Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Now I Know What an Imaginary Line Looks Like

Edited: You know what? Too soon. Not going to even say it. Tune in tomorrow. Or possibly the day after.

Further edited: Hey, you know what the best thing about being pregnant would be? I could stop waking up at 5:55 to take my temperature. And I could have just plain old boring fun sex with my husband, instead of hopeful, anxious sex.

Fucking fuck. Somebody talk to me about last night's episode of "Big Love." Why was I sorry to see Roman take three bullets? He's the bad guy, for crying out loud.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Feed Me.

Work is kicking my ass up one side and down the other this week. My pile of stuff to do keeps growing, despite the fact that I am frantically working as though my life is in danger. I am doing all of the things that they've specifically forbidden us to do here, including coming in early, going home late, eating lunch at my desk while doing piles of frantic and obscure research, and taking work home with me at night. The air conditioner is broken, and I am uncomfortably sweaty in addition to being stressed right the eff out.

That might have been what Dan refers to as "an over-share."

That being said, I am writing a blog entry while snarfing down leftovers from dinner last night. Dan made it. It's this fantastic chicken dish he made from the "America's Test Kitchen Home Cookbook," possibly the best cookbook ever. And I would know.

I always sort of looked down my nose at collectors. I throw things away compulsively--sometimes things that I later wish I'd kept. I never collected stamps, pictures of cute boys, coins, or really, anything else. But sometime around the time I started dating a guy who categorically refused to eat his own cooking, I started collecting cookbooks.

It started small. I would acquire maybe a cookbook a year, and purloin a few of my mother's "Cooking Light" and "Cooks Illustrated" magazines. Then she got tired of me doing that, so she got me subscriptions of my own. My obsession continued to grow. She started buying me cookbooks.

Then I started buying cookbooks. I probably have at least as big a cookbook collection as I do all other books, which is significant. We're beginning to have a bookshelf problem, thanks to me.

I don't cook from them every night, or even most nights. Mostly, cookbooks are like porn for me: pictures and descriptions of things that are a lot of fun to look at and think about, but that I don't really want to do myself. There is a point where things begin to get out of hand, and for me, that point is when I begin making my own eggrolls.

What got me started was dip. Everybody has a particular food passion; mine happens to be dip. Give me something that can be stuck into something else and used as a vehicle to move the second something from bowl to mouth and I am a happy girl. Dill dip and veggies, spinach dip and pumpernickel bread, chips and salsa, hummus and pita, hot bacon and clam dip with scallions and garlic and hot French bread...I am one enormous, garlic-breathing fool for dip.

There's hardly any redeeming qualities when it comes to dip. It's invariably bad for you, and it's way too easy to eat way too much of it. It can't serve as a meal in itself (unless we're talking about fondue, which is a subject for a post in itself, one that I probably won't write because I'm really questioning whether or not I'm already being boring and obsessive) and yet, after being presented with dip, I'm generally not hungry for dinner afterwards. Dip is like the red-headed stepchild of the culinary world.

I love the red-headed stepchild, though. Dip is like "Dirty Dancing" for me--it's outdated and usually unimaginative, and yet I love it.

Yeah...I think I'm done now. What's your favorite kind of dip? Mine is this pizza dip that I sort of stole from a restaurant we used to go to when we lived in Michigan and reinvented, with cream cheese and pepperoni and tomato sauce and mozzerella...it sounds sort of...not right, I know.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter and The Naughty Naked Nudity

Yeah, I'm going to read it. So are you. Admit it. Like Trina says, talk nerdy to me.

Amazon.com is going to deliver it tomorrow, but to be honest, I'm not sure I want to wait that long. Would it be weird to go to a bookstore at midnight tonight?

Would it be weirder than, say...This?

The right answer is: Nothing on earth is weirder than this.
What the everloving fuck is this play "Equuis" about? Will I ever get the image of Harry Potter's treasure trail out of my poor head?
Edited: I've had shockingly few search hits for "Harry Potter's Treasure Trail." But six of you are really sick, you know that?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Worst Lyrics...Ever?

By Young M.C., circa 1991:
"Your best friend Harry has a brother Larry,
In five days from now, he's gonna marry.
He's hopin' you can make it there if you can
'Cause in the ceremony you'll be the best man."

1. In five days from now? He's hopin' you can make it there if you can? Was Young M.C. cutting class and going to Taco Bell the day that they taught English in English class?

2. Why are you going to be your best friend's brother's best man? Is Harry not available that day? Does Larry not have a best friend of his own?

Just wondering.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner, or In Which I Combine What Should Really Be Two or Three Posts Into One

When I was thirteen, I had an exceedingly active imagination, and an abiding fear of boys. I give private school the credit for both. I was not one of the cool kids--I'm still not one of the cool kids--and I had no hope of being one of the cool kids, since the cool kids were wealthy, aloof preppies and I was not wealthy, aloof, or preppy.

The movie "Dirty Dancing" came out when I was somewhere around that age. Johnny Castle and his sweaty bronze back muscles and 1960's hair and Baby and her high heels ignited my poor little pre-teenage libido. Because Baby was just barely out of high school, and OH. MY. GOD. She was having S-E-X. Sneaking around and illegal abortions and sex, and did you see the way they were dancing? She's squeezing his butt and he's touching her boob and OH. MY. GOD. She is ONLY five years older than me. FIVE.

The next five years featured...well, not a lot of sex, or sweaty bronze back muscles, or bad boys taking me by the hand and announcing to my father that Nobody puts Molly in the corner. In that regard, "Dirty Dancing" was not exactly prophecy for me. Scared of boys, remember?

But it was cathartic, if you had access to the transcripts from my inner monologue. Oh, the hormones. I treated "Dirty Dancing" like the screenplay for what my first romance would be like. Nothing would ever seem as shocking again--until one of my real-life friends had real-life sex for the first time at fourteen, in a scenario most un-movie-like.

I was disappointed to discover that most of my romantic life would bear little to no striking resemblance to any movie at all. Maybe "The Exorcist."

I was flipping through channels tonight--digital cable, I love you like Baby loved Johnny--and there it was, in all its late-eighties glory. I picked up the story where Johnny and Baby were dancing on the log out in the woods. The great seduction scene, where Baby implausably asks Johnny to "Dance with me" in his cabin, seems infinitely less racy now than it did when I was thirteen. So does the infinitesimal glimpse of the side of Patrick Swayze's ass.

But there's something about that movie that is the pinnacle of delicious guilty pleasure for me. I enjoyed every overwraught moment I watched, in a way that few other movies can replicate. It must be nostalgia. Nothing ever seems as good.

Next Tuesday, I will have been married for three years. I could not hope for a better husband or friend than the one that I have. I could spend the next two hours writing without pausing about Dan and why I am so utterly crazy about this good, sweet, kind, adorable, funny man. I will tell a story instead.

I work for a perfectly lovely woman who does not always make sense to me. Recently, the perfectly lovely woman who I don't always understand hired (at her own personal expense, I later learned) a very expensive fung shui consultant to advise her.

In adjusting my fung shui, I had to move to another office, where my desk would not line up with the toilet in the restroom across the hall and in which my desk had to be turned to face the west. My walls, which were a neutral, unoffensive shade of peach, were painted lavender. My window blinds had to be adjusted so as not to stab me in the back. And a lavender octogon and three coins were placed under my telephone, for reasons unknown. For awhile in silent protest of what I thought was total folly I unhooked my phone, stuffed it under my desk, and put the Pink Cell phone on top of the coins and octogon instead.

I know.

In an act of desperation earlier this week, I googled "fung shui fertility." Lord love a duck, that was a hard sentence to type. I am thoroughly embarassed to admit that, but I'm not pregnant yet, and hell, it probably can't HURT me, right? It took me a couple of days, but I finally admitted this to Dan.

Instead of laughing at me--which is what I would have done, because I'm clearly not very nice--Dan asked me what suggestions Confucious-Google had to offer. I told him that we should not dust--oh, my poor allergies--in the bedroom and particularly not under the bed, to place a vessel like a large vase on the north wall opposite the bed, and an oscillating fan in the northwest corner. It also recommended a piece of bamboo--maybe for the vaguely suggestive phallic quality. (When I was writing that last sentence and blanked on the word "phallic," I asked Dan for a word that was suggestive of a penis. He said, "phallic," and then he said, "I'll take crossword clues I hope to NEVER get for a thousand, please, Alex.")

When I came to bed last night, a shelf had been cleared on the bookcase for a beautiful raku-fired vase that my mother bought me several years ago at the annual Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Christmas show, an effort to cheer me up shortly after being diagnosed with a chronic illness. Balanced on the treads of his Tony Little Gazelle in the northwest corner of our room was a fan. "I don't have any bamboo," he said regrettfully. "We could go to Eastern Market on Saturday and buy some though. Whatever it takes."

So, to Dan: thank you for the last three years, and the almost-two-years before that. Thanks for understanding why, even though I've seen "Dirty Dancing" roughly a ho-jillion times before, I want to watch it again. Thanks for understanding why, even though I don't totally, I am so obsessed with having another baby that I'm quite sure I've become tedious to almost everybody around me, and certainly to myself. Thanks for being the sweet to my spicy. For all the encouragement and support and respect and laughter and willingness to take a risk--I am so grateful.

At thirteen, I wanted to be a writer and have a husband and a baby and live in Alexandria, Virginia. I am thirty-one now, and I am a writer and because I'm thirty-one, I can grasp the concept that when you're a writer, chances are, you can't afford to live in Alexandria, Virginia. But I live across the river from Alexandria and I can go there whenever I want to. With my husband and my baby. And my minivan. Thanks, Dan, for being willing to jump on board a dream I'd always had, and come here and live this life with me. Thanks for embracing it. Thanks for making it your dream too.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Randomness: This one's for you, Max

Max's newest passion is these guys. I have no idea what this is about, but it's like crack for him.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Women have complicated relationships with their mothers, and I am no exception. My mother and I have had knock-down, drag-out battles that have lasted weeks and resulted in both of us wailing and shrieking madly at our respective significant others about how she just doesn't get it, she's not listening and she always thinks she's right and she's just driving me crazy, just crazy and I can't take another second of it. Some of our greatest hits have been when I confided in my mother that I was seeking treatment for depression in college, and she immediately called my professors, the head of the journalism department, and the counseling department, and wanted to discuss my condition with them (much to their credit, they all told her that it was far, far outside the realm of their professional ethics to do so) and also, when she let my 1-year-old son play with a gigantic bottle of caustic pool chemicals while sitting on the floor at the top of a flight of stairs while she was talking on the phone in the next room. Yes, she knew she was supposed to be watching him. But the phone rang. So.


In short, my major faults with my mother are that she has a tendency to be somewhat flighty and easily distracted, and also, that she doesn't always have a lot of respect for my privacy or boundaries.

Which makes this blog dangerous territory.

She doesn't know I'm writing it. She doesn't know I write at all, except for the press releases and marketing materials and ad copy that my place of business pays me to write. And it is my strongest desire to keep it that way. Which is to say, if you happen to bump into my mother, please don't mention any of this to her. Also, see if you can't find some way to tell her that a 67-year-old woman shouldn't wear a bikini. Gahh.

I would hate to hurt her feelings (although she thinks that I love to do it) and I think that knowing that she makes me so anxious I long for sedatives when she's around would most likely hurt her feelings. Besides, we don't really discuss all of the various ways she makes me crazy, or vice-versa (I am not so arrogant as to think that I don't make her crazy.) This would surely prompt a discussion along these lines, and this is not the kind of mother-daughter talk I am longing for. No, no, no.

I hate to lie, but I lied to her when she asked if I have a blog. I just don't want her this close to me. As insane as this sounds, this is so very much easier with strangers and friends than it would be with her. I would hold back more. I think this would mean a lot less.

Is this crazy? Or just evidence of the damage that we've inflicted on each other? Does she invade my personal space, figuratively speaking, because I push so hard to keep her out of it?

I could have made the decision to write this blog anonymously, and it probably would have made this all a lot simpler. But I didn't, and I hope that my relationship with my mother will not pay the price for that. It probably won't--I don't see her going looking for a blog--mine or any other.

That being said, I've probably ensured that she'll do a Google Blog search for me within the next ten minutes, and this will be followed by several weeks of phone and email silence from her, followed by a lengthy email (or worse, an actual post office letter) about how hurt and upset she is. I will ignore this letter, feeling bad that I've hurt her but not being willing to apologize, and after several more weeks of silence, she will pretend that it never happened. This is our usual pattern.

So, in advance, sorry about the bikini thing, Mom. I shouldn't have gone there.

Oh, boy. Big can of worms over here, and my mother's got a can opener. With luck, she won't ever figure out how to operate it.