My little spy robot

Well, it happened again. A comment so stupid and pointless I couldn’t resist sharing it here.

Husband guy and I were at a place of business (keeping it vague to protect the guilty) where we have known the owner/operator for many years. We thought this sort of thing wouldn’t happen there.

The subject of Girl from the East came up along with the usual bouquet of questions: How old was she when you got her? Did she understand English? Etc.

Then, Mr. Business Owner’s questions turned bizarre.

He said: I wonder if these children coming from Communist countries are put out there for us to take home so that they can place spies within our population that will eventually report back to them?

Yes! This is the true purpose of inter-country adoption. In fact, it was one of our first questions for the adoption agency.

We are still trying to figure out how to reboot her when she crashes.

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Where are the next White Stripes?

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Day-twah since childhood.

I was born in the D. I come from a long line of Detroiters. Long. Like my ancestors rode the waves from France alongside Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. My family’s roots aren’t as mighty and deep as Cadillac’s. We’re linked to some surgeon named Chapoton. I think there’s an apartment complex somewhere named after him.

Anyhow. I latched onto to that tidbit for years as my family spent it’s time and money in the city. Then, during “White Flight,” my family moved to the suburbs. But not some far-off subdivision in a strip mall ‘burb. We stuck to an inner-ring with French-named streets, real sidewalks and little downtown shopping districts with mom and pop shops. We still visited the city. Even if it was to watch fire fighters snuff drug house fires on Devil’s Night.

But having a D pedigree didn’t buy much clout in the ‘burbs. In fact it was a liability. Eventually I dropped the connection altogether.

Then came the White Stripes. Detroit made the Stripes who they are. I quickly fell in love with their raw, powerful sound. I felt I understood what they were doing, from where they were drawing their energy. I liked that they were drawing attention to Detroit.

Rather than focus on all the negative about our city, I proclaimed it an incubator for many great artists and musicians. I started to once again embrace the things that made this city special, attending more art shows, local musical acts and regional festivals. I joined an alternative exercise group that showcased all forms of local talents and promoted fun things to do in the city. For a beautiful, brief moment, this seemed like the place to be.

Then …. Jack started saying bad things about the D. Then he left.

While I don’t know the reasons behind his move, I can guess money and fame changes everything. I can understand the need to “upgrade.”

I can’t understand why the Stripes snubbed Detroit on their latest tour, which ultimately was canceled. It seemed like the last nail in the coffin.

But, darn it, I just don’t like Detroit anymore. Will the next White Stripes please stand up?

There, are you happy now?

“Me happy.”

“Dada happy.”

“Mama ….”

This is where I of the 20-pound under-eye bags pipe in: “Mama … crabby” right before keeling over on the wood floor.

Yes, Mama is crabby. More on that later.

Girl from the East has learned a new word. Yes. We are glad it is such a nice word like “happy.”

Better than fuck or scrotum.

Not that they aren’t lovely words. Just not when you are attending a dignified family function and trying to demonstrate to your relatives that you really are capable of parenting a small child to productive adulthood.

Girl from the West (who is now 14 and probably still uses those words out of my earshot) once belted out, full-decibel both of those words, in completely inappropriate situations. The horror.

Fortunately for me, Girl from the East doesn’t know that game yet. Maybe she’ll never learn to play it. But she is on a “happy” kick right now. And she didn’t learn it from her crabby mother.
I don’t aspire to crabbiness. It just comes naturally. See this post for details.

I’d love to tell her “mama happy.”

But, Mama tired: I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in a week.

Mama stressed: 24 hours of unnecessary panic as garbled phone message from mammography clinic indicates for some unintelligible reason I need to come back for more tests. Turns out it’s no big deal. But still…

Mama sad: Just came back from a long weekend in Chicago. There are very few places we visit that make us miss home. They all look better, smell better and sound better. People have jobs and are making money and seem “happy.” I realize I do a lot of justifying to stay in this living arrangement.

And there is nothing worse than coming ’round the bend back into our home city, whether it’s by highway, airport or back road, it is always about as rewarding as opening a carton of curdled milk.

So, let me get some sleep, forget about where I live and then maybe I’ll be “happy.”


I came across a box of dusty, musty books in my basement. A box I had forgotten about. Sometimes I uncover a forgotten box and find hidden treasure: letters from a high-school sweetheart, or exchanges from a childhood pen pal or clippings of my first published work.

Not so this time. What I found is the equivalent of a trashbag full of dirty socks.

The box no doubt has been shuffled around our basement from point to point. I’m sure I originally dumped it in what is now our organized storage room, with good intentions of sifting through the titles for any keepers. Then, of course, it was forgotten and buried in the mess.

The majority of the books in this box seemed to be the product of a vanity press that specializes in contemporary romance novels. I think I read one romance novel in my life and I’m sure it was when I was in middle school. I think it was “Love’s Heaving Rapture” with passages that read: He unsheathed his sword and lanced her maidenhood. I’m quite certain my mother found it and confiscated it.

I’m considering the same fate for these books. This is another example of the books that get dumped on me “because I like books” by well-meaning folks who are cleaning house. Folks who seem to think there is no difference between “Passion’s Torrent” and “A Separate Peace.”

As if anything with a spine, cover and pages qualifies as worthy of space on my shelves.

But how can you explain to someone else your taste in books without coming off as a snob?

All is not lost. I’m a book snob to be sure, but a closeted one. Consider me spineless to the outside world. After all, how else would I have gotten my hands on these beauties?

Whatever it takes

Stuck at a red light in rush-hour traffic on the way home from school, Girl from the West and I spot a bowling alley marquee that reads: EXTREME BOWLING, FRI-SAT 10 PM – 2 AM.

“What the heck is extreme bowling?” I ask to all-knowing, all-wise one. “Do they throw the balls overhand? Wear in-line skates? Grease the floors?”

The guru answers: “They probably call it that so people feel like they have a life or something.”

Yes, wise one. Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes.