Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Revision and Apology

I am sorry, street cleaners, for the low rating I gave you earlier today. I underestimated you, and I was just kind of mad that I had to park on the other side of the street and there was not that much room, which meant the only available spot was next to the Leaning Telephone Pole (I'll take a picture soon), which appears to be looking for the perfect roof to crush.

See, whenever I've observed you in the past, you would just be driving that behemoth with a giant brush, scrubbing the streets downtown. And it just seemed so weird. Scrubbing a street? I mean, it would probably stay clean about the same amount of time that our entryway stays clean after I get rid of all the clutter, which is in the neighborhood of .025 seconds. I thought your job was pointless, and only there to inconvenience me personally.

But today, I looked out our window around 4 p.m., and there you were. But there was no giant brush this time. Your truck was a giant vacuum, and I was jealous. I want a giant vacuum, maybe one where I could just hold it over the roof, and everything that is meant to be vacuumed comes shooting out the chimney.

It was awesome. One of you drove, and the other one got to hold the vacuum to suck up the leaves. I'll bet you guys really fight over who gets to actually do the vacuuming, because that looks like a fun job. If it were my job, I'd try to vacuum other things as well and probably would wind up getting fired. But a giant vacuum just begs to be played with and put to inappropriate use, right? So, maybe your bosses understand the temptation and there is money in the budget for people like me, who would break the trucks because of trying to suck up giant rocks or mailboxes or annoying people.

In summary, you guys are rock stars. I can't give you an A, though, because of the whole towing issue, and I'm probably always going to be mad about that. Your new grade: A-

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

If anyone's interested, here are the pics from when the nabbalicious in-laws invaded our house for three days last week.

Fun was had by all, especially Nabby. The in-laws always come bearing toys and treats for the stubby-legged one, and she enjoyed every minute of it.

I am still full.

What I've Been Doing for the Past 72 Hours

Cookies! For a baby-themed baby shower! Even though making these fancy pants cookies can take hours and make my back feel like it belongs to a 90-year-old woman and my hands get all stiff from squeezing the frosting bag, making them is hella fun.

As you can see on the lower right, we have a teddy bear. Why I decided to go with a hot pink border on the poor guy is beyond me. In my defense, when I made the decision, I had just woken up. But now he looks like he belongs on a bumper sticker on the back of a Volkswagen Bus. Oh well, those bears look like they're having fun, so maybe it's not such a bad place to be.

There's Mr. Rabbit over there on the left, who came out all right. Aww, look at the cute cottontail on him! I love it. I'm going to have to resist biting their little butts off before I ship these.

We have a rocking horse hanging out at the top. This was the one I was most worried about, because, how the hell do you paint a rocking horse? It seemed like it would involve way more skill than I could ever imagine having. But I think he actually turned out OK.

Aaand, there's the black sheep of this cookie collection, Mr. Man on the Moon. He started out OK. I gave him a cool dark blue border with a light blue filling. Lookin' good, moon guy! *wolf whistle* But then I decided to cock it up and give him a white smile and eyes. He looks like Orphan Annie now, and frankly, it's starting to freak me out. I'm not showing the whole thing, because I don't want to scare anyone else.

All the cookies are male because I wanted to shake up the expectation that only girls should play with dolls, boys shouldn't wear dresses and a sugar cookie would obviously be female. If you thought that, maybe you should reevaluate your perceptions of our gender and STOP KEEPING WOMEN DOWN! We have rights too, you know! And they involve more than just being sugar cookies!

I'm totally just kidding. I have no idea why I've been referring to them as He. Posted by Hello

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Goner or Immortal?

A man named Bob Goner [name slightly changed to protect the deceased] died recently.

I forwarded the obituary to Mary and said, "With a name like that, could you really expect this to end any other way?"
"Maybe for his brother, Bob Immortal."
"Goner was always so jealous of him, the bastard."
"It was like Goofus and Gallant, with higher stakes."
"They starred in the lesser-known Lowlights magazine, displayed in funeral home waiting rooms everywhere."
"Under flourescent lights!"
"The header says, 'Was your loved one Bob Immortal or Bob Goner?...Bob Immortal knows better than to toast his bread while he's bathing. Bob Goner doesn't cook his chicken all the way through.' "

Ahh, a lesson for everyone.

P.S. Hilarity

Necessary Goods for a Mini-Road Trip to New York, During Which We Will Drive to Delaware, Visit Friends, Catch a Train in Philly and...

...Ride Into Penn Station, Stay At a Questionable Hotel With Doors That Resemble Coffins and Have a Great Time Anyway

  • Some b&w 3800 film to experiment with in Times Square and other ambient possibilities
  • Digital camera, for when I just want the shot straight
  • Some money for cheesesteaks, because I am not limiting myself to just one this time
  • Also, money for bagels and cream cheese, americanos and caramel apple cider, cannoli, macaroons, chocolate, and pizza, and and...
  • Money for clothes one size larger, when all is said and done
  • Everclear: Sparkle & Fade -- it is meant to be played loud and while going fast
  • Fountains of Wayne: self-titled, for a singalong at some point
  • Also, Welcome Interstate Managers -- it just fits New York at this time of year
  • And Paul Westerberg: Folker, because I am trying to convince Mr. Nabbalicious that while it's no Stereo/Mono, it's really not a terrible disc
  • Maps, because I don't want to wind up riding the subway deep into the Bronx by myself like I did last year
  • My snow boots, even though none is forecast, because a) I am going to hope against hope for it anyway and b) it wasn't forecast last year and we got smacked with it (in the good way). Of course, if I neglect to bring them, that really will guarantee snow, won't it?
  • Hat, scarf, gloves, sweaters, coat, boots, because it will at least be cold, I know this much
  • Book, for car and train reading
  • Common sense to know that no matter how much I think I could live there someday and no matter how much it tries to hypnotize me with its middle-of-the-night salad bars and its endless array of things to do on any given night, it would most definitely not work out

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Who Knew?

I found myself with some extra time this morning, so I got a head start on cataloguing my collection of tapes. Here's a revelation: having problems with depression can have the interesting side effect of making your music collection pretty cool.

The Biggest Loser

Mary and I got to talking about our old tape collections yesterday. Mine currently resides in a college-era milk crate at the top of the office closet. It really belongs there and should never, ever see the light of day. Until now. There's a drink at Penny Lane riding on who has the most loser-like collection of cassettes. She thinks I'm going to win because apparently I have way more music, having spent every baby-sitting cent amassing this Dorkery Hall of Fame, but all it takes is one tape to out-dork the entire thing.

Hmmm...I knew there was a reason I bought "Heartlight" by Neil Diamond with my winnings from the spelling bee I won in 3rd grade (oh, yeah. And it was for the entire school. I kicked some serious 6th grade ass, let me tell you). Did I somehow know it could be the trump card in such a contest someday? Mary had a few doozies in her collection, as well. It's going to be a tight race.

Who will emerge victorious? Mike is going to be the judge of this one. The deadline is Monday, December 6.

Stay tuned. Depending on what I find, I may post the list here.

Friday, November 26, 2004

I Lied About Being the Outdoor Type

This song pretty much sums it up.

Every summer, from about 7th to 10th grade, I was forced to suffer summer camp for girls for a week. And, trust me, there was no rival boys' camp on the other side of the proverbial lake, which could have at least made it interesting. It was during these years that I honed my dislike of being at one with nature into a fine, well-seasoned hatred. If there is anything anyone could definitively say I am NOT, it's a camper.

The only thing I really enjoyed about those years is late at night, when all the girls finally stopped hee-hawing and giggling and drifted off to sleep, and I would lay on my back in my sleeping bag and stare at the stars and imagine that me and the stars were all that were left in the universe. It was so incredibly quiet and still, there would be no option to think otherwise.

But no matter how deeply I snuggled into my sleeping bag or how carefully I centered myself so there was just the perfect amount of bag on either side of me or how I made a silent resolution to myself that I would not shift or fidget too much in my sleep, I always, always woke up with my face planted in the dirt. And often, there was mud caked on my cheek, if my drooling had been especially proficient. And this dirt was mountain dirt -- red and silty and entering places you didn't know you had and you were still finding traces of it for weeks after you got home. It is Satan Dirt, is what it is. Whenever I'd blow my nose, it was always a brownish/red snot. And don't get me started on my second year, when California was in the midst of a major drought, and we were only allowed to shower once the entire week. With cold water. And we were under orders to keep it 2 minutes or less. How these people were not busted for child abuse, I will never know.

My letters home to mom sounded like I was writing from prison. "I hate it here! I want to come home! Everyone sucks! Do you hate me or something? WHY DID YOU SEND ME HERE?!"

One year, my leader intercepted one of my letters and told me my attitude stank. Then, she had me pen a much cheerier letter, saying how I loved our stupid little campfire songs and our short, cold showers and having to worry about bears coming to eat us. Camp was the best. thing. ever! But I'm sure mom figured out it was fake, probably written under duress, because I've never really been known for cheery letters. If anything else, she'd figure it was my usual sarcasm. So, the joke is on you, mean old camp lady: mom already knew about my bad attitude.

The worst part of all was the hikes. Each year, groups of girls would take off on hikes of varying lengths. The first years had the shortest hike, and so on. By your final year, your hike was 15 miles. Uphill. With junk like tarp and mess kits strapped to your back. It wasn't pleasant, and frankly, they had it all backward. Why were they punishing the veterans with such a long hike? We had earned the right to kick it for a week. Give it to the first years and weed out the wimps! Had they done it that way, there's no chance I would have been invited back, and then I could have spent my summers reading, unencumbered.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Special Guest Entry from Nabby

Hello, World! Happy Turkey Day! Bet you didn't know I could write, did you? I'm a corgi, for pete's sake, the eleventh smartest dog breed. Although I demand a recount. I'm pretty sure we're really first. I mean, poodles are seond? With that haircut? You've got to be kidding. They must have incriminating pictures of someone, is all I'm saying, because there's no way that ranking is legit.

Anyway, give me a little credit, will you?

This is just a reminder to set a place for your dog at the table today. You might think we don't care about Thanksgiving, but we do. Please, it's a food holiday. And again, I'm a corgi. Corgi probably means food in some ancient language. It makes us sad to see you all clinking glasses and laughing it up while we have to hang around at the foot of the table and wait in vain for your scraps and leftovers.

Also, could we rent Air Bud 2 or something?Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

O.G. Blogger

Last night, myself, sister-in-law and the mr. went to Target (A CHAIN!) to get an air mattress. After more debate than is really necessary for these things -- mr. nabbalicious was worried about why the price differences were so great: "But WHY does this one cost so much more? What is the difference?" He was genuinely concerned. If we cheaped out, would it explode when sister-in-law sat on it (this is not a commentary on anything but the quality of the air mattress! I mean no offense, dear sis-in-law!)?

If we got the expensive one, would it do anything else, like brew a fresh pot of coffee for us just before we woke up (whoa, how awesome would that be?)? -- we finally settled on one in the mid-price range. It's pretty nifty. The air pump is actually in it, and you only have to load up 4 D batteries, and as they say in this region, you're good to go.

So, we're off to find the batteries and sister-in-law pointedly asks, "Are you going to get rechargeable batteries?" Um, what? The mr. tells her regular ones should do it.

"No, rechargeable batteries! Like on your blog!"

Ohhhh...yeah, I recall having giving them a rating of A. Very controversial! I'm taking the hard line on those things!

But see, I'm just flapping my trap here and not really listening to myself. Kind of like in real life. So, I have trouble remembering exactly what I've said most of the time. It's so weird when I'm talking to a friend or family and I start to tell them about something that happened and they say, "Yeah, I know all about that."
"But...but...what? Who told you?"
"I read it on your blog!"
"Oh, yeah. That thing. I guess I have nothing to talk about, then!"

Not that I'm not enjoying having a blog...stuff like that is just an amusing part of it. Having this has been fun, and my enjoyment of it has hung around a lot longer than I anticipated. When I found myself, at first, posting several times a day, I was worried that I'd bore of it quickly. I tend to be like that, if you haven't noticed.

Part of the reason I've kept it up was the pressure of knowing that I had sent an e-mail to everyone who had ever so much as glanced in my direction that I now had a blog -- it obligated me in my own mind to keep it up and running. It's also forced me to notice and find humor in things. Almost anything, no matter how mundane, can be turned into a something interesting. On those slow news days, I find myself digging around in my head, looking for something, anything, for the love of pete!, that could be good fodder. It's good mind exercise.

Look at me, talking like I'm an old school blogger or something, like I've been doing this for ages. Such a dork. We'll see what's up a year from now, right?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Quando a Roma...

Going to another country -- and by this I mean, one that requires a passport for entry, not one where you go just to visit one specific city for a night of debauchery and dangerously inexpensive two for one margaritas (oh, you know who you are, unnamed city) -- was, for us, kind of an eye opener.

If you don't know, we went to Italy on our honeymoon. And even now, more than 6 months later, I'm still comparing everything with Italy. It's not really better or worse, exactly, just different. My friend Trish went to Europe a few years ago, and she came back in much the same state of mind: our cannoli? Not as good as they were in Italy! Our glass blowers? An embarrassment compared to the masters on Murano!

We used to tease her for it, but now I find myself doing the same thing. An old, storied department store building down the street is being shown the business end of a wrecking ball, and I've been lamenting the whole situation since I heard it was going to happen. Where is the respect for our old buildings?! They don't do this in Italy! They take the buildings already there and make them work. Nothing looks the same. My favorite rant these days usually contains some variant of: We just tear down our old, historic buildings and put up Spring Hill Suites in their place!

Not that wrecking balls aren't fun to watch and sometimes that looks like a fun job to have if it weren't kicking up so much dust, but I digress.

Other things that I found interesting:

Want your coffee to go in Italy? That is so not going to happen. If you want a latte, they will serve it to you in a dainty little glass mug, and you will stand there and savor it, whether you want to or not. Even in Rome, one of the craziest, most hectic cities I've ever seen (it makes New York look like it's in a trance), they do this. Everyone makes time to enjoy their coffee while standing in one place.

Speaking of coffee, I did not see a SINGLE Starbucks. Oh yeah, of course I looked!

Are you a total slob and need a lot of napkins while you're wolfing down pizza? You should have packed them in your suitcase, because they are not generous with the napkins in Italy. And they're about the size of index cards. Which made it especially funny when Mr. Nabbalicious wasn't wolfing down his gelato fast enough, and it melted ALL OVER his hands and face. Chocolate. Nobody would spare a napkin! But, oh, how I laughed and laughed at him, and took pictures when we got back to the hotel.

Do you like to sit down while you are eating? In Italy, you pay extra for that. And exactly how much is usually a surprise, delivered with your bill.

Tipping isn't as commonplace in Italy as it is here. No one totally expects it, and I found that attitude so refreshing. Nowadays, I never know who to tip outside of movers, hair stylists and waiters. I've had so many debates in my head (it's very loud in there, between this and the proclamations) about whether or not to tip someone for something. Back and forth, back and forth. If I decide not to, I feel terrible. Even when I get takeout, and all they did was bag it up, on principle, I don't feel that I should tip, but why is there always a side of guilt with my shrimp and broccoli anyway? I didn't order that! But if I decide to actually tip, that starts a new round of debating. How much? I don't want to be over the top or too cheap. It's just so frustrating. Why can't employers just pay people better so they don't need to survive on tips?

Now, don't you all go leave comments asking me why I don't just marry Italy if I love it so much. But, hmmm...would that mean free gelato? In a waffle cone?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Now Hear This!

In my neverending quest to become the "Super Me" -- responsible, kind, environmentally aware, totally brilliant and witty, and in no way am I claiming to be any of these things most of the time -- I find myself making bold and sweeping proclamations regarding things I will or will not do to achieve my goal. This is often only in my head, and smartly so, because if I blurted them out, then people would hold me to them and possibly even nag me if I show signs of slipping.

This Saturday after spinning class, a group of us went to get coffee. Beforehand, we debated where to go. Inevitably, Starbucks came up. Pretty soon the word coffee won't even exist anymore. It will soon simply be called starbucks, and the Starbucks trademark guys will have to go around busting people who don't capitalize it properly so they don't lose said trademark.

Anyway, our instructor wondered if we shouldn't perhaps support the local shops instead. And she was right. So, we went to a coffee shop 4 blocks away and I daresay their French Roast was probably the best I've ever had. There was balcony seating upstairs, as well as indoor seating. They had a ton of delicious food in the front. Dude, it was better than Starbucks.

Logically, I know that non-chains are generally better than chains. The product and service are better, because the people benefitting from and more vested in the success of a particular shop are right there, not holed up in a corner office in some metropolis. But no matter how much I know that, it always feels like a huge revelation when I have a good experience at a mom and pop.

So, yesterday morning I thought, "I shall now be the Super Mrs. Nabbalicious: Woman Who Never Shops at Chains! I'm going to frequent non-chains as much as I possibly can from now on! NO MORE CHAINS!" Yes. It felt good. I could be part of a small army taking on the Starbucks and the Applebees of the world and feeling superior because of it.

Then the doubts started coming.

What about Target? Oh my god. Target. I can't give that up. I'm sorry, mom and pops. You understand. You must! To steal a hilarious line from Gilmore Girls, I'd rather cut off my own head and use it as a punch bowl than not shop at Target.

And Wal-Mart. Um, then where will I get my food? At the market nearby, where it would cost me nearly twice as much? I'm totally against everything WM represents, and believe me, I don't really feel good about myself going in there, and I need a lot of mental preparation before I go there because, wow, that clientele. But man, that food is cheap. I love cheap food. And seeing as I'm a total pig, cheap food works well for me. It allows me to grow and develop my eating like a pig tendencies at a reasonable price. I did read once that WM doesn't make a profit in its food centers -- it's the other departments that bring in the cash. I don't ever shop outside of the food center, hence, less guilt. Yeah, that's how I'm justifying it.

Then I thought of Applebee's. Shoot, they have those handy Weight Watchers items on their menus. I love eating something at a restaurant, even if it's not exactly gourmet, and knowing exactly what I'm getting. It's handy, but I think I could give them up. Non-chain restaurants can be really accommodating, so it isn't a huge loss.

See? Bold and sweeping and not entirely realistic. But that's OK. There are still independent bookstores and music stores and zillions of other restaurants. And maybe, just maybe, I can once in a while poke my head into the local hardware store.

So, there you go. But if you see me in Home Depot, don't nag me if you know what's good for you.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

And...here's a tree in the park! This is for the dog's eye view assignment. Since Nabby likes to spend much of her time looking up trees and hoping that perhaps a squirrel will come tumbling out, this angle seemed pretty apt. While I was taking this picture, a squirrel actually did poke its head around one of the branches! But I got a little startled, and then anxious that I didn't have the right exposure setting and don't think I caught it. Note to self: RELAX.Posted by Hello

Getting All Arty And Stuff

It's the equivalent of putting my coloring masterpieces on the refrigerator. Here are a couple pics I took for class. This is city hall, reflected in a building across the street. The building is being touched up, hence the half-scaffolding, half-blinding steel look. Posted by Hello


The Amazing Race kicked off on Tuesday, with Chicago as its starting point. Seeing as Mr. Nabbalicious is from there, he appointed himself the expert on what the teams should do. The teams bolted off from Buckingham Fountain and found their instructions, which were to take the Blue Line to O'Hare.

"STATE STREET! STATE STREET! Catch it on State Street! It's underground! NO! Don't get on the El! Oh no, they're getting on the El. They'll never make it." He turns to me, "The El is above ground. They want the subway. It's the easiest way." Then he turns back to the TV, "YOU WANT STATE STREET! THE BLUE LINE IS ON STATE STREET!"

"They can't hear you, you know. And plus, it's too late now anyway."

"We should do this show!"

Oh, no.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Is Your Doctor Coming On To You?

This cracks me up!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Drawing a Blank

There are some days -- OK, a lot of days -- where I just have absolutely nothing interesting to say, despite having had a moderately busy day. I'm having the mental equivalent of tumbleweeds.

So, you get a list instead of an anecdote or rant.

Herewith, the Ten Things I Did or Did Not Do And/Or Learned And/Or Saw Happen Today That May or May Not Have Been Interesting:

  1. Mr. Nabbalicious is allergic to bees! My mother-in-law (and most faithful blog reader) e-mailed me this morning to share that little bit. He risked life and limb for me! I'm so touched. But as I understand it, he shrugs off any mention of the seriousness of his allergy. He's not really off the hook with the bee removal duty, but I will be standing by with an antihistamine. Heh, heh.
  2. Nabby had a bath today. And boy, was she ever ripe for one. She probably had about a month's worth of god-knows-whatever she rolls around in when we go for walks stinking her up. In the old house, she got her bath in a regular, plain old bathtub. Now her bath vessel has been upgraded to a clawfoot tub. Call me crazy, but I think she likes it better. It's a better fit with her royal past and all. She always knew she was too good for a plain tub (or, once, the kitchen sink). Either that, or even she knew she was really starting to freaking stink.
  3. The hardware store installer guys (official title) came by and put in our new water heater! I went into the kitchen at one point, and saw about 20 different pipes and screws scattered all around the floor and I told them I was glad I reconsidered attempting to install it myself, as I didn't know it was quite that involved. They had a hearty laugh over that one, and I couldn't really get offended, because the thought was one of the more ridiculous ones that have ever popped into my head.
  4. I bought groceries at Wal-Mart. It was like every other visit, in which I try to get the experience over with as soon as possible.
  5. Nabby and I went for a walk. She chased squirrels like a maniac. This fall, there have been so many, she doesn't know where to turn first.
  6. I talked to Mom on the phone. Poor Grandma Geri in Long Beach is not going to be able to make it for a visit because her back is in so much pain, the family doesn't think she would even survive the plane ride. Everyone is really sad, because we all know Grandma would have loved meeting the goats and the dogs and seeing the town Mom and Eldon live in.
  7. I did not take a shower today. I skip showers more often than I would like to admit. But now that we have the new water heater, I intend to take a long, hot one before retiring for the evening.
  8. I got a big mirror at Michael's for $31! Score! Those 40% off coupons in the paper are the best invention ever. Said mirror now resides behind the dining room table.
  9. I got my hair cut today, for the first time since the wedding (that's six months, for those of you keeping score). Would you believe that I was still getting compliments on it up until last week? I can't take any credit for that...my stylist rules!
  10. I couldn't find the spackle I bought a month ago. Where is it?! I really needed to patch up a nail hole. Is it bad that since I was in a pinch, I used toothpaste instead? If it is bad, too late! If nothing else, the room will smell minty fresh.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Bonus #3,404 To Having a Husband Or Other Person Around the House Who Isn't Afraid of Bugs

I can hang chandeliers. I can install any number of fixtures around the house. I hope to someday build a patio in the back yard. I even entertained the thought of installing a new water heater we need (then I saw "natural gas" on the side of our old one and pictured our entire block blowing up). I'll eat disgusting things like Peeps and Creme Eggs and Hostess Sno-Balls and the gristle on steak and -- here's an oldie but a goodie from my childhood -- bread dough. Mmmm.

There's only one thing I wouldn't consider doing for even a millisecond: dealing with bugs. No way, no how. Cockroaches? No. Flying cockroaches? Oh, hell no. Bees, wasps? Do you want to see me cry or something?

Last night, just as I was climbing into bed, I notice a bug sitting on the curtain panel. I leaned in a little closer. Yellow and black. Stinger. Inside my head, I started screaming. I bolted down the hallway. "Mr. Nabbalicious (no, I don't really call him that)! THERE'S A BEE IN OUR ROOM!!!!" which in our house roughtly translates to, "Bug bug bug bug can't deal going to faint please remove it I'm going to die it's going to kill us all in a matter of seconds do something fast. AIIIEIEEEEEE!"

His response was the usual wrong one whenever I'm having a bug freak-out. First, "Just let it sit there! It's not going to hurt you!" and after having a look at it, "What's the big deal? Why are you so scared? It's just a bee." No. It is never just a bee. I replied, "If you don't see what the big deal is and you're not scared, then why don't you just take it out of here?"

Clearly, he doesn't want to deal with bugs any more than I do. But since I'm the one cowering in the corner, he has no choice if he wants the whimpering to end and most of all, as I've reminded him many times, it's one of his jobs as a husband. Take out the trash. Kill any and all bugs. I'm not asking for much. So, he grudgingly trapped the bee in a glass and set it free in the great wide open while Nabby and I took refuge in the office until we got the all clear.

I take issue with his handling of most bugs. If I'm in a position to deal with them (and I have, but whenever possible, I'd rather be a whiner and make someone else do it), I want those suckers DEAD. The kinder-hearted Mr. Nabbalicious prefers to trap them and set them free, so they can turn around and come right back in.

Oh, well. Choose your battles, right?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Top Ten Reasons The Amazing Race Is So Super Awesome, It's Not Even Funny

  1. Hello, Phil
  2. Hello, Phil's hot New Zealand accent and sweaters
  3. The lovely landscape shots
  4. The interesting things you learn about each country
  5. When the couples fight
  6. When a team gets eliminated, it almost always makes me cry no matter how much I hated them (except for the jerk racist frat brothers TAR5) because they say the nicest things about each other
  7. There's always one old couple that kicks so much butt (like the Bowling Moms from TAR5)
  8. Just when you think it's over for a couple, it's totally not
  9. The fact that this game is mostly skill and some luck, and alliance building can only get you so far so nothing is pre-ordained
  10. The grave look Phil has on his face when a team arrives at the pit stop and you can see in their eyes that they believe they're going to be eliminated, and then Phil smiles and says, "So and so? You're team number one!" He fools them every damn time! So great.

I Speak Good English

If there's one thing that drives me crazy, it's cities with names in foreign languages that are not pronounced the way they would be in those languages.

The example that annoys me the most: Buena Vista, VA.
You think that's Bway-na Vee-sta, don't you? Oh, so cute. Well, it ISN'T. Get ready for this: it's Bew-na Vih-sta. What the hell? No, really. What. The. Hell. It's the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I've got my own little Protest of One going on, and I refuse to pronounce it that way. It's Spanish. I can't believe this one little city is trying to take on a language that is older than our entire country. And in their little neck of the woods, they are actually winning! Well, not with me. It's Bway-na, dammit. I am told that if I ever go to Bway-na Vee-sta and pronounce it that way, I would be called a redneck. Pot? Meet Kettle. Snuggle up.

Other instances that annoy me:

Des Plaines, IL: Even if it sounds like you're channeling Tattoo when you're pronouncing it properly, it's French! The s's are silent! My stepmom has joined me in the fight to get this city to start saying its name correctly.

Buchanan, VA: I just learned last night that this is Buck-anan. Not Bew-canan. OK, not that egregious, but still. I guess if we want to mangle our own language, that's fine.

Monday, November 15, 2004


We have a local character named Harry roaming our streets. He mostly walks around all day in his blue plaid shirt and red suspenders picking up trash and keeping our neighborhood nice and neat, and we appreciate that. He isn't homeless -- he lives in an adult home in the neighborhood.

The thing Harry is most notorious for in these parts is his proclivity for shouting out random requests (and I DO mean random) for things we may or may not have. To date, his best request is "Got any cakes and pies?" Cakes. AND PIES. Not OR. It's all or nothing, buster.

If he's more than a half block away and you are spotted, he will first let out a bellowing, "HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!" When he's gotten your attention, he'll tell you what he's on the hunt for that day.

When we moved in, we were warned about Harry, though. He's a nice guy, our neighbors said, but never give him what he wants. One of our softer-hearted neighbors started giving him things, and soon Harry was knocking on his door at all hours looking for more.

In the Lists section at left, you can see the rest of the things he's asked for so far.

Characters like Hey Harry are just one more thing I love about living in the city. You just don't get this stuff in the suburbs. And then what would I have to write about?

Friday, November 12, 2004

An Open Letter

Dear Person in an Evil Minivan I Couldn't See Behind Tinted Windows Who Honked At Me When I Was Walking Nabby Today,

OK. Don't honk at me. Ever. Especially when I'm walking my dog and am in my easily startled Zen-like state. I know you were just honking at me to let me know I could cross the street. But Nabby was looking for a place to go to the bathroom. She needs to find The Perfect Spot. That could take months. In fact, I'm not even sure she's ever found the perfect spot, and she only goes because she's given up. For now.

And also, she must sit down before I will allow her to cross the street. And since it was raining out, she was being really stubborn about doing that because she didn't want a wet butt. And I was being stubborn about making her do that. And I'm going to win that one. Always.

Also, it's cold. I'm jittery. Nabby is wet. I just want to be inside where it's warm. So, that makes me a little crabby. And Nabby is crabby (rhyme!) because there are no squirrels.

So, you know, next time you're at a stop sign and you see a dog goofing around, looking for the Ultimate Pooping Place, just don't freaking honk, or I might sic her on you to let out all the pent-up energy she would otherwise be using while tackling those squirrels. And there is a LOT of that energy. She might tear someone's head right off!

Someone who hates being honked at but, interestingly, is not shy about using the horn when she's driving but wouldn't honk at dogs and their owners because she can tell when a dog is trying to go to the bathroom.

Don't Sit Too Close to the TV

Some people think I watch too much TV. I can see the sadness in the eyes of the guy at work who claims he watches NO TV whatsoever (except, why are his eyes always glued to the set at work? Does work TV not count?) when I talk to him about a show. His look says, "Your brain is turning to mush. My superior, non-TV watching brain is actually gaining cells." I know the people in my spinning classes must think I'm a freak because every time my teacher asks a question about some show, I'm the only person who's seen every single one.

My schedule is:
Monday: Nothing. Ha. NOTHING.
Tuesday: Starting this Tuesday, "The Amazing Race." If someone told me I had to give up all but one show or face death, The Amazing Race is what I'd keep. It's so educational! Just ask Mr. Nabbalicious where Patagonia is. He can't tell you, because he doesn't watch The Amazing Race. Then ask me, and I'll fill you in. Also, I watch "Scrubs," which seems to get funnier every week. So's your face! You have to see the show to get that, natch.
Wednesday: The only show I really must watch on Wednesdays is "Lost." Sometimes, if I have nothing better to do, I'll watch "The Bachelor." Good lord, Byron really gives me the heebie jeebies. If I am really desperate for more entertainment, I'll stick around for "Wife Swap," too.
Thursday: Out of habit, I watch "Joey." It's not very funny. I also watch "Survivor" and "The Apprentice."
Friday: Ha! Nothing, AGAIN!
Saturday: Still nothing! Who says I watch too much? Wanna take it outside?
Sunday: Ahhh, "Desperate Housewives." Shoot. Did I say I'd only keep The Amazing Race? Now I'm stuck. I think I'd have to bargain for two, and angle to keep this one, too.

Come to think of it, maybe I do watch too much. But it's quality TV, people! It's only the cream of the crop, I'm telling you!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Nabby Has Two Faces

OK, she has more than that. But among her faces are this one, "The Billy Idol Sneer." It was dumb luck that I was able to capture this on camera. She's been doing it forever. Sing it! "It's a nice day for a white wedding....(insert sneer)" At first I was calling this her "Pirate Face" because it looked like she was letting out a hearty "Arrrgh!" The it hit me, duh, that's the famous sneer! Posted by Hello

And face Number Two. Not nearly as famous as the Sneer, but it often surfaces when I've been following her around with the camera relentlessly and have finally worn her down into submission. I guess I will call this the "I'm Too Tired To Run Away From You Anymore" Face.Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

"I Don't Own A Gun, Let Alone Many Guns, That Would Necessitate an Entire RACK"

Mr. Nabbalicious came back from his most recent trip bearing gifts. Just now, he came into the office and said, "I have another present for you!"

"Ooh, what is it?"
He holds open a black planner thingie and shows me the goodies inside. "It's got a notepad and a calculator and these pockets..." I'm already dreaming of what lists I can make in this thing. "There's just one drawback, though."
"What is it?"
He flips it over to reveal "Smith & Wesson" on the cover.
"What?! I can't use this!"
"What are you talking about? Come on! It doesn't say 'GUNS.' "
"It may as well say it! Everyone knows Smith & Wesson means guns."
"But they're all about gun safety!"
"I don't care! If they were into gun safety, maybe they wouldn't make them anymore."

Sigh. I guess I can cover the logo creatively somehow.

Start Spreading the News

Mr. Nabbalicious and I are going to New York for a work-related swanky shindig that I'm totally looking forward to, especially since I AM New York!. It's just for a couple days, but that's all anyone really needs.

I love New York. It's a city that infects you with a temporary madness that makes you (and apparently millions of others) think "Hey, I could totally live here!" Things that would otherwise be a huge annoyance are a-OK in New York. Face shoved into some strangers' armpit on the subway during rush hour? Awww, that's just New York! Trying to walk to the Boat House in Central Park in a blizzard where you can't see 2 feet ahead of you? Hey, it doesn't get more New York than that! All this snow is wonderful! Snow making it impossible to catch a cab, even after waiting for one for 2 hours, necessitating that you take the subway and then hoof it to your destination in strappy sandals and an evening gown? Well, no, that wasn't charming at all. I was pissed about that one. I wanted to beat up everyone in New York that night. Especially the people who looked at me like, "What the hell is she thinking, walking around in that getup in this snow?" Like I had a choice. I believe I actually did yell at a couple of people, in fact.

I'm trying to plan the trip and what the days will consist of right now. Mr. Nabbalicious has to do some work, and although I've begged him to skip out on most of it, I don't really think he will. So I'm planning my own fun, and if he's there, great. If not, well, me and Donald Trump will hang out by ourselves! Come to think of it, Carolyn looks like a lot of fun.

Last year, among other things, I hit:

Century 21, which was OK. I'd heard a lot about the bargains, but the crowds and the shoving kind of overwhelmed me and I decided it wasn't worth it. Perhaps if I were making $40K a year and my rent was my entire salary, I would have been more inclined to stick around and find some deals. But the women in there are kind of insane.

The Boat House, as I mentioned before. We met some friends for lunch there, and wow. We had a table right by the lake and the snow was just dumping on the ground. We sat there, transfixed by it all piling up. It was like a scene right out of a painting.

Ferrara Bakery and Cafe. I'll be heading back here again. Their macaroons and cannoli are the freaking BEST. I bought some cannoli for Mr. Nabbalicious, and ate all but one on the subway ride back to our hotel. Hey, at least I left one! A tiny one. Heh, heh, heh.

This year, I'm going to brave Greenwich Village, ice skating in Central Park and Serendipity 3. Hmmm, maybe we could live there.

SEE?! It's already starting.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Party Poopers

Clearly, Mr. Nabbalicious and I are insane. We're going to throw a "housewarming but not really a housewarming because we really don't need any more presents and it would be awkward to accept them from our friends just for buying a house anyway" party. This, despite our past disastrous history with parties.

To wit:

  • New Year's Eve, 2000: OK, this one was sort of our fault. We pretty much decided to throw the thing about a week beforehand, when everyone knows that most normal people have made their plans well in advance. But we didn't need a big bash. Maybe 5 or 6 friends would be enough for us. (Note to self: aim lower next time). By that afternoon, we had 4 definites, and 2 maybes. Encouraged, we stocked the fridge with our guests' drinks of choice and got some yummy food. The maybes were really some friends who had already committed to another party, but said they'd stop by and hang out with us for awhile. They had to split before midnight. Bless their hearts, they showed up. One other friend came with them, and she said she'd stay for the duration. Fast forward to about 11:30 -- the maybes have long since departed for their earlier party committment, and our other friend looks like she wished she had gone with them. Where is everybody else??! We never really found out. Their excuses were lame, and I still get a little peeved when I think of those 24 bottles of Corona sitting in our fridge the day after. One friend was there at midnight. One friend, people. I still am amazed she stuck it out with us. She's going to heaven.
  • Halloween, 2001: I cheesily dubbed it "Hockeyween." We figured it would be fun to have a bunch of friends over to play the NHL edition of Monopoly and watch hockey all night, or more importantly, the Sharks. I believe they were playing Dallas that evening, but I could be wrong. This party was slightly more successful, with a grand total of four guests (including our faithful party attenders, "the Maybes" from New Year's). Not a total disaster, but something of a disappointment anyway.

And here we are once again, ever hopeful that one day we might throw a legendary shindig. It's cute how stupid we are, isn't it?

Is it us? Do we smell? Or do we just have flaky pals? I don't know. But our guest list for the non-housewarming has ballooned to about 30 people (not including their guests), so we should have a solid 8 people in attendance, based on past # invited vs. # showing up ratios. But those guests are going to have the time of their lives, because we're going to have poker! And blackjack! And drinks! And food!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Ixnay on the abybay alktay

Yesterday, a guy at work came up to me and said:

"Not that this is any of my business, but..."

NO. STOP IT. This is never a good sign.

"...I heard you talking about babies with Melanie last week, and, are you pregnant??"

I couldn't help but look appalled, but I told him no, not even close. I had to force myself to stay polite, even though this guy is someone I generally enjoy. But my black-hearted side was urging me to tell him that I didn't have a uterus. Or to say, "Well, I'm on the fence about babies. I mean, is it really that bad to drink while you're pregnant? Because I'm just not sure I could go a whole nine months."

Regardless, Melanie and I were talking about her new baby. Why would he assume I'M the one who's pregnant? It's not like we were having an out-of-the-blue babycentric conversation with no apparent context.

Then it occurred to me that much like in the early stages of a relationship, when you should think long and hard before uttering the words "marriage" or "wedding" (and it doesn't matter if you're talking about Muriel's Wedding or your cousin's wedding. Just don't talk about it, period.), so it goes for newlyweds. Us newly-married types would do well to excise "baby" or "pregnant" from our vocabularies, because people switch right into baby watch the minute you say I do.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Me and Oprah = BFF

"Mrs. Nabbalicious, please be my friend..."

Yesterday, I browsed the vast selection of Editor Pants at Express (this is pure torture) and bemoaned the fact that there is no way to own one in every color unless, of course, you are friends with Oprah.

Because I'll bet Oprah is a nice pal to have. I know she annoys a lot of people, but I like her. Particularly when she has those shows that make you sob when you have PMS, and she's crying, you're crying, the whole audience is crying. And then you have to chase that episode with one of Gilmore Girls, just so you don't feel too despondent over whoever let it all out on Oprah. And you also need to allow time for your eyes to dry and the swelling to go down so your husband doesn't come home and ask why you were crying, and you have to tell him that it was Oprah and he looks at you like you're the biggest dork ever.

But the best part of being friends with Oprah is probably Christmas.

She'd probably send me a card inscribed with lovely wishes and things like, "Thanks for being such an inspiration to me. I couldn't do it without you!" She probably says that to everyone, but because she's Oprah and she's so sincere, you really believe that she says it to only you. But the best part of that card is probably the gift inside. In my dream, it could be a $1,000 gift certificate to Express. I could buy all the Editor Pants I would ever need, and even have money left over for some cute sweaters, or maybe a pair of Fat Editor Pants, for those post-binge days. I'd probably be one of Oprah's cheapest friends! I'm a freaking bargain compared to Tom Cruise!

What would I give? Well, I could recommend some good books, for starters. And I could help Oprah T.P. some of the mansions around Malibu, You just know there are some neighbors she hates. And I could make her grocery lists each week, or any other list. Like, "Books to Recommend on My Show" or "Topics to Discuss." I'll work out with her! And I could just generally provide laughs and merriment. I wouldn't be a gravy trainer like Gayle What's-Her-Name. I'd be content to just hang out in relative obscurity just being Oprah's Fun Buddy Who Wears the Editor Pants.

That's a fair trade, right?

Who Am I? I Am...Jean Valjean!

Here are the results of some personality tests (as it turns out, I have one!).

Maureen Dowd
You are Maureen Dowd! You like to give people silly
nicknames and write in really short, non
sequitur paragraphs. You're the most playful of
the columnists and a rock-ribbed liberal, but
are often accused of being too flamboyant and
frivolous. You tend to focus on style over
substance, personality over politics. But your
heart is in the right place. Plus, you are a
total fox.

Which New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Michael Schumacher
You're Michael Schumacher, world champion, record
holder in every possible way. You win it all.

Which F1 driver are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Take the quiz: "Natural Disasters"

Like a torrential rush of fear and terror, you overtake and swamp all that was once peaceful and secure. You are a flood.

Take the quiz: "Which American City Are You?"

New York
You're competitive, you like to take it straight to the fight. You gotta have it all or die trying.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

One Year Old

Today Ben, my adorable nephew, is one year old! Aww, I remember when he was born. Well, maybe I don't remember the exact day because for some reason, no one in my family got around to informing me of Ben's birth until about 10 days after the fact. That's my family. They also didn't tell me that they got a new dog, Polly, until she was about 4 months old. To steal a quote from someone at work, if it's news in my family, it's news to me.

I'm a little frazzled these days, so I didn't get his gift until this morning. I have to confess, I don't really like shopping for kids. I just do not get them. My brain blocks any knowledge about how to communicate with kids or what they might enjoy at various ages. And I always seem to get the exactly perfect wrong thing. Don't get me wrong, I like kids, but half the time, I have to fight the urge to try and have an adult conversation with them (e.g., "So, have you seen any good movies lately? What are you reading these days?" Not good questions for a two-year-old). But god help me, I just can't think of anything better to ask. The one time I asked my then-very young cousin about Santa Claus, she burst into tears, so even something you'd think would be a safe topic can blow up in your face. But with me and kids, it's like when you're at lunch with someone that you like, but that you have nothing in common with, and it's all awkward silences and stares and crickets chirping. Some people have the knack, I don't.

So, I was excited when I found Ben's gift because I'm pretty sure it's perfect in general, and perfect for a one-year-old. Since he presumably can't read, I'll divulge what it is here: it's a teddy bear that has paws and ears in different colors. You press them, and they say what color they are. Not only that, but the color is printed on the paws and ears in English...and Spanish! How cool is that?

Score one for the chick who has a hard time relating to kids! Happy Birthday, Ben!Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote.

Did you vote? If not, why not? Get off your butt and go vote, if it's the only thing you do today.

I just got back from voting, myself. Cheesy as it sounds, it always feels great to do it. I kept getting butterflies yesterday whenever I thought about what is going to take place today. And I had to stop myself from clapping my hands excitedly as I closed the curtains in the polling booth. And this morning, I woke up at 8 a.m. Wide awake. If you know me, you know that never happens. So, it's a Very Historic Day on two counts, at least.

There were so many people in line. At first I was put off by how long the wait looked like it was going to be, but then I saw all the young people and minorities out in force, and I reminded myself that this is what everyone wanted and the wait didn't seem like such a big deal after all. I'm glad all these people came out, and it's the way it should always be, every year.

And the best part was, no one was fighting. The last few months have been so full of tension and people acting like rabid animals when politics comes up. It was nice to see so many people and so many opposing viewpoints able to coexist for an hour or so without sniping or making personal attacks.

Now, get going. And bring a book, because you could be standing there for awhile.