Archive for January, 2006

Don’t Panic

Someone tried to break into our house while we were in our bedroom. We heard noises the other night and didn’t think anything of it, as I was running the dryer and it’s LOUD.

But, um, last night we noticed that the whole doorjamb was banged up, and it looks like someone tried to stick a long wire or jimmy in there to trip the deadbolt, walk in and help themselves to our stuff. And, you know, US, comfortably snuggly in our bed. We called the cops to report it, and this dude straight out of Deliverance showed up, heavy Southern accent, pockmarked face and potbelly in tow. I wondered for the eleventy millionth time why I moved to this terrifying state as I waited for words, “You sure do got a purty mouth!” followed by gunpoint-coerced sex with both of us . Instead I got:

“Durn there looks like someone done tryin’ to break in’ yo’ hay-ouse. You got anythin’ o’ wort in they-ah? In plain saaaht that’s a temptay-shun to them unsavory folk?”

Um, what? Hay-ouse? DO YOU MEAN HOUSE? WORT? He then proceeded to go on and on about his new house in Montana and the security he’s putting in there and blah blah blah I don’t care about Montana because I LIVE FAR AWAY FROM THERE.

I freak out near cops. I mean, FREAK OUT like I’m high or something. I haven’t broken the law since 1999, when I was at a party where there was pot, yet strangely, when I am in the presence of police, I get as paranoid as if I’ve got a 15-lb bag of heroin underneath the sink. I become overly solicitous and make pointed comments about my clean-living, non-rule-breaking annoying Capricorn self. I *wave* to police passing me in the street, thinking, “If I wave and act like I see them, they won’t stop me!” And if they pull me over, I go on and on about how long it’s been since I’ve had a drink and how I’m afraid to take the tags off of mattresses, much less speed. It’s horrible.

Of course, when Officer Roscoe Pekoe Train showed up and started hypothesizing as to why someone would do this, I offered,

“OMIGOD. Do you think they were looking for drugs? Because we *so* do not have drugs in this house! I mean, I don’t even like to DRINK that much, much less do drugs! We JUST SAY NO in this house, you know what I mean?”

A lie. I mean, yes, we just say no to drugs, not that anyone has asked in about a decade. And the giant jug o’ wine on the kitchen counter in plain view made the fact that I don’t drink a bit of an obvious falsehood, given that it was open and a glass was poured and my lips were red. And last time I checked, I was 30 and allowed to drink anywhere in the world. And it didn’t stop there.

“Do people steal drugs? Or just money for drugs? Because we DO NOT HAVE DRUGS! NO DRUGS HERE! We’re too old for drugs! JUST SAY NO!”

*nervous laugh*

Finally, Adam turned to me and frantically gestured for me to leave the room, as I was apparently freaking everyone out, including Roscoe, and if I kept it up, I’m pretty sure we’d have had a SWAT team tearing the house apart looking for mythical drugs. Adam still can’t get over my odd behavior, and I’m pretty sure he’s thinking that I’m a closet cocaine addict.

So now we have two motion sensors, three alarms, a new lock on the door and motion-detecting floodlights out front. If anyone so much as FARTS in the general direction of our house, we will be awake, hammers in hand. I so dare you, druggies. NO DRUGS HERE.

I am not freaked out about this, surprisingly. Our house in college was burglarized so often we just accepted it as a fact of life. After a party at our house, we left the keg on the porch, tapped, and came home to three homeless guys kicking back with a beer. I woke up in the middle of the night one night to a man trying to OPEN THE WINDOW OVER MY HEAD while I slept. He was a drunk looking for a place to pass out. When I came out screaming, he ran. Big deal. If they wanted to stab me, they’d break the glass and stab me. Most people want money, or things to steal.

You know, for drugs. Not that we have any.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Separately, the dog.

She has a winky weird eye that the breeder is worried about, and as a result he may want to keep her. {{sob}}Something with tear production and microsurgery and I don’t know, so don’t ask for deets, I haven’t a clue. *My* dog. My little Samalah. Maybe *his* little Samalah. We visited her on Saturday, you know, just in case, and per my request, are calling her Sam(my). So that’s her name whether she’s mine or not, and it KILLS ME. *stabs self in eye*

But today he called and said he thinks she may be turning a corner and she has an appointment with an eye specialist tomorrow at 10:15 a.m., so let’s hope he’s right. I fell for that little tuxedoed thing and I want her home. After his first phone call, I wrote her off, and now my hopes are up again. I hope she can shake it, for I want that little bundle, like yesterday.

*Coldplay

21 comments January 31st, 2006

Everybody’s Changing

Her name is Sam. Ordinary, plain old Sam. Or Sammy, as it will inevitably evolve into. Boston has a lot of famous Sams, so it made quasi-sense. Sam Adams. Sam Malone. Sam…there must be more Sams. But androgyny was key, for has anyone ever seen a *pretty* Boston Terrier? I mean, she’s not a pretty little thing, she’s goofy and clowny and doofy and weird, so something feminine would be so, so wrong.

I don’t think I can wait until she gets here.

I’m not obese, I promise. It’s the photos. As soon as I can take one, I will post it, if only to prove it to myself that an angle while squishing back away from cute puppy is not my best showing. And erm, to prove to all of you that I’m not scary. Because I’m not, I promise.

Separately, I had a nice chat with my therapist about babies and puppies today after a near-meltdown. Somewhere close to the entire world has told me not to get this dog, and to wait until after I have babies.* And here is a newsflash for everyone:

I’m not having babies at the moment, and if I waited for everything until “after I had babies” than I would be basically putting my life on hold until I was ready, which would totally negate the point of waiting to have kids. If I’m not going to LIVE until I have them, then why not just have them now? I’m just sayin’. And sure, I could change my mind soon and feel wonderfully settled and all that good stuff, but can I just say that I HAVE HAD ENOUGH CHANGE FOR A LITTLE WHILE. I moved to another, really hot state. I got a new job. I still know four people within a 70-mile radiousso if everyone (including me) could just CALM DOWN about my uterus, that would be great.

I realize how bizarrely ambivalent I’m being about this. Hello, it’s me, Mixed Messages, nice to meet you.

I have been panicked about Baby Stuff since I turned 30. I live in (irrational) fear that my childbearing years are waning considerably (stop laughing), and if I don’t get pregnant SOON, then I won’t be able to have more than one and my single child will turn into a self-centered freak who murders people from atop a bell tower because she never learned how to share and the world is just such a cruel and unsharing world, and she never had a sister, so how on earth could she learn to share and GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD.

Add all of this to the fact that someone I know recently gave me a giant lecture that she doesn’t think that “older” mothers should exist because they are too tired to handle their kids properly. And then there was another acquaintance, parroting in everyone’s ear, “Well so-and-so was 35 when she had BillyBob and they don’t stimulate him enough! They’re TOO OLD!” Thanks, Ms. Nubile Pregnant Woman of the Age of Twenty Six Who Got Married at Twenty Two. Try having a hard time getting pregnant with years of fertility treatments and see HOW PERKY YOU ARE ABOUT LIFE.

And while we’re at it, thanks. More pressure! I SO APPRECIATE THAT. And, erm, my younger brother’s wife, is actually pregnant. He’s my step-brother, my adopted brother. And he’s a lovely guy. They’re having a boy. And Adam’s brother’s wife? Also pregnant. Having a boy.

THE WHOLE WORLD IS PREGNANT, it seems. With boys, which, amusingly, is sending Adam into a tailspin (“It’s not looking good for us, statistically…”) And at this moment? I think I decided I want to at least wait a little while before I join them, if that’s okay with everyone. I just want to hang out with my husband, dog and cat and eat mangoes. I keep waiting for some cosmic sign to tell me that YES! I want babies now! but it hasn’t happened yet. I mean, I had giant twinges before when we were in Boston, but the cold, hard truth is that I wasn’t happy with my life, so it seemed like a reasonable thing to do to make a change. And now I kind of want to see where my life goes on my own for a little bit. I have at least 5-10 good childbearing years left, you know…or so my therapist reminded me when I screamed that they were waning. Actually, I think she said 13, given that my mom went into menopause at 45 or later. So whatever.

And, um, is the PMS that obvious? AND WILL MY PERIOD JUST GET HERE ALREADY. (*small voice* But really, thank you Synthroid! I didn’t like them every 15 days! I’ll take it!)

*not you. And you so know who you are, Ms. Knitting Needles 2006. You are nice and normal and thoughtful and not bossy.

**Keane. I like them.

14 comments January 26th, 2006

She

In lieu of bringing a baby into this world at the moment, we’ve opted for that little thing you see there. Yes HER. (And that’s me. Ignore the rolls. There’s one of my face as I’m squishing back to avoid the camera that makes me look like Jabba the Hut and I am SO NOT SHOWING THAT, even though she looks perfect in it)

Could she be any cuter? Because the answer is yes, she could be cuter. Like when she rolled over belly-up in my lap and crossed her paws, sighing heavily and falling asleep. That was the moment we said we’d take her. She comes home in two weeks.

She has no name. Well, she had a name. A very nice name. One that we loved. And then we learned that in some parts of the country – well, apparently ALL PARTS – it is a slang term for vagina.

I almost named my dog Vagina. I might as well named her Hootchie.

Her name was Cousy. After Bob Cousy, the legendary Celtics player. Pronounced coo-zie, to be exact. Cooze, for short. If you prefer an alternate definition, we were about to name her “a dirty slut who probably has some diseases.” Wonderful! And what child doesn’t want to be named Dirty Slut?

Thankfully, my friend Laurene and the lovely T-Diddy informed me of my horrificly ignorant error. It would have been embarrassing at Dog Beach when I hollered out her fetid name. I HAD NEVER HEARD THIS BEFORE. Forgive me, as I am apparently sheltered and naive. My first job was on a dairy farm, you know. Give me a break.

But seriously? I’m a little scared that I’m going to screw up this dog. I will not pretend that this isn’t Trainer Baby 2.0, and is now the time to admit that I’ve never had a dog? I am getting a TEN WEEK OLD PUPPY, and already, before she even arrives, I am dooming her to a life of humiliation.

I might as well have named her Mulva. Or, as the brilliant Yesrie said, Pudenda.

Oh, and Cappy says it’s not too late to change our minds on the drooling, slobbering beast.

*The Sundays!

11 comments January 24th, 2006

Just Can’t Get Enough

When I was younger, I wanted to be cool, but it just wasn’t happening. The evidence has already been presented in gross detail: I was an oboe player who wore a busbie, marched in the band and had a penchant for horrendous fashion choices, such as horizontal striped tights. I also went to the midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show dressed as Magenta and, I’m horrified to admit, participated in *acting it out* at the front of the theater with everyone else on more than one occasion.

Wicked cool, yes? SO COOL. Anyway, I never really listened to supercool music, either. New Wave wasn’t all that hip in the early ‘90s, when grunge was making its first appearance on the scene. Suddenly piles of young kids were listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam (who had zero influence on my life whatsoever), and dressing in clunky workboots and flannel shirts. New Wave and electronica was the anti-cool, but it made me feel cool anyway.

I started listening to Erasure in the 6th grade, and I can’t even remember how or why, but if I really thought about it, that whole discovery influenced what I listen to today, nearly 20 years later. In fact, everything I listen to can pretty much be boiled down to the influence of 10 albums, which are arguably the best albums in the entire history of albums, in my opinion. They aren’t cool, but I don’t care. Make fun of Morrissey I will poke your eyes out with sticks.

For the past few months, every post title has been after a song title from my history – even Anne Murray, as my mother is a tremendous fan and I grew up listening to her on repeat. I daresay that post title hasn’t been inspired by these albums, but many of the others have.

1) The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow – There’s really one simple reason why this album is fabulous: It includes “How Soon Is Now?” which is heralded by many as the first alternative song to grace mainstream radio. I wasn’t really paying enough attention at the time, but I will say it remains the one song I can listen to on repeat over and over again without getting tired of it. And the lyrics are a brilliant study in ridiculous self-absorbed melancholy. Plus the album includes, in one happy collection, other greats that I adore without condition: “William, It Was Really Nothing,” “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want,” “This Charming Man” and “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.” The Smiths were arrogant enough to release “greatest hits” albums like this one incredibly early in their career, but I daresay it worked out well for them.

2) New Order, Substance. Bernard Sumner has one of the most soothing voices in music. It’s not great by classical standards, and he’s not particularly artful in his delivery, but the slightly clipped, nonchalant singsong tone sucks me in every time. New Order also took light electronica and mixed it with actual instruments. While I loved the band’s roots in Joy Division, New Order brings a certain flip, irreverent tone to their songs that Ian Curtis lacked. Where Curtis was self-conscious, Sumner is self-effacing. I mean, the man actually sung the words, “You’ve caught me at a bad time/so why don’t you piss off” in such a compelling tone that he invites legions to sing along in good-humored solidarity. Substance is the collection of many of their greatest songs, including “Blue Monday,” “Shellshock” (immortalized in Pretty in Pink) and “Bizarre Love Triangle,” one of the few songs that gives me goosebumps at every listen.

3) There needs to be a Depeche Mode album here, but it’s nearly impossible to pick just one. On one hand, there is Speak and Spell, which brought the world “Just Can’t Get Enough,” a simple, bubbly anthem that showcased Vince Clarke’s incredible talent for catchy hooks supported by deceptively complex arrangements. Vince Clarke went on to become one of the most incredibly underrated musical icons, and I can’t help but feel more loyalty to his work with DM than anything they did later. However, there is the brilliance that is Violator. I mean, everyone from Marilyn Manson to Johnny freaking CASH covered “Personal Jesus,” and the rest of the album is equally gripping. But as brilliant as Martin Gore is, he possesses an arrogance that Vince Clarke endearingly lacks.

4) Erasure, Wild. Vince Clarke, I love you. Had I known all this time that you were willing to marry an American girl and live in Portland, Maine, I would have tried to find you a long time ago. Electronica rules here, and every single song on this album is perfection, from “Blue Savannah” to “Brother and Sister.” Beautifully – truly stunningly – arranged with sweeping emotion and spot-on, soul-baring vocals, it’s Erasure’s finest masterpiece. Clarke proves once again that electronica is much more than pushing buttons on a synthesizer and faking it. The longtime duo is an incredible concert experience not to be missed, but is not for the faint of heart. Frontman Andy Bell has been known to don tutus, strategically-placed (ahem) horns and a mind-boggling amount of Spandex. Prepare for a jolly good time with a dose of irreverent, at times graphic, self-effacing gay humor.

5) Peter Gabriel, Shaking the Tree. Peter Gabriel is by far the most brilliant musician and songwriter I have ever had the privilege of listening to. Seriously – he is absolutely outstanding, and let’s all thank God that he left Genesis, for could you really imagine him enduring “The Living Years” with a straight face? Or worse, sinking to the easy-listening depths of Phil Collins? This album would be worth it for the stark beauty of “Here Comes the Flood” alone, but the fact that it’s 16 of Peter Gabriel’s personal favorite songs from the past few decades makes it beyond special. Perpetual concert favorite, “Biko” closes the album, as he closes every concert – and everyone must find a way to see Gabriel in concert at least once. Of note, this compilation does not include famed love-anthem “In Your Eyes,” and with good reason: Pete has often commented that it is far from his favorite tune, and was reluctant to permit its defining appearance in Say Anything.

6) REM, Automatic for the People. I don’t love REM the way I love the other artists on this list, but Automatic is too good not to be here. R.E.M. is hit-or-miss for me a lot of the time, and unlike my beautiful friend Annie, I prefer Michael Stipe in his later years, after he gained the confidence to showcase his vocals and relinquish his position as reluctant frontman and emerge as an icon, but before Monster turned him into a cartoon. Automatic for the People is a wondrous collection of moving, quirky tunes with lyrics that catch listeners by surprise. While the oft-played “Everybody Hurts” is the best known track, “Nightswimming” is perhaps the most beautiful REM song in the history of REM, rivaled only by “Daysleeper” in its stunning simplicity.

7) Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes. While Tori has gone on to create much edgier albums that would define her in ways well beyond her angry roots, “Little Earthquakes” is what Tori should be. Not only does the album give us “Me and a Gun,” and “Silent All These Years,” but “Tear in Your Hand” is a marvelously spot-on breakup anthem that is more poignant with each listen. “Maybe she’s pieces of me you’ve never seen/Maybe she’s just pieces of me you’ve never seen” speaks to the desperation of an unwanted break up better than any song I’ve heard before or since.

8) Garden State Soundtrack. Once in a while, a soundtrack comes along that is virtually inextricable from the movie that spawned it. Listening to the Garden State soundtrack instantly transports listeners back to the quietly moving, quirky film that made Zach Braff a superstar and outed a generation of indie rock bands, surely pissing off legions of condescending followers. I can hear the collective exasperated sigh of a nation of Shins fans, and in a few short months, have already heard grumblings that they have indeed, sold out. Whatever. Aside from its indie status, the soundtrack is an amazing journey that melds little-known tracks like “The Only Living Boy in New York,” with modern vocal genius Imogene Heap in Frou Frou’s “Let Go.” And really, the use of “The Only Living Boy in New York” redefined the song, originally a melancholy tune about a disintegrating relationship (Garfunkel pulling away from Simon) and turned it into a tune of redemption and discovery. Brilliant.

9) Paul Simon, Graceland.
You’ve simply got to go to Graceland, and forget about the visual of Chevy Chase on a bongo drum. Please. It’s so much more than “You Can Call Me Al.” Simon blended influences from all over the world before Dave Matthews even thought about it. The title track is wonderful, as is “Boy in the Bubble.”

10) The Killers, Hot Fuss. Thank you, Brandon Flowers, for not only being more magically delicious than a bowl of Lucky Charms will ever be, but for bringing new wave back to modern radio. Thank you for thinking Morrissey is cool and discussing Erasure with the tone of reverence that they so richly deserve. Thank you for taking vocal cues from David Bowie in “China Girl,” (among countless others) and sounding sexier than sexy in the background of “All These Things That I’ve Done.” Thank you for bringing eye makeup back to male lead singers. But mostly, thank you for restoring my faith that good music is still being recorded post-1986.

12 comments January 16th, 2006

Snowbird

One of my not-quite-New Year’s resolutions was to save money, which is challenging, given that I have a job that pays in the range of cashews. But, I figured I could cut back in odd ways.

And I started a new frugal initiative today! Yes, today! Today I decided to pluck my eyebrows instead of having them professionally waxed. I look like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. Sinister and slightly deranged, with my right eyebrow cocked at a rakishly jaunty angle due to overzealous plucking with my brand-new Tweezerman. Did I mention I also need a haircut so desperately that my head is starting to resemble the head of a circumcized penis? Relief comes tomorrow in the form of a hair appointment. But there is no saving the eyebrows.

Bringing lunch to work is more my speed, though that, too, has also resulted in disaster, given that my fancy polycarbonate water bottle lid doesn’t fit right* and not once, but twice I have lost the cap in my lap and soaked myself to the skin. My days have been spent largely trying to explain away my splotchy wet clothes to my new coworkers. Of course, the crotch seems to be the area that gets soaked the most. And why it seems to settle into a triangle shape is beyond infuriating.

And in the midst of all of this mad water-drinking and crotchal triangle wetness, I had to go to an appointment yesterday, only to find that when I got into my car my battery was dead**. Though I had to cancel my appointment, our friends at AAA were kind enough to arrive to give me a jump start. When they arrived, I had somehow managed to not spill and actually DRINK approximately eleventy million gallons of water and had to pee desperately. But they were going to be fast, so it was no big deal! Right? NO BIG DEAL! They’d charge me up, and I’d go back to work and everything would be fine! Fine!

Except they weren’t. I mean, they were fast – yes, they fired up my car in less than five minutes! But what they failed to tell me was that *after* they fired it up, I had to keep it running and moving for 45 consecutive minutes. Which meant I had to NOT PEE and drive around for 45 minutes. The areas I was tooling around are are gorgeous places to be, but when you have a bladder (whose owner also has her period) the size of a watermelon, the gorgeousness totally loses its appeal. It even becomes less appealing when Watermelon Bladder suddenly finds herself on a one-lane street crossing over a causeway behind a vacationing couple in a Jaguar convertible – she was wearing a straw hat – who think that driving 25 MPH in a 55 MPH zone is perfectly acceptable so that they can gaze languidly over the bridge, searching for manatees.

This is a popular situation. As a rule – myself included when I’m on vacation – vacationers tend to think that THEY ARE ON VACATION, so the rest of the world should adjust their lives to make THEIR VACATION perfect. At one point, I desperately searched the car for a bottle, a cup – ANYTHING that I could use to prevent myself from peeing on the seat of my little SUV. I kept asking myself in vain, do they not SEE the line of cars behind them? DO THEY NOT CARE?

The answer is no, they do not care. I learned this when I finally passed them illegally, my bladder taking over, when they waved their arms in disgust and laughed in my face, diamond bracelets jangling off of the woman’s arm as she threw her head back and caught her straw hat. Yes, yes, I could have been more polite. Perhaps waving middle fingers and screaming, “GO HOME! YOUR HAT SUCKS!” wasn’t the friendliest of approaches, but still. Yes, I actually did that. Or rather, my Watermelon Bladder made me do it. Did I mention I have my period? And that I HAD TO PEE SO BAD? And that my 45 minute drive has now crossed the 90 minute mark? And that my radio doesn’t work because the battery is fried? NINETY MINUTES OF WATERMELON BLADDER ENDURED IN SILENCE.

Tired. I am so very tired. And grumpy.

*Because I don’t learn from my mistakes and can’t put the lid on right.

**Because I left my lights on all morning like an idiot.

***Today’s song brought to you by Anne Murray. If you know who she is, you’re laughing at me. Stop laughing. Fly away, Snowbirds! FLY FAR FAR AWAY!

18 comments January 5th, 2006


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