When I was in junior high school, I was the official school reader. I read *every* new book that came into the library, and then wrote one 3X5 index card review on the book. The librarian kept those on file - sorted by genre, by me - for popular kids with a life who wanted a book but needed crutches suggestions. I got beat up a lot. 

All of that reading and getting beat up made me a very angsty young person indeed, who over time discovered the likes of Louis Carroll, Douglas Coupland, Chuck Palanuik, and John Irving. And I haven't really needed anything since. 

I tell you all of that to show you my in-case-of-fire book pile. 

There are a few books missing from that pile (my Alice is Wonderland books, to name more-than-one-but-less-than-734) but that is the actual 'separate-17-years-of-marital-pulp-assets' pile, photo taken while he was smoking so he wouldn't yell at me for taking pictures of fucking EVERYTHING, JESUS SHANNON.

(Audre Lorde said everything can be used except what is wasteful,  and she wasn't kidding.)

So I got stuck in a 20-year long book rut. I re-read the exact same books over and over and over again. I always thought it was bizarre that my mother could read you the entire introduction to the Hitchhiker's Guide without needing to be in the same room as the book, and now? Yeah. Ask me any line of any poem in UndersongWe all become our parents. 

It's really hard to get me to read something new. You pretty much have to sell me on really whacked storyline or whackeder presentation, or be the Cactus-Fish family. My books are some of the best friends I have, and I just this second realized that I'm not all that different than I was at 13. Wider, to be certain, but not too different. 

For me, it isn't even always so much the story as it is the book, which is why I always said you'd have to pay me to use an e-reader. You can't smell an e-reader and if you can, you're reading the wrong kinds of things on it, perv. You can't scribble notes in an e-reader that you hope your friends/kids will read one day, if your highlighter lasts that long. 

Except you can scribble notes in an e-reader that you hope your friends/kids will read one day. Except someone did offer to pay me to use an e-reader. And that leads me to the whole bunch of brand new books I'm reading on The Copia's social e-reader over the next few months with a few of my best friends - Doug, Jim, and Tanis. Because they're way more fun to drink with than Maslow's Principals of Abnormal Psychology, that's why. 

We have this little social group book club thing (see children? reading gets you into clubs with ridiculously hot, smart people, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise) and we've each chosen one book that all four of us have to read in a month's time. We have wildly varied tastes in books, to say the very least. This is going to be so much fun. 

We'll be reading together and leaving each other notes in the margins through the Copia app for iPad, Android, and desktop. Will I love it? Time will tell. Jim says it's like live-tweeting a book! but I hope it's more like having actual conversations with actual people. Which are probably the same thing now, huh? Get off my dewey decimal system. 

You can totally follow along with us. There's the main group of Copia Parents, but we have a sub-group called, of course, "Tanis, Doug, Jim, and Shannon Do Books," because I made the group and I am a 12 year old boy. You probably need a Copia account to join our group and follow along, but that's cool because A) accounts are free and B) each of us are giving away 10 books to our readers to help get you started. You could chose your own book, or you could chose the books we're reading and read with us.  

We're staring our book club with Doug's pick, Telegraph Avenue, because he said we were and we do what he says. I'm thinking about choosing Bastard Out of Carolina, because Lesbian Dad says I have to read it and she has impeccable taste in literature and wingtips. I also kind of want to read Brains, A Zombie Memoir, recommended by my boss' partner, but I also-also want to read Orphans of the Living, recommended to me by Ilina Das Ewan, who is wiser than she is beautiful, which is equally awesome and terrifying. 

This is why you never ask the Pisces to go first. 

What I want to know is what you'd like to read. Leave a comment telling me the book you can't stop reading, and then the title of a book you'd like to read that you never have before, and next week I'll randomly choose 10 winners of those books. My (rapidly growing) Copia library is right here, if you want to cherry-pick book ideas or mock me for being so incredibly lame. 

So that happened, in three acts.

Act one: I got all Preachy Mc Bloggerson at my Babble Voices today about that Time magazine Attachment Parenting article. Which is only of note because I don't normally give a rat's ass about breastfeeding, anything-parenting, or Time magazine. I don't even know who I am anymore. 

Act two: I managed to compare the conference I am charging with the programming management of to Tengen Tetris. That actually isn't of note at all; I compare most everything to Tengen Tetris. 

Act Three: I have this thing with helpless animals who have no one to take care of them. I went to a flea market to get a plant stand and came home with Plant Stand Fail. Whoopsie.


I took Plant Stand Fail for a walk and Trash Can Ninja popped his little dirty unhomed head out from around the trash can he was trying to find something edible in. Oh, crap

I met this cute guy at a bar with mommy issues and no car an.....oh, I can't even be that mean. Today. 

Because today this puppy was hanging out on my cul-de-sac all morning, driving Plant Stand Fail into a braking tizzy of Beagleic proportions. When I left this afternoon to take my kid out for some medicine, it was on the porch, soaking wet, and very happy to see us outside. Mother of Pearl. 

I drove away, friends. I want to state that for the record. 

And while I was gone, my 12 year old came home and informed me that there was a cute black puppy on the porch. 

I told him to go inside and ignore it, friends. I want to state that for the record, too.

I got home from the store and he was outside, giving it some water. I noticed that its hipbones were sticking out a little. I gave it just a little of the giant bag of dogfood I'd just bought. Some so many/others so few. It's not like it's any secret that I'm nothing more than a commie socialist at heart. Blame Canada. 

We agreed to walk it around the block, slowly and deliberately, so that the owner would see us and scream at us for stealing their puppy. So we did. My sons walked it for forty minutes, in fact.

When they came back, we agreed to keep the puppy in the back yard until tonight when we could walk it again. After a while in the backyard, the storm-clouds started rolling in and we realized we might just have to being it inside for just a little while tonight while the storm passed, you know? 

So we gave it a bath. Just to get it clean enough for my nice couches, mind you. Record, and all. 

And when we got to scrubbing it, we realized it A) was slightly more skeleton than a puppy should be and B) had the beginnings of a case of the fleas. So we fed it some more. And then, naturally, we had to get it some flea medication. 

And then my boss asked for a picture of it, and I didn't send one for a while, because when you take a picture of a stray dog, that's like signing a pre-nup. 

My boss made me do it. I want that on the freaking record. But we aren't naming her, goddamn it. We ARE NOT NAMING HER ANY NAMES LIKE MITTENS OR SHEERA OR MARYANNE JUST SO I CAN CROSS #15 OFF MY LIFE LIST

And now She Who Must Not Be Named is tired, after a long day of meeting Plant Stand Fail and Trash Can Ninja and basically eating food and being taken care of, so we have to let her come inside for some rest. After all, she's just a helpless puppy.

It's raining out. 

She has no where else to go. 

I am a motherfucking id.i.ot. 

With three dogs.