Monthly Archives: April 2010

I should write a column, he says.


Julie S – “What do I do to a car that is blocking half of my driveway?”

Valancy Jane – “Write a note in which you forgive them in very flowery terms. Tell them the ER techs found something a few blocks away, and that a home birth might very well be a blessing.”

And later, we learned that live animals aren’t accepted either.


Coordinator – “…. and lastly, don’t pick up any dead animals.”

Valancy Jane – “What if we don’t notice they’re dead until after we’ve picked them up?”

Coordinator – *looks at Bethany*

Bethany – *nods, rather seriously*

Coordinator – *blinks and moves on*  “We ask that you look out especially for cigarette butts…..”

For someone with no job, I’m really busy.


I mean, I have to buy and make my own coffee.  Can’t pass up the free day at the museum, there’s all that booze to drink and a backlog of boys I can do.  Being this fabulous is hard, I almost wonder when I found time to work before…..

So yeah, I got laid off, again, by the same company, sort of.  Should I even bother trying to explain it?  The gist is that I’ll prolly have to start reciting beat poetry at the transit station for tips. 

No wait, I won’t have to.  I’m just going to because that sounds fun and I’m pretty sure I don’t have to report that income to unemployment.

And while I’m heartbroken to leave a job that I loved every single day the six years I was there, don’t worry about me.  I already face down this fear a few months ago, and I’m in a position to handle this just fine.

I have a nice roof over my head.  Unemployment will cover my expenses.  I’m living a surprisingly glamorous little existence.  I’m off to A Fine Frenzy concert in LA tonight with Yost, and tomorrow I’ll be getting my passport finalized for my vacation next month.

I could really get used to this.

Also, I’m going to download Ice, Ice Baby.


Thérèse: I must be off now.

Valancy Jane: Oh, can I tell you something first?
Thérèse: Yes.
Please tell me.
Valancy Jane: Right now I’m checking out new ringtones.
Valancy Jane: And my iPhone is plugged into my speakers.
Thérèse: Do ice ice baby. It’s the best ring tone in the world.
Sorry, go on.
Valancy Jane: Dulce is TOTALLY FREAKED OUT by the theme from Psycho.
Thérèse: * gigggggggle *
She’s a class act, that cat.
Valancy Jane: I find that adorable, and also, kinda sensible.

It’s never what you’d think.


When I was eleven, my dog Jubilee was put to sleep.  She was …. a bit overprotective.  Over the years she tried to protect me against a toy poodle, a passing car and then a horse … You get the idea.  She protected us right into a lawsuit.  But she had such soft ears, and she loved me.

They gave me her collar, and I hung it from a nail in the back of my closet.  I didn’t cry.  Not at the empty yard, not at her chewed up yellow food dish.  A few months later, I was rumaging for something at the back of my closet and bumped her collar.  The so familiar clink of her license tag hitting against her id tag set me suddenly sobbing.

I can still conjure up that little sound in my head.

I used to go to summer camp every year.  I have letters from the friends I made, I have tshirts signed with “Keep In Touch” and “Don’t Ever Change!”  I spent a fortune in film.  And nothing has ever ever conjured up the memories of that place like the day I was in a diner and I wiped a napkin across my face.  That napkin must have been the same brand as the kind used in that camp cafeteria.  Isn’t that just the strangest thing?  Napkins having a smell?  And yet suddenly I could remember the black metal chairs with the red padding, wondering if I’d have any mail from home…

I make it such a point to capture the moments when I’m truly happy.

That vacation in Hawaii?  I daily, faithfully stole hotel wifi to document it.  Post cards, that magnet on my fridge, that local handmade Christmas ornament.  And then one day dry skin has me rummaging in my travel bag and there’s that mostly empty lotion sample from the hotel.  One whiff and I’m back between those yellow walls, watchin my little brother practice magic tricks.

Sometimes I think souveniers are useless.  Memories pack themselves in your luggage, and unpack themselves when you least expect it.  When you most need it.

I was sorting my laundry tonight.

I’ve been cautious around anything baby related since my miscarriage.  Everyone warned me, and I think expected me to dissolve around Drea’s perfect little daughter, Audriana.  And I didn’t.  I’d given myself all the permission in the world to choke up around my pregnant friends and instead found myself only sharing their joy.

I almost wondered if I wasn’t a little bit cold.  Compartmentalizing my memories so neatly.

And then, tonight with the laundry, I was matching up pairs of socks.  And there was the black and blue pair of Betsy Johnson socks.  Sharp as the lightning bold down the back of the ankle was my memory.  Brady’s mother gave me these socks.  They were the first contact we ever had actually. 

Brady, newly armed with the knowledge that he’d accidently knocked up yours truely, got on a plane to visit his family for Christmas.  And when he told his mother, she scrambled to assemble a gift to send home.  She read my facebook page where I mentioned my love of cute socks and so on New Years Eve I found myself unwrapping some several pairs of glittery, outrageous socks.  I felt so overwhelmed, so welcomed into their big, loving family, suddenly a part of something much bigger.  I cried into them, my excuse at the time that I was pregnant and hormonal.

I cried over them again tonight.  I was thinking of all that was best of that wonderful phase in my life.  Funny that family was hiding in a pair of socks.

Look here


There they were, lined up on the back seat of my car.

I’d just picked up my car from the car wash.  You know how when they vacuum out your car, it doesn’t matter how clean you think your car is, they find a few overlooked items, dandruff of daily life.  And they set whatever the find neatly in a row on the backseat.

When I settled into the front seat, I threw a glance over my shoulder, started the car, and then I turned again and really saw what I’d just seen.  SHIT.

I think I need to change car washes.  Also, if anyone cares, I can absolutely explain each of these items individually.

A coil of soft white rope.  A small kitchen knife.  A box of condoms, torn open across the front.  A Sarah McLachlin cd.

Did you know Van Gogh used to paint still life as portraits?  A collection of objects to represent a person?  Not that that thought really helps.  I’m sure even Van Gogh would think I was nuts if he saw my backseat, and he cut his ear off.

Do you ever get caught up wondering what some stranger makes of a tangible sliver of your life?  Like your grocery reciept, or your pile of dry cleaning?

I probably spend too much time worrying about it.  The fellow that vaccumed my car has prolly seen much, much weirder things.  And most likely he didn’t stop vaccuuming long enough to really see the items he handled in conjuction with each other in any meaning ful sense.   The world out there is not as obsessed with me as I’d secretly like them to be.  Right?

But then I recall an order I put in a few years back.  I joined one of those cd clubs (remember buying cds?  Now everything is an iTunes download) and after buying the required amount, I put in one more order.  If you’d reviewed my complete order history, you’d get a feel for my eclectic taste, but if you were the shipping guy who had to package my last order of two cds, you might be a bit confused.  I know this because when I opened the box, in between Barry Manilow and 50Cent was a hand written note.

“This is the first time these two cds have ever been shipped together,” it read.

So I guess, sometimes, there’s someone paying attention.

Fast cars and girls.


So I just sold my old car on Craigslist.

What you see here is part of the payoff for a rather frustrating couple of days.  I got tons, TONS of responses, not even sure how many because I just started deleting every one that didn’t use punctuation.  I don’t have time for ALL CAPS MAN, either.

And the questions.  My God, the questions.  If I hadn’t sold it so quickly, I was going to add this to my ad.

Frequently Asked Questions.

No, I will not trade you for it’s worth in tattoos.  Tattoos are awesome, but I don’t think I’ll ever in my life get as much ink as the car is worth, and if I did, it’d be from an artist successful enough to afford his car.

Thanks for letting me know that for half my asking price you’ll “ask no questions about the title.”  I’ll save your email address in case I ever take up GRAND THEFT AUTO, and need an accomplice.

No, you may NOT break into the property where it’s stored and leave the money in the mailbox.  It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s that …. no wait.  It IS that I don’t trust you.

Beginning your email with the announcement that you are pro-life does not affect the price of the car.  But you know what I can do for ya?  I can scratch MY bumper stickers off the car.  How’s that? 

Offering me half the value of the car on the spot to “save your precious time,” means you estimate my time as worth that of a very high-priced hooker.  Thanks.  Honestly.  But I’m not a high-priced hooker.  I am a very, very cheap Jew.

In the end, you’d be proud of me, kids.  I sold the car to a mechanic who went from calling me “little lady” and offering me two-thirds my price, to paying my asking price and offering me a job in his shop because I haggled so well.