Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: Born Round

You may sense a few themes on this blog, most notably: Weight issues, Love of food, and Weight issues. Did I already say Weight issues?

So this book, which combines a couple of my obsessions, was right up my alley.

Born Round: A Story of Family, Food, and a Ferocious Appetite is written by New York Times food critic Frank Bruni, and if you are anything like me, that sentence was enough to make you want to read the book. A food critic with weight issues? Yes, please!

Bruni chronicles his childhood years growing up in an Italian family, with all of the stereotypical excess that comes along with that -- massive feasts at family gatherings, and daily over-consumption in general. His explanations of his mother's and grandmother's meals were the impetus that spurred me to make lasagna for the first time in years, but all I knew was I couldn't read another word about all of the delicious Italian food Bruni was eating until I, myself, had eaten delicious Italian food. Unfortunately, I'm afraid my own lasagna likely fell far short of those made by his mother.

(sidenote: There is leftover spaghetti in my refrigerator that I have just started to daydream about. Oh, spaghetti, you are so my bitch for lunch today.)

One thing I loved about this book was that it included many photos of Bruni and his family, spanning several decades and showing how he alternately gained and lost quite a bit of weight over the years. And even though I read this book on a Kindle, the images were still quite good.

Bruni is among what I believe is a rare group of men who have eating disorders, as he was bulimic while attending college. He also tried several harebrained diets, which makes him feel like a kindred spirit to me, oh daughter of Juice Diets and others that shall not be named.

Another really interesting aspect of this book for me is Bruni's career as a journalist, as he explained his rise in the field and I again cursed my own lack of go-get-emness because I was certainly never on the short list for Pulitzer Prize winners. Bruni is an obviously talented and motivated reporter who covered Bush Jr.'s campaign and early months of his presidency and later worked at New York Times bureau in Rome, which, hello? I stopped reading momentarily and imagined a fictitious, kind editor (they do not exist, by the way) asking me if I would like to move to Rome and work in the bureau there. Yes, please!

From Rome he went on to become the New York Times' restaurant critic, and at the moment he eats out, on average, seven nights a week. And manages to stay in shape. To struggle to stay in shape, I should say. It's a fascinating and inspiring tale.

There are other parts of this book that are more personal and very touching and I will not ruin them for you but to say I surprised myself by crying at one point. Which is nothing new, really, but just so you get the picture.

For Top Chef fans, Bruni recently appeared on an episode in which, when he was introduced, all of the contestants simultaneously pooped their pants. For his part, Bruni was rather quiet and actually looked slightly terrified and, in hindsight, the show didn't even promote his book, which, what the heck, Top Chef?

Anyway, if you're anything like me in that you struggle constantly against two competing desires -- to eat awesome tasty food and to look thin and wonderful -- I think you'll like this book. And if you're a journalist, it's a no-brainer. Just read it!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Pink Lady

I distinctly recall thinking to myself yesterday that I would not apply sunblock to my arms because ALERT! ALERT! Vitamin D deficiency!! Never mind skin cancer, yesterday I would intentionally expose my unprotected skin to the sun's rays in order to stock up on Vitamin D, and maybe in small part to appease Vain Erin, who doesn't give a fig about skin cancer and would like a tan.

It's a known fact that tan skin camouflages cellulite.

Also, everyone knows that morning-time sun does not burn skin as readily as afternoon sun does, right? Or so I believed, as I had not exposed my unprotected skin to morning sun in many moons. Somehow -- and I'm not sure how -- a friend convinced me to get up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday to attend the hugest garage sale I have ever seen. (The sale items looked suspiciously like the items I plan to sell in my own upcoming garage sale, so I elected NOT to add any extra treasures to my already formidable pile of crap.)

So. As it turns out, standing in the sun at any time of day for however many hours will likely result in a punishing sunburn, especially if someone's 25% Mexican blood went AWOL when someone reached the age of 13, making cellulite-camouflaging tan skin impossible to obtain at the exact moment that someone started to really need it.

Also, someone's new organic SPF 50 face lotion does not work, as someone's face is now the approximate color of a cranberry.

On the bright side, I elected to take only one Vitamin D pill last night, as I observed my red everything in the mirror. Take that, traitorous deficient blood!

Friday, August 27, 2010

What do we want? VAGINAS! When do we want them? NOW!

All right, look.

I ran dry for a couple of days and I'd like to blame my husband for that because he's been trying to be helpful in regards to the (non)popularity of my blog and thus went on and on about what I am doing wrong and what I should do better and what he did not say but what I heard was:

Your blog sucks. 

Which is OK with me, actually, because I kind of already knew my blog sucked? Duh. But then when I tried to think of something inane to write about per my usual fashion, I just couldn't be bothered. Why should I bother?! I wondered, with fairly typical drama.

I don't think my husband understands my kind of blog, these chicky blogs where all we write about is how someone was mean to us on the bus or how we're stressed out about making Thanksgiving dinner or whatever.

You mean all they want to read about is vaginas? he asked.

Yes, I nodded. Vaginas.

He'd been comparing my blog to other blogs he reads, and no offense ladies, but he does not read any of your blogs. He reads helpful blogs about how to save money or make money or fix your car or build things and overall be a more manly man. Which could not be further from the overall purpose of my blog, which we have established is: Vaginas.

He wants to know why some popular chicky bloggers are able to make money doing it and all I can tell him is, Well, they are really good writers. We are not writing about dissimilar content, it's just that they happen to be really extra amusing and have a really awesome voice. Also, they have techy types who make their blogs look really awesome, and to date I am using a Blogger template. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'd resigned myself some time ago to the almost assured fact that this blog will likely never lift off and go anywhere, and thankfully I wasn't hanging every hope and dream on that happening. Now, if I manage to finish my book and nobody wants it and I can't get it published, then you will find me drinking whiskey in the bathtub as I try to figure out what I was meant to do with my life.

So that is that. I shall return on Monday to continue discussing vaginas at length, posting photos of cats and likely complaining about stuff in general. It's what I do, and whether or not that works for the general populace who read blogs isn't worth a fig to me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dig the hatch

My dreams are apocalyptic in nature this month.

I read a New York Times article yesterday about how the rapidly melting polar ice caps could cause a global climate crisis, and last night I dreamed that I was standing on top of the Earth, Little Prince style, as the ice sheets melted around me.

I flung myself into the frigid ocean, although I was terrified, and thought to myself that drowning in ice cold water is supposed to be one of the easiest ways to die. Whether or not that's true, I'm not sure.

A couple of weeks ago, I dreamed we elected Meg Whitman president and she started a nuclear war.

A few nights ago I dreamed I was being chased, and then raped. Which is a new one. Over the weekend I dreamed of my husband's grandmother, who passed away a couple of years ago.

I sleep fitfully, always. I am superstitious about my dreams, especially when people I know who are still living are killed in them. All of my family members and almost all of my friends have been killed off in my dreams.

I dream constantly of the dead and almost always my dreams are in actuality nightmares. I mumble in my sleep, and I sometimes cry in my sleep.

I had a couple of sleep-walking stages, awaking in places I didn't fall asleep, or awaking nude when I'd gone to bed clothed -- my clothes laid out strangely on the floor.

I've only had one night terror, and scratched my ear badly during that one as I fended off an attacker that was not there. My own screams woke me. To date, I've never been so scared in my life and have huge empathy for people who suffer night terrors on a regular basis.

I love to sleep and hate to dream. 

I have an overactive imagination that is probably to blame for it. If there is a quiet moment and I appear to not be doing anything, I am likely having an imaginary conversation with myself about bizarre things that have never and will never happen to me.

Trying to think of wonderful things as I drift off sometimes helps, but often morphs into something terrible.

But I'll try again tonight to fend off the dead and Armageddon -- no reality television, no news television, no newspapers, only lighthearted reading and some Words with Friends. Some lavender oil and ear plugs and cool, clean sheets to send me to heaven.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Is grouchy in the morning

As various contractors have been tracking dirt through our house for a few months, I've been required to rise from my bed at an hour that does not agree with me.

My husband is a morning person. He says he's cheerful in the mornings because nothing has gone wrong yet that day. For me, everything has already gone to shit if it's still dark outside and I'm awake.

There is a blast radius he would do well to steer clear of if I'm standing in front of the closet at 7 a.m., flinging things around, but he just can't help himself -- he is so damn cheerful in the mornings.

PUT YOUR SHOES IN THE CLOSET: An example of what the demon in me demanded of him this morning when he dared approach.

DO YOU NEED THIS?! A question, accompanied by dramatic eye roll in regards to eighteen-thousand-year-old piece of junk mail on the coffee table.

Packing for a trip is another instance in which I become possessed with unearthly rage.

Did you pack my toothbrush? my husband will ask innocently.

To which I will answer, Are you unable to pack your own toothbrush? I am not your mother. This is often accompanied by a piercing, hooded-eye stare.

I inherited a distaste for packing for vacation from He Who Shall Not Be Named. As kids, my sister and I would sit quietly with our packed bags, preferably in the car -- as far from the packing rage as we could get. It was easy to be sucked into the vortex if you walked too close to it, and sometimes the vortex would seek you out, regardless, demanding that you take out the trash or do the dishes or clean up the house in some other way, because nothing was as enraging as an untidy home during a packing rage.

Sometimes packing rage was so distracting, we would forget to pack essentials like underwear. 

We should probably all be required to keep a running list of our faults that we photocopy and hand out to new friends and family members.

- Will not eat melon.
- Will not ride roller coasters.
- Is rageful before 8 a.m.
- Is rageful while packing for trips.
- Is rageful while cleaning house.
- Is rageful during PMS.
- Is disorganized.
- Procrastinates.
- Eats too much ice cream.
- Has been known to sabotage others' diets.
- Does not enjoy strenuous exercise. 
- Does not return phone calls.
- Is awkward with children.

Then that potential friend or new in-law could decide if they even want to deal with you or if you're just too much trouble to be bothered with.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Serious upgrade

There is a running joke amongst a group of our friends wherein one of us will remark on someone's new something, and call it a "serious downgrade."

For instance: "Are those new shoes? Serious downgrade."

This stems from an incident in which a fringe member of the group called my husband's new car a "serious downgrade" from his previous vehicle. Like, seriously. It, like, totally stuck.

Anyway, all of that to say: We recently had a serious upgrade to our electrical system over in these parts, in addition to the installation of a brand spanking new air conditioner, which I love and which I have named George. Thank you, George, for the cool air you consistently blow through the vents. You have put an end to boob sweat.

About 14,000 years ago, I posted a couple of "before" photos, and now that George has been born, I have decided to post some "before" AND "after" photos. Novel, I know! 

 This is our old electrical panel. 

 It had seen better days. It was mainly a home for disgusting spiders. 

Awesome! And safe!


This switch controls that thingy. Thank you for the labels, helpful electrician fellow! If anyone in the Bay area needs a good electrician, I've got one.


 This is George. Say "hello," George. Did I ever tell you about my mom's obnoxious myna bird named George, who used to say "Hello, Geooooorge"?

 This is a seemingly useless hole in the wall.

BAM! Whodat? I'm in your backyard, takin' out yer trash. 

What the hell? This is the lasagna I made for dinner last night. It was all right. 

Hella gross. 


So putrid. 

Full on illuminated double light switch!! That was a nod to the Rainbow guy. Do you know what I'm talking about? If you don't, GO HERE NOW, do not finish reading this drivel, just GO.


It's orgasmic. 

El hideoso. 

La bonita. 

What the hail. No, not hell. Hail. 

Hello, adorable GFI plug! 

So that's pretty much it for now. We've got a number of painting projects coming up and a whole mess of furniture that needs to be procured before I can stop having nightmares about our house being uninhabitable. More before-and-after fun to come, hopefully sooner than later. 

Have an electrifying weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I will now accept my Academy Award for documentary filmmaking

Yesterday I bought my cats a toy that squeaks when they bat it around. It was to replace a similar toy they'd had that one of them eventually "killed." When the previous toy stopped squeaking, much of their joy in playing with it was lost.

This morning, the new squeak toy was discovered drowned in the cats' water bowl. I fished it out and dried it off and it began to make this ... unearthly squeaking noise that wouldn't stop, and the cats were a bit baffled by it. So I video taped their reaction for your enjoyment. Personally, I think it's hilarious, but I do tend to crack myself up. I'm my own biggest fan! And the men with the straitjackets will be here shortly.

But before that happens, a couple of disclaimers.

1) This is not what I sound like in real life. When I was taking this video, an alien inhabited my body and spoke for me.

2) The alien was doing that annoying baby talk with the cats.

3) If you have vertigo, this is probably not the video for you.

4) Do not judge my linoleum floor.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fulfilling promises

Some time about a thousand years ago (in blogging years) I promised that if I hit a certain benchmark, I would video blog, thereby subjecting all unfortunate readers who stumble upon this blog to my really, really big head/face and the grating sound of my voice.

The benchmark was this: Either 100 Twitter followers, 100 unique blog hits or 100 Facebook fans.

Not exactly a huge goal, but one that nonetheless seemed improbable, given that at the time I think I had 23 Twitter followers, 23 unique blog hits and 23 Facebook fans. All have grown impressively this year as I've had more time to devote to the blog, but none so much as Twitter, which currently says I have 97 followers.

I have never asked for more followers or more hits or more fans because I never wanted to actually fulfill my promise, since we all know that even the most successful and attractive bloggers are straight up awkward on video. That is why we write, duh. We have faces for radio.

The problem is that Twitter is so ... networky ... that when you follow someone, particularly if they are following or being followed by people who follow you or who you follow (do you follow me?), they will probably follow you back. Hence the 97 followers. 

I don't even know what I would say in a video blog. I could point out the asymmetrial nature of my eyebrows. I could wear a wig. I could sing a song, poorly. I could introduce the cats. I could surround myself with creepy dollies and just stare into the camera without saying a word. I could eat lunch on camera. Just 10 minutes of me eating a sandwich.

All of those sound really awesome, probably.

Which is why I probably should not get any more followers on Twitter. I need time to think about this, and also lose 15 pounds so my head shrinks a little.

Ok? So if you do not follow me, please continue doing that. If you are following me, please consider unfollowing me. What, really, are you gaining by following me? Not a lot, I promise.

In fact, I may begin a campaign to lose followers by posting offensive and boring Tweets, especially Tweets about kid poop, even though there's no kid poop around. I'll say there is and describe it in all of its noxious detail. You wouldn't want that, would you?

All right. I'm glad we agree on that.

P.S. Good news!! As of 5 p.m. today I am down to 96 followers! 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beast Wars

I wanted to post a video of the cats fighting and Murray trying to jump onto the table and failing miserably and me calling him a retard, but I thought that might be politically incorrect, so instead I'm posting a couple of photos today.

 Simon on a chair at the kitchen table. 

Murray on the kitchen table, in the mood for play. 

I'm afraid that's the best I can do for today. I'm selling my husband's Transformer toy collection on eBay (WHY GOD) so a bit preoccupied considering the sheer number of them.

Til tomorrow, beasties.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The art of customer service

At first I thought I was going to love eBay, as I began what we are referring to as the Great eBay Selloff, wherein we sell dozens of things we inherited and which have sat in a dark room, behind a closed door, for the last two years.

(Sidenote: In case you're wondering if all that stuff in your grandma's house is worth any money, it probably is. Especially if, perchance, she saved every seemingly meaningless item that made its way into her home.)

As it turns out, I do love it, in the sense that I love watching our pile of stuff diminish as our bank account grows.

But I also sort of hate it because, as it turns out, there is a level of customer service expected of you when you're conducting a massive sell-off of junk. And while I excel at customer service -- which was an integral part of my previous job -- there is just one problem with it: the customers.

Because they are evil little shitheads (ELSs).

I go to great lengths to list off every possible detail of the items I am selling, to minimize the number of retarded questions I will receive from ELSs. And yet the ELSs appear to not actually be reading my descriptions, as they simply ask me questions they could easily answer themselves .... if they would read the damn descriptions. 

One woman took it upon herself to school me in the ways of postage and shipping. She felt I was charging too much for shipping and explained to me exactly which boxes I should use and what I should charge. She has sent me about 10 messages, and expects a response within a few hours, otherwise she sends the exact same message to me again, and asks me if I've received her previous message.

At the end of any transaction, buyers rate their sellers, and sellers rate their buyers. The problem is the rating system is completely retarded. You can rate someone "positive" or choose to report a problem. There is no in-between. Because with this woman, I'd like to say:

This buyer, while prompt with payment, was probably the most annoying person I've encountered in the last six months.

And while I could still rate her positive and leave that comment, she could retaliate and report me to eBay as a "problem seller."

This passive aggressive interaction with crazed doll collectors is just too similar to the interaction I used to have with certain clients, who would be all smiles and rainbows on the phone or in person, but then send a scathing e-mail, cc'ing my boss, demanding to know WHY DOES THE ROOF LEAK? WHY CAN'T YOU FIX THE ROOF DURING A TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR?

In case you're wondering, there is no satisfactory answer to those questions. What they really desire is to figuratively flog you senseless, until you beg them for forgiveness and promise it will never happen again and bring them donuts and call them Master. Or Commander. Either way.

Is it possible to have post traumatic stress disorder from an awful job? Or perhaps 15 years of lousy managers? Hmm.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What manner of beast is this?

I'd been waiting for a package to arrive -- a gift for my husband's birthday. Returning from a shopping trip yesterday, I was relieved to see a package on the porch, so I took it inside and opened it up and it was so not the package I had been waiting for. It was baby paraphernalia for a baby shower I'm attending this weekend.

Which is confounding, when you are expecting one thing and it turns out to be ga-ga-goo-goo baby stuff. Once I realized that I had, indeed, ordered this item and that some numbskull had not mistakenly sent me this instead of my husband's gift, I realized what I had done.

I had neglected to check the shipping address closely, and it had been shipped to my old office. When I checked the tracking online, indeed, receipt confirmed at my old office. It was signed for by someone named "Muffy." I swear - that is what it said on the tracking site.

I immediately called my closest friend from my previous job.

Me: Hey. I'm a dumbass. I had another package sent to the office.

Her: Hmmm, are you sure? I haven't heard anything. 

Me: Yes, it was signed by someone named Muffy.

Her: No, I don't think so. We don't have a Muffy. Laura, is there someone here named Muffy?

(Laura in the background -- Ummm, what? Muffy? No.)

After much discussion over the possible origin of the name Muffy, it was determined that, indeed, the package was there, and Laura would kindly wait for me to arrive so I could pick it up.

I drove helter skelter to get there in 5 o'clock traffic and made it in 13 minutes -- a new record!

Laura opened the door for me and gave me the package and a hug and inquired as to my well-being and there was a familiar look in her eye that I can only conclude is confusion.

When I encounter former co-workers, I think they are expecting me to be 8 months pregnant or looking deathly ill.

Poor dear, she quit because she's dying!

I should at least look fit, trim, and well-rested, what with all of the time I have to exercise and shop carefully for organic foods and cook them in a healthful manner.

I should definitely not look chunky and sweaty and panicked, I suppose.

So when I do look ... chunky and sweaty and panicked, and I'm not visibly pregnant or ill, I receive the look of confusion. Is it truly possible that I quit my job to become a reclusive writer?

My husband tells me he would go insane working from home, alone. But it is my bliss. I receive the exact amount of human interaction I desire, which is to say: very little. I control it. I can call or see friends or family when I want to, and most of the time I prefer to tinker away at my projects, in my small world, alone. When someone knocks on the door, it is an annoyance.

I don't feel overwhelmed by human interaction any more, and I feel I've actually had time to study human behavior more closely because of it. I understand better why people act the way they do, even though I spend less time with them.

But I always forget people are confused by me. Or maybe even annoyed with me. I dropped out of the rat race. Who wouldn't want to do that?

I thanked Laura, and I took my package and raced my chunk back out the front door.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

On this day

Happy birthday, darling.

In case you wondered whether I intended to again construct a list of things I love about you that corresponds to the number of years that you have been breathing air on this planet, let it be known that Yes, I do intend to. Again.

You are 34 this year, and I met you when you were 20. Which -- as I mentioned the other evening -- means that you are getting dangerously close to the time in your life when you will have known me for more years than you haven't. When that day comes, blood will cover the sun and crypt doors will roll open and the dead themselves will shake their heads at us.

That was a joke about how it will be a dark day, indeed, when you have more memories of me than you do of your childhood, but it might not have been very funny.

So anyway.

It is your Birth Day, and it has been an amazing 12 months since your last birthday, which is what made writing this list amazingly easy. So without further ado, in no particular order, I give you the list.

I love:

34. That you allowed -- nay, encouraged! -- me to quit my job and write a book. This kind of understanding and support in a mate is more than most people will ever find.

33. That you go a little nutty when giving me gifts, possibly because you're not sure what to get me and you know that expensive jewelry is a surefire winner every time, but possibly because you are just that adorable.

32. That when you have good gossip for me, you always start off with, "So get this." Which I love. Because I love gossip.

31. Your new pants. You'd been wearing the same style of pants for, well, 14 years, and this year you discovered a new, sporty style with a closer fit, and I think they're sexy.

30. When you unzip the legs off of your new sporty pants to turn them into shorts. It amuses me greatly.

29. Your reaction to air conditioning.

28. The way you were on vacation in December.

27. How you're good at building stuff.

26. How you think my shampoo smells nice.

25. When you tell me my butt looks smaller.

24. When you are content to do your thing in one room while I do my thing in another room.

23. The way you are with the cats.

22. Your thick hair.

21. The way you love to be pet.

20. When you are indignant on my behalf.

19. That you cried at my grandfather's funeral.

18. When you give in to my constant Mexican food cravings.

17. That you organized the office for me when I decided to quit my job.

16. That you've spearheaded several major home improvement projects.

15. Your renewed interest in biking.

14. That you handle the car maintenance issues.

13. When you love my cooking.

12. When you cover the pipes in the winter.

11. How you are cheerful in the mornings.

10. That you're working on a difficult project for a friend.

9. That you have aspirations well beyond what you currently do.

8. When you give me ideas for my book.

7. Your gratitude regarding The Great Ebay Selloff.

6. That you are attending a co-ed baby shower with me this weekend.

5. When you grill meat!

4. When you kiss me like you haven't been kissing me for 14 years but like you met me maybe 14 minutes ago.

3. When you call alcohol business juice.

2. When you take me to the movies.

1. When you read my mind.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Where I say my goodbyes

TV news thinks I have esophageal cancer. The burning sensation probably has nothing to do with the jalapeno-laden Mexican meal I ate. Let's not deny what's really happening here. I have limited time.

The news says 16,000 people get esophageal cancer every year, and most people think it's just heartburn. Until they're dead.

Never mind that every year: 

About 180,000 people get breast cancer.
About 1.1 million have heart attacks.
About 60,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma.
More than 1,000 people are struck by lightning.
1.5 million people die from malaria.

Never mind that. Esophageal cancer is my doom.

Also never mind that TV newscasters are unable to correctly pronounce words like "bay area," "Friday," and "temperatures." Never mind that. They know what's going on. Esophageal cancer. Doom.

Also: Lice. It's an epidemic of tiny bugs that have grown resistant to Rid-x or whatever it is mothers have been using for generations. WHAT WILL WE DO????!!!! OH GOD NOOOOOOO.

Ok that's out of my system. I bid you farewell (because of the cancer. And doom).

P.S. There is a new superbug from India that is sure to kill us all, if cancer and doom don't do the job first. Cheers! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Man

We all know that working for The Man blows, which is why I don't do it any more. Unless you consider my husband The Man. He comes home and says What did you do all day?

One day doesn't vary greatly from the next. I torture myself by staring at white space on a computer screen. What did you do all day, moneybags?

I've certainly had my moments with my managers. In one way or another, I've managed to tell most of my bosses that they are incompetent boobs and that it's miraculous they manage to tie their shoes in the mornings without consulting upper management about it.

But I've never had the satisfaction of telling any of my bosses to shove it where the sun don't shine while walking out the door, middle fingers aloft. I certainly daydreamed about it, though.

We're all living vicariously through this flight attendant who told a passenger to fuck off, grabbed a handful of beer, deployed the exit slide, and tally-ho'd it out of there.

We weren't witnesses and probably are hearing some bastardized version of what really happened, but what we feel is major empathy for this schmuck.

Imagine, every day, dealing with unhappy airline passengers -- and people are really at their worst on airplanes, aren't they? Everyone desperately hates being in one and can't wait to get out of it. In 28 years of flight attending, I am sure this is not the first time a passenger has disobeyed the rules by removing their baggage from the overhead bin while the plane was still in motion (GOD FORBID). And in 28 years, it's definitely not the first time someone has smashed this dude over the head with their baggage, whether by accident or otherwise.

The way I heard the story on the news was that after this woman's luggage left a sizable wound on his head, the flight attendant demanded an apology. And the passenger said: Fuck off. 

Which is when our hero went berserk.

And then got arrested.

The passenger, however, has presumably disappeared into anonymity. There is no penalty, no criminal charge, for being a rude ass bitch. Unfortunately.

Assuming the news reports are accurate, this delightful woman could not have known that the flight attendant's mother is dying. Now that she, presumably, does know, I wonder if she feels any remorse for being a crass retard. Some people are funny and refuse to admit they were wrong.

I have an overactive imagination, so as I sit on an airplane I am creating realities in my head for the people around me. When I create realities for people in service jobs, if they seem stressed out or sad or rude, I imagine they have just lost a loved one. I imagine their child has a terrible disease. I imagine they are suffering from a foot problem that pains them.

My point is, I am never rude with people in service positions, unless they are unspeakably rude to me first. Which is rare.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Minimalism in sepia

From as best I can tell, there are two warring factions out there when it comes to stuff and owning it.

The first faction that I'm most familiar with advocates the acquisition of said stuff until one's home is virtually busting at the seams and the stuff is practically demanding to be brought to Goodwill so someone else can add it to their own stuff pile.

Stuff is supposed to make you look grown up and like you know what you're doing. Successful. You're not messing around. After all, look at all of your stuff! With all that stuff, you are prepared for anything. Natural disasters of the worst kind. Construction emergencies. Lightbulb outtage emergencies. Having-company-over emergencies. I own only two platters! Must acquire more platters! Imagine how long it would take a group of movers to move all of your stuff. Cripes!

The second faction is growing, and has been growing for quite some time, but in typical fashion, I am just now hearing about it. They are the minimalists. At their most extreme, they advocate owning 100 items, tops. Even down to a roll of toilet paper. I was sitting in my family room while I read an article about these people who own 100 things and I said to my husband: There are more than 100 things in this room.

Frankly, there are more than 100 things under my bathroom sink. There are more than 100 things on the desk at which I am sitting.

These people own, like, four plates, two pairs of shoes, two shirts. A bowl. A fork. No TV. No cars.

They are hippies, to be sure, in a new way -- a way I actually have been hearing about for a little while. They converge with another group that advocates working less and enjoying yourself more. Realizing just how little money it takes to be happy and support yourself.

But traditionally, what you're supposed to do is buy a house and be in debt for the rest of your life. This is supposed to make you happy. Because you get to keep throwing money at the house. Which shelters you and your brood. And which costs lots of money every month. Which means you have to work lots, probably more than you'd like.

If we all became nomads and lived in tents and pooped in the dirt we would probably be happier, but the economy would collapse and the government would implode and Home Depot would go out of business and you wouldn't be able to watch the Bachelorette.

We've certainly gone too far to turn back to nature. At least, we can't all do it. My living room needs paint and I need a lot more stuff before I will be satisfied with this house that costs so much money every month. I could take the other path, but first, I would need to do something with all this stuff.

I envy these 100-pieces-of-stuff people to a degree. Life is simple. They ride a bike to a volunteer yoga job. They eat rice from their bowl. They walk to the beach. When their one roll of toilet paper is finished, they go buy another one.

And it's understandable that I would feel this envy, as I stack and unstack boxes of stuff acquired by people who are dead now. I remove a piece of stuff from a box and it bewilders me. What is this dusty item? Should I keep it? Am I dishonoring the memory of my loved one if I sell it or give it away?

We, in our home, are so overwhelmed by this stuff, when our natural inclination is to live with clean lines and open doors and fresh scents, that we have been tempted to cart all of the stuff to the curb and label it "FREE." To take it to a storage locker and close the door and never look at it again. To just take the whole kit and caboodle to a second-hand store.

Guilt will not allow it. I stack, unstack, rearrange, open boxes, close boxes, close doors, close the curtains.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Barbara Millicent Roberts

I had a nightmare last night that involved lots of angry doll faces and my own guilt about selling a vintage Barbie that's worth -- with all of her accoutrement -- around $1,000.

So I decided not to sell the Barbie.

I am now among a select group of people who knows what it means when the writing on Barbie's butt says TM instead of R or when her eyes are blue or her eyeshadow is brown or her hair is in a ponytail. It's not my proudest moment.

We've all had Barbies, right? Do you remember what happened to your Barbies? After mine were done humping Ken, I compulsively swung them around by their hair, gave them baths, put actual makeup on their faces, attached them to the back of the dog for a ride around the house. Barbie may have occasionally been found relaxing in the dewy morning grass, her hair tousled, one shoe missing, arms akimbo. Barbie may have occasionally learned how to fly. My sister may have occasionally defaced my Barbies as revenge for me pretending to have a second evil personality.

That Barbie in the picture? Is from 1960. She is the third edition of Barbie ever to be produced. She belonged to my mother-in-law. Who never removed the ponytail. Definitely never swung Barbie around by her hair. A cat has never gnawed on her fingers or toes.

I don't know if it's sentimental -- well it's definitely sentimental. I have a fascination with all things antique or vintage, all things historical, family trees ...

Anyway, I am not sure what I am going to do with her, I just know I can't let her go.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Body image

Notes from the low-carb diet trenches. 

Most people will not love you more if you lose weight.

But some people will.

Some people will hate you.

And love you more when you're fat.

Some people look better fat.

I don't look better fat.

That is all. 

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Creepy Dolly Fiesta

What we call pretty much everything around here is a fiesta.

For example: If I have to clean the bathrooms, I might say It's time for the toilet bowl fiesta.

When the cats are in the midst of a destructive tear, we might call that a Pussy Fiesta

Add fiesta to the description of any task, and it becomes humorous.

Which is why today, since I have to sell a number of creepy dollies on eBay and I'm not particularly looking forward to it, I am calling it the Creepy Dolly Fiesta

I call this one "Apocalypse Dolly" because it's from 1960 but looks like it was "born" yesterday. This thing will be around, looking brand new, long after I'm gone. It sold in about two hours -- apparently it's a rare find -- for an obscene amount that I would never personally pay for a creepy, blinking hunk of plastic, BUT THAT'S JUST ME.

Ear Needle Dolly. If she could, I think she would get up at night and slip needles into our ears.

This doll wants to eat my face. I. am. a. robot. I. feed. on. human. flesh.


And this doll looks PISSED. Why did you keep me in a dark box for 40 years?? My hair got messed up. Now you must pay.

Monday, August 02, 2010


I am cat-sitting. And plant sitting, and stuff. The other day I went out to water the tomato plants and a disturbing scene presented itself. A mouse had eaten half a tomato and then drowned itself in the pool. I flung the mouse and the tomato over the fence (never fear -- the yard borders a vacant hillside).

This is Bo. Or Beau. However you'd like to spell it. He's the frisky kitty I'm petting while his owner frolicks in Maui.

Today I started a new diet. No carbs. I need some kind of miracle to stick to it.

Everyone who comes to my house asks, "Did you just move in?" Because it looks like we just moved in, what with all of the boxes and lack of decor.

And I always hem and haw -- Well we've been in a while but we're trying to finish some big projects....

Fact is, we are lazy. Is there a word that means beyond lazy? Slothful, perhaps. Procrastinators galore. Indolence rules here.

I tell my husband, I'm embarrassed that everyone keeps asking if we just moved in. 

And he very sagely says, This is all within your control to change. 

I have this look: a cocked eyebrow, straight-mouthed, flared nostril look that I use to respond to certain statements. This look was captured on my drivers license, and my husband will stare at it when he needs a good laugh. No, I won't post it here. Speaking of embarrassing things.

Instead, I recreated it for you:

Imagine my husband sitting stage left, and perhaps, actual laser beams coming out of my eyeballs. Ignore the jowls -- I spent last week eating only fast food, for which I will be punished accordingly this week. The jowls are actually part of the beauty of this expression, which is passed down from a long line of Swedish women. Normally I am actually adorable, of course.

Case in point.

 Be ye fish, or be ye pirate? 

 Come hither. 

We're not in property management any more!

 Nope, we're self-employed! We know how to put off important things. 

 Photo Booth, how do I love thee. Thou dost amuse me so. 

Lest there was any concern over my ability to embarrass myself.