Archive for May, 2008
I sort of hate when people do this — you know, say to check them out when they’re somewhere else, like they’re so presumptuous to assume that you’d follow them EVERYWHERE, but two things force me to let you know:
1) I feel like I’m cheating on you with another blogger and their readers. This is why I do not have multiple blogs, because it’s too much for me, man. Like I’m HAVING SEX with the readers of She Likes Purple and not letting you in on the fun. Assuming it’s fun, which it might not be for you. In which case, I apologize.
2) I really, really like Jennie a whole lot, so I’m hoping that you’ll read all of her stuff, not just my visiting ramblings, because she’s awesome. And if you want to laugh very hard at her (very naked) expense, start here.
Have a great weekend, as I am off to party with my parents, who arrive shortly! Woo!
May 29th, 2008
I returned “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” today. I knew it was time when I thought about going to the library to get four! new! books! and got disproportionately excited while simultaneously glaring at Michael Pollan’s masterpiece with the fisheye. It is the first book I’ve given up on in YEARS. YEARS. IF EVER. It’s been abandoned in favor of a glorious selection including Margaret Atwood, Jane Hamilton, Marian Keyes and Curtis Sittenfeld. It’s taking everything I have in me right now not to run upstairs and gobble them all up like ice cream, because I’ve missed reading, and it goes to show what a colossal, gigantic dork I am that I don’t feel WHOLE if I’m not actively reading something. It also means that I am great fun at parties and ALSO pity people who aren’t Readers. Which brings me to … is anyone here not a reader? And if not, what do you do instead? AND HOW DO YOU SURVIVE?
Randomly, Lawyerish has the corner on All Things Little House On The Prairie, but it is perhaps lesser known that I, too, had an overwhelming desire to be some sort of pioneer girl after reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s iconic series, but what is perhaps most important is that I had a crush on Laura’s husband, Almanzo Wilder — who was better known as Farmer Boy from the eponymous novel — and even more importantly, I recently discovered he was hot, which means that my embarrassing habit of cultivating crushes on fictional characters (which Almanzo was, kind of, for me) is not entirely misguided. For reference, crushes I have harbored over the years include: Henry from the “Time Traveler’s Wife” (the only reason I liked the book, really. I LOVE Henry), Lawrence Selden from “The House of Mirth” and — perhaps most notably — Greg, from Scooby Doo. I used to um, kiss my pillow pretending it was Greg (Edited: FRED. FRED. HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO WRONG? FREEEEDDDD.). Before I even knew what kissing was.
Speaking of Lawyerish, I booked my ticket for a certain upcoming event involving presents and an impending arrival of a BABY, and I am BESIDE MYSELF. (Hint: THERE WILL BE CUPCAKES.) This is sort of symbolic for a few reasons, not the least of which is that I’m getting on a flight that will be, like, AN HOUR instead of four, and I’m going to see her, one of my very favorite people in the whole world. Ah, Florida. You have rekindled my appreciation for short-distance flights.
In fact, until yesterday, I’d planned to drive, if for no other reason than I COULD, And then — HA HA — I thought about driving through Manhattan and ending up in Teaneck, NJ, which is PRECISELY what happened the last time I attempted to drive to New York City. I ended up lost and disoriented sporting a bladder so full that I actually thought it was going to explode. It wasn’t until YONKERS that I finally found relief, in the form of a double-park in front of a Hilton and the kindness of a bellhop who took pity on my whimpering face. Also, yes, I totally ended up in Yonkers when I was heading for Manhattan. Yes. Hello, Orbitz, thank you for helping me avoid disaster.
Also, before I forget: ha ha HA HA! People think Rachael Ray was wearing some kind of TERRORIST SYMBOL
. HA HA HA. IN A DUNKIN DONUTS AD. Dear Extreme Right Wing Nutters: SHUT UP. JUST SHUT UP.
And with that, I’m off to scour more toilets. My parents are coming on Thursday, after several days of “Will they or won’t they? And when?” and, like all good children, I go OUT OF MY MIND with the cleaning, like they’re going to be eating sushi off of our toilets with a chaser of sake off of the shower head. This also means that posting may be light this week, although Thursday I will be conducting a guest stint at one of the lovely blogs on my sidebar, but not here.
Have an awesome week.
*Depeche Mode, from Violator, which, I’m sorry, is their best album ever.
May 27th, 2008
Not that anyone asked, but I am back on Weight Watchers again, this time to lose the seven pounds I gained since February. I know this seems … Draconian, to some, because hey, it’s only seven pounds! But I PROMISED myself I wouldn’t let my weight creep back up again, because seven becomes ten, which can become twenty SO FAST and I worked so hard and … well, you get it, and I hope you don’t think I’m an asshole. This happened, by the way, because of LARGE AMOUNTS of Vermont cheddar and local artisan cheeses and … well, there’s a lot of ridiculously good food here, man. A LOT. Also, the whole reason that I lost the weight in the first place was so that I didn’t become the size of a large airship when and if we got pregnant, and since we’re still trying, it seems wasteful to get huge again before that day comes.
The point is this: if you’re dieting, or even if you aren’t, edamame might be the greatest thing ever. One point! And it takes FOREVER to eat! One point! And you can salt them to your heart’s content and for some reason, this is a perfectly acceptable substitute for potato chips, I don’t know why. (I don’t watch my sodium intake. I know I should, but … I’m not ready to right now. Or ever. I know.) This is a significant step up from the last time I did WW, when I found myself drinking VATS of chicken broth laced with curry to satisfy my salt cravings, mostly at night. I was also getting up to pee approximately 11 times each evening. Isn’t that so sad? CHICKEN BROTH. If I didn’t have an exceedingly healthy relationship with food, I’d wonder if that wasn’t some disordered eating right there.
This would be a great segue to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, if I could get anywhere in it. The introduction is, after all, about America’s eating disorder, born of far too many choices/diets/eating plans. Except that I’ve been “reading” it for two weeks, and I’m on page 73, which means I’m … well, I’m not reading it at all, am I? The thing is, I dread picking it up. It’s okay, I suppose, and the underlying principles are so interesting, it’s just that my GOD, it’s a little too much detail, and I would argue that it’s not even all USEFUL detail. I’m left feeling that surely something can be condensed, and I don’t need to know EVERY INTIMATE DETAIL of the hybridization of corn — just a basic overview would have sufficed. Because I’m still on CORN. CORN CORN CORN. And corn is starting to gross me out, frankly, if only because I’m SO SICK of hearing about it.
A few things that crossed my mind while reading this week’s (or was it last week?) US Weekly:
1) Heidi and Spencer: Do they ever have a photo opportunity that is not staged? Does Heidi know how to make ANY OTHER FACE except that of feigned surprise? I don’t even watch The Hills — I’ve never seen an episode — and yet, I’m left wondering, really? REALLY? Why are they still being photographed?
2) What is the appeal of John Mayer? He’s not attractive in the least, and by all accounts, both anecdotal and published, appears to be a douchebag of astronomic proportions, and YET! Yet. Dude gets play, this time from a very vulnerable-looking Jennifer Aniston (who smokes Merits? Really?) and I don’t even have a particular affection for Aniston, and yet, I would like to shake her and remind her that no, no, really; he’s gross. Pretend he didn’t sing “Your Body Is A Wonderland.” Would you still think he’s hot? That’s what I thought.
3) Why must celebrities be draped over each other like curtains at sporting events? Why, Tom and Gisele? Adam and I have attended many basketball games together — courtside, even, once — and yet, I’ve never had my hand seductively on his knee and we’ve never had lingering kisses over nachos. In fact, I’m pretty sure if I tried to kiss him at a game, he’d brush me off, because dude, we are in MAN TERRITORY. How hard is that?
Then again, since we don’t hold hands, walk pretty far apart from each other and aren’t smiling every second together, I’m pretty sure the magazines would be constantly insisting that we’re feuding, with the headline “Jonna & Adam: It’s OVER!” even though it isn’t.
I hope you had a great long weekend.
May 26th, 2008
This afternoon’s digging was a surprisingly creature-free outing, except for worms and the occasional brown pod-like thing that freaked me out, because it could be ALIENS. IN PODS. (Seriously, what are the brown chrysalis-like pods?)
Also? I’m finding a disturbing amount of bones. Not femurs or anything, but … well, I’m finding BONES. Like actual bones, that could be part of a human hand, or even an ARM. And I’m left to wonder: are they from the dog who lived here before us, who buried the apres-dinner bones, or are they signs that I’m about to OPEN THE GROUND AND FIND A BODY? Did I move to Vermont and end up living Funny Farm, but without the successful children’s books? Or, you know, lamb fries, but you never know: lamb testicles could totally appear on the menu any day now at one of our local restaurants.
Also, hey, have you seen the previews for the film The Strangers? I mean, my disdain for horror films is well documented on this site, but it is rare that a film’s PREVIEW can have me rushing through the house, clutching my bowels in unadulterated terror. I mean, that looks … TERRIFYING. Horrible and scary and petrifying beyond belief, and I’ll be honest in telling you that I am very susceptible to nightmares and have had SEVERAL about Javier Bardem and that goddamn pageboy in “No Country For Old Men.” (He’s always trying to murder my family with that FREAKY GUN.)
Hell, I had nightmares for years about The Dark Crystal, and they were PUPPETS — or Muppets, if you want to get technical, though Fozzie or Jan they were not. Although really, come on, were those Garthim not terrifying? (“GAARRRTHIIIIIM!” clickclickclickclickclickclickclick AAAAGHHH) And the SKEKSIS. Ooh ooh and AUGHRA, who was basically the Tom Bombadil of Thra, which was the PLANET where The Dark Crystal took place and I have, officially, outgeeked myself beyond any measure previously conceived. It’s just that dude, it’s a great movie and there are PODLINGS, and when have you seen pod-like people being described in such a positive, uplifting manner? The film does WONDERS to further the agendas of pod people.
HAHA, I look at that paragraph, and I’m actually embarrassed for myself. Don’t you just picture me playing Dungeons & Dragons and World of Warcraft with my friends while wearing a trenchcoat and some kind of mysterious T-shirt with a pentagram on it, talking like that?
And finally, Adam and I were discussing jelly bean and freeze-pop flavors and he maintains that NO ONE likes lime or orange, but I insist that no, no, lime and orange are the BEST flavors, and are my two favorites. Give me lime or orange over the ubiquitous “red” flavor (is it cherry? strawberry?) any day of the week.
I sense many will disagree, but I could be wrong.
Have a wonderful long weekend, yo.
May 22nd, 2008
In the category of “I Keep Fucking Up My Dog: Watch and Learn!” Sunny won’t eat any food — any food at ALL — until I pretend to eat it first while looking her directly in the eye all, I’m totally eating first, bitch! I’m told this is an Alpha Thing, meaning that the underling dogs eat after the alpha does — i.e., she waits her turn until I’m finished — but still. COME ON. I have to bring the bowl to my face, do a little “NOM NOM NOM” and then she dives right in and licks the bowl clean. Sick. It’s sick. And I’ve screwed up royally, man. Or have I? I mean OBVIOUSLY I am the alpha here, as she won’t eat until I have, but … well. It’s ridiculous, is what it is, pretending to eat dog food while staring your hungry dog in the eye. And being the alpha gets me nowhere when she flips out on the shih tzu downstairs, you know? She IGNORES me then. Like I don’t COUNT. Like I’m NOT the ruler who tells her when to eat.
Every time I hear the word “alpha” by the way, my mind goes directly to the sorority song with the Greek alphabet, followed by “Gooooo Greek! GOOOO Greek! Let me hear you sing, alpha beta gamma delta epsilon zeta eta THETA IOTA KAPPA LAMBDA MU NU XI… ” Well, you get it, I hope.
If you’d like to hear the tune, please watch these lovely little young things sing it. Ahem. Yes, I did that. Probably while wearing something degrading, too, while being driven around with a blindfold and doing shots of generic peach schnapps. Lovely.
So listen, I dug my garden late today — well, half of it anyway — and in the category of “Captain Obvious” we have the stunning realization that gardening is hard. There was lots of shoveling and grunting and PLENTY of heaving as I dug up the weeds that took over the terraced space, and after all that work, I’m telling you, it’s like I expect a FULL BOUNTY of this season’s tomatoes to appear before my very eyes. I broke into a full sweat, for crying out loud, and you know that phrase, “Looks like they crawled out from under a rock”? Well! It turns out that there are some very scary things living under rocks, and that the meaning of that phrase was very likely cultivated from the super-freaky things I unearthed during this afternoon’s adventures.
I saw grubs! Worms! Ants! Creepy beetle-y things! GIANT CENTIPEDES! Horny worms! SPIDERS. AIEEEEE SPIDERS. Big hairy ones with suspicious looking sac-type things dangling from their bloated abdomens … and … and THEY CRAWLED OUT OF THE GROUND AS I DUG. Also, in the middle of all of this digging, my neighbor came home to tell me that while we don’t have black widow spiders here very often, he’s seen plenty of brown recluses. Oh, and by the way, they love stone garden walls, so hey, um, be careful, and if I get bitten, and the skin gets all black? I might want to go to a doctor. HAHAHAHAHA OKAY. WILL WATCH OUT FOR NEUROTOXIC SPIDERS, THANK YOU.
Any, um, BUG PEOPLE in my readership? Should I be afraid? What about the boxes we’re storing in the garage for our next move? WHAT THEN? (THEY LIKE CARDBOARD)
Tomorrow, I’ll hopefully finish the second half, providing it doesn’t rain. And then there will be baby lettuces and tomatoes and peppers! And radishes! And BEETS. Mmmmm … BEEEEEETS.
Also, geez, thank you for all of the bad television suggestions. I think … I think I’m going to start with Felicity. Charmed is, by the way, AWESOME AS EVER. And Shannen Doherty is a real bitch, ain’t she? I mean, her CHARACTER isn’t even likable. It’s like she is constitutionally incapable of any softness or empathy. FASCINATING.
Have a happy Thursday!
May 21st, 2008
Can we talk about bad TV for a second? Admittedly, since the writer’s strike, I’ve picked up on a mere fraction of the shows I used to watch, with The Office and Lost being the only shows I kept watching, at least during their original runtime. My GoodReads profile is grateful, as is my brain, for there is a lot more space devoted to things like Actual Thoughts and A Decent Vocabulary*. (This, more than anything, is why I’m blogging more. Thank you, writer’s strike!)
I don’t miss any of the things I used to suck my time with, and when I read the Weecaps on Television Without Pity for Desperate Housewives, let me tell you, I am downright GLEEFUL that I stopped watching that trainwreck, because God, dragging on the whole Susan-Mike relationship tension with a flash-forward? SERIOUSLY. GIVE US A BREAK.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, though: I watch Grey’s Anatomy on my PC, late at night, when no one can see me. I find it helps immeasurably with the attachment issues. I no longer give a rip what happens to MerDer, but instead, see it as mild entertainment on my computer that would otherwise be spent idly surfing. I’m blissfully detached, like it’s merely a YouTube video talking about the best tactics to beat The Legend of Zelda.
One of the (many) side effects of working from home is that I just roll over and start working from bed. I get up, pee and come back to check my e-mail and start cranking through my to-do list. And watch Charmed. Oh wait, what? Yes, CHARMED. The show where Alyssa Milano never ever covers her midriff and Holly Marie Combs finally gains enough weight by 2006 to look like a NORMAL THIN-TYPE PERSON, yet compared to her dangerously skeletal costars, looks almost pudgy? Yes, that one. It’s on TNT from 8 to 10 a.m. and it has served as background for the clickity clackity nature of my pajama’d mornings. And if I’m too focused on my actual WORK to half pay attention to any of the salient plot points? I record it and watch it that evening. Oh hell, I record it anyway, because I can never catch the whole thing.
Yes. I seem to have fallen in love with its campy, cheesy charms (HA! A pun!) and truly abysmal special effects, not to mention pitifully slow reaction times by three supposed witches. Dude, it’s TERRIBLE. It’s AWFUL. And yet, it doesn’t go all Ross and Rachel on us (I’m looking at you, Jim and Pam). It just IS.
And this morning, I literally SQUEALED when I realized that the series finale was at 8 a.m. and that the 9 o’clock hour would be filled with THE VERY FIRST EPISODE, EVER. And that the whole thing was starting over in ORDER! The whole series! FOR ME TO TIVO AND ENJOY WITH MY LUNCHTIME CEREAL. For the first time, I’ll get to see how Shannen Doherty’s character dies and how on EARTH they manage to explain away the arrival of Rose McGowan.
Charmed has awakened the hunger for camp. I want campy, WB-style shows to order by the TRUCKLOAD and watch while eating Special K Chocolatey Delight during my lunch hour and in the evenings. I’ve never seen any of them: Gilmore Girls, Felicity, Veronica Mars. Never! I’ve never seen them beyond a single episode or two! So I ask you, other than the three I’ve just mentioned (AND CHARMED OF COURSE), what do you recommend? And if you had to prioritize the above, how would you? My only requirement is that it is either marketed entirely toward the tween set or be so bad that it’s positively DECADENT. Extra points if it ran on the WB.
*This is a lie, because lately, I find myself completely and totally forgetting words, like I’m the early stages of dementia. Adam says it’s happening to him too, and it’s because we’re getting OLDER. Which, GAH. I’ve managed to avoid wrinkles, but is my brain really turning to mush? I was on the phone with a client the other day, and I couldn’t think of the word “autonomous”. I knew the meaning, and I knew what I wanted to say, and yet the best I could do was offer something along the lines of, “you know, um, finish the project and uh … make it … uh … run on its own without … without outside … help? You know, on its own all alone-like?” And at Eastern Mountain Sports, I couldn’t think of the word “placebo” and kept saying “psychosomatic” in its stead, when they aren’t even close in literal meaning, though they can be related. And yet I did it OVER AND OVER AGAIN and then saying things like, “Not psychosomatic, but … but … pla … pla … or is it pah?” until someone weakly offered, “Placebo?” YES. THAT IS IT. PLACEBO.
Also, up there where I say “special effects”? Took me a full minute to realize it wasn’t “side effects”. BRAIN GOING. FAST.
I’m going to start drinking brain-boosting tea and doing sudoku, like the old dude in front of the big 1970s sun on CBS Sunday Morning says to. It improves your memory, you know. Sigh.
May 19th, 2008
The weekend was weirdly magical — not like I was walking around in a Harry Potter novel or anything, and it wasn’t particularly cheesy romantic, but I’ll tell you, Vermont is something. Some days I think that if we’re ever forced to move that someone is going to drag me out by my hair, although I’m guessing I’d willingly go anywhere in the middle of January when our driveway is an ice skating rink and our car doors are frozen shut. It’s easy to love Vermont in the springtime when it’s all lush verdant lawns and rolling hills and shit. Winter … winter might be hard. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing will only get you so far, Winter.
Saturday, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, as is incredibly easy to do around here, no kidding. If you were to get in the car and drive on any number of roads except for one, you are almost guaranteed to find yourself in the middle of vague wilderness with nary a gas station or convenience store in sight. I mean, there is literally miles and miles of nothingness and the occasional farm. If you think about it, it’s kind of panic-inducing: I live in an island of civilization surrounded by … nothing. Like, if my whole town were to BURN DOWN, we’d have to drive at least an hour and a half to get anything resembling decent pickles, you know?
This random turn of events is precisely how we ended up having lunch at a corner hotel-slash-restaurant that resembled the Bates Motel and was run by a proprietor straight out of a Steinbeck novel, complete with tanned skin and arresting crinkly blue eyes. His fingers were stained and calloused from working outside; he said the reubens were good, and they were — perhaps the best in my whole life, in fact. It was a cool 70 degrees outside and the sun shone over the mountains around us as we ate on the rickety old porch, and when he offered pie at the end of the meal, it took every ounce of restraint I had not to order a slice of each. It is one of the weekend’s biggest regrets, that I turned down that pie, but it remains one of the best meals I’ve ever enjoyed.
We took a leisurely drive and drove until our butts couldn’t take it anymore, through rolling hills and bucolic pastures and field upon field filled with cows and horses of every color, and even passed a camel grazing peacefully among some sheep. We covered at least a quarter of the state, in fact, and did I mention that I forgot my camera? Yes. Shit.
Speaking of farms and cows, I helped a friend move stuff out of her family’s estate house today and on our way there, we passed a farm with a series of tiny huts next to a hillside pasture. She casually pointed out the window and said, “Veal!” and continued the conversation like nothing had happened. At which point I stopped her, because OMG. VEAL. I’m not one to proselytize about anything meat-related — I eat it, with relish, and you’d be hard-pressed to convince me otherwise — and I’m loath to admit that I have eaten veal on many occasions in my life, but GAH GAH GAH the huts! The tiny huts! It was a little too real, and imagining the baby cows in there was just too … well. Let’s just say it will be a long time before I eat veal again, if ever.
I’m sure I’d say the same thing about beef if I ever visited a slaughterhouse, although it’s interesting to note that I was entirely unaffected by Fast Food Nation, as I think I’ve mentioned before. In fact, I had the complete opposite reaction with FFN and spent the majority of the book craving a McDonald’s cheeseburger, even with pages and pages of text outlining why that should be verboten, or at least grotesquely unappealing. I have a sinking feeling that witnessing it is an entirely different experience from reading about it, however, as proven by the hut experience. I mean, I knew how veal was uh, raised, but … well. The huts. They haunt me. And I didn’t even see inside the huts.
Incidentally I’m hoping that the difference of reading vs. witnessing will once again work in my favor, as I’m currently reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma which, if history is any indication, will have me craving food with copious amounts of corn syrup and grass-fed beef.
The house I visited today, by the way, was incredible, and has been in my friend’s family for three generations, and the contents go back much further than that. I sifted through boxes of 17th century instruments and toys and family silver mixed with World War II fatigues and combat photographs from the Vietnam War. The contents are currently being packaged for an estate sale and the home itself is being sold for a fraction of its value due to a family dispute. The property includes the town’s original general store, which closed in 1967 and there’s still a hitching post out front from … well, the olden days, is the best way I can say it. If anyone’s in the market for an underpriced (seriously, you would die) rickety old mansion with a sweeping foyer of Tara’s proportions on three acres that are perfect for vineyards, please let me know, because my God, I’d buy it if I could. Also? I forgot to bring my camera there, too. Shit.
And not to abruptly change gears, but two things I’ve been meaning to tell you. First, if you’re starting to read Elizabeth Berg out of nowhere, don’t start with The Year of Pleasures. At least if your name isn’t Lawyerish, for I got this to her too late and she’d already bought it. I just finished it and … well, it’s decent — the writing is good — but it is in no way her best. I’d be disappointed if you didn’t read her again because it didn’t meet your expectations. The Katie Nash series is a good place to start there.
Secondly, every single night cream I’ve tried has made me break out, with the exception of (drumroll) Night of Olay. Yes, the oldest, most low-tech cream on the market has become the only thing I can use without waking up with underground zits so powerful it’s like the monsters from Tremors have unleashed beneath the surface. And, in nature’s cruelest joke, if I DON’T moisturize, I end up with unhappy skin that looks like bits of pepperoni have gathered on my forehead and cheeks. Mario Badescu wasn’t a total wash, however, because I love their drying cream and special cucumber lotion. (PUT THE LOTION IN THE BASKET.)
Have a great Monday!
May 18th, 2008
At the risk of sounding saccharine, man, do I love spring. I don’t know what it is about spring, but every year since the beginning of my reproductive years, I am overcome at the beginning of the season with this overwhelming urge to have somewhere in the range of thirteen children. No shit, it’s happened every single year since I was a kid — even during the brief spell in my life when I didn’t want children at all. The first few years, I was frightened and convinced that yes, this is what I want, thirteen kids. Yes, yes, I WANT to spend my entire life wiping bottoms and I won’t stop until they take my uterus away! You can’t make me!
But as I’ve aged and endured season after season of this bizarre fleeting urge to BREED BREED BREED, I at first slimmed down my springtime desires to four, and eventually realized that yes, this will pass by July, and I will become a normal person who is happy with whatever she decides to have and/or gets by the grace of God, even if that turns out to be nothing more than a houseful of pugs.
But isn’t that creepy? I wonder what sort of eerie pheromones are hurtling through the breeze come springtime that makes thirteen kids not only seem possible, but like a GOOD IDEA. Because for one brief season, I know precisely what Michelle Duggar feels like, and dude, critics of hers should know that it’s NOT HER FAULT. That’s some kind of nefarious biological programming there, that much I know.
It could be, however, that spring brings everything in massive abundance, and it seems a waste to create just one of anything. What’s the point of a singleton, when you have lilac trees bursting with blossoms, their branches so heavy with flowers that they bend under their weight and fill the air with their lush fragrance? Why have ONE baby, when our yard looks like a too-yellow ode to dandelions, the cheery flowers in alternating rows with their fluffy-headed descendants? I know dandelions are a pest, but between you and me, I love them.
I’ll tell you something else, and again, this may be spring talking (Quick! Hide the uterus! Oh — wait! It needs to be fixed, nevermind), but after living in small town Vermont, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to an urban — or even a too-crowded suburban — area again. In recent trips to Boston, I was a little repelled by my old neighborhood; how close together the houses were, the fact that there was nowhere for kids to, um, commune with nature. (No, I can’t believe I said that, either.) Vermont has been full of lessons, from how not to choose a hairdresser to what kind of life I want, wherever we land next, if there even is a next. This may be it. You never know, I’ve learned.
And here’s something I never thought I’d say: I wouldn’t trade this semi-nomadic life I’ve had for the past several years for anything. My time in Florida was one of the most depressing, lonely and outright hilariously bizarre experiences of my entire life, and yet if I had the chance to do it over again, exactly as it happened, I would. I learned a lot — how to be patient, how to tell a good story, and how to maintain a sense of humor and perspective when it seems that there is no hope, no hope at all.
Life is just plain weird. Gloriously, graciously weird.
Anyway, before I leave you thinking that I’ve gone soft, I feel oddly compelled to add a speck of curmudgeon to this otherwise perfect spring reverie. The whole mommyblogging brouhaha after the Today Show — after any televised segment about personal bloggers, really — grated my cheese, but not for the reason it bothered everyone else. Yes, yes, fine, Kathie Lee is a vapid helium balloon, but what irks me about these segments is that viewers are only presented with the most extreme examples. And Dooce, likable and relevant as she is, is an extreme example that they latch onto like rabid dogs, assuming that we’re all rich! And blogging from home for millions! It’s not her fault; it’s just what they DO.
I mean, the way they chopped it up, anyone watching that segment would be led to believe that blogging is a quick and easy way to make money. Put up a Web site and watch the money roll in! Better than stuffing envelopes even! When obviously, for the overwhelming majority of bloggers, this isn’t a job, nor do we want it to be, not even a little. Even those of us with ads do it because eh, why not? Not because we’re planning to quit our day jobs and blog for fun and profit, although I don’t blame anyone who does. Besides, even if we wanted to, the level of income for most bloggers who DO attempt to monetize their experience isn’t what those segments lead you to believe. There is a difference between earning some money and earning a LIVING. And the kind of fame and notoriety some bloggers have achieved isn’t remotely something many of us ASPIRE to, that much I can tell you.
It’s like holding up Maureen Dowd and saying this, THIS is a typical newspaper columnist! Behold! A newspaper columnist’s LIFE! Meanwhile, Bob Enright at the Cape Coral Daily Breeze is thinking right, um, no. I spend my afternoons dreaming up soccer coach controversies for fourteen bucks an hour. And I’m cool with that. No thanks, Maureen.
This isn’t a particularly well thought-out point, but I guess I’m saying that deconstructing this whole thing is getting a little tiring for me (INSERT WHITE HOT IRONY HERE). Sometimes — for most of us, I imagine — a blog is just a blog. It’s a great way to get your shit out there, hone your off-the-cuff writing skills, meet some great people and read some truly hilarious commentary (I’m looking pointedly at all of you.) Sometimes I wish we could just let things be, although I know that’s not realistic. And now I’m going to take my own advice! No more! I won’t talk about it again!
Anyway. To atone for that little ranty rail, let me ask you something: Do you read Elizabeth Berg? Because you really should if you don’t. I was talking to Lawyerish about her earlier today, and I really do believe she’s one of the most underrated authors of our time. She’s incredibly popular and viewed in some circles as mass-market airport-y fiction, but my God, she deserves better than that. Her writing is exquisite. Frankly, I don’t care if any of her books even have a plot — I would gleefully endure pages and pages of her describing wood cabinets. Truly.
Have a great Thursday!
May 14th, 2008
So this is awesome: The Terro ant traps you all recommended? Dude, TOTALLY WORKING. I’m finding piles of ant carcasses strewn carelessly around the sunroom, which was their lair. Yes, yes, I have to vacuum daily, but who cares? DEAD BODIES ABOUND. Aaand, sadly, I was reminded by my grim fascination with these little buggers when I downloaded photos off my camera this evening and discovered at least (oh my God) twenty photos I took one night while watching them with a glass of wine. Yes, you thought I made that up. I totally didn’t, and did, in fact, spend an entire Saturday night in front of ants. Behold:
Oh don’t worry. There are more where this came from. From different ANGLES, even. And solo shots of ants! CLOSE-UPS OF INDIVIDUAL ANTS USING THE MACRO SETTING. Yes. My God. I … well. It’s clear I need to get out more, is all I have to say about that.
Also, because two people asked and apparently that’s all it takes, Sunny is still alive and well, and actively begging for ham, as you can see:
She’s only two and yet she’s going grey like an old lady. Very sad. And now I ask you: Does this look like the kind of dog who shoots anal juice all over her parents on a regular basis? And does this LOOK like the face of a dog who went all Holy Shit Alpha on the neighbor’s itty bitty shih-tzu, to the point of snarling, screaming and teeth-baring? Over a BUFFALO BONE? I … I’ve never seen anything like it. In our house, I am her alpha, and she is a pansy — an abject PUSSY, if you will. She isn’t perfect, but she NEVER gets aggressive with me and is quite the opposite, prostrating herself for kibble and affection on a daily basis.
I’ve never seen her get aggressive with another dog — ever. In fact, in most cases, she is Pussy Dog who goes belly up and has never been alpha before — and she’s been around literally hundreds. But with this poor little dog, she was something else, and even growled at ME in the throes of madness (seriously, she looked possessed). And they’re FRIENDS. But, we discovered: no food or bones when they’re together. Nah no. Jesus. She … well, she thinks she’s Ms. Thang over the shih-tzu, and it was scary. I mean, as scary as this face can get.
And finally, I bring you Strawberry Milkshake hair:
The new hairdresser is ah, NOT SO MUCH. I know! It doesn’t look that pink! And I agree, it doesn’t here. It really doesn’t. In fact, it looks red, as the bottle surely intended, except that it FAILED. Because what you cannot see is that it is essentially fuchsia laid on top of platinum blond, which is (ho ho HO!) pale candy pink. And lots of it. Three people (THREE) in various stages of my day today remarked, “Wow, uh … that’s some HAIR!” One person asked if I did it myself with Manic Panic.
Manic Panic. Yes. That should give you an idea.
Adam said he truly hopes that my punk band makes it some day. He’s pulling for us. I, on the other hand, have apparently taken to sucking on lemons.
May 12th, 2008
I’ve never been so disappointed that I’m caught up on my laundry in my whole life, because my grocery store had the ENTIRE DOWNY FAMILY half off in some sort of fabric softener fire sale, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but … well two things. First, I love laundry. So much. I love doing laundry, smelling laundry, folding laundry, putting away laundry. I am the sole laundry-doer in my house and won’t let Adam NEAR the laundry. I would, in all seriousness, be a professional laundress with absolutely no complaints whatsoever. I know all the tricks. I am a master folder/hanger. I can get out any stain under the sun. And yes, I will absolutely do your laundry if you want me to, provided you let me bring my own supplies.
This brings me to my second point, which is that the only thing I love more than laundry is laundry PRODUCTS. I love and use it all: detergent, fabric softener AND dryer sheets, except on products that would be more absorbent in their absence (dish towels and dish cloths, basically. Bath towels totally get the softener, I don’t care). Tide and Downy Clean Breeze are my favorites, although I use mostly eco-friendly stuff now (I don’t know why except it makes me feel virtuous. It probably does nothing), except in case of SALE SALE SALE, like now. Half off! Half off everything! Expensive fancy Downy softener! Dryer sheets! Lavender and vanilla! Cashmere something! Pear and gardenia! I bought out the store!
Bottom line: I have an entirely new arsenal of products and no laundry to do. It’s like TORTURE.
Also, fun tip: You know that Downy Wrinkle Releaser that they sell for a bahollion dollars? Well, maybe not a bahollion, but more than it’s worth, anyway. First of all, it works to de-wrinkle stuff, yes, but what it REALLY works for is relaxing fabrics like, say, if you’ve accidentally shrunk something (who me?), or if that one seam isn’t quite laying right and an iron would just make it confusing (I’m thinking of smocked shirts and ruching, really. Things that are a bitch to iron). It’s brilliant stuff and will de-shrink almost anything except for wool sweaters and it freshens clothes too! But you shouldn’t buy it. Ever. What you SHOULD do is buy a cheap spray bottle and even cheaper fabric softer (I have a container of Nice N’ Fluffy for this purpose) and mix one part softener to five parts water. Voila! Downy Wrinkle Releaser! For pennies. You’re welcome.
Anyway, to answer a few very kind questions, no, I didn’t get the tubal flushing/Oompa Loompa treatment on Friday — that’s coming later, with some kind of crazy tube lube (um, ew?) but I DID adore my new gynecologist. ADORE. She spent an UNGODLY amount of time with me, and there was no leaning or inappropriate fondling and she didn’t talk down to me about charting. I did, however, get some other slightly unpleasant things in addition to an ultrasound, and Allison is totally right. My uterus was SO TINY. I let out an awed, “ooooh!” at what I thought was my uterus until the doctor said, “I know! Your bladder is really full! It’s HUGE!”
Ha HA. Yes, perhaps I should brush up on my anatomy before I go all Florence Nightingale on the world. But when I finally saw it, it was so tiny, like a baby T-bone steak! And the tubes are wee little shoelaces!
The only things that remotely matched my expectations were my ovaries, which resembled lychee nuts almost exactly. And though she got all excited and pointed to a follicle, I couldn’t see it and was craning my neck all, “Where’s the follicle? WHERE IS THE FOLLICLE?” like I was trying to see my unborn child in there, or perhaps the visage of the Virgin Mary, when it was just a FOLLICLE. Hence, my strange desire to become a part of the medical community. I’m still pissed I couldn’t find the follicle and would be even if it weren’t my own. Ultrasounds are way cool. Feel free to invite me to your next one so I can ogle your follicles.
Incidentally, I was wrong about the boob saga: it seems it rages on. My doctor got the report and wants to follow up with a boob specialist to be 100 percent sure, which even she admits is superfluous. I kind of love her for that, as she’s being overly cautious and that makes me feel very safe, but what I love even more is that her office makes the appointments like they’re my own personal secretary — this is true of any referral they make. I sit back and accept or reject appointment times based on my ever-changing whims while relaxing on a tuffet and eating Ben & Jerry’s. This is beyond awesome.
Anyway, the week ahead promises many, um, treasures, including a new freelance project, a new hairdresser (Tomorrow! Hold me) and Tuesday, I’m planting the first tier of my garden, which will include carrots, radishes, lettuce and beets. (Avid gardeners may think I’m late for this, but ha HA! We’re zone one. Which also includes Canada. It’s, um, COLD HERE.) Other tiers will include herbs, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. I’m genuinely frightened, for I have false hopes of lush, fruitful gardens of rich vegetables that will nourish our family for months to come and I have fantasies of … well, of canning. I know. This whole fantasy is ridiculous and bound for nothing but disappointment.
Also, random heads up that we’re moving servers this week, so there will be some downtime at some point, I don’t know when. Not that you’re waiting with bated breath or anything, but I know that I usually panic and think I’ve broken the Internet when I get an error, but if it’s here, I assure you, your Internets are fine. We’re just moving servers, that’s all. (Bluehost here we come! So, ah, if you hate them, speak now or forever hold your peace!)
Have a great Monday!
*Bruce Springsteen. I don’t normally like him, but I have a few albums. It’s sort of required, isn’t it, if you’re a music person? Along with Bob Dylan and The Beatles, among others. I don’t love them, either, but I appreciate them. It’s much the same with good ole Bruce.
May 11th, 2008