December 29, 2007

It just feels right.

"Okay, let me see you," he said, holding his little camcorder. We were in a gift shop, surrounded by children scurring around with glee and parents who looked frazzled but happy, all to a very familiar soundtrack which was piped in from the ceiling.

We were in Disneyland. Just for the weekend. And I had run into the gift shop (one of a thousand on Disney's Main Street) on a whim and scrambled to the floor-to-ceiling display of mickey mouse ears; the felt ones, the old-school kind.

I snatched a child-sized blue pair with their floppy plastic mouse ears and propped it jauntily on my head, stretching that cheap (and dangerous) little elastic band around my chin to secure it. My heart immediately swelled a half-size.

I looked up to find Jim pointing his tiny video camera at me, smiling with his eyes, sun pouring in the shop all around him like some sort of beam of happiness. He looked golden. I felt golden. The moment crystallized.

"Can you see how cute you look right now?" he said.

I looked around the store. No mirrors. Was that possible? Ah, well.

I patted my head with satisfaction and grinned back at him from the very center of my inner 5-year old self.

"No," I said, "But it just feels right."

November 26, 2007

Naked near-death experience

I recently almost died, literally, as a result of two things: modesty and multitasking.

(Can't you tell already that this is going to be a good post? I promise that it will be full of all your favorite things, including but not limited to nudity, food, and medical emergencies.)

It was Saturday afternoon. I had gone to the gym and spent too much time there, and had a date that evening. As I got into my car from the gym, the planning began.

There were many things I needed to get done in very little time in order to not be late for said date. These things included eating, showering, and dancing around naked while figuring out what to wear and getting appropriately pumped up, among others. It struck me, then, that there simply wasn't time for it all.

Here's how the math went:

Eat: 20 minutes
Shower: 10 minutes
Dancing, etc.: 55 minutes, at least

I had, say, 30 minutes total to work with.

Clearly, something had to go. Showering was a must-do, as this was a "likely to kiss" date, meaning sweatiness, even properly dried and coiffed, was a big no-no. Which left only one place to scrimp: food. (Clearly, the dancing is key to both my personality and my consistently smashing track record on dates. Let's just say I should teach a course on how to get boys to love you. I'm that dangerous. Ask me how to get them to not be complete douchebags, however, and I stare dumbly at you, for I do not have those answers.)

All the calculations done in my head on the drive home from the gym, I arrived at my abode a veritable whirlwind of activity.

I recall mild surprise that nobody was home, in our huge 4 bedroom house, when I arrived. As I stepped from the garage to the house, I pulled off my shoes and socks. Barefoot, I then raced to the stairs, and in doing so I passed the kitchen, where a bag of tortilla chips sitting on the counter caught my eye. Starving but still committed to my hurry, I snagged three chips from the bag and continued upstairs, into my bedroom and personal bathroom (I have the master bedroom in my house).

I put the chips down on the counter and turned the shower water on. As I waited for it to get warm, I stripped down and ate two of the chips, quickly. (Pleas spare me the lecture on how gross you think it is to put chips down on a bathroom counter -- it's my personal bathroom and is, therefore, clean as a whistle).

Sticking a hand into the stream, I determined it was nearly warm enough for me to enter. Grabbing the last chip and popping it, whole, into my mouth, I slid the door open again and went to step in.

And suddenly my eyes were starry, my heart rate was racing and I couldn't breathe.

In my haste to finish the chip before getting into the shower, or perhaps my inattention to it as I multitasked, I was choking.

On a tortilla chip.

In the shower.


Swallowing hard, tears now streaming down my face, I flung the shower door open and frantically tried to cough. Nothing. I pawed at my throat, and tried the "finger sweep" move in my mouth -- but it was too far down for me to reach.

Having no gag reflex to speak of, forced puking was impossible. Suddenly I recalled seventh grade health, where we learned to administer to others, and ourselves, the heimlich maneuver.

This involved locating a corner of something (table, chair, etc.) and ramming your stomach area, right below your ribs, into it. Simple enough.

Eureka! I thought. I'm saved!

And then I tried it on the corner of my bathroom counter.

Remember, I am still naked as a jaybird, and a bathroom counter is typically sharp-cornered and fake-formica-topped. I jabbed myself about twice before I determined that there was only one thing worse than suffocating to death on a potato chip: heimliching yourself, naked, on a hard tile bathroom counter corner.

Now I'm really starting to panick. I'm only getting a tiny amount of air around this chip, and it's starting to get worse, not better. I realize this is a situation that has just taken a turn for the dangerously worse for me.

Realizing I can't heimlich myself hard enough to dislodge the chip without first puncturing my abdomen, I think about other corners in the house. Downstairs there were plenty -- chairs with round backs, rounded tables, even a bannister that would have worked. Surely that would projectile the stubborn little chip out of my airway and save me. Or I could run across the street to a neighbor's door and fall, gasping, on their doorstep for help!

Except one thing -- I was naked. As a jaybird.

And there was no effing way I was running downstairs, home alone or not, to throw myself on a counter corner, or at the doorstep of a neighbor.

No WAY, dying or not, that I was going to do that.

At this point, my vision is blurring and I am quite convinced that I am about to kick the can. I am now back in my bathroom, standing with my head between my legs, starry-eyed, light headed, and about to go down from lack of oxygen when the irony of the situation hits me:

I lived for 2 years absolutely alone in an apartment, and never once did I choke or get into a life-threatening situation. But the moment I moved into a huge house with 3 roommates, I choke on a potato chip while naked and home alone because I'm multitasking, and because of a sudden stroke of modesty and a low tolerance for pain, I was going to die, naked, on the floor of my bathroom, with the shower running, and a potato chip lodged firmly in my throat.

Fuck! I thought. I haven't even gotten married, reached my sexual peak or worn that green dress yet!

And really, is there a more embarassing thing for your family to have to tell your bereaved than "Yeah, she died of, um, well, a potato chip... naked... in the shower"? It rivals Elvis Presley!

And just when I am getting to the part in the grisly fantasy where my body is discovered, something shifts.

Perhaps it was all the spit and tears, perhaps it was the 150 percent humidity in my now steaming-hot bathroom, but something softened the chip.

It slid sideways, and with a grimace and some scraping, I was able to finally swallow it and take my first full breath of air in more than a minute or two.

I've learned a valuable lesson or two from this experience:

1. Chips are my arch nemesis, second only to the Giant and Collossal Squids
2. The gym can save your life, and I don't mean because it makes you healthy (if I weren't a tiny bit worried about what was going to jiggle and what wasn't, I'd have run out in the street naked and choking, I'm pretty sure.)
3. If anyone ever tells me they gave themselves the heimlich, I will unabashedly point and yell "LIAR!!" because I've tried, and it's just not possible.


Oh, the date went fine. I was only 5 minutes late. And I still managed to shower and dance (more so, even, than usual -- as I'd just survived a near-death experience).

And there was kissing, but no chips.

October 23, 2007

Tre, domesticated.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, my big ass house and my two other roommates and I have been, recently, seeking a fourth roommate. The unfortunate events include but are not limited to letting a douche live with us -- a douche who we thought was our friend -- and then later having that douche douche out on us, by which I mean move to another state a mere week before the beginning of the month (when, lest you forget, rent in the amount of $600-$800 is due).

This has resulted in a few interesting twists in my life over the past month or two.

One of them is that my boyfriend moved into my house.

Now, before my mother starts sobbing hysterically about how hard she tried to "raise me right" and my brother starts repeatedly calling said boyfriend to threaten his life unless he propose, I should clarify: he moved temporarily into my house. Just for a month. To help us with the rent while we sought a "real", non-boyfriend, roommate.

The whole living with your significant other thing is an interesting experience. I've never really been decided on whether or not the rule should be one MUST live with their significant other before marraige or one MUST NOT, and this experience hasn't done much to convince me either way.

Let me explain, pro-con style:

Pros: Your respective schedules, and coordinating them, is no longer an issue, as you're guaranteed to see each other at least once a day, albeit sometimes when you're sleeping.

Another pro? Mealtime. Without even discussing it, Jim and I slipped effortlessly into the ryhthm of making breakfast and dinner for each other. I'd make french toast one day, he'd make egg sandwiches the next. I'd do corn chowder for dinner, he'd do salmon and rice the next day. There's something, as you know, that I find ridiculously sexy about cooking, and cooking together in a house that you both belong in is a whole 'nother hot, intimate, wonderful experience.

Plus there's just the pro of being in the general vicinity of the person who is your most significant other and therefore one of your best friends. Yes -- you better be able to fart in front of each other or your relationship is doomed -- but more than that, it's just nice to come home or wake up and have that person be there, happy to see you, every day.

But there are some cons. Like now he knows exactly how long it takes me to get ready to go out -- about 15 minutes longer than I'd like to have him believe. And he's seen -- and smelled -- me in less than desireable conditions. Living together, you're no longer able to carefully craft your image... cards are all on the table, face up, chips down.

But it gets worse. Take, for instance, the other day, when Jim came home to find me in the hallway outside the washer/dryer, a confused, guilty look on my face.

"I couldn't help it!" I cried, perplexed and flustered.
"Help what?!" Jim was confused and suspicious.
"I saw your laundry pile, and it was just sitting there," I said, face red, hands flapping about, "...and I had nothing better to do, so I just... I just... DID YOUR LAUNDRY!!! Without asking!"

I was horrified. I had become, overnight, a wifey/matronly type who, under the guise of doing her significant other a "favor", occupied her compulsive self by doing laundry like some sort of crack-chore-doing-whore.

There is no end to all the things I suddenly want to do for Jim that he is perfectly capable of doing on his own -- and probably likes doing as a perfectly capable modern man! Like making doctor appointments, cleaning up, doing dishes. Hell, I don't know how to iron and I've been tempted to iron for him!

And I'm OBSESSED with my crockpot. Jesus. I spend 15 minutes a day on looking up crock-pot enchiladas, crockpot stews, crockpot winter chicken roasts. I'm like the weirdly domesticated version of my former self -- suddenly my greatest concern is how I'm going to get a fresh, hot meal on the table in the least amount of time after work. Two months ago, my greatest concern was how to get my blood alcohol level up to .20 in the least amount of time after work.

What has become of me? Am I losing my sex appeal? My spark? My wiley singleton way? Has the constant exposure to testosterone suddenly caused a surge of the opposite in me? Or is it just the winter and the approaching holidays, and that innate female desire to nest, nest, nest when the weather gets chilly?

Whatever it is, it's a phenomenon, and one that's taken me by surprise. I think it must be a phase (a theory I'll test in a week when Jim moves out and into his new place 45 minutes away from me).

In the meantime, I'm going to play out the rest of this little domestic fantasty by going home during lunch to start my spicy black bean soup -- tonight's meal.

But aybe while I'm there, just to be safe, I'll change into some lacy underwear... you know, to keep things cosmically balanced.

October 19, 2007

The past, Hitler, and Rome, according to my mother.

"Hey! That's where my car froze solid one winter and I was stuck here for a week!" I exclaimed, arm outstretched, pointing to a multicolored leaf-strewn residential road on the outskirts of my old college town. My mom and I were driving through it last weekend on the way to our family cabin, which we were traveling to winterize. And I was in the midst of an ongoing flashback, nostalgic and thrilled by the rapid-fire memories I could hardly verbalize before they were overcome with another more powerful one.

"And that's my old house! Oh God, the fondue parties we used to throw..."
"I had my very first class in that building... and there is where I learned how to throw a football... and there's where we used to sled in the winter and mudslide in the summers... and that's where I'd always go to skip class... and that's where I met--"

I stopped short for a moment, torn between enjoying the memory for what it was and mourning its presence at that moment.

Undecided, I turned towards my mom in the car.

"Isn't it weird how strongly attached certain places and things are to people from your past? Even when you don't want them to be," I moaned, "they just can't be untangled."

"Oh honey," my mom scoffed, half-laughing, half-scolding, "tell me about it. I've got 30 years worth of those places and things!"

My mom is recently divorced. From my dad. Her first marraige "failed", if that's the word, after 30 years. And she's doing incredibly well - looks better than ever, smiles all the time -- it was a good thing ultimately, as breakups almost always are.

But the truth remained: she has more memories painfully tied to my father, a compulsive and abusive cheater and liar, than I have of my entire existance.

"Oh yeah," I said. "Does that make you angry? I mean, aren't those memories prone to just barging in unwelcomed?"

"Eh," she shrugged, "At first, I guess. But after a while you realize that all those memories are true, and really happened, and are a part of your past. What are you going to do?"

"I dunno, brainsurgery?" I quipped. "Have you ever seen Eternal Sunshine?"

"Well, there's a lobotomy, or there's recognizing that where you've been before defines you, regargless of if it was as graceful or as spotless as you wish it were. The fact remains that you are who you are today thanks to where you were yesterday."

I nodded. .

"It's like Hitler," she said. "He killed a bunch of people. Mostly Jews. It's horrible, you can't pretend it isn't, but in the end, is what it is. A real part of the real past. You can't undo it."

I nearly broke my neck I whipped my head towards her so fast. Searching her face for a hint of sarcasm while failing to hold back a torrent of horrified laughter, I managed to get out a punishing "MOM!" and then "You realize you just compared your ex-marriage to the Holocaust, right? Don't you think that's a bit much?!"

"Well," she said, eyes dancing with health and humor and a bit of that gypsy mystery she has about her, "Maybe, but when in Rome..."

"Mom, I don't think that's the right context for..." I stopped, smiled and shook my head. "Oh, nevermind."

October 18, 2007

Airlines are the devil. Now gimme my window seat!

I had a conference and a couple business meetings to attend lastweek in Texas, for which I bought plane tickets weeks ago. I was over zealous when buying the tickets, and decided I could tough out a redeye flight, which would save me a night in a hotel, but also get me to my destination city early enough to not feel rushed and deal with anything that went majorly awry before it was, as they say, "showtime".


The night before the flight, at about 10 p.m., I got my handy-dandy Orbitz flight alert with that perky lady who proceeded to tell me my flight, scheduled to take off in 2 hours, was delayed. Yes, a red eye flight, delayed. So I called the airlines in an attempt to catch a later flight out -- like one when, I dunno, the sun was up.

And do you know what the nice lady with the southern accent told me? There was a flight at 11 the next morning which I could get on, but I would have to call back at exactly 11 p.m. to claim the ticket, as there was some sort of 12 hour rule. And there was no amount of convincing I could do to get some leniency on this rule, I discovered.

Well, shit. That meant I had to get in the car and start driving to the airport while calling the airlines at precisely 11 to hopefully snag the last ticket on that flight. So i did. And 20 minutes later, guess what I discovered? No ticket left. But there WAS, I was informed, a flight at 12:30 the next afternoon, and if I wanted to wait until 12:30 a.m. -- or 3:30 a.m. for the 3:30 pm flight, I could do that.

What the fuck? This is a bullshit rule. I was ON THE PHONE, with my CREDIT CARD IN HAND, dying to buy a ticket, and they told me that on a technicality I'd have to skip my flight, cross my fingers, turn around in a circle, and stay awake until 3 in the morning to MAYBE buy a plane ticket for 3 in the afternoon!

This made no sense to me. So I hung up and continued to the airport, where my flight was further delayed. By almost 1 a.m. I was finally boarding, looking forward to my window seat, when I discovered seating had been rearranged, and I was now on an aisle.


I hate aisle seats. I hate them because I can't ever fully relax in them (relaxing is imperative on a redeye flight, as you simply cannot be the one asshole with the reading light on in a pitch dark plane for 4 hours). I can't relax in them because I'm always afraid someone in the middle or window seat is going to need to pee and I'm going to have to get up so they can get out, because if I'm asleep when they have to go they might feel uncomfortable waking me up.

Now, I'm the ideal window passenger because I'm like a camel -- I get on planes and no matter how long that flight is, I NEVER have to get up to pee, or primp, or puke. No sir. I am asleep in a window seat before takeoff, ipod in place, and wake up right about when the plan touches down, sometimes slightly after.

So maybe that actually makes me more like a sloth or hibernating bear than a camel.

No matter, you get the point:

1. Redeyes suck
2. Airlines are the devil (albeit with very friendly voices in customer service)
3. If you're the person who has to pee once an hour on cross-country flights, you might remember me. I'm the person in the aisle who politely lets you out and then sticks her foot out to trip you on your way to the tiny cube potty -- for the THIRD TIME. Nice to meet you.

September 28, 2007

Actual virtual conversation

Pat: Can animals join al-Qaeda? I'm just curious if they'll take anyone, or some poor saps get turned away...and/or animals.

Me: As long as they hate modern clothing and the baby Jesus.

Pat: Why am I in a predicament that involves me needing scissors to open scissors? Terroristic animals are the least of my worries now!

Me: This morning, I almost had to pull over and ask the construction workers to assist me, using power tools, with the opening of an Advil + Sinus pill blister pack. Fucking technology. In other news, I'm throwing a karaoke-housewarming party and I wish wish wish you didn't live in god forsaken TEXAS.

Pat: I rocked Montell Jordan the other night at karaoke like nobody's business. I'm talking standing ovation type shit. Texas, particularly San Antonio, blows. What a great representation of this fine state! It smells like Antonio Banderas, which I think is who it's named after.

Me: Well, THAT was random.

Happy Friday!

September 27, 2007

The sound of September

Fall is always a good time for music for me -- I am restrained by the weather to hours inside on weekends, which means I'm looking for tunes to drive to, clean to, read to, nap to... Music becomes my little pet project.

September's soundtrack:

1. Paolo Nutini.
He's a 19 year old Scottish singer/songwriter, but for all the cliche that is in that description, he's relatively memorable, in a "these songs were totally written for motion picture soundtracks" kinda way. His song "Last Request" reminds me of the pointless romances we've all endured (and endured is the right word). It's pathetic and sad and really wonderful up loud on a rainy day in the car. Almost everything he sings is melancholy, with the exception of "New Shoes", which is a happy little ditty that warms up the corners of your your brain, sticks in your molars like white bread and makes me smile like an idiot.

2. Muse.
I'm hooked. The song "Starlight" is kickass, as is "Invincible". To give them a listen, click here.

3. Sara Bareilles.
This is the perfect "telling me to love you doesn't make me love you, you smothering asshole" song, only it's so damn sweet you'd never know it.

4. Citizen Cope.

Hello, you. He's been in the music game for a while, but I recently rediscovered Cope, and can only say that if you're not already a big fan of his go-go/funk/rock/soul sound (and his... um... hotness), one listen to "Sideways" and "Bullet and a Target" (and a lookie loo at his videos, ladies) will make you a believer.

5. Regina Spektor.

Fidelity is rapidly becoming a "most played" song on the iTunes, but she's interesting across the board. Looks like Tori Amos, has a unique Bjork-reminiscent sound -- she's one of the few singers (another? Imogen Heap.)who's voice wavers between sounding human and sounding purely instrumental.

September 26, 2007

Hello, little Chuckie!

This is the scariest thing I've ever seen on the Internet (and I've seen Britney Spears' crotch)... thank you, Perez Hilton.

It is also (along with Britney Spears' kids) a reasonably valid argument against having children.

For more retro demonic kid ads, plus the fun bonus of deeply disturbing cuisine ads, go here. Whatever these ads were selling, I'm not buying. I'm a particularly big fan of the devilied eggs layed on top of day-glo mac and cheese and surrounded by halved tomatoes and the creampuffs full of peas.

Good God. Thanks, Plan59!)

September 24, 2007

"It's a race... and I'm WINNING!"

This image has literally nothing to do with the post that will follow, except it has the word "race" in it and the quote with which this post is titled is from the movie "Rat Race". (That was like a free association exercise, and I apologize, but now that it's there I'm not taking it back because if you're reading this you clearly don't have shit to do, anyway.)

I believe we've discussed here before that I am at the very least unpredictable, and at most the human embodiment of the word "contradiction". Totally put together on the outside, while secretly stupidly scattered. Great at taking care of other people, almost genetically unable to care for myself. Great at parking, terrible at driving. Torn between city and country, summer and fall, passivity and aggression. Super flirty but impossibly prude.

And, above all, at once graceful and incredibly accident-prone, both at all the wrong times.

Which is where this story comes in.

I recently went with Jim out to lunch. We met in my office, and as we walked towards the elevators, we were joking and laughing about God knows what. It's important to note that the long hallway leading towards the elevators is set up as follows. On the right: wall. On the floor: carpet. On the left: an expanse of windows that looks in to the engineering department at my company (in other words, a bunch of computer nerds staring at their screens, iPods on, facing the window.

"Hey!" Jim said, stopping in the middle of our banter, "I have an idea!"

"What?" I was intruiged as I saw his eyes light up. Whatever it was, it was going to be fun.

"Let's race---"

At the word "race", I knew it was on. In an attempt to get a head start to the elevator, I leapt immediately, yelling "GOOOOO!" AND swinging my heel-clad right foot forward violently -- the first step in my inevitable sprint to victory.

But instead of catapaulting triumphantly forward, I was shocked to discover myself instead flailing violently, unable to get my right foot on the ground. My right heel, on a clear path to glory just a moment before, had firmly snagged in my wide-cuffed kick-ass herringbone trousers just before making contact with the ground, resulting in a "hog-tied" affect -- both my feet together, neither able to move independently.

This, combined with the enthusiasm with which I thrust my body forward behind my first step, resulted in a sort of fishlike wiggling and then a very dramatic faceplant, barely involving my arms, onto the carpeted hallway.

It was horribly quite "Free Willy" -- I sorta dove/slid on my belly down the hall a few feet before coming to a complete stop directly in front of the window looking into the office, and right in front of the baffled, mortified Jim.

"Please," he said, his face a mixture of 80 percent humiliation and 20 percent amusement, "PLEASE tell me you meant to do that."

Unhooking my foot and rolling onto my back, I burst into laugher -- again, right there on the floor in front of the window and in my office hallway. I had, of course, not meant to do that. Jim's great white hope that I had intended that contortionist act of physical comedy made the situation that much funnier. Combined with the look on the face of one engineer dierctly in front of the window, who removed an iPod earbud and was staring, agape, and I couldn't stop laughing.

Realizing the Great Floor Flop of 2007 was unintentional, Jim's face fell. "Oh, God," he said as he swiftly walked away from me and to the elevator, pushing the "down" button rapid-fire, "Get up."

Apparently Jim got his sense of humor back the second he wasn't being associated with me in a publicly mortifying situation, because this is the story that's been told nonstop for the last few days, while the fact that I did the splits and two back handsprings when I got up goes completely unreported.

Either way, I swear to God I would have won that race if not for the disqualification. I'm presently negotiating for a rematch. In a less dangerous outfit, of course.

September 10, 2007


"You know, we should be nicer to each other," Jim said. We were setting up badminton set in my backyard, while drinking red wine and sweating after work one day recently.

"Yeah? Nicer, huh?" I was focused on untying a knot. Things weren't going particularly well with the badminton set -- stuff was tangled, the ground was too soft, then too hard, the net was crooked.

With Jim and I, things were going smashingly, except both he and I have acerbic wits, sharp tongues, and a wide sarcastic streak. Before we dated, these traits were fun. Once we started hanging out, these traits served as flirty little conversation crutches. But lately, once in a pretty solid relationship, our barbs have started to occasionally stick, which means we've each spent a little more time than we should every week nursing unnecessary wounds and pouting at each other.

"Yeah, nicer," he continued. "I think our communication could be a little better lately, don't you?"

I just about threw down the badminton set and ran to the nearest gas station to buy a lottery ticket. Was I getting a talk about communication? From a man? Who I am dating?

Who is, then and therefore, not gay?

It was a minor miracle.

In an attempt to not overreact to the awesomeness of the moment, I played it cool.

"Yeah, I think you're probably right. Less sarcasm would be good. Deal."

(That was a lie. I did not play it cool. I launched into a 4 minute psychological dissection of why our normally entertaining and sarcastic conversations were starting to drive us both nuts. Standard communication-happy emo-girl stuff.)

Then, as quickly as we'd started talking about it, the conversation was over. A solution was in place. We agreed to take it easier on each other. More love, less war. At the same time, my knot was untied. The net was up. We each stepped back and picked up our rackets, looking over our handiwork.

"There. Look how much we accomplished in a few minutes!" Jim grinned at me from across the net.

"Yeah," I said, admiring the net with my own broad smile. "It looks awesome!"

Then, a moment of silence, which I noted a tad awkward. I looked over at Jim, who had his head tilted quizzically at me.

"What?" I said.

"Um, I was talking about our relationship... but the net looks good, too," he laughed, shaking his head.

Holy shit. Either I'm totally out of my element, or I've met my match.

September 05, 2007

My GynoCarnival

I sat in one of 14 lined-up gray chairs in a gray room, legs crossed, flipping boredly through Parenting magazine, steadily getting more pissed off as I watched the clock tick steadily past my appointment time. The irony of my reading material was not lost on me, as I was there to... um... not get pregnant.

About halfway through the article on how to potty train a stubborn child (and 20 minutes after my appointment for the single most horrifying day of any above-18 woman's year -- the pap smear), a stubby nurse in a horribly flowered set of scrubs opened a door and called my name.

"Oh, that's me," I said, scrambling to stand, shove my blackberry into my bag and stuff the magazine back in the rack with the other "YAAAAY! Babies are FUUUNNN!" magazines.

"Right this way," she said, predictably, gesturing down the hall to one of many doors with little numbers in pink on the outside. I was in room 3. "Now just get undressed, drape this over you," (here she hands me a blue cloth approximately the size of a hand towel) "And crack the door when you're undressed. The doctor will be with you shortly."

"Great," I said. "I thought for a minute he was standing me up!"

I always think it's a good idea to try to be funny at these things, which never goes well. The nurse grunted in my general direction while fiddling with a clipboard. "Oh," she said over her shoulder on her way out, "I've got an extern here shadowing me for the day, so if you don't mind, she'd like to observe your procedure."

Well, if that wasn't a loaded question, I thought. What am I going to do, say no to science? That's like not donating organs, which you simply can't not do, because what kind of person won't give their organs away if they're not using them? Jesus. "Uh huh," I nodded. "Sure."

The door firmly shut behind me, I disrobed, as instructed, piling my clothes under my purse on the chair across the room from the exam table, grabbed the tiny drape and strategically placed it so I could go to the other side of the room, crack the door, and sit down on the papered exam table without an incident of indecent exposure.

Once safely on the table, door partially open, I became aware again of the tiny size of the drape. Either I am a larger than normal-sized person, or this thing wasn't capable of properly draping over a female body and covering enough to keep the examination room rated PG-13.

As I tugged and considered my nakedness, the clock kept ticking. After 10 minutes went by, I started to anxiously look over to my purse, where I could hear the steady "buzzzzzz..... buzzzzzz" of my blackberry, indicating I had recieved email from work.

Now a full 40 minutes after my appointment had passed, the buzzing continued, and I was on the brink of a meltdown. I simply. couldn't. stand it. anymore. So, taking a deep breath, I strategically repositioned the drape, and barefoot and naked with the door half open, raced across the room to my bag where I dug frantically for the blackberry before sprinting back and leaping up onto the paper-covered table again, gasping and re-adjusting the useless piece of cloth while people talked in the hallway just outside the partially open door.

Back to safety, I distracted myself from the fact that my appointment was already technically over by sending 15 work emails (again, while effing naked at the effing gyno. Can you say workaholic?) And then, at last, the doctor entered, frumpy nurse and 12-year-old extern in tow.

"Get your emailing done?" he said sarcastically, noting the blackberry in my right hand; my only accessory. I nodded sheepishly. "Alright," he said, "This should go pretty quickly." I leaned back, feet in stirrups, and tried to relax.

And then, a few seconds into the exam, my phone rang, blaring out a Rufus Wainwright song titled "Rules and Regulations" for which the chorus includes "Theeese are just the rules and regulaaations/for the birds/and the bees...". And as I scrambled to silence it in the middle of my exam, it occurred to me that there was a huge mirror in the room, which reminded me of the many E.R. and Grey's Anatomy episodes where classes of snarky 20-somethings sat behind one-way mirrors to watch procedures, and I pictured myself being the subject of this observation, with my ineffective drape and my gay songwriter "birds and bees" ringtone and the nurse-extern-doctor medical triangle at my feet.

I just couldn't stop myself. I burst into a fit of giggles.

This thoroughly confused the doctor and the nurse, who exclaimed "It's okay, honey! It's like getting the hiccups in church!" to which I laughed harder. By the time the exam was over, I was teary eyed and heaving.

And then, I remembered that two of my work friends and I had recently been discussing all the new birth control methods and had vowed to ask our doctors for their opinions of all the options so we could compare notes, you know... just in case. And as the horrified nurse and extern stood there, I, half-naked and having just experienced the strangest pap of my life, asked my doc about birth control.

He ran through a couple types -- things I'd never heard before -- with names that I swear sounded like spaceships or military acronyms. (By the way, thanks a lot, public education system, for the stellar sex-ed). And then, he came to "The Ring".

"The Ring" I was familiar with, having actually remembered that from human sexuality in college. Doc ran through a couple little bits of information about that particular method, noting that the only possible inconvenience was that some people liked to remove it before... uh... intercourse.

"Oh, really?" I said, trying really hard to be all adult and stuff about this super-weird topic in front of my audience of three and still chilly and naked. "Why would you remove it if you don't have to?"

And here is where my appointment ended with a bang:

"Well," he said, "You don't have to, but sometimes if you leave it in... well... you might just ring yourself a penis!!"

I immediately snorted with laughter and the extern began to giggle, us both certainly picturing some sort of carnival game where if you "ring a penis", you get some huge, overstuffed pink elephant, a goldfish, or a bunch of stick-on tattoos. Unbelievably hamming it up, Doc continued, now gesturing as though plucking low-hanging fruit from a tree:

"...and then you'd have to say (here's where he uses his female falsetto)'whoops! i'm going to need that back!'"


I swear to God, sometimes my life is like an episode of Sex in the City gone wrong... way, way wrong, only with less sex, less money, and in distinctly more practical shoes.

August 28, 2007

Tuesday, we get to laugh. Over and over. And over.

Oh, South Carolina, I am so, so very sorry.

Also, really, Michael Vick? I mean, REALLY?

August 27, 2007

I live in a jungle but there's good music there

My "indoor" cat which now spends the vast majority of her time outdoors brought me this lovely present the other morning -- a shrew, it's tiny belly pressed to the carpet, little scooper hands splayed out to the side, right there in my living room. It looked asleep, almost. So much so that I stood over it and stared at it for a good four minutes before getting up the nerve to pick it up with my paper towel-wrapped fingers and toss it out.

And Keelah sat there watching me watch it, and then watching me dispose of it, the whole time purring violently and making figure-eights between my feet like she was so proud of herself. I gotta give it to her, though, for being a three-pound cat with no front claws, she's a helluva hunter.

Later that day, she killed a 3-inch spider in my sink and laid it up on the counter for me to find in the morning.

I didn't realize, until my cat started hunting, that I was surrounded by bugs and vermin. Reassuring, isn't it?

Oh well. She may be a pain in the ass, but at least she brings home the bacon. Which is significantly more than I can say for one of my roommates.

Monday playlist:

Night Swimming -- R.E.M. Just try it. You'll like it.

Brighter Than Sunshine -- Aqualung. This song makes me feel desperately, irreversably, incurably in love, even when I'm not. But just for the record, I might be.

Almost Lover -- A Fine Frenzy. They're a band led by a lilting, dramatic, piano-playing female vocalist. They opened for Rufus Wainwright at the Moore, and were a distinctly non-sucky opener. This song is pretty much the saddest "almost love" song ever. My boyfriend wants to sleep with the redhead. For all the above reasons minus one, I love them.

No Love -- Team Facelift. Thier name is Team Facelift. They have a song called "Lotion in the Basket". The three rappers in the group are called Machine, Fat Jew and Ginger Ale. They care most about, according to their MySpace page, "not giving a fuck". I like that.

August 21, 2007

Try not to panic, it's only heaven.

Heaven is totally overrated. It seems boring. Clouds, listening to people play the harp. It should be somewhere you can’t wait to go, like a luxury hotel. Maybe blue skies and soft music were enough to keep people in line in the 17th Century, but heave has to step it up a bit. They’re basically getting by because they only have to be better than Hell.

–Joel Stein, Columnist for The Los Angelas TimesRead his whole post here

My personal heaven? Lots of sun. Lots of water. Lawn everywhere -- a little long, but not unkempt. Popsicles. Footballs and frisbees and fishing off docks. And kissing.

And dogs. Many dogs. Maybe a dog to person ratio of, like 1:1. Have you ever noticed that usually dogs are a lot easier to be around than people or, say, cats? And sometimes more interesting.

Speaking of interesting, can somebody please explain to me what a jellyfish actually IS? Do they drift, or swim, or both? Do they hunt, or just run into their food, or both? And where does their food go? I've seen lots of jellyfish, but it appears to me they are all hungry, because I've never seen a jellyfish with a fish in its "stomach". Because I'd know. Because they're clear.

Also, while we're talking food and confusion, what is the nutritional value of a mushroom? As far as I can tell, their closest relative is dirt. Or maybe rocks. Or sponges. In any case, they're delicious.

My friend's aunt drinks non-alcoholic beer. Which is funny, because while I like the taste of beer, I also like the warm fuzzy feeling it gives your brain, right at the outer edges, kind of like when you're just about to fall asleep or orgasm. But my friend's aunt just drinks non-alcoholic beer because it reminds her she used to have orgasms, I think.

Speaking of things that are manufactured to impersonate good things but minus certain unsavory parts, why hasn't anyone come up with a non-tobacco and nicotine cigarette yet? For all the orally-fixated people of the world (me, for instance) that would be a delightful thing -- and unlike non-alcoholic beer, you would be getting the ultimate satisfaction of smoking (hand to mouth to hand to mouth) with none of the gross side-effects, including but not limited to stinkiness, wrinkliness, cancerousness, terrifyingly gutteral chronic cough and poorness due to ridiculously high tobacco taxes. (Not that I suffer from any of those afflictions, as I am not a smoker; I just think it's worth noting.)

Last night I was so anxious about having been on (lovely, relaxing) vacation and away from (interesting, fast-paced, exciting) work that I decided to throw a party, cook for 8 of my closest friends, and drink a bottle of red wine. Which was a good idea, up until the 3 a.m. panic attack, when I woke up and was so stressed out all I could do was reach stiffly for the blackberry next to my bed and breathe too fast (in and out, shiraz-flavored panting) while scrolling through the next four months on my outlook calendar frantically, the whole time convinced that I was going to drop dead of a heart attack at the tender age of twenty-something-too-young-to-die.

Panic attacks are interesting because when they strike they are stealthy, only waking you up from a dead sleep when you are already apparently in the grip of death, grim reaper with his gnarly hand on your heart, which is pounding out of your chest. Your limbs tingle, giant tears hang out in your eyes threatening to roll down each cheek. And my panic attacks, at least, are about nothing specific, but rather everything minute and inconsequential.

For example: My toilet is clogged, not flushing right. No big deal, need to plunge and draino again and that will probably fix it up, right? Right?

But if plunging and draino doesn't do it, what then?

What if I damaged the plumbing in the house and the pipes break and water goes through the second floor ceiling and down into the kitchen and they have to dig giant holes in my room to repair it and I get kicked out and my cat escapes or drowns in the runoff and my friends have nowhere for me to stay and I can't find another place to live and I get fired for missing work because I have to canoe through my house and then sick from the standing water and can't afford the medical bills and then my boyfriend leaves me for someone less quirky and confrontational and significantly less disasterous in every way and I am left with only that hooded sweatshirt I hate because it chokes me and my highschool yearbook and a guitar I still can't play, lying on my friend's parents' couch where I die alone and still unable to play "Blackbird"?

Panic attacks are about, you know, stuff like that.

And all you want is for somebody to tell you you're not going to die and maybe pet your head like when you were five years old and remind you that you're not alone, not at all alone, and not a crazy person, well maybe just a little.

But nobody's there, so instead, you picture the worst case scenario: you, dead.

And then it occurs to you that maybe, just maybe that might not be so bad. And then you have an idea: Distract yourself from your own unnamed panicky dread by picturing heaven. (Aaaah, and here is where this post starts to come together. Do you see it now? The genius? Thank you.)

And then, as fast as they came, the panicking and palpitation and panting are gone and you are waking up extra early later that morning and going to the gym to get the lingering panic out and then you're at work, all early-like, and things have changed since you were gone, but not that much, and people are glad to see you and your things are still in your office. Even the stapler and your plants, Spike and Henry.

And there are flowers on your desk. And a friend mailed you a book while you were gone. Both these things make you smile really big even though nobody is looking.

And someone tells you you're "glowing". Which is funny, because if a panic attack and 4 hours of sleep following a bottle of wine makes you glow, you think, you should be basically beaming most of the time.


I'm back, and while perhaps not entirely recovered from my vacation, I'm thankful for it almost without exception -- the only exception being the overflowing "in" box on my desk.

I'll get back atcha when I've had a bit more oxygen and maybe a little something to eat. In the meantime, welcome to a whole new week. Try not to panic.

You know what works for me? Picturing heaven, with the dogs and the lawn and the docks and the sunlight. And the kissing. Especially that. That's better than Hell and panicking, both.

August 15, 2007

Goodness update

There are many good things happening (BO-RING, I know) at the moment -- in fact, so many that I have no time for a proper (or, rather, completely inappropriate, lengthy and unnecessarily sarcastic) post. So, instead, a list, which I'll come back to for discussion as soon as humanly possible (and I return from vacation):

1. I'm going on vacation!
As usual, this will entail lots of sun, shit-talking while playing various games and sports, alcohol and lying around when not shit talking, drinking, or playing sports. Or frantically waving on-fire marshmallows around my head trying to extinguish them when I accidentally over-toast them (in my toasted, overly, state).

2. I'm alive, surviving the world's worst flu of all time. (Okay, it wasn't that bad, but I didn't eat or work for 3 days, so for me, that's major).

3. My escape artist cat is now an indoor/outdoor cat! This means I 1) don't have to feel guilty about being a bad mother and giving her away and 2) she's smarter than I gave her credit for: when she gets out, she kicks it in the great outdoors for a while, then realizes it's boring and scary out there and there's nothing good to eat and comes home, sits outside the door and meows until someone hears her and lets her in. Hurrah!

There's more, as always, but before I can fully re-commit myself to you, humble readers, I must bake myself for four days outside cell phone range and far, far away from the Interweb.

Wish me luck, have a lovely weekend, and we'll talk soon.

August 10, 2007

Sick sucks, but has its moments...

I've slept for 72 hours in the last 5 days. That means I've been awake for about 48.

I have some sort of virus that completely knocked me out, and sent me scampering home Monday morning at 10 a.m. after a pretty valiant attempt at actually going to work. In the car on the way home, in fact, I was doing that thing you do when you're feverish: shaking and whimpering. Audibly whimpering.

And sweating.

The only time I got up Monday and Tuesday was when the boy showed up and made me drink liquids and when I sweat through my sheets so badly that I had to get up to shower, change my sheets, and go back to bed.


But there were perks.

In two days, this is what I ate:
4 Otter Pops
8 spoonfulls of soup
5 spoonfulls of ice cream
2 bites of bread

This non-eating policy my stomach launched over the course of the past week had a delightful side benefit. When I finally got up Wednesday morning feeling slightly better, I went to the bathroom in a bra and underwear to brush my teeth and was greeted by a pleasantly super-flat stomach and tinier than usual waist.

"Huh," I thought. "Well, at least there's that." I might have had the energy of an Ethiopian boy, but I was looking lithe. And I was feeling much better. So much better that I could go to work.

So much better that after work, I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate my newfound health at a work function with 4 to 5 tasty beers along with my colleagues and executives (we wone a big award, so everyone was celebrating).

And that's when the perk turned on me.

You see, a girl with a virus who doesn't eat and just sleeps and sweats for two full days has the alcohol tolerance of an eight year old. I had nothing in my stomach but beer. And I was feeling good!

Until 7 a.m. Thursday, when I woke up with a hangover like I've never had before -- and guess who was baaa-aaaack? Yep, the fever, the chills, the sweating -- the virus. It hadn't gone away, it was just taking a break. And when I let my guard down and thought I was cured, it came back to bitch-slap me for my stupidity.

Yesterday wasn't such a hot day at work. And though I was sick and brutally hungover, I toughed it out (after all, everyone had seen me feeling SO good the night before... I couldn't possibly take another sick day). The only upside there is that everyone else was so hung over too (no kidding -- literally everyone was dragging ass, and we're a 100+ person company) that nobody noticed me in my office, bundled up in a coat, scarf and slippers with the heat full blast, shivering and sweating like no tomorrow.

Today, though -- today is a new day. I'm hydrated, I'm still boasting the tight tummy, and I'm not drinking a drop this weekend. Because I hate sick. Sick sucks. And I'm never doing it again.

Have a happy, healthy Friday. Do something your body will love you for, for once.

[Note: Don't worry -- once I'm back to 100 percent, all this positivity about "your body is a temple" and whatnot will inevitably fall to the wayside and I'll be back to my usual antics, but until then, humor me, will you? And think happy, healthy thoughts. And send me presents and sympathy emails. Thank you.]

August 02, 2007

Not technically plagiarism, just extreme, credited, laziness

From Dooce, pretty much the funniest blog excerpt I've read in a while. It's long for an excerpt, which I'm sure violates some sort of copyright law, but what the hell? Drive fast, take chances, I say.

[And Dooce, apologies for the fact that I'm leveraging your shit to entertain my readers because my shit today is actually quite shit-like, which is to say unfunny/uninteresting, whereas your shit is golden.]

At any rate, we enter the scene when our heroine is in the middle of a quick and thrilling livingroom hookup with her hubby (their roommate, GEORGE!, is out at the moment, presumably for the night, hence the rogue non-bedroom hook-uppage):

"...I’ll just go ahead and admit that there is nudity, like there is wont to be in this type of situation, and within a few minutes there is a cloud of shirts and pants and pillow cushions that has sex-ploded in a giant burst over the entire living room, like a herd of elephants has come through and knocked everything over. And we’re being very friendly with each other when suddenly a strange but familiar noise comes ringing through the air, that of a door handle being vigorously jiggled.

I don’t even remember this happening because it is so lightning fast, but somehow Jon is mid-air within, I don’t know, a blink? And just as quickly he has one leg into his underwear. Now, I have no frame of reference as to what I’m supposed to do in this type of situation. I’ve never had to hide the act of sex from anyone because I started participating in it at an age when my parents were not in the other room. And a part of me thinks that if I close my eyes GEORGE! will just go away. If I can’t see him then he can’t see me. That’s called physics.

Meanwhile Jon is waiting for me to make a move, to hop up and carry my bare white ass to a closet or at least behind a piece of furniture. And I notice that he’s looking very confused, so all I can think to do is grab one of the pillows I have thrown off the couch and cover my body, although come to find out it’s only big enough to cover one body part, not two at the same time, and it’s Sophie’s Choice right there in my living room...."

How's that for a cliffhanger? Read the rest, here.

July 29, 2007

Cardinal sin #28: Pity-dating

"I know she's not the one," sighed my friend P into his pint of Red Hook IPA. He was having "relationship issues". I love talking about "relationship issues". Hence us, together, over Bang Bang shrimp and drinks, (two more things I love) dissecting his relationship with his girlfriend of a couple years.

He's never cheated (hell, he felt guilty about meeting me for some platonic female counseling), treats his girlfriends like gold, is smart and an idealist and is actually capable of expressing himself intelligently with some real emotional maturity while also maintaining a distincly masculine air. He's no weenie, but he's also no brute.

Christ, looking back at that paragraph, he's like the holy grail of men, isn't he? And, dear single ladies, he's attractive. AND bilingual.

But he's also a notorious pity-dater.

This girl, who he met and almost immediately started dating and later moved in with, was a "pretty", "nice" girl. The prettiness and niceness were, well, pretty and nice at first.

"There weren't 'sparks', per se," he said, "But she was sweet, and liked me, and it just felt right."

"Right?" I raised my eyebrow.

"Easy," he conceded. "Routine. Which seemed at the time like the way it was supposed to be, I guess."

They never fought. (Let it be known that I believe every great relationship survives because its members know how to do two things very intelligently: fight and apologize -- and mean them both). He never cheated. The sex was just okay. (I asked.) Their phone conversations were short.

"Okay, so let me extrapolate this and see if I'm getting your drift," I said, taking a deep breath. "You go to work in grey cubicles every morning, meet for cheese sandwich lunches during which you hardly speak except about the weather. You come home at night, eat vanilla ice cream after your chicken just before putting on your footie P.J.s and saying your prayers every night at 8:30 sharp on the way to your (separate) beds."

"Yes!" he said. "Exactly! This is a vanilla relationship. At first, I liked the vanilla. It was sweet and looked nice and felt good going down..." He paused for effect while enjoying my cringe.

"But now, all the things that attracted me in the first place turn out not to matter. Yeah, she's pretty. But Jesus Christ, she's boring. We're boring. We don't talk about anything. She doesn't care about anything. She's totally dependent on me, and she's clueless that I could ultimately take her or leave her. I don't know what to do. I mean, I feel bad. She's just so nice."

He spat out the "n" word like it was bitter.

There he sat in relationship limbo, dating a girl that was perfectly fine but nothing special, and it was driving him crazy. To make matters worse for him, he felt completely helpless to rectify the situation because she was literally killing him with kindess. And he didn't want to "hurt her feelings" by breaking it off.

This, of course, was ridiculous.

I, of course, pointed that out.

"Um, don't take this the wrong way, P," I said, "but do you really think anyone wants to be with somebody who is just dating them out of pity? I meam, life goes on after you. Give this girl a little credit... if you told her how you felt, I bet she'd be out of there in 10 seconds flat."

And then we played my favorite game ever: Worst to best.

This game is best played when trying to helpfully counsel your friends through a tough decision -- one they're afraid to make (or not make).

You ask them to start out by describing the worst possible outcome of a situation. In this case, if he did option 1 (break up with her), the worst possible outcome was that she'd cry, scream, slam doors and move out. And P would be single. And he'd be lonely and depressed for a few weeks. The breakup could get ugly, but even in the worst possible scenario, he'd be free of an unsatisfying relationship.

Once you've thoroughly described the worst possible outcome, you do the same with other outcomes that are a few degrees better than the last one, until you come to the best possible outcome. In this case, that would be him talking to her, her understanding and even agreeing, and them peacefully going their separate ways.

We then did this for option 2: Not breaking up with her. The worst possible outcome there was that he would spend a lifetime with her, growing to resent her, and he either ends up cheating or just hating her because she's keeping him from actually falling in love. The best possible outcome would be him getting to just be satisfied with "eh", "eh-ing" out into infinity.

"So?" I asked after P had gamely gone through these scenarios with me.

"I know what I have to do," he nodded.

That was three weeks ago. P ended it two and a half weeks ago. She didn't even cry. He was lonely for about a week (it's not that hard to break up with someone you didn't really love to begin with, you know? A few good nights out and a dirty movie or two and he was over it.)

Yesterday he called me and said he'd met someone at a wedding over the weekend and they'd spent three solid days together since.

I haven't ever heard him talk about someone the way he talked about this girl. I'd repeat it all, but the superlatives even make me want to gag a little. And let it be known that there wasn't a "pretty" or "nice" in there anywhere. Try "breathtaking", "fantastic", "whip-smart", "hilarious".

Long story short: there are sparks. For the first time ever for him. I suspect he's not going back to "eh".

Let that be a lesson to all of us who have ever pity-dated (God knows I have -- biggest purple Bronco-driving, tongue ring having, 7-foot, leg-shaving mistake ever).

Hold out for sparks. Life's too long for "eh", and too short to never know what it feels like to glow in the company of someone you think is far, far more than just okay.

July 25, 2007

Mike Birbiglia

This is one funny man.

My favorite stand up comic by far at the moment. Click the links above, watch, laugh, and then memorize these jokes and attempt to pass them off as your own. Seriously. It works 3 out of 5 times.

His site is here.

Happy hump day!

July 19, 2007

I'm apparently a jersey-chasing scavenger.

“Well, you’re all set”, landlordlady said, handing me the extra housekeys. “Let me know if you have any questions about the place, otherwise, welcome home!”

I was giddy. A new house! With roommates! And a yard! I was already planning my first three parties: BBQ housewarming, a “naughty” party for the girls, then a Beer Pong and Paper-Scissor-Rock tournament, complete with Manny’s keg.

“Oh,” Landlordlady’s voice snapped me out of my party-planning reverie. “…and sorry about that,” she said, gesturing to the overflowing recycling bin at the corner of the garage. “That was left by the previous renters, but they’ll pay for garbage pickup this week. He was a Seahawk, so they had a ton of stuff to throw out when they moved.”

My ears perked up.

“A Seahawk, huh?” I tried not to sound too eager for details. “Who?”

“Oh, well… if you look around, I’m sure you can figure it out. But I don’t want to say, you understand…”

Well, I didn’t understand, but as she droned on about “privacy” and “out of respect”, I was scanning the house and tapping my feet, waiting for her to leave so I could really apply my brain to this new, fun mystery: Who used to live in my new house? And as a football fan, was there any possible way I could parlay this into free tickets? Or paraphernalia? I can’t explain it, but I suddenly morphed into an insta-jersey-chaser. As LLL left, the recycling bin again caught my eye.

Maybe just a little peek inside…

I was actually considering digging through a stranger’s recycling bin like a homeless lunatic, hunting for “clues” as to who lived here before me, as if that mattered in the slightest.

I knew it was wrong. I even found myself whistling and shuffling around a little, nonchalant-like, trying to pretend I wasn't thinking what I was thinking.

But the bin beckoned, and it was the not-knowing that was killing me.

I needed help.

I whipped out the blackberry. In the absence of an actual human, perhaps I could recruit some rational support electronically.

I texted the new boyfriend, who we’ll call Jim for reasons I plan to eventually explain, but just not right now:

So a seahawk was the last renter of my new house!

15 second delay, and then:

Liar. Who?

Well, that’s the question that has me considering digging through his garbage.

Delay… delay… delay…

Me again: No, seriously: I want to climb into his recycling bin and snoop. I need help.

Radio silence. No response.

Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by a flurry of cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, children’s drawings and old newspapers – the contents of the paper recycling bin strewn around me like the edge pieces of some giant puzzle, and me in the middle of them, examining each piece like a bag lady inspecting a shopping cart. I had succumbed. And then –

“Aha!!!” a box with the label still intact:

Lofa Tatupu.

Only my very favorite Seahawk linebacker – everything about him appeals. Big USC career, pegged as too small to play MLB but played the shit out of it for the Hawks last year with some seriously impressive plays, and…um…yum. I have a Tatupu jersey. I’m not kidding.

And then, while crouched on the floor of the garage, giggling insanely and clutching an empty shoebox with a wrinkled label (proof!!), I was again interrupted:


I dug down a layer or two in the paper to find my blackberry buzzing. New text message from Jim.

Please tell me you didn’t.

Response: Um… I didn’t.

You did.


Jesus, you crazy person.

Delay… delay… delay…

But that’s awesome. Do you think we can parlay this into tickets?

I think I love this man. Also, if you happen to want an old shoebox of Lofa Tatupu’s, lemme know. I’ll sell it to the highest bidder.

And Lofa, if you’re reading this, I am not as crazy as I sound (only partially a lie) and have nothing else of yours…. Except maybe one thing, which I’d be willing to return to you in exchange for a signed ball and some kick ass tickets. Oh, and another thing: would it have KILLED you to mow the lawn and fix the fence?

Not that I'm complaining...

Thank you.

July 12, 2007

Condiment courtesies and my scuffle with sauce

As I mentioned last week, I just moved from a place I've been for a little over a year, by myself, to a place with three roommates just down the street. Though my more skeptical friends can't believe I'm getting roomies after being alone, I'm looking forward to it. I'm good with change, and am pretty easy to live with, if I do say so myself.

But there are courtesies you have to attend to with roommates that you don't have to worry about when you're alone. With roommates, you can't walk in the door, take off your pants, and spend the rest of the evening on the couch in your undies burping and watching Friends reruns or Sports Center while trimming your toenails. You also don't park in the middle of your driveway. Or leave your clothes in the dryer for a week. Or hog the condiment shelves of the refrigerator, which occurred to me as I was cleaning out my fridge as I moved: I was moving from a home where the whole fridge was mine to a place where it was only 25 percent mine. I was going to have to do some major downsizing.

And that's where this story begins. Me and the cat, cleaning the fridge. Just us and the condiments. I couldn't remember the last time I used the ginger - garlic marinade I found in my door, much less the sweet onion mustard that looked like a tiny jar of earwax. Both went into the trash. Even Akeelah wrinkled her nose at some of what I found -- and she'll eat anything, alive or dead.

While I did find some items that were a little... um... fuzzy, green or lumpy (occasionally all three), it was also kinda fun. It was like when you clean out your closet and get rid of crappy stuff you never wear, but while you're downsizing you also discover awesome stuff you forgot you had. Last time I did this, i found a great pair of tall brown cowboy boots I forgot I owned. This time, cleaning my fridge, I found my favorite homemade barbeque sauce -- made by a friend in another state and hands down the best I'd ever had.

Because it was so good and I'd forgotten about it, I thought perhaps I should open the jar and just make sure it was still a) good (not expired) and b) good (delicious). Basically, I wanted to stick my finger in and taste it. So before twisting off the top, I absentmindedly gave the bottle three really good, solid shakes so as to ensure all the barbeque-y goodness was thoroughly mixed up.

And this is where the fun began.

The second I stopped this vigorous shaking, the smell of barbeque sauce was all around me. It was like I was swimming in the stuff because, well, I was.

When I looked up, my kitchen looked like a murder scene.

The cap must have popped off during the first hard shake, because my kitchen had become a meat-eater's dream come true: there was barbeque sauce on the floor, refrigerator, walls and counters. There were globs of barbeque sauce on the ceiling, which dripped down in great barbequey clumps onto my shoulders, which were covered in the sticky-sweet goo.

My face, hands, chest and legs were drenched in barbeque sauce.

Akeelah the cat sat befuddled, licking herself in the middle of the kitchen floor, her face, tail and paws completely slick with brown, delicious sauce.

And I collapsed on the floor of the room, hysterical with laughter and completely beside myself that I had just shook the entire bottle of barbeque sauce out on every flat surface (and some not so flat surfaces) of my kitchen. If somebody had walked in at that moment and seen me there, they would have immediately flashed back to the Scarface bathtub scene -- it looked that gruesome:

"You wanna fuck with barbeque sauce? You wanna get rough with me? Okay, say hello to my little friend, the loosened twist off cap!"

There was no way for me to go to another room for cleaning supplies without squishing and dripping sauce across my carpet and furniture, either, so right in the middle of the barbeque sauce bloodbath, I had to strip down to my underwear, throw away my clothes, and tip toe out to safety and cleaning materials.

Later, when the scene had been mopped up and the rags (and my clothes) thrown away, L came over. As she walked through the door the first words out of her mouth were "Uh, what's that smell?" I shrugged nonchalantly as the strange mix of barbeque sauce and 409 wafted through the apartment. She then went straight to the kitchen to throw something in the trash (remember -- the trash is full of the barbeque sauce scuffle carnage), and before I had a chance to warn her, she shrieked and jumped back, confused and shocked.

"Jesus Christ!" she gasped, peering into the mess of saucy clothes and rags, which looked now more than ever like a bloody mess. "What the hell happened?!!"

Let's just say I kill a condiment for fun, but for that barbeque sauce, I carved it up reeeal nice.

[God, I hope you get that reference.]

July 09, 2007

Oh, eff yes.

Indiana Jones IV. It's really really happening. And that hat still looks sexy, I don't care who you are.

[Video of the first day of shooting HERE].

Is it normal to feel a little tingly all over?

July 06, 2007

Transience is bliss...

"You moved?" K's voice crackled a bit on the other end of the phone as I adjusted the volume so I could hear her over the 1970's pickup truck I drove in high school, which I was borrowing from my family to haul my furniture for the weekend. "Again??!"

"Yeah," I said. "But I swear it's the last time until I buy a house."

"Riiiight. I've heard that before."

"Seriously, this time I mean it."

"All I know is I'm not buying you another housewarming present."

"Ouch," I rolled my eyes. "You mean you're not going to bring over a bottle of wine which you then proceed to drink all yourself? Bummer."

"Touche," K laughed. "Okay, gotta go. Good luck!"

Yep, that's right: I moved. Again. Last weekend.

After a year and a half of Akeelah (my Abbyssinian) and I living alone in a cushy two-bedroom in the middle of Kirkland, we learned three things:'

1. Living alone means you can spend a lot of time totally naked (!!!)

2. Living alone costs more, and there's nobody to hold you accountable for not washing dishes or watching The Notebook three times back to back (both a good and a bad thing).

3. Living alone means you occasionally stub your toe or get bit by a huge spider or choke on something and are completely convinced you're going to die and your friends will finally find you a week later lying on your kitchen floor naked and blue with those toe-separators between your left toes and nail polish splattered everywhere, your cat perched on your cold (but still perky!) chest, licking your dead face. (um, a bad thing).

So, even though I have twice in the last two years sworn I wouldn't do it again, Akeelah and I moved last weekend. Into the master bedroom of a really beautiful, large house I found for me and three acquaintences just down the street from my old place. I gave my old place to my best friend, who has yet to experience the strange wonders of living alone.

More on the move (involving barbeque sauce, football and garbage -- no, really) coming soon...

June 28, 2007

Bare in Vegas

Before I even start this post, let me establish two things:

1) On principle alone, I hate Las Vegas -- the whole God-forsaken sequin-covered dayglow/nightglow, water-sucking, smoky, trashy, silicone-filled city.
2) I enjoyed the shit out of Vegas on my trip

Everything Vegas stands for is pretty much the opposite of me -- well, with the exception of virtually unconsumable volumes of alcohol. I don't own a closet full of "clubbing" clothes (much less a single club-appropriate -- read: nonexistant -- outfit), I don't care about Lindsey Lohan's 21st birthday party. Gold on ceilings just looks gaudy to me, and though I'll occasionally puff on a cigarette at 2 in the morning, I strongly dislike being places where everyone can do just that, indoors, all around you.

Plus, prostitution makes me sad, as do those terrible clear-soled stripper shoes all the women in Vegas (working or not) insist on wearing. What ARE those?

Oh, and it's like the hottest place on earth.

[I was going to say "in the universe", but there's the sun and all those stars, which I'm pretty sure are burning balls of gas, so I figured I had better keep it believable.]

And I'm a Seattleite.

But I prescribe to no motto if not "When in Rome...". And so I did Vegas. With gusto.

I packed my optimism, a few hundred bucks in cash, a pushup bra, 7 (seriously) pairs of heels, 5 (yep) pairs of jeans, and a few dresses. Oh, and my bikini and about forty pairs of earrings.

I stayed at the Mirage, and again in true Vegas style I went to the pool upon completion of my first workday there. It was 112 degrees outside, and pretty much everyone had the same idea as me: get wet, lay around half naked, get buzzed, then go out to eat and on the town. So the easily 1,000 occupancy pool and surrounding areas were packed. For about 5 minutes I considered squeezing in among the masses on some tiny crowded recliner, until I saw a sign. My salvation.


Bare, for those of you unfamiliar, is an "adult" pool. I knew this because it said "Bare... adult lounge" on the sign. But, as I'm sure you can imagine, I had no idea what that meant.

All I could think was no kids allowed. No waterwings, maybe no teeny-boppers, even. I pictured a luxurious, quiet pool. Cushy loungers, a professional or maybe even high-roller crowd. I looked around once more at the loungers crowded with lithe 8-year olds, families and fraternity boys -- a shrill-voiced and splashy crowd -- and turned towards this "Bare" place.

I was in.

I took the road less traveled (all signs pointing to Bare lead to mysterious labrynth of paths, all under heavy palm-tree cover) and arrived, finally, at a red-carpeted, velvet-roped, bodyguarded entrance to Bare. It looked like an exclusive nightclub. I looked down at my strapless bikini, gold flipflops and oversized bag.

I felt underdressed. I wished I'd worn earrings.

"So," I said, coolly, keeping my sunglasses on lest the european man barring the door see my hesitancy, "What's this" (here I gestured casually to the general direction of "IN") "...all about?"

"Well," he said conspiratorially leaning in, "it's an adult pool."

Um, duh? I paused, waiting dumbly.

"Like a nightclub in the day," he continued. "European dress code."

"Europe--" I started to ask the world's stupidest question before realizing he meant "clothing optional".

"Aaah," I leaned back, nodding stupidly. I was so far in now that even though this whole "european" thing scared me a little, I couldn't back down.

"Forty bucks for guys, twenty for girls," he said, matter-of-fact. Then he tilted his head at me, sizing me up. "You by yourself?" he asked.

"Um, not really... yeah." I confessed.

"I'll take care of you, then. Go on in, free."

Now I really had to go in. I nodded, steeled myself, and pushed past the rope.

As I sauntered in, sunglasses still on, trying not to look around too much, I felt pretty effing risque. I was in VEGAS. ALONE. At an ADULT POOL. With a EUROPEAN DRESS CODE.

[In my head, all this was in caps, I assure you.]

I found a cushy lounger, leaned back, took out the blackberry and assessed the situation:

Many pools, some hot tubs. Many attractive waiters and waitresses. Many topless women, all with gargantuan breasts, a male companion and clearly tipsy.

The rest of the afternoon I worked on the tipsy part and the enjoying the sun part. I ultimately relaxed enough to remove my thumbs from my blackberry (I spent the first 30 minutes there, at least, texting play-by-plays of my observations from inside Bare to my companion who would be joining me in Vegas later that night, which had the double benefits of easing me into the scene and sexually frustrating him.)

The music pumped, the steam rolled off the hot tubs and settled on the pool, gorgeous staff rolled towels, propped chairs, lit cigarettes and delivered libation. Women grinded up against their men in the shallow pool. Men tried not to fall over while ordering many Budweiser Selects and groping their bouffant-haired, fake-breasted women all at the same time. It was so Vegas. And it was pretty entertaining.

A couple rich older men came by and introduced themselves as, essentially, rich older men, which was totally standard but also pretty entertaining. And I befriended two women to the right of me who left their kids and hubbies home and had come for some girl-time (and how!).

By the time it closed and I returned to my hotel room to shower, eat, see a show and gamble with a lovely tall man who flew in to spend the weekend with me (and says things like "hello, pretty girl" to me, unprovoked), I was a little tan, a little tipsy, and very impressed with my nerve... giddy, even, with the possibilities of Las Vegas.

While I didn't get married, I did gamble, and eat fabulous food, and see Ray Romano in the hotel twice, and drink $15 melon-colored cocktails composed primarily of Grey Goose, and wear ridiculously uncomfortable heels. And I hit on 12, and 13 and sometimes even 14 playing blackjack, even though it's unadvisable.

Because, well, when in Rome...

June 21, 2007

Two things

1. Last night was a long night. Dinner, wine, walk, skyline-gazing, a fresh rosemary-fight (don't ask), a late-night house intruder... the point is I woke up hung over and exhausted today. And smelling like rosemary. But again, not the point. The point is that I actually cleaned up pretty good, if I do say so myself, and thought I was keeping it together quite well. Until one of the founders of my company walked by and said in the sweetest east Indian accent -- I shit you not: "Are you doing something differently?" while gesturing to my face/head region. When I replied that no, in fact, everything was as it should be and nothing was different, he said "Hmmm. You look like you partied... a lot." Sheesh. Hold no punches, why don't you?

2. I will be in Las Vegas starting tomorrow morning and ending Monday night. There is a 25 percent chance I will get married there, a 50 percent chance I'll get sunburnt, a 75 percent chance I'll experience feelings of guilt after gambling and a 100 percent chance I'll get blitzed. Oh, I'm also working there. So none of the above (except the guilt) will be done on business hours. Which means there's also a 100 percent chance I'll come back and sleep for three days.

As always, I'm certain there will be stories, which of course I will share. Stay tuned, and have a great weekend!

June 20, 2007

Song of the week

When Love Comes To Town -- Herbie Hancock, featuring Joss Stone and Jonny Lang (a 2005 cover of a 1988 U2 song, released on his album Possibilities)

I'm finding it a bit autobiographical at the moment, which paired with an addictive baseline and that groovy Hancock/Joss Stone sound = rock out.

June 19, 2007

A weekend night in review

It's been a long week already, and subsequently I have thus far been unable to put together coherent paragraphs connected with segues (which I'm not really that good at anyway -- and by the way, what's with the spelling of the word "segue"? Is that like a collossal joke on everyone who struggles with spelling? I'm just saying, the French are assholes. If that's even french. I assume it is, what with the weird back to back vowels, but am too lazy to research).

Because of my struggling with segues and the length of my day and in the interest of not boring you to actual death, here is a review of a recent weekend, list-style. I share this only to underscore the realities of my life, which include too much weekend boozing, a bizarre and colorful set of friends, and any number of enlightening experiences slash awkward scenarios thanks very much to the booze and colorful characters.

Note: If you are either booze or a colorful character and would like to begin participating in such experiences as those listed below, may God have mercy on you.

Enjoy, and remember to enjoy life responsibly (and with a pen and paper handy, like me):

1. The night was kicked off with a dance-off, in the Vibe, with seatbelts on. Winner: my friend, a very large, bald man riding shotgun. But only because I had to contend with a steering wheel and two pedals while dancing. (Not easy, but I gave a valiant effort, and didn't even almost crash. Bravo, me!)

Debate: can you or can you not work the “mummy” move from Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video into any dance you are doing to any song, regardless of genre? My position: Yes, yes you can. I am pro-Thriller dance.

3. Debate #2: If you could only do one dance move for the rest of your life, to all songs, in all company, regardless of genre, what would that move be? My answer: I am pro-The Electric Slide. (It's electric. Boogie woogie woogie.)

4. Awkward scenario #1: While standing outside a restaurant/bar with one girlfriend, our other girlfriend joined us. As we stood in a circle, girlfriend 2 leaned over her shoulder, threw up, and then rejoined the circle as if nothing happened.

5. Awkward scenario #2: Later, The Puker reached under the table and stroked the thigh of my date, telling him he should drink more, conceivably so she could take advantage of him. The Puker was thereafter called The Poacher.

6. Redemption: The Poacher spent the night with a guy we’ll call Frenchie, who I introduced her to about 5 minutes before we all went home so as to distract her from continuing her Poaching mission. Frenchie immediately started speaking French to her (a sure thing he’s a sure thing) and it was love. Or at least lust enough to keep her distracted.

7. Learning #1: I am really good at those bar video games where you compare photos of naked ladies to see what’s different between the two.

8. Learning #2: When you’re good at those bar video games where you compare photos of naked ladies and you play this game with randoms, they will often buy you and your friends rounds of shots, unsolicited.

9. Learning #3: just because shots are free doesn’t mean you have to drink them.

10. Learning #4: If you do drink every free shot offered you, you will suffer from one of the top 3 wickedest hangovers of your life – for two days – which makes you borderline emotional and from which the only recovery is Chinese food, enough Tylenol to wipe out at least three regular kidneys (regular being not mine, mine being in Olympic drinking shape) and the pure, undiluted kindness of others.

June 15, 2007


I like everything about food. I started out saying I love food, but that sounds like a food junkie's desperate cry for intervention, so I changed it to "like", even though the other "l" word is probably more accurate. Some people see food as mere sustinence -- like gassing up a car to make it go. I see great food (as you'll recall from this post) as a close, less dangerous, cousin of sex.

If I had more money, I would be a foodie--I would have eaten by now at every amazing restaraunt in Seattle and the surrounding area. But alas, this gets really hard on the checkbook, especially when "drinking" and "traveling" closely follow "food" on your list of top things in life. As it is, I've been to a pretty impressive handful of places, but there are some, including Le Gourmand and Canlis that still elude me, because of incredibly long waiting lists (um, make a reservation a MONTH in advance? I am a bona fide committment-phobe. I can't commit to a cell phone plan, much less a date a month in advance) and a crippling cost per plate that makes it difficult for me to convince someone to be my date -- even if I assure them of a big payout. (No, not that. I was thinking more along the lines of the pleasure of my company, and perhaps a drink on me, you perverts.)

If I had more than just "more" money -- if I were an actual wealthy person -- I would go to culinary school, possibly abroad. I would then return and do one of two things:

1. Start my own restaraunt. I have two ideas, and can't decide which I prefer. One would be tiny and unmarked with a rotating and seasonal prix fix menu, incredible wine list (no hard alcohol or beer) and deserts that look like works of art and are mandatory with every dinner. I know it sounds snobby, and it would be expensive, but it wouldn't be. Service would be warm and personal, like you're a very important person dining in your own very cool, modern livingroom. Restaraunt number two would be large, eclectic verging on nonsensical or even silly, with a menu composed almost exclusively of all things dippable and/or on sticks, to be dipped in fondue and special me-created sauces. Limited, cheap beer menu, some fun cocktail specials and no wine. Okay, maybe two house bottles. And red and white checked oilcloth tablecloths. I love those.

2. Freelance for top-100 daily newspapers across the country and a few food magazines as I embark on a 500-day American tour of food, hitting every state in the country, eating and writing articles alongside an American food travelogue which will chronicle my trip, the food, and all the bizarre strangers and happenings along the way.

But, alas, as I am neither rich nor filthy rich, and neither of these things will ever happen, I have instead this day decided to give to you, dear reader, a list of my current list of favorite foods for somewhat poor to very poor people. Bon Appetit!

1. Bruschetta. This delightful mix of garlic, basil, onion and tomato on a crusty piece of bread with a bit of balsalmic is pure heaven. Except if your dining partner eats it and you don't. Then, it ruins your sense of smell for two or three days. So I advise you just to eat it. Note: I make the best bruschetta this side of the MIssissippi. I dare you to make better bruschetta than I do. Cost to prepare: $14.00. Time to prepare: 25 minutes (lots of dicing, slicing and spreading).

2. Chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies. They're just awesome, and replaced rice krispy treats on my list of the best things to eat before they're technically ready to be eaten. Get some oatmeal, chocolate, a little peanut butter, a double-boiler, and a spoon. Then, go into glycemic shock. Cost to prepare: $7.50 plus doctor's bills. Time: Under ten minutes. To make. Under 3 minutes to eat.

3. My signature loaded baked brie. This is a round of brie, sliced in half, filled with dried fruit and nuts or jam, put back together and wrapped in crescent roll dough, then baked until melted indide the golden-brown crescent roll. Cost to prepare: $12.50. Time: 20 minutes.

4. Mangoes. These are black sheep on this list, as they cost about ten dollars apiece and are nearly impossible to eat without a bib and a shower afterwards, but a good mango is, I think, the best fruit ever invented by God. (Nice work, God.) Warning: after eating one, you will need to spend 25 minutes with a roll of dental floss. If anyone can figure out how to make it easier, please, please share.

5. Waffle-cut fries with the magic thing that is fry sauce. First, the fries: Whoever came up with these is a genius. It's the soggy-fry solution. These puppies are evenly cooked throughout, thanks to the clever holes, and are crispy everywhere without being little daggers of burnt crispness like you find at some joints that serve the traditional fry. And they beat steak-cut fries in pure condiment-delivery ability. Like Chex cereal holds milk, waffle-cut fries hold ketchup. Or, even better, fry sauce. Now, Fry sauce: I have no proof, but I am pretty sure this culinary delight came from the midwest, mostly because that is the only place in the country I can imagine coming up with a way to actually make fries worse for you. Take the two condiments with the lowest possible nutritional value and highest cravability around (ketchup and mayo, obviously), and mix them, 50-50. Now your ketchup is fatty, your mayo is sweet, and it's a horrible pink color reminiscent of PeptoBismol. But you know what? It tastes fucking brilliant. I had to move away from Idaho (almost the midwest, anyway) solely because of the amounts of fry sauce I'd otherwise consume. In Seattle, nobody believes in it. Something about cholesterol and obesity. Eh, I just run a lot and make my own. Cost: $1.50.