Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

Let's have a little New Years fun, shall we? Don't hate me, Internet, it's all in good fun.

Now, before you party tonight, take a moment to laugh at the last year.

What a year.

Now that you have that out of your system,

go ahead and

your butt off.

But please be safe!

And at

say goodbye to

and make a

to only good things to come.

And ring in

with a bang.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a flurry

It has been a busy week! And at the risk of overwhelming you Internet, I will attempt a brief yet interesting rundown. I doubt I'll be able to be brief.

Last weekend, Morgan and I finally went out for Karaoke again (it had been a while, especially for two mic-hogs like us) and it was the most fun I've had at Karaoke for a while. The place was packed. It seemed that either everyone had the same idea as us OR they were so sick of their families, they had to booze up and sing out the pain. Not so for Morgan and I. We just wanted to have fun.

And fun we had. Whilst looking for a table, we made some unlikely friends. Some big guys were getting up and I went over asked them if they were leaving. No, they said, but we could sit with them. That turned out to be an awesome choice because they were super fun. We drank just a little too much, made fun of the regulars, and laughed ourselves hoarse.

Morgan having entirely too much fun. And I get such a Man Ray vibe off this shot, don't you? I am a badass photog with a brilliant model. Win!

And just a brief word about Karaoke. Well, it will be more than one word, but you get me. One thing I love about it is that we've become part of the regulars. We walk in and the dude puts in our names. It's so completely awesome. The other regulars are quite comical as well. There's Karaoke Bitch. Total diva. Thinks she's Kelly Clarkson but with long dark locks and a serious diva attitude. Then there's Parrot Guy. He earned this name on Halloween when he dressed as a pirate, complete with a parrot. You can see his costume here and judge for yourself. But he's generally pretty damn scary. He sings these crazy metal songs and he's always jumping around hitting things. We try and steer clear, but it's not always easy. Then there is Draco Malfoy. If you don't get the Harry Potter reference, just go shoot yourself now and save me the trouble. But really, this dude is like Draco in a few years after he's shot his dad and gotten addicted to meth. He wears all black, has bleached hair shaved on the sides and super long on top. Think log mohawk. And he also has a spiked labret piercing just below his lips. Now before you judge me for judging him, we all thought he was just a Harry Potter character and kind of got a kick out of it until he sang. He sings quite frightening music. Something you might sing at an animal sacrifice perhaps. So yeah, he's...yeah. Pretty sure he probably also owns Nazi paraphernalia and/or a hooded white cloak. Just saying.

What else? I drove out to Los Angeles yesterday to have dinner with my cousins, our aunt, and John who is practically family now. And it was super fun. Sushi, beer, and good conversation is always a recipe for a fantastic time. It's always amazing to me that I have known these people (except John) for just about my whole life. And in some ways, we're all the same. I know them to my core. It's all familiar. But on the other hand, it's so fascinating to watch us grow and change and navigate our relationship in the process. It's amazing, really.

And today I spent with my dad. We had our Christmas time. He and I went to Ikea to get my present from him and to spend a gift card from my aunt. Ikea can be a little frustrating and we got a little exhausted trying to find what I wanted in stock while staying in budget and traversing that maze of a store without too many breaks. I didn't get all I wanted, but oh well. I did get a very nice chair for my living room (hopefully I can get the matching one in the future) and two side tables.

Then Pops and I went to see Avatar, which I must say, I enjoyed. I knew that it was going to be Pocahontas in space and it kind of was. Well, it was but the idealized version. I don't want to give anything away, but it was like Pocahontas taking on the entire British Commonwealth. And it was beautiful to be sure. If you want 3 hours of very, very pretty, you should see this. It's very, VERY pretty. And I have to say, I like post colonial commentary set in a very pretty world. It works for me. I would have liked it even if it wasn't so visually enticing, but it was, so that's just a nice perk. The plot was a little thin, but what the hell. If you but into the message and the characters, just let yourself get sucked in and enjoy it. Fine holiday fun.

Aaaaand home is where I find myself now. Exhausted, dying to start season 2 of Heroes. I must explain. I'd never watched Heroes until last Sunday. I tried a couple of years ago, but I started to far into it and I had no idea who anybody was or what the hell was going on. Well, all the seasons are available to play instantly through Netflix now. And oh boy and I screwed. At the risk of sounding like a tremendous nerd with absolutely no life (TOO LATE!), I have to say that I watched all of season one between Sunday and today. And that's between all of these activities I just told you. I've been staying up late and watching as I eat breakfast. I finally finished the last episode of the season this morning. It was such a relief! I am such an addict now. At the end of each episode, when it says, to be continued, I scream NOOOOO! Those three words kill me. I just have to know what happens next. This show is genius and I cannot believe I am just now discovering it. I am so totally screwed.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking Forward

Today is the 28th of December. In a couple of days, not only will it be a new year, but a new decade. And I remember the hoopla over the last decade change. Now, to be fair, it was also the turn of a century and millennium and everyone thought we were all going to die. That worked out well.

I also think that was the New Years I spent with one of my best friends and roommate at the time Krissy. We stayed home, just the two of us, played games, and watched videos. It was one of the most fun New Years I've ever had, even though we were both very young and by all rights should have been out partying our asses off. But we had much more fun bonding and acting like girls do. Now, ten years later, she's married with a son. And while I am certainly much wiser for the living, I am in the same boat, still single and making my sole way in the world (but at least I live alone now). And I'm also planning a mellow game night with friends to ring in 2010, go figure. What a difference ten years makes. Or doesn't.

I've always loved New Years. First of all, it's an excuse to get all sparkly, give the last year the finger, drink champagne, and start new. Most people don't do it right though. They spend their time regretting the last year and making resolutions to change, resolutions which won't make it to February anyhow. And I think that's crap. I apologize to all you resolution-makers, but doesn't it feel like a waste of your energy and time. And how negative is that? Catalogue all the bad things and figure out how to be different. A waste.

You're never going to be different. You will always be you. It will always be hard to lose weight or stop smoking or drink less or spend less money. Whatever vices you have won't disappear when the clock strikes 12.

I say resolve to cherish yourself. Resolve to love yourself. Resolve to stop trying to change yourself. Resolve to stop making resolutions.

Sure. There are things I'm not stoked about right now. I hate that I've stopped running. I wish I lived in a place with better weather. I wish I made more money and/or had less student loans. I wish for great love. For family. For a place to plant roots. And 2009 sucked big monkey ass in a lot of ways. But making a wish on January 1st isn't going to change any of that.

Instead, I'll throw all that bad energy behind me, tell 2009 to shove it, and jump right into 2010 hoping for the best. Because that's all I can do. Just have hope.

So this New Years, I resolve to constantly love myself. I resolve to continually cherish myself. I resolve to never try to change myself. I resolve to not making any fucking stupid resolutions. And I resolve to hope. And the good things will fall in line eventually as long as I keep moving forward, taking each step, learning from each mistake. I hope. That's all I can do.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Photo of the Day: Old Woman

Click on the photo for a larger image

I have been wanting to photograph this beautiful old tree since I moved to my small town almost 5 years ago. It's in the middle of a big field with really no vehicle access so it would take an effort to get there. And last weekend, the light was perfect, so I finally did. I walked my ass on out there with my cameras and I shot the hell out of it. I also got catcalled in the process.

Douche in an eighties muscle car: "YOW! What's a sweet thing like you doing walking out here? YOW! Hey! Baby! HEY!"
Me: Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Don't make eye contact. Just keep walking. Ignore.

Nevertheless, I made it and I'm so glad. The tree really is gorgeous. Here's another angle:
Mmm. Don't you love it? It's dying now and just holding onto the remnants of what was once majestic and vivacious. This tree reminds me of an old woman. Still beautiful even in her dried, darkened branches that don't sit quite as high as they once did, aren't full of bright leaves anymore. But she's beautiful nonetheless, only in a different way now. You know she's been there a long time, has seen some things. And now she sits alone, in a field, no one noticing, no living things climbing her branches. Her solitude makes her beautiful even at the end of her days.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

from Rugby to Boxing

Ah Christmas, you're so much better when done nontraditional aren't you? That's right. You like it quirky. Oh. Baby.

Okayyy enough of that.

I had a good christmas day, in case you were wondering, Internet. I slept in. Exchanged gifts with Morgan. Then we went to the movies and saw Invictus. And I must say, I enjoyed it and even though the Nelson Mandela element was somewhat of a side story, any film with dirty, sweaty men running into each other with no padding is okay by me. Fine holiday fun. Rugby is awesome in that way. I knew a girl once who played Rugby. She was tough! Hot too. Oh, Rugby. And Matt Damon is SO pretty. Seriously. He's so damn pretty. Not too pretty now. When they get too pretty, they lose brain cells in kind. He's just pretty enough to still use his brain and that makes him even prettier. *sigh*

After the movie, we went for Thai food where we were served by the cutest littler server with belly button rings for earrings. And she was seriously adorable. I wanted to put her in my pocket and take her everywhere. Every time she came to our table, she'd say "excuse me" in the sweetest, apologetic tone that we were always sure she was bringing us terrible news. Like:

"Excuse me, you can't have the lunch special after all."
"Excuse me, we don't have any more food."
"Excuse me, we just revived a call that your families are dead."
"Excuse me, it's the Apocalypse and the world is in flames. We're all going to die."

Yeah. Of course, she never brought bad news, let alone news of the Apocalypse. She just made asking if our meals were good or if we needed any more water or if we wanted dessert sound like I imagine she would also tell a kid that his puppy just died. Which made our dining experience incredible, I must say.

After that, we went back to my cottage to watch another movie and eat Oreos, always a good combination. We watched 500 Days of Summer, which oh em gee was one of the best films I've seen in a LONG time! Everything about it was fantastic. Great story, brilliantly told with absolutely delicious direction. If you love artsy, non-linear films, you'll love it. If you love quirky, anti-love stories with quirky, flawed characters, you'll love it. If you love beautiful films that feel like decadent indulgences something akin to eating Tiramisu and sipping champagne in MOMA while the paintings and installations are paraded in front of you while you sit in a plush chair for a couple of hours, then you'll love it.

Plus, I've decided I'm going to look like Zooey Deschanel when I grow up. I've decided. So don't try to talk me out of it.

And then, despite the lovely day, I proceeded to have terrifying nightmares all night. After running for my life all night in my dreams, I was just a little tired this morning. Strange. But don't you worry. I took it easy today and had a very good Boxing day as well. By the way, does anyone really know what Boxing day is all about? When I was in London for Boxing day, no one I asked knew other than it's a big shopping day. So if anyone can tell me the real story behind it, I'll be your best friend. At least until the next time I need something. That's the way these things go, sorry.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Photo of the Day: Berry Christmas

I was told recently that this photo would make a good holiday card. So, here you are, Internet, a holiday card just for you! I shot this last weekend whilst tromping around my town, taking advantage of the grey light and taking as many photos as I could. What I love about this photo is it was one of the last I took because my camera's batteries were getting tired. So it's slightly blurry and I think that makes the berries look that much more sumptuous. Pretty sure you can't eat them though. Oh well.

Happy Holidays everyone. If you celebrate christmas, may you have a very (as the Brits say) happy christmas. If not, enjoy the day off work. Unless you work in a Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, Indian (well, you get the idea) restaurant. Then, enjoy the extra business from those who don't celebrate or don't cook. Or thought they could cook and learned a hard lesson. Either way, have a good day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hap Pee Hall Id Ays

What a week. I am simultaneously stressed and bored. Bored because my office is so quiet. No phones ringing, no emails. So I get my work done so quickly and I have nothing else to do. Pointless. Plus, I worked WAY too hard last week to get everything done before the break, because I'm taking a vacation the first week of January and I'll need to hit the ground running when I get back. But, dudes, I worked too hard. I got everything done that I can do without others' input (because of vacations). I should have spread that out so that I have more to do this week.

Stop laughing. You're laughing, I can tell. But nothing is worse than having nothing to do. It's mind-numbing! The day just goooooes soooo loooong! I'd rather be a busy bee and stressed out. Then at least the days go quickly.

But then I'm also a little stressed. Stressed because I've been exhausted lately. I know what you're thinking, Internet. Exhausted, you say? Why ever for? You just got done telling us that you've got nothing to do! Exactly my point. I am tired for no good reason. Maybe it's because I'm bored all day or maybe it's my iron levels. Whatever the reason, I'm just pooped. I simply cannot get enough sleep. I get home and collapse and then I have trouble waking up the next morning. I'm pushing my mornings later and later and that is taking a toll on my get-ready time. So you can see that hats are again playing a huge role in my life. Luckily I love hats and I'm allowed to wear them to work. Hah! So there.

And then there's this damned holiday season. Don't get me wrong, I am soooo excited that I get 2 weeks off (well, one week of my own vacation, but who's complaining?)! But no matter how many times I go through the season and no matter that I've streamlined it into my own, safe version of "christmas," I still get those butterflies in my stomach. Butterflies that pop up on family holidays that seem to be a mixture of species: the jealous of big families butterflies, the lonely only on holidays butterflies, the self-loathing why did I get stuck with the sucky situation butterflies. I can see you wondering why all my butterflies are negative when most butterflies are pretty. See, those pretty ones only come out in the spring. Wait, the bad butterflies come out for easter too. Damn it. Well, just sod it all then.

Point being that no matter how hard I work to make this work for me, I still can't help feeling twinges of negativity drilled into me from birth. Holidays are supposed to suck, are supposed to be stressful. Almost 30 years of conditioning taught me that. So it's hard to break the subconscious mind that wants to sabotage all my hard work.

Plus it's also a vacation from my therapist. Almost a month until my next appointment. Let's see if I can get through without calling her.

Nevertheless, I am going to barrel through. And I am spending christmas day with Morgan. We're having an anti-christmas, which suits me JUST fine. I am SO looking forward to it! But I must apologize to her in advance if I freak out a little. Last year I made it through with the help of my pajamas, lost of sugar, and hours of Harry Potter. I'm not sure what going out in the world will feel like. So, please, lovely friend, if I panic and just need to go home, please please puleez understand. This holiday is hard for me.

That said, happy holidays everyone! I'm sure I'll post between now and christmas, maybe, if I feel like it (hah!), but even though I don't get the joyous holiday season, I don't begrudge others who love it. In fact, I'm envious of you all. I hope you swim in the sparkliness of wintry snow and open lots of glorious presents and eat lots of decadent food surrounded by people who smother you with love unconditional. I really wish that for everyone. Really and truly.

In the spirit of giving, here are some links to my favorite charities and non-profits should you decide to part with some more cash:

I'd prefer you specify your giving to the New Orleans area, but just giving to this organization means your money will help someone have a home.

Make sure to buy one of the films and you'll get a bracelet made in Uganda too. All of their merchandise goes right to the cause.

And even if you can't give (believe me, I get how poor we all get this time of year), there are plenty of ways to get involved, even if it's just writing your legislators, signing petitions, or spreading the word. Follow these orgs on Twitter or Facebook and they'll help you to do little things which can help a lot.

Peace and love and all that jazz!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

women in my life

There are several women in my life, some I've known since I was just a little girl, others since my teens, and a few somewhat more recently. These women are so special to me. All of them are the family I choose.

They are my sisters in heart, my dearest friends. They inspire me, challenge me, and hold me up. We've had wonderful times and challenging times. And I wouldn't trade these fearless amazons for anything.

This is for them:
With all my love, dearests, happy holidays.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Crazy Lady's Year in Review

Stealing the idea from my friend Lena, I've decided to end 2009, a very tumultuous year, with lists. Lists of my year in review. And like my friend, I love lists. Any OCD freak will tell you that lists are like vacuum lines in the carpet, or post-its, or containers. Organization is to me like porn is to real people. Oh. Baby.

Plus I like the idea of wrapping things up more than the ritual of making resolutions. Bah to change, I say! Instead, let's just write down everything we did and analyze it over and over until it doesn't sounds real anymore. You know, like when you say a word over and over and it doesn't sound like a word anymore? Noon. Noon. NOON. noon. Nooooon. See?

Okay, everybody buckled in? Great. Let's get started.

No, we are not there yet. Now shut up or I WILL turn this car around.

The best books that I've read this year:
  • Cry, the Beloved Country Took me a while to get into it, but dudes, once you do, you're hooked. I'm still blindsided by this book.
  • The Help Great, great, great story. I don't even want to tell you what it's about. Just read it.
  • Oryx and Crake Love Margaret Atwood. Love this book. Political satire in the guise of apocalyptic sci-fi= LOVE
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies What can I say? This is a fantastic reworking. BUT, you have to be familiar with the novel (or sit through a film version) to get the irony. Just do it. Your reading will be all the better for it. Spoiler alert: "What? No ninjas? Five girls brought up at home with no ninjas?" Classic.
  • Animal Dreams Another feat by Barbara Kingsolver. 'Nough said.
  • Burro Genius Totally irreverent and I loved every minute.
  • Eat Pray Love This was my second reading of this book and I got so much more out of it the second pass through. Love love love this one.
  • Moloka'i I've read plenty of post-colonialist novels, but never one about Hawaii and never one about the leper colony on Moloka'i. Fantastic book!
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog Took me so long to care about the damn characters and once I did? Wham! Broke my heart. I actually sobbed out loud at the end. Damn it.
  • The Translator Never will I think about the Sudan the same way again.
  • The Color of Water Wonderful biography about a black man with a white mother.
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Don't waste one more minute. Go. Read this book. China is calling.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns Even better than the Kite Runner. So beautiful. I felt like I was reading art.
  • The Memory Keeper's Daughter Heartbreaking and beautifully told.
  • Boy in the Striped Pajamas I hate how much I loved this book. Another sob fest. I think I scared my neighbors with my incredibly loud sobbing. I may have even ruined a shirt with my excessive tears.
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Great retelling of (spoiler alert!) Hamlet. But even though I figured out its origins early on, it still lets you love it as its own.
  • We Were the Mulvaneys I tore through this novel. It is so decadent with characters and I couldn't help but lose myself in all their flaws and eccentricities. You love them and hate them and by the end, you're one of them.
  • All the Pretty Horses Okay, so I haven't finished this one yet. But I will have in a few days. Cormac McCarthy is not for everyone nor are all of his novels. I happened to like the Road, much as I hated it whilst reading it. And I despise No Country for Old Men. But Horses is lovely and I have fallen for that 16 year old John Grady. *sigh*

The worst books I have read this year:
  • The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes I don't even remember what this was about. Pulled my hair out reading it on a plane.
  • Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister Oh Gregory Maguire, you are were so brilliant with the Wicked trilogy, what the hell happened here?
  • Veil of Roses What promised to be a great story about an Iranian girl displaced in the US and looking for love without giving up religion, turned into romantic drivel. Lame.

Best decisions of 2009 (in no particular order):
  • Moving into a small house. By myself. Happiness.
  • Netflix
  • Going to New Orleans in April to build houses for the first time. Changed my life. Can't wait to go again.
  • Starting a blog
  • Nurturing friendships, making new friends and reconnecting with friends I'd lost touch with.
  • Therapy. I highly recommend it.
  • Exorcising the guilt from my life and learning to love myself all over again.
  • Buying my Holga
  • Bangs
  • Red hair

Worst decisions of 2009 (in no particular order):
  • Sushi Douche. I haven't told you about him, Internet, but it was a low point.
  • Dating the Man Child aka the douche who dumped me over the phone
  • Dressing as myself at 19 for Halloween. Misery.
  • Still not getting my next tattoo. Maybe in 2010.

Best Moments of 2009:
  • Yosemite. I feel like I've seen some gorgeous places in my young life and this is in the top 5. Breathtaking place.
  • Watching Obama be inaugurated as President.
  • Having a poem published in literary review.
  • Inadvertently ending up on a friend's first date. And then watching their relationship blossom. I always think: I saw this start!
  • Seeing a friend get married. One of the most beautiful weddings I've been to and I've been to a lot. And my friend was gorgeous!
  • Getting my first washer and dryer. Say it with me: NO MORE LAUNDROMATS!
  • Finding a random book fair!
  • The thousand little moments which make me happy: hugging a friend, sharing a laugh, a cry, a rant, art, girl time with Morgan, visiting Lynnette, a freak snowstorm, when Lynnette visited me, playing with my nephew Ethan on the 4th of July, when my cats make me laugh, the changing seasons, the smell of the air at dusk, mist on a cold morning that reminds me of Paris
  • Growing closer to my dad than I'd ever been. That man is always there for me and I appreciate him more than he'll ever understand.

Worst Moments of 2009:
  • Paying way too much for a cab because I didn't have the presence of mind to figure out an alternate route.
  • Missing a student loan payment. Stupid.
  • Getting way too drunk and sobbing into a friend's shoulder in public. Classy.
  • Effing up my bumper. Poor Lola.
  • Having my wallet stolen.
  • Fearing I'd be laid off and losing a coworker instead.
  • Having a friend go through something truly awful and feeling so powerless with the only thing to offer being my voice over the phone, or a text, or email, wanting to take her pain away, wanting to hug her so badly, it physically hurt.

Favorite new finds:
  • Hulu
  • Euro Grill. Best hummus ever.
  • Yogi Tea at Trader Joe's

Favorite new obsessions:
  • Hulu
  • My Holga
  • Google Reader

Favorite new music:
  • Ingrid Michaelson
  • Coconut Records
  • Missy Higgins
  • Oren Lavie

Favorite new films:
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Milk

Favorite new TV shows:
  • Glee
  • Fringe
  • Mad Men

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Photo of the Day: Room with a View

This was the view from my hotel room in San Francisco last weekend. And I don't even want to describe it. It's everything I love about modern art captured in an urban setting. Just stare and soak in the shapes, the angles, the empty space, the perspective, the gradient light. *sigh*

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

fat and happy

Today was a day of work holiday parties, the first being our annual all-staff lunch and oh em gee do I love this event! The food is all comfort food and dee-lish-us and while the thing can go pretty long, there is this raffle with some pretty damn good prizes. I always tell myself that I don't want to win, but dude, I totally do. Didn't happen this year, but some day, one of those wine baskets will be mine. I swear to Odin.

Then on to my divisional holiday party and my favorite part about this shindig is the food competition. There's always a theme and everyone brings a dish and then we all vote on the favorites. The voting isn't the best part. The eating is. I am so fat and happy right now. Mmmmm. I also might be slipping into a sugar coma. Someone call an ambulance. Hah!

So, even though I get absolutely no work done (and believe me, I have plenty to do before winter vacation), days like this work nicely into my new master plan: plump up for the winter. See, my plan has two genius elements. First, while all my female friends are watching their weight through the perilous holidays and becoming more and more crabby in the process, I am foregoing the misery and enjoying myself. Bring on the food, I say! Bring. It. On. And that brings me to the second benefit: more insulation. I plan to be nice and warm this winter once I'm done plumping up (not nearly close enough to my goal), while you dieters will be freezing your asses off. Proof: I have a coworker who recently lost a bunch of weight and he told me today that it's true. He is colder this year. So you see? I will be literally fat and happy and also toasty warm, while I eat toast. Genius.

Don't you all wish you were as smart as me, Internet? Now, seriously, someone please call an ambulance.

Monday, December 14, 2009

plumb tuckered out

*whew* I. Am. Exhausted! I had a big weekend. And I actually thought I wouldn't post tonight. It's roughly 7:45 yet I could fall into a deep coma right now. But I just posted a photo from my trip this weekend (more to come!) and thought, what the hell?

Soooo, here we are, Internet, just you and me and my sweatpants. And my cozy beanie which I just can't force myself to take off, it's that wonderful. I had a blur of a weekend in San Fran. And for the most part, it was awesome. The city was misty and cold on Friday and (after MUCH craziness getting into the city, so crazy in fact that I can't even recount it here without having little stress convulsions) I wandered around the Union Square area with my cameras (whilst shielding them from the mist of course) and basically soaked the city in.

lovely, isn't it?

It never ceases to amaze me how San Francisco, downtown at least, always hits me with a profound homesickness for Paris. Good god in hell it's wonderful. And despite the word lover that I am, apt words fail me right now. Suffice to say, the combination of weather, city life, food smells, and people somehow combine to remind me of my old home. And it's not exactly a fit, naturally. The architecture is uniquely different and you don't see many Frenchmen following you down the street asking if you like the sex and have you heard of the french kissing. None of that. Thank heaven. But somehow, the energy is similar. And don't foresee a situation in which I'd have the opportunity to live in Europe again, but if I did? I can't even describe the mounds of happiness.

And I always stay in the same, funky, artsy hotel in Union Square. And I usually have a pretty great experience, but this time they put me by the elevator and I'll be damned if I didn't wake up every time that damned elevator dinged. Even through my earplugs. I swear. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep. And my work event went well, as good as can be expected. And I got to see my friend Mel and good god I didn't realize how much I'd missed her! It was so wonderful to catch up and get to know the amazing woman she is now (she was amazing before, but we all get better with time. usually.). I really enjoyed myself.

Buuut, I'm glad to be home. Weekend trips are always somehow a little too short to really enjoy myself without total exhaustion. And that's how I feel today. Work was fine and I barrelled through, but after therapy this evening, I was just plumb tuckered out (p.s. I might be reading All the Pretty Horses and it might be making me talk like a cowboy.).

And it was hard to sleep last night as my attention-starved cat kept crawling up on me, purring like a muscle car on train tracks. In fact, that's what she's doing right now. Have I mentioned that my cat is totally neurotic? Just like me. That's how you know it's meant to be.

Photo of the Day: Bird's Eye View

Flying. I hate airports. I hate planes with the small seats and gabby passengers. But I love flying. I always take a window seat if I can and there is always this moment, not long after takeoff, when the plane passes through the dense fog and the sky is open before you. You are just above the endless billowy tops of a sea of clouds. Almost as if you can touch those clouds. And just sometimes, you can just see the tips of snow-dusted mountains. And no matter how many times I fly, how many times I witness that scene, it always takes my breath away. It's as if I've stolen a view that no human should have.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

crazy town: population me

*whew* I know posting has been light, Internet, and that is because I have been a busy, busy lady. But all in all, hanging in there. The holidays can be so crazy stressful so I'm just trying to keep a handle on my sanity and barrel through. Plus I've been eating so much food, tiny chemicals are releasing in my head that tell me everything will be okay. See, I may not eat when I'm upset or sad, but I can sure as hell eat when I'm stressed. Besides, I've decided to plump up for the winter. Maybe an extra layer will keep me warmer. No improvement yet, but I'll keep you updated.

This last weekend was busy. My dad came to visit on Saturday, helped me put together my brand new kitchen island. And I swear to god that thing is so damned pretty, I want to hump it. It's perfection. Sometimes I just stand in my kitchen and stare at it, amazed at its raw beauty. Anyway, so the pops and I had fun doing that and then went to the local Christmas parade. He loves that kind of thing, and I kind of do to. I used to be on dance team in high school and lurved being in parades. So it was fun. It's a night parade so if we do this next year, we're bringing blankets to sit on. Our butts were pretty damn cold. Oh and you know those plastic horns they sell to kids at that kind of thing or at fairs, the ones that make that goose-like honking sound? Yeah, whoever invented those should die a slow and painful death. 'nough said.

Moving on. Sunday I made myself put up some christmas lights. I say that loosely, because I celebrate winter or Yule more than christmas itself, but there it is. But I could kick myself. I spent so long putting up blue and white twinkle lights and as soon as it was dark, I realized that some strands are blue and some are turquoise. Now, I know what you're thinking, Internet. You're thinking, WHO CARES? Well, I'll tell you who cares. Me. Moi. It looks lame. I am so better than that. I used to get paid to put together store displays and floorsets and I can't even make my twinkle lights match? Lame. Every time I see those lights, I want to hiss at them in utter abhorrence. I'll eventually fix it, but it'll have to wait until I have some free time, which isn't for a while because....wait for it....I'm going to San Francisco this weekend!

So so so, I leave for San Fran on FRIDAY and I am so crazy excited, because this is easily one of my favorite cities in the world. It's so European, people out on the street, different cultures clashing, the smells, the sounds. MMMM, I love that city. I'm going for work (yay for my job!), but I actually only have to work 4 hours or so and then I'll be hanging and catching up with a very old friend that I made in fashion school. Well, we both went to the same school, but we became friends as coworkers and she and I used to be the double trouble of Hollywood, let me tell you. I am so stoked to see this little lady again! I haven't seen her in years.

I just have to squeeze in one story of such ridiculous irony that I can just swim in it. Yesterday, I had a meeting that went late. So I rushed back to my deserted office, grabbed all my crap, and hustled home in traffic. Once I got home however, I realized I'd left my cell phone on my desk. Crap. But, maybe I could do without it for one night. I do have a backup alarm clock so, I have to go back. See, I have a standing date with my dad to play Jeopardy over the phone if both of us are home. It's turned into quite the ritual that has lasted years. And I knew he'd be calling for Jeopardy and I had no way to tell him I didn't have my phone (because it's not like my dad uses email outside of work or is on Facebook or anything like that). So I drove all the way back to the office. And there my phone was. Sitting on my desk where I'd left it. And I had a voicemail. It's from my dad. Telling me that he wouldn't make Jeopardy that night. Irony, you are a fickle bitch.

Before you go, make sure to check out this small story from the Daily Beast and read through all the comments. I let myself get drug into quite the inane discussion. With the exception of a few, most of these people are so incredibly crazy or ignorant or bigoted, I can't believe it. The xenophobic, hateful things people say shocks me to no end, even though I shouldn't be shocked. I should know that people are racists and xenophobes. but I guess at the end of the day, I really would rather give people the benefit of the doubt. Stupid me.

I'm sure I won't have time to post again until next week, so happy weekend!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Photo of the Day: Lite Brite

I took this on Saturday at our local Christmas parade. I haven't been to a Christmas parade in years and truth be told, the endless scouts and myriad local politicians wear me out. But, I love the high school bands. I was on the dance team in high school and loved love loved being in parades. ANYWAYYYY, back to the photo. This parade was at night, which was awesome for my camera! This was before the parade even started and I had been trying to get a shot of this cop and his motorcycle, just loving the way his lights were refracting (is that the right term?), but he was driving around too fast. And finally, he stopped. Right in front of me. Kismet. And don't you love the effect?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

imbecilic barbie doll

Stupid people make me crazy. It astounds me just how stupid the majority of people really are. And I don't just mean uneducated. There are plenty of those people and they...well, I just don't understand those who don't desire education. But, that's not who I mean. I mean dumber than a box of hair, dumber than a bag of rocks, a few fries short of a happy meal stupid.

The number one mistake stupid people make is the assumption that they are actually smart. Ignorance must truly be bliss, because most stupid people seem to ride in a bubble of presumed superior intelligence. And this bubble, now matter how hard you try to pop with your intelligence pin, will not, under any circumstances, pop. Never. Nope. It's impenetrable. Plus, I really like to say impenetrable.

For instance, I would really enjoy it if Stupid Internet Girl would realize her own overt stupidity. But this will never happen. When she responded to me with "what are you trying to say? ipso facto isn't a word," it was clearly too much for her to crack a dictionary to find the definition of ipso facto. But no, that is too much to ask. She didn't know the phrase, so ipso facto (love that?), it must not exist. I picture her twirling her blond locks and smacking her bubble gum lips and thinking (though that must be ever so painful for her) THAT girl is stooopiiid.

And I know, in the core of my being, that my response to her with the definition of ipso facto will not even register. The bubble cannot be popped, remember? Cannot be done. So my little pin will bounce right off. And she will go on her merry way.

Perhaps tomorrow, as she gazes into a mirror during a college class that she is taking for the third time, a poor teacher somewhere in the room, his blurry reflection in her compact, blending into the background, sounding like an adult in Peanuts, she will arch one perfect brow, apply a fourth layer of gloss, lean over to the douche with sideburns down to his navel, so much hair product you could baste a turkey, and two gallons of Axe, while he draws skulls in his book, trying to decide his next tat, and she'll whisper entirely too loud, "guess what this stupid bitch thought was a real word yesterday?" And perhaps she will whisper entirely too loudly. And it won't matter because most of the class won't get it. They're as stupid as she. But, along with our ignored teacher, of course, one lone student, the kind that sits in the front and always does the reading, always has the answers, the one the rest of the class hates because she sets the curve, will hear her and she'll laugh at the imbecilic barbie doll.

And all will be right with the world.

The end.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Photo of the Day: Urban Snow

I took this last year in Kansas City on a morning after a snow storm and what I love about this shot are the contrasts: fresh snow and barren city alleyway, religious symbol and graffiti. This photo symbolizes everything I loved and miss about living in a city. The contrasts, the clash of cultures and ideas and images mashed up against each other and if you step back it can be quite beautiful. See the full image here.

Also, I wish it would snow. Don't laugh. Southern California. HA. Ha. ha. But I grew up in a desert and we'd usually get one good snow a year. And while I don't miss the desert (the dust and the wind and the tweakers), I do miss real winter. And desert thunderstorms. Nothing like it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ho Ho Ho

Back at work today. Are there 4 words more depressing? I don't think so. If there are, I defy you to find them.

Nonetheless, I felt ready to be back at work today. It had been a long and relaxing weekend and I was ready to go back to the norm. Well, kind of ready. I had gotten so used to life without an alarm clock that when my alarm went off this morning, I literally had no idea what was going on. I had one of those disoriented moments like you have in a hotel. For a good 2 minutes, I was running through questions. Who am I? Where am I? What time is it? Why do I have to be up at this time? Oh wait, if I snooze, what time do I actually have to be up? All those very important existential questions. Ah. Life is complicated.

And today was somewhat of a blur anyway. Catching up on a thousand emails and phone calls and meetings and to-dos. This week should be pretty crazy too, on into the holiday season. Ugg. I've said this before and I truly apologize to those who love Christmas, but I just hate the holidays. I envy you people. Maybe it's a religious holiday for you with tons of significance. Or maybe you get to spend time with your loving family. Or maybe you enjoy buying gifts for everyone in your life. Well, for me, I don't really get any of that. I'll explain.

Warning: Debbie Downer! Those who want to maintain a childlike innocence please redirect your browser here.

Okay, can I continue? Only cynical grownups in the room? Awesome.

I am not religious. I was raised in a Christian religion, but (and without delineating my entire theory on ideologies) I've made my own way. And I must also assert that Yule was a pagan holiday hijacked by the Christians to convert them. Even if you're Christian, you have to know that Jesus couldn't have been born in December. There. So, I do love the winter season. I love snow and snowmen and snowflakes and the cold sparkliness of December (or what should be December. I wouldn't know in Southern fucking California). But I don't go to a church. I don't put up nativities. That's not me.

And my family circle is small. I'm close with my dad but we've agreed not to spend Christmas together. Have I mentioned I'm estranged from my mother? I am. And I won't make my dad pick between us, so he spends a good chunk of time supporting me and my mom gets him for the holidays. And I'm okay with that. My childhood Christmases were never memorable in a good way anyhow. It's always been stressful for me, as long as I can remember. So a family-free Christmas is A-okay.

In fact, I'll probably just go see a movie with Morgan this year. Just how I like it. Last year, I treated myself to a Harry Potter marathon. It was fantastic. In fact, the best Christmas I ever had was in London. I had been backpacking with my cousin and my bestest friend in the world Lynnette through the UK and we ended up in London for Christmas day. The three of us exchanged cheesy souvenirs and Lynnette and I (Linds was sicky, poor thing) tromped around the city in the freezing cold. And the tube was shut down so we literally walked all over London. It was a blast! And we saw things we never would have seen on a bustly day taking the tourist routes. And we discovered the best Turkish food you will ever have in your whole damn life. Oh my god it was AH MAY ZING! Best Christmas ever.

So that brings me to...what...oh yeah. Shopping. First off, have I mentioned I used to work retail? For years I worked retail. And let me tell you, Christmas time in the malls is like guerrilla warfare. Perfectly sane people lose their minds. All of a sudden, all that stands between them and their perfect Christmas is a book or a bra or a sweater. And they just don't understand that you don't have a printing press in the back of the store. Or a sewing machine. Or a magic fucking wand. Or maybe the nice lady in front of them took the last one of whatever it is...they will turn into goddamn Galahad and fight to the death for the damn item. Or maybe they're just cranky from all the shopping, all the spending. That credit card starts to get heavy after a while so no matter how fast the lines go, how many registers are open, how nice you are, you (innocent, underpaid retail worker) are the devil incarnate and must be put in your place. You wouldn't believe the hideously mean things I've heard people say to employees during this festive holiday season. Spirit of the season my ass.

So you can see why I'm a little wound up about Christmas shopping. If I don't absolutely have to, I do not enter the stores, malls, or the like from Black Friday until New Years. I shop online, I make shit, whatever I have to do to survive by not going near the mania that is shopping around the holidays.

Plus I'm buhroke. Broke. Po. So fucking poor. And I want to be generous. I do. But oh my god do the charities come out of the closet (he he) in December! I am a good person. I build houses in New Orleans. I give to HRC and Courage Campaign. I've worked at emergency shelters and tutored kids. But that kind of giving should be spread out, all year. When it all piles on at once, it really pushes my finances out the window. And at my work (love you coworkers!) we have a million events in which we're expected to bring toys and canned goods, etc. And it's a very good thing. But I really can't afford it all. This year, I have to choose which things I can go to depending on what I can afford to give. I even made artsy Christmas gifts this year (mentioned that already) so it's not as if I'm spending on me and can afford it. Nope, I'm on a budget all the way around.

Side story: I used to work in a book store and we used to ask people to donate cheap books (like maybe $3 or $4 books) to charity. If someone really seemed like they couldn't afford it, or afford it right then, I got that. But people would spend 500 plus dollars and throw it all on an AMEX and they can't afford three more dollars for a needy kid? That I don't get. Same with me. I give where I can. And I when I can give more, I will. But I just can't right now.

Okay Debbie Downer is finished. But you can see why this season is so stressful right, Internet? I'd really like to keep an open mind, though. If one of those categories changed its mind and jumped in my lap, I'd really try to learn to love the Christmas season, I really would. Ho ho ho and all that. I can't even seem to get the ho part down. Looks like I have a long way to go.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Photo of the Day: Building Hope

I took this last spring while building this very house in New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity in the Upper Ninth Ward. It was an incredibly life-changing experience and I urge everyone to take a week of their lives and go and build. There is so much left to be done there and the only way it will happen is through volunteers. So, go. Listen to the local's stories. And see if you can't live with their burden of gratitude. I dare ya.

Also, it's tons of fun! I'll be going back next spring and I totally can't wait, not just to use power tools, climb rafters, and nail in boards, but to eat Po Boys and Beignets and Muffalettas and crawfish pie and King Cake. Good god it's good you work so much because otherwise I'd come home HUGE!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crazy Lady Mastheads

I've had some responses about several of my mastheads and I have to say, I can't take credit for the artwork or photography most of the time.

Often I find free graphics online and use those or, in the case of my latest masthead, I get the photo or graphic from a designer. I find a lot of work I'm in love with on Supermarket and the photo of the nekked girl is by Matt Schwartz. And I've found a lot of designs that I just love and have done nothing with yet.

Then I just write on them. It's all very diabolical.

Friday, November 27, 2009

it's called "Black Friday" for a reason

Ah the day after Thanksgiving. I am so stoked to have 3 more days off, I...I...well, I don't know what I could do, but you can bet it's exciting! Damn skippy.

Yesterday was nice. It was great to see my cousin and hey boyfriend John and my aunts.And my sweet potatoes turned out great. My pumpkin mousse pie was pretty delish, but I think I can improve on it. I'm thinking it would be better not frozen, with more of a puddingy texture. And less crust. I may just do a super thin graham cracker crust on the bottom and a dusting of crumbs on the top. YUM! Ooooh, maybe I'll make it for New Years (More on my New Years plans as we get closer to)! I also took some more Holgas which I'm taking in to develop sometime this weekend. We'll see how they turn out. Here's a digital of my fam:

Poor John, though. I always feel a little bad for him, being the only guy with all these women around. He holds his own though, maybe even likes the attention a little. He was in classic Thanksgiving eating form, even changed his shirt and pants in order to go in for lots of dessert. But the poor guy had to leave in the evening for work, which meant that he had to put on work clothes. The following is the ensuing challenge for a very full boy:

I had a rough night last night, though, Who knows why, but I had the most bizarre dreams. So today I'm a little crankers, a little tired. Even so, I have forced myself to do a little winter decorating. I wasn't going to. I've been so apathetic about the season. It doesn't even feel like winter. But I made myself do it. And I'm glad I did. My place looks pretty damn cute.

And for all your crazy Black Friday shoppers, what is wrong with you? I worked retail for like 7 years. 7 years I can never get back. That is 7 years of my adult life that I spent battling with crazy people who have such shopping fever they resemble footage of meth attics being electrocuted. I assume. I've never seen footage like that. Now that I don't have to, I wouldn't leave the house on Black Friday if you paid me. You'd have to hold one of my family member's hostage, threaten to shoot him or her to get me to go near a store today. And even then, it would depend on which family member. This is what you're supposed to do the day after Thanksgiving: sleep your fat ass in! Wear pajamas until you decide to venture outside and you don't want to frighten the neighbors. Eat reheated leftovers, and bee tee doubleyou, pie is a perfectly acceptable breakfast. Now THAT is a proper Black Friday.

Anyway, because I'm so po (that's so poor, I can't afford the extra "o" or "r"), I'm giving artsy fartsy presents this year. Maybe a tad narcissistic, but hell, if those people I love the most don't love my art, maybe they shouldn't get presents. Hah!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the dreaded obligatory Thanksgiving post

Here I am, the night before Thanksgiving, making sweet mashed potatoes and getting my ass ready for the holiday I have always pretty much hated more than any others. And I will say that it's not my most detested any more. In adulthood, I hate Christmas more than any other holiday (but that's a story for the Christmas post). So Thanksgiving has moved up a notch.

Why do I hate Thanksgiving? In the first place, it's just not my holiday. I don't love Thanksgiving food, the turkey, the yams, the cranberry sauce, the stuffing. Ew. Ew. Ew. I like mashed potatoes though and somehow over the years macaroni and cheese has entered our Thanksgiving menu (probably because I love it), so I usually eat those two things. If there happens to be a ham, I'll eat a piece of that too.

But in general, the whole FEAST thing, not my style.

And then there's the idea of family, everyone piled into one house for an entire day or gathered around a table. For most families, I'm finding, that's a nice image. For my family, well, that's just not realistic. Any situation in which my entire family (or even just me, my mom, and my dad) are stuck in one place with no way out equals utter disaster. Most of my childhood memories of Thanksgiving end in tears, usually because my mother ended up screaming at my dad or me or both.

So the past couple years, my cousin Lindsey and I have constructed a nice, mellow, intimate Thanksgiving. It's just she and I, her boyfriend John, her mom, and this year another aunt is coming, an aunt who is techinally not "family" since our uncle cheated on her and divorced her for a golddigger, but we love this aunt more. It's nice. It's just those we love and can stand. It's a safe space. Plus we kind of do our own menu. Lindsey makes a Tofurkey which I avoid like the plague because I'm allergic. John makes a heavenly macaroni and cheese. Last year, I made Tirimisu and this year I made a pumpkin mousse pie. Yum! And I already mentioned the sweet mashed potatoes. We do our own thing and it works and it's very low-stress. Just the way we like it.

And despite that, I'm still anxious. Not for any good reason, but I know it's residual energy of horrible Thanksgivings past. This holiday just doesn't agree with me.

And that brings me to the symbology, the history of this holiday which I just don't agree with celebrating.

This pretty much sums up how I feel about Thanksgiving:

Yes, why don't we celebrate a holiday that commemorates the conquering of a foreign land, the decimation and rape of its native peoples, their way of life, and the gift of small pox. Yes. Let's gather around, stuff ourselves until we're huge and recall what we're grateful for instead of mourning the atrocities we enacted in order to celebrate this momentous occasion. That's really something to celebrate.

Okay, I'm done pissing and moaning. I hope you all have fantastic Thanksgivings. May your families all be wonderful. May you all get tremendously fat. And when you're recounting what you're thankful for, try to remember an entire culture of people still struggling to realign itself in the world because of the actions of our "forefathers."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Photo of the Day: Aesthetics

Okay, so I was at LACMA again this weekend. And I took some shots on my brand 'pankin' new Holga which I'll post at a later date when I use up my film and get it developed. Wow. Forgot what it was like to use real film! How exciting!! Anyhow, these are some of my favorite digitals from the day:

I took a lot of photos of art this weekend, of installations and architecture and sculptures, but this shot, which was almost an accident, is one of my faves. I set my digital camera down to get my Holga out and looking up saw this shot, all golden from the late afternoon sun. I love how this shot is so imperfect, the background out of focus and the sun flare on the concrete. It's captivating what you see when you're not really looking.

This one is another fave. It's not art, just railing. But I love the twistiness of the bars, the different textures, some dull, some shiny and reflective.

And lastly for today is this guy. I took several angles of this sculpture, a copy of Rodin (side note: did you know that no original Rodin works exist? it's true.). I love this one because of the silhouette against the blue sky. The sun is directly behind him so he appears totally black. I also like the palm trees in the scene. It's like he's shooting something in that tree. It's probably a homeless person.

Look for more shots later on flickr.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

in hot water

When did I post last? No clue. But I believe I was still sicky sick sick. I battled this Evil Cold for about a week, tried to work on Tuesday until I threw in the towel and succumbed to my illness. But Tuesday is about when my water heater decided to go on strike.

Let's see. I think it was Tuesday night. After the shortest shower ever (not counting my 60 second power showers at Camp Hope in New Orleans), I checked my water heater to see why I ran out of hot water. And just to get the full effect, picture me: hacking up a lung and kind of dizzy. Pissed and breathless from the shortest shower ever. And wearing a mish mash of post-shower clothing: flip flops, sweat pants, a towel around top and a robe that I couldn't find the tie to (which is why I still had the towel.) Oh, and wet hair.

So the pilot was out. I had lit the pilot on a water heater before, but that was like 8 years ago maybe and I didn't totally remember. So after squeezing myself into the inexplicably small space they wedge water heaters into, I managed to read the directions and get it re-lit. But then I didn't think anything of it.

Wednesday I stayed home from work and when I went to take a nice bath for my poor sicky sick sick self, guess what? No hot water. Yup. As you can imagine, I was overjoyed by this point. Over the goddamn moon with happiness. Checked the water heater. Pilot out. Again. I try lighting it again but it won't stay lit. So, I call my pops for advice and he says try some different things. Long story short, I get it lit, but it only stays on for an hour or so before going out again. I call my land lord, but they can't send someone out until Thursday evening or Friday and I'm like, I just want some hot water!

But I had gotten it on long enough to heat water for a short shower, so I showered it up and went to work on Thursday. Side note: by this point, I had cabin fever so freakin' bad that I was deadset on being sick no longer. I just refused. No more sicky sick sick. Nuh uh. Nope. Done. Plus, there is only so much Internet TV you can watch before you run out. The last straw was watching an exorcism on some ghost watchers show. I just couldn't handle the idiocy any longer! So off to work I went.

By Thursday after work, I couldn't even get it to light any more so my dad came over and banged around at it and replaced the thermal cupola something somethingorother. Whatever. It worked! It was on and the water was making heating sounds. Happy days are here again. I may have even sung.

But oh wait, a couple of hours later and it was out again. Mother fucker. I did have enough hot water for a short shower on Friday morning and I went to work. I called the landlord again at 9 am (pee ess, who opens at 9? What year is this?) and they promised to send someone out to fix it. They must have sensed I was at the end of my hot water rope, because when I got home on Friday...drum roll please....I had a brand new water heater!

Now, the dude left a huge mess in my house and my cats were seriously traumatized by the STRANGER, STRANGER IN OUR HOUSE! The world is ending and children are dying in the Sudan, but there was a STRANGER. IN. OUR. HOUSE! (poor Hobbes was hiding under the covers until this morning. poor fat cat doesn't realize people can still tell he's there.). And this morning I have no water pressure in my kitchen sink. But who cares? I have hot water! I can wash dishes in the bathtub if I have to. It's all gravy, baby, because I have hot water. Hot water! Hot. Water. Aren't we all excited?

I really wanted to write a blog today about the new breast cancer screening recommendations. And I know I still owe you the geisha story. But this was much too good of a tale to pass up. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to take a very long, very hot shower.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Photo of the Day: Little Fish

This is another San Diego shot. I just love Koi and I think I keep taking pictures of them and this is the only one that has ever turned out decently. Maybe it's the clearer water or maybe this particular fish was more lazy than most Koi. Don't know, but I won't complain. I also love the dimensions of the shot. The sun reflected in the lower left corner and dissipating up to the fish in the upper right. Love that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

parental units

I was reading one of my favorite blogs just now, written by one of the funniest women on the planet, Heather Armstrong of, and in this particular post, Heather describes how her mother has the shortest phone conversations ever. And anyone who knows my mother at all will at this point be smacking their heads and going, what a lucky lady!

This is because while Heather's mom may not be able to stay on the phone for over a minute, my mom holds the record for being the complete antithesis of that. Now, I must say at this point that I do not get along with my mom, haven't spoken to her in a long time, but that's not the point. So let's set all that aside.

My mom loves the phone. Lives for it. Call her at your own peril. I recommend that anyone calling her just start the conversation with "goodbye" or "gotta go." That will buy you an hour or so. Don't even attempt, "I can't talk long." She won't even hear it. She'll just keep barreling through so keep those goodbyes going as long as you can. And if all else fails, she doesn't really understand cell phones. Just pull the, "I can't hear you....are you there?...can you hear me?....if you can hear me, I'm hanging up now..." and just hang up. Thank god for cell phones. I don't know what people did before them. How did they ever end conversations with my mom?

She's also a salesman's dream come true. She's gullible and will buy whatever you're selling. So if you can imagine her two favorite mediums, shopping and the phone, coming together in a vortex with my mom at the middle, well, that's a phone bill I don't want to see. Salesmen (and women) beware. She'll buy your product alright, but at what cost? You may sell twenty subscriptions to Angler or 15 dog hair trimmers, but you'll lose twelve hours of your life. Twelve hours you can never get back!

Don't get me started on QVC. Before my dad cut up her debit card, I'm pretty sure the entire call center there knew her middle name. And my dad's. And mine for that matter. Because what else do you think she talks about.

Okay, okay, I'll stop making fun of mi madre. But, this is the easy stuff. The stuff you're supposed to make fun of. This is the stuff that sitcoms are made of.

To be fair, here's some quirky stuff about my dad. My dad has been a closet smoker his whole life. I think the only time he smoked openly was in Vietnam. I actually think he thinks no one knows he smokes. Hey, dad! We know. We know. He also looks like a mad scientist. Seriously. He's had this Albert Einstein thing going on since 1980 and I don't think he's combed his hair since 1973.

This works because he actually is a scientist. He works in a chemist lab and I hear that the younger techs like to give him that photo of Einstein sticking his tongue out. Perfect likeness. Oh I know. Did you ever see Willie Wonka? The first one? My dad looks like Grandpa Joe. Hold on, yes! Here's a picture . Do you see? That's my pops. Ooh also, my dad used to be a fire captain and the younger guys used to call him Many Moons. Love that. But he's got a great sense of humor.

I found this website this weekend whilst holed up in my house sick and I think I want to submit a pic of my 'rents. I have a bunch, but this one is a big contender:
That's me in the middle. I'm guessing this is early 1981 and you've caught my dad in a rare hair combed moment. This is also about one year before he started losing that mane of hair. Poor guy. Do you love their matching shirts? You know my mom made him do that. They have tons of pictures with matching shirts. I swear.

Today, halfway through the day, I realized it's my adoption day. It's the 29th anniversary of my adoption and we always celebrated with dinner and a small present. This year I forgot about it, but my dad did make me lunch on Saturday and bought me a much needed appliance for my tiny kitchen. I say success! But every year I've been less and less excited about this day. And that's complicated. Part of it the lack of relationship with my mom but part of it is that I just keep forgetting. And as I've gotten older, celebrating was put on the back burner. Some years I had to work, one year I was in France, etc. It's become not such a big deal.

Part of why we celebrated when I was a kid was that I shared my birthday with my mom. So instead of my birthday, this was my special day. And instead of a huge party (which my mom loved to throw for our birthdays and invite all of China), I just wanted a special dinner with one close friend. That's kind of how I still roll. But since then, I've made a bigger deal out of my birthday. I get a special day and don't really feel the need to do that twice.

Plus maybe that just shows how comfortable I am. So what if I forgot? I'd rather have quality time with friends on random days for no better reason than the pleasure of each other's company.

Well anyway, happy 29th adoption day to me. I may have been alive longer, but I've been an Andrea since November 17th, 1980. I was a Rachel before that. But that's a story for another time.

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