Tuesday, November 30, 2010
As I'm sure you know by now I'm a huge fan of tradition. Huge. It's like routine but with treats! So it should come as no surprise that I love NaBloPoMo. The enthusiasm for this tradition has, I'm hearing, waned a bit. Even Eden Kennedy, the founder, spent one of her posts this month talking about how little she cared for it this year. To each their own, I know, but I'm always somehow personally offended when a tradition gets blown off the rails (known in sane circles as "changes").
On Friday I had my annual post-Thanksgiving open house. I don't cook for Thanksgiving Day I cook for the day after. People have their own traditions on Thursday and I ask them to come tell me all about it on Friday. Starting a tradition is hard. I used to have a Thanksgiving Day tradition but then I broke up with the guy I started it with and a went off for a year in another place and somehow I just lost the tradition in the divorce. Other people cooked and invited guests and my place in the heirarchy and the joy of it slid away. It took me a few years to get my feet under me and try to create something new. I figured the Friday open house format was low commitment. If it didn't work out so well I'd be less disappointed. I was a little disappointed a couple of years even so. Like I said, it takes time to build a tradition but I kept going.
This year I almost didn't. I was tired, I have a new dog who consumes my brain, I'm not feeling flush with cash but a couple of people had been asking about it and I'd already half invited someone new so I just went through with it. On Friday nearly 25 people wandered through my house at one point or another. Some brought food, some drink, some flowers, some stories, some skills (turkey carving, someone always has to bring that 'cause I don't have it). I was so full of food and drink I could barely move and I was exhausted by the end of the night but I'd gotten to talk to nearly everyone in depth and I'd gotten to eat all I wanted. For me it was just the kind of day I'd hoped to create.
Then there was more. At least two people took me aside and told me that they had counted on this party. It was something they looked forward to each year and no matter how odd or non-traditional or even difficult their Thanksgiving was they knew that my house would be open the next day. That, my friends, is how you know your habit has earned the title of tradition, when other people look forward to it.
NaBloPoMo can be hard. It speaks of pressure and, like its inspiration, NaNoWriMo, people do it because of that. Pressure can inspire. Of course, one of the things it often inspires is complaint. So, if you keep up with people who are NaBloPoMo-ing you read a lot more moans and groans than you do honest reflections about the experience or brilliant tools to handle the difficulty. Knowing that, I expect that Eden Kennedy doesn't hear much of what I heard on Friday.
To close out this NaBloPoMo then I'd like to tell her, thank you for creating this tradition. I count on it and it makes me happy.
Monday, November 29, 2010
'Cause I'm sick.
So instead of reading anything here why don't you buy something. You see, it's Mark Allen Berube's birthday. I bet he'd count it a pretty nice present if you were to buy some of his work. It's good stuff. I think you'll like it.
Happy Birthday, my friend, and many happy returns of the day.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I have anxiety issues. It's no secret. I'm less anxious than many of my friends and far more anxious than others. I've been this way for pretty much all my life. I used to believe that the whole world was like a movie set and they ("they"?!?!) were changing the set instead of my family actually going anywhere. I can't be the only one who thought this since someone eventually made The Truman Show.
My anxiety, when it decides to really kick me in the pants, manifests in snake-related ways. I've got snake phobia. It's not unique but it's mine.
On Friday night, after having a successful and fun-filled couple of days, as I headed to bed I thought, "I should...do something. I'm probably going to have a problem tonight." But it was such a tiny feeling I ignored it. Because, as I've told you before, I have trouble assigning the appropriate level of importance to any situation. I was exhausted. I just went to bed.
Not an hour later I'm having a relatively vivid dream that I'm in my kitchen cleaning up (because my dreams stick super close to my reality if they want to fuck with me) and I'm holding the dog for some reason and I hear Pony Express say, "Watch out for the snake." It was conversational in tone she could have been telling me to watch out for a spill or an animal or a hot pan. The dog was in the way of my line of sight so I couldn't see the snake but I knew it was on the way into my tiny galley kitchen meaning I was trapped. It was genius, super subtle but hurled with pin point accuracy at my weakest spot.
I practically shot out of that bed.
Tried to convince myself it was nothing and I could go back to sleep. My skin was crawling and despite being exhausted I just wasn't going to be going back to sleep. So I put on a movie and turned on the light and dozed on and off all night. Last night too.
It should come as no surprise that as of today I'm sick. Not dying or anything but slight head cold with scratchy throat. My feet now smell of Vicks and don't leave your drink next to me because I'm sucking down all the liquids I can get my hands on. It's a hell of a way to end a really great (almost) week off.
Feel free to recommend good movies to sleep to. I suspect this particular attack of the anxieties is going to last a while.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Today I didn't cook or eat a big meal but I did get up early and get to work, such as it was. I took the dog on a walk in the park, visited with some folks there. Once he was set I cleaned up and headed into Manhattan to meet a friend and deliver some meals. Two more stops to wish a happy holiday to some other friends not celebrating conventionally and home I headed.
Upon arrival I found that the little dog had torn open the paper recycling, the only disposal container guaranteed not to have anything delicious in it, and strewn some contents over the floor before pulling a cushion down from the couch and taking a well-deserved nap. It's not hard to clean up paper so no harm done and he was so glad to see me I had a tough time being angry. He was, in fact, so cute I decided I needed to take a Thanksgiving photo of him to send to Queen Bee. She needs regular infusions of puppy photos. Well, one thing led to another, as they say, and I found found myself lying on the floor with the dog laid out full length on my torso chewing on a rawhide from the dollar store. The picture turned out kind of great.
My mother and I have a long standing rule that if you're asked to do something you can get out of it cleanly if you can truthfully complete the following sentence: "I can't [insert task], there's a [companion animal] on my lap." So after I sent the photo I just stayed where I was. My eyes closed of their own accord. I didn't tell them to do that. About two commercials later (Burn Notice Thanksgiving Day marathon, you can set your internal clock by it) I noticed a familiar feeling.
Often my mother's family celebrated holidays at Aunt Catherine's house. There was plenty of room for us all to move around in and a state of the art kitchen to work with. The living room, though, was uniquely designed for the people that lived there and didn't make provision for anyone else. There was a piano, an organ, three barcoloungers, a couple of side tables and that was about it. After a holiday meal it was first come first served on the barcoloungers and if you were a member of the youngest generation at a 4 generation Thanksgiving you didn't get one. Some people helped clean up from the cooking but as a member of that 4th generation you could also usually get away with having table clearing count as your contribution to that. Others played cribbage or Scrabble but I wasn't nearly cut throat enough for that Thunderdome. I could have grabbed a book and gone to another room but I was probably taking a page from my grandfather's book when I lay down on the living room floor. There would be football or Lawrence Welk (whole different post) on the TV and my eyes would close. Maybe it's an only child thing but I suspect it's just human that the feeling of lightly napping while people work on about you is a balm to me.
I was getting that feeling today on my own floor with just the menagerie around me. It was nice. Eventually, though, I started to feel anxious. I owed my mother an email, I had to make pudding in case I got invited to dessert later, I was thirsty. Small dog is only a small dog, his attention span is small to fit his stature. He got up and wandered off to find another chewie, chase another cat, drink some more water so my excuse was gone, too. I got up. I sent the email. I made the pudding. I got a drink.
So when the little anxieties were taken care of I grabbed the remote and a pillow and lay right back down. Eddie gathered up a few of his favorite things, nudged my head over a little and nestled down next to me. I closed my eyes again, breathed in the smell of hyperactive little dog and let the dulcet tones of Bruce Campbell sing me a Thanksgiving lullaby.
Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your day was filled with delicious memories.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
You know what I'm thankful for? The photographers who participated in the THANKS photo challenge.
You know the drill, please click through on their names to see their photo streams and scroll down to the bottom of this post for the next challenge. Yay for cool pics!
I'm going to go in a slightly different direction for the next challenge. I'm going to call it the GIVE challenge but I'd like you to enter any photo that you think is a gift. When I taught dance we told our young students to think of their performances as gifts to the people they loved in the audience. Let's think of this challenge in a similar way. Your entry might not necessarily be something you'd print on fancy paper and frame but maybe a moment you wanted to capture for someone who couldn't be there or a feeling you know someone needs or whatever you're moved to offer as a gift to the people who see it here.
Please enter your shot into our pool by 9am on Tuesday December 7th for posting on Wednesday December 8th. If you've got any questions please feel free to shoot me an email at isabeau6 at hotmail dot com.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
1. So, you know when you walk out of the house without really looking at what you're wearing because it's just work and you've worn this outfit a million times and your hair looks fine? Well, it was way after lunch before I realized you can totally see my zebra print bra through this shirt. No wonder everyone was being so nice to me today.
2. You know when you put off a task because you're sure it's going to take, like, forever, literally? Doing that right now. I need to vacuum and mop the apartment tonight because tomorrow is baking and laundry and there'll be too much shit in the way. How long do you think it'll take me? 2 hours? 5? Do you think I'll be able to sleep at all tonight?
3. You know how missing a day or two of something is super easy but getting back on track is sometimes even harder than starting in the first place? I don't know whether to direct you to my weight loss strategies or Kizz & Tell on this one.
4. You know how sometimes it takes a while for a bad habit to become obvious? I'm pretty sure that when left alone the dog goes into my dirty laundry and hauls pieces of clothing out to carry around and possibly sleep on. So looking forward to the day the dog walker finds him nesting in a pile of stained granny panties.
5. You know why email sometimes just doesn't get where it's going even though you've spelled the address correctly? Yeah, me either.
*We interrupt this blog post to report that the vacuuming portion of tonight's chosen servitude took about 40 minutes. Might have taken less time had frequent breaks not been needed to quell the barking. Vacuuming is either terrifying or exciting depending on whether you're a cat or a dog.*
6. You know how my house is only really properly clean once a year? Thank you to everyone who comes to my little post-Thanksgiving gathering for inspiring me toward that important annual swish and swipe of my abode.
7. You know how I can get groceries delivered to my door? Please don't take it as bragging but I'm really, really glad about that.
8.You know how the writers of How I Met Your Mother love to make intricately linked plots? I do believe they outdid themselves with their Lost/Buffy mash up Blitzgiving episode. Even threw in a dollop of Pieces of April for good measure.
*Pardon a second interruption but the mopping took about 25 minutes. That's just a water mop. I couldn't face doing a soap then rinse mopping given the relative freakishness of the menagerie. So I guess an hour and five minutes isn't forever. It just feels like it.
9. You know how a lot of people feel burned out on NaBloPoMo after all these years? Maybe it's not cool to say so but I'm not. I still kind of love it. But, you know, I love a solidly repeatable tradition. Love it a lot.
10. You know, from some angles, my dog looks like a teensy kangaroo.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Tangentially you may be wondering why I'm stupid enough to be walking the most touristy thoroughfare during the holiday season. It's a work thing. I couldn't help it so I turned my frown into blog fodder.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Sunday, November 21, 2010
While I process the ones celebrating Misti I'll, of course, be thinking about what to write about the weekend. What can I write, though, really? How do you explain the part where you sit in silence with someone and that's proof of the depth of your friendship? You don't.
This photo, the first one I took, was on the second day of the visit. She wasn't feeling well when she arrived. The next morning I had a doozy of a migraine. We pried ourselves from the house and met Chrome for lunch then off to do some shopping. I took this picture when we stopped in a book store/cafe and had some dessert. Misti had commandeered my Blackberry to set up Blackberry Instant Messaging for me. She'd asked me to do it months ago and I was too phobic to try to work it out. So she did it for me. Now we can IM for free and without character limits. (Really, who could limit our character?) I can't believe we did without it for so long and all because I was a wuss.
She didn't mind, though, and she was happy to set it up for me. 'Cause, like sitting in full, happy silence, that's friendship. Thank the world for that.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
For authenticity I'd like you to imagine as you read that you've placed a metal pet food bowl below a ceramic bowl in your dishwasher and they're clanging together rhythmically for about an hour.
The surest way to tire out this little dog of mine is to take him somewhere he's never been. We were out for about an hour and a half this morning walking in the neighborhood. For his afternoon outing he was actually walking for very little of it but he rode in the car with Kath and me for another hour and a half while we stocked up on pet items and vegetables. He got just slightly uppity when we came inside and again when he was hungry. Aside from that he's been sacked out in a chair all evening.
I am suddenly in search of a partner for my Thanksgiving food delivering. My usual partner got dealt a crappy card at her job and won't be able to deliver before she has to report for duty. Which means I need a partner because I can't deliver on my own and God's Love doesn't provide partners. Anyone want to join me on Thursday at 9:30am for about 3 hours of low impact, high fun service to the human race?
I'm in the middle of planning a pretty huge binge of food making. Can you guess what there is to eat in my house right now? Yupper. Eating Jr. Mints, hummus and yogurt.
Peter MacNicol is on Grey's Anatomy. I love him. I love having him back on my TV. Welcome back, sir!
Hey, you know, I could have just asked a question for this entry and left it at that. What are you up to for Thanksgiving? (Or Thursday if you're in another country.)
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I recommended a Broadway show over at Kizz & Tell. I really want this show to have a long(er) life so if you haven't read it already could you please check it out? It's sexy and smart!
(Little bonus rec before I post this, the new Hyperbole & a Half is hilarious and I've so owned one of those dogs. Fortunately not the puker.)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Fingers crossed, please, for me to look like this at the end of this evening. (I love this smile on my cousin's face from her brother's wedding a few weeks ago.)
I'm meeting my ex-boyfriend's sister for a drink tonight. First time I've seen her probably since his wedding which has to have been a decade ago by now. I may actually weep because I really miss his family. But I knew that there was a price to be paid for putting my big girl panties on and cutting our relationship off completely. Since the cutting was without a doubt the right thing to do then the price, however high, had to be paid. So lucky me for getting a chance to collect a weensy bit of a refund for paying up front...or something less prostituty.
Adding to the tension will be the fact that I'm leaving the above little gem home alone in the evening again. We're having our drink in the neighborhood so this should make things better. He's been allowed to be out of his crate while home alone a lot more, I'm hoping to have time to get a good long walk in before I go out and I'll give him something distracting to chew on and play with when I go. Two out of three of these tactics were employed this weekend, too, apparently with mixed to horrible results so there's no comfort in doing the right thing right now. Which means I may wind up running from the bar to the courtyard every 15 minutes to see if he's crying (I'm told that more than 15 minutes of any given noise is the legal basis for a noise complaint). But even if I don't I'll still be feeling panicked and judged and sad for him. I mean, I'm not entirely heartless, I don't want him home and crying if that means he's sad (as opposed to meaning he's trying to manipulate anyone within hearing distance, a ploy I know he's not above).
This will either be a lovely but challenging evening or a total fucking disaster. Your moral support can make all the difference.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Here are 10 things you should probably know about my dog.
1. He's got a very high extension when he pees. So high he sometimes overbalances and falls over. He pees for distance and, due to #1, pretty much parallel to the ground. So make sure you're on the right side of that if you're walking with him.
2.We had our first noise complaint filed against him this weekend. Since there was no date or time given for the noise occurring I don't really know what the complaint was about. After my own research and talking with the dog walker I'm pretty sure it was his crying in the evening when I was gone. I was gone a little more often because I was celebrating and he wasn't crying when I left or when I got back until he heard my voice so I figured he'd been OK. I posted a note in the lobby yesterday in the afternoon, "If you don't leave a date and time for the noise in your anonymous noise complaint you make it hard for someone to solve the actual problem." That note was gone by evening so I believe the appropriate people have been reached. The part that cheeses me off most, though, is that anyone who knows me well enough to report my apartment number (which they'd have to do in order to get the management office to call me) knows that I've been training with this dog every single day since I got here. I'm working on it! Help me out, don't piss me off and shoot me in the foot all in one punk ass phone call.
4. He surely does enjoy a marrow bone. I was afraid that it might upset his tummy but he worked on that thing for over an hour and I haven't seen any ill effects. Kept him quiet, too. He noticed the cats around but didn't chase them and while he was chewing he was thinking. Thinking about where to bury the bone for safekeeping. It was briefly hidden in the loveseat, under my foot, in his bed and under one vigilant paw. I didn't play fair, I stole it back and put it in the freezer again for later. It doesn't smell as much when it's frozen.
5. He knows the difference between Sit and Down but often deploys Down when it's not called for because he knows it's more valuable in a training sense.
7. He can jump up high enough to look me in the eye. From a dead standstill. You can't tell me that's not disconcerting.
8. He doesn't mind riding on the subway or bus or in a car. He likes to be in on the adventure. He prefers to be held on all forms of transportation. The destination isn't always so welcome. Not an enormous fan of the marathon, the Pupkin or, you know, Manhattan.
9. He's only about 18 months old (I duplicated Emily's birthday for him so February 14, 2009...ish he entered the world.) so his brain is still a little like cornstarch and water. It gives the illusion of being solid, useful matter, but it is not. I may need to be reminded of that. Often.
10. He enjoys a good snuggle. It's stupid-cute, seriously, But it's also worth remembering that he needs that every day. His brain needs to feel safe and part of that is sitting on a lap, sleeping on a chest, curling up right into the curve of your knees. I mean, sure, maybe it's also because he's cold but there's an emotional component as well. Oh yes there is!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Just got this missive from PUPS and wanted to share for all you dog, fun and tote bag lovers out there.
"Dear PUPS members:
Thanks to our volunteer photographers and web-workers, this year's Great PUPkin photos have been posted on our website at http://www.fortgreenepups.org/site_2009/php/fgp.php?page=photo&item=pupkin
Relive the PUPkin excitement, the tough as nails competition, and the absolute silliness of the day. And while you're visiting the website, how about buying one of the new PUPS re-usable tote bags for those Saturday morning visits to the Farmers Market or those trips to Who's Your Doggy when you need some chow for your favorite canine. Get yours now at http://www.fortgreenepups.org/site_2009/php/fgp.php?page=news&item=buy "
Sunday, November 14, 2010
1. Say yes - I'm trying. Fall and a complete lack of daylight are slowing me down but I sure have done a lot of it this weekend and it's been awesome!
2. Buy Flash - DONE
3. Write a book - Progress has been made. It won't be done by Jan 1, 2011, though.
4. Singing lessons regularly
5. Perform - Working on it.
6. Fix house - DONE - AGAIN, there are now other things I'd like to do but we're at least back to where I was when I posted this as done originally.
7. Commit to writing and administration work for The Women's Colony for one year (I write twice per week and have agree to set up and oversee Twitter & Facebook for the site.) - DONE, since the site has dissolved I can call it that, I guess.
8. Plan Italy trip - Postponed until October of 2011, but I'm committed to that time frame and need to start planning in earnest.
9. Renew passport - DONE, I even know where my passport it right now.
10. Go to Blogher - DONE and so glad of it! It brought me so much.
11. Write Aunt Rena once a week
12. Sign up for some online dating site - I have followed the letter of this law but not the spirit, more work to be done, more yes to be said.
13. Go on enough dates to judge the dating site
14. At least one session with the fabulous PT, Shelley
15. Write a Life List (per the Maggie Mason model) - In progress
16. Take Flash class - DONE I took it and I loved it!
17. Attend live theatre - already seen Let Me Down Easy and In The Next Room, a Ping Chong piece. Saw Reduced Shakespeare with Carmencita & Alita. Saw Glee Club, which was a delight. Saw Race by David Mamet and Addams Family with Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane. Saw a big old wedding that was pretty theatery. Now I've also seen Next To Normal. Saw Eddie Izzard do stand up, also Craig Ferguson. I saw Language Archive on Thursday night and am going to see something else tonight but it's a surprise for Misti so I won't say what it is.
18. Mermaid Parade - DONE and I love it more every time we do it.
19. Take Alita bowling
20. Composting - I've been doing this. It's not so bad.
21. Lose 10-15lbs - Scale is back out. News is not fantastic but changes and loss are occurring. 141 as of last weighing.
22. Visit Governors Island - DONE and I'd like to go back. Went to a food festival for a friend's birthday. The festival itself was a total clusterfuck but the island is really nice.
23. Sushi class with Chrome - DONE
24. Attend Charlie & Spoon's wedding - DONE
25. Write an article to submit to magazines - Stalled.
26. Get a massage - DONE Got one on Labor Day weekend that was just DIVINE. Had another one yesterday and it was a source of great comedy. But even a mediocre massage is still pretty good.
27. Dental appointment - DONE
28. Gyn appointment - DONE
29. Move this blog to its own domain name. - DONE! Yay!!
30. Buy new rolling carryon luggage
31. Attend Blondie's graduation - DONE
32. Buy and assemble new furniture to make storage and filing more efficient in my home. - DONE, I have even put a bunch of files in the cabinet and books on the shelves.
33. Upgrade to a smart phone - DONE
34. File all my papers and whatsits/use the new furniture to its fullest potential. - In progress
35. Create new housekeeping routines a la Flylady - I'm working on that again now that the repairs have been made but between having a houseguest this weekend and my post-Thanksgiving open house coming up soon it's mostly crisis management.
36. Celebrate my 40th birthday with Kath & Alex - DONE
37. Hang my pictures.
38. Acquire a dog. - DONE, neither the dog nor the process I expected but done and good.
39. Dermatologist appointment - DONE, 2 of them actually since I needed a follow up but don't have to go back for another year.
40. Mammogram - DONE
41. Change to more affordable health insurance - DONE and the best part is that my employer has to pay the premium every month so I don't have to worry that I'll forget and lose my health insurance because I'm an idiot who doesn't have a bill paying system.
42. Train dog sufficiently that he can participate in off leash hours - In progress. We took a class. We will probably take many others. He needs a lot of instruction and I need more in order to instruct him. It's possible he'll never be fully off leash. We'll see. He's going to get into scraps and I don't have the constitution for handling those. I come from a small town where everyone remembers all the stupid shit you do so I feel every transgression a little too acutely. Maybe I'll learn my lesson, we'll see. And he's young. It's going to take a lot longer than I first hoped to reach an understanding with him. He is getting plenty of exercise and socialization, though. And I'm getting all the dirty looks from other people that I can hack.
43. Submit a photo and blurb to The Beauty of Different blog.
*Photo of Lee Tergesen is not necessarily relevant, I just needed a dose of him. Though perhaps it need not be said yet again, I would say yes to him any time.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
It's been a while since I did a Hot People post, hasn't it?
I've been watching Lost from the beginning. I'm only in Season 3, and not very far along in it, so no spoilers please! I am totally a Sawyer-Kate 'shipper, though. (Kawyer? Sawate?) So I'm keeping a close eye on Josh Holloway here.
Speaking of Sons of Anarchy, there's Ryan Hurst really fleshing out Opie this season. As usual he's always around but rarely the focus. When he decides he's going to take the spotlight, though, it's...compelling.
Another old favorite show and actress, Sara Ramirez on Grey's Anatomy. Her character got the shaft in a serious way recently but I choose to believe that change of personnel will be better for Sara and her creation, Callie. (Psst, Ms. Rhimes, can Sara sing on the show again, please?)
Favorite actor, new role we've got Nathan Fillion camping it up in Castle again this season to good effect. It's a show about a guy doing guy things where 4 of the characters with the most screen time are women. I approve of that. Highly, even. And yet I chose to use Fillion's photo. I have no excuse. I just think he's hunky.
Continuing the theme of old faves on new shows, Melissa McCarthy (Gilmore Girls, Samantha Who?) has a brand spanking new show. Speaking of being spanked, a (presumably) young and (definitely) foolish writer for Marie Claire's web site recently treated McCarthy quite poorly on the magazine's blog. I'd like to state for the record that if you're mean to Melissa McCarthy you're an enemy of fun, talent and Hot People.
Last but not least, here's what my friend, Paul Sparks, looks like when he's in a Martin Scorsese series about the prohibition era. He's crazy in it. I love that. Congratulations on the cool gig, Paul!
And thus concludes your hot people for today.