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Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 | link
In about seven minutes, I'm leaving for a week in Yosemite! But before I leave, I wanted to get your pumps primed for some events that I'll be participating in sometime within the next two weeks! Are you going to be in:
Washington DC on June 5th?
NYC on June 7th?
LA on June 10th?
Then come on down and watch me writhe and sweat my way through my deep, deep fear of public speaking, holy spit! Check the appearances HQ for all the precise the wheres and whens.
The weekend before last, Jill -- the one and only doctor of fine shoes, frosted cakes, feathered dresses, and academic fields too numerous to numerate -- turned forty! and to celebrate the great occasion, we had a feisty little party! There was a deep, deep well of drinks (all supplied by party-makers Liz and Heidi); plus many, many cheeses (hand-selected by princess of taste Stephanie). Marbles and Piggy* wore fluffy flowers on their collars, and the rest of us did our best to keep up with our sky-high heels, fancy dresses, and many lipsticks. There was also a karaoke machine, whoops?
We decorated the kitchen and back room with a criss-cross of wire hung with an assortment of photos of Jill snapped over the many different blonde, brunette, blonde-brunette, short, short-short, and long-long phases of her life; a theme echoed by Natalie's delicious home-baked brownies and blondies.
And we decorated the front room, AKA the Rump Roastery, with a mass of tinsel flagging, which I ordered from the weird and wildly un-PC Oriental Trading Company. When the order arrived, it also featured five (five!) different Oriental Trading catalogs stuffed full of many insane things: the inflatable assortment of realistic dogs? Perfect for this year's Westminster Dog Show party. Felt Zoo Animal Sucker Covers? Worthy of a theme party of their very own!
And there were also cupcakes in four shades of pink (only three of which are pictured here due to the fact that someone, me, ate all the light ones in a ferocious display of unbridled selfrestraint).
* Full disclosure: Piggy's name is actually Daisy, but I'm lobbying hard to change it because, a) Piggy is clearly her real name, I can feel it! And, b) Daisy is just too uninspired a name for such an awesome dog, plus it's the name the pound gave her, and thus clearly is weighed down with all sorts of bad past-life connotations. So...viva la Piggy! Right?
Did that guy just ask for spare change, for viagra, for his honeycomb wand?
Thinking back on high school, I regret that I wasn't one of the truly weird kids (though I'm sure you could find some fellow Tam High alums who thought I was plenty weird). With all the free time and unformed possibility of that awkward age of fourteen-fifteen-sixteen, I just wish I'd let myself indulge in obsessions more. Like the kids who saved up to buy a stunt dummy to use in the action sequences of their homemade movies, or who taught themselves how to juggle and ride unicyles, or who decided to learn how to read lips and ordered a book on the topic through Scholastic (like I did) and then sat down and actually did the work and really learned how to read lips (like I didn't). What they were doing was just so much more fantastic than trying to beef up the college resume or trying to score a solid fake ID or trying on clothes or whatever it was that I was so busy doing.
And then I think: what if ten years from now I look back on this here floaty time of my life -- so loosely packed with little islands of freelance surrounded by oceans of fun travels and meals with friends -- and I feel the exact same regret? But then I get absorbed in baking a batch of terrible tasteless dust cookies (those Chocolate Lulus are a total dud), or I spend half an hour running around the house in a rousing game of string-tug-jump with the animals, and all concerns about future regrets recede into the happiness of my puttering.
I think the spring sunshine, and its capacity to completely de-bone animals, is shaving weeks off the dog-and-cat-getting-to-know-you phase. Not only are they bedding down together(ish), they're also making great strides in the "play not slay" realm. This morning, Marbles got herself what I call a "case of the runs" (and what my mother calls "a herd of elephants"), i.e., that cat thing where they just tear from one end of the house to the other for no visible reason. From the kitchen, where Marco, Piggy, and I stood, we could hear her thunder, but we could only actually see a small sliver of her route. And from our point of view, the display was awesomely Benny Hill-like: we'd see her run past the narrow slice of doorway full-tilt this way, then we'd see her spring past going the opposite direction. Piggy tried to take chase, and who could blame her, but we called her back and she totally returned to our side without hesitation. Last week, we would have had to grab her trembling excitement by the collar and physically restrain her. It is what Boy George calls "a miracle."
Also, lest you think my life is nothing but dog and cat, I managed to get surprise-tipsy off of two specialty cocktails at The Slanted Door last night, where I met up with the amazing AB (of AB Chao fame), who's in town all the way from Louisiana for some sort of mysterious "training." I haven't seen AB since Pam's wedding, which we both agreed was a criminally long stretch of apart-time, especially since AB is like some kind of performance-enhancing drug that makes everything slightly more glamorous and thrilling than usual, like you're in the middle of a 30s picture, what with all the machine-gun banter and pretty hair. I also had the distinct pleasure of finally meeting Stephanie (of Keckler fame), who it turns out is the kind of girl who somehow knows the meaning of words like "falernum" and also has really cute legs? It's a one-two punch that I'm pretty sure makes her a super hero. Plus she has an in at Cowgirl Creamery, oh my god?
And that's not all! After drinking myself Slanted (and somehow not paying for my bar tab, I am a monster), I raced over for my six-weekly "hair dinner"* at the delicious Panchita Number 3 with Adam and Julia and Marco , where I had good wine and amazing enchiladas and talked about many horrifying things, including Battlefield Earth, tampon applicators mistakenly used as pot pipes, and Ashlee Simpson's new nose. I laughed so hard, I broke my glasses with my ass!
There's so much I want to tell you about right now! It's all just clanging around in my head...
About how the dog and cat are getting along beyond all expectation, are in fact curled up with me in bed at this very moment (it's 6.29am and Marco's just left for work and there is COFFEE!). Except that there's also this weird and hilarious (to me) development with the Piggy dog, a sort of sibling rivalry/jealousy thing where she saw Marbles playing with her string (and I don't know if you've met Marbles, but she is just insane for string, it brings out a bloodlust in her that surpasses all catnip and catdancers), and the dog immediately developed a very comparable string craziness. Now whenever I wave the string around for Marbles, Piggy comes running over and totally horns in! And she really gets into it, jumping up and around and chasing it across the floor, jaws snapping just like a cat, a cat named Marbles. Also whenever Marbles gets up to go run her cat errands, Piggy now sneakily sneaks over and curls up in the exact same Marbles-warmed spot. Poor Marbles! On the other hand, and I hesitate to even mention it because it feels so ripe for jinxing but, Marbles has somehow stopped her nocturnal meowing and harassing. (!!!) I'm not sure if it's because Piggy is keeping her awake all day, or she's very happy to have me home every single night, or she's just so stunned to discover that the world has dogs in it, but whatever it is, I salute it and buy it candy.
About how much I've been cooking lately (Chocolate Lulus, chicken/salsa/sourcream/bean taco mash, from-scratchy pizzas, My Favorite Salad) and about how my life has been transformed my new All Clad frying pan, so beautiful and shiny and beautiful and pretty.
About how a nice Kelly emailed me with a solution to my problem of the sad bathtub and midget water heater: fill the tub with only hot water until it runs out, then let it sit until the stubby heater boils up more water (about twenty minutes), then fill up the rest of the tub, and voila: a real bath, the kind that covers all your body parts including your knees (both southern and northern)!
About how it turns out that this happens.
About how I went to go see Tippy Canoe and many others play all of Ziggy Stardust entirely on ukulele (and it rocked?). And then how I also saw Brian and Sandra and many others play Bucko de Mayo, a night of tribute for Buck Owens, and how pretty and good it sounded, and how great everyone looked with their Sailor Jerry and nylon-seam leg tattoos and cowboy outfits and the dancing. That scene can sometimes be a little intense -- especially when you see one on its own, stripped of context, just shopping for mop heads or something -- but a bar packed with full-force rockabilly is pretty awesome and maybe even uplifting? Though I also had two very strong drinks, and I was completely cross-eyed from cranking out an entire Housewives recap in just one day, uck.
About how I finally unpacked my last box, and the accompanying moving bruises (the weird junkie marks that come from being surrounded by a shifting maze of boxes) have officially faded, and my books are out of their boxes and finally able to breathe again, and my shoes, they have their own shelf! And I went out and bought a fleet of matching hangers from IKEA and now my clothes all hang together in a uniform, adult fashion, organized by color and function (long sleeves, three-quarter sleeves, short sleeves, no sleeves). How profoundly satisfying it all is!
When the movers were moving all my boxes into the house, one of the boxes started making a low buzzing sound, and the nice and burly mover who was moving it said, what do you have in here, like a toy dog or something? And I looked at him, confused for a second, then I guess a look of blushing panic spread across my face because he kind of barked an embarrassed sort of laugh, then he scurried off to the other room with the box still buzzing. When he dropped it to the floor, the buzzing stopped, and from across the house he yelled out, everything's okay now! And then, with head averted, he went back to the truck for another load of boxes (and, clearly, to share the good news of a confirmed "Code V," or whatever name they have for it, with the other movers).
Only the next day, while I was brushing my teeth, did it occur to me that the buzzing wasn't actually the sound of a healthy and very modern woman's right to take responsibility for her own sexual healing, etcetera. No, my not-at-all-embarrassing electric toothbrush was the culprit! Not only that, but I don't even own anything that would make that particular "toy dog" kind of noise (at least nothing that could emit audible evidences without the power of an electric outlet). Total gyp!
Something about the incident reminded me of the time I went into a none-too-private office bathroom and, giggling to myself, proceeded to make like ten long, fruity mouth farts into the V of my joined hands, thinking that when I emerged, I'd find the whole office laughing along with me. But when instead I came out to discover the whole office politely typing in silence, the wave of embarrassment I felt was just as powerful, maybe more so, than if I'd been stuck in there dropping bona fide ass bombs. I'm not too sure what I'm supposed to learn from this, or what the practical application of this life lesson should be. Embarrassment arrives whether I court it or not, so why not let it rip? Clearly label my boxes? Grow up?
More importantly, do you think it would be weird if I tracked down the mover's number and called him to explain about my toothbrush?
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Both Marbles and Piggy spent the night in bed with us last night! It wasn't the smoothest night's sleep any of us has ever had, but still: progress! But not all is golden: last night I somehow managed to buy fat free half and half. How is such a product even possible? As I AIMed to Jill, they should honor the complete wrongness of the thing by making it a different color or something. You mean like green catsup, she asked. Exactly, I said.
One sad thing about the new place is that it has a terrible bath. Not only is it one of those square 70s things (the bath in my studio apartment was built in the 20s, back when they didn't care about saving space or water, and it was deep, deep, and band-aid pink, and it lured me in for at least one long bath a day...sometimes two), but the water heater isn't big enough to actually fill the tub. I've only managed to have one true bath here, and that took boiling extra water on the stove to achieve.
To console myself for the hit my bathing lifestyle is taking, I just purchased myself a cashmere robe. It's soft and baby blue and CASHMERE, plus it has pockets, and it was only $100 on eBay (which is a lot, but usually they're a lot-lot more), and it's possible I may never get dressed again.
You know what else takes the sting out? Reading about Kristin's travels across these United States. I especially love all the neat people she's meeting along the way, these solid sorts who smile straight at the camera and build nice things. And then there's the ozsome Wizard of Oz musem.
I'm all moved! And oh my holy big wow did it suck. Somehow I thought that since I already did a big Goodwill sort after I got laid off (both times!), and since I was getting rid of so much cat-scratch furniture before I left, and since I hired three big, nice, burly movers, and since I bought a whole roll of bubble wrap, that maybe it wouldn't be so bad. But surprise, it was heinous: seven solid days and nights of old-person back pain, foot soreness, and that packing tape sound. I think I remember this happening the last time I moved: I thought it was going to be relatively painless that time too, but it turned out to be the same kind of exhausting, last-minute scramble, combined with insane maneuvering to remove a stain in the rug so I could get back the whopping $2100 deposit (I rented a steam cleaner and that didn't work, so I actually cut the stain out of the rug and patched it with a section I snipped from some surplus rug laying in the back of one of the closets, then I spent days trying to glue the patch into the hole using a wide variety of glues...superglue finally did the trick, superglue plus some artful vacuuming around the hole to make it blend in). Though I guess I'm not really surprised by my surprise: PMS blindsides me each and every month. Why am I swollen, sore, sweaty, and so very mad at this retarded slippery satiny shirt that keeps falling off the hanger, grr, grr, grr??? Oh right it's LADY TIME, god.
Also familiarly awful: the big Deposit Clean. I spent all day Friday, eight long hours, cleaning my old apartment, scrubbing down the stove, fridge, sinks, tub, walls, and floors. There was so much dirty! I kept finding new, heretofore unseen splatters of coffee and...soup? Frosting? It was amazing and gross. I kept thinking how sad it is that my apartment is really, finally sparkling, but I won't get to enjoy it. I actually caught myself vowing that in my new place, I'm going to schedule regular insane clean-a-thons, so I can actually reap the benefits of my bleach-pan hands. But mid-vow I dimly remembered promising myself something eerily similar after the last move. But this time I mean it! Yes I say it with the rueful, self-experienced doubt of a drastically hungover person's promise to never drink again, but still I vow to clean this new house with white-flower-sale regularity. I do, I do, I do!
So yes, boxes, boxes, boxes, and lots of puffing and growling from Marbles the cat, who is less than thrilled to be rooming with PIGGY the dog. After spending all afternoon hiding behind the toilet, Marbles finally let me coax her out to the area near the tub, where she and I napped together for a few hours Wednesday afternoon, and then again Thursday morning. Finally on Saturday we put Piggy in the laundry room (there is a laundry room! AND a dishwasher!) and let Marbles sniff around the rest of the house for a few hours. Then we put her way up high on a shelf and let Piggy out. Piggy, who is half whippet and half boxer (half crazy, half crazy), can jump about five feet straight up in the air. It really is a sight; when she gets going -- which she does whenever she wants her bone, or wants to go out, or wants come in, or hears your keys jangle -- it really looks as though she's on a trampoline. Her shadow, viewed from the sliver underneath the door, looks wide and dark, then gone, wide and dark, then gone. So Piggy managed to propel herself up to Marbles' eye level, over and over and over, while Marbles just sat there watching, looking almost bored with nothing moving but her head yo-yo-ing up and down in concert with Piggy's leaping. We tried to get Piggy to calm down, but it was pretty clear that this was the very best thing that had ever happened to her, this black and white squirrel-thing inside her own house! So then we tried to make a movie of it, but of course the camera got them all distracted (animals never do anything right). Today we had one or two bouts of howling and puffing, but in between they did manage to fall asleep on the very same couch, with me sandwiched in the middle. Things are looking up!
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Elsewhere: the latest issue of lit-magazine Swivel is now out and about, and it is so good and funny and perfectly sized for in-bath enjoyment! (Also it features a smattering of excerpts from the sleep book, which turned out really nice.) I'm doing a guest stint over at Mighty Goods, which has been all kinds of fun (stuff, stuff, for you to buy (me)). And yes Desperate Housewives is still happening, it is relentless that way!