May 30, 2007

Sounds dirty but isn't

Today's word of the day is one I am going to seriously have trouble working into everyday language. It just sounds dirty. Or maybe that's just my mind. You be the judge:

fecund \FEE-kuhnd; FEK-uhnd\, adjective:

1. Capable of producing offspring or vegetation; fruitful; prolific.
2. Intellectually productive or inventive.

For 21 years after the birth of the Prince of Wales, the fecund royal couple produced children at the rate of two every three years -- eight boys and six girls in all.
-- Saul David, Prince of Pleasure

In her first novel she portrays a lush, fecund landscape palpable in its sultriness and excess.
-- Barbara Crossette, "Seeking Nirvana", New York Times, April 29, 2001

Miss Ozick can convert any skeptic to the cult of her shrewd and fecund imagination.
-- Edmund White, "Images of a Mind Thinking", New York Times, September 11, 1983

Fecund comes from Latin fecundus, "fruitful, prolific." The noun form is fecundity.

May 29, 2007

T minus 7.5 hours until the gym

Since my recent surgery, I’ve been directed to cease and desist two things: sex and the gym.

Since I am having about as much of the first as a married woman (read: none), that didn’t concern me. And at the time, when told I’d have to take a few weeks off from the gym, I thought sweet! A mandatory break from working out! I’m going to get soooo good at T.V. watching and wine-drinking it is going to be unreal.

And I did. And it was good.

For about three days.

After which all I could think about was working out.

I was like a junkie craving a fix. I had dreams I was at the gym, mid-day yoga fantasies, and after dinner I started to have to drink, lest I get in the car and end up on a treadmill somewhere in south Seattle. And it got into my head in more ways than one. Not only could I not stop thinking about it, I started to feel like you could see the “hasn’t worked out in a week” on me. I couldn’t find a single thing in my closet that I felt like I looked good in.

I even started cheating a little… popping in to do quick 20-minute tune ups – nothing rigorous, but maybe a few lunges, some shoulder work - you know, just a little taste.

But at long last, the countdown is over. Last night I could hardly sleep, I was so excited. And now, sitting in the corner of my office like a beacon of crack-like exercise hope is my gym bag.

I’m not sure if I’m compensating for the lack of activity in other… um… areas of my life or if I’m just so elementary that the moment someone says I can’t do something it’s all I want to do, but I just don’t care. I’m going to the gym, dammit. And in all likelihood I won’t be able to walk tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

May 19, 2007

Don't sign any legal documents.

There I was again: paper slippers, all jewelry removed, in a sea-green gown with an open back and a hair net, jiggling my foot nervously as a doctor, for the second time this year, went through the pre-surgical pep-talk. This surgery, unlike the last, which was a shoulder repair, was necessary to go from a diagnosis of "possibly cancerous" to "we actually know something, and by the way, you're fine". In other words: not optional.

Like last time, though, I was buzzing with nerves.

"I see you're still under the mistaken impression that green is flattering on everyone," I said, trying too hard to be funny as I fingered the papery fashion faux pas that is the required wardrobe, pre-surgery.

"Yeah," my (adorable but married) doctor smiled, "but it is an appropriate springtime color, is it not?"

I nodded. Thank God he was playing along. All the ways I could die over the course of the next three hours ran through my mind, alongside a mental montage of all the ways one could possibly do it in a hospital waiting room*.

(*To be clear, the death fantasy was an actual fear and the sex fantasy was an attempt to distract me from the death fantasty. It didn't work, and neither were more than 1 percent likely. I know this because I read the disclaimers before I sign, and because I'm a prude.)

A nurse entered the room, holding a clipboard and pushing one of those funny coatrack-looking things with a baggie of liquid hanging from it... a bag that would soon be attached to my arm and wheeled with me into the metal room where they do the cutting.

"Okay," Dr. Death cleared his throat, taking the clipboard from Nurse BaggieofFluids (sorry, I couldn't come up with anything clever). "You have a driver picking you up, right?" he asked, snapping me back to reality.

"Oh, yeah," I said, a little glazed, still jiggling my foot like it was my job, curled up in a chair across the room. "My girlfriend. She'll be here at 2."

I saw Dr. and Nurse exchange these tiny glances -- you know, the ones you exchange just barely, in order to say "did you notice that, too? we'll talk later..." and suddenly it occurred to me that they thought, when I said "girlfriend", that I meant "girl I perform sexual acts with". In other words, while I was refering to one of my friends, who is female, they did the whole really quick "she's a lesbian" secret look at each other.

But by the time I noticed their little exchange, too much time had passed for me to smoothly say "my roommate..." or "we've been friends since childhood" or something to more accurately deliniate our relationship. And, by the way, I only cared a little at the time. Remember, I had death and sex fantasies to get to, not to mention a surgery.

Everything went smoothly. As usual, I woke up laughing about what awesome dreams I had. By the time I was recovered and in a secondary waiting room, I was halfway through a diet Pepsi. A little weak, definitely glazed over, but in pretty good shape.

My friend was shown into the room by a different nurse and a pharmacist -- both quite stern and humorless, neither big talkers. Everyone sat, and the nurse and drug lady rattled off, to my friend, a long list of things to watch for, be concerned about, and do in the 24 hours after surgery. They handed her a baggie of pain meds, antibiotics, etc. and gave her those instructions, too.

I mostly giggled.

They didn't really look at me the whole time, until they came to the last set of instructions before they wheeled me to the car:

"Don't, under any circumstances, drive or sign any legal documents today," said stern nurse lady. Immediately I started giggling again, because, like, what legal documents would I possibly sign immediately after surgery?

And then my friend thought of one. Always a comic, she quipped:

"Damnit! We were going to sign those divorce papers today."

"Oh, shit, that's right," I said, playing along, thinking we were so funny, putting on a little show for the nurses in the room, thinking they'd appreciate a chuckle, "sorry about that... I guess we'll have to do it next week, hon."

We both cracked up, waiting for a response -- something, anything agknowledging our joke -- from the nurses.

I blinked, looking around the room, and exchanging a "what the??" glance with my friend. It was like the Twilight Zone.


The nurses had visibly stiffened, and were awkwardly putting things away, shuffling papers and bustling around, all quiet.

No more than three minutes later, I was in the car and we were out of there without so much as a "get well soon!"

In under four hours and four sentences (all completely misfired jokes), I managed to convince an entire surgery center I was a lesbian, and learned that makes people really, really uncomfortable.


Just another afternoon.

May 18, 2007

My plant can beat up your plant

My meat-eating, homegrown family got me this for my birthday (along with sundry other awesome things, including a bottle of rum, a tub of frozen mojito mix and 27 spankings*):

It's a spotted northwestern pitcher plant, and it is carnivorous.

It is beautiful, and I love this particular plant, which is why I figured they got it for me -- until this morning, when I realized it was possibly the smartest, most secretly ironic joke in the world.

They got a vegetarian a plant that eats meat.

*Spanking reference completely falsified. I grew out of those (by which I mean a single hand could no longer cover the surface of my ass) when I turned 11. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

May 17, 2007

Down slopes from here

At work yesterday, a colleague who is at least ten years older than me and is originally from an eastern European country (this will become relevant infomration in just a moment. Please hang in there.) bumped into me in the kitchenette conveniently located just across from my office.

We were making tea and chit-chatting when she realized it was my birthday.

(Perhaps the party hat, streamers and plate of cupcakes gave it away. Or the fact that I kept spontaneously yelling “GUESS WHAT? IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!” every 7.5 minutes. Or maybe it was the two – TWO – new wrinkles.)

“It eez your birthday?” she said, lighting up like Robin Williams on a bender. No, really, just like that exactly, only harder to understand. “Eenjoy eet!” she continued, “…Because you are steeeel fresh!”

“Fresh?” I was confused. “What am I, a dairy product?”

Clearly, we were having language barrier issues. Or perhaps I was a tad bit defensive about my steadily climbing age. Either way, I wasn’t backing down.

“I didn’t realize there was an expiration date,” I quipped. At which she burst unconsolably into laughter. Ten minutes later, she recovered, and as she left she threw back over her shoulder one final, confused, heavily-accented blow:

“Oh, to be young and beeeeautivul. Eeet eees all down slopes from heeere.”

Say it aint so.

May 15, 2007

Presents, bitches!

...just a little friendly reminder.

May 13, 2007

My life doesn't fit in its parking spot.

I'm now approximately 36 hours away from my 26th year on the planet, and contrary to what you might've expected based on last year's birthday freakout/quarterlife crisis, I'm relieved to report that this year, no panicking. Maybe some pensiveness, but since I turned 22, that has come standard, like automatic windows and that "fasten seatbelts" ding, twice a year: after christmas and on my birthday.

Looking back on the past year, I'm struck by one thing most of all: the sheer volume of it.

How is it possible for so much to have fit so tidily into 365 days? Not to be overly dramatic, but in just that long, everything I knew about my life seemed to fall apart, come back together, and fall apart again, in so many ways. (Alright, that was totally dramatic, but I really believe it, so points for sincerity, right?)Even so, I can't think of a better, more important, year in all my nearly 26.

I'll avoid the gruesome, glorious details (you're welcome), but just a taste of it, to illustrate:

I reconnected with some of the most important people in my life this year, one of whom was me. I started taking what I knew could be mine, and stopped apologizing so much for everything. I think grace and I made some big strides.

My family literally disintegrated at its weakest points, roles reversed, flipped, and righted themselves again, and love and hate were so closely related I'm still not sure I have them straight. But somehow, though the ripping was horrifying, it was liberating, too.

I was freed of my sense of guilt about everything I always knew and felt but didn't say. I had surgery, twice, a cancer scare once, made a freaky career move and was hit by a bus. I paid attention. I let go.

I had a summer of dreams, rediscovered the gorgeousness of a few people really really knowing who you are and loving you in spite of you, and remembered -- three different times -- that I'm good all on my own, even if I'd secretly prefer having someone quietly, carefully care for me, in spite of my endless objections that I can do it all myself.

I remembered that I know exactly what love is, and that sometimes I need to turn down the volume on my brain enough to hear the persistant noise that comes from somewhere else, too.

Now at this juncture I can't really believe I am going to live forever, but I don't miss the naievete of that belief. I can't possibly mourn it, because it's been replaced by something else far more important. Suddenly I find I think more about living big enough that when I don't live forever, someone somewhere will have a reason to remember me, even if they don't know my name.


This weekend, in keeping with the oversized theme of the past year, was exactly what I hoped, only bigger. In fact, after far too many beers, some singing and plenty celebration, the bigness almost knocked me down. All these people, this noise, this laughter... It swirled around me and translated, in one tipsy moment, into a love so palpable I literally had to find a parked car in the parking lot to lean against, fighting to catch my breath (and two big, happy tears).

I am overwhelmed by my life. Afraid, thrilled, a little naseous. Empowered, uplifted, stifled by its hugeness. And I am so aware -- more now than ever -- that it's all out of my hands. I don't know who is driving, but whoever it is knows exactly what they're doing. I don't even want to see the map.

I'm a lucky girl. And so, so thankful.

May 10, 2007

Proposal, plans, present plea

From Jason's Notes: "Mammalian birth is sloppy and inefficient. I say we go back to hard-shelled eggs. As a side benefit, most problems of bad parents raising hooligans would be solved as maltreated eggs simply wouldn't hatch. Although, the sociological ramifications of having young that spend a few months being delicious with cheese are potentially terrifying."

Jason, if you're out there, not a psychopath, know how to cook, don't have fused toes or fingers, chew with your mouth closed, don't have a southern accent, like to hold hands, have never run repeatedly over anything (alive or dead, out of anger or irresponsibility) and--oh yeah, almost forgot--are single: marry me. No seriously. I'd be a kick-ass wife. Just saying.

This weekend, this girl, K, (she was also involved in this drink-a-thon, which is begging to be topped) is coming home to spend the weekend. The occasion is a weekend of pre-birthday celebration.

K and I are both May babies, and we both love the simple things in life, namely dressing up for dinner, dressing down to party, and acting ridiculous around our best girlfriends in the world. The plan is as follows:

10 a.m.: Meet our two other best friends in the world at Hector's for drinks. Sorry, what I meant was breakfast and drinks.

12 Noon - 3 PM: Kick it on the deck at my apartment, in the sun, while imbibing and talking about the things girls talk about. We've been over this, but the list includes work, sex, people we hate, people we love, men, family, religion and music. Among other things.

4 PM: Get ready, using an entire hour and every hair product and/or toiletry item that exists between the four of us.

5 PM: Dinner on a lakeside deck at a restaraunt walking distance from my house. With about 10 other rad people we collectively love.

7 PM: Back to my place for CAKE! and MARTINIS! (I am keeping mindful of my martini-drinking alter-ego on this night. I have determined the magic number of martinis to keep her at bay is 2. The number where she takes over and I either get in trouble, hit on inanimate objects or take a knee in a bar is 4. Three I've never done. Because, well, no brakes.)

9 PM: Party. Preferably while dressed down at some dive bar in the middle of nowhere which just happens to have karaoke and where the bartenders may or may not know our names but definitely -- definitely -- flirt with us all, buy us drinks, play our songs, and don't kick us out for either too much hugging or too much drinking, even if we deserve it.

It's going to be a very good weekend.

Stories to come, I'm certain, as the cast of characters that will be involved in Saturday's festivities are almost unbelievable in their color:

One will be canooeing to the bar, from his house, certainly under the influence. One will almost definitely be wearing a Michael Bolton shirt, and no, he's not kidding. Three will want to sing EVERY song anyone sings -- with them, and uninvited. These microphone-snatchers will suck terribly, but be terribly amusing, all the same.

One of my friends is just this side of a midget, two are Jack-Mexicans (mexicans who speak no spanish, making them in fact more caucasian than me), one is a Jack-Mormon (Mormons who don't do Mormon -- and this one's name, to add to the fun, is Jack), and one chipped her tooth on a beer bottle the last time I hung out with her.

These are my friends. And god damn, do I love them. Stay tuned. And no, this does not mean I'm off hiatus. It just means it's my birthday week, almost, dammit, and I can break rules if I want to.

Have a good weekend!

(Also, you can send presents to me, no problem. Just shoot me an email, I'll get you my address -- or paypal account, if you just want to do cash -- and we'll set it up. I love presents, you guys. Chocolate covered gummi bears, too. Seriously. Bring it. It's the least you can do after I've entertained you for, like, going on three years. It's only right.)