Thursday, November 30, 2006

Button, button, who's got the button?

During my post-turkey Open House last week BeBe decided that I should clean up a little, keep ahead of the mess before the next wave of guests. I was about to walk out of the kitchen (after following her instructions, of course) when she said, "Run the dishwasher!"

"But it's only half full." I replied, shocked.

"Oh who cares, get 'em clean!" she ordered.

Thinking about that today I realized why she (and, presumably other good housekeepers like her) clean the way they do. They're chasing the dragon, that elusive high of having "finished." Whereas I look at the fact that cleaning is never finished or if you do manage to "finish" it's only for like 2.3 seconds before you, or someone like you, messes it up again and simply give up. "Oh it's never going to be finished anyway, who cares if I do it today or tomorrow?" Seriously, even when I'm placing the last lovingly laundered pair of granny panties in the drawer I'm still wearing underwear (usually) so the laundry isn't technically "finished".

I far prefer things like NaBloPoMo, things that can clearly be completed. In my time zone there are 3 hours and 59 minutes left. As long soon as I wrote that sentence a little "test connection" warning popped up from Blogger. This is not good. Going to just keep on trucking and hope for the best.

I wanted to do a wrap up post. I was looking for something to put a button on the whole experience of this, excuse my arrogance, First Annual NaBloPoMo. I'd like to do that by honoring the commenters. I loosely made a pact with Chili that I would both post and comment on one thing per day throughout the month. I kept half my pledge. But the thing is, I've loved the comments this month. I've met a lot of new people who have passed by and I've heard new things from people I've known forever that I didn't know were even still reading. It's been so cheerful and like a real honest to goodness conversation over here which is what I've wanted all along. So I feel guilty for not returning the favor by reading and commenting more this month. This post is my too little too late attempt to make up for my comment slacking by highlighting the people who didn't slack.

ProfDoc, I think, kept her promise to comment on something every day, and a lot of times she chose to comment here. Thanks for that! Always good to hear what you're thinking.

It turns out that I played some part in turning both Chili and Vanx to the Geek Side where they have started whole blog communities of their own. I knew I gave Chili some of the technical basics but I thought Vanx only came to me after he started out on his own. He tells me differently: "I got into blogging partly because of you, actually. I had started reading a blog called Darn Tootin'. You may remember engaging me in a slight difference of oppinon about the Gilmore Girls in that guy's enormous comment chain. That kind of stuff, which was happening there and elsewhere (I also got addicted to Astonished Head, which I found by Googling a song title--"I Got Drunk and I Fell Down" by Uncle Tupelo) was fun. I had just written a parody of Howl for the 50th anniversary of Ginsberg’s reading, so I started a Blogger account and put it up. Then I read something about Johnny Cash here, and did something on Johnny. We commented on each other's Johnny posts. Then I read your entry on your grandmother...etc."

When I wrote about refrigerating my garbage I got responses from the most unlikely sources. Chili, Chili, who's like an actual homemaker: "I go one step further - I sometimes throw stuff into the FREEZER, so it won't grow into a vicious beast that will harm my children when they open the door to get some milk." Christa who seems like such a nice, wholesome American girl: "Definitely I do this, especially on the weekends. Trash doesn't get picked up til Friday. Of course come Thursday, I've forgotten all about it." My favorite, though, is Sam totally ratting out her boyfriend: "My boyfriend does that because wasting food makes him cry. He also likes to drive empty wine bottles around in his car as though he were going to take them to the recycling center." Like he's a kid playing pretend recycling just the way dad does it. He sounds like my kind of guy.

The discussion about wish lists for gift giving occasions was classic. Almost everyone feels guilty having a list at the ready but almost everyone does and it's usually the right way to go. I agree with ProfDoc that I worry about asking for something and accidentally squelching a great surprise. I also want a peek at Miss Rebecca's annotated and illustrated letter to SantaMom.

Danielle on Home for the Holidays: "Oh, how I love this movie." Couldn't have said it better myself and so glad for a comrade in arms.

Then there's the Yankee Swap post. The original post is still driving all manner of traffic to my site and the re-visiting post has some delightful comments. Suzanne has, undoubtedly, the best Yankee Swap gift of all time: "This year, I am giving a card that says a donation was made to a charity (of MY choosing, but I'll keep it generic -- food pantry, probably) and a chocolate bar. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!" But Amieable makes it clear that she actually feels my pain on the family Yankee Swap issue: "Holy mother of God, you just described my maternal grandparent's Christmas horror. Complete with the politeness, but my aunt wants it to be a TRUE "White Elephant" (that's what we call it) so she forces people to swap. It's the worst thing in the world to shop for (how are you supposed to find a cool $20 gift for both an 18 year-old female and a 50 year-old uncle?). I dread it every year." Sister, let me see if I've got an old box of mints in a drawer from my family swap days. I'd be happy to lend them to you.

Finally, sort of a bookend, JippyJabber was the first of the NaBloPoMo people to stop by and say hello. Better than that, she keeps coming back. Thanks for breaking a path, it's been great to meet you and I hope we keep seeing a lot of each other.

This was fun! M. Kennedy is, as advertised, a brilliant, bold and beautiful woman.

Happy NaBloPomo everyone! (Don't worry, I'll be back tomorrow anyway.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Well did you evah?

Do you ever wrap food up that you know you aren't going to eat and put it back in the fridge so it'll keep until you can deal with throwing it away properly?

I do.

All the time.

The size of one's purse

I find that Christmas is like a purse.

You carry a cute little clutch and you pare down to essentials. House key, cash, ID, lipstick, acceptance speech, possibly cell phone and you're fine. You can get through anything you need. You upgrade to a nice Coach shoulder bag and you definitely take the cell phone, probably wallet, check book for sure, some face powder and mascara and your PDA, stick those letters you want to mail in the outside pocket. Those stylish hobo bags are just an accident waiting to happen. You can pretty much throw your clutch and the shoulder bag right in there still full of their items. Add a book to read, hairbrush, notebook, bottle of water, snack, just one small sweater to drop at the dry cleaner, some hand sanitizer and you're pretty much a chiropractor's wet dream.

With Christmas, though, it's emotion and you're not exactly the one carrying the bag. It's like some other bigger being is stuffing a purse and depending what sort of event they're attending you have to deal with what they decide to pack.

Last year it must have been some swanky evening event. My Christmas was like that clutch Renee Zellweger wore the year she won some award. I crammed a lot of tiny, shiny, important things into my celebrations. I had short but pleasant and meaningful visits with everyone that I wanted to see. We accidentally started a new tradition of an evening of kick off drinks with my generation of friends. The glitches were minor, the schedule ran like a German train time table and I felt that I'd done the very best possible job at the experience of Christmas for me and for the people I love.

Six years ago apparently someone decided to go on a hiking trip for the holidays. Two dead grandparents (one from each side of the family for that evenly spread feeling of crapitude), selling of the homestead, angry great aunt, broken car, adulterous affair going sour, frigid temperatures...after the snowstorm. I remember sitting at a TV tray in my Great Aunt's living room with my mother and practically shaking with anger as I showed her the 2 months of unpaid bills I'd been carrying in my backpack. She just paid them all even though neither of us had any actual money and I just sat there feeling equal parts relieved and like Princess Loseria of Loserdonia.

This year is shaping up to be a very large shoulder bag for me. For others it's going to be that goddamned hike. Shoulder bag and balancing act and a wait and see attitude. Nothing we Capricorns like better than a wait and see attitude. Oh yeah.

I hope you're getting the evening clutch. Or if you get the shoulder bag it's full of pretty, shiny, light things.

And...the dog just horked up everything she's eaten in the last 2 hours undigested and largely unchewed so I've got to go.


Today MarkyB turns thirty-ten. He's not the sort of guy you usually use euphamisms like that with but this year has been a little different. This is a guy who wrote "Grandma Gave Me the Finger Today", he wrote another song about a guy who actually gives a chick his left arm for a night in bed and both songs are hilarious. Not the sort of guy who, in a room of people, gestures to his son and says to his wife incredulously, "We make great babies!"

Normally I'd totally make fun of that but Mark tends not to do anything by half measures. There's a depth of feeling and an honesty of emotion that you'd have to be a real dick to rib him about. Me? Just a fake dick, so not to worry.

I wouldn't expect that he'd read this blog either but apparently he does. We're driving along the LIE earlier this month and he starts talking to me about some NYC Marathon contestant. I said I probably didn't see her. He's all, "You wrote about her on your blog!" Well, then.

Since we know he'll be swinging by at some point please leave him a birthday message in the comments section. Or, if you'd like to give him an even better birthday gift, go buy a couple of his CDs. Nothing says Happy Birthday like "I love your music!"

Mark, Happy 40th birthday! You know what this means? It means I've known you almost half your life. And I still love your music.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Well, now, how did we end up here?

Since the beginning of the month I've been meaning to write about how I ended up in the midst of the blogosphere. I often find it really frustrating that my friends don't get the attraction. These days more of them are getting pulled into the Geekdom and even some who aren't are reading this blog. What better place to explain and what better time to do it than the homestretch of NaBloPoMo? (FYI every time I write that abbreviation - or say it for that matter - I have to slow down, screw up and back space a bunch of times.)

When I told Miflohny about this blog she said she'd read whatever I was mentioning but politely declined the invitation to the blogosphere since she felt it was an awfully impersonal way for people to keep up with friends and family. I had never realized people used blogs that way and this is the story of why.

Many, many, many years ago I was working for a specialized circulation magazine. The people there liked me so would often give me jobs for which I was entirely unqualified simply to keep me fed and clothed and because they felt that smart outranked experienced. (Love that attitude!) I showed my gratitude by surfing the internet a lot. It's so good they don't know what an awful person I am.

At the time Dawson's Creek was on. I was just getting obsessed with it and, somehow, I really don't know how, I ran across this site called Dawson's Wrap. Two extremely intelligent and well-educated hipster chicks wrote snarky, incisive recaps of Dawson's Creek every week. I loved the feeling of rehashing the show with someone since, at the time, no one I knew watched it. (Apparently I was not alone. That site became Mighty Big TV and then Television Without Pity. It's one of the biggest pop culture web sites on the web and employs way more than just 2 chicks now. It does not employ me, however. I didn't even get an interview. It's OK, I'm not bitter. Just crushed.) They published just that once a week and I lived for Thursdays.

As I poked around the site during the rest of the week I noticed some links. Each of the women had online journals. So did some of their friends. So occasionally I would go over to one of those journals and read. Sars had a specific publication schedule - every Tuesday, broke up the week nicely with the Thursday recaps - and I fell in love with her humor and began to read religiously. I clicked on every link since I had no grasp of the preview bar at the bottom of my window and since it was all so new and fresh that every link seemed a stroke of genius. It was years before I could pass by a linked word without clicking even though it didn't take me long to realize that if she was talking about a book that'd just be the book's Amazon page.

Some months later Sars was nominated for a Diarist Award. These awards were (Are? Pretty sure were is right. There was some controversy. Some ballot box stuffing. It was a popularity contest not a talent competition. It got ugly in only the way that anonymous commenters and flame wars can be ugly.) given out quarterly. The nominees are posted for a period of time so people can vote then winners are announced and they can put a shiny new award picture on their web site as long as they know the correct code. I toodled over there and read some of the nominees. I read the archives, sometimes all the archives of certain nominees, and I picked out a few favorites. It then became my routine at work each day to go to the Diarist page and click on my old nominated favorites for updates (Hello potential employers! I am efficient and trustworthy.). Many quarters later I was still confining myself to the elite group first nominated with Sars. Most of these people wrote anonymously and if their family or friends read there were strict disclaimers about what sort of meddling was allowed. Almost everyone who wrote about personal stuff had a horror story about someone being offended by a rant that was meant as a brain cleanser or about something that was meant as a joke and came off a little too true. A lot of those people had closed up shop on their known blogs and come to a new space with their anonymity and their stern disclaimer language intact.

Eventually I branched out into the nominees and winners from other quarters. From there, as I'm sure you all know, it was like a virus. Each blog just tells you who their friends are and links to interesting posts or people with riveting life stuff happening and you end up reading more and more almost without meaning to. I had 10 or 12 people I read weekly and I'd read about someone who had 100 or more daily reads and my mind boggled. Not so much anymore. It seems an easy thing to have happen. If people are prolific (Hello NaBloPoMo participants!) it can take me an hour or more to get through my daily reads. I have weekly reads too, and then there's the new people from NaBloPoMo who I'm getting to know. I don't have time to read someone's whole archives these days, that way madness lies. But god I'd like to with a lot of people. Miflohny, once she became pleasantly surprised that I wasn't just chronicling my commute for the information of my out of town relatives, made the supreme commitment and read all of my archives in order from the very shaky beginnings. Now she will occasionally e-mail me a comment and say, "I'm almost caught up." Which is how I know it's time to post a couple of new entries. Oddly enough I haven't had that e-mail this month.

I find myself overwhelmed with the sheer variety of people I'm seeing through the randomizer (please keep that baby running come December 1st and beyond, it's like yummy candy and I need candy). I want to read all day and all night but I am expected to work rather a lot at my job these days and at home there has been massive overhaul pre-party and now there is Christmas to be hog tied and beaten into submission with a tinsel covered stick. I'm not the sort of person who can read one entry and be all, "Not for me." I have to read everyone for a little while, check out some archives, look at the Flickr photos and then eventually trickle off with the reading if it's actually not for me. I'm stubborn like that, I don't like to let anyone go.

So what I'm really looking forward to is the awarding of NaBloPoMo prizes. I feel like that'll be a manageable (though still extensive) list that I can treat like the old Diarist Award nominees. I can cuddle with them over the next year and get to know them and decide with whom I gel before we embark on this delicious freakshow again next year.

In the event this whole prize list thing doesn't pan out for me, though, please stop by the comments section and tell me where to find your favorite blog.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Yank Me Again

A long while ago I wrote what is probably still my favorite blog post on this site. It sits there in the archives quietly. I thought it was sitting around doing nothing. Since I got the Sitemeter, though, it turns out that it's been driving traffic to the site almost every day. Partly it must be the season. So, go check it out, I think you'll laugh. Let me know if you need to know where to get a Dukes of Hazzard scarf.


How you doin' on those Christmas gifts? Ready to start wrapping yet?

I keep an Excel spreadsheet with the gifts I've given to people over the past few years. There's a column for ideas for the current year as well. I had grand designs about tracking expenditures, too, but so far that hasn't happened. Maybe next year.

Queen Bee and her sisters have been working on Christmas for a couple of weeks now. We did two or three rounds of e-mails discussing some big ticket gifts that we might all participate in, which was nice, it knocked a few things off my spreadsheet. Then they asked me what I wanted. I named a couple of things and showed them my Amazon Wish List (it's right there on the sidebar) and let it drop. I always feel weird telling people what I want for any occasion. Queen Bee said she was surprised I hadn't sent the info in a spreadsheet and I explained about the weirdness.

To me it's just a common sense organizational idea to spreadsheet one's giving but it feels greedy to spreadsheet the receiving. Yet, as a giver, it's always helpful to have a list and if someone handed me their spreadsheet I'd be grateful for it. OK, sort of grateful and sort of annoyed.

I feel like I ought to know what people I'm close to want, and that I ought to be magic enough to figure out the right gift for someone that they'll love and that will make me look smart. I have been lucky enough to hit that balance with a lot of people but, of course, not every time. For instance if I ever hit that balance even once with ChemE I will stab myself in the heart right there and die happy.

My biggest success rate is manipulating the wedding registry. I like to cobble together theme gifts with something from the registry and something off the registry to make it personal. When my cousin got married I got them a cake plate and a cookbook holder they wanted then a cake cookbook that they hadn't asked for but, you know, tying it all together. It was either that or I was going to get them a big bowl and a popcorn popper they registered for and then a selection of DVDs to funk it all up.

Anyway, so, blessing and a curse, right? What's your opinion? Do you have a wish list that you share, or would share, with people who asked or do you think it's a bit of the skank?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Princess Blade

Just got home from an exciting but ultimately unfulfilling game between the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres. The Rangers showed up with their usual hard hitting*, delicate passing and the genius of Heinrik Lundqvist. Sadly they were outmatched by a combination of the Sabres dumb luck, their speed and some truly shitty refereesmanship. I mean, I am the first to admit that I often see a call and disagree with it vocally and vehemently only to watch the replay and have to sheepishly recant. However, when some simian puts his stick under Jagr, kneels on the old guy then rears back and thwacks him across the face I have to stick by what I'm seeing and wonder why you aren't calling that.

Anyway, none of that is important because it has no bearing on the best moment of the whole game. The Rangers heroically clambered over this shit-ass ref to get themselves into overtime with a 2-2 tie. As they skated out for the OT the legend that is Jaromir Jagr looked down at his stick, he flipped the blade up toward his face, ran his fingers along the blade then dipped his head and, wait for it, kissed it.

I am not making this up.


*My beloved Darius Kasparitis has been in neither of the games I've been to this year. I've looked on the internet and all I can come up with is some vagueness about a groin injury followed by a "conditioning" stint on the minor league team in Hartford. I miss him. But I have to admit that Hollweg is taking over nicely. During the second period, already sporting a black eye, he checked someone so hard and so sloppily that he knocked the guy's helmet off. The ref called it but play wasn't stopped so, knowing he was already going to the bad boy's box, he rolled up on someone else and just clocked him, didn't even try to disguise it. The student may be surpassing the master at this point.

Spit shined for company

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Watching the clock as the minutes tick down toward midnight and the voice in my head nagging, "Don't forget, don't forget, don't forget. What are you going to write? Any idea yet? Any thoughts?"

A million thoughts actually. About drunkenness and the obligations of those who watch one drink. About presents both giving and receiving. About parties and popularity. About cooking and cleaning and other domestic pursuits. About my pretty, pretty new hair. About money. About pecan pie.

Can't get anything going, though.

Let this suffice as the clearest glimpse you'll get over the 30 days into my true weekend brain. Lots of ideas, little or no follow through.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Dreamy Hot People

A Healthy Serving of Fantasy

Years and years ago ChemE turned me on to this movie, Home for the Holidays. It's Holly Hunter and Robert Downey, Jr. and Ann Bancroft among others. Jodie Foster directed it. It's adapted from a short story and if you know me at all you know all this already. I try to watch it once every Thanksgiving.

I always tell people that it's because the characters are so beautifully drawn and so real that no matter who you are or what sort of family you come from you can recognize yourself or someone you know. It's so real that even the awful parts, of which there are many, are somehow comforting.

This year as I watched Holly Hunter pick turkey out of Dylan McDermott's teeth and then suck his face like a scene from Alien (a very hot scene from Alien) I finally thought, "Reality? When was the last time you made out with a hot guy on Thanksgiving?" I'd have to go with never. Feel free to correct me if you know differently but I don't think that you do.

Maybe this, too, is what makes the movie so appealing to me. Yes, it's real, it feels like spending the day with family, but it's tempered with a splash of fantasy to keep the reality from being too painful. It's quite a fantasy, too, I mean who wouldn't want to have someone show up while you're embroiled in family drama and like you even in the puffy pink borrowed winter coat, even after hearing the ridiculous stories your brother tells, even after being farted at by your aunt? Then this person still wants to make out with you? On your parents' couch? Yes, this is a finely drawn fantasy, my friend, it's no wonder it drew me in.

Reality isn't half bad, either, though...sometimes. Just ask Melissa.

Step 1: Hydration

I'm having an Open House today. It provides leftovers for the leftoverless, a place to vent over the previous day for those, well, for those with families and liquor. Which is what we all need on the day after Thanksgiving, right? Yeah, I hear a crazy faction out there screaming, "FOOTBALL!" If any of you nutcases were coming I would put the football on for you, I'd just insist on keeping the sound down.

I'm mostly ready, just last minute things, like making sure I'm fully hydrated before I open the first bottle of champagne. Thought I'd check in here before I jumped in the shower just in case things run late and I don't get back before midnight. Hopefully I will, though, and hopefully I'll have pictures to post, too.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I am thankful for so much. I am, of course, thankful for my hilariously loving family and friends with whom I have been on the phone and internet for pretty much two days straight. I am thankful for my city, my job, my home, my health, my cats, my brand new speakers and so much more that can't be listed here.

Today, though, as I rode the subway it came to me that what I want to talk about being thankful for is my dog. She's the first dog I've ever had. Mistakes have been made but not too many. She was a good dog when she came to me and she's an even better dog now. Some of that must be due to me, right? I mean, law of averages says I've got to get credit for a couple of the good things.

In my neighborhood there are a lot of people who are afraid of dogs so I'm used to people giving me the stink eye while we walk. The other day we were waiting at a light to cross the street and a boy of about 12 years came up to stand next to us. He left plenty of space between himself and the dog but he kept a careful eye on her. When the light changed I said, "Come on," stepped off the curb and Emily followed. The boy was also crossing and he lengthened his stride to keep up with us and asked incredulously, "She listens?"

Yeah, mostly she listens. With ears that big how could she not?

She listens, she watches, she eats. I made myself one plate of all the Thanksgiving deliciousness. A small plate. When I was done I left a piece of crust and a couple of pieces of turkey and some gravy on the plate and set it down for her. Didn't even have to get out of my seat since she was standing directly in front of me staring holes in my hands as I forked up the harvesty goodness.

I thought for a second, "You're sharing Thanksgiving dinner with your dog. You have extended the crazy cat lady image to an alarming place." Then I realized I'm not exactly sorry to be sharing my holiday dinner with the girl. She deserves the best. She's really good company.

A lot of people get dogs for security and I am, I guess, no different. My dog, however? Extremely different. She's not the kind of dog who's going to drag me out of a burning building. She's the type of dog who's going to see me passed out on the floor and stay right there with me, pressed up against my side, because even when I'm going somewhere bad she'd just rather be with me.

I didn't know it when Pony Express brought her home but that was something I really needed in my life, something I craved. Now I have it and for that I am truly grateful.

But I'm not a paleontologist

You remember that episode of Friends where Ross wants to get Ugly Naked Guy's apartment and he sends the mini-muffin basket and then later he finds out that UNG has been getting all sorts of gifts, from baskets of regular sized muffins on up to an exercise bike?

Lived it today.

Thank god it wasn't over an apartment. (I can't remember how Ross ended up scoring the apartment, can anyone enlighten me?)

There's a little security pavilion in the middle of the courtyard for my section of the apartment complex. Frankly I should be honest and call it a pavilion of little security but it's Thanksgiving so it's better to be nice I suppose. The guy I bought my apartment from told me that he used to bring the guys a covered plate of Thanksgiving dinner the year he lived here. That sounded like a good idea but then I always managed to talk myself out of it. I thought they wouldn't like what I made or they'd be suspicious about food from a stranger or they'd already have had way too much food from other tenants.

This is my 4th Thanksgiving here, I think. This year I made something portable! Voila! I decided to bring the guys some pumpkin chocolate chip bars. My favorite guy was in the booth when I passed by on my way to get the dog which made it even easier to be brave and nice. I packed a few bars in a ziploc bag and sauntered out with my dog and my offering. It was not until I was fully committed, handing over my pathetic little sandwich bag of raggedly cut cookie bars that I noticed it. A beautiful plate of treats wrapped in seasonal cellophane and tied with a big ribbon in pride of place on the shelf above the security desk.

Mini-muffins won't get you anywhere, my friend, presentation is everything.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Picture me with my hands held high like those people who rope steer when they want the clock to stop!

3 pies with homemade crusts. (No pretty cut outs or anything, though, maybe next year.)
1 batch of delicious pumpkin chocolate chip bars.
1 load of dishes through the dishwasher.
1 new Bose sound dock set up.
1 episode of Studio 60 viewed*.
1 20 lb. bag of dog food purchased.
4 bottles of champagne purchased.

I'm tired. But I'm happy.

Gonna put away the cooled food now then walk the pup then sleep, sleep, sleep.

Meeting the Canadian at 10:30 tomorrow to deliver meals so must get up and showered and into Manhattan in a timely fashion. Stay warm, eat well, actually be thankful for something even if it's just that you don't have to do this more than once a year. I'll talk to you tomorrow. We'll do some gratitude, a'ight?


*I love him. He is good. And I think he's telling us that it's a process and he's working on it. It's worth it to stick with him.

Prep mode

So I'm finally in serious make a mess prep mode for Thanksgiving. So far I've made 2 batches of pie crusts for 3 pies. The pecan pie is done. The pie shell for the chocolate pie is cooked. I am waiting patiently (NOT) for the oven to pre-heat to the higher temp for the sweet potato pie (to be served as a side dish, a vehicle for gravy, the perfect sweet-salty ratio). Next move is to make the filling for the chocolate. By that time I'm hoping that the butter will be room temp for the pumpkin chocolate bars.

I had high hopes for actually doing the turkey breast and any roasted vegetables tonight, too, but that's not going to happen. I think some peeling might happen. Perhaps a lot of peeling but that's it. There'll be plenty of time tomorrow for cooking the savories.

I was on the phone with my dad tonight and he was shocked, darn near appalled, that I was making my pies. I feared for his health when I revealed that I'd even be making the crusts from scratch. I scoffed and professed my skill but he's got a point. You're reading a woman who's idea of cooking dinner is anything that involves bringing something to room temperature before I shove it in my gaping maw. Why do I not only cook Thanksgiving dinner but do it from the ground up?

I don't know. It's fun. Once a year (twice if you count Christmas) it's fun! Every day. All those dishes. All the time spent mixing stuff and testing things and peeling items. Blech. I need wide open space on either side of my prepared meals. I ate cheese and crackers for dinner while I cooked pies. No need to make extra work for myself, right?

What are you having for dinner tomorrow?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

OK, ok, I'll weigh in

I've been hesitant to join the dog pile on Aaron Sorkin over Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I feel like constructive criticism isn't something we should keep to ourselves. It's the litany of complaints most people are writing that I can do without.

I've got thoughts. And I'm going to write them here. I just really, really don't want Aaron Sorkin to miraculously get over here and write me off as a lonely woman with 5 cats who's writing this in her pajamas while increasing the profit margin for both Ben and Jerry. It's only 2 cats. And I'm fully dressed...except for my clogs.


OK, I'm back now.

I think he's on the wrong coast.

I know, sounds both simple and stupid but I'm sticking by it. A long while ago I saw the Sork interviewed on I think it was Charlie Rose. He talked about how he doesn't actually know very much but all his friends are experts in their chosen fields. So apparently sometimes when the conversation is more than he can fathom he closes his eyes and listens to the music of it. Later, when he writes about whatever it was his friends were talking about he writes the music he heard, the cadence, the tone. From form follows content.

Go to Sports Night. Listen to Danny's homage to New York City. Go to the pedeconferences of the West Wing, for instance the election day episode where we follow 2 or 3 conversations that end in Josh walking smack into Charlie's enormous football player friend. It's like a song. You get as much information from how the rhythm hits you as from what they're saying. Sometimes there are so many words you have to go back to figure out what they were even though you know exactly what went on in the scene already.

Now there's also the cocaine issue. I've got a theory that some people, the geniuses, the ones that really are channeling messages from beyond tend to self medicate. It's not an entirely bad idea. Gregory Hines used to say that if they wanted to steal a step from Savion Glover they had to tape him and play it back at half speed. I've met Glover a couple of times and he tends to self medicate. Rather a lot. What I think is that if the divine information is coming at you as fast as it must be coming at him you might need something to slow everything down so you can interpret it and use it.

Same deal is possible for Sorkin and the words. He's clean and sober now, right? Maybe he's on antidepressants. I think this might be impairing the flow. I hate to admit it, I really do, but he is off his game. Now, could just be regular old slump that happens to everyone, too. Whatever it is he needs to get out of it and I'm thinking back to basics is a good plan. He doesn't strike me as the type that's going to check out The Artist's Way from the library so I propose a change of location.

He's from the East Coast, born in New York City, raised in Scarsdale, went to school in Syracuse. The rhythms of his own speech and his brain and his blood are from the East Coast. California is different. I don't care what you tell me, it is. I don't think it's in him. I think if he comes back East he can find the music and the content will follow.

Come home lonely wanderer, I think the answer is here. I'll share my ice cream and you'll get used to the cats.

Monday, November 20, 2006

But wait there's more!

And then suddenly I had another idea for content.

I've recently figured out how to use the Sitemeter to find out how people are getting to my site. My current giggle is that at least twice a week people get to me by searching for gifts to bring to a Yankee Swap.

I wonder if anyone will get the testicle cosy or the condom keeper.

Surprise! Yippee!

This morning someone asked me if I was having trouble coming up with content for NaBloPoMo.

I wasn't until then.

But then....then...

MKAEP sent a box. It was a big box, like bigger than a bread box, very big box. Inside there were 4 paperbacks, 1 hardback (mmmm, vampire smut), 2 lip tingly glossy things, soap, lotion, soothing creme of some sort, and a super cool thing that I will get to in a moment.

The entire rest of the box was filled with plastic bags. I'm not certain it's possible to explain what a boon this is to the urban dog owner. Plastic bags are always at a premium. I've been known to shriek, "I'll use that!" while diving to stop a co-worker from throwing away a plastic bag. Because even if you're in a lean time, or trying to curb your consumerism the dog still poops. And a candy bar once a day for a drugstore plastic bag is a lot cheaper than a $100 ticket. I have bags for weeks now, so cool. This is what it's like when someone really knows you and it feels good.

The other thing that was in there was one of those things that seem like a good idea and then you doubt yourself and then it turns out to be fabulous.

Years ago I read in a silly girly magazine about a keepsake for friends separated by the miles. Instead of writing letters you write in a book and pass it back and forth so there's a permanent record of your feelings. MKAEP settled down in OKC and DiDi was traveling a lot and I'm here in the BK and we weren't able to e-mail all the time and we weren't writing letters as much and we needed a little extra something special. So I took a cheap notebook from the drugstore (plastic bag - bonus!) and slathered the covers in magazine pictures and quotes. Then I wrote things randomly all through the book about our dreams and what we've been doing and what's bothering us and issues in the world and everything. Then I sent it off to one of them with a note of explanation and we've been passing it around adding to it for about 3 years now. No, must be more than that because I don't think I lived in this apartment when I did that cover and I've been here almost 4 years now. I do know it was around Thanksgiving, though, so this must be an anniversary.

Lest you think we send it off once a month or something remember that we're still on the same slim volume. But that's OK. It actually works out better. It's right around the time that you think to yourself, "Oh everybody else thinks this is stupid and they aren't going to send it again. Oh well, not every idea can be a good one." you get it back. So it's a surprise all over again. I loved everything that came in that box but the notebook was the best thing. The very best thing. I pored over it really quickly at work and I can't wait to spend some time with it, write some more in it, maybe I'll even buy the People hot guy issue so I'll have good pictures to paste in. Maybe I'll be able to figure out how to print out some digital pics, too. I think I'm the only one of use who hasn't pasted in a picture of myself.

Turns out it is a good idea and they do like it. Try it out for the holidays even.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Do you? You should.

Do you guys read Miss Doxie? You really should. She hardly ever updates, like once every two and a half weeks or something, so it won't increase your internet time too much. Once her front page goes blank you can count on seeing her in a couple of days. She's a lawyer, it's hard to find time. But when she does? Worth it. Miss Doxie has four dachsunds. Four. Not a typo, I'll write it again to prove it, four dachsunds. One is blind, one is fat (might be the same as the blind one) and one is mean. Her parents also have four dachsunds. Last week she had all eight dogs at her house and then...something happened. Go read about it, I about peed myself. Then go back in the archives and look for more dog entries, you'll especially like the illustrated entry about bathing personality-heavy weiner dogs. I promise.

We Have a Winner!

MKAEP identified the quote. It's from Buffy. I think it's from the season finale of Season 3 but I'm not getting out the DVD to check it. Buffy says it to Giles when he tries to get her to talk after some big apocalypse and she says something along the lines of, "I'm pretty much still Fire Bad, Tree Pretty."

That Joss Whedon, he really sticks in your head.

Do you want a prize? Or is the satisfaction of knowing prize enough?

Messing with their heads

I'm going to keep harping on the adultery thing. Just a warning.

I've noticed that, as an only child, I'm actually well suited to adultery. I've already got experience negotiating the eggshell land between 2 married people. You know, I'd probably be best suited for polyamory. So there's my advice for the day, if you're looking to add someone to your marriage I suggest adding an only child. S/he'll fit right in and won't threaten the bond you already have with your spouse.

The only child thing also makes me perfect for some of the weirder situations I find myself in. For a couple of years I lived with Pony Express and her (now ex) husband. In our neighborhood it soon became clear that, depending on the orientation of the observer, some of the neighbors thought I was married to him and others thought I was married to her. Very few realized that they were married to each other and I was trying to be a good housemate.

Tonight I tagged along with MarkyB to a gig in a church cafe on Long Island. He had Music Baby for the night and a gig so I went to be the baby wrangler. (Let's try to get that term used more often, shall we? More accurate - one hopes - than baby sitter.)

The event was in a linoleum tiled fellowship hall. The gentleman who was hosting tonight's event was wearing a shirt that had 2 check boxes on the back, one labeled "Gun owner", one labeled "Victim". Guess which one was checked. I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count. The sound man was wearing a shirt that said, "Rehab is for quitters." I'm not exactly religious and even I wouldn't wear a shirt like that in church, even on an off night.

MarkyB worked his tail off for 45 minutes for very little reward. I was watching the audience and I could tell that they did like him but they weren't very expressive. Grins not chuckles and at best chuckles not laughs. He gave a great set, though.

Everyone, of course, assumed I was Felix's mom. Not wanting to seem defensive we just did our thing and didn't lead with the info that I'm not related in any way. This made for some fun conversations.

Every time someone asked me how old he was and, not having been there the moment it happened, I ballparked it the look on the other person's face was priceless. "You don't know your own son's age?" "Should I call child services?" One woman first got offended when I wasn't effusive enough about the fact that she has a grandchild and then asked me, "When does he sleep?" My response was to do my impression of a deer in the headlights. "Whenever we get out of here." seemed ungrateful. Right before his last song Mark asked how many people had been at a folk festival in the town this summer and had seen C-ann's band, Red Molly. Then he told them that he's sleeping with the base player (it was relevant to the song intro, I promise, he wasn't just bragging) and at the moment he asked every person who'd seen Red Molly started thinking, "She doesn't look anything like anybody in Red Molly."

So fun to mess with their heads.

More fun to hang with the baby, though. He's a treat, still. The only time he got cranky was when I tried to convince him to go to sleep and he didn't want to because there was too much new stuff still to see. At one point he kept keeling over on a couch and trying to sit back up - still a relatively new skill for him - but he was too tired to do it. Knowing this I was refusing to help him in hopes that he'd lie down and sleep. Boy wasn't having any of it. Just cried until I picked him up and carried him around.

And there we are at the reason that I'm typing this now for my Sunday post instead of tomorrow. The boy is big, total bruiser, looks fabulous and eats like a horse. And I've been carrying him around all night because I like to hold him and am stubborn and refuse to use the stroller. My arms are like jelly, by tomorrow I probably won't be able to brush my hair off my face unless I bend over.

Happy Sunday, go kiss a baby!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Just Give Me What I Want

Another one on the list of myriad reasons I love New York. It gives you what you need. Sometimes when you're having a shitty day you need to get on a bus and just hate everyone around you while they jostle you and yell at you and stand dumbly in your way. But sometimes you need something a little lighter.

I had a week. Mostly just the same as any other week but Thanksgiving looming with the rest of the holiday season pressing unstoppably behind it, my job work has been piling up and I was brutalized in a conversation with a friend. It started out with her saying she's a "Rules Girl" and ended up wandering into the territory of my past adulterous behavior. (Bizarre aside, part of her reasoning for following the Rules is that it's got more magic and it's more exciting but check out the official link it's Dating Without Drama. Hmmm.) This friend is younger, pretty religious etc. She was curious and I set myself up for a fall by trying to explain how I feel, no excuses, just explaining. I had plenty of times over the course of 2 days worth of e-mail when I could have exited before the damage was done. I felt it was more important to be heard.

Let's just say I wasn't heard.

So, after the second day I was slogging home on the bus in the rain crushed between a ton of people who felt roughly the same. I ended up hanging slightly over a double seat with an oversized mom near me and a young toddler and her play stroller wedged in next to the window.

I looked at her and she looked at me. So I made a face and she hid.

So, of course I pressed it and made another face.

She made a face back.

So I copied her. Which freaking broke her world open. An adult was copying her? And adult was paying attention to what she was doing and following her example? The hell? You could actually see her little brain screaming "The Hell?"

So I kept it up until it was time for me to get off the bus and she leaned way forward to look after me. Her mom never even noticed.

That was exactly what I needed. I smiled all the way home and I've been thinking about her all week.

I also read a new blog from the randomizer, Amieable, and she posted this reading she did in a wedding recently:

“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow toward each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”

That's all I was trying to get my friend to see. Just (identify this quote) "Fire bad, tree pretty" you know?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Well crafted

It's a sort of hot people entry but with a twist because I'm going to muck it up with words.

I love TV, you know that. But I also love to see the craft in it. And here is a well crafted little scene from the unjustly canceled Everwood.

Madison: Ephraim you don’t even know me.

Ephraim: I might not know everything about you but I do know some things. I know that you’re the only person that makes my little sister think it’s OK to be a girl. I know how you feel when you sing ‘cause it’s how I feel when I play. I know all you really want from this Jay guy is for him to get you and he never will because the only thing he’s interested in getting is himself. And I know that all this stuff about me being too young is just you being afraid because it’s easier for you to say that I’m too young than to risk something that’s not what you thought you wanted. But most of all I know that ever since I kissed you at the DMV every time I’ve seen you I’ve wanted to kiss you again. And I don’t know for sure but I’m pretty certain that you have too.

They kiss

Ephraim: Yup. Thought so.

He walks away.

Take that last line. Most writers would have used pretty sure. It's colloquial and it's simple but it also puts sure in the sentence twice which is going to sound klunky and awkward, especially next to the rest of it, which is particularly nicely put together for the 17-year-old character who's delivering it. A tiny little thing but it's a tiny thing that someone cared about and worked on despite the fact that there were 22 episodes a year to crank out. Writers of One Tree Hill, please take note.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Background: By day I'm a secretary, an executive ass., a personal assistant, really.

Background II: Christmas festivities for me happen in and around my hometown. I come in from the 'hood, ChemE comes from the land of Orangemen, therefore Queen Bee is the hometown hub. She knows about restaurants and we can ship things to her and I stay at her house and cook Christmas dinner with and for her family.

Story: Today I am in full swing at the office. The pile of crap I have to do has reached proportions that threaten to overwhelm. While I work my way slowly through the pile I am also fielding phone calls and handling immediate requests like, "What's that place, you know the restaurant in the West 60s?"; "Just e-mail Joe and see if we need a rental car when we get there." and, incidentally, "when" = in 3 hours; "Is it going to rain before I get out of this meeting?" The latter has led me to a question I can't answer - what does it mean on the hourly forecast when the hour is bordered in red? Do I need to put my dog in a basket and braid my hair?

In the brief seconds of downtime or multi-tasking time I have I am holding an e-mail conversation with Queen Bee about Christmas plans. So far she has made restaurant reservations for me, scheduled me for a brow wax and purchased a couple of Christmas presents (for which I will reimburse her when I get there) for me to give to other people.

She is a much better personal assistant than I.

Conclusion: My life - too meta?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bloggy crush

I have developed a bloggy crush.

You could read this post but may I suggest just going over here and reading Danielle's blog.

First she mentions my other crush.

Then, on the day that I start to bleed she goes in depth on tampons. And I agree on all counts.

Don Rickles!

And it only gets better from there, really!

You can fall in love with her but be warned that I saw her know, except for Fussy since she put up the link that I clicked to find it...and all the people that clicked before me. Eh, I'll fight every one of you for her!

I am the dreaded cat blogger

I can't help it! I'm actually getting misty looking at these pics of MKAEP's new kits and remembering when my kittens were, well, kittens instead of the demanding feline divas into which they have evolved.

Here's one of mine when they were babies.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

No. Just no.

So plastered all over every paper that I rudely read over people's shoulders on the train this morning is the news that Rudy Guiliani has taken the first steps toward a presidential bid in 2008.

No. Just no.

Do you hear me? Because I'm talking to you, all of you.

Vote no on Referendum #The Guy Who Did Good Stuff After 9/11

Big no. See if you can vote in bold, please.

I lived in New York City, I lived the Guiliani years. I will give him the post 9/11 chocolatey goodness. He was good, he did good things, he helped a lot of people and he did it with a dignity and integrity that was both surprising and largely uncharactaristic. But that represents, what, 6 months out of the 8 or 12 years (I'm blocking and I'm too lazy to look it up) of his time in the Gracie Mansion? It does not a President make.

Do I think he's particularly corrupt or incompetent? No, I do not. Do I think he's a run of the mill old school conservative Republican who is concerned more with the brokering of power and trading of favors than the improvement of his constituents? Oh christ on a whole wheat goddamned cracker (tm, Rescue Me) yes!

From what I can tell there is nothing that Rudy Guiliani did in his time as mayor of NYC that was by, for or about helping women, the middle, lower middle or lower classes or any other minority group. A vote for him will be a vote for a distinct lack of change please don't fall for all the post 9/11 rah rah. I'm begging you.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Careful, Don't Trip on My Soapbox

Banning breeds is stupid.

There are a lot of communities in the US trying to ban particular breeds of dogs. Mostly it's pit bulls because they say that pitties are dangerous, loose canons just waiting to go off.

That's bullshit.

Pits have a couple of traits that made me decide not to get one. They are very high energy and need a lot of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They do also have the locking jaw thing. Once they've bitten into something their jaws can lock down and you can't pry them apart. You have to surprise them into releasing on their own. Common techniques include throwing water on the dogs, grabbing the dog's balls or sticking a finger up his or her ass. Delightful, but effective. I walk a lot but I'm not a runner and I don't hike for hours or head out to the park to play games all day on a weekend. I'm not an ideal pit owner so I'm not going to do it. Most of the pits I've met, though, are hilariously lovey to humans, and often love to have other dogs around to play with.

I was waiting for the bus the other day and a young woman was walking a smallish grey-blue pit who was full of life. The puppy pulled herself and her girl over to me. The dog nuzzled me and I leaned down and pet her. The girl panicked, "Oh, OH!" and she half heartedly tugged at the leash. The dog stretched up to get near my face, finally crawling up the wall behind me so she could get nearer to my face without being rude and jumping up on me. I scritched her ears and leaned down so she could lick my cheek and the increasingly nervous girl squeaked, "Do you like dogs?"

Right there is why banning breeds won't do you any good. It's not about the breed it's about the owners. This girl didn't know a a damn thing about owning a dog or caring for it and she owns a high maintenance dog.

I'm the first to admit that I didn't know shit about dogs and less than that about my breed of dog before I got Emily. But I learned. I know some now and I know where I made mistakes and I got lucky and I took responsibility for my mistakes, too.

Pits aren't the only dogs I know aren't for me.

Small fluffy dogs - High pitched and effusive barking. It wouldn't be long before I stepped on the sucker.

Greyhounds - They look like dinosaurs and it freaks my shit out to wake up to a prehistoric being staring down at me. Also, they're nervous and picky in general and it's just not a good idea for me to have a dog who's more nervous and picky than me. It's already a close call with Em, she's pretty nervous. And they get lonely, they hate to be alone for too long and I have to be out of the house a lot, it'd be cruel.

Border Collies - Not going to have a dog with a stronger work ethic than me. Can't take the guilt.

Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, Golden Retrievers et. al. - Too much upkeep, I'm way too lazy. My dog doesn't like baths and I don't like giving them, we're a perfect pair.

Cocker Spaniels - Too much pee.

It's probably borderline for me to have the dogs that attract me - German Shepherds, Rottweilers, even the occasional Doberman. They're working dogs and I probably don't work as much as I ought to for that. They're protective which can be a blessing and a curse but is a good thing if they're properly socialized. Yet we know how good I am at socializing. I don't think getting the dog her own blog counts. But I'm willing to work hard at all this because I love the breed and I love the dogs and I love the way they love me back more than anything.

If they start banning breeds "my" breeds won't be far behind. Then the list will go on, as the inexperienced owners get different breeds those breeds will be added. Eventually they'll get to my first choice, Yorkies. If you're going to ban a breed start there. Yappy, arrogant, and pointy little teeth! (I was bitten by a yorkie as a toddler. In the yorkie's defense I was covering his eyes and yanking a bone out of his mouth but they still give me the heebie jeebies.)

If there's a bill like this in your area I urge you to vote against. If nothing else because it won't solve the problem and someone will only be asking for your money again later for a program that will (hopefully) actually get to the root of the issue.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Not so much

I was going to grace you with a same day brunch photo of my lovely Alita. But about halfway through brunch she patted my stomach and said, "It looks like you have a baby in there." Who decided it was a good idea to teach that kid to talk?

Instead, a cute picture of the Bee family dog.

All Points Bulletin

I call her Crazy S but I promise it's only in a good way. She's the kind of crazy that makes you miss her when she's gone. Did I tell you about her debut at our monthly brunch?

We've got about 10 people sitting at a long table and CS is at the foot of the table and she starts to tell a story. Now, know that we're a group of pleasant, intelligent, well-educated, decently well-traveled people but also not people with a ton of money. And CS starts her story by saying, "Yeah, I'm headed to Norway for 6 weeks." And she surveys the table and asks, "You've been?" Not 'Have you been?', not 'Has anyone been?' But an assumption that we, like everyone, have been to Norway. Everyone was so shocked that no one answered for a while. The other thing, though, is that it made everyone at the table love her. I don't know how it made anyone else feel but it made me feel that she thought I was better than I am. Which she always does.

So, she's sent out a, I don't want to call it a plea, more like an All Points Bulletin. I'd love for her to find what she's looking for. Hell I'd love for me to find what she's looking for, but she was brave enough to ask so she gets first dibs.

"I have decided that there is to be an all out manhunt on my behalf. Please notify any handsome, euro-trash, with tons of money and an airplane, no mental or emotional disorders, and a good sense of humor, that they are to report to me at once.

Thank you.

This announcement will be repeated daily until he shows up.

She's even moving back to the US as of today to make it a little easier. Leave all possibilities in the comments, please.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

This is the picture I really wanted to post

But I couldn't find it. Then I found it. So here it is.

It takes all kinds

So Veteran's Day seems like as good a day as any to tell an embarrassing veteran-related story about myself.

Bricklayer was a United States Marine for a while. The way I understand it he was an active member for 4 years and then inactive for 4 but available for calling up in the event of need and then his contractual obligation to them ended. The first Gulf War broke out while he was in those second 4 years but he wasn't called in. Something about studying the wrong languages for him to be useful.

I was relieved.

Him? Not so much.

Last year, or maybe the year before, I was at his house and I noticed that he has a veteran's license plate.

I can hear the resounding chorus of "Yeah? So?"

Here's the thing. And the embarrassing part is not in that I thought it as much as in that I said it to him.

"Hey, I didn't even realize you were a veteran."

"Yeah. I am."

And then I couldn't even just leave it at that I thought I should explain.

"No, I get it now but, you know, I always think of veterans as people who served in a war."

"Yeah, those are War Veterans."

Yeah, I know but...

I'm an idiot. Way to thank someone for their service to the country and all.

Please accept the posting of my idiocy as my apology and my expression of support to all the veterans and war veterans in the world.

*Photo is of the Bricklayer's son.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Birthday Fluids

It's MKAEP's birthday today. I don't know that her present is going to arrive today, or even this coming week, so instead I will tell an embarrassing story about her on the internet to celebrate her day.

The first night we really connected she peed in front of me. We weren't in some sort of desert island situation, we weren't in prison, we weren't even in some sort of fruity new age women's group, we were at work...sort of.

We were living in Saginaw, MI touring plays to schools for this nutty mom and pop company. We lived in company housing on a street in what amounts to the ghetto. For real, the place across the street had to be a crack house. They boarded over all the windows at one point, it was nasty. The night in question was employee appreciation day (payday) so we had, of course, purchased beer and the whole company of about 12 people was gathered on the porch of the managers' house and getting to know each other.

It was very eau de camp or vintage dorm or possibly very well dressed commune. Now, I cannot rightly tell you how the night ended. I can tell you that at one point there was swing dancing in the street and that in the morning when MKAEP came out for a smoke on the porch her dress shoes were lined up on the porch. So, long story short, we all had fun.

Some time after the second beer run MKAEP and I are deep in discussion. We were standing on the front "lawn" (2 foot by 2 foot). MKAEP decided she had to pee but she didn't want to a. interrupt the conversation or b. go all the way to the bathroom. For the record we're talking about a house that, despite its 4 bedrooms, if you were in the very farthest part of the dwelling from the bathroom and it took you more than 15 steps to get to the throne you'd have to be walking with your legs crossed. But drunk does not need logic so she ushered me to the side of the house, not 6 steps from where everyone else was standing, but in her defense behind a bush, dropped her drawers and watered the aluminum siding, without interrupting our dialogue for a moment.

That's a bonding moment my friends, it's a keeper.

Head on over to her blog and leave her a hidey ho birthday neighbor if you've got a moment. Maybe that will motivate her to update again...if she can find her password.

Happy Birthday my Jilly Bean!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I almost forgot

I used to go to the theatre with my grandfather. Not a lot but enough. He told me once that he missed theatres with curtains. He liked the anticipation, the sense of occasion that comes with a plush velvet curtain going up.

I can't remember what theatre we were in or how old I was when he told me that. I wish I could. Today I really wish I could. I think I was 13 and we were at a theatre in London but I'm not sure. We might have been in New York. I might have been 27. It's possible that it was he and my father in a theatre in Boston and I'm just remembering my dad telling me about it. I'm not sure.

Tonight I had a classically wonderful evening. Thanks to the generosity of my boss and his wife Audio Girl and I went to dinner and a show. I had a cocktail - champagne - and we shared a dessert and we laughed and talked. Then we strolled a couple of blocks in the unseasonably warm air to the theatre and saw A Chorus Line. The show wasn't perfect, for one thing there was no curtain, but it was glorious.

I think I saw it once before when I was very young. I'm not sure. Again. I know I listened to the cast recording endlessly as a kid. Live and in person it was a huge thrill. I'm older and different parts speak to me and I understand better why others spoke so loudly to a younger me. I can see the show in a number of contexts, both personal and professional but mostly I was able to simply give in to the anticipation and sense of occasion that it embodies.

I think my grandfather would have forgiven them the missing curtain. I think he would have loved the show as much as I did.

I almost forgot.

Six years ago today my grandfather died.

And I still miss him very much.

And then sometimes...

Sometimes you just wonder, "How did it get like this? How does someone get to a point in life where this is OK?" A lot of times I'm a go along to get along type and I end up looking at myself one day and wondering where Alan Funt is.

Like today I find myself blogging to be sure that I don't miss a day. It's 7:45am and my hair is up and I've got jewelry on and I'm wearing the scintillating ensemble of slightly baggy dress pants (need dry cleaning but too lazy and cheap) with ribbed tights peeking out the top and rolling over my rolls of fat, padded Wal-mart bra and dress shoes. Am I having trouble deciding what to wear? Am I waiting for something to dry? Is it a belated breast cancer awareness deal? Really no, none of this.

My apartment is seven million degrees. I kid you not. I'm sweating in this delightful get up. The capper for the outfit is a gorgeous fuzzy v-neck sweater with a cowly sort of neck. It's pretty and it feels good and it's perfect for the ice box of my office and I'm going to the theatre tonight* and it makes me feel like I'm dressed like a grown up on a special occasion (if you discount the pet hair) but I had to strip it off the millisecond I got into the apartment or I was going to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. It's always like this. And mostly I love it but, you know, global warming and mid Atlantic states and here we are, it's like 60 degrees outside and it's a greenhouse in my apartment.

It's no wonder the cat is chewing the hair of his legs, he's trying to take off his sweater!

OK, totally going to be late (and inappropriately dressed) for work, must go.

Stay cool!

*Going to see A Chorus Line, a musical about how hard it is to get a job as an actor and when you get too old for the business and what it's like to have to adjust your dreams and...right, late for work, short answer: A musical designed to break my heart just a little. Good times!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's nature AND nurture!

If you can't guess just by looking at them these ladies are sisters.

Miss Rebecca dressed as the story of the Wizard of Oz a few years ago. The story? (you ask) Yes, the story. See the rainbow tiara on top? She's also wearing rainbow eyeshadow. A beautiful grey cyclone around her neck. The hot as a griddle house corset. A witchy skirt and the requisite striped stockings and ruby slippers peeking out below the house. Brilliant, no?

Fast forward to this year. After a small amount of consultation with her older sister, K executed this delightful rendition of Fay Wray.

Would that I were this smart, this creative and this motivated.

Show of hands, please

How many of us are wearing uncomfortable unmentionables today?

My hand is raised high. It's really too, too bad I didn't manage to do any laundry last weekend. And it's even worse that I'm not going to have time to do any until at least Friday afternoon. I could rinse out a pair of non-circulation-reducing skivvies I suppose, but they never feel truly clean when you do that. Too stiff from the air dry.

Ridiculous animals

This first picture is my Elvis. He's smarter than his sister, Anna, but somehow that makes him much odder. This picture is from our recent visit to the vet. First he tangled himself in the vet's computer wires and eventually hid behind the computer tower. We extracted him for examination then while we waited for the vet he found solace in the sink. So I took a picture, because I am heartless.

For more silly pets check out the PUPkin entries that Kath put up recently. Being the founder of the feast and all she was right in the ring and had a much better vantage point for pictures so there's only one tiny piece of overlap with the pictures I shared with you.

Second picture is the week two growth chart for MKAEP's kittens. I am not so heartless that I am unmoved by how ungodly cute these babies are. Look at their little folded ears and their squinty eyes and their fuzzy furry bodies. Delicious!

P.S. Can anyone tell me why this code,, sometimes spontaneously inserts itself into an entry when I am pasting a link in somewhere else? It's never at the point of the link and it's not all the time but I can't discern a pattern and, in a long entry, sometimes I miss it until I publish and it's freaking annoying!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Look at all the ways to do it!

Check out all the voting stories over at the Whatever. I'm having a lot of fun seeing how everyone votes, both who they're voting for and how physically they vote by absentee or lever or paper ballot of show of hands.

Not reported on the Whatever but reported in my e-mail in box is the fact that Chili got both a sticker AND a lollipop. A Tootsie Pop to be precise. I am positively green with envy.

Scaredy Cats

I've run across a lot of people talking about writer's block today. Also about fear of writer's block, fear of the fear of writer's block and fear of never getting writer's block and therefore being told one isn't a real writer.

Over at Losing True (courtesy of the NaBloPoMo Randomizer, love that thing) I found this lovely quote from a real writer:
I hate writing; I love having written.
- Dorothy Parker

Which made me think of another quote along the same lines:
I love writing but hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says, 'You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, giftless. I'm not your agent and I'm not your mommy, I'm a white piece of paper, you wanna dance with me?' and I really, really don't. I'll go peaceable-like.
- Aaron Sorkin

Don't worry writers, just write. For right now it doesn't have to be good it just has to be done.

Have you voted yet?

You might want to get on that, you know?

ETA: Vote Accompli! I voted just before 8am while listening to the soundtrack to Wicked. They do not give out stickers in Brooklyn. I think that's a shame.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Exercise your rights and privileges

Tomorrow is election day lads and lasses! Please exercise those rights with both hands and your brain.

Miflohny provided some good info if you've got questions or if you have trouble getting your vote counted. I reprint here:

Tomorrow's election, like all elections, is very important. If you're not sure where your polling place is, the following site should be able to help you: I just checked it, and it gave me my correct poling place and provided a map on how to get there. The website is run by the League of Women Voters and has lots of helpful election related links.

When you go to vote, hopefully you won't have any problems. If you do, you can call the National Voter Assistance Hotline: 1-866-OUR VOTE. If you have a cell phone, take the number with you to the polls. Trained volunteers will be staffing this nonpartisan effort to provide voter assistance and protect voter rights. Since there are very few automatic voter recounts to check accuracy, and since some systems make voter recounts impossible, there may be a lot of fraudulent counts that we don't know about, but, at least we can report problems that we do know about.

I found the following very helpful site. It was able to provide all the races and candidates for my address, except for candidates for judgeships (which are VERY important, but at least in NY, almost impossible to find information on). It didn't have any info on any ballot measures, but it may if there are any in your area (I don't think I'll have any to vote for on this ballot). The site provided info on races for State & US offices. There was no info on city offices, but I don't think there are any city offices up for election right now.

Anyway, it might be good to check it out. Despite feeling well informed on what my ballot will have on it when I get to the polling place, there have been times, I think, that I've been surprised.

Here's the info:

Go to

Type in your zip code and click on GO.

On the next page, click on SEE ALL MY CANDIDATES AND RACES.

It will then ask for your address, after which it will give you a list of your races.

Happy voting.

Please, please, please, it's so important, I know it's hard to feel hopeful but we must try.

This is for ChemE who loves Edward Gorey

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?

You will be smothered under a rug. You're a little anti-social, and may want to start gaining new social skills by making prank phone calls.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

We Love the Requesting of the Hot

These are for ProfDoc. She gave me a theme and I ran with it. Now we'll see if I filled in the theme the way that she expected.

Put your own requests in the comments section if you like!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Inspiration '06

It occurred to me today that this week in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill is my favorite time of the year. It's why I love New York. It's inspiring and fun and momentous events all Wizard of Oz in your own back yard. First Halloween then the marathon in the space of a few days.

I stood on the corner of Lafayette & Vanderbilt today, somewhere in the middle of mile 9 and I clapped and cheered and took pictures fo two and a half hours. I was only going to stay an hour or so but how can you just leave them when they're all running so hard? So I stayed on a bit longer, not until the bitter end certainly but through the bulk of it.

I go early enough to catch the lead women. Or, as it was today, the lead woman. This woman was at least two full minutes ahead of everyone else. Unfortunately she'd set too hard a pace for herself and she didn't finish in the top three. She looked smokin' at mile 9, though.

The next people by were these 3 women. I'm almost certain they're the winners of the women's race. They didn't finish in this order, though, from left to right it is, I believe, 2nd, 1st, 3rd.

The lead men were going so fast that this was the only shot I could get of them. My camera doesn't even recover fast enough to get off a second shot before they were halfway down the next block.

This woman was handing out treats to the runners. I'm not sure what was up with that but she had bananas and then she had Hershey's miniatures. She blew her whistle, she told them to take some candy and share, she met them halfway into the street, it was nuts. Part of me wanted to warn the runners not to take anything because just in general taking candy from strangers is an important kindergarten lesson but this nice little old lady? How could you say no? But if you hear a news story about poisoned runners let me know because I might have a lead.

Two of my greatest fears embodied above: blindness and running.

A local fire house was set up with their truck at the top of the block. I think they had members of their house running the race. They were showing all the kids in the crowd the truck and letting them climb around and wear the hats and everything. Probably twenty runners came out of the race and jumped up on the truck to have their picture taken with the firefighters. I was also amazed by the number of people from other countries who applauded the firefighters as they ran past. There were tons of FDNY runners, too, and they got huge cheers from the guys on the truck. My neighbor, who is an FDNY paramedic, ran by and got a big whoop from us all. I can't wait to see her around and congratulate her.

I'm over wanting to ever run the race but I don't think I'll ever get over watching. It's just way too fun and inspiring and momentous.