Monday, December 27, 2010

My So-Called Life

Please don't make fun of me.

So, I have a thing for My So-Called Life, which only aired for one season in 1994. I was 16 at the time, and every single episode (with the exception of the stupid Christmas special and the one about the substitute teacher with the Bronx accent at the beginning of the episode and the English accent by the end) gave me heart palpitations. For 5 months I couldn't complete homework or get to sleep at a reasonable hour on Thursday nights because I was so worked up over Angela Chase's love life. Her love life was that good.

But seriously, MSCL holds up. And I marvel at the fact that a 40-year-old woman (Winnie Holzman) could make up a show about being a teenager, and totally nail it: the sublime highs, the wretched lows. When I was 16, I loved that show with my entire being. Actually, I still do, and I'm a grown ass woman.

So, I yesterday I found this, and it made me feel sad. Because is there no aspect of pop culture that is safe from mean, ironic white guys from Canada?

But you know what? Screw those Canadians. Because you can watch the entire series on Hulu for free for three more days, and I'm on vacation until next Tuesday. So Angela Chase's love life and I will be seeing you later.

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Luxuries


I was looking at the December issue of Vogue the other day, and there was a whole page of thoughtful gift ideas for the people I love, and a couple of the items had "price upon request" in parentheses next to them--like the platinum and diamond whatever-you're-going-to drop-it-down-the-bathroom-drain-one-day-and-you'll-be-screwed. And I was like "eeewwwww."

Because, A) I can't imagine buying my mom something for Christmas that is too expensive to have a price tag on it because that's unbelievably gross. And B) if you think about it, all the luxuries--the things in life that make you feel really, legitimately good--are things people have been paying zero dollars for, for like 200,000 years. And even now, allowing for inflation, if they're not free they're still super cheap.

Fire: So, we have this wood stove, and basically it's turned our living room into the veldt, and my family into a herd of really lazy lions. Virginia calls what we do in front of the fire "wallerin," which, when translated into English from the original Appalachian, means "the opposite of doing manual labor." Anyway, what is more luxurious than a fire? Looking at a fire, feeling warm, messing with the fire, catching things on fire.... Fire is amazing.

Sunlight: Sunlight is basically like fire, only if I had to choose between sunlight and fire, I'd choose sunlight because my favorite day of every year is the day in March when the sun gets to that point where it's perfectly warm--you know that day? And so you drag a quilt out into the yard and lie there totally spread-eagle and maybe there are some clouds that obscure the sun for a while, and you're like "dammit clouds--go away!" but then the clouds do go away and you're like "awwwww yeeeeah," because somehow the existence of the clouds just made the sunshine 10% nicer than it had been before. And you guys, I just thought about it and decided I would pay $300 for that day in March if it wasn't already free. But it IS free. It's free!

Water: I used to live in the desert, and I loved some things about it: the weird plants and the stars at night and the sunsets--oh, the sunsets! But I couldn't live there forever because there weren't any places to swim. And every time I took a shower, I felt like I was killing a puppy.

Something about me: I work for an environmental nonprofit that protects rivers in Georgia, so it's kind of my job to be conscientious about my water use. But my secret shame is that I bet I shower as often as Ryan Seacrest. Because if I feel bad--if I'm sick or depressed or angry--the only thing that will make me feel better is an irresponsibly long and contemplative shower. I only hope the work I do 40 hours a week makes up for it.

Really Good Food: My dad has a garden--like a big-ass one with a perimeter of hurricane fence festooned with garlands of prison-grade razor wire to keep out the deer. Daddy can grow THE HELL out of some vegetables, and every year about the first week in July he calls me and says "come out and get some truck" (Appalachian-English translation: "truck"="vegetables") and I'm like, "is now good for you? Because I started rifling through your tomato plants 45 minutes ago."

So, you want to know my 2nd favorite day of the year? It's the one where I get a couple of really juicy, big tomatoes, an onion, a few Japanese eggplants, some yellow squash and a handful of fresh basil leaves and chop it all up together and cook it down a little bit. Then I eat it over rice in my bathing suit on the back porch with the ceiling fan going. No meal tastes better than that, and it only costs me like $.45 for the rice because my dad's an agricultural genius.

Touches: It is a well documented fact that people love sex. I would even go as far as to suggest that sex feeling good is the #1 reason for the existence of 99% of all the people you're always seeing all the time.

But more than anything else, people just like to be touched by other people. It makes us feel better. The other night, I rubbed my 92-year-old grandmother's feet until she went to sleep because she just got hip surgery and she's cranky and she deserved it--we all deserve it. Sometimes when I'm feeling not great, I just want someone to hug me. Nothing weird--just a smile and a hug and a little pat on the head. And all that is free--or it should be if you play your cards right.

Laughing: Seriously, you guys. How great is laughing? I love it so much, if the people I know weren't already so funny, I would pay a ton of money for someone to make me laugh.

So, all that's really luxurious, right? What am I missing?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some Do's, Some Don'ts

My nephew Jacob used to stay with me a lot when he was about 4. I was living by myself when he and his family moved to Georgia from the decomposing center of Louisiana and were staying with my dad and Janice. With a house full of people telling him what to do, Jacob sometimes just needed to get the hell out, so he'd come spend the weekend with me.

Jacob and I got along really well, partly because I suspect we're both ENFPs. (Yes--if I know you, I have probably secretly judged you via the Meyer's Briggs Type Indicator. Sorry.) Even when he was really little, we used to have these long discussions about People--all kinds of people and their habits.

Sample conversation:

Jacob: Jessie, my dad says girls don't drive good. Why don't girls drive good?
Me: Well, Jacob--some girls can drive really well, and other girls drive like idiots. It all depends.
Jacob: Why? Why do some girls drive bad?
Me: Well, just as many boys are bad drivers. But people who don't drive well probably just didn't learn the right way, or they don't take it seriously enough or they're distracted. Or it's not a priority for them. I don't know.
Jacob: But some girls DO drive good?
Me: Yep. Your mom and Grandma and I are all girls and we're pretty good drivers, huh?

This was the part where he nodded knowingly--his suspicions validated. And then he closed it down with his trademark catchphrase:

"Some do's, some don'ts."
"Yep," I said. "Some do's, some don'ts."

I've been thinking about "Some Do's, Some Don'ts" lately because for the past few months, our household affairs have been almost laughably horrible. To wit: our dog died, my bike got stolen, Bryan has been working on an ulcer studying for a series of grueling tests, Odessa's been eschewing a good night's sleep with a firm hand, I've been unreasonably busy at work, we've had to get many, many thousands of dollars of work done on our cars, ET cetera.

And because things are shitty, I have had to remind myself every day to be gentle with Bryan and Odessa and the people at work and the grocery clerk and the person in the Mitsubishi in front of me at the red light, and myself--maybe especially myself. Because one thing I believe to be true is what Jacob picked up on when he was four years old: some people are going to behave one way, other people are going to behave another way--they just ARE. It's a law. Fighting the Some Do's, Some Don'ts Principle is what many, many people spend all the days of their lives doing, which is just plain unproductive and sad when you think about it. For instance, I pity people who devote their life's work to preventing gay people from being together. Because I got news: Some do's, Some don'ts.

So, my work for this autumn and winter has been a) trying to predict what some people are going to do's and don'ts, and b) formulating my strategy for dealing with their dos-ing and don'ts-ing before they do something that runs me crazy. As long as my strategy isn't asking them "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!?"

Because you know what? Some do's, Some don'ts. It's mystifying, but true.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Narcissistic Narwhal


My friend Katherine of Doodoo-vania fame has a blog called I'm Super, Thanks for Asking. It's really funny and you should read it.

Anyway, Katherine's a community college teacher, and the above picture is a little something she drew while she was grading exams, so OF COURSE she scanned it and put it on her blog.

And then after that she ended up finding a bag of hooker wigs outside her house (she didn't actually see the hooker[s] in question unloading the wigs, but has cause to believe they exist in a boarded-up trailer at the end of her street). She posted a photo of the wig bag on Facebook with a note "Come and get you one!" Which gave me the giggles.

Anyway, here's a photo of the hooker wigs because I figured you'd be curious:


You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In Which I Complain About the Cold, Again.

I'm a little dumbfounded.


34,000 feet above the bless'ed ground, and I'm sitting here in seat 26 C futzing around on The Internets. Will wonders never cease?


So, I've just been in Pennsylvania for a meeting. It is a lovely place. Also, one of my friends named Katherine (I have several) calls it Doodoo-vania. At first I wasn't sure why, but then I went there this week and found out that it's because the weather turns to bullshit around the middle of November and doesn't improve until April. I think the same probably goes for Doodoochusetts and Doodoocticut and Doodoompshire. Anything above the the Mason-Doodooxon Line, actually.


Okay--those jokes? They weren't good. I know that.


Anyway, Bryan has opinions about cold like you find in Doodoo-vania. When we lived in Montana, he kept saying I just needed to relax into the cold, accept it for what it was, pretend like the cold was my big, icy best friend who's really awesome but just has super smelly feet or something. But I never got the hang of it. I understand relaxing into the heat; it's just a matter of closing your mind and pushing through it. But there's something about the kind of cold I felt this week that's just wrong. It was like torture. The cold wanted my soul.


Oh, Christ. We're experiencing turbulence. And I can see the suburbs of Atlanta out this here starboard window.


Sweet, sweet Atlanta. You're so ridiculous and messed up, but so warm! I love that about you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Men


The nicest thing anyone's ever said to me came from my grandmother, Virginia. A few years ago, I went grocery shopping for her, and when I walked in the kitchen door she came over to give me a hug. In the middle of that hug she said, "I don't love you as much as some of the others, but I miss you the most when you're not around."

Wasn't that sweet? Well, you're going to think it's really nice as soon as I give you some context.

Two points of clarification:

1. By "the others," she meant "the Men."

2. I know this doesn't sound like a compliment to get all misty-eyed about, but considering I was born a girl, that's absolutely as good as it gets in Virginia's family. Case in point: my dad took me to see Virginia's brother Red in Mont Eagle, Tennessee when I was eighteen. He was probably about 90 at the time and hadn't seen me since I was a baby. After talking to my dad a while, Uncle Red turned to me and said "You're plain," (and here there was a looong pause.) And about 15 seconds later, begrudgingly: "But there's something kind of pretty about you."

When Virginia got wind of this, she congratulated me heartily, and when I didn't seem all that enthusiastic about an exchange in which a very old man I barely knew acknowledged that the sight of me came just shy of making him want to barf, she scolded me.

"You know, Robert is used to Very Beautiful Women," she said.

"Well," I said. "In that case...."

Virginia grew up on a farm in rural Virginia, one of ten children--seven of them daughters. Her father died when she was little, so if you were a girl in that family, you weren't getting any special attention. The three boys--of which Uncle Red was one--were spoiled rotten. ROTTEN. I think Virginia fell in love with the idea of Men when she was very young, because to be honest, growing up in the middle of Attaway, Grace, Maud, Mary, Annie and Helen seems like kind of a nightmare. I am being serious.

So anyway, Virginia loves men--especially very handsome, tall, loud ones with PhDs who have served in the military at some juncture. But she also likes the ridiculous ones who are always teasing and the serious ones who always want to talk about serious stuff. She likes the ones who "work themselves to death," and the ones who collect books for a living. She even likes sort of pitiful men. She insists that she continued liking a man who once called her at 3 in the morning sometime in the 1970's to tell her he felt "like a painted ship upon a painted ocean," and could he come over? I don't remember the end of that story, but I don't think I could maintain respect for someone who drunk dials a respectable lady in the middle of the night, and all he can think to do is quote Coleridge. That's the saddest booty call I've ever heard of.

My whole life I've felt sort of bitter about Virginia and The Men. When I was a kid, she was pretty unapologetic about it, and when you're nine and your grandmother says to you "well, just because I love Jason more than you doesn't mean I'm not going to treat you the same," you get sort of...a complex. But then I got older, and I did some thinking about Virginia and the Men. And you know what? 1) She loves me at least as much as I love her, if not more, and 2) Virginia's thing about men ensures that she loves at least 49% of the earth's population unconditionally. Unconditional love, you guys!

That's kind of great, actually.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Drama

This is something I remembered today, which I haven't thought of in a long time:

I took a whole year of drama class when I was a sophomore in high school. The first semester I took it because it seemed a little better than study hall, and the second because I had a crush on a boy in drama class who looked a little like Jordan Catalano. (It is dangerous, my friends, to underestimate the profound affect boys who look like Jordan Catalano have had on the course of human history.)




Anyhoodle, I was, hands down, the worst kid at drama--possibly who ever lived. There was this one time where I was supposed to be "acting" in a "scene" with another girl named Laura Forrester who was supposed to be my mother and I was supposed to be her teenaged daughter. At one point Laura was meant to say something that whipped me into such a fury that the script instructed that I yell "YOU CAN GO STRAIGHT TO HELL!" and storm off stage.

And you guys, I couldn't. I just couldn't. I started laughing, and completely fell apart in front of God, Jordan Catalano and everybody. I remember seeing Laura Forrester's face when I managed to get in a breath in between the the convulsive giggles, and she was looking at the drama teacher like "what am I supposed to do with this?"

The next week, Laura Forrester got do do a scene from Romeo and Juliet with...Jordan Catalano. And I was cast as Ouiser in a scene from Steel Magnolias. To the victor go the spoils.

And this, my sweet creampuffs, has been a Special Edition Thanksgiving Parable. It was also an excuse to show that clip from My So-Called Life. Happy Thanksgivies!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Women Who Are Good at Stuff

Someone I can really get behind is Edna St. Vincent Milay. She wrote simple poems about simple things from the perspective of the self I wish I could be all the time. Are you imperfect but also hate to be mad at yourself? Well, Edna's got a poem for you!

The Penitent

I had a little Sorrow,
Born of a little Sin,
I found a room all damp with gloom
And shut us all within;
And, "Little Sorrow, weep," said I,
"And, Little Sin, pray God to die,
And I upon the floor will lie
And think how bad I've been!"

Alas for pious planning - -
It mattered not a whit!
As far as gloom went in that room,
The lamp might have been lit!
My little Sorrow would not weep,
My little Sin would go to sleep --
To save my soul I could not keep
My graceless mind on it!

So I got up in anger,
And took a book I had,
And put a ribbon on my my hair
To please a passing lad,
And, "One thing there's no getting by --
I've been a wicked girl," said I:
"But if I can't be sorry, why,
I might as well be glad!"


Oh, Edna! So Bohemian and yet so sensible!

Also, this is one of my very favorite poems:

Recuerdo

We were very tired, we were very merry–
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable–
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry–
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.
So, now you know about that dead woman who was good at stuff.
Now, here's an alive woman who is good at stuff:

For about three weeks now, I have ONLY been listening to Sharon Van Etten, which is some kind of record for me. I just don't get tired of her. She's preternaturally good at writing songs that sound simple and clean, but then you're like, how the hell did she do that? Anyway, I think she might be a witch.

She was on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert this week, and I was so pumped about it until I discovered that she brought [REDACTED*] with her to the studio who did nothing but [REDACTED] behind her for 15 minutes. Yeah, that was way harsh, Jesslyn. But you know what? YOU watch it and tell me I don't have a point:




Anyway, I hereby proclaim this Women Who Are/Were Good At Stuff, Even if They're Dead Day!

Do you have anyone you'd like to nominate?

*Redacted by the Mean Police, ie. my husband

Monday, November 15, 2010

National Treasure


This morning, Bryan and I were driving Odessa to school, listening to a story on the radio about Mark Twain's autobiography. It turns out, Twain dictated the whole thing to an amanuensis from his bed, dressed in an ornate bathrobe, "supported by a bank of snowy pillows." The finished product evidently needed very little editing.

So, we got to the the corner of Nacoochee and Boulevard where some guys were cutting limbs off a big willow oak on the corner. It was raining out and pretty dark for 9 in the morning. The leaves of the oak were bright yellow, and something about the sight of them glowing in the dim, drippy morning while I was thinking about Mark Twain snuggled down in his bed, dictating the story of his life...it made me suddenly want a thousand willow oaks. I just wanted to look out my window from my bed at acres and acres of leaves and trunks and raindrops. I also wanted an amanuensis. And way more pillows than are currently supporting me at home. About 15 seconds later, I turned to Bryan, and this was our exchange:

Me: You know what I think the perfect job for me would be?

Bryan: Tell me.

Me: Celebrity chef. No--wait. Beloved children's book author. Well, just somebody that everybody really, really loves. I want to be a damn national treasure like Dolly Parton or Joseph Campbell or Tupac. Or Oprah or J.K. Rowling, except she's not American....

Bryan's barely even phased anymore by the fact that he married a megalomaniac, but within the confines of our little car, there was a sound like the boulder sliding into place in front of the entrance to Ali Baba's treasure cave. That's how I knew he was rolling his eyes.

Me: Anyway, I think that would be a really good job.

Bryan: I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lovely Day

Sometimes I come across a person who's all " I looooove the winter. I loooove gray, cold, crap weather that makes everything inconvenient and lousy. I frickkin' looooove it when it's suddenly pitch balls dark at 6 PM."

And to this person, I say, "Bullcrap, Sir/Madam. Bullcrap."

So, Daylight Savings Time ended this week, which has my Internal Superclock all verklempt. I believe you can guess my stance on Daylight Savings Time; I might have elucidated on that topic in this very publication. I'll just say this: if there was a political candidate who promised to to axe Daylight Savings Time, pennies and television ads for prescription medications, I'd canvas door to door for their campaign until my feet were useless, bloody stumps. But I digress.

My intent when I started writing a few minutes ago was not to complain, but to congratulate myself for living in Georgia. Because for the past two weeks, the weather has been all grody and cold, but today, (please stand by for an emotional moment)....

...sniff....ahem.

Today was just the loveliest day.

I drove to Ellijay for work. Ellijay is up in the mountains, and this is what my drive was like:




This is the great thing about Georgia. The weather can be completely appalling for a few weeks in the winter, and then there's this day that comes down like a soft, merciful bunny angel to snuggle you and whisper sweet bunny secrets in your ear.

That's kind of what today was like.

Also, I didn't have any actual bunny secrets whispered to me today, but I did have some pug secrets sniffled at me. They were not Top Secret State-level intelligence that I could trade to the Russians for lots of premium vodka and high class hookers or anything. They were just doggy secrets, but interesting nonetheless.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

The 'Ween

I am not good at Halloween. This is not news to some of you--I said it last year, and I'll say it again: costuming is not my métier. Because I think there are three directions a person could take Halloween, and only one of them ends in unequivocal success:

1. One could plan one's costume several months in advance and gather little bits and pieces of it until one has assembled the perfect ensemble. This person will look awesome.

2. One can ignore the approach of Halloween until it is upon one, but then one can dress up anyway. There is an 82% chance this person will look idiotic.

3. One can, like me, eschew Halloween with a firm hand. This person will seem really lame on Halloween itself, but on November 1st, will go back to seeming exactly as cool as that person seemed on October 30th. A small price to pay, considering that it is very difficult to unsee that which has been seen. Please refer to 2002, when I went to a Halloween party dressed as a slovenly Promise Keeper from Outerspace. Let's just say I wasn't easy on the eyes.

Anyway, I thought super hard about a costume this year...at about 1 PM on October 31st. And I came up with something I REALLY wanted to be:



Yep...That. And yet totally awesome, no?

So, I called Audrey and was like "I want to be the demented back yard fairy from that Fever Ray video," and Audrey was like "Honey, isn't she naked or something?" and I'm all "No, she's wearing Keds and socks and some first aid tape and...something else. Fur wrist warmers? Feathers? Whatever--I'll wear leggings."

So, that was the end of that.

However, don't let it be said that I passed my bah humbug on to my progeny:
Technically, she was a baby exotic bird for Halloween. But most people thought she was Gypsy Lee Rose, The Early Years. The important thing is that the whole thing took me exactly 24 minutes from conception to completion. And cost $0! HGTV should totally hire me.

And finally, in unrelated news, we ended up putting sweet Ruby Bear to sleep last weekend. It was a sad day. Thanks to everyone who has sent kind words and condolences. She was such a good girl and we miss her.

On an also unrelated, but perhaps more related--and also happier--note, the song in the feral diving board fairy video is actually really beautiful if you couldn't tell. There's a version by a sweet sister duo from Sweden that I especially like:



That is all.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bodhisattva


Well, this is a first.

It's currently 1:11 AM, and I was recently asleep like any normal person would be at this hour, when something unusual happened: I was roused by the sound of a kind of violent crying--sobbing, actually--that turned out to be coming from me. I don't know how long I had been just blubbering away in my sleep or what finally woke me up, but anyway, it happened, and now I can't sleep. So here I am.

Even though the mechanics of sleep blubbering are somewhat mysterious to me, the reason for my sleep blubbering is not. Ruby, my dog and dear friend, isn't doing so hot. I think I'm probably going to have to help her out with the actual death part of dying--probably pretty soon--and the thing is I just don't think I'm brave enough to do it.

People are always making wild and unsubstantiated declarations about the specialness of their pets; dogs especially. I happen to think that in general, one dog is very much like every other dog: furry, optimistic, driven by an insane appetite for human love and garbage. Ruby, however, is a bodhisattva. She is a pure, wise, compassionate soul and there's not anybody like her.

When I first met Ruby, it was impossible for me to have a dog. I was 21, living in a house that didn't allow dogs, and I didn't have any money. Ruby was 4 months old, had paws the size of dinner plates and was severely--severely--incontinent. But there was nothing I could do about it being impossible. Because Ruby's the closest I've ever come to love at first sight.

So, I took Ruby and named her and got her a red collar with a tag that said "Hey! I'm Ruby!" on it. No phone number or address because I didn't have one. For a while my boyfriend kept her at the farm he was working on. One winter Ruby and I slept in different peoples' yards in a one-person tent. I flew her to Georgia after I graduated from college and she pooped in airport in front of a whole bunch of horrified bystanders (Jane almost died laughing). The time I got divorced, I lost her for a year and a half, but I got her back in the end. Once she got food poisoning from eating out of the dumpster behind the frat house on Nacoochee Ave. and she had to get these fluids injected into her back that made her look like a camel. One time my mom's dog Beezie caught and killed a young deer in the pasture behind the house, and Ruby ate almost the entire thing before Mom found her. She looked like she had swallowed a 20 pound sack of potatoes.

One time I picked Ruby up at the airport in Bozeman, Montana after that year-and-a-half separation. She traveled in a giant crate and I watched them unload it from the plane and drive it across the tarmac on a little motorized cart. When I unlocked the crate, she exploded out the door and ran a couple big circles around me. But after she calmed down, I knelt down in front of her and she sat on her haunches in front of me and put one of her enormous paws on each of my shoulders, and licked my nose.

"Let's not waste any more time not being together," she said with her big, brown cow eyes.

"Agreed," I said with my regular human voice.

That's our standing agreement. I'm just not sure what to do now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Presents!


You guys, I have at last discovered the Number One reason to keep writing this blog, which is presents.

Yes, presents.

Friends, I have received a gift from an anonymous benefactor. You'll remember that in my last post, I mentioned that my hair was looking all bedraggled due to the fact that I ran out of the virgin unicorn spit that I use to make my hair so supernaturally soft and voluminous. And virgin unicorn spit is expensive on account of it being so difficult to harvest. Veeery difficult. (The process is pictured above. They basically have to wring it out of that girl's Pashmina once the unicorn is finished slobbering on her bosom.)

Anyway, imagine my surprise when Bryan called today to let me know I got a package in the mail. And ya'll. Somebody has sent me 3.5 ounces virgin unicorn spit. Anonymously!!

Whoever you are, thank you from the follicles to the tips of my soon-to-be-lustrous mane.

To the rest of you lowlifes: if you appreciate this service, you too can begin compensating me for my time with beauty products.

I expect presents from now on. I am so serious.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pros/Cons

WARNING: This blog post is not recommended for those suffering from seizure disorders or an aversion to Lindsey Buckingham.

Con: It's getting cold. Which means Not Summer is approaching.

Pro: I just had a really nice weekend all to myself.

Con: Well, the strap on my purse broke because it's cheap and isn't Man Enough to carry all of my stuff which usually includes a bike chain, a gallon of water and a foozball table. But whatever, STEVE MADDEN.

Pro: Tomorrow is Bryan's and my 3rd wedding anniversary!
A Comprehensive Glossary Of Gifs

Con: We can't go out for a romantic candlelit dinner because he has to work on a grant proposal.

Pro: But Audrey will be here from Texas on Friday!
A Comprehensive Glossary Of Gifs

Con: But she isn't going to stay with us because our elderly dog, Ruby, has a soft-ball-sized rotting tumorous pustule on her shoulder that makes her smell like she took a bath in a week-old elephant carcass.

Pro: But at least she's alive for a little while longer.

Con: But....
A Comprehensive Glossary Of Gifs

Pro: My friend Erica is currently overreacting about this particular situation so I don't have to. (Update: Erica texted me this weekend: "You son of a bitch. You said that I'm over reacting about The Bear!? What's in my heart is true!" So now I feel remorseful. Rubybear has touched the hearts of many.)

Con: My hair is all bedraggled because I ran out of my special magical hair beautifier. And I'm too broke to buy more.

Pro: It's sleeping, snuggling and down comforter weather.

Con:
A Comprehensive Glossary Of Gifs

Pro:
(whatever--you know you've always wanted to karaoke this shit.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jimmy Au


Friends, I take up my little white laptop to raise a delicate subject, never before addressed in these hallowed interweb pages. That is the topic of my husband's height.

That's right! Shit just got real.

Here's the deal: I am married to possibly the handsomest man I know. Bryan is gorgeous like what would happen if Johnny Depp and Keanu Reeves from 1995 had a baby. He is also 5'6 and weighs 130 lbs in a soaking wet track suit.

So, yeah. My man is petite, which I don't generally notice except when it makes me feel like a Clydesdale. I am 5'8 before I put socks on in the morning, and my ancestors were Scottish peasants who evidently had Stegosaurus bones. When he was my age, my dad looked like Zeus. He threw lightning bolts at us when we were bad. I'm lucky I made it out of that gene pool as femininely petite as I did.

ANYway, Bryan is short. He very rarely talks about his height, and seems genuinely unconcerned with it. However, when you are a smallish man, it is tough to find clothes that fit, and that is why he wears cutoff jean shorts. Every. Single. Day. And they all basically look like this:

So, when we got married, I was all "You are NOT getting married in cutoffs." And Bryan was all "But whyyyyyyyyyy?" And then I put the hammer down and made him go look for a suit with his sister Abby.

Now, to be fair, I had no idea how difficult this would be. I know Bryan hates to shop for
anything, including groceries. But I thought he would have more fun with Abby than he would with me, plus I was like "How hard could it be to find a suit? There are like 800 stores in Atlanta--at least one of them has a stylish and flattering suit for my husband to get married in." Well, it turns out I'm wrong sometimes.

I sent them on their way at around 10 AM on a Sunday morning and got a call from Abby around 4 telling me to come over to the Jos. A Banks near Phipp's Plaza because Bryan was about to buy something. So, I went over there. I walked in the door. I looked around and couldn't find Bryan. It turned out it was because he had been swallowed by pile of charcoal herringbone wool.

I will not emasculate my husband with a description of what he looked like in this suit, but I'll just say it was too big for him. Abby was understandably frazzled and Bryan looked like he might have the capability to shoot weapons-grade lasers from his pupils. They had not had a good time. Bryan literally had his credit card out and was handing it to the man at the counter when I stayed his hand. This was a delicate moment in my relationship with Bryan's family because they were all there, were all encouraging him by telling him how dashing he looked. Plus Abby had spent the whole day engaged in a futile search with her grumpy brother. And I was like "Ya'll, he looks like a 9-year-old Bible salesman. We can find something better."

Abby and Bryan refused to ride in the same car with me on the way home. Bryan forgave me that day, but I think it took Abby a couple of weeks.

So, I did a bit of light Googling that evening and found out that while there are over 100,000 Big and Tall men's clothing stores in America, only a handful of stores in the country are dedicated to dressing short men. I found the number for one of them in Beverly Hills, and called it.

A woman who didn't speak super duper good English answered the phone "Jimmy Au's." I just launched into my story like I was calling a suicide hotline. I told the woman about the whole day, that I was frustrated, that my fiancee was short and needed a suit for our wedding, and I couldn't accept the fact that he had to look ridiculous in order to look nice.

"I think you need to talk to Jimmy," the woman said. For a couple of minutes, all I heard was a muffled conversation in Chinese, and the next voice I heard was an older Chinese gentleman who sounded like a chorus of angels.

"Thank God you find me," he said.

Thank God indeed. All he needed to know what Bryan's height and weight.

"Okay Okay, I send you suit." he said.

"Um, are you sure? Do you want me to measure him or anything?"

Jimmy Au laughed. "No, no. I just send you suit and shirt. Tom Cruise come here and buy suit for Oscar. I send you nice Tom Cruise suit."

And you guys, a few days later we got the most exquisite, stylish wool suit in the mail. It fit Bryan perfectly.

In conclusion, today my friend Ben who works in my office came in with a magazine clipping for me. Ben loves Jimmy Au and the and very nearly peed himself with glee when he found THIS ARTICLE in the Fashion Week issue of
The New Yorker.

Thank God he find it!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's f$%^ing fall!

I sincerely apologize to those of my readers who dislike extremely salty gangsta language. Please, please do not read any farther if this is the case.

So, I almost die laughing every October when I reread this here mini essay from McSweeny's. I don't know who the guy is who wrote it or why it tickles me so, but it does. I wanted to share it with those of you who are man enough to take it (oh yes--and even you may want to have your smelling salts at hand). Because it's fall outside, you guys, and it makes me want to decorate some shit with gourds!

IT'S DECORATIVE GOURD SEASON, MOTHERFUCKERS.
BY COLIN NISSAN

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I'm about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it's gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There's a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I'm going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, "Aren't those gourds straining your neck?" And I'm just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, "It's fall, fuckfaces. You're either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you're not."

Carving orange pumpkins sounds like a pretty fitting way to ring in the season. You know what else does? Performing an all-gourd reenactment of an episode of Diff'rent Strokes—specifically the one when Arnold and Dudley experience a disturbing brush with sexual molestation. Well, this shit just got real, didn't it? Felonies and gourds have one very important commonality: they're both extremely fucking real. Sorry if that's upsetting, but I'm not doing you any favors by shielding you from this anymore.

Have you ever been in an Italian deli with salamis hanging from their ceiling? Well then you're going to fucking love my house. Just look where you're walking or you'll get KO'd by the gauntlet of misshapen, zucchini-descendant bastards swinging from above. And when you do, you're going to hear a very loud, very stereotypical Italian laugh coming from me. Consider yourself warned.

For now, all I plan to do is to throw on a flannel shirt, some tattered overalls, and a floppy fucking hat and stand in the middle of a cornfield for a few days. The first crow that tries to land on me is going to get his avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer.

Welcome to autumn, fuckheads!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dislikes

I'm not in a bad mood, I promise.

But today I was driving down Milledge Ave and saw that the antique store on the corner of Hancock had a bunch of Adirondack chairs on the front porch. And I thought to myself, "Those bad boys are seriously uncomfortable."

And so, I kept driving and sort of unconsciously started making a mental list of all the things I dislike. Not hate. The things I hate include children getting blown up by landmines and the fact that some people starve to death. Destructive, evil, unnecessary things. The following I just find mildly irritating. In no particular order, here are 20 of Today's Dislikes*:
  • Adirondack Chairs
  • ambient music (I don't care if it IS Brian Eno)
  • liver (I can still taste it)
  • short stories in The New Yorker
  • this advertisement**:
  • when people call their car or truck their "vehicle," as in "I left my mobile phone out in my vehicle."
  • flimsy handshakes
  • men with Australian accents
  • this book Odessa has called Guess How Much I Love You
  • horror movies
  • the fact that my calves are too big for tall boots
  • the nap you take after Thanksgiving dinner that results in groggy-bubbly gut.
  • folding and putting away clothes/doing dishes/vacuuming/"tidying"
  • those chocolate oranges you get in your Christmas stocking
  • when you're minding your own business and all of a sudden you're informed that it will be necessary to roll play.
  • Thunder Pants, which are those little bloomers that come with every single baby dress you buy, but which just end up piled in the corner of the drawer and never worn.
  • things that are monogrammed in general, but particularly in this font:
  • being woken up, particularly in the morning
  • most white foods that are also gelatinous (ie. mayonnaise, sour cream, tapioca pudding, etc.)
  • Peter Frampton
So there it is. My list of things I don't like today. What is it you dislike today?

*Today's Dislikes are subject to change after 11:59 PM on October 5th, 2010.
**I very nearly hate this ad. I consider it revolting.

Monday, October 4, 2010

they just grow up so fast


On the first Sunday of October, 2009, I started this blog. On that same day, this photo was taken of me and baby Odessa:

And here's one from yesterday, the first Sunday of October, 2010:


She is HUGE, you guys. You should feel my bicep muscles, because they are BANGIN' from picking up a 25 lb lump of love and affection 20 times a day.

But anyway, I wanted to thank you guys for reading my wordy words this past year. You are delightful like a cute little baby that I birthed myself. If I have enough chutzpah to keep it up another year, how sweet the victory will be!

Yours in flagrant exhibitionism,

Jesslyn

Friday, September 24, 2010

100


Hold the phones!

You know what I just realized, you guys? This is the 100th time I've ever written an Open Letter to The Internet via this blog. Yes'siree--my 100th post. And it only took me an entire year to do it!

My accomplishments, they are blinding in their celestial radiance!

Anyway, I've been thinking about the idea of celestial radiance lately because mine is obviously so distracting; and so I've been listening to Neutral Milk Hotel because to me, nothing is so awesome as In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. And I mean "awesome" in the Biblical sense. It's like you can hear God's voice in their tubas. And then God singing harmony with Himself in their musical saw.

Now, I understand NMH is not everyone's Thing. It's probably exactly the opposite of 62% of my readership's Thing. But that aside, I'd like to say that my goal is to create just one thing in my lifetime that's as purely inspired and good-at-what-it-does as In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. If I were going to paint a painting, I'd want it to be that good. If I were going to write a novel, I would want it to be that good. If I were going to sing a song, I'd want it to be that good. It may happen, and it may not. I'll keep you posted.

So, speaking from this great height--having stuck with writing this silly blog for a whole year--I can see that perhaps my collected works are not quite as good as Aeroplane. Therefore, I will keep practicing.

But it makes me wonder: what do other people think is celestially radiant and biblically awesome? If you were ever going to do something that's so good that it couldn't be changed even one tiny hair's breadth without being sullied, what would it be as good as?

I won't be offended if it's not this:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grit Manifesto

I have a kind of slavish loyalty to this restaurant in Athens called The Grit. It's a vegetarian restaurant that fries most things they don't drown in butter and/or cheese. Their cakes are sublime and if I weren't already married, I would consider starting a life with one of them. The wait staff is, by in large, both magnificent looking and theatrically unpredictable. An intoxicating combination.

My friend Lane loves to argue with people--it's just his idea of having a meaningful conversation--and sometimes he'll saunter over to me at a party and say, "So, The Grit. Mediocre food, the waiters are pricks, it's loud in there. Also, they don't serve meat."

As a general rule, I don't engage in conversations about about politics or The Grit, just in case it turns ugly. But I'll tell you guys why I love The Grit and I'll refer Lane to this post whenever he brings it up, just like my Granny refers people to her memoirs every time they ask for specifics about things that happened in 1923.

Well, first of all, LANE, the food is actually like the Milk of Paradise that has been drizzled on some ambrosia. And then rolled in nutritional yeast, fried in butter and sprinkled with cheese. Either that's your thing or it's not. It just happens to be my thing.

Secondly, when I was in high school I was one of those vegetarians who didn't eat any vegetables. My diet consisted mainly of Wendy's hamburgers without any meat inside them, frozen waffles and scrambled eggs. It's a wonder I survived. But The Grit was like Xanadu. I could eat anything and I liked everything, and if there was anything too botanical hidden within, I didn't notice. I am thankful for that.

Third: Lane actually has a point about the staff. Once I had an experience at The Grit wherein my table mistakenly neglected to tip the waiter, and he dealt with the situation by busting out the back door of the restaurant as we walked away, hollering profanities. He apologized after we gave him some money, and the only explanation I can give for his behavior is that he was profoundly drunk. I still see that guy every week, and he's never done anything like that since. In fact, he seems kind of shy.

But there's something about people who work there that I really like. No, they're not super nice all the time, but there's something respectable about them. Like even though they are bringing you a bowl of fried tofu in a minute, they're not going to get all waiter-y on you.

Also, I think they purposely hire strange and extravagant looking people. Years ago, Amber Valentine, the guitarist in Jucifer (which is the loudest band you've ever heard in person), worked there. Every day she wore fake eyelashes, 6 inch platform boots, a skintight tube dress and this Dolly Parton wig. At least I think it was a wig. She must have spent over an hour every morning applying her make up with a spackling knife, but she had a dedication to her craft that I admire.

The Fourth and Final: I get take out from The Grit pretty much every Friday evening. I call in my order beforehand, and the guy knows my voice over the phone. I walk in and the sunlight comes in the front window a certain way that lights up the pies so they wear little halos. It smells good in there, but it's not a food smell, really. If Odessa's with me, some waiters flirt with her and we walk around and look at the paintings they have up that week. Claudia's the weekend manager there, so she comes and sits with me while I wait for my food, and there's always the swinging sound of the door to the kitchen opening and closing, and voices echoing off the tall plaster walls. There's a waiter on a ladder adding something to the specials board with a wet piece of chalk. Led Zeppelin or The Shins or Rufus Wainwright is playing kind of soft in the background. Somebody I know walks up and says hello. And it's that's how I know it's Friday.

And I love Friday.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Caveman Days


When I was a little kid, I was infatuated with cavemen. I really wanted to understand what made them tick.

Unfortunately, my mom was a flagrant perpetuator of misinformation concerning the caveman lifestyle. Here's an example of a conversation I would have with my mom regarding cavemen and their habits:

Me: Mama, in caveman days, what did they use for toothbrushes?

Mom: They used sticks.

Me: Huh. Well, what did the cavemen use for a colander when they needed to strain their spaghetti?

Mom: Well, I'm pretty sure they would make one out of sticks.

Me: Oh. Well, what did cavemen use for dollies?

Mom: Well, they probably wrapped a stick in a piece of sabre-toothed tiger fur, and used that as a dolly.

You get the point.

So today I have about 60 gajillion chigger bites with a little poison ivy thrown in for good measure that I got bushwhacking through the woods this weekend like a jackass. At one point I found an entire TREE of poison ivy which I briefly mistook for a box elder until I realized it was covered in evil poison fur. Anyway, my malady has again made me think about being a caveman because they probably spent most of their time scratching the chigger bites under their sabre-tooth tiger loincloths. And what did cavemen do for Hydrocortisone cream?

They used sticks.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ghostly Preferences

Well, it happened again.

The ghosts in my office building keep ejecting the doorknob on the backdoor of the building. It's happened once every year since I started working there 4 years ago: we arrive at work one morning and the handle to the door is completely disassembled and lying on the ground.

It's an old house.

My boss says ghosts don't like doors and one time when she lived in a haunted house, a door that never wanted to stay closed unless it was locked just fell off its hinges. Those ghosts were sick of all that locking monkey business.

I can't say I blame them. If I were a ghost, I'd get tired of hanging out at my office, too.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Date: 9/02/10

On the first day of seventh grade, a girl in my class had a yard sale out of her locker in which she sold all her New Kids on the Block posters. I think she made like $30. I hope she's a financial futures analyst now because like 3 months later, the bottom fell out on NKotB. Entire fortunes of weekly allowance were lost. Those were dark times.

Anyway, around the same time, I was in the locker room changing for gym, and these two girls wearing button fly Levis and embroidered vests were talking about a new TV show that was the greatest thing evaaaaaar. And so began the reign of Beverly Hills, 90210. May it ever serve as a reminder that the gold standard for beauty and fashion is constantly shifting, so getting that tattoo/boob job is a definitely bad idea. Also, never lose your virginity at prom or leave your boyfriend alone with your best friend while you spend the summer in Minnesota. Take it from Brenda. (Update: I've been corrected. Brenda went to France for the summer).

Happy September 2, 2010, ya'll.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Trampoline and What Else?

Well, here it is, nearly midnight on a Friday and I'm not a bit sleepy. So I guess I'll write one of these here Internet Blurbs.

Lately I've been thinking about just what it is I'm supposed to be doing. You know--with myself. The interesting thing is that I'm perfectly content with things as they are: I like the things I do every day, the people I know, the place I live. But the other day I was jumping on a friend's trampoline and I realized, "Huh. I'm not 12 years old. That's weird."

When I was a little kid, we had this trampoline that my dad made out of some iron pipes and a bouncy mat he got some lady to sew to fit it. It was such a great trampoline, and Allison and I spent years of our lives jumping on it. We could do flips--frontward and backward--and we made up a game called Crack the Egg, wherein you make yourself a little tiny ball and the other person tries to bounce you so hard you come out of your ball, thus cracking the egg. I spent a lot of time on that trampoline, and I never broke any bones (or even my neck). Which is, of course, incredible.

So, the other day I was bouncing, and it dawned on me that I didn't land on my feet after I did a flip like I did when I was a kid. Now, I don't think there's anything wrong or particularly surprising about this--it just made me start thinking. This is what I thought:

First, I need to remember to get Odessa a trampoline for her 5th birthday. I honestly think this is a good idea.

Secondly, I spent about 27 years of my life convinced that It (aka, my REAL life) was all going to start just as soon as I had a baby. Now, I realize this might sound completely insane to you, but that's just what I believed. Some people think that a Job or a Romance or an Accomplishment is going to make them...well, Them. I just happened to believe it was going to be a baby that was going to turn me into Me. As a result, I have literally made note of every single baby that has ever been in a room with me since I was four years old. My mom thought I'd be a teenaged mother and sent me to Planned Parenthood the day she first discovered I had a boyfriend. And many years later, imagine my surprise when I actually gave birth to the baby I always wanted. And while she is soft and cuddly and charming and teaches me one true thing about life every single day, she doesn't actually replace anything or give anything meaning it didn't have before. This, though mildly surprising, is sort of a relief. I'm meant to do something else with my time here in the world apart from giving birth to and raising someone? Awesome!

Which brings me to the third thing the trampoline made me think:
I have an entire life ahead of me--maybe tens, hundreds, thousands of days to fill with things. But what things? I'll snuggle my little girl, certainly. I'll eat popsicles and try to make my husband laugh and learn not to be so scared of riding a bike, and maybe I'll travel someplace beautiful, and maybe I'll write a book. But what else?

I guess I could get really good at backflips on the trampoline again. Any other suggestions?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chaos


9:10 PM: I can't find my keys.
The maid was here today and everything. Obviously.

Aside: Interesting thing that I can't prove because I heard it from a real live person, and Sir Google cannot verify:

There are two types of patent applications the U.S. patent office will categorically discard upon receipt:

1. Applications to patent perpetual motion machines.
2. Applications to patent things that will help you find your keys.

But how come? I mean, how awesome would it be if you could call your keys like you can call your cell phone?

Darn you, U.S. Patent Office!

Update!! 11:10 PM
Keys FOUND!
Special Bonus Find: LIVING ROOM!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hard Times


Life has been tough for my little Poodle Pop the past couple of weeks:

1. I went away and left her breast-milk-less for a week, and have been very withholding since I got back. She is pissed and doesn't understand why her private property, to which she has a God-given right to protect with force (if necessary), is being confiscated and used for what? Nothing! My boobs are basically just like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. If she grows up Libertarian, I have no one but myself to blame.

2. She is growing some monster chompers.

3. She has super runny and stinky poops. I blame the monster chompers for that one.

4. While I was gone, there was a house guest situation which I suspect was the origin of a pandemic so destructive that it resulted in every single person I know nearly dying, as Virginia says (Bryan had to go to Urgent Care, and he never gets sick). Now Odessa not only has some new monster chompers and runny poops, but also the wheezy sniffles.

5. She started school yesterday. I know, I know--she's only 17 months old, so how could she be old enough for school? Well, Bryan is literally... okay, scratch that. Bryan is figuratively never going to graduate from college if he keeps taking care of Odessa instead of working on his school crap. SO, Odessa is going to a little Montessori school down the street from our house. And even though she went to daycare this spring (that was all day, every day), and this is only half a day, three days a week, I kind of cried a little in my kerchief after I dropped her off.

Because, ya'll, she's the littlest kid in her whole class and all the other kids were running and talking in complete sentences and basically spazzing out (I heard the 90's were back), and she just stood there in the middle of the room with this look on her face that bespoke, "Holy Shit." And that girl has admittedly had a tough couple of weeks, and it's incredible that she's still so sweet and trusting, and that she can still laugh at my elephant impersonation after all this weening and teething and pooping and force-feeding, not to mention the abandonment. Oh! The abandonment!

But like my dad says, "Life ain't no ride on no pink duck." And if it were, that would be kind of weird.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The August Offensive

This is sad.

Have you noticed what an attentive girlfriend I was to you in the month of July? I basically massaged your shoulders and cooked you romantic candlelit dinners that involved more than 3 ingredients. I asked you to explain the difference between a rebound and an assist, and as you spoke, I gazed earnestly into your eyes, nodding and murmuring with dawning comprehension as you discussed LeBron James' offensive strategy.

And then August came, and I went off to Louisville with my girlfriends and ended up kind of making out with a bartender named Bruce which didn't really count because I was drunk, etc, but I understand why you're mad because of the principle of the thing.

Anyway, sweet reader, we will work this out--we will again experience a Renaissance of Our Love. But in the meantime, work with me. Let me catch you up.

So, in August, here's what's been going down:

1. I went to Door County, Wisconsin to the wedding of my friends Kiki and Matt. Seriously, that place is unnaturally beautiful, plus I got to spend a lot of time with a bunch of friends I don't ever get to see. I drove up there (17 HOURS, ya'll!) with my friends Alex and Generameeks Queeks, and that was pretty much the best because we sang along with Bob Dylan albums and made up top 3 lists of crap we didn't know anything about (example: Top 3 Badasses of All Time: 1. Nikola Tesla 2. Marie Curie 3. The Honey Badger).

2. I weened Odessa off the boob while I was in Wisconsin. I know I said I was trying to do this 3 months ago, but I just got around to it. And woo-boy, is she pissed.

3. So, Bryan is in Mississippi doing stuff to defenseless little birds and I am working all day, so my dad and Janice are looking after Odessa. Only, here's the thing: Odessa is insane with teething rage. She's been refusing all sustenance and basically acting like a Honey Badger on PCP. And Dad and Janice are taking it with complete equanimity. Janice is a total Baby Wrangler--she's like Mary Poppins, and I'm not talking about the Disney Mary Poppins, but the one in the books who doesn't stand for any nonsense. I got a text message from her this morning that said something like "I have cornered and subdued the Barbarian. It is currently gnawing the flesh off the femur of her fallen adversary."

4. So, last night I had a whole bunch of free time on my hands since Bryan was gone and Odessa was acting like a total Balrog on someone else's watch. And so I went OUT TO DINNER WITH SOME FRIENDS AND THEN WENT TO A BAR! WHERE PEOPLE DRINK ALCOHOL! And because I'm a wet blanket prohibitionist teetotaler, I just drank bubble water, but listen to this: I talked to people and laughed at stuff. Oh, it was sweet.

And then, if that wasn't enough, I came home, went to bed at midnight and this morning, woke up at EIGHT FREAKIN' O'CLOCK and just lay there staring at the ceiling until about 8:50, when I got up and went to work. It was miraculous. But you know what? I still missed my family, even though one of them is a savage beast.

PS. I know my mom is going to worry that I actually made out with a bartender named Bruce in Louisville. I did not.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Spirit Animals


About a month ago, I was chauffeuring this kid I know around town, and he told me I drive like a squirrel.

"Squirrels don't drive," I said.

"Well if squirrels did drive, they would drive like you drive," he said.

I think he meant that I have a hard time deciding whether or not to go through yellow lights. I have always considered myself a generally decisive person, but something about those yellow lights...I dunno. Maybe my depth perception is bad? Anyway, it's noticeable enough that someone who doesn't even have his learner's permit commented on it.

And so today I had to make a big huge decision about whether to go to Wisconsin for a wedding next week. There were all these temporal, spacial and situational variables that I'm not going to bore you with, but as I was driving down the road today, fretting over said variables, compulsively clutching my cell phone just in case Oprah decided to take a sec out of her busy schedule to call me and tell me what to do, I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror. In the first nanosecond--before I even recognized myself--my reaction to the person in the mirror was, "Wow, that lady is freaking the hell out. Kind of like a squirrel..."

So, there you go. I have a new spirit animal.

And you know what else? Bryan and Jane (who is visiting with her sweet little squishy monkey-frog baby this week) have been sitting on the couch all night reading The Hunger Games series instead of talking to me. Their spirit animal is probably a worm or something BECAUSE THEY'RE BEING SO BORING!
Yuh-huh, Jane.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Livin' the Dream


The other day, Bryan and I were walking up to this restaurant, and there was this little kid standing outside--maybe 8 years old--with chin-length hair and wearing really baggy cargo shorts, a big T-shirt and black flip flops. Bryan and I were talking as we approached the door and I wasn't paying much attention. As the kid opened the door for me, I said "Thank you, sir."

BIG mistake. Turns out it was a little girl. I knew it as soon as I said it: her eyes got wide and she looked kind of alarmed and hurt. I wanted to apologize, but that would have just made it worse. I hope she doesn't remember it for the rest of her life.

Because some things that embarrassed me as a kid haunted me for years. Like the time I impulsively screamed ""Mommy!" and hugged the flight attendant my dad was flirting with on the airplane because I thought she was going to be my new mom. (Not that I particularly wanted a new mom or anything, but I thought, "well, if this is how it's going to be, I guess I better at least make this lady feel welcome."). It doesn't seems so bad now, but at the time, it was completely mortifying.

But tonight, our friends David and Kerry were over for dinner, and we were talking about all the things that made us scared or uncomfortable or embarrassed when we were little, and I remembered the Worst Moment of The Nineteen-Eighties:

When I was in 3rd grade (1987?), I decided I was kind of into cutting edge fashion. So one day when my parents weren't paying attention, I wore nothing but an overly-large sweatshirt, underpants, socks and my pink Reebok hightops onto the school bus. It was kind of a last-minute decision. Now, when I say "overly-large," I mean it was baggy, but not minidress large. I repeat: it was not a minidress. So, I got off the bus and walked into school, and became more and more uncomfortable as I made it to my classroom. Kids were staring, and not in a "wow--she looks just like Debbie Gibson" sort of way. For a while I held out hope that I would just get used to it, but then I tried to sit in my desk in my sweatshirt-minidress, and there was this moment that I'll never forget when the romantic fashion fog burned off my brain all at once, and there I was sitting in my desk in school wearing just a sweatshirt, and my brain was like, "Yhfw9hD6ycbwq8*CB#R*!!! WE'RE NOT WEARING ANY PANTS!" It was just like one of those dreams where you're just minding your own business, and all of a sudden you're naked at the mall. So, I guess you could say I've actually lived the dream.

Anyway, after my "Thank You, Sir" gaffe, Bryan gave me a long lecture about gender stereotyping in the 21st century, blah blah blah. But you know what? Wardrobe provides context clues. That little girl was dressed just like a little boy, so I assumed she was a little boy. I once wore NO PANTS to school and looked totally insane, and so the teacher called my dad, and he had to come bring me some pants, and yes, that was embarrassing. But the next day I wore pants, because I didn't like the experience of not wearing any pants. If that little girl is emotionally scarred, the next time I see her, she better be wearing a Justin Bieber T-shirt. I am so serious.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alumni Magazine


About twice a year, I get this extraordinarily glossy magazine full of attractive teenagers cavorting around desk sets, and I take it out of the mail box and am all "Oh! The new Pottery Barn Teen has arrived!" But then I take a closer look and discover, no. It's the alumni magazine from my old school. And that's when I think to myself, "Why the crap are they sending me this?"

Now, when I say "my old school," I don't mean any of the colleges I attended, of which there are several (I had a hard time making up my mind, okay?). No, I mean, the school that my mother (Happy Birthday, Ma! By the way!) slaved for 9 long years to keep paying the tuition for. I mean the private school that kept me from having to go to a public school in one of the crappiest school systems in the state. I mean the school that is responsible for my having read Dante's Inferno (or, you know...some of it) and for having a taste for unreasonably nice things, even though I'm incapable of taking care of said nice things.... Etc.

So, as I was saying, I get this magazine from them a couple times a year, and no offense, friends from high school who like the alumni magazine, but boy is it ever a giant barf-fest. To look at the alumni magazine, you would think the place was a multi-ethnic Shangri-la where the lighting is always soft and flattering, and all the alumni are successful Thai soap opera stars and orthopedic surgeons who live in France. It's not like I hated high school (well, I sort of hated middle school, but that wasn't entirely School's fault), and maybe the place actually has become Shangri-la in the 248 years since I graduated, and maybe I'm being a bitter old hag because there was no Chinese calligraphy class when I was there, BUT...my feeling is that the alumni magazine is exaggerating a tidge.

And then I found out why they sent me this $10 magazine to sell me a school I'm not ever going to go to again: I saw the thermometer. (You know, the we're-raising-money-for-all-these-flawless-skinned-white-toothed-wealthy-people-to-make-something-of-themselves-in-the-21st-century thermometer). And I was like WHAAAAAAAAA?

Because, friends, these people want me to give them money. Serious money. They have already made 70 MILLION DOLLARS from 900 people, and they want 20 Million more dollars. For a grand total of $90 Million. Which, you guys, happens to be approximately the gross domestic product of the Falkland Islands.

The End.

Monday, July 19, 2010

General Hilarity

Dudes, I am so on a roll. Posting 3 days in a row! Incroyable!

Anyway, here's a video of Odessa in the bath, laughing at me acting like I'm out of my damn mind:

video

That was me pretending to eat The Bopple Whizzler, which is a little canoe with Burt (but not Ernie) sitting in it, that our friend Ben Colvin found in the Clark Fork River and gave to Bryan for his birthday one year, many years ago. And now it's Odessa's favorite bath toy. Pack Rats for the win!