Wednesday, November 26, 2008


If I invite you to dinner at my house, I am not inviting you to do my dishes. Please bring wine. That is the best way to show appreciation. If you insist on doing dishes, it will only make me uncomfortable and mad. You are inevitably doing them WRONG and I will just have to redo them after you are gone, and in the meantime you are making me look like an asshole who makes her guests clean her house while she lounges around continuing to drink wine. If my conversation sucks so badly, feel free to leave. More wine for me. But please get the fuck out of my kitchen if I kindly ask you to stop. 

We had our Thanksgiving early. Last Saturday. Guess who got a wee bit frustrated over her extended family refusing to get out of her kitchen. I don’t want to do the dishes at your house. I don’t. I offer, because it’s socially required, and if you are appreciative and need help, it’s not a big deal. Many hands light work and all that. But that is not the case in my house. I do not want your help, because it’s really not helpful so much as getting in my way. 

I’m over it. And the meal was good, and the conversation wasn’t bad. We were missing a grandmother and that was very sad, but it was nice to have the rest of the family together. And now we’ve got a four-day weekend to look forward to without the hassle of cooking another massive feast. I anticipate much reading.

And I need the time, because there are a lot of things to be read. I just finished Mating, by Norman Rush. And am now starting in on All the Pretty Horses, which was last month’s book for book club. I’m only a little behind. Mating was excellent, even if it was completely pretentious and required a little bit of brain power. And now that I’ve started All the Pretty Horses, I can tell you something about National Book Award Winners. They are above grammar.

Quotation marks? Oh, that’s so… mass market. Should you wish to be considered literary, apparently you need to eschew something so base as two bitty dots to denote when someone is speaking. If someone is brilliant enough to be reading your masterpiece, then surely they will be able to divine from your supremely awesome writing style when a character is actually saying something without such a crutch as a common quotation mark.

I’m headed back to chick-lit after this. Chick lit with all its lovely commas and quotation marks. I’m a peon in the masses, baby. And I’m o.k. with that.



Friday, November 21, 2008

Bon Appetit!

Eggnog is a partisan issue. I don’t know too many people who are very meh about eggnog. (side note: meh was recently added to Merriam Webster! Who knew?*) You either love eggnog or you hate it. I love it. The Funasaurus hates it. Naturally I buy lots of it the second it appears in the stores (last night) and keep it there until it curdles sometime in March. It makes my husband cringe in a sweet way. I didn’t realize it was so divisive until recently, and so now I am curious. Which camp do you fall into?

A)    A)   Yummy, creamy holiday love drink

B)    B)   Old man fart goo in a deceptively milk-like box

On that note, my house looks lovely! The cleaning ladies were so much better than my grandmother’s! I love them. And as one wise sage I know said, “The skill of a cleaning lady is inversely proportional to their fashion sense.” It’s true, the two who cleaned our house were rocking very awesome mullets. Both of them.

I literally danced around clapping my hands when they left, examining things that have never, ever been so clean. Like the floor trim in our bathroom.  With such an empty, sparkling clean counter beckoning me, I decided it was time to get a head start and prepare the brine for the turkey we’re having tomorrow as an early Thanksgiving with family before they go out of town. Naturally I spilled honey all over my newly-mopped kitchen floor. Then I stepped in it. Then Sugar raced through. I’m pretty sure there’s now honey in our carpet.

I’m saving up to have the cleaning folks come back as soon as friggin’ possible. Also, if you’re coming for dinner tomorrow, be sure to wash your socks when you get home.


*I recently learned that the dictionary, since, like, 1961 has been descriptive as opposed to prescriptive. That is to say, it gives the definition as used in the common, current evolution of the language. It is NOT, necessarily, the authoritative resource on correct useage in formal English! Oh! The madness!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Polishing Off Bugs

So I’m back in Colorado. I decided I wanted to look pretty for The Funasaurus when I got home, plus I had time to kill at the airport, so I decided to get a manicure. My hair was crap and I forgot makeup, but surely a bit of nail polish would cure all that. A *bit* is actually a quite accurate description. That was the shittiest manicure I have ever gotten. It wasn’t even a manicure, just a polish change. They didn’t even have to take any old polish off, just slap the new stuff on. She rushed through it, used her own nails imprecisely to scrape off sections that she went outside the line on, and in doing so scraped part of the polish that should have stayed on my nail, off.

I was charged $12 for polish I could have done better myself. So I left a really bad tip. I just couldn’t justify the normal 20% that I am accustomed to just doing for most any service. It was a terrible job, it was rushed and overpriced. But I’ve been feeling guilty about the bad tip ever since. Of course the polished chipped the next day, and I can’t decide if it’s the universe punishing me for tipping badly, or if it’s a sign from the universe to show the bad tip was justified. Or maybe it just means I shouldn’t have been trying to take a price tag off a plate with newly-polished nails. The universe is a mysterious thing.

So are space station science experiments. Rogue spider on the international space station!

Meanwhile back on the ranch (aka our little house in our cookie cutter neighborhood) is a disaster zone. Between two weeks of a couch-surfing Funasaurus and me returning from a long trip and feeling the need to spread out the unpacking process into every single room… we’re a big frickin’ mess. Plus, we are supposed to host an early Thanksgiving for 14 of our nearest and dearest on Saturday. I have decided to make the fiscally prudent decision to hire a cleaning lady for a one-time gig. She’s going to ignore our upstairs, and just try to help get our livingroom/kitchen/dinning room/bathroom area in shape. I am excited but also apprehensive. I need the help, but I am squeamish about letting someone else touch my stuff. My grandmother’s cleaning lady came once while I was visiting, and despite my saying “I just got here two days ago, no need to go into my bedroom on this trip,” she went into my bedroom, rearranged everything, and threw out all my little dental floss head-thingies because I guess they looked too messy to her. Grrrr Never have I felt so possessive over little bits of plastic and string.

On the other hand, I don’t really feel like cleaning out the moth that died and smeared his carcass (I suspect some help from our feline roomies) all over the inside of the white lining. Here’s hoping the cleaning lady is less squeamish about incredibly large dead bugs than The Funasaurus and me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Space. The Final Frontier... For Women, Apparently

I am excited about the Endeavour shuttle launch tonight. I somehow knew about it in the back of my brain, even though I haven’t seen a newspaper or listened to StarDate in several days.

I was a huge fan of space as a kid. The Challenger tragedy is one of my earliest memories. It is the first time I remember crying for total strangers. In college I actually enjoyed my astronomy class, and ultimately had to make a tough decision between hanging around in Colorado Springs to help a group of physics majors put a huge telescope up on top of Pike’s Peak or go to France for the millennium. Either, I felt, would have been a defining moment in my skimpy life resume of Awesome Experiences thus far. I actually considered skipping the millennium in Paris. I didn’t. (And it was magnifique. But that something even competed with that event in my life is fairly noteworthy.)

I think it’s also fair to say that I was a major contributor to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum’s funding several summers running, what with my buying them out of freeze-dried ice cream on more than one occasion. It’s basically Styrofoam with a slight medicinal chocolate flavor. I loved that crap. And I liked seeing the inside of the space capsules and moon rock samples. I was, and am, a fan.

What I am NOT a fan of is fucking let’s-be-a-downer-for-all-women blondie on the Fox channel this morning who was supposed to report on the Endeavour launch this evening who was all blasé about it and then has the audacity to turn to her co-host and go, “Eh, I’m just not that interested. Space is really a guy thing.” And, of course, he nodded agreeably and made some borderline chauvinist comment.


Fuck you, lady. Maybe you should uncinch that corset and stick it up your ass in a welcome-to-the-millenium-even-your-precious-Mrs.-kill-‘em-and-drill-‘em-Palin-might-beg-to-differ kind of way.

Whoo. I’ve been saving that up all day apparently. I like being here with family, but I seriously cannot take too many more days of the whack-o-ness that comes out of Fox “news.”

Plus, you know, I miss my husband. See you soon, love. There are so many Daily Show episodes I need to catch up on.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Best of Intentions Always Result in Chocolate

I met a friend at The Melting Pot last night, where I proceeded to eat my weight in cheese. Then we ordered chocolate fondue for dessert and had to order extra marshmallows for dipping because the two of us are huge marshmallows fans. (We survived Girl Scouts together. There is a lot of psychological comfort derived from marshmallows in our world. Marshmallows and, more recently, martinis. I often think girls camp might have been more bareable had their been cocktails available.)

I waddled out to my car with my pants unbuttoned to make room for all the cheese and sugar expanding in my stomach. And decided that, no matter how cold (it has been cold the past couple of days!) I would run this morning. I went a couple days last week and it felt good.

This morning I scrounged up a hat in my grandmother’s closet, put on long pants, a long sleeved t-shirt, and my running shoes. To walk out into the rain. GAH.

I promptly turned back around and debated what to do. Naturally, running was out. But I could, perhaps, spend a little quality time with my grandmother. So I wandered back into her house just as she was settling happily into the Fox news channel. (It plays about 12 hours a day there.) I resisted blowing my brains out and sat down to try and have a conversation. Mrs. Palin then came on to do a press conference, and all conversations were hushed.

I sat, transfixed, as she forgot the second sentence of her speech and had to look at her notes. To be fair, she was quite a ways in. The woman doesn’t really believe in periods. She just starts talking and keeps going and then says some more and then throws in an “Alaska!” and a “GOP” here and there and it’s just one long painful never-ending steam, OMFG.

Then, after a couple minutes of all but giving the verbal equivalent of a lap dance to the Republican egos in the room (it was a convention of GOP governors, or something like that) she opened it up for questions. The first question was about her campaign. She gave a little snort, and said, “The campaign’s over,” and was applauded for stating the obvious. The reporter persisted, and she said something to the effect of, “It’s in the past, so I’m not going to talk about it. What I am going to do going forward is take questions from the media.”

Forward from right now? Because to me, it kind of sounded like she answered a question from the media by saying, “I’m not going to answer your question, because I’m now going to answer questions from the media.”

I gave up, walked out, made myself some hot chocolate, and went back to work. It seemed like the only reasonable thing to do.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There and Back Again

I spent the weekend in Virginia, and am now, more than ever, in love with that place. The fall on the east coast is just breathtaking. I took a million pictures, but can’t post them until I get home, so you will just have to take my word for it until then.

After a week of pies and cookies and tea in Delaware, I went straight into a delicious lunch made from an artist’s take on a Virginian farmer’s market. Never have I seen cucumbers sliced in such a darling way. (Sadly, they still tasted like cucumbers. The only time I like cucumbers is when they’ve been drowned in vinegar for quite some time.) But the rest of the salad was delectable, even if I can’t pronounce the name of the leafy green I mistook for “lettuce.” Which was, apparently, blasphemy.

There was fresh artisan bread, real butter, and Chablis to wash it down. In short, it was a dreamy lunch. Then there was a walk in the park where my dad used to go sledding as a kid. The trees are the same, though just a little taller, according to my aunt.

Lesson learned: dirt trails covered in leaves were not meant to be navigated whilst wearing clogs and looking through an itty-bitty viewfinder.
My Ankles

I had crepes for brunch here, and a snazzy dinner here. (Named for Marvin Gaye, and his self-imposed exile in Belgium. Who self-imposes exile in Belgium, I ask you? All that beer hardly seems very hard core exile-y.)

When I got back to work yesterday, there was an exciting email waiting for me in my inbox. Nothing’s official yet, but there may be good things in store. This has been a good trip so far.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Little Taste

There’s no one better to have tea with than my Grandmother. Mostly because she lets me break out the Limoges teacups. She was down with the dainty pastel flowers and with gold leaf trim long before anyone had thought to add the “chic” to shabby chic. They are mismatched in the most deliciously girl-y way possible.

As she puts it, “Tea just tastes better in these cups.” And who am I to disagree with my grandmother? At least until we get to politics.

The air is getting thick with moisture here, in a way that’s inconceivable in Colorado. I almost felt like I was swimming when I went jogging this morning. And my laundry’s still not dry. But my skin looks phenomenal! And I’m not sure, but I think my eyebrows are thicker.

I’m just kind of hoping it doesn’t rain. I want the leaves to stay on the trees just a little longer. Plus, I don't feel like battling D.C. traffic in the rain this weekend. Amen for my little Garmin.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sweet Nothings

I broke from my strawberry pie routine this morning and had apple butter on toast, instead. Change is, indeed, in the air. Apple-flavored goo on carbs is totally different than strawberry-flavored goo on carbs.

Last night was special, if quiet. My little corner of the world right now is not so happy about the outcome of the election. My grandmother called my parents to tell them she was unimpressed with me this morning. And other family members began the fear-mongering last night. But you know what? There’s always something to be afraid of. In the meantime, I really think Obama stands for progress, and represents a younger generation for whom race is an afterthought. I believe Obama was elected for his policies and platform and not really much else. If he can run his cabinet half as well as he ran his campaign, we should be in quite capable hands.

I find a lot of similarities between Barak Obama and John F. Kennedy. It seems there are a lot of people in my generation who are excited about Obama the same way my parents’ generation was excited about Kennedy. They were both young, come across as well-educated and articulate, and yet still seem to have an eye for what the nation needs and wants. And they both expressed a lot of optimism about what our country is capable of.

And to me, “So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other,” is not such a far cry from, “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”


Now it’s back to work. And contemplating strawberry pie for lunch. The world seems just a little sweeter, today.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mostly Food-Related. Plus a Ditch.

I know I’m in Delaware when I am eating strawberry pie before I am even completely awake. I know I’m with a childhood friend when I turn down the opportunity to go out to the bars in a new city in order to stay home and decorate cookies with lavender icing. (We did, of course, supplement said cookies with wine. We’re crafty, not stupid.)

The next day we met her boyfriend for a quick cup of coffee around the corner from Biden’s house. Boyfriend is in the Secret Service, and was able to take a couple minutes break from standing in Biden’s yard to join us for carmel lattes. I don’t know why, but I found that hilarious. Standing in Biden’s ditch all night. HEE! It just sounds dirty to me.

Ditches aside, it’s been a nostalgic trip so far. Fall is good for nostalgia. I went out to a local orchard that sells apples by the bushel from hand-woven wooden crates. I used to buy my Halloween pumpkin there every year. If I could carry it to the car, mom would buy it for me. I strained a lot of scrawny bicep muscles in those fields.

This year my grandmother did not go in with me to scrutinize each and every Stayman Winesap. It’s too much trouble to get in and out of the wheelchair. Nevertheless, I was given explicit instructions on how to park the car for her optimal viewing pleasure from the passenger seat, while I was sent in with a list that included apple butter. (*shudder of pleasure.* Homemade apple butter.) The new lines in the parking lot (new as of a decade ago?) delineating where one was allowed to park, even if one has a handicap tag, were not to her liking. And I was told about it. The more things change….