Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Awww Yeah

Who's at the hotel and has internet? ME.

Who woke up at 5:30 a.m. and went shopping upon arriving in New York instead of taking a nap? ME.

Um, so, yeah. That's all I got for now. The train ride was uneventful. The Mr. is doing work stuff right now and we're going out later. And Macy's is a ZOO. It's like 10 floors of straight-up zoo, except instead of monkeys, there are shoes. And they're all 65% off.

More later!

SALE! You've Never Seen the Likes of This Before!

I swear the (number censored) margaritas I drank tonight have nothing to do with this.

If you haven't noticed, there are pictures for sale on my other site. If you're still looking for a gift for that impossible-to-buy-for loved one, maybe these are just the thing. From now until December 31, I will give either a 15% discount OR free shipping on any order of two or more prints. The choice is yours! If you want a print by Christmas, I highly recommend placing an order by December 9.

While there are a number of prints posted on the other site, just about any picture I've posted is available. If you've seen one in the past that you liked, shoot me an e-mail, and I will let you know if it's for sale. Obviously, I won't be selling prints of my friends' babies or anything like that.

If it's a chunk of change for you and you can't afford to pay all at once, I'm willing to work things out.

Each print will be matted and signed by yours truly. It'll bring joy for years to come, too. And you just can't put a price on that, can you?

For more great photo stuff, check out the mad talent on Jurgen Nation, too. She's offering a similar deal.

In other news, I'm off to New York to party down (and also hanging with Darren!) for a few days. I'm not sure what, if any, internet connection I'll have. Since I'm an addict who needs help, I'll spend the train ride praying to the patron saint of the internets that we'll be on the floor of the hotel that will keep us connected. If you place an order, you will hear back from me by Monday morning, at the latest.

I'll miss you people, and if it turns out I do have some internet, I swear I'll update. If not, I'll catch you next week!

I'm Sorry, I'm Fresh Out of Neil Diamond

Another one for the Hands Project.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Why Stop With the Neil Diamond References? We'll Do Okay Forever In Blue Jeans

A few weeks ago, I had been complaining to maliavale that my new jeans ($25 on sale, if the Mr. asks) were already loose on me. She asked, "Have you tried a belt?" "Er?"

A belt! Who knew? No, I hadn't even thought of that. I have never worn a belt in my entire life. If a piece of clothing comes with either shoulder pads or a belt, I immediately remove them and chuck them in the garbage. Since I hadn't considered a belt, I had been mentally rearranging my finances so I could get another pair of these jeans in a smaller size. But a belt...a belt could buy me some time. And a belt is snappier than suspenders.

I've never really seen cause for a belt before. Silly me, I thought they were mostly decorative. Since I don't tuck shirts in ever, why would I need one to show off? And if we're talking belts to hold pants up, well, I've always had plenty of hip to keep them from sliding off. But now it's time. I can't keep walking around hiking up my saggy jeans like an old man.

Off I went on Sunday to get me one of these new-fangled belt thingies. For a first effort, I think it went OK. Although it felt like I imagine how it feels when guys who aren't Robert Smith stroll by the makeup racks -- What does this do? Does it matter if it's brown or black? (I opted for brown.) Why are there so damn many? (No, seriously. I just want a belt. Help!) Does it matter if I get a plain or a fancy one? (I opted for mostly plain, with some rose-y looking pattern on it.) Should I get one with a giant buckle and have my initials engraved on it? (No.) What size do I get? And that's where I ran into the most trouble. I bought one that was a bit too big. Rookie mistake, I'm sure. It's already on the last loop.

The only problem I've run into is that it slows me down on my trips to the bathroom, and by now y'all know how much I have to go pee, and time is of the essence. Because I'm classy, I usually start undoing my pants before I'm even in the bathroom, but now I've got to start even earlier because of this belt.

But that's OK. It's better than having my pants wind up around my ankles when I least expect it.

Just In Case You Had Gotten "Sweet Caroline" Out of Your Head, Not So Fast -- Ba Ba Ba Ba

Another one for the Hands Project.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Hands, Touching Hands, Reaching Out

So, the Bathroom Graffiti Project just wasn't working out. It figures, the minute you begin to look for something in earnest, it becomes harder to find. I'll still shoot graffiti when I see something interesting, but I need something that's a little more readily available, yet compelling.

Introducing...the Hands Project. The idea was given to me by Andrea, a roommate I had in my junior year of college. Man, I couldn't stand her. She and her friend Heidi lived in the second room of our two-bedroom off-campus apartment. They fancied themselves "serious" students, but really, they were just plain old uptight. Heidi had to play Bjork's "Human Behavior" every single morning while getting ready. It was fun the first 20 times, but just imagine hearing that song five days a week for an entire semester. To this day, I hear that bass line and start twitching.

Andrea came complete with a needy, sad boyfriend who called at least eight times a day. I think Trish and I talked to him more than she did because 90% of the time he called, she wasn't there. Naturally, Heidi and Andrea didn't like Trish and I because they didn't think we were serious. I prefer to think that while we were serious when we had to be, we also knew how to have something known as "fun."

Heidi and Andrea were both occupational therapy majors. On one rare occasion that I had a conversation with Andrea that didn't involve the words "Your pathetic boyfriend called 12 times while you were gone," we talked about cadavers. She and Heidi had recently gotten to the portion of the program that involved working with them in some capacity, so naturally, my interest was piqued because I love this stuff.

"Is it gross?" I asked.
"Nah, not really."
"Does it bother you? I mean, it's a dead body."

She said that it only bothered her when she saw their hands. For some reason, I'm remembering that they kept the hands covered, so if anyone glimpsed them, it was entirely by accident. But seeing someone's scars, their cuticles, their callouses, she said, gave them a story. You could picture them as human beings who held things and felt things, and it made it too real to take.

So, there you go. Sucky roommate, but a nice insight that I suddenly remembered for no reason at all a few weeks ago. I already have a few photos to post, but the inaugural one will be of the Mr.



Go Soak In It

I've been hiding in the closet, but no longer. I've recently learned to accept something about myself after years of pretending, of going along with the group in an attempt to fit in. I cannot stand baths.

What's so fun about them, exactly? They're not relaxing for me. The water is warm for about two-tenths of a second, and if you're in a standard tub and you're a normal size, it barely covers your chest. The rest of the time, you're just sitting there in your own bubbly shea butter-scented filth. I've tried to read in the tub. I can't. The pages get wet, and I spend so much time maintaining the correct temperature of the water that I'm lucky to read a complete paragraph.

I'm done pretending. It's exhausting and expensive. I'm done going to Lush and pretending to get all excited about the bath bombs and buying an armful. OK, I really was excited about the bath bombs, but it was more in theory than actual practice. I have a friend who shall remain nameless who can attest to the fact that overly frequent use of bath bombs will give you a UTI, anyway.

How do you shampoo and condition your hair in the tub? After a few minutes, who wants to stick their head in that water? You could stick your head under the faucet, but then you're just asking for a concussion. You could turn on the shower nozzle and stand up to rinse, but if you're going to do that, why not just take a shower anyway?

I'm done saying, "Oh, boy. What a rough day. I'm going to take a bath when I get home." I'm replacing that phrase with, "Oh, boy. What a rough day. I'm going to have as many drinks as necessary to forget the whole thing even happened."

It seems like such a waste that I choose this particular time to officially decide that I can't see the allure of baths, though. For years, I've coveted a claw-foot tub. This house came with a great one, and when I sit in it, the water goes clear up to my neck. It's a dream.

But can I trade it in for a swimming pool?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

There's a Place In Hell For People Like This

I was sitting in the office a few minutes ago watching the man who lives behind us repeatedly and with great force and with no provocation smack his dog.

You'd better fucking believe I reported him for that, and for the fact that he leaves that poor thing chained up outside all day.

People make me sick sometimes.

More Keira

I hope these baby pictures aren't driving anyone too crazy...it's just about all I have until I get out some more and shoot!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Yellow

For Photo Friday challenge.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cowboy

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I'll be thankful if I don't gain 5 pounds this week, and I'm going to be thankful for a giant cup of coffee in about 10 minutes.

Have a great holiday!

Ben

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Keira

Grandma

This is not the one who is sick, by the way. This is Grandma Lee, my mom's mom.

Me Stupid

Conversation with my brother, Glenn. Laura is his wife of one year. I'm the lone idiot in the whole chat.

"Glenn! What's going on?"
"Nothing much. How are you?"
"Good. I hear you're not feeling well. What're you pregnant?"
"No, but Laura is."
"Ar-har-har. So, what else is new?"
"Ahhhh...work's...good...."
"Yes, how's your house?"
"It's great!"
"Wait, is Laura REALLY pregnant?"
"Yes!"
"Really?"
"Yes!"
"No way! For real?"
"No."
"Well, now you're just confusing me."
"She IS."
Commence congratulations and "Oh my God!"s.

Come to find out that my dad and stepmom have known for several days, but as is par for the course in my family, no one tells me jack. That joke about Glenn being pregnant was totally random, so you can imagine my confusion just a little when it turns out someone actually WAS pregnant. Right? You can?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bedtime

Mom

I think she was doing her "Screw you guys, I'm going home" routine from "South Park" here. And we had both had a lot of wine.

Gimme a K! Gimme an E! Gimme An...Oh, I Need a Nap

The other day, a couple people asked me if I had been a cheerleader.
"You were, weren't you?" one insisted.

I'm not sure exactly what about me screams "former cheerleader," but I assure you, I was not. I sneered at the cheerleaders. I hated them. But that doesn't mean that for a little while, I kind of wanted to join them, seeking a little validation that I, too, was tiny, pretty, lusted after by all the boys and overall, awesome.

My friend Ana and I gave it our best shot in seventh grade. We figured that was our ticket to joining the in-crowd. I think that deep down, we both knew that people already IN the in crowd became cheerleaders, and not the other way around. But it didn't stop us from practicing the assigned routine (which I don't remember now) for weeks on end.

About 40 girls tried out that day, and we all had to don our regular P.E. uniforms: tight, uncomfortable red shorts with a very unflattering elastic waistband and equally unflattering white polo shirts branded "KENNEDY JR. HIGH PANTHERS" just over our left boobs. This was probably test number one. If you looked cute in this getup, welcome to the squad.

We tried out in groups of five. We lined up side by side to do the assigned cheer in unison, then we were to finish the cheer with our arms akimbo, legs together, back straight and, most painful of all, a GIANT CHEESY GRIN. The more of your molars visible, the better. That just meant you had pep and were possibly high on Dexatrim.

While we stood like this, a group of four women kept their heads down while silently grading our performance. I imagined they were writing things like, "Why did the middle one try out? LOSER!" or "That stocky one on the right is hard on the eyes, but she'd make a suitable base if we get desperate."

As the judges wrote their notes, we had a coach on the floor with us, pacing back and forth, reminding us to "SMILE!" which she would silently mouth as she made a smiling motion with her fingers. She really seemed to want all 40 of us to make the squad, and I remember wondering what it was to her.

Every once in awhile, one of the women would look up to assess us. When they looked back down, cue the coach: "SMILE! SMILE! SMILE!"

I could feel myself beginning to fatique. My smile was beginning to weaken.

"SMILE!"

I gave it my best. One of the girls next to me began to slouch. We were getting tired. We'd been standing in the Impossibly Perky Position for a good five minutes.

Coach strolled by and mimed "SMILE!" and did a back-straightening motion for the sloucher.

After the 400th "SMILE!" mime, I knew there was no way in hell I was going to get on the squad. I wasn't even so sure I wanted it anymore. This was exhausting! It isn't natural to smile that much. It isn't natural to be that perky all the time. I didn't have it in me. Neither did Ana.

Anyway, did Ana and I really want to be friends with Dominique Bender, the alpha girl/captain? I think we dodged a rah-rah bullet that day.

Monday, November 21, 2005

When I Say I Have to Pee, I MEAN IT

Since Darren was so brave and shared his awful story, I decided that perhaps I should bust out my own. It's not that bad, but it was mortifying and it's not something I would care to go through again, either. In fact, I think I've blocked most of it out because I don't remember much of what happened afterward.

Now, one thing you need to know about me is that I always have to pee. It's just a matter of how bad. There have been times at work where I'll go, and then a friend will ask if I want to have a confab in the bathroom. I'll say yes, and I'll go again. I'm like a freak of nature. I've never made it through a movie without having to get up at least once, even though I always go just before it starts, too. And if I see a toilet, cue the Pavlovian response. The only time I didn't have to get up on a flight to go to the bathroom was while flying from Norfolk to Vegas a few years ago. I was so engrossed in "The Nanny Diaries" that upon landing I thought, "We're here? So soon?"

Road trips with me are the worst. If I'm driving a long distance with someone, we need to have "The Talk" that goes a little like this: "I'm probably going to have to go to the bathroom on the way. OK? Please stop if I do. Don't drive another 50 miles looking for the most convenient place to get off the freeway." The only way I can truly enjoy a road trip these days is if I'm the one behind the wheel, so I can have complete control over where and when we stop.

Since I inherited my miniscule bladder from my mom, she has always been very understanding of this (if not a little guilty). Most people have been, in fact. Some other people I'm married to are not very understanding at all. "But you just went two hours ago!" he'll say. "Don't ask me to explain it! I can't help it." He's one of those people that has been immune to "The Talk." He'll drive and drive and drive while he looks for a rest stop or gas station right off the highway with me sitting in the passenger seat saying, "But we could have pulled off here!" and "What was wrong with that place? Why didn't you stop?!" I often tell him I have to go before I actually do have to go, because by the time he stops, I'll barely be able to walk upright. He thinks I should be more like him because he once held it for something like 10 hours on a drive between Chicago and San Bernardino. While impressive, I don't think he's gotten the memo that everybody is a little bit different. I'll have to get him another copy. But what I wouldn't give for a bladder like that, though.

The other people who were never very understanding are my dad and stepmom. My stepbrother and stepsister were blessed with bladders like the Mr.'s. They said they often had to go to the bathroom in school, but that they could just hold it until they got home. I used to marvel at that. "But how can you hold it?" I'd ask. They'd shrug. My stepsister once suggested that I practice holding it, and I'd get better at it. I've tried that, and it made no discernible difference.

Whenever I said I had to go to the bathroom, dad and Lorraine wouldn't ever stop. If Karen and Glenn could hold it for hours on end, why couldn't I? Road trips were often miserable for me growing up. Sure, we kicked back in the conversion van, reading and snacking. But once I had to go to the bathroom, it was all over. I was in misery until we arrived at our destination or stopped for a break.

One day when I was 17, I was riding in the back of the van alone, while dad and Lorraine were sitting up front. I don't remember where we had been that day, but we were coming back from Hayward. At some point, I asked if we could please stop. I really had to go.
"But we're close to home. Can't you wait?"
"Um, not really."
"It's only a half hour."
"Urrghhh."

We got to the San Mateo bridge, and started to cross. Home was about 20 minutes away at this point. I had to agree, it was ridiculous that I couldn't hold it for another 20 minutes, so I sat there in silence, gripping my stomach, rocking back and forth, trying to think of other things, cursing my stupid, useless bladder. It was impossible.

"Please, can't we stop at the gas station right off the exit?"
"No. You can hold it."
"I don't think I can."
"You're going to have to. We're almost home."

I tried to hold it. Really, I did. I wanted to hold it. Who wants to pee their pants, especially when it's well past the age of acceptability? I finally felt my body go weak from the sheer exhaustion of holding it for so long, and I just went. All over the cheesy brown velvet seat. Probably less than two miles from home. I felt equal parts relieved and horrified. I sat there, just staring straight ahead, wondering how I could tell them, if I should tell them, wondering if they were wondering why I had suddenly ceased begging them to stop. Did they know? I couldn't smell anything, so they probably couldn't, either.

We pulled up to the house, I got out of the van and went to my room and changed. It's the last thing I remember. I don't think they ever said anything to me, and I never brought it up. I don't remember if the van ever smelled. I don't remember a single damn thing. But I hope they felt really, really bad.

It's kind of making me wonder what else I have that's so well repressed up here in my head.

My Brother's Impression of Robert DeNiro

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bailey

The story of how my mom's dog Bailey came to the family is the stuff of legend. Well, I just like to say that because it involves me.

One night 8 years ago, my friends and I were bar-hopping in Santa Cruz when we saw this hippie girl standing on a corner holding a puppy. We went over to squeal and coo, and the girl told us she was giving the puppy away. The rest of her litter had new homes, and this little puppy was the last remaining one. As I held the puppy, I remembered that my mom and stepdad had been on the market for a dog, that they preferred a female and wanted something that would grow to be no bigger than a Lab. The puppy was perfect, but it was midnight. Far too late to call mom and Eldon to ask if they wanted this puppy. I sat there for a minute, looking into the puppy's blue eyes and whining, "I don't knowwwww. What do I do??"

It must have been the mixture of liquor and the hynotic qualities of that little puppy face, because I suddenly blurted out, "I'll do it!"
The hippie girl said, "Great!" and immediately took off. As I watched her hustle off down the street I thought, "Oh, shit. What have I done?!"
Kim looked at me and said, "Oh my God. You just got a dog. What if your mom doesn't want it?"
"Shiiiiiiit."

I decided that the call to mom and Eldon couldn't wait, so I ran into a nearby bar. "Mom! Do you want a dog? I found this really cute one..." and went on to describe the puppy.
She woke my stepdad up to ask him what he thought. "OK! We'll take her!"
"Oh, thank God, because I already got her. I'll bring her in the morning."

We drove back to Kim and George's that night, where the puppy slept with me in the living room. She cried all night and peed on me. Thanks a lot. I drove her up to Foster City the next morning, and she cried the entire 45-minute ride. I thought I was going to loose my mind.

I dropped the puppy off, and she immediately bonded with Eldon. A few days later, they named her Bailey, after George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life.

An interesting side note is that the hippie girl told me Bailey's birthday was June 26. When I went to get Nabby, the breeder told me that Nabby's birthday was June 26 as well!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Another One for the Baby Nuts Out There

Friday, November 18, 2005

Newborn

He Says "It's Like Having a Conversation!"

My dad has a knack for leaving long, rambling messages. I don't think he's ever left one that's short and to the point. As I told my family this weekend, I don't want to just delete them after a few minutes because what if at the end he says, "Oh, and the key to the house is located at...." or "I armed the house, and the secret code to get in is..." Although he's never buried important information like that, I know that the one time I just hit delete after the first three minutes have passed is going to be the one time he does. Here's a sample message he left me on Monday. It's really not that bad, but it gives you an idea.

Hello there, [my name]. Uh, this is dad. And I was just checking in with you to see if you got on your plane okay (1) and everything was cool. It's about a quarter to 12 your time out there in Chicago (2) right now. And I'm referring to the flight status thing, uh, you guys are due in about 2:31, which is a little bit ahead of schedule. That's what it says here, anyway. Anyway um, when you get in, I was gonna suggest you just give me a call and I'm trying to figure out if I should meet you. Well, I think I'll go and meet you inside like I originally planned. If you don't see me, give me a call on the cell phone. Or if you want to give me a call on your cell phone from the plane when you're taxiing, that's fine too, because depending on how late it's running and stuff like that I might just have you come out to the door on the lower level and I could pick you up there then take you to the car rental place and dump you off. (3) (4) OK? Sooo, give me a call when you get this, either on the cell or...wellll, I should be away from the office by then, because I'm gonna split...yeah, I'll be away from the office. Yeah, just give me a call on the cell phone. Okey doke? Remember I love you, and hope you have a safe flight.

1. I wasn't going to be much help with him on this one, on account of the airlines not letting you answer your cell phone during flights.
2. My layover location.
3. I kept asking him why he wanted to pick me up and take me to the car rental place when it's right there at the airport and I can take the shuttle, and he could just save himself a trip. He confuses me sometimes. I know, I know. He's excited to see me. But still. This is awfully complicated.
4. You know what's fun? When they try to give you a map at the car rental place and you can be all, "No thanks! I know the area."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Talk Your Way Out of This One Blah Blah Blah Blah

One thing I really, really hate is talking to people on planes. Oh, I will never initiate the conversation, you can count on that. A nod "hello" or an "Excuse me, my seat is just...right...in there...so if I could just get by you. Thanks!" is the best you can expect.

The main reason I hate it is because you're trapped. I'm sure I've turned down conversational opportunities with some very smart and interesting people, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make if it means I've even dodged one crazy in the bunch. If it all goes awry or it gets uncomfortable, where are you going to go? 26B is where you were sitting, and that's where you'll stay. What if you just plain run out of things to talk about, but the other person doesn't seem to realize it? You can't beg off with a, "Well, I won't keep you. I'm sure you have plenty of things to do." Especially when the guy read the entire SkyMall catalog and Hemispheres magazine before even taking off. Oh, no. He's got plenty of time on his hands, and he wants to share it all with you.

So, I wasn't too pleased when I realized I'd be sitting in a middle seat on my flight yesterday. I'm one of those people who honestly doesn't have a preference for a window or aisle because, as far as I'm concerned, it's a tie. With the window, you have something to lean against to get in some good sleep, and you can check out the scenery. With the aisle, you can get up and go to the bathroom as much as you please. But I think one thing everyone can agree on is that the middle sucks, especially if you don't want to talk to people on planes. You can't just turn away from them.

I found my seat, and right away, the window seat guy says, "Oh, I see we both brought a lunch!" "Well, mine's just a bagel."
"I have a sandwich!"
"Hm."

I know, I know. He's just trying to be friendly. But if you give these people the slightest opening, you're screwed, and I was already worried that I had said too much.

I picked up the magazine to see what the movie was.
"So! What's the movie!?"
"Ummm. The Island."
"Huh!"

All right. Not so bad. But still, you have a copy of the magazine, too. Use it! I'm surprised he didn't grill me about the drink selection next.

More thankful than ever to own an iPod, I took mine out and put the earbuds in my ears. Before I could crank up the music...
"Hey! An iPod! How is it?"
"It's great."
"I'm thinking about getting one myself. The one with the video!"
"Sounds nice."
Commence tunes. He openly watched as I scrolled through the menu and selected. I put it upside down in my lap so he couldn't see.

Then I took out my book, which frankly, I'm a little embarrassed to be seen with. Don't get me wrong. It's good and very amusing, but for one, it looks like the Bible. It's especially weird when I'm at the gym and I appear to be reading the Bible. People there must think I'm very hard core. The other is the subject matter: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. It is less embarrassing than the history of pornography I read earlier this year, but I still wish there were a jacket I could remove to no one would really have to know what I'm reading.

Anyway, this book gets a little, ahem, explicit in parts. And Chatty Chuck was openly glancing over and reading along from time to time. I wanted to scream.

With about two hours left to go, the man mercifully lost interest in me and passed out for the rest of the flight.

In other news: I spent time with my grandma last night, and she looks really good. She was awake, sitting in a chair and holding her newest grandchild. I was braced for the worst, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. Things are looking good!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hmm. Maybe I'll Stop By In n' Out While I'm At It. And Jack in the Box. And Del Taco. And Togo's. And...

I've got to leave town for a few days. My stepgrandma isn't doing so well.

She's been in declining health for awhile now, and she isn't expected to make it to Thanksgiving. So, I'm off to California to get some quality time in with her. She's still lucid, cracking jokes and enjoying the attention being lavished on her. She even got up and made her bed Saturday morning, trailed by her oxygen tank. She's unstoppable, I'm telling you.

I'm sure I'll post an update or two while I'm gone, because I start jittering like a crack addict if I'm without the internet for too long. Lawd knows my crazy family will give me plenty of fodder. So, you know, don't forget about me or anything! I'll be back in a jiffy.

Temperature

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Punctured

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Think I'll Be Keeping the iPod On For Now

While out and about the other day, I saw a billboard for a local radio station:

We'll play anything!!!

They're completely indiscriminate! Well, that's comforting.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Happy Ending

My first choice didn't work out, but I won this one last night. Would you believe that I actually have blue heels that will go perfectly with this, too?

And I just know there's some other girl (or boy, because you never can be too sure, as Kim says) out there right now hoping that I'll look fat in it.

Recipe for Bliss

Tortilla, rice, onions and green peppers, chicken, medium green salsa, sour cream, cheese, guacamole ($1.50 extra!) and lettuce. Oh, and chips.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Composite of Several Conversations Over the Last Few Days

Me: So, would you like an iPod for Christmas, or just a bunch of random things?

The Mr.: Can I get back to you on that?

Me: OK, sure. But it kind of seems like a no-brainer to me!

The Mr.: Meh.

Me: No, really. Why don't you want an iPod?

The Mr.: Eh, I don't know.

Me: But it's so awesome! Your whole music collection, no bigger than a deck of cards!

The Mr.: Yeah.

Me: You're still not sure?

The Mr.: No.

Me: Well, we'll see who's sorry when we're on the train to New York, and I've got my little iPod and am rocking out. Meanwhile, you will have your giant discman and your bulky folder of CDs. You'll wish you had gotten an iPod then.

The Mr.: But New York is before Christmas.

Me: Dammit! OK. On the plane ride home for Christmas. That's when you'll be sorry.

The Mr.: I guess.

Me: I just don't understand this. You've seen the iPod in action. It's wonderful.

The Mr.: I don't want to have to throw out my whole CD collection.

Me: What are you talking about? Do you see me throwing out CDs? I would never do that. What if the whole thing crashes?

The Mr.: OK, yeah. But look at your battery! It's running low. Every time I look at it, it's red.

Me: But I haven't charged it in 3 days. You're just looking for something wrong with the iPod, but you are never going to find it!

The Mr.: Gaaaah!

Me: So, do you want an iPod for Christmas or not?

Web

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

See the Amazing Eater Scarf It All Down! Give Her a Meal! She'll Amaze You As She Eats Every! Last! Bite!

Boy, I just can't eat like I used to. Last night, I had about 8 pieces of pizza, and by the time I got home, I was clutching my stomach, ready to pass out. What happened to me? Back in the day, I could really pack it in without a care in the world. I think this development might be more distressing than gray hair or wrinkles.

Several of my friends have stories about my college eating habits and what a giant pig I was. Trish loves to tell the one about how we'd go to Little Caesar's at least once a week to take part in the Pizza! Pizza! deal. We'd each get a large pizza and an order of Crazy Bread. Trish would eat a few slices of the pizza, a couple pieces of Crazy Bread. Then she'd wrap it all up in foil, put it in the fridge and have it again for lunch the next day, and possibly even dinner. Me? Oh, hell no. I ate all of it, right there in one sitting. No leftovers, and definitely no sharing.

Jane likes to tell everyone about how, when we were roommates the first year after I had graduated, we'd order an extra-large Johnnie's Pizza (all pepperoni, half mushrooms and olives, half just olives) and follow it with pints of Ben & Jerry's. After scarfing down the pizza, Jane would barely be able to eat her ice cream, whereas I would finish off the entire pint. And then I'd take a nap right there on the floor, blissed-out from the foody goodness.

An old colleague and roommate of mine, Al, used to marvel at how much I could eat, too. One night at work, he bet me $10 that I couldn't eat a double decker cheeseburger, fries, a pint of black cherry ice cream and a banana. The guy would buy me dinner and pay me for finishing it? Please, that meal was appetizers. A sucker bet! But my coworkers all stood around and watched me stuff my face, and once the meal was gone, Patty asked incredulously, "That's ridiculous! Where do you put it?" The first and last time I've ever been asked that.

But after last night, I think it's time this sideshow attraction closed up shop.

27th

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Here Comes a Regular

Yesterday, I made yet another trip to the post office. As I was getting out my payment, the clerk said, "Oh, so you're letting your hair grow out. It looks good!"
"Wow, thanks! I guess you know when you're in here a lot when the clerk starts noticing what you're doing with your hair, huh?"
"Haha, yeah!"

It was nice to be recognized, officially. While this particular clerk has always been friendly to me, I couldn't be sure if it was because she was just naturally friendly, or if she remembered me. If I can't be a regular at the cafe around the corner from our house, I'll certainly settle for being a regular at the post office.

But then I started thinking, "Oh no. What if I'm in here TOO much? Do I need to scale back? Is this looking weird, how much I'm at the post office, doing business at the counter? Why can't I just get stamps like normal people?"

However, it didn't make me feel as self-conscious as I did one morning at the drugstore a few months ago. I brought my haul up to the counter for checkout and the clerk I always see in there said something to the effect of, "Daaaamn. You're in here A LOT."

Busted. It's true. I love the drugstore, always have. When I finally got checks at age 17, my first one was written to Long's Drugs in the amount of $15, and I still have the canceled copy. I love getting new makeup, smelling the shampoo, biting and/or licking and/or inhaling all the bags of candy. There was a stretch where I was going to the one down the street from us nearly every day for one thing or another.

I tend to think I'm fairly unmemorable and average, especially as far as people in this neighborhood are concerned, and I prefer to go around unnoticed, so I thought my secret was safe. But the second she called me out, I wanted to crawl out of the store on my hands and knees. Instead, I did a nervous chuckle, and then bolted.

For weeks after she called me out, I only went in the store when it was absolutely unavoidable. If there was no way around it, I'd either try to go when I knew she wouldn't be there or with the Mr., because then I could just act like we were there for him, not me. "No, no. You want those bath salts. And you want some Jujyfruits. Or...do you want Tootsie Rolls? You can't decide. I think maybe you should just have both."

Eventually I went back to drugstore shopping full-time, but whenever I go in there and see that clerk, I feel shame. She knows about my problem.

I mean, it's one thing to be remembered as, say, the girl who always orders the blackened chicken wrap, side of black beans and rice with the salad bar and a diet Coke, but do I really need to be remembered as the girl who buys a lot of fiber supplements, reads Fitness magazine but never buys it, buys a suspicious number of the jumbo-size box of Jujyfruits and has a darn-near lifelong prescription to Zelnorm?

Laundromat

Monday, November 07, 2005

Inn

Bigmouth Strikes Again

Sometimes, I'm amazed that anyone wants to hang out with me because I feel that, verbally, I am the equivalent of a bull in a china shop. I've stuck my foot in my mouth so many times, it would probably be most efficient if I just left the damn thing in there.

I realized my tendency to do this in the 3rd grade. I had a friend back then named Cynthia. But I really only hung out with her because my best friend Kim had moved away and, being a nerd, friends were in short supply for me. Cynthia was plenty happy to talk to me. And talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. And ta-- Sweet baby Jesus, she never shut up. My old friend Felix and I had a routine we said we always wanted to do for people like that: "You know, I find you...just...so (long inhale, and hold, hold, hold, exhale) exhausting."

But I guess that was the shaky foundation of our friendship: I needed someone, anyone to hang out with and she needed something other than a wall to talk to all day.

One day in the bathroom, I ran into another girl in my class. Somehow, we got to talking about Cynthia and I complained that she just talks too stinkin' much and I was getting kind of tired of it. I think you know what's coming next. A toilet flushed, and Cynthia emerged from her stall. She glared at me, left the bathroom and never talked to me again. Ahhhhh. Finally, some peace and quiet. I went back to reading my Ramona Quimby books at recess. Oh, sure, I felt a little bad. But my headache disappeared.

Keeping secrets is not a problem for me. Whenever someone shares one with me, I'm always so pleased to be entrusted that I will never spill it. At least I have that going for me. But I could still stand to keep my mouth shut once in awhile.

I've got this obnoxious tendency to blurt things out that sound funny in my head but are actually maybe a little bit mean. All the warnings in my head will be flashing "Inappropriate joke! Inappropriate joke! Abort abort!" and I'll just plow right on through.

Earlier this year, I was talking to a guy at work whose daughter was getting married this fall. He was telling us how he was feeling bittersweet about it. I thought this would be a good time to point out, "Aww, well sure. Your little girl is leaving home and never coming back!" Trust me, it sounded way different in my head. But seriously, what the hell is my problem? Why didn't I just get out one of the plastic forks in my drawer and grind it into his heart? As soon as I said it, I wanted to die. He must be a good actor, because he seemed to take it pretty well and since he still comes over fairly often to chat, I assume that he continues to like me. I really don't know why, though.

I've had plenty of repeats of the Cynthia Incident over the years. The most recent one was this summer at a neighborhood barbecue. The night before the barbecue, I heard an unfamiliar bark that continued all night and into the following morning. I dragged my now-cranky ass to the party, where I ran into George, our neighbor two doors down. "Did you hear that freaking dog last night?" I asked. "I haven't heard that one before. And damn, that is one annoying bark! It kept me up all night!"

I was this close to launching into an imitation of this bark for maximum effect when I noticed George's eyes getting a little wider as I kept going with my rant, and I'm like, "What? What's wrong?"

He whispers, "Greg and Trish are watching that dog for a friend. I think he's going home tonight."

Who are Greg and Trish, you ask? Oh, you know, they're just the new neighbors who live around the corner from us. And they were at the party. I'm sure they heard everything I said, so I was amazed that they actually talked to me later on.

But even with my foot in my mouth, I still managed to whisper back to George, "Well, thank God, because that dog is obnoxious as shit."

See? I can't help myself.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I Warned Her That Her Face Would Freeze Like That, But She Didn't Listen


The warning, however, appears to have scared Rufus sufficiently.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Dress That Should Have Been Mine

Some People Like This Stuff. Other People, It Makes Them Puke.

To the Girl Who Won My Dress,

I had my eye on that dress, you know. It was adorable, it was perfect, it was my size. I checked in on the auction several times a day just to gaze upon it. I tried to imagine what it would look like with me in it, knocking back some drinks and looking glamorous. Seeing that the auction was going to end around 3 a.m., I liked my chances of winning. Not many people are going to stay up until the wee hours to engage in a bidding war.

I was prepared for battle, though. I wanted that dress. But somewhere around 2:30 a.m., I began to fade. Usually the adrenaline rush I get from these auctions is enough to keep me going, but suddenly, it wasn't. I decided that instead of sniping, I would play fair. I entered the maximum amount I was willing to pay and I went to bed, praying to the dress gods that I would wake up in the morning a proud owner of a smoking dress.

But you, my friend, swooped in with 58 seconds left and won my dress with a mere dollar more than my maximum. Sure, you won fair and square. It was my own fault for not sacking up and staying awake for another 30 minutes for a dress I wanted so badly. But you got my damn dress. For that, I hate you. For that, I must curse you:

I hope you look fat in it.

Smooches,
Nabbalicious

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Grabbing Hands Grab All They Can

When I feed Nabby and Rufus, every once in awhile, Rufus just gets a little too close to Nabby, and she goes crazy on him. She whips her head around and if her mouth were any bigger, she'd take his poor lopsided head right off. The food is hers, and everyone else needs to just back off. It's then that I think, "Dear God, she's growing up to be just like me." And I can hear my mom snickering now, because this means her long-ago curse -- "When you grow up, I hope you have kids just like you!" -- has worked, even if my "kids" happen to be dogs. Back then, thinking I was a perfectly fine kid despite being a little mouthy, I would retort "I hope so, too!"

Like Nabby, I am a tad possessive with my food. I don't share. I'm sorry. Don't ask me for a taste. Don't ask for a handful. Put your spoon away. In one episode of "Friends" where Joey says, "JOEY DOESN'T SHARE FOOD!" several friends exclaimed in unison, "Oh my God! That is totally [nabbalicious]." Jasclo even told me that she called one of her friends, who didn't know me at the time, to tell her how very me this was.

This whole thing has led to the perception among my friends that I'm maybe a just a tad selfish. But I categorically deny that. It's just that when I put food on my plate, I put it there with the expectation that I'm going to eat all of it. Every last bit. I don't put extra to share with people. And I don't really get a ton of food to begin with, thanks to Weight Watchers and their so-called "reasonable portion sizes." When I'm eating, you can be reasonably sure that I'm freaking starving by that point. So, when someone comes along with their grabby hands wanting a taste of my already puny meal, I'm a little put out. Have you really never had popcorn before? Are you this hard up to know what Diet Coke with Lime tastes like? Why don't you ever just buy your own damn food or remember to pack a lunch?

I've lied a few times and said I'm not feeling well as an excuse for not sharing. Some people have helped themselves without asking or even being invited, and I've asked them to please stop. There are some people who have asked me for food so frequently that I hide it when I see them coming. When someone says, "Gee, that smells good," I say "It is." OK, I'm probably rude, but if I fed everyone who had their hands out, I'd be a size 0. Wait...we could be onto something here.

Sometimes I wonder what's wrong with me, because it seems like a lot of my friends never mind sharing their food. My attitude about it is a little weird, and I'm starting to wonder, especially when I notice that I act just like my dog. That can't be right.

It goes both ways, though. I almost never help myself to someone else's food, unless they insist I have a taste. My brother-in-law, Ray, is weird about sharing his food, too. When he noticed that several people in my family enjoy trading food when we go out to eat, he started ordering last so he could get what someone else had ordered. This way, someone would be less likely to want to sample his dish. My stepmom and dad thought he was illiterate for the longest time, until they finally asked my sister what the deal was. Unlike Ray, though, I often do make an exception for restaurant sharing.

Just because I'm not parting with the food on my plate doesn't mean I'm not willing to share in general. If I have an extra bag of popcorn or some fruit or can't finish something, I'll offer it to someone who says they're hungry. If I have no food to offer, but I do have change, I'll give you a few quarters for the vending machine. I won't give the Mr. any of the animal crackers I'm eating (I've measured them out and counted the points, you see), but I tell him he can go in the pantry and get some out of the bag. And I know some of you people with whom I toil had quite a number of the cookies I made the other day.

And if Nabby had made those, believe me, you wouldn't have gotten squat.

Walk

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This One Is Called "Using the Fisheye More Than Necessary, Because It's So Fun"

And I'm Not Even PMSing. Seriously.

There's this store I frequent that sells stuff for baths and bodies, and you know, I just really hate them. For the most part, I don't take issue with their products. Some of it smells delicious, and I swear I smell like angel food cake right now. I just want to eat my arm right off, or at least lick it a little.

But what in the name of all that is holy is going on with the salespeople there? If you've been there, you have to know what I'm talking about. The minute you walk in the door, they're like rabid dogs attaching themselves to your ankles and they refuse to release until you buy something or at least acknowledge the lovely sale they're having and take a basket. It's because of this that I try to stay away from this place, only going when I know specifically what I want so as to get in and out of there as quickly as possible.

Saying, "Thanks, I'm just looking, but I'll let you know if I need help" doesn't work. I've pretended to be deaf a few times, too. Not quite a stretch for me, but it doesn't work, either. I've gone in pretending to be on my cell phone. They don't care.

I've tried to find other stores. There's one place I used to boycott (which also has "body" in the name) because they discontinued my favorite Fuzzy Peach bath gel 7 years ago. Yeah, I can really hold a grudge if I want to. I lifted the boycott this summer, but I don't know, the hurt is still there. I still weep uncontrollably when I smell something that reminds me of the Fuzzy Peach. Apparently, it's harder to forgive for something like that than I thought, and perhaps this place and I should just call it a day. I can't go getting all attached again to something, you know? What if they discontinue that? There are obvious trust issues.

Another store I've been to (whose name rhymes with Whoreigins) is just way too freaking expensive for the quality. Their bath gel smells great, but doesn't lather at all. The bubbles. I need lots of bubbles.

So, I feel like there really aren't any other options besides this place for the bath and the body. Yesterday, I did a little Christmas shopping and decided to go there to get some stuff for a few cousins and my step-niece. Before going in, I did a few meditation exercises, prepared myself to be hounded, counted to ten, exhaled and opened the door.

A quick scan revealed that it was kind of busy. Good. Less focus on me. But it wasn't long before I was the only person in the store.

One minute in: "Do you need any help?"
"No thanks! Just looking."
"OK. Let me know if you need anything."

I'm not unreasonable. A greeting is nice. ONE greeting. You get ONE.

Thirty seconds later, a different girl: "Do you need any help?"
"No, thank you. Just looking."
"OK!"

Argh. Do these people not communicate? Can they not hear each other chirping at the customers?

A minute later: "Hi! Can I help you with anything?"
Me, sounding aggravated and tense: "No."
"OK!"

I shopped in peace for three minutes, when the first girl came over. "How are things going? Are you finding everything all right?"
"Yes, thanks."
"Have you smelled this pink grapefruit gel?"
"I'm sorry, but I hate the smell of grapefruit." Not really true, but cut them off at the pass, right?
"Oh..."

A few minutes later, a girl I hadn't seen before: "Here's a bag to carry your stuff!"
"No, thanks. I'm not really settled on this stuff yet."
"Er, OK."

Yet a few more minutes later, the second girl who greeted me gestured to what I was carrying and asked: "Can I put some of that on the counter for you?"
"No, thanks. I haven't decided if I'm going to get this stuff yet."

It's here that I should have continued...
"But the next clerk who bugs me with a bag or pink grapefruit bath gel or this stuff I just have to smell or a lovely holiday-scented candle that's new this season or this bogus 'spend $80, get this useless bag for an extra $25' is going to totally going to get disemboweled and have her insides replaced with scratchy little bath poufs."

I may have to use that next time.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Turns Out There Are Stupid Questions

Who knew there would come a day when I'd get an idea for an entry from a piece of spam from someone known as Ice Cream Survey? Subject: Ben & Jerry's or Haagen Dazs? The spam's timing was perfect, as I've been wracking my brain all weekend trying to come up with something to write about. By Sunday night, I had not a clue and was officially beginning to panic.

So. Ben & Jerry's or Haagen Dazs? Is this spammer crazy?

Ben & Jerry's is the only answer. Who would pick Haagen Dazs? I don't even know anyone who eats Haagen Dazs unless it's on sale or the only thing left of Ben & Jerry's is a stale pint of Chunky Monkey at the back of the freezer.

I don't remember when Ben & Jerry's came into my life. I don't remember Starbucks, either. It seems like they've both always been there for me when I needed them, be it after an all-nighter, suffering a bad bout of PMS or being dumped. The destruction of many an ex-boyfriend has been plotted over a pint.

I do remember the first Ben & Jerry's store I ever saw: downtown San Jose, August 1993. It was just before the fall semester had started, and Trish and I were out driving. When we saw the store under construction, we both screamed with joy. Our priorities were clearly straight. Since it was right near campus, we checked daily until it opened. When it finally did, we went constantly. For my birthday that year, she and George gave me a Cherry Garcia cake, which to this very day is still the best damn cake I have ever had. You just try and top ice cream, tons of frosting and a brownie base. Just try.

Eventually we scaled back on our visits when we realized that we could get an entire pint for the cost of a measly little scoop at the store. It was less fun, but definitely the better deal. There was a 7-Eleven right around the corner from our apartment. It wouldn't be exaggerating at all to say we walked over there an average of five times a week. It's a wonder we were able to pay our rent, let alone continue to fit in our clothes. The cashier called Kim "Nacho Girl," because that's almost all she ever ate. Ice cream for Trish and I, nachos for Kim. I'm relieved to have not ever gotten a nickname, because that would have meant that I was hardcore, that maybe I was eating just a little too much Ben & Jerry's. As long as cashiers weren't calling me out about my ice cream habit, it wasn't so bad. I could stop anytime. I had it under control. I don't have a problem, man. You're the one with the problem.

Ice cream in hand, we'd walk home. Trish could wait to eat her ice cream. I couldn't. I'd peel off the top and sink my teeth right into the pint. I'd eat all around the edges and what I could grab of the middle, without resorting to sticking my entire face in the container, until we got home and I could get a spoon.

My all-time favorite flavors are a three-way tie: Cherry Garcia, Phish Food and Wavy Gravy. Wavy Gravy was discontinued several years ago, and I swear I found the last pint in existence about three years ago at a local grocery store. I grabbed it, valiantly resisted biting it in the car on the way home, got it in the freezer and waited. And waited. What if it's the last pint? Maybe I should save it? My will didn't hold out. I devoured it that evening and that's the last I saw of the damn thing.

Cherry Garcia is my default choice, especially if I'm feeling a little guilt about eating ice cream. Hey, cherries. They're good for you. If you see me with Phish Food, look the hell out. If you see me with Phish Food and a bottle of chocolate syrup, take cover immediately.

There you have it, Mr. Survey. Ben & Jerry's. Every freaking time.

Perfect Fall Day