Archive for November, 2007

Bones

Oh hi ho HO! May I be crass for a moment?

This is Sunny’s favorite, um, bone. She’s chewing on it right now and …

Is it … is it just me?

Incidentally, thank you for all of the book recs, and feel free to keep them coming.

*The Killers

22 comments November 28th, 2007

Girls on Film

I got my mammogram today, finally, and lo, it was uneventful, but Jesus, do they have to tighten the vise grip with the hand cranks? Seriously? Does my boob need to be HAND-CRANKED into the machine, after it’s already been flattened into submission while my head dangles like it’s been internally decapitated underneath the white rail?

I will say that my radiologist ruled the house when he sat me down and went over my slides lump by gloriously benign lump — or shall I say milk duct by giant benign milk duct, because apparently that’s what I’ve got going there, some kind of creepy milk duct overgrowth that’s freaking everyone out, including me. I mean, it’s basically the last thing I thought he’d say, honestly. It conjures awful snack jokes and I can’t even think about it without … no no, I won’t, I can’t, just nevermind, because I just made myself sick to my stomach with this whole thing and I’m sorry, I am truly, truly sorry.

Awkward segue! Our front walkway has become some sort of snail breeding ground, which, while appropriately gross, as snails are basically little coagulated piles of mucus with shells, I’m afraid I’m starting to feel as though I should be arrested for mass snailicide, for I shit you not, I crunch no fewer than twenty per evening. It’s horrible, and what’s more horrible is that by the time I return from walking the dog, the carcasses have been mysteriously carted away by some kind of scavenger, and normally I’d say it’s birds, but this is at night! AT NIGHT! Some carnivorous beast is hoovering up snail carcasses under the cover of darkness and it’s gross, it’s oh so gross.

Anyway, I didn’t intend to go on this long about such foul things, when really, I should be talking about how I have to — MUST — start my Christmas shopping, and you know how everyone complains about lame gifts like gift cards and pedicure sets? The shameful truth is that I LIKE lame gifts like pedicure sets, smelly lotions and gift cards, and is that so wrong? I mean, I try not to give them myself, but gift cards make me happy! Gift cards give me a guilt-free excuse to buy that risky shirt at Anthropologie (a store that makes me laugh with its ridiculousness every time I set foot in it, because while it is adorable on other people, I look like I am playing DRESS UP) or a fancy top at Banana Republic. And bath products, oh, how I love bath products, and even high-end stuff can be found at cheap places like TJ Maxx (MOR! Pick up the MOR!)

But really, REALLY, I meant to atone for my totally obnoxious post yesterday by asking for actual, no kidding good book recommendations. To help you get started, I’ll tell you that I loved Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Prep” and if you can believe it, I liked “The Corrections,” although it’s totally the type of book I’m supposed to hate. Oh, and Mark Helprin’s “Winter’s Tale” was wondrous. And Elizabeth Berg! I love Elizabeth Berg! And Salman Rushdie and Alice Hoffman and Gabriel Garcia Marquez!

Hit me, if you like.

*Duran Duran.

37 comments November 27th, 2007

Comfortably Numb

I recently finished Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, and in truth, it really doesn’t matter if you’ve read it or not, or if you even know who Zadie Smith is — the point is, I hated it, so don’t bother. I mean, bother if you want, it’s not like I’m some kind of authority, obviously, it’s just that for me, it was exhausting watching Smith try desperately to prove to us how smart, how innovative, how literary she is. It makes me tired. She makes me tired. A lot of things like this make me very, very tired.

Don’t get me wrong — I love books. I adore many classics. (No, I don’t love Lolita.) But there are some modern writers for whom a more literary style is natural (Margarat Atwood, Salman Rushdie … hell, even Michael Chabon at times, but do not get me started on Ayelet Waldman), and there are others for whom it appears contrived out of some sort of insecurity or desire to prove to the world that they are smart. Smarter than you, in fact. Booker Prize-smart, and do you want to make something of it? And it’s so unnecessary, you know? If it doesn’t fit you, write in a way that does. I’m quite certain that no one would consider Carl Hiaasen to be great literature, and yet there are moments of hilarious brilliance on nearly every page of the very first novel of his I picked up. (Skin Tight, if you’re interested. It was a TwoBusy recommendation, and a good one at that. Yes, yes, it’s frothy and fluffy and it’s basically a murder mystery, but it’s very smartly written and illustrates my point nicely.)

And also, hey, guess what? I’m smart! Extremely smart! And I know it, too, oh yes, I do. There are lots of super-smart people out there, imagine that! And many of us could spend a lot of time every day proving to everyone how smart we are, and I, too, could overwrite some extremely dramatic study on race and class in modern academia (perhaps I’m delusional, but I really believe I could if I were forced to, and I think a lot of people could. Mine would be bad, but how is that any different from “On Beauty”?). It’s highly likely that I would be vomiting the entire time, because it’s just not how I … well, I think, given the point I’m about to make, roll would be the appropriate term here.

Let me back up: I place high value on comfort and a general down-to-earth approach to life, work, and everything in-between. For me, there is no greater virtue than accessibility. I want to be comfortable, and I want people to be comfortable around me. Perhaps this speaks volumes about my people-pleasing nature, but some of the questions I constantly ask myself are: Do I make other people feel comfortable? Do people feel like they can be themselves around me, say anything, do anything, be anything? Do people feel like they can say something stupid, or announce “Dude, I do not get it. Not at all, for the love of GOD, explain what you mean?”

And the thing is, I mean it. I’m flattered when people feel comfortable enough to say something dumb, ask a stupid question, admit that they thought that monotonous was pronounced moan-a-tonus (sorry, Allison, it’s just too good, I can’t get over it! I can’t! I LOVE IT! I dream about it!) Hell, I’m flattered when people feel at ease enough around me to fart around me, because they know I won’t judge them, although I may ask you to roll down the window, if you don’t mind.

(Unfortunately, I live with three creatures who take this sentiment to heart, but mercifully only one of them stares at her butt in amazed wonder at the glorious sound and odor afterwards.)

I approach writing in very much the same vein. I’ve never — not once, for one moment, in my whole life — wanted to be a Serious Writer. I assure you if (when?) I finish writing a book, it will never be nominated for a single literary prize, unless that prize is given out by some sort of raggy woman’s magazine. In fact, I would bet the farm on some form of lowbrow (gasp!) chick lit coming out of these fingers o’ mine, friends. I mean, I’m not going to start pitching Harlequin Romance, but I’m not intending to write any kind of great literature to last for the ages. It’s just not me, and I’m perfectly okay with that, and I sort of wish a lot of other smart people would take that approach — people who actually have the stamina to finish a book, unlike yours truly — because life is too damn short, and also, I’m running out of decent books to read.

Did this sound preachy? I didn’t mean it to sound preachy. It’s just that the Zadie Smith, she pissed me off. And also? She’s not funny. What is this “laugh-out-loud funny” stuff I read on the jacket? The person who wrote that must have been wearing very itchy tweed pants and smoking a pipe with expensive tobacco in a library full of pretentious leather-bound volumes. In his spare time, he lounges about in a smoking jacket and ponders life, the universe and everything in it, because only such a person would find her that amusing. She’s NOT FUNNY! She takes herself so seriously! THAT IS NOT FUNNY AT ALL.

*Pink Floyd

25 comments November 26th, 2007

Fly

Thanksgiving was everything you expect from a holiday, but in extremely condensed time frame. There was tension, laughter, tears and stuffing, which means that I did not get trapped in Atlanta and no, I did not eat my Thanksgiving dinner at a Waffle House, but do you know how many plates of leftovers I consumed? Exactly zero. Zero. Let me say it again: ZERO.

As you can imagine, this was most devastating, to the point that I’ve actually proposed to Adam that I make a full turkey dinner next Saturday for the sole purpose of having leftovers for the Thanksgiving bowl and maybe, oh maybe, the Thanksgiving casserole, which has only recently come to my attention (Mmm … butter and salt! Butter and salt, OMG!) I was serious, but alas, my proposal was summarily rejected, as my husband hates leftovers and in fact, refuses to eat them in most cases. I’ll never understand this part of him, but hey, we have to overlook tough things in the name of love sometimes.

But who can complain about the lack of leftovers when there’s plenty of this to munch on?


Newborn baby with chubby thighs for snacking! MONCH MONCH.

Our flights, by the by, were sucktacular, and I made the usual spectacle of myself coming home on Friday, wherein I let my nerves get the better of me and I insulted a fellow passenger. This time, the fellow passenger(s) happened to be a group of seven-year-old boys who were traveling alone, or rather, sort of alone, as their mother was a full ten rows behind them. They were being intensely irritating, as seven-year-olds are wont to do, but while I could handle the inexplicable shouts of “Arriba! ARRIBA CAPITAN!” I — how do I put this delicately — lost my everloving shit when they started yelling “MAYDAY. MAYDAY. FLIGHT GOING DOWN,” during takeoff, because my constitution is just that fragile, and all of my brain vibes are focused on keeping the plane ALOFT, and cries of “MAYDAY” aren’t really in line with the Zen-like concentration that’s required for such things.

And although,”Seriously, guys, ENOUGH. COOL IT NOW,” isn’t exactly overly rude given the subject matter at hand, if you’d heard how loudly I shouted it, and the hysteria, OH THE HYSTERIA, in my voice, you’d have done what Adam did, which was to bust out laughing and spend the rest of the flight lecturing me how really, I need to get it together during takeoff, please, for the love of God.

I might also add that on the second leg of our flight, there was some kind of belt loose on the emergency exit, and I kept hearing the banging, OH MY GOD THE BANGING, to the point where I asked the flight attendant what the hell was going on. Her reply? “I mean, it’s not good — not good at all — but we should be okay. It’s just a loose belt flapping against the fuselage.”

I spent the rest of the flight imagining my body being sucked out somewhere over the swamps of South Carolina, where I would no doubt be eaten by alligators, never to be heard from again. I mean, JESUS.

I hope you had a spectacular holiday, and are still enjoying the spoils of leftover feasts.

Happy Monday! I, for one, am not all that thrilled about going back to work. I want to eat more stuffing. It’s not fair.

*Pick one. Nick Drake, Veruca Salt … and oh, hundreds more! Hundreds!

15 comments November 25th, 2007

First of the Gang to Die

Welp, we’re off to the frozen tundra of the great wild north tomorrow, with our big burly neighbor staying with our pets. Um, seriously, you know, just in case you thought of robbing us. He’s large and I’m quite certain he owns multiple weapons, so I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU to come to our house, because our state is a shoot-first state and I’m pretty sure he will shoot you. This is also why I’m a little nervous that I may return home to a dead cat, because what if he makes a noise in another part of the house? Will my neighbor shoot him? Perhaps, but these are the risks we take.

For my part, I’m sort of dreading the holiday for a multitude of reasons that mostly involve traveling on the worst holiday of the year. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be snowing in upstate New York, which means that since we have a layover, instead of getting to go home and make, I don’t know, a small chicken with Stove Top, we’re going to get stuck in a Motel 6 in Atlanta and eat Thanksgiving dinner at a Waffle House in a bad part of town.

What is most disappointing about this Thanksgiving, however, is that we’re only going for a day and a half, which means we’re leaving late tomorrow night and we’ll be home by Friday afternoon. I know! Shortest Thanksgiving ever! And aside from lack of quality family time, which yes, yes, is most important, what’s really killing me is the lack of leftovers. No day-old mashed potatoes! No Thanksgiving bowl! (Do you know the Thanksgiving bowl? When you layer all the appropriate savory leftovers — turkey, stuffing, potatoes, corn or whatever veggie you have on hand topped with gravy and cranberry sauce? Please. Make the bowl for me — maybe drop a little on the ground for your fallen Thanksgiving homie, yours truly.)

Also, and this blindingly random, but Adam and I were reminded this evening of a relative of ours who stopped ordering Chinese food during the SARS scare, and though I remember chuckling when it happened, I just … I can’t think of anything funnier at this moment. SARS! CHINESE FOOD! She wouldn’t order lo mein made in the United States at Shalom Hunan in Brookline, because of a respiratory disease that only existed in, you know, ASIA. She was afraid of toxic potstickers! I … I can’t contain myself, I’m sorry. I’m going to savor that memory like a peppermint as I eat my waffles and syrup next to convicted felons packing heat on Thursday.

And with that, I hope you have a delightful holiday full of Thanksgiving bowls and luscious creamy peaks of mashed potatoes and gravy. Personally, I don’t care much for the turkey itself, and would prefer to eat plates and plates of side dishes with an extra emphasis on the cranberry sauce.

Talk to you this weekend or maybe Monday! Hooray!

Happy Thanksgiving.

*Morrissey

23 comments November 20th, 2007

Mine’s Not a High Horse

It’s not that hard to blow my mind, considering I once thought that Russell Simmons was the founder of Russell Athletic apparel, and not, in fact, a hip-hop pioneer who was once married to the most irritating woman on the planet (I hate Kimora. HAAAATE.). Years ago, Adam told me this as a joke, not realizing that I would tell other people that he was the CEO of cheap sweatshirts and not Def Poetry Jam. Seriously, I told people this, and at least three believed me, until one day my friend Bianca came to work and very gently told me that her boyfriend corrected her, and did I know that Simmons was actually Quite a Big Deal?

The only reasoning I can muster is that I grew up in Pennsylvania, where heavy metal and mullets ruled and the hip hop revolution missed us entirely. I … I guess. I don’t know.

Anyway, this is a roundabout way of going into an even more roundabout story of the discovery of my first blog, which was way back in 1999 before they were called blogs, and instead, the whole world called them home pages, I think. I don’t remember. Anyway, at the time, Adam had a blog, errr, home page, and maybe sort of, it was kind of how we got together, even though we already knew each other — and in fact, had known OF each other for many years — because we had already had our sort-of-maybe first date and were good friends.

(The net/net: I had a huge crush on him, read a post on his home … blog, whatever it was, that was this vague thing about this moment we had before we started dating, or so I thought maybe that’s what he was talking about, but I was all nerdy about it, but later it did turn out to be me — ME! — how about that? It was me! He liked me too! And that’s the geekiest thing I’ve ever said and I’m a little embarrassed for both of us. The only consolation is that we were 23 at the time, and prone to a little drama, I suppose. God. Someone save us from ourselves. He’s so going to kill me.)

(Which reminds me, did I ever tell you that he and I had a class together in college, although we didn’t meet until AFTER college, and that he was SO VOCAL and maybe a little annoying to me? Granted, the class was literary theory, and the key to getting an ‘A’ was to somehow seamlessly weave masturbation and Saussure into a paper, and I wish I was kidding. Anyway, it wasn’t until long after we were engaged that it came up that we were both in that godawful ETS 205 course that I started asking him if he remembered that guy in the back of our class and suddenly, I looked at his face and I knew. It was him. He was that guy from class. And if ever there was a time that life pretty much blew my fucking MIND, it was that moment. I married the really frustrated dude who sat in the back of my literary theory class. Life is nuts, man.)

(He got a better grade than I did.)

Back to the 1999 blog: a friend pointed me to Henry’s Diary, which was a precursor to the whole mommyblog movement, except it was a dude writing about his son, and although the format is nothing like today’s blogs, I kind of fell in love with Henry, as I’m sure you did. Did y’all read Henry’s Diary? Do you REMEMBER how cute it was? If not, go read it now from start to finish. Go. Or, you know, go in a minute or two after you’re done here.

God, I read about him religiously until his dad stopped posting in 2002. At the time, I was crushed, as it was the first blogger-type I’d ever known who stopped posting, and dude, how was I going to keep up with Henry? How could he do this to me?

Imagine if you were suddenly denied access to Leta Armstrong or Noah Storch. It was kind of like that, for me, except I didn’t have the wisdom of how the blogosphere works, because I didn’t know what a blog even was.

Randomly, yesterday, I thought about Henry, and through the magic of Google (it’s not a hard Google, given that everyone’s full names were available everywhere. Just in case, you know, I thought I was some kind of wild stalker-type and was disclosing info that wasn’t readily available), I was so happy to discover that Henry still exists on Flickr. And though this is perhaps redundant, because everyone probably knows this, it kind of made my weekend a little brighter, because Henry is 10! He’s a real, live boy who’s still growing up! Closure. Happy closure.

And yeah, um, I’m pretty sure, like all of the first blogger-types, Henry’s dad is all connected up in this technology piece and is, as of right this second, at a cocktail party with the entire founding team of Twitter AND Flickr.

(Update: A perusal in his Flickr contacts confirms that yep, he’s totally having brunch with the CEO of Twitter AND the founder of MetaFilter. And what, precisely, was I doing in 1999, when this was all starting? I was working for the Internet arm of a home shopping channel, who was going to revolutionize etailers by selling crocheted toilet seats via the Internet. God, it’s like I missed some kind of GIANT BOAT and instead opted to take the horse-drawn carriage. I mean, not that I’m unhappy, it’s just that do you remember when it was all so exciting? Remember?)

I am so lame. I know. Crocheted toilet seats.

Incidentally, from Henry’s Diary, I moved on to Television Without Pity, then Pamie (who was … Squishy, I think, then?) and my friend Amanda, who is no longer blogging, followed by Hashai, and it was a slippery, slippery slope, although I didn’t start blogging for any length of actual time or dedication until 2003, after about a frillion failed Diaryland accounts. And let’s all thank God that they’re failed and gone, because Jesus, I don’t think I have the intestinal fortitude to read about the ramblings of my 23-year-old self.

But anyway, my mind was BLOWN, just blown that Henry’s still around, and has hip glasses to boot. Yay, Henry!

So! Moving on. I feel much better, thank you, after sleeping the weekend away. And no, I didn’t make it to the wedding — a colleague talked me out of it, reminding me of the whole receiving line bit, and suddenly I became terrified — TERRIFIED — of infecting the bride and groom before they trucked off to their honeymoon, which would really have sucked for everyone involved, but mostly them. Plus, I really was sporting a fever and would have been sweaty, at best, and fainty and snotty at worst. However, I gave them a really nice gift, pronto. And I called the groom on Friday and sounded authentically wheezy and pathetic, because I pretty much was.

And I … I don’t know what the point of all of this was, other than to ramble, so I hope you had a great weekend. It’s almost Thanksgiving! And please, don’t get me started on our travel plans, which involve a whirlwind sub-48-hour trip to Syracuse, where it is actually snowing.

PS: This reminded me of one of my favorite comments sections, when Sundry asked where people started reading blogs, back when the Internet was oh-so-young. Check it out if you’re so inclined.

*The Shins.

15 comments November 18th, 2007

Makes Sense to Me

I went to Sephora yesterday to get some lip gloss and eyeliner, and remembered that I’d been meaning to search for some night moisturizer and the sales associate, oh the SALES ASSOCIATE, she referred to my skin as “severely dehydrated,” and clucked her disapproval at its crepe-like appearance.

“How … how can we fix this?” I was panicked, because the situation was so obviously SEVERE and URGENT and did I want fine lines and wrinkles? NO! NO! STOP THIS MADNESS! Thirty-three dollars later, I had my answer — Boscia night cream, if you care and after one night it’s okay, I mean, I don’t see any significant results befitting the desperate, desperate situation I was so clearly in. I would think that I should have heard my pores slurping the way I do a vanilla milkshake, right?

In other retail news, I was desperate for some plug-in air fresheners, I don’t know why, and a friend recommended Bath & Body Works Wallflowers, and while I’m sure they smell lovely in small doses, my entire house smells like a spiced pumpkin vomited all over the walls, because I dropped it on the cold tile within five seconds of opening the package. Glass, fine, it’s annoying, but the pumpkin! The pumpkin fragrance! I was complimented on it today, like it was a personal choice to smell like sweet cinnamon pumpkin.

By the way, I was right about my mammogram — righter than I thought I’d be, sadly. Apparently my extra-special boobs are extra-cysty and there’s one cyst in particular that requires the attention of Super Boob Guy, who will examine the cyst with cold, cold hands, then follow up with a personal Super Special Boob Guy mammogram and ultrasound. Maybe he won’t insist that my boobs be jammed in there like a stubborn car key.

Incidentally, I’m sick and have buried my sinuses in a vat of Thai hot and sour soup and the thing is, being sick is all my fault! All my fault! Adam got sick, and I — no, we — rationalized that since in the nine years we’ve been together, we’ve never passed a cold between us, kissing was okay. And while the kissing itself was more than okay, it was actually entirely not okay in the germy realm, and history has been made! History! I caught a cold from my husband, and the grand irony is that he won’t let me kiss him. And that, my friends, is one of the most unfair things ever.

(I so feel like licking his hands, tongue and nostrils in his sleep for small vengeance.)

And at this rate — this feverish, very tired rate — I will not be attending the wedding I am expected at this weekend, and precisely how big of a douchebag does that make me? It’s not a close friend, but it’s a friend and I just … well, I don’t want to go with a raging fever. So what do I do? Do I CALL him the morning of his wedding? I’m not saying it’s a definite no, I just … I mean, it would not be fun with a fever no no no. No?

I also couldn’t sleep worth a poop last night, and when I considered aloud that perhaps the cat’s incessant snuggling was at fault, Adam not-so-politely informed me that perhaps it was the “freight train shooting out of my nose” that kept the whole house up. Sexy. I am OH SO SEXY.

With that, I think … well, I’d considered another non-sequitur, but right now, my head feels like it’s attached to a string and is floating off maybe somewhere in New Jersey while my body remains firmly anchored to the bed. The bed it will unfortunately have to depart, because there are people on vacation tomorrow and they must be covered for! Covered! With snot, perhaps, because that’s the best I can offer right now. Would you like some, perhaps as a deliciously sweet and salty ham glaze?

Happy Friday!

*Widespread Panic

15 comments November 15th, 2007

Yes! No!

I have a thing for high-end cooking magazines, like I have absolutely any idea what I’m doing in the kitchen, and for some reason, I like to read them in bed, which is quite possibly the least appetizing spot in the house. Although that’s not really true, because tonight, we had dinner in bed, does that gross you out? Grilled cheese and tomato soup from a can (Campbell’s!), because Adam is sick, we don’t have a dining room table (the second we knew we weren’t going to stay in this house, we nixed the very idea of buying one, because why? So we can pay to move it?) and our usual spot where we eat in front of the television was unappealing.

Does anyone else do this, or are we the only piggish couple who shovels our food in our mouths in odd locations? I mean, certainly if we had a child, I might feel differently, as really, a high chair has no place in the bedroom or living room, but … well, for now, it’s fine.

The point I started to make is that my bedtime reading leaves me subject to illusions of culinary grandeur, particularly Bon Appetit, and in the last five minutes tonight, I had to be talked off the ledge of making my own handmade spice rubs in pretty jars to give out as Christmas gifts this season. I mean, really, I made Campbell’s soup from a can for dinner … do I really think I’m going to roast a supersize batch of cardamom pods and toasted cumin seeds, grind them with a mortar and pestle, throw in a little gourmet sea salt and then (oh my God) put it all in a hand-decorated tin with a personalized label? Seriously?

I have a mammogram at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning, and while yay, breast health and all, I’m dreading it, because again, I have these dense fibrocystic breasts that take hours to sift through with the assistance of four radiologists and a special decoder ring. I don’t mind these things generally, but all, and oh I mean ALL, dignity is lost when you have four doctors and a nurse repositioning your breast on a set of slides while one says things like, “No, put the nipple THAT way. No, no — THE OTHER WAY. Facing me. Yes, I want the nipple facing ME. Really jam it in there so I can see the top part of it. That’s good. Like that.”

Yes, the last doctor I had said “jam it in there,” like he was packing the trunk of a car for a road trip and my boob was that last pesky duffel bag that refused to cooperate.

And finally, since we’re on the path to dangerously disjointed anyway, vanity sizing is really on my nerves. I initially thought, stupidly, that even though I lost a rather sizable amount of weight, that I could still get away with wearing some of my fat pants, because so what? They’d be a little big! How exciting! Not so much. Perils of bearing your thong at the post office aside, my God, too-big pants are astonishingly unflattering. Most days I alternated between looking like I had a giant load of corn poop in my pants to simply appearing … deflated, like someone had let the air out of my legs. In both instances, I actually looked fatter than I had before, which was certainly not the goal, and I did not give up copious amounts of pizza so that I could look like a half-empty Michelin man.

Enter the new pants I finally bought, which were in a size eight, which, I might add, is a perfectly reasonable size for someone of my … size, hey, can we say SIZE again? Also, I already had two pairs of these pants (Gap jeans, boot cut, if you were wondering) and loved them in my size eight. Except that it appears that what was once a size eight is no longer a size eight, and the current size eight is more like a ten or a twelve. And although I bought them anyway, because they fit in the dressing room, after about an hour on my body, my crotch was starting to seep to my knees and I’m pretty sure I could pull them off without unbuttoning them, and this is WRONG, people, it’s SO WRONG.

I am not a size six. I’m not saying that because I want you to say, “yes you are!” I’m saying that because frankly, I don’t want to be a size six. I’m certainly a lot thicker than that — by choice — and if sizes keep shrinking at this rate, in a few years, I’m going to be the first five-foot-seven woman in history to weigh 140 pounds and wear a size 0.

I know this isn’t new, but God, it’s annoying, and so completely deceptive and it’s cruel, it’s actually cruel. Not to mention the fact that it encourages us to be porkier all the time, because why not? You can eat nachos every day and still be a size two! I’ll roll down the aisles of the supermarket like a blueberried Violet Beauregard, but by gum, I’ll be wearing my size zero pants!

But for now, it’s a minor irritation, because I have to buy new pants again, despite already having gone through the miserable self-ass-checking in the mirror. Thank you, Gap. It is small consolation that you are not Ann Taylor, who designs pants for … well, I don’t know who. Can anyone wear Ann Taylor pants? I might as well throw on the slipcovers for our couches and pair them with a nice cardigan, because geez, are they boxy on me.

Happy Wednesday!

*Shocking Pinks

27 comments November 13th, 2007

Dreams in the Hollow

The Starburst are all gone. I’ve eaten them all — every last one of them, and instead of being sad that the binge is over, I am ridiculously relieved, as are my thighs. Mostly, though, I’m shocked at the amount I consumed.

My coworkers were singing “Benny & The Jets” all day, and while I can handle some Elton John, I cannot abide Benny & The Jets for more than three seconds without wanting to throw myself out the window to escape the never ending “BENNY! BENNY! BENNAYHEY! AND THE JEEEETS” Taunting, one of my coworkers would surreptitiously whisper a falsetto “BENNY!” every time I sauntered back to my desk from the bathroom.

Even now, as I sit here, I’ve breathlessly uttered, “BENNAY!” to Adam at least four times.

Anyway, this spurred a discussion about music, and it reminded me that I have a friend who doesn’t really listen to music unless it’s on the radio and can conveniently serve as background noise. Does. Not. Listen. To. Music. I can understand a lot of things, including political and religious beliefs that differ wildly from my own, but this, oh THIS, it never fails to leave me speechless, thinking about a life without music as some sort of daily influence, if not a sort of hobby.

(BENNAY!)

There are people like this, I know — I married one, surprisingly, really, I did — but it never ceases to leave me a little flabbergasted. I’ve written about this before, so I won’t rehash the whole thing, but I’ll say that when she told me that music wasn’t really her thing, and that she only listened to the radio, I stared at her open-mouthed until she stammered, “BOB! I listen to BOB! Do you know Bob?”

Oh, I know Bob. Do YOU know Bob? For those who don’t know Bob, he’s a freaky little brand of radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada, and it’s just … well, it’s creepy, the whole thing is creepy, and is along the vein of Jack FM, wherein a faceless, voiceless creature named Bob, Jack, whatever, spins your favorite adult contemporary tunes from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and today! with little fanfare, and get this: there are no live DJs. Not one! Not one live human voice that hasn’t been pre-recorded and produced into submission the ENTIRE TIME you’re listening. And worse, a voiceover occasionally shares that Bob finds himself in awkward predicaments, like trying to change his oil and getting his pants caught in the whirring car fan so hey, we need to break for commercial, because Bob is having an issue! — and it’s just … well, it’s flat-out disconcerting, is what it is. Because there is no Bob. I’m on to you, Bob FM!

(B-b-b-Benny and the JETSSSS…)

Forgetting Bob for a moment, let me bring it back one more time to the mystery of music, and how is it — HOW? — that there are people, including my husband, who don’t have their days made or broken by the right song? The right/wrong song on a day that I have PMS can send me into such a tearful fit that I’d be smart to pull the car over, lest I mow someone down, my eyes obstructed with irrational music-induced tears.

(“I Grieve” is a particularly bad one, because all I can think about is death! Destruction! Flies, rats, dogs and cats! THERE IS NOTHING LIFE-AFFIRMING HERE, PETER. STOP TRYING.)

Conversely, the happiest of tunes can turn my entire day around or, in the case of freaking Benny, make me positively nuts, and maybe clawing off my skin so that someone — ANYONE — will commit me to a mental institution so that I can get rid of this godforsaken earworm.

And it breaks my heart a whole lot more than a little that there are people who miss out on that experience, for it’s the closest thing I’ve ever found to magic, and to get a little piece of it every day is one of the thousands of things that are worth getting — nay, JUMPING — out of bed for. Unless it’s Benny & the Jets, in which case it’s entirely possible I would eschew music altogether and get my jollies from painting or something, because …

BENNAY! BENNAY! BENNNNNAAAY!

IT WILL NOT STOP.

(Also, dude, they’re going to condense an entire season of Heroes in three episodes? Really? They are? And worse, the writer’s strike comes at a time when what they’re fighting for is claimed to be not yet real, and that means a greater impasse — do you really think the networks have any idea how to make any money on the Web? What a mess. As a person who’s worked in the media, I can tell you that what the studios are saying is somewhat true: the revenue derived from new media is kind of all over the place and relatively experimental and requires an entire overhaul of the entire *business* to work properly, which basically means that … well, I don’t know what it means, but it’s horrible for everyone involved. Two people I know tangentially in the TV writing business have all but confirmed that they’re fighting for … what is basically vapor at the moment, and they expect it to go on for six months or more with no real resolution, leaving us with an endless stream of “Are You Smarter Than My Dead Grandmother?”)

(BENNAY!)

*Jesca Hoop. Sundry describes her best here, and she’s all that and then some. I discovered Hoop off of a tip from a friend and after surfing iTunes for Feist because of that damn Apple commercial because again, I am a sheep. And although iTunes interface kind of blows, I’ll say that the “Listeners Also Bought” feature has really helped me find some fancy new artists, but even if it didn’t before, it would be entirely worth it for Hoop alone. She’s that good, and “Dreams in the Hollow” is a magical, magical song that evokes a swirly sea of velvety purple. Yes, velvety purple, maybe mixed with some green.

29 comments November 12th, 2007

Wishing

To say that the writer’s strike is adding stress (mild, look, I know, MILD) to our household is a bit of an understatement, because I keep realizing that every show I watch could very well be — WILL very well be — the last one I’ll see for the rest of the season, leaving me trapped with nothing to watch but whatever reality show the networks have dreamed up, which will likely include defecation and perhaps the consumption of grubs in exotic locales.

Sigh. Anyone have any television shows that are worth picking up on DVD? I’ve added The Wire to the queue, as well as perhaps what, Dexter? Anything else?

Incidentally, it’s quite possible that I’ve gained five pounds over the last week for no other reason that I am entirely unstoppable around the buckets of Starburst we have lying about our house leftover from Halloween. Chocolate, I can totally resist, for chocolate does very little for me. If given the choice between something chocolatey and something fruity and/or creamy (CHEESECAKE GIVE ME CHEESECAKE OMG), I will choose fruity/creamy; and if it’s creamy AND caramel-y, then I’m virtually unstoppable. And though plasticky and unnatural, Starburst is delightfully fruity and irresistable, and our house is littered with discarded wrappers from “Fun Size” portions, which include — wait for it — a measly two Starburst per package, which is not fun for anyone, no no, it’s not.

Speaking of un-fun, things are a little un-fun in some areas of our lives right now — nothing life or death, just misery surrounding trying to sell our house in a down market, and by “down,” I mean that there are Realtors — many, many of them — who haven’t sold a house in more than a year and a half, and there are forty (40) homes for sale in my neighborhood alone. And, for a variety of reasons, most of which involve big things like our mental health and general financial future, waiting until the market improves is not an option (I mean, we won’t foreclose or anything, we can afford it, it’s just … well, God, it’s many things to be discussed when it’s all over, when it’s ALL OVER OH MY GOD). And while yes, it’s bad everywhere, oh I know, our market situation is … well, it’s among the most dire in the entire country. It’s bad. Oh so bad.

And tonight — well, in general lately — I’ve just been feeling very despondent about the whole thing, because we’re in such a miserable pickle that if I allow myself to think about it, I become positively overwhelmed with … despair really, which is ridiculously pathetic, because it’s not like we won’t SURVIVE, but there it is. And I’ve gotten a whole lot of “Remember, everything always works out!” from many people, and I guess I’m wondering, really? Does it really? Because for me, yes, it always has — I’ve been quite spoiled, actually, by most standards, but there are many people for whom it doesn’t work out, like, say, my neighbor, who is about to foreclose because no one will buy her house and her husband left her. And part of me can’t help but think that maybe my time for things not to work out so well might be just around the corner, and then I start imagining awful, awful things like the worst-case scenario that could play out if no one buys our house, and oh my God, I’m going to start wailing in a minute, PERKINS, BRING ME MY SMELLING SALTS.

Sorry. Enough whining, and I hate even saying anything like that, because look, things could be worse, I know that, and life is full of good stuff all the time, even when things suck. Like hey, Prince Harry broke up with Chelsey Davy because he’s a “playboy!” How hilarious is that? (Told you he was hot. HOTT.) How can things go wrong?

And tomorrow is another day, and the sun will rise and there will be Starburst to eat and again, like every other day of the week, I won’t shave my knees properly. Do you? Does anyone ever really get their knees baby-ass smooth? Even if I take my time and go over them carefully, I invariably find myself noticing spiky hair sprouting from my knees because goddammit, I still didn’t get it right.

And that reminds me, hey — I recently learned that one of my friends shaves her arms just after I complimented her on her lack of arm hair. And I ask, do any of you? Because while I’m not particularly hairy anywhere else, I am perpetually irked by my abnormally long-but-blond arm hair, but I cannot, I just CANNOT, imagine shaving them down to nothing every day. I imagine ingrown hairs and Neanderthal-like thickening and darkening. Gross.

And with that, I hope you have a great Monday. I really do plan to.

*ELO

38 comments November 11th, 2007

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