Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Words of Wisdom: Jean Cocteau

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday with Auntie

I'm sure that the burning question in everyone's mind is What exactly does an old maid do in her spare time? Not that I can blame you - we happen to be fascinating creatures.

The short answer is that we do whatever the hell we want because we are forces to be reckoned with and everyone is afraid to try and stop us. The longer answer is that we do things like dress in our best Swamp Yankee garb and take our nephew to the store to buy hair gel and to the library so he can get his library card updated and work on the research for a science project.

I love libraries. They are the Old Maid Mothership: quiet and full of books. I can happily wander around a library for hours, picking up books on this and that and exploring whatever interests me at the moment. I am currently in the grip of an obsession with the seventeenth century - specifically, the early American settlers from whom I am descended.

I've also developed an interest in Anne Hutchinson, who was a haughty, opinionated woman and a thorn in the side of our Puritan forefathers. She was a founder of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the town where I grew up. The book I am holding in the picture is Eve LaPlante's American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, The Woman Who Defied The Puritans, which is considered by The Friends of Anne Hutchinson to be the best book on the subject.

After we finished up at the library and ate our weight in pizza, I convinced my nephew Cameron (the young giant pictured above) and the Army Dude that we should go to Lawton's Valley in Portsmouth, which I had been to for picnics as a child and I remembered had a small graveyard. The Army Dude said to Cam, "Auntie Maria never met a dead person she didn't like." There's something to that, actually. The dead are far less annoying than the living.

The oldest headstone that can still be read in the graveyard is from 1776, but my research indicates that the oldest grave is from 1763. Most of the people buried there are the descendants of Captain George Lawton, who was a follower of Anne Hutchinson and was a signer of the Portsmouth Compact with William Hutchinson, Anne's husband.

The things I do only seem random.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It's a busy weekend here at Old Maid HQ. My sister-in-law fell off a ladder two weeks ago and almost got herself dead or paralyzed, but by some miracle she is walking around, supervising the addition going onto their house, and cracking jokes. She's had spinal surgery and is using a walker, and she will need extensive physical therapy over the next few months. But she's alive. And walking.

I've been doing what women have done since Adam hurt himself and Eve baked him an apple pie. I've been cooking and cleaning. And I've been incredibly grateful for my family's good fortune. So if I can't muster up my usual sarcastic crankiness today, please forgive me. Something will probably piss me off in the next couple of days and I'll come back to tell you all about it.

But right now, I've got a casserole in the oven and some more smiling to do.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Words of Wisdom: Alex

"It's important to do things that bring you pure joy."

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Goodbye Earl

The big news around here this week was Hurricane Earl. Like a good New Englander, I went out to get eggs, milk, and bread in case I had a sudden need to make French Toast. I put down the storm windows and closed my apartment up tight. But Earl was no match for our cold, cold water. He fizzled out halfway up the coast and we barely even got any rain.

Earl's biggest effect has been heavy surf and rip currents. Apparently, local surfers are upset because beaches are closed and they are not being allowed to get out there and yell "Cowabunga!" right before being sucked under to their deaths. Wow, dude, the government is being so mean by not allowing them all to become like birds flying into plate-glass windows.

Can you believe I live a mere ten-minute walk from this very spot? Neither can I, and it's been four years now. It doesn't look like I was in a safe place when I took this picture, but I was, I promise. I have no intention of being a victim of Darwinism.

As I said, Earl didn't have much oomph left by the time he got to 41 degrees north, but he did manage to give us a couple of periods of heavy rain during the day yesterday. Which gave me the opportunity to premiere my adorable new rain boots I got for 12 bucks at Walmart. So that was something.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Letter To Female Tourists About Traffic Safety


I'm as sorry as I can be that I got in the way of your need to drive on the wrong side of the road, run stop signs, or push your way into traffic. You do all of these things, then scream and rant and beep your horn at me because I am following the rules of the road. This must stop.

After a long day at work, the very last thing I need is to be screamed at by a bleached blonde in a Mercedes or a bottle redhead in some giant SUV. I suggest you go back to your tacky-ass condo that you've decorated with lots of money and no taste (and where I'm pretty sure the carpet doesn't match the curtains) and think about what you've done.

And while you're thinking, remember this: honey, I have issues and I might cut a bitch.