Mental Health Break

Thinking of Kia this morning.

Great turn out for Kia’s fundraiser last night. Many people are sending positive thoughts her way. Which cannot hurt.

Kia, this one is for you. Here’s hoping you have green lights all the way.

Rorschach test

Some people would see this drawing and interpret it literally:

Clearly, we’ve got Rapunzel, Sleep Beaut, and two little purple hearts named Emily.

But I’m not some people, and all I see is a prolapsed uterus.


Pre-resolution inventory

I was going to take photos of my gym socks for y’all to see how well I’ve been doing on un-resolution number 5, but my husband has already washed, folded and stacked on my dresser the four pairs I dirtied in pursuit of my un-resolution number 4. He’s such a mensch! I totally should have included weekly blow jobs on my list, and I thought about it at the time, honest! I mean, how hard could four fellatios in four weeks be, right? It’s not like I’m married with a kid or anything hurdle-ish and daunting like that.

No, the goals I set were wholly do-able. So it’s surprising to note that I’ve ganked nearly all of them as spectacularly as Brett Favre’s spiraling career. Let’s take a look:

1.This past week, my fastest Sudoku time was longer than all my days on earth. Maybe because I fell asleep while playing?

2. Not only did I not say no to spearheading, I am now spearheading the communications for my kid’s kindergarten class, exactly the opposite of no spearheading. Never mind that I still have to write and send the first communiqué and am suffering angst over not having done it yet and worrying about it hanging over my head and oh! that’s the damned reason I said NO! SPEARHEADING! in the first place! What is wrong with me?

3. About that daily writing… I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

4. I’m coming in this close [] on the 5-workouts-a-week thing and though I could seal the deal by going to Pilates tomorrow night,  I have to go to the day job first, where I’ll come face-to-face with the insane supervisor who I hung up on today. Later, I’ll race out of there to meet with a principal, then rush across a few blocks to confront a school board heavy, and pay lots of devoted attention to my child.  Pilates or cocktails with friends is my choice for the evening hours and…well, look. This one isn’t my fault: There are goals and then there are methods of maintaining sanity that do not in anyway align with keeping goals.

5. I covered this one in the intro but let’s celebrate properly: HUGE SUCCESS! GYM SOCKS! RIGHT! SIDE! IN! HUSBAND HAPPY!*

6. I’m swearing like a woman who’s school board is going to eliminate all the janitorial staff, nurses, counselors, office personel, librarians and busing at her school, and I’m paying twenty-five cents to the child every single time she hears me. She may be illiterate—save for a few choice expletives—when she pops out the other end of this California Public School/How To Fill Our Prisons For Years To Come Experiment. But she’ll have herself a nice little community college nest egg. And anyway, who really needs fucking librarians?

7. That whole two-spaces-after-each-sentence thing is for the nerds. I never did want a doctorate anyway.

As for The Rejectionist? Well. She’s failed in more than one area too, which made me feel less alone. But she’s held fast against the Maker’s Mark and written all up and down and sideways about it. I have to congratulate her on a fine success with a formidable goal. Go forth, I say to her, and spread lovingkindness if you must. But, Madame, if you start parroting SARK and asking policemen to arrest your inner critics? Do NOT blame the Internet when we restrain you and pour bourbon down your throat. It will be for your own good.

*But not as happy as he could be.

What’s wrong with this picture?

You know what’s wrong with it?

It was taken at the mall ON NOVEMBER 6TH! We’ve not even arrived at Thanksgiving yet. We’re not even in the month that contains the holiday that warrants this man’s services yet. This should be illegal. Or at least, this should warrant a fine like the one I think should be imposed on anyone who keeps their Christmas lights up after January 1st. One holiday at a time, people. One damn holiday at a time.

Here’s another one. Can you guess what these are?

These are pants displayed at The Gap. But they’re not just any pants. They’re stirrup pants. Methinks the buyers have some sort of amnesia. That or they are playing a seriously mean joke on women who weren’t alive in the 80s. You see, we’ve been here before and the legs-look-like-sausages outcome is the same all these years later. Stirrup pants do favors for no one. A few decades is not going to free the stirrup-wearer of cankles.

Now guess what these are:

These are cocktails. Or more specifically, these are The Most Ridiculously Over Priced Cocktails Known To Man. Or, if not known to man, at least known to me and my man. That’s my very dry, very dirty martini on the right and that’s his Stranahan’s up with one ice cube on the left. We purchased them at The W Hotel where we attended a rather swanky CityBeat party last night, thinking we were being all stealth and whatnot by avoiding the extravagantly long line for the free drinks. $33 dollars later, we understood the reason for the long queue. You can imagine my dismay when someone bumped my elbow and a tiny drop spilled from my glass and splashed to the floor. In slow motion. Add the cost of babysitting and a quick bite to eat and we were out five times that amount. For a 3.5 hour date.

It’s hot dogs and Ramen around these parts from now on and guaranTEED, no Christmas tree until December 1st.

Just because someone had to say it

So, about those spicy Chilean miners…

The rescue is all great and feel-goody and tear-jerky and whatnot, a live-action telanovela with pitch perfect drama and enough tawdry scandal to keep us gawking until the blockbuster motion picture—complete with an explosion and at least one car chase—is in theaters nationwide.

But there is one undeniable reality underscored by a trapped miner choosing as his three vigil holders, from the depths of his possible grave, his wife, his sister and his girlfriend. (Who’s to say what goes on in another person’s marriage? Certainly not me. I sure as hell don’t think monogamy is all that innovative or realistic, and I don’t generally stand in a place of judgment when it comes to how others decide to define their relationships. That is, unless you happen to be a hypocritical policy maker who dedicates his career to taking rights away from other people while engaging in behavior he publicly demonizes, in which case, pass me that gavel. I also understand that if you think you’re going to die, you’re likely to want to clear your conscience and tell those you love that you love them, even if it means your wife and your girlfriend, who could be twins separated at birth, have to duke it out up there at the surface, beneath the South American sunshine and the glare of an international audience, all while you hope to get out alive and have a chance to look really cool in your donated Oakley sunglasses. I get the overarching sentiment. And I wildly digress.)

The undeniable reality persists: When you have 33 miners trapped in a hole, it is statistically probable that a significant number of them are assholes who should probably be left down there.

Book smart vs. Common Sense

On the heels of the “ghetto-party” drama at the esteemed University of California, San Diego this week—which I will be writing about shortly, believe you me, oh yes I will—my husband’s business partner found a note on the ground, lost by, presumably, one of the University’s fine, over-achieving students. It concerns me how this individual is managing in life and more so, how she/he is going to get through tomorrow without the lost memo.

Hand written in pencil on a postcard-size piece of paper with violins and cats on it (see? Already, I question the functional capacity of this person), is the To Do list:

- 7:10am = Sleep

- 7:40 = Get ready

- 7:45 = Walk to school bus

- 8:00 = Get to class

- 8:50 = Class

- 9:00 = Walk

- 9:50- Class

I mean, where on this list is this person supposed to squeeze in breathing?

I think my husband has a secret life.

Me: I don’t get the difference between figure skating and ice dancing.

Sam: Well, figure skating is smooth with a series of elements that have to be shown, with dramatic air-type things and turns and jumps and stuff. The ice dancing is more dancey, if you will, with dance moves and lots of those close choppy steps.

Me: What about the long program? Good God, the long programs go on forever.

Sam: I think the longs are more dramatic and the shorts are more whimsical.

Me: Why do people watch this…?

Sam: OHHHHHHH!!! She! Just! Ate! Shit!!! She just went down on the first toss! These are Olympians?!? Isn’t that the whole point: That they defy gravity and don’t fall down? They had four motherfucking years to practice this shit and she falls on the first spin? That’s why people watch this shit! And–and!–you get bitchin’ crotch shots all day. Check it.

Me: “The Way We Were”? For real? Don’t they want people to stay awake for their long program? Hello 1973. Our century doesn’t have any music to choose from.

Sam: I like their little outfitsOHHHHHH!!! She ate shit!!! She went down on the triple salchow! That’s three for three. I don’t know…maybe one fall per deal is normal? I don’t know…Whoooa!!…She almost packed that in! She was starin’ at some serious ice right there…

Me: Okay. I’m gonna go work now.

From the town of Bedrock

I am not a homemaker. I have three or four recipes I can cook and proudly stake claim to (I’ll put my chicken pot-pie in a blindfolded taste test any day of the week), but in general, I’m a hurricane in the kitchen. Ditto in the laundry room. Yes, I manage to get things agitating without soap bubbles pouring from the closed lid, but inevitably there’s a tinted lip balm in a pocket or a new red shirt mingling with the whites. The same goes for sewing. The simple task of replacing a button brings out the OCD in me: There aren’t enough knots in the universe to hold that sucker in place and so I keep tying them, one after another after another, knots lining up like an endless string of ben wa balls, unable to stop myself until the button disappears beneath a big clump of thread.

I thank my mother for my domestic ineptitude. It is she—the Queen of Beige Food, the one who boasts of her culinary ability to prepare all things pasty and grey—who once forgot to add sugar to Baked Alaska.

In her defense, she was probably high when baking it, so despite the sour look on her guest’s faces that night, she’d had a good time in the kitchen and eventually, after the initial horror wore off, a good laugh. Still. Baking-while-stoned only further serves as a reminder of the old apple-and-tree cliché, a fact I’m intent on defying as I’ve made it my purpose in life to break the mold.

And so it goes that a couple weeks ago, while under the influence of Vicodin following a little abdominal surgery, I decided the time had come to hem the curtains on the French doors in my bedroom. I’d purchased them at Ikea and go figure, they were three feet too long. Damn those Swedes and their extra-tall doorways.

Not to fear. I asked a talented seamstress friend, who makes fabulously stylish Mad Men-era clothes for herself and her daughters, if she would hem them for me and then never got around to bringing the fabric to her house. Which is aaaaall the way across the street. Instead, my mother-in-law pinned the curtains during one of her visits and that is how they stayed, no one the wiser, for five years, six months, three weeks and four days. I am lazy. And pathetic.

To offer some perspective on my state of mind at the time of the “hemming,” I had been unable to pee without immense effort for two days. Were you to have peeked through the bathroom window during this time, you’d have seen a very disheveled me, sitting on the toilet with my laptop open to this:

I was drugged and delirious and fighting tooth and nail to avoid catheterization. I was dribbling urine after hours of concentrating on Niagra Falls and then lying sleepless in bed—bladder full—on top of Ruby’s special potty-training mattress pad just in case my urethra came to in the middle of the night. I actually hoped to wet the bed. Isn’t that sexy? This was new turf for my relationship. Suffice it to say, being bedridden did not suit my mental health. I had no business using scissors. But enough excuses.

I’d been staring at those curtains from my bed for three days and the more I stared, the more I began to resent them. Their imperfect existence was a reminder of my domestic shortcomings. They were unfinished and they needed to not be unfinished immediately.

How hard can it be? I thought. By following the hem line, I can cut them to the proper length with just enough fabric left over for a little break. Any caveman can do that!

I shuffled to the kitchen, grabbed the scissors and shuffled back to the bedroom where I knelt at the curtains, careful not to bust the stitches in my bellybutton. I lined the scissors up and I cut. Slowly, at first, but then I picked up speed as I cut and cut and cut. It was cathartic in a nobody-gets-hurt, NO! MORE! WIRE! HANGERS! kind of way. I may have grunted. I was a caveman. I was Wilma Flintstone.

And I have Flintstone curtains to prove it.

Breeze it, buzz it, easy does it

As I begin preparing to go on Euro Gallavant 2010—also known as Debt Fest, or Reinvent Yourself: The 21st Century Edition—I’ve been making contact with a few other writers with whom I’ll be sharing prosecco toasts and sunsets over the Amalfi Coast. I sure hope they’re not talkers, boy. I like my sunsets lonely and profound and weighted with deeper meaning. Sort of like J.D. Salinger. Ah, shoot. Who am I kidding? What’s a sunset without friends and a few tipsy oohs and ahhs and holy mother of Jesus can you believe we’re in fucking Positano?!?

One of the people I plan on spending some serious time with is this woman right over here. I spent several days perusing her blog and getting lost in her incredible interviews (especially this one), which are amazingly thoughtful, pitch-perfect-inquisitive and deserving of larger publication. All I can say is that the screenwriters for Jerry Maguire couldn’t write a line cheesy enough for the occasion of meeting Sariah in person.

Without a script, I’ve decided my best bet is to play it cool. Not like Danny Zuko impress-my-friends cool. But more like a don’t-fawn-or-try-to-touch-her-hair cool. The way I figure it, if I don’t knock her over and hump her leg on day one, that will be West Side Story cool.

But I’ve strayed now from my original intention, which was to borrow the questionnaire part of Sariah’s interview. Because it’s so damn cool. As in, The Birth of:

What are your necessities?…Love; kisses from my daughter, both landed and blown; sunglasses; CO Bigelow Mentha Tint lip gloss; heels of all kinds (stacked, stiletto, kitten, princess, wedge, what have you); booksbooksbooks; The New Yorker; On The Street with Bill Cunningham; the family bed on weekends; alone time; my Canon 40-D and 50mm lens; Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, any Thelonious, Jimmy Smith, Gene Harris, Chet Baker, Ella Fizgerald…oh hell, all kinds of jazz that I couldn’t possibly live without, especially Cannonball Adderly’s and Bobby Timmons’ swingin’ masterpiece  “Dis Here” set on repeat, cruising up the coast as a passenger in my husband’s classic Mini,  windows down, volume at 11. Picture it…

Nothing smells better than. . .my daughter’s skin after a bath and her scalp after oiling; the space between my husband’s nose and upper lip after he shaves; early mornings in a canyon.

Nothing tastes better than. . .Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups/Trees/Eggs/Hearts with an ice cold glass of water.

Nothing feels better than . . .Hey, now…

I’d rather be…laughing and toasting with friends on my back patio during a summer evening, my home filled with people I adore, than doing just about anything else, especially faxing.

If you could live in any other epoch, which would it be? As far as fashion goes, the 20s or the 60s (ala Mad Men). Otherwise, this one seems to be working out well for me.

If you could jump into any painting, à la Mary Poppins, which would you choose?


“The Tree of Life,” c. 1909 by Gustav Klimt

What about you? What are your answers to Sariah’s pressing questions?

While complete tools, they’re not the *sharpest* tools in the conservative shed. And on that note, happy Friday!

H/T Nick Stoffel, baby lover extraordinaire, KPBS producer and my friend. Yes, I’m name dropping because I’m just a star fucker at heart.