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!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Emperor of the Internet


I think when you're proud of someone you like, you should tell everyone. So, I'm telling you now: I'm proud of my friend Hank.
This is Hank:

He sort of owns the internet with his brother, John. They're like the Emperors of the Internet. Anyway, I don't know John very well, though he once thought I had broken into Hank and Katherine's house when I answered their landline and I guess I walked down the aisle with him when we were both in Hank and Katherine's wedding. But I just read one of John's books, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and it was great! It's about a gay teenager who puts on a musical--you should read it!

And Hank, sweet Hank--congratulations for putting on a huge conference for people who love Youtube, and for creating your own record label, and for focusing on fixing the environment instead of just complaining about it being broken, and for creating Youtube's only game show.

So, Hank--I'm proud of you. In public! Everyone, click on the links to see all the great stuff Hank does. You're going to be totally impressed!

Hail the Emperor of the Internet!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Centenarian Secrets


Yooooooou GUYS!

I missed you! Truly, I did.

You know, one thing I have to remember is that I am totally allowed to write a smallish sort of blarg post (as Bryan calls it) and it doesn't have to be 1000 words double spaced and paginated or anything. Because last week, before I went to California, I started writing a post about how Odessa can take her own diaper off now and about how screwed I am. But then I didn't publish it because I felt I hadn't fully absorbed the weighty consequence of the development. And now you're probably mad at me because you totally want to know about the time Odessa peed all over something or other because she took off her diaper at an inopportune moment. Well, I'm not going to do that. But I AM going to tell you that I just went to California to see my grandmother turn 100.

And boy did she ever:


That's a photo of Granny and her 3 kids and 2 great-grandkids on a catamaran in the Santa Barbara harbor. Odessa's the one looking profoundly sea sick in a Snoopy life vest.

And you want to know what's amazing? That lady has not changed one bit in all the years I've known her. She's incredibly positive and accepting and just a wonderful person. There was a big party for her, and 75 family members from all over the world were there and many people got up and talked about how much they adored Granny. And then she got up (or actually, she sat because you're allowed to do that when you're 100) and read a poem about which she later admitted, "I don't think it's a very good poem but it says what I feel."

Drinking From The Saucer

by John Paul Moore
I've never made a fortune,
And I'll never make one now
But it really doesn't matter
'Cause I'm happy anyhow

As I go along my journey
I'm reaping better than I've sowed
I'm drinking from the saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed

I don't have a lot of riches,
And sometimes the going's tough
But with kin and friends to love me
I think I'm rich enough

I thank God for the blessings
That His mercy has bestowed
I'm drinking from the saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed

He gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough
I'll not ask for other blessings for
I'm already blessed enough

May we never be too busy
To help bear another's load
Then we'll all be drinking from the saucer
When our cups have overflowed

And, ya'll. Hearing my 100-year-old grandmother who has lost 2 husbands, a son, and basically everyone she knew before she was 25, who has spent her life giving whatever she could to people who needed it, who is as pious, compassionate and humble as any nun ever in the history of any convent; hearing Granny read THIS poem--this cheesy-ass poem that I found in its entirety on a website called SelfEsteemPoetry.com--was transcendental. I stood there next to my cousin Ulla, who flew all the way from Singapore to be there, and we hugged each other and cried a little because we both knew we'd never do as good a job at living to be 100 as our Granny has.

But that doesn't mean we're not going to try.