Archive for June, 2008

It’s Hot (Some Like It Hot)

Well! It finally stopped raining (EIGHTEEN DAYS IN A ROW) enough for us to actually sit lakeside on Sunday, the low point of which was me narrowly missing a good old toeful of dog poo, the high point being those hours just sitting there baking in the sun reading. (Special Topics in Calamity Physics, if you’re wondering. My take so far? Lay off the tricks! Also, the similes. WE’RE DROWNING IN SIMILES. SIMILES LIKE MISERABLE SANDS THROUGH A GRUBBY HOURGLASS.)

Have I mentioned the rain? Yes, I know I have, but MY GOD. THE RAIN. It’s been the wettest summer I’ve ever seen which, combined with the heat and and the propensity of a certain small pug to lay on my shoulders, makes for a truly sticky workday experience, and I can guarantee an ever-present nice sheen of hot, steamy dog breath condensation right in the crook of my neck. I will even rub it against you if you ask nicely. This also means going outside is practically BEGGING for West Nile virus, thanks to unforeseen swarms of mosquitoes, which result in multiple bites in the armpit area and ultrasexy ape-like scratching.

Because of the unfortunate weather situation, life around here has been spectacularly boring, unless you include the long-awaited discovery of Dexter, which might be the best show television ever invented. How is it possible that a serial killer with absolutely no moral code and/or feelings or desire for sex is … somehow creepily hot and — dare I say it — sexy? I’m chalking it up to Michael C. Hall who, again, is not remotely attractive in any other context, yet looks smoldering when pretending to consider harsh, brutal murder. This is not unlike the bizarre crush I’ve harbored on Gary Oldman since Dracula — yes, Dracula, but I have to remind you, in case you already knew this about me, that I mean the YOUNG Dracula, the one all hot and bothered for Mina’s blood, not the one with the Princess Leia shit around his ears, along with those long, windy fingernails. (GAH. FINGERNAILS. BLEAH VOMIT OMFG FINGERNAILS. NOOOOOO.)

In further Darwinian evidence that I should not be allowed to procreate, I woke myself up last night choking on my own drool. Yes, that’s right, I nearly drowned myself in my sleep from excessive sleepy-time saliva production and woke up actually thinking I was dying, but instead of acting rational and attempting to swallow it down like a normal person, I LEAPED out of bed, desperate to contain the coughing so as not to wake up Adam and went flying out of the room in honest consideration that I may have been dying in the same manner as a person who chokes on his own vomit. Instead, woke him with the leaping and hacking, resulting in an oh-so-pleasant midnight conversation that involved a lot of hand gestures for the universal sign for “CHOKING ON SALIVA” along with lame attempts at explaining bed leapage so as to avoid the inevitable mocking for the fact that dude, I nearly drowned on my own DROOL.

In random bits, three miscellaneous items that are in no way related to each other, but illustrate the sad, incredibly boring housebound state that we’re in:

— I discovered a previously forgotten stash of my mom’s lemon bars in our freezer. They’re like a tiny orgasm for the mouth! OH YES THEY ARE. HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK.

— I’ve finally found a store that carries Patak’s Indian Garlic Relish. If you can’t find it in your area, might I suggest you order some? Mix with a blend of nonfat yogurt and mayonnaise in an approximately one-to-one ratio for each (is that how ratios work? I mean, equal parts? Am writer, not math-type person and frankly am embarrassed that I don’t know this information and all too often, have to ask people how to do simple math.) Eat with lightly salted cucumbers and TRY NOT TO WEEP FROM ECSTASY.

– After three consecutive loads of laundry that reek of mildew (HORK) despite immediate transfer to dryer, I discovered the problem: The washing machine ITSELF reeks of mildew. Constantly. It’s an ancient front-loading model and it’s always had a SLIGHTLY mildew-y odor, but with the heat and BACK-BREAKING HYOOMIDITY, I was blasted with a face full of rotten laundry odor five minutes post-washing that continued when it was empty. Whaat do I DOOOOOO? I tried a bleach load; nothing! AM I DESTINED TO CLOTHES THAT SMELL LIKE FEET FOREVER?

Happy Tuesday! May you be having more interesting times than we.

*Jay-Z

36 comments June 30th, 2008

Stop Smoking

My neighbor’s visiting dog is pooping in my yard with his apparent blessing, the logic I’m sure being that *I* have a dog and don’t clean up after her in my own yard, but what he fails to grasp is that there is a significant difference between a) your own dog’s poop, I don’t know why, but there is; and b) Sunny is TINY and her poops are wee little things that get washed away with the first rainstorm, whereas Isaac’s poops are meatloaves of epic proportions that leave me gagging and heaving and Sunny gobbling them up like Scooby Snacks. I’d also like to point out that on the rare occasion Sunny has pooped in their yard — or say, right in the middle of their flower bed — I waltz over there and make a giant, bear-scaring show of the fact that I HAVE A BAG and I am PICKING UP THE POOP RIGHT NOW, OH WHO’S A BAD GIRL WHO POOPED IN THE PEONIES? WHO?

Anyway. Speaking of neighbors, I terrified my other neighbor today when she told me she was on day two of quitting smoking by attempting to sympathize with the story of MY second day off the cigarettes. Which, now that I’ve written that down sounds like the most self-centered thing ever, like I was all, OH BACK TO ME LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT ME. When really, she asked for my experience specifically, it’s not like I just launched off, but … oh never mind. What I did was almost worse anyway.

Longtime readers may remember this (I believe I wrote about this two years ago-ish, but am too lazy and besides, am getting old and repeat myself), but long story short, I informed the clerk at Stop n Shop in Brookline that her failure to give me the sale price on a six-pack of Diet Coke was the equivalent of being raped. Yes, raped. I believe my exact words were that this was being “fucked up the ass by the man”, complete with hand gestures in the general vicinity of my violated, raped ass. It was the one and only time that Adam left me anywhere, but oh, he did, and I don’t blame him. He tried to stop me, I continued to use the words “ass raped” until he calmly walked out the door and walked home. Did that stop me? No no. I continued to demand that the manager give me my fifty cents off and oh yes, I continued to say that this shit was worse than a PRISON ASS RAPING and yes, again, I continued to point to the invisible dick with the words “STOP ‘N SHOP” going in and out of my anal region.

I never did get my sale price on the Diet Coke, by the way, and I didn’t realize that I had done anything wrong until I got home, such was my extreme insanity. And there is only one other story — the worst thing I’ve ever done, hands down, and I don’t have the courage to tell you that yet — that makes me cringe as much as this one, because is there anything worse than someone throwing a fit and swearing in a public place? Over a SALE ITEM, no less? Reminds me of my recent flight to New York where a man was pissed that his JetBlue TV didn’t work and he UNLEASHED on the flight attendant about the price of his ticket and how he deserved a working TV for the $10 he paid for his exit row seat (best $10 ever. Really) and the whole time I just wanted to die, because God man, SHUT UP. MOVE SEATS. HERE, TAKE MY TV. But then I thought, maybe he’s quitting smoking. I understand this. At least he didn’t say ass-rape.

I’m surprised no one shot me. Frankly, I’d like to shoot myself just recounting that story.

Ah, nicotine. Horrid stuff to get off, really. Also, the second I said the words “ass raped” I realized that my neighbor was contemplating how to ram something in MY ass to get me to shutthefuckupalreadyjesusquittingsmokingsucksthanksforremindingmebeeyotch.

So I took all of your advice re: working from home and took a nice chunk of the afternoon — a lunch hour, if you will — to walk to the grocery store/co-op for some creme brulee (dude, if I walk there, I earned it, and who says creme brulee isn’t an acceptable lunch?) and would you believe they didn’t have any creme brulee? No? Well apparently I didn’t believe it either, for my reaction was not, “Oh, okay!” but instead was, “Well, what exactly does that MEAN?” as though there were some sort of secret stash of creme brulee for people who really really needed it. This resulted in the clerk thinking I was being bitchy, and a sort of nasty “Who’s On First” convo ensued as I tried to explain myself, because God, that’s not what I meant, I just couldn’t communicate at ALL.

I meant were they out for NOW, or would they NEVER HAVE ANY AGAIN? We never did clarify, and now they think I’m asshole mean creme brulee lady, especially because I consoled myself with creme brulee-flavored ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s) which is SO not the same thing, as I’m more about the creme than the brulee, and would you believe the ice cream masters the brulee, but not the creme? What the HELL, Ben & Jerry’s?

Good lord, I’m really making myself look AWESOME here, aren’t I? I yell at store clerks when they don’t kowtow to my demands! I DEMAND PERFECTION FROM MY GROCERY EXPERIENCE.

(I don’t really. Like, at all. Usually I’m the person who asks for a turkey sandwich, ends up with salami and somehow thinks it’s my fault because I didn’t ENUNCIATE properly, I swear.)

At any rate, I hope you have a great weekend. Mine is only slightly deflated by the fact that I missed our town Fourth of July fireworks celebration because for reasons unknown, they took place TONIGHT. A FULL WEEK BEFORE THE ACTUAL HOLIDAY. Who does that? WHO DOES THAT, VERMONT? HOW COULD YOU BETRAY ME LIKE THIS? My neighbors are equally mystified.

I LOVE small-town holiday events, despite the fact that I hate fireworks. Love. This love has only been slightly diminished by the fact that one fine Fourth, my old town in Massachusetts had feel-around fireworks, thanks to an aggressive wind, which involved several ignited blankets and some painful shrapnel that actually left bruises. (Second repeated story of the day! AM SO BORING.)

Again, ho! Have a great weekend. I’m getting me some creme brulee if it HURTS ME, Weight Watchers be damned. Although did I tell you I’m down four of the seven pounds I’d wanted to lose? HA HA, and I’m gunning for creme brulee. I’m so smart. Way to undo that progress, Jonna.

*Dar Williams

33 comments June 26th, 2008

Salute Your Solution

I know this is old news, but I’m a little bit peeved with HBO over their decision to move Big Love to the fall. I realize it was the writer’s strike and everything, but COME ON. Big Love is not a fall show. It is a steamy summer show with multiple wives and creepy old men and lots of sex that is anything but sexy, and yet somehow it remains completely appealing, but again, not in a sexy way. It’s horribly unsexy in the way that ’70s-style pubic hair is unsexy. Which is to say, vaguely familiar and yet slightly parental and no one knows why. Does that make sense? It doesn’t. But it does remind me of a the classic 1970s female sexuality self-help book by Lonnie Barbach, “For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality” in which she recommends GETTING HIGH AND/OR DRUNK as a means to sexual fulfillment. And she’s so EARNEST about it, too.

“Some couples find a joint puts them in the mood!” Yes, Lonnie, I’ll bet they do. She goes on to say that booze (and she calls it booze) is also useful. No word on whether these two recommendations are in the most current edition.

By way of explanation, not that anyone asked: I collect social hygiene, self-help and cook books from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, hence the Lonnie Barbach. Am desperately seeking a first edition of Hints from Heloise — not the Heloise you all know, but her MOTHER. The one who explains the best way to clean a crinoline skirt and mentions that you should clean the ashtrays before your husband comes home. And for the love of God, don’t forget to put on lipstick.

Now I have to wait until AT LEAST September, which means I won’t even bother with Entourage, because, my friends, I AM OVER IT. Over Vince Chase, over Turtle, over E. Over Drama, even. I never thought this would happen, but last season sort of did it for me. Medellin indeed.

Speaking vaguely of cookbooks, I remain confused by the never-ending “summer recipe” lists that say that they don’t use the oven and keep you COOL, and yet advocate standing over a white-hot skillet sweating into your potatoes for 25 minutes. Yes, yes, an oven heats a house, but a skillet heats your FOREHEAD. That being said, might I recommend roasting carrots in the oven at 425 for 25 minutes with salt, pepper and olive oil? Doing tomato slices in similar fashion at 350 for 15 minutes is also delightful, and if you do them both in the cool of the nighttime, you can have a lovely, filling salad the next day for dinner without breaking a sweat.

Not that I’m usually one to dispense advice about sensitive matters, but if you’re infertile or a suspected infertile, not only do I recommend avoiding TTC message boards (Babydust! ~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*) (GDIAF, Babyduster!), but holy lord, the dark underbelly of infertile blogs — not most of them, mind you, but SOME — is also a minefield that you should run, not walk, away from. In some of them, you’ll find people’s lives who have been utterly destroyed by their infertility, which is sort of understandable, but not something I’m aiming to aspire to, and worse, there are too many spouses whose lack of support will do nothing but break your heart. And while I generally stray from judging others, I will say that there is a special place in hell for husbands who leave their wives for no other reason other than that they can’t produce a biological heir. Dude, I’m sorry, get over yourself. If you’re that massive of a douchebag, it’s unlikely that your legacy was worth preserving in the first place.

Mercy me, this day is over! Almost over! I had a cup of coffee last evening at 6:30 p.m. and as a result stayed AWAKE! and also ALERT! until 4 a.m., which was the last time I checked the clock, no shit. Aaand, I rose at 7:30. This, when combined with a spot of hormones, had me actually warning Adam at 3:30 this afternoon that coming home was entirely optional, and that staying at work late may be recommended. Or hey, had he considered staying at a hotel for fun? The Marriott has rooms! Yes, yes, GO TO THE MARRIOTT! Instead, I opted for creme brulee, which is available in delightful single servings at our local health food store (ha ha HAAA) and waited until 8 for the wine. And while it was too late for the obligatory whimper of “I TOLD YOU I WAS NOT RIGHT TODAY,” both salvaged the evening quite nicely. No matter the order, I’m feeling nothing short of awesome, but I’m having a hard time imagining who wouldn’t after a hefty serving of wine and heavy cream.

And suddenly, I’m craving fish sticks. Crispy ones, from the freezer section, possibly made by Mrs. Paul. With TARTAR SAUCE.

I told you I was not right today.

Hey, happy Thursday! And thank you — THANK YOU — for all of the book recommendations. Am overwhelmed, but also madly in love with you. Our vacation, PS, is now the first week of August, rather than July, which is both disappointing and thrilling, as I love looking forward to things and PLANNING things. And I now have a wonderful reading list of fluff.

*The Raconteurs

22 comments June 25th, 2008

Home

Right, so I just spent the last twenty minutes watching Wipeout, and — this might be the worst thing I’ve ever admitted — I … I laughed. It’s utterly ridiculous and base and my God, it’s people in foamy vests jumping around on giant balls and going on things called the Dizzy Dummy and there I was, laughing like a neanderthal. I am also known to laugh a little too loudly at America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Next up: I Survived a Japanese Game Show, where one of the women actually shouts “OMIGOD SUSHI!” the moment she finds out Japan is her destination and yet another is disappointed when sake does not resemble the wine cooler she was anticipating.

I am what’s wrong with America.

In other, equally scintillating news, the weather here is batfuck crazy. Ours is not a gentle New England rain, the kind worth watching from a rocker on the front porch with a nice glass of lemonade. No no, this is a DRIVING RAIN, the kind that offers up hail the size of light bulbs and demolishes lettuce plants (RIP lettuce plants! There were too many of you anyway!) And did I mention I SAW LIGHTNING STRIKE A TREE BEHIND US? Yes. It was like it is in the MOVIES, all flash and crack and sparks and breakage and shit, and I’m never going outside again, The End. I might add that I lived in Florida for three years without seeing a lightning strike, and yet, after FOUR MONTHS of living in Vermont, I’ve seen two.

Also, I’m starting to lose my mind working from home. Yes, I am LOSING MY MIND and creating drama where there isn’t any, and this definitely includes whether the radishes are conspiring against me (growing or dying, GROWING OR DYING?). So much so that I’ve actually applied to answer phones a few hours a week at multiple places, even if it means doing my regular work at night, because this, this is starting to feel like solitary confinement and there are only so many times a day a person can check the status of the cucumber plant (update: NEW LEAVES. THREE OF THEM. I SQUEALED WHEN I FOUND THE THIRD.)

Ahem. Yes, it’s time for a wee bit more structure, because while working from home may be the most lucrative option, as there is no gainful employment in Vermont for the likes of me (the local paper has plenty of ads actively seeking farm hands, however), the lack of daily social interaction on a professional — or hell, even INTERPERSONAL — level outside of phone calls and the occasional in-person meeting is killing me. And for the record, I’m an extraordinarily anti-social prick sometimes, so this is really saying something. Who knew that friends could only take you SO FAR?

(Also, have sort of rethought answering phones bit, as every time, and I do mean every time, I’ve applied for entry-level work, the ambitious side of me takes over and before you know it, I’m the leader of the phone answerers and organizing union demonstrations and working 80-hour weeks to figure out how we can all answer phones BETTER. I don’t even think I could slice meat at Shaw’s without trying to figure out how I could RUN THE DELI and IMPROVE DELI PERFORMANCE. Am a little ambitious and Type A, why do you ask?)

At any rate, all of this working from home bit has given me some extra time to consider why People magazine actually chose Mario Lopez — quite possibly the dirtiest bird in the history of dirty birds — as king of the sexy bachelors or whatever, and further, why they put him in those OUTFITS and POSES, particularly the one where his penis is very clearly airbrushed out, giving the impression of the World’s Grossest Ken Doll. Seriously, who would date this man? Does no one but me remember his annulment with the Dorito girl because he couldn’t keep his Ken Doll parts to himself?

Well. That was a barrel of excitement, yes? But also! A request: While Goodreads is great for reviews, I find it lacks in the recommendation department and I’m seeking two things for a potential upcoming vacation, location and timing TBD, but it could be perilously soon due to Adam’s schedule and I WANT TO BE PREPARED:

1) Chick-lit. Hit me with your best, most mindless drivel. Yes, I’ve read all of Marian Keyes’ books.
2) Youth fantasy. I have Twilight, have Philip Pullman at the ready and then … then what?

I know these are painfully immature selections, but remember, there will be a lot of mindless lying about and perhaps a few spa treatments. Morose, deep or otherwise thoughtful are really not what I’m aiming for here.

I also welcome any tips for making working from home more bearable, because at this rate, you’ll find me in the corner rocking back and forth, occasionally demanding that neighbors come over for thought-provoking meetings and conferences. HELP ME.

Happy Wednesday!

*Zero 7

64 comments June 24th, 2008

Everyday is Like Sunday

I genuinely fear for the future of our collective food supply should I ever become pregnant (which, if recent developments are any indication, will be approximately the twelfth day of never), because my pre-menstrual self sure knows how to pack it away. It’s not that I’m all that hungry, necessarily, it’s that I’m searching desperately for the RIGHT thing, and nothing quite meets my mind’s expectations. Ergo, instead of merely accepting that I am full from a less-than-perfect meal or snack, I somehow feel that I am entitled to perfection, which may or may not include a bowl of cereal (nope, that’s not it) and half of a chocolate Easter bunny. A HOLLOW Easter bunny, which infuriated me at the time, and left me digging around our cabinets for something else more satisfactory. Something with some HEFT. Like, perhaps, my thighs.

In other news, it’s rained every. single. day. for more than a week — not the whole day, mind you, but right in the middle part, when you’re trying to figure out if you can go to the lake and read books between dips and grahmothereffingGRAH we didn’t make it there this weekend. Which is a shame, given that it looks like this, even on a rainy day, yes?

I'd like to be here.
Oh sure. My house is a totally comparable substitute. TOTALLY.

We did an ungodly amount of lounging and movie-watching, since it was thunderstorming most of the outdoor-able times. This was just as well, given that Adam bought a television that is approximately the size of a football stadium — it was the TV he’d been coveting, on sale for a ridiculously low price, albeit in a size that is, well, a little embarrassing. I honestly tried to take photos to demonstrate its hugeness, with Diet Coke cans for scale and everything, but it just wasn’t translating, although I did get some nice shots of Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton. Which, you know, will be a nice keepsake for her someday.

Because of space issues downstairs, the TV ended up in our bedroom, and my God. it’s as though we’re in the front row of a movie theater. A FEEL-AROUND movie theater, with my neck craned up and the surround sound on eleven. I came out of the shower in hysterics, because look! BRIAN WILLIAMS IS IN OUR BEDROOM WITH A VERY LARGE HEAD. I’d prefer him naked and in the flesh, but this was the next best thing, I suppose. And while I like Tom Brokaw — except for the fact that it feels like he’s FORCING! EVERY! WORD! OUT! OF! HIS! MOUTH! WITH! GREAT! EFFORT! — the smallest of consolations for Tim Russert’s death would have been that Brian Williams did the broadcast shirtless.

And in other photographic news, Sunny would like the world to know that she has an extraordinarily difficult life and has been tricked into a life of never-ending lounging, sleeping and enforced relaxation:

Refugee pug
My life blows.

Not that I frequented the theater that often anyway, but living in a town where there … well, there is a theater, but it runs ONE MOVIE AT A TIME, and it’s usually not first-run, our lives revolve around rentals, Showtime and HBO. Consequently, this weekend’s movies included Eastern Promises, which I made it through approximately three seconds of — despite the promise of Viggo naked — due to an unfortunately graphic throat-slitting two minutes in. This led to The Golden Compass (Shut up. Have thing for kid’s fantasy books and movies), which lead to Ocean’s Thirteen and can we say DUD DUD DUD and that this is all because my tiny-ass town didn’t have Dexter season one on DVD anywhere?

And with that, we’re going to abandon this bundle of an exciting recap because an ominous sounding text-to-speech automaton informed us via the teevee that penny-sized hail and cloud-to-ground lightning is headed our way. And for added measure, he reminded us that lightning is one of nature’s biggest killers. Yes, that’s what he said, just like that. NATURE’S BIGGEST KILLERS. And besides, Cold Case is on, and it’s time to analyze Lily Rush’s hair.

It’s a thrill a minute around here.

Happy Monday!

*Morrissey. Also, this bothers me, because grammatically it should be “every day” — two words, not one — unless it’s an adjective, which it isn’t. And yet I think he says everyday. I don’t have the album jacket or physical CD anymore, so I can’t tell you for sure. And iTunes isn’t usually RIGHT about these things.

29 comments June 22nd, 2008

Eye of the Tiger

I was feeling particularly masochistic this morning and was Googling “early pregnancy symptoms” and would you believe that a relatively professional-looking site actually lists “positive pregnancy test” as an early PREGNANCY SYMPTOM? In related news, another pregnancy symptom is a baby falling out of your vagina, and my friend Erica pointed out that they should have listed “growing belly, possibly with kicking sensation.” The Internet is brilliant.

Today was a bit of an off day which was entirely hormonally induced — the place where you KNOW you’re being ridiculous, yet some small part of you is going, “But it’s all true! You WILL die alone!” That sounds absurd, but somehow a series of small events always culminates with someone dying, probably in a cardboard box. It starts with a random event that is totally manageable on a normal day, but mysteriously, a few moments later, we’re ALL DEAD, ALONE AND FRIENDLESS. For me that moment was a call with an old friend of mine who is fabulously wealthy and stupidly successful and I won’t even mention that he offered me to JOIN HIM AS A PARTNER in his quest for fabulous wealth and stupid success, before he achieved it, and I SAID NO for a variety of personal reasons that were actually quite valid at the time.

I mean, do I look fabulously wealthy and stupidly successful to you? Of course not, as I am still unshowered and wearing Threadless Ts. But really, my reasons were pretty good and involved wanting a whole life, rather than just a professional one (he’s divorced, doesn’t want kids, and lives for his job. Me? BTDT, no thank you.) Oh, and I didn’t really like the profession I was in, either. As in, that particular job situation made me cry. Every day. I told you, they were pretty valid.

But man, when he went off about last week’s trip to a luxurious location mingling with VCs while I stood in the kitchen making coffee, my unshowered ass in saggy pajama pants, talking about the glamorous world of work-at home freelancing in high-powered Vermont (we’re FULL of movers and shakers here! HA) it was hard to remind myself that really, I made the right decision, because I hate business travel and besides, every time I schmooze with VCs, some creepy guy’s hand ends up on my thigh and I wish I were home drinking cheap wine and making funny faces at the dog. But MAN, did I feel like a Failure.

This is all sounding very morose, but really, it’s not, as the point is this: my friend Erica saved me, because as I was talking to her — before I really went into any of it, she simply announced, “Oh my God, you’re in that place, I can tell. I know where you are. I’m surprised you didn’t see me there.”

And I just LAUGHED, because oh, it’s such a familiar place. Lawyerish and I talked about it, too. And it’s amazing how you can be dug out of that place by knowing only that someone else has been there too, even if not by the precise turn of events that got YOU there. Having friends helps a lot, and I can say that if I were fabulously wealthy and stupidly successful in that particular capacity, I wouldn’t have many quality ones, but I would have a lot of hands on my thighs. Oh, and did I mention that I wouldn’t have even MET Erica? She’s worth giving up the FWSS train, I tell you.

This is all very ironic, because just yesterday I told Jennie about one of my favorite quotes from (oh my God) Rocky Balboa (SHUT UP. IT IS FULL OF WISDOM), which is “It doesn’t matter how this looks to other people, it matters how it looks to you.” Now, I’m not about to launch into an exhibition fight with a man named Mason Dixon, but I’ll tell you, I did notice that the only time I feel like I’m failing in ANY capacity is when I consider not how my life looks to ME, but how my life looks to others. And I don’t think a life of schmoozing in an industry that I hate would have been particularly appealing to me, but pulling wrinkly radishes from the garden IS, you know?

There’s a really wise metaphor in here somewhere or life lesson or something, but I don’t know if I’m going to remember it. But mostly, I think the lesson is this: You should watch Rocky Balboa, if only because Milo Ventimiglia is in it, before he started robbing the cradle.

Moving on. Speaking (a little) of the garden, do you know that not ONLY did I overplant lettuce like you read about, but I realized yesterday that I have THIRTEEN tomato plants, all of which are flowering like gangbusters? Yes, ha ha, SHIT. I am in for a lot of tomatoes. Which is fine, because my bell, jalapeno and ancho peppers are looking positively ANEMIC, and my cucumbers aren’t looking particularly uh, PERKY, either. Gardening assvice welcome, although I’ll tell you that my basil, cilantro and radishes are quite happy indeed.

Well. Have a, um, happy Friday? What joyous introspection I’ve left you with this weekend! For us, by the way, ALLLLL Adam wants to do is go to the lake. And I’m not really going to complain, provided I don’t get pooped on.

Happy weekend!

*Survivor. We’re sticking with the Rocky theme for today. Next up: working out in the woods, pulling giant PLOWS behind me or something.

27 comments June 19th, 2008

Human Behavior

Dogs love undies. I’m pretty sure at this point it’s undisputed fact. And worse, dogs love DIRTY undies because, I’m guessing, the smell of you is that much stronger. I’ve grown accustomed to it — since Sunny and I have lived together, she’s come barreling into the bedroom with my bra on her head more times than I can really count. However, things reached a new low today when she ran into the downstairs laundry room and came running out with my neighbor’s thong wrapped around her legs, the crotch firmly set in her jaw. My neighbor’s dirty thong.

In Charmed news (I know! It should be its own CATEGORY and yes, I know you’re SICK OF IT), I realized things may have gone too far today when I settled in for my typical hour of admin-y work (invoicing, e-mail, mindless shit), which I usually like to accompany with a fresh episode only to discover that I screwed up the TiVo and there was no Charmed. I audibly gasped and found myself tut-tutting and actually yelling aloud, “Oh my God, how can something like this HAPPEN?” My reaction was so wildly inappropriate that I wonder if I should cut the cord, because I may … I may be addicted to Charmed. And I’m only wrapping up season TWO. There are SIX MORE SEASONS.

I was talking to a former colleague-turned-client today and in addition to screaming my fool head off because three wasps just APPEARED OUT OF NOWHERE while I was on the phone (“Jonna? Jonna? Are you okay?”), I learned that one of our old coworkers is getting a divorce because — wait for it — her husband walked in on her having sex with their tennis pro. Am I the only one who didn’t think this actually existed outside of movies and The Real Housewives of New York City? THE TENNIS PRO. So tacky. So Jackie Collins.

I know I’m painfully naive in the ways of the world, but this is like the TWELFTH former coworker from the same job to find him/herself in a similar situation. Perhaps my favorite experience was the fine summer afternoon when the vice president’s wife showed up ON THE JOB to confront her husband and the 22-year-old intern he was having an affair with. While I realize that this is normally the type of sordid excitement that has staffers craning their necks for more, I have to tell you, it was so sad that I hunkered down in my office with four junior employees in near-tears because really, while the guy was a dirtball, she had NO IDEA. And worse, what she didn’t realize was that the intern was the fourth woman from the same office that he’d shacked up with, sometimes in the conference room (surprise!), and we had witnessed countless jilted lovers confront, cry and leave. For us, it had gotten old, but for her, it was a completely new revelation.

I won’t even mention the fact that I’d worked with this guy before and he pulled the same shit there, too. And I wonder: do women KNOW they’re marrying that kind of guy? Do they think they can change him? And further, who the HELL has an affair with the tennis pro? And how much play (uh, ha ha?) do you think a tennis pro gets? (My guess: PLENTY)

And with that, I’m off to throw up, because the Celtics are on and this evening has the potential to be the most miserable or the most jubilant. It all depends. I’m sure I’ll edit this later, because I’m CLUTCHING MY BOWELS.

Edit: NO LONGER CLUTCHING BOWELS. THANK GOD. (Oh Kevin Garnett. I love you. And Paul Pierce? THANK GOD. And I haven’t even touched Ray Allen! Also, there was CRYING when I saw Bill Russell and KG. FULL ON CRYING. )

Happy (almost) Wednesday!

*Bjork

28 comments June 17th, 2008

Rainfall

We’ve been enduring rain of Biblical proportions and twice — TWICE — in the last few days, my beet shoots have been run off in a swell of water and at one point, my lettuce was DROWNING. I never thought I’d be so protective of a pile of plants, but there I was, standing woefully in the rain as though in a gardening-themed wet T-shirt contest wailing, “MY LETTUCE!” Honestly, you’d think my village was being raped and pillaged and the last of the food stores was trickling off in a wave of horror. And frankly, it was all for naught, for my veggies survived wonderfully, with the exception of my beets, the final batch of which were essentially washed away during this afternoon’s monsoon. I mourn the loss of a pickling-friendly vegetable, botulism be damned.

Also, a plea to anyone out there who can help: Am I the only person who’s Clearblue Easy fertility monitor has FREAKED THE HELL OUT? I mean, I pee on the stick in the morning, yet the monitor doesn’t recognize that it’s a new day until — oh my God — THREE O’CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON. And by 3 p.m. I have completely forgotten about the whole ritual and as a result, I’m not really using it, but let’s be honest, it’s not like it was working anyway. I’d be better off just WINGING IT at this point.

And hey, if you, like me, won’t be frequenting a spa anytime soon, may I recommend a few slices of cucumber in your water? It’s surprisingly refreshing on a hot day, and if you put on a robe and a pair of fuzzy slippers, you can at least PRETEND that you’re about to rush off to a hot-stone massage, rather than the reality of digging in for a nice load of non-dishwashered DISHES, which are inherently unpleasant, even if you are going to wash them with lavender-scented dishsoap. Like that’s supposed to be SOOTHING. (Actually, it is. Don’t tell anyone.)

And please, indulge me in a moment of brand loyalty. A friend of mine lamented today that she couldn’t find any toilet paper on sale, and frankly, I was a little horrified, because I do not understand this, this non-loyalty to toilet paper. Perhaps its my upbringing that was fraught with one-ply and a childhood of sore backsides, but toilet paper is one area that generic — or a less than optimal brand — should never be leveraged. In fact, generics should not EXIST, and the FDA should be actively involved in this. It’s Cottonelle with Aloe and E or I won’t buy toilet paper. I simply won’t buy it. I was once the same with tampons (Tampax only, and don’t get me started on OB. Who ARE YOU PEOPLE?). And I’m not a brandy-brand type person, like AT ALL.

And finally, three things, also unrelated:

1) My husband is a long-suffering (LONG) Celtics fan, who literally watched every. single. game. for every. single. season. even when they were LAUGHABLE. (I did, too.) And tomorrow night/tonight could be a seriously momentous occasion in his life. Yes, I said it: IN HIS LIFE, and that’s not an exaggeration. This is a championship that could potentially make him give up watching SPORTS. I don’t think you understand what this potential championship means for his life, and our marriage. Lakers fans don’t understand this — they’ve HAD championships in recent memory. So I’m asking you: pray for us. Pray for the Celtics. Save my marriage. Oh, and help Paul Pierce cement his future in the NBA and even get his jersey retired. Because he will, along with Tommy Heinsohn. Larry Bird. Cedric Maxwell? Uh … yeah, Cedric Maxwell.

2) I neglected to mention that at the swimming hole outing over the weekend, I got shit on with the World’s Largest Seagull Poop. I mean, this thing was EPIC, and I’m not even sure why I’m asking you to do a favor for my husband (and a legion of Celtics fans), because he was completely lacking sympathy and, in fact, seemed ANNOYED that I was a little distressed that my head quite suddenly resembled a Port-O-Loo for seagulls. I mean, that turd must have weighed a POUND and will it gross you out immensely if I tell you the only available means of getting rid of it was to jump directly into the lake and that I sort of just washed it out and carried on with the rest of my day? (Because what else, really, was I going to do?)

The real point of this is to tell you that JESUS CHRIST, if you are the type of person who FEEDS THE SEAGULLS, then I’d like you to trudge out into the backyard and stab yourself in the eyeball with the nearest tree branch. Because you — YOU — will not be the person to get POOPED ON. You will be the person who dumbly stands there telling your kids to “Look at the pretty birdies!” and throwing your leftover hoagie rolls at them while they literally SWOOP AND POOP, SWOOP AND POOP. ON EVERYONE ELSE.

3) Just when you thought you were free of my vitriol against Eat Pray Love, my Goodreads friend Amanda asked me to expand on it for her book review site, so I did. And lo, fresh hatred for Elizabeth Gilbert! (And might I tell you that HOO BOY, this feels VERY LOADED after Suzanne Finnamore found my blog and began a mini-email-relationship with me? Incidentally, she occasionally e-mails me to this day and sent me a signed copy of Split, and I love her more now than before, because she’s interminably gracious and outstandingly kind. I sense that I won’t be getting the same treatment from Gilbert unless it’s done with tremendous irony.)

*A Flock of Seagulls. Oh, I’m KILLING MYSELF over here.

41 comments June 16th, 2008

Summertime

Oh, Vermont. You continue to charm the pants off me, sometimes quite literally. This weekend, once the green slime had moved beyond critical levels, we hit up one of our area state parks, of which there are a legion, and — I can hardly say this without trembling with excitement and shock — went swimming. Like in an actual LAKE and stuff, surrounded by mountains — literally, giant peaks of mountains all around us — and then returned to our blanket to lay in the grass and bake in the sun. I’m a swimmer; Adam is not. And it was perfect, if entirely pedestrian for normal people, but for me — and in particular, for my very water-phobic husband — an entire afternoon spent flat on our backs in a crystal-clear lake was something quite special indeed.

Oh and I totally took pictures, but you’ll have to insert your own image here, for I CANNOT, for the life of me, find my stupid camera downloader doohickey, and I am embarrassed to tell you that I think it’s buried somewhere in our bed clothes, because our bed is like an upstairs coffee table. Last night, for example, I awoke nose to bottle with my thyroid medication and discovered a pen had lodged behind my ear. And to be honest, I just dislodged one of the dog’s bones from my rear end. This is what happens when you’re crammed into the lone air-conditioned room because of heat reminiscent of the underside of Paul Pierce’s scrotum for nearly an entire week. Also? I came a little mentally undone last week, having a lot of work to do and one room to do it in, and for the first time, I fully understood why solitary confinement is so effective.

One of the best things about my part of Vermont, in my admittedly limited experience, is that people truly have their heads screwed on straight. There are no proverbial Joneses, at least that I’ve encountered — competition and status has almost entirely disappeared, save for certain academic circles, and it might be the most freeing thing I’ve experienced in a long time. Certainly there are far more far-reaching implications stemming from this — raising kids here would be a rare pleasure — but in the practical sense, any fear I had of getting into a bathing suit dissipated the second I hit the park. Perhaps I’ve simply been to the wrong beaches, but between the Caribbean, Boston-area and Naples — the three beaches I’ve hit most often — I’m always self-conscious, no matter how in shape my thighs are. But here, people were focused only on enjoying themselves, no one even GLANCED at my thighs, and God, was that awesome.

Also awesome? Racing swimsuits. I swam competitively back in the day, and amassed quite the collection of them, and because I was so in shape (see: competitive swimming), failed to notice their best quality: Dude, they suck you in like a pair of SPANX, man. I threw on a Nike one I’d forgotten I had and lo, I was nipped, tucked and, for the first time in DECADES, sporting a perfectly flat stomach, albeit one held back like a dam of lethal amounts of Spandex and perhaps some kind of cement-mimicking nanotechnology.

And finally, three things that are in no way related:

1) I have taken to using a pill case with the days of the week on it, because I can NEVER remember if I’ve taken my medication for the day. Ever. And yesterday, I interrupted a conversation with a friend to marvel, “Look! LOOK AT THAT BIRD! It’s BEAUTIFUL!” Next up: binoculars and a variety of mysterious bathroom products for corn prevention.

2) Dinner this evening included herbs — basil and cilantro — from my own garden. And earlier, I had a salad with lettuce I grew MAHSELF. Honest to God, you’d think I’d just shit GOLD the way I was carrying on about it. Which reminds me: would anyone like some lettuce? Because I realized I planned this garden VERY VERY POORLY and in a matter of days, will be saddled with (oh my God) THIRTY LETTUCE HEADS maturing at precisely the same time. I like salad as much as the next girl but even I have limits on my leafy greens consumption.

3) I am deeply, incredibly saddened by the death of Tim Russert. I am among the nerdiest of the nerdy, and watched Meet the Press religiously every Sunday — TiVo-ing when I couldn’t catch it live — and Russert was the best television journalist I’d ever seen. Dude was BRILLIANT. And though I am heartbroken for his family, friends and everyone else who actually knew him, I am personally crushed that I’ll no longer get to invite him into my home every Sunday. This disappointment will be further underscored if David Gregory is invited to fill his seat on a permanent basis, if only because he looks like a Muppet, and Muppets have no PLACE in Presidential election coverage.

Happy Monday!

*oh God, who DOESN’T sing “Summertime”? In my personal collection, I can think of Jesca Hoop, The Sundays, The Samples

26 comments June 15th, 2008

Anything and Everything

First of all, Celebrity Circus? Seriously? Hosted by none other than JOEY FATONE. And uh, Antonio Sabato Jr. sporting an ungodly amount of eyeliner. Which begs the question: what, exactly, is Antonio Sabato Jr. a celebrity FOR, exactly, other than random reality shows?

(Ironic update: He’s just appeared before me on a TiVo’d episode of Charmed. SO NEVER MIND. He’s totally relevant, because Charmed is awesome. Except that the costume people were going through a phase in season two where they dressed the girls with some kind of THING in the middle of their forehead. Like those wedding things that dip between your yes? A headband, but not? Uh, am I making any sense here? Anyone? Anyone? They also seem to have a penchant for random braids like you get on trips to the Bahamas for $30 a braid. Very bad.)

Incidentally, the Zicam has done nothing. I feel worse today than I did yesterday (GREEN SNOT ABOUNDS, DAMMIT) and getting approximately 11 minutes of sleep two nights ago did nothing to aid the situation. For reasons unknown, our little dog decided that her bed (or, you know, crate, where she’s slept happily for TWO YEARS) just wasn’t cutting it anymore, and she WAILED and CRIED and WOE IS ME around 2 a.m. While normally, I’d think she has to poop, I took her out five times and … she didn’t. Well, she eventually did a PITY POOP to please me, but other than that, nothing. And the crying ensued to the break of dawn, at which point, she proceeded to PASS OUT on the bed. Just in time for us to get up for work. Thanks, Sunny!

Also, this green invasion is why I’m not visiting my friend Erica this weekend, which … well, it sucks. I can’t decide if I’m being rude or polite in begging off due to the green snot, it’s just that she has a six month old daughter who’s starting a new daycare on Monday and I … well, I just imagined either a) not being able to hold her (OH HELL NO) or b) holding her while Erica and Josh eyed me suspiciously, wondering if, at that very moment, I was infecting their daughter with the Green Slime, and were looking down the barrel of a full week of unpaid vacation days followed by sleepless nights with the bulb syringe thanks to yours truly. And given that I’m hacking and coughing and blowing my nose to the point that I’m grossing Adam out (“Jesus Christ, GO TO THE BATHROOM!”) I think I made the right decision. (OR DID I?)

Also, two things of note, pop culture-wise:

1) I have come to the sad realization that I like the IDEA of Margaret Atwood better than Atwood herself. I’ve truly loved roughly half of her books — at least the one’s I’ve read, anyway — and the ones I haven’t loved have left me wanting so much MORE, because my God, it’s MARGARET ATWOOD, what the fuck is WRONG with me? That being said, The Robber Bride was decent (it took me forever to read it, as I’ve been busy out the hoo ha), but there were things about it that actively irked me. And, for a feminist writer, I think Atwood is capable of writing stronger female leads than she sometimes chooses to — many of them are downright FLIMSY.

And not that anyone asked, but The Blind Assassin is my favorite novel of hers , while Elaine Risely (Cat’s Eye) is my favorite character, if only because I believe she’s a mirror of Atwood herself.

Are you all asleep yet? No? Let’s move to television!

2) This was, perhaps, the most pathetically anticlimactic season of Top Chef ever. In fact, if I’m honest, I’m ACTIVELY pissed off about it. Finale, shminale. I really didn’t care, although I sure as shit didn’t want Lisa to win, and while yes, in theory, I was rooting for Stephanie from day one, I also quickly fell in love with Richard, like everyone else in the world. The day he cried and said he wanted to make “lots of little Blaises” I DIED.

Other than that … meh. The challenges sucked, there was zero — ZERO — drama, and there wasn’t an interesting character in the bunch. Where was Dale (gay non-Asian Dale, that is)? Casey? Sexy Sam Talbot? Harold? Tiffani? Meh, the whole cast left me cold. And now it’s over. And I might not even watch the reunion show, THAT’S HOW LITTLE I CARE.

Ooh ooh – one last point: While visiting Lawyerish last weekend, she made this carbonara pizza. And ZOMFG THIS PIZZA. It’s a Rachael Ray recipe, apparently (Run! She’s a terrorist!), and involves ricotta cheese (!), parmesan cheese (!!) egg yolks (!!!), pancetta (!!!!) and a thick layer of provolone cheese (!!!!!) and OH MY HELL. It’s like heaven on a pizza. As she put it, it’s like eating CAKE, but it’s PIZZA. Also, it is not Weight Watchers friendly. I mean, just a heads up. And I think the recipe is here.

Make it this weekend for a loved one near you. I mean, a loved one who doesn’t have a heart condition or a cholesterol problem, that is.

Happy happy weekend weekend!

*The Posies

25 comments June 12th, 2008

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