Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Thirteen..I mean...eight.

There is this little weekly meme called Thursday Thirteen that I ran across while following links. Now, I am not at all a joiner, and I fancy myself as something of a rebel, but because I can’t think of anything else to write about today but I still feel like writing something, I am going to do a list of thirteen things that people who know me, probably don’t know about me. Why? Well, why not?

1. I really like fairies and butterflies. People are generally surprised by this as I don’t seem like much of an airy-fairy kind of girl. But good fairy art, is sadly, a rarity and bad fairy art abounds, but the good kind, I just love. And butterflies are pretty, so there. AND I like bees too. A lot. BEES!
2. I don’t really like soda all that much. I drink it because I like the bubbles. Through most of my teen years I paid full price for seltzer at fast food restaurants because they didn’t want to give it to me for free. Half the time I had to show the counter people how to get seltzer out of the machine in the first place (there’s a little tab on the side of one of the soda spouts that will give you seltzer, no syrup).
3. And speaking of beverages, I like coffee just fine but I generally prefer to drink it in the evening. Sadly, I can’t because I am also an insomniac and I don’t need any extra chemicals making that worse.
4. I hate wearing socks but my feet are often cold.
5. I have a serious addiction to bags. Handbags, tote bags, wallets, pouches, you name it, I love them. And once I start thinking about one, I have to have it. And then I decide I don’t like it and I give it away. It’s a sickness.
6. I started Christmas shopping this week, and I feel bad about starting so late.
7. There is a light-up jawa on my desk.
8. Hmmm…I am boring enough only to make it to 8 before I give up.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

How I know it's fall, despite the hot weather.

The candy jar in the office has been invaded by Sweetarts. The Sweetarts have, in turn, overwhelmed the chocolate. Now all the Kisses smell of Sweetarts. Which is really disgusting. Because it looks like chocolate but smells all wrong.

Years ago, I shared an office with only one other person. We didn’t have an open floor plan and we had a huge space between the two of us. Since we managed to find a common musical ground and iTunes hadn’t really been invented yet, we had a boombox and some cds. Sometime around Halloween, we had a monster movie cd. All the background music from famous horror movies that we would put on to evoke the Halloween-y type mood. A few hours into the day I realized that my heart was racing and I was working really fast and feeling incredibly nervous. It took us a few days to make the connection. Every year around this time we start to contemplate bringing the monster music out. We’d certainly get a lot of work done but we’d also probably jump out of our skins at ever little noise.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Book marks.

Do you write in your books? Or does me asking that question make your skin crawl?

I used to think there was no sin greater than writing in a book. The AUTHOR wrote the book, I was just a humble reader. What could I possibly bring to the metaphorical table by adding my scrawl to a page?

Then I went to college and we were required to write in books. This was shocking to me. And I suspect, to many others after all those years of grade school textbooks that must never, ever be sullied by neither pen nor pencil. Those textbooks were so important that we had to make special covers for them. That was always the first assignment of every year, right? To cover your books. But in college, we had to pay for our books, they were ours, we couldn’t get in trouble for writing in them. In fact, we probably would get in more trouble for not writing in them. And nothing was more valued than a well-annotated textbook. Especially if it was for something kind of tough, like medieval literature. Especially if you could buy it used and it already had notes it.

My college was so determined to make us write in our books that we actually had classes devoted to it. And we were all required to take them. We bought multicolored highlighters and had intricate systems of marking out the most important bits. And for books like The Odyssey, we would mark the bits that different teachers thought important in different fluorescent colors. It was rough. I just wasn’t comfortable writing in a book. I felt…dirty.

It was a few years after college that it occurred to me that maybe it was OK. Maybe it was actually a good idea to write in my books. I remember the first of my non-textbooks that I ever wrote in; it was that big a deal to me. It was a book of the letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald and I wanted to be able to find the passage again. In fact, I bet if I went to the bookshelf right now, I could find that passage, it was in a letter to his daughter and it was exceptionally funny…except the bookshelf is in another room and I am lazy.

After that I pretty much lost any reverence I had for books. Oh, I love books, probably a little too much. I pretty much have an entire storage unit filled with books, some I have read and some…that I will read…eventually…I swear. There are stacks of books all over my apartment. In fact, there is not a single room that does not have books in it. The kitchen has it’s own bookshelf, the hallway houses a basket of poetry, the bathroom…well let’s just say there’s always something to read in our bathroom. But once I started writing in my books, I started treating them a little rougher, no bookmark, no problem, fold the page back (I swear I can hear people cry when I say that). And bindings, dude, just like hearts, they are made to be broken.

I don’t scribble in every book I own. But I realized that these were MY books and I could do what I wanted with them. Generally I just make notes to myself on a particularly lovely passage or cleverly used word. Sometimes it’s a reference to another book. And I also realized that I like to buy used books that have notes in them. It makes me happy to see what other people think.

But, in all honesty, I started thinking about this because I wanted to loan a book to an acquaintance. She doesn’t know me very well and that’s OK but the book I want to loan her is my favorite book of poetry. It’s…well loved. Kind of like the Velveteen Rabbit. When I first got it, I carried it around in my bag. One day a soda spilled on it. It is warped and stained but that doesn’t worry me so much. It’s all the little notes in it that made me think twice about loaning it out. The little hearts around the one poem I love so much. The “very clever” comments next to some particularly good similes. I am afraid that, not knowing me all that well, my rough treatment of books will scare her. And I don’t want her to know what kind of dork I am.

Yeah, a big dork. I know.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Miss Audrey Kitty is her full name.

I have a cat. Me and my cat, we have been together a long time. We get along. She’s not a cuddly, sit on your lap cat. She’s more a sit on the floor staring at you and meowing loudly until you start saying “WHAT? WHAT IS IT? Did Timmy fall down the well or are you just hungry?” kind of cat. But we are happy together. She doesn’t want to sit on me, she wants to sit next to me. And she doesn’t want a bite of my chicken, she wants all of my chicken. It works out fine. Well, it works out fine for her.

I know she is getting old and I know that it’s ghoulish but I think quite a bit about her mortality…catality? Whatever. And I know that there will come a time when no one is sitting on the floor staring and meowing loudly and it makes me sad. But I am a realist about these things. I am because having a cat has made me so. No, really, I was set up for my cat’s demise when she was only a wee kitten. And for a long time when I thought about it, it was kind of funny. Maybe not so much anymore…no…it’s still funny.

See, Miss Audrey..what? THAT’S HER NAME. I can call her Audrey but she really prefers you not be so familiar with her. She was a parking lot cat, rescued along with her brother (his name is Atila the Hun and last we heard he lived in Pennsylvania. Having a brother named Atila should give you some idea of Miss Audrey’s personality. She is, after all, named after a Honeymooner, a movie star and a man-eating plant) from some industrial park. I had always wanted a cat but my father claimed to not like the nasty little beasties. He agreed to let Miss Audrey move in with us only if he could refer to her as “the dog” and insisted upon teaching her to bark. He was duly shocked when she did.

OK, anyway, when Miss Audrey first came to live with us, I took her to the vet, as all responsible pet parents should. They told me to bring her back in a few months to have her spayed and when the time came we set of the veterinarians office. She was tucked into her jaunty tan cat carrier and was dropped off with only a few plaintive yowls (from her, not from me). They told me that the surgery itself didn’t take very long but that the recovery could take a bit of time. She would be grumpy from the antastezia and tender from the stitches (turns out the grumpy part was just her natural state of being). The doctor said he would call me later in the day to let me know when I could pick her up.

It was midday when he called and he told me that there had been a little problem with the surgery. I had only had this kitten for a few months but I was firmly attached to her and she seemed to be just as attached to me. The words “little problem” nearly made me swoon. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as all that. Turns out that when they spay a cat, they make a small incision and move the fallopian tubes outside the body. When they had moved Miss Audrey’s, one of them snapped and was pulled back into her body. It sounded gruesome but the end result was only that they had to make a wider incision than normal and that she would be tender from the manhandling. Other than that, she was fine and I could pick her up at the end of the day.

The vet’s office was unusually busy when I arrived. I had paid in advance and only needed to pick the cat up so I stood at the front desk until an assistant could help me. I told her that I was here to pick up my cat, Audrey, and she sent some dude in the back to get her.
After a few minutes wait he showed up with a cardboard box. Since Miss Audrey had arrived in her jaunty tan cat carrier, I assumed this was someone else’s pet. The dude put the box on the counter in front of me and said, “I’m so sorry.” It was only then that I noticed that the cardboard box bore the legend “Kitty Coffin.” (OK I will swear to you that it actually did say “Kitty Coffin” on the side of the box but I could be lying. It definitely said “coffin” though because I knew enough to recoil in horror from a little cardboard box.) I was…I don’t even know what I was. I remember feeling the blood rush from my head and stammering out “But…but…she was only here to get spayed. What happened?” I remember holding on the counter and losing my mind a little bit. The nurse looked at me, looked at the box and said “Oh my god. You got her the wrong cat!”

She apologized. The dude took the kitty coffin into the back room and I sat down to wait. It took a little longer than it should. I wondered if indeed something had gone horribly wrong. Or if maybe they were trying to reanimate my tiny kitten or something awful but in a few minutes the jaunty tan cat carrier arrived with many apologies.

Miss Audrey is fine. She rules the house with an iron paw and has since her kittenhood. But that was a bad day for both of us.

Gallumaufry Arts

There are plenty of websites that promote small businesses. This has never really been one of them. But I do actually read a few review and shopping promotional sort of sites. Modish and Mixed Plate are my favorites. Recently, I read a review of Gallumaufry Arts on Mixed Plate and the bits and bobs there really appealed to me, so I placed an order.

My little package arrived today and boy is it lovely. I bought a few little things, some earrings, some notebooks and everything is beautifully made. Heck the packaging alone made me feel special. All my little items arrived in a shiny black box decorated with ribbon and a coppery charm. It made me feel like a princess, I tell you, A PRINCESS!

If you need a nice gift for, say, a teacher and you know she’s going to get a million and one little soaps (my mom was a teacher, they always get a million and one little soaps) maybe a cool sticky note notebook would do the trick. Who doesn’t love to use sticky notes? And don’t they always get messy? Yes, yes, they do.

I also got a chain mail ring. Very pretty, very comfortable, very reasonable price. This is good stuff. I say check it out.

I don’t intend to become a shopping blog but since I like to support a lot of indie artists and businesses, I will pass on any good info I get to you. Maybe in a few weeks, when I start my Christmas shopping (Yes, it’s time to start! Heck, my mom is already done. She’s probably got all her presents wrapped too. We are way behind, people. Waaaaay behind.), I will point out a few more cool sites. And maybe you will be inclined to buy from them. I love Target as much as the next person but hey, when you buy indie, you know you are getting something that was made by hand, hopefully with care. And more often than not you get something one of a kind. And who wants to be just like everyone else?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What's going on?

I haven’t done this in a while but here goes...

I am currently reading these books:
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell- Big, long, heavy book. I read it in little bits here and there. What I have read, I have really enjoyed, but so far, for me, it has not been a “sit down and go at it” sort of book.
The Moor- Just started reading this one on lunch breaks. I decided that The Great Stink, while not particularly nasty, was just disgusting enough for me not to want to read it while I eat.
The Great Stink- I am reading a book about sewers. Is that enough? Should I also tell you that one of the main characters is a cutter? So far, so eh.
How to Cook a Wolf- Genius. I have read this before and I dragged it out to remind me why I like it. If you like to cook this is an excellent book to remind you why you like to cook.

I am currently NOT reading these comics (but I should be…):
Tramps Like Us- borrowed from Jodi, I really need to get my act together and finish reading those. Sorry, Odi.
Watchmen- yeah, yeah. I keep starting and stopping. I know it’s a classic and all but since when do I care about comic book classics?

I am currently listening to:
The Buddha Machine- I am totally fascinated by this thing. I don’t actually have one but I did download the sounds from it. And I listened to a 35 second loop of a tone for about two hours yesterday. It was soothing. Seriously.
Franco Corelli- I listen to a fair amount of opera but I don’t know all that much about it. I heard Franco Corelli recordings on the Premiere Opera Podcast and just fell in love with his voice.
Massive Attack- 100th Window-This album got some kind of so-so reviews. I rather enjoy it. It’s nice when I am driving home and I just need to chill a little.
The New York Dolls- On the flip side, this is what I have been listening to on my way to work and need to wake up. Trashy in all the right ways.

I’ve been watching:
Hmm…well, with all the new shows starting, I have been picking and choosing a bit.
I rather liked “Men in Trees” it was cute and sweet and not at all what TV is like these days. Therefore it will be cancelled.

I’m happy that “House” is back. Sure, it’s the same old story over and over again but I really like the characters…all except that girl. I really, really don’t like her.

I was enjoying “Life on Mars” quite a lot but that has wrapped up its season. I hope it comes back for another as I am completely smitten with Gene Hunt (as played by Philip Glenister). James says that I take my management style from him. Drink whisky and punch until people do what you want. Works for me.

I’m finally starting to catch up on the final season of “Deadwood”. So sad. It’s such a good show and now…poof…all over except for the movies.

And I’m loving “Weeds”. What do I have in common with a widowed suburban drug dealing mom?...Nothing. But damn if this show doesn’t make me laugh.

I did watch “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” the other night. I was not impressed. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. I will give it another shot or two before deciding but I did like Sarah Paulson so…who knows? I think I just don’t like Aaron Sorkin’s style, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

I’ve been making:
New designs for kiddie clothes with the intention of opening an store. Well, that’s the intention…we’ll see if I ever actually do it.

Current Crush:
Philip Glenister who just happens to be the brother of Robert Glenister of “Hustle”, who is also lovely.

What are you reading, not reading, listening to, watching, doing and on whom are you crushing? Or is it nosy of me to ask?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Change. For Illustration Friday.

Poor little piggy bank. He looks kind of worried.

I do. I did. I'm done.

This weekend was a big one. Well, Saturday was a big one. We spent the day attending a wedding in Ojai. It was lovely. The ceremony was held on a lavender farm and although it was very sunny, it also was nicely breezy, so it never got too hot. And the bride was smart enough to gift the guests with parasols to keep the sun out of our faces.

The reception was equally lovely. The only strange thing was that rain of ash from the sky. Omen, you say? Nah, just a raging fire on the mountains that turned the sky and eerie purple gray and make it look like Christmas, what with the falling from the sky and all. I tried to convince people to catch the little flakes on their tongues but no one was sucker enough for that.

Having done the wedding thing once and having been through many more with my friends, I am going to say something here that most people won’t say. Weddings? Just don’t. Get married if you must but I gotta say, weddings, not so much fun. Oh, you go into thinking that YOU won’t get stressed like all those other brides (and grooms), that YOU won’t get fleeced by the vendors, that YOU know the best way to do everything. But let me tell you, I have yet to see anyone that actually was enjoying themselves come wedding time. And while I had a fine old time at my own wedding, I can’t deny that there was a considerable amount of stress around my mellow little outdoor service and brunch reception.

But the best wedding I have ever been too was probably the worst wedding ever for a bride, so maybe I am wrong. Maybe the entertainment value for the friends and family makes it all worth it. Let’s see how this goes…well, first the car with the bride and bridesmaids broke down. This was in the days before cell phones so someone trucked to a pay phone and called the tow truck. The wedding was slightly delayed while the bride and bridesmaid drank the bottle of blackberry brandy that happened to be in the trunk and waited for help.

When they finally arrived at the church, slightly tipsy, I might add, the flower girl refused to go down the aisle. She was dragged down kicking and screaming which, was fine because once they got everyone lined up, the ring bearer lost his shit and started screaming for mommy. OK, still not tragic. The groom, who was not a native English speaker, got so nervous that after three attempts, just delivered his vows in Spanish.

Wait…I’m not finished yet. It gets better.

At the reception, the bride’s brother decided to come out of the closet and declare his sexual status by dancing with his boyfriend, who, by the way, was my ex. But then the bride slipped on the dance floor and broke her ankle. Luckily the reception was being held in a firehall and the e.m.t.’s just came in from the front of the building. While we waited for them, the brother of the bride started a conga line around his injured sister. But you know, the hall was paid for and all so the bride’s aunt just put on the veil and grabbed the bouquet and the party continued on as before. It was awesome.

I never did hear if that particular bride found her wedding stressful. But it is, for me, the ultimate example of the joy a wedding can bring to all…or not.

And speaking of omens, I have a friend who planned to have her wedding reception on a boat that cruised the Deleware River. A few months before the event, she called to tell me that the boat had sunk. Omen? Well…they are still married.

Friday, September 15, 2006


For the Doctor Who fans in the house...Sarah Jane and blood and snogging. How can that be bad?

Note to self...

...don't read a book on the reconstruction of the London sewer system while eating your lunch.

See also: Don't read Zombie Tales comics while eating lunch. Better yet...don't read anything with sewers or zombies in it.


My bff just came back from a trip to London, England (you have to say “London, England” lest anyone be confused. Also it makes you sound like a rube, which I am). I was in London, England very briefly on my whirlwind tour of the United Kindgom and Ireland but I really didn’t get to see all that much of London, England, even though I saw a lot of other things in the United Kingdom…and Ireland. By all accounts it was a very good trip. I drank scotch in Scotland and Guinness in Ireland and cider in Wales. So there are at least three lifetime goals achieved. But I would like to go back. And there are specific things I would like to do so I am making a list because I can’t think of anything else to do right now except work and quite frankly, I am totally over work.

So, things to do in London, England when you aren’t yet dead:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


On Friday, my second oldest nephew turns 14. My oldest nephew has recently graduated from college and is starting a job that will earn him something like ten times the amount I earned my first year out of college. And possibly more than I earn right now. But this isn’t about jealousy. This is about my fourteen year old nephew and his birthday…and jealousy. Because I found out that my mother has purchased said nephew an ipod as a birthday gift. AND WHERE IS MY IPOD MOTHER? Oh…it’s on the table, ok. (But my husband gave me that one!). Still, I think it is an excellent present and I thought it would be nice to supplement it, so I am providing some music in the form of a gift certificate. I asked my brother what kind of music the kid was listening to and he was…well, who really knows what those crazy kids are doing these days anyway? So I went the safe route and stuck with iTunes.

But my original intent and eventual intent was to make him a mix cd to go along with the gift certificate. I guess I kind of hoped that maybe I could introduce him to something new that he would really like. OK, more likely something old, but something that he had not really listened to before. I know his mom likes a lot of the same music I do. And his dad likes some different music than his mother but still some in common with me but I thought that surely there was something untapped in the middle there. And by the way, my brother shaped some of my musical tastes that he might not actually know about…so…um…brother, if you were looking for those copies of the Eurythmics or Hoodoo Gurus tapes that you lost like, say…twenty years ago…I totally stole them. Sorry. I’ll give them back to you next time I see you.

So I started looking through the music on my computer and I realized pretty quickly that my idea of what a fourteen year old boy might like and what a fourteen year old boy might actually like are probably two totally different things. I started throwing stuff in a folder and got to the “B’s” before I thought that maybe this was going to take a little more effort than I originally thought. I put “Eyes” by Apollo Sunshine, “1976” from RJD2, “ABC” by The Jackson 5, “All Of Me” as played by Django Reinhardt, “Antmusic” from Adam & The Ants, of course, “Beautiful Dreamer” by Mates of State and “Brand New Colony” by The Postal Service before throwing in “Dance Like a Money” from the New York Dolls and then I started to have second thoughts. I started to wonder what I had been listening to at that age and I drew a blank. Pretty much the only albums I remember having, other than those two I stole from my brother, were a Monkees greatest hits, Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie and a K-Tel Collection called “Songbird”. I know that when I was a little bit younger I would take out records from the library, two of my favorites being Andy Gibb’s Shadow Dancing and a Wings album that had a song called “Waterfalls”. But other than that, I was stumped. And pretty sure that the musical tastes of a twelve to fourteen year old girl in the early eighties would find very little in common with my nephew’s tastes.

I know I listened to the radio, so I looked up the top songs of 1982 and while I am still willing to profess my love for John Cougar (for you youngins, that’s what he was called back in the day BEFORE he was John Cougar Mellencamp and then just John Mellencamp) and for Men at Work. I am pretty sure I never need to hear most of the songs that played on the radio in 1982 ever again. And in fact, I am pretty sure they are not what I did listen to. I know there was a station that I liked that had a morning DJ named Mo Hawk. I am doubting that he played “Gloria” by Laura Brannigan all that often.

Then thought I might try a different tactic. So I looked up the top twenty songs of 1992. Surely we had better luck in the year he was born. He came out of 1992, surely something else good did. Turns out, not so much. OK, OK, I admit that I still like to break out “Baby Got Back” from time to time, but that’s more for fun than for anything else. And again, I am reminded how very little I actually listened to the radio in 1992.

So, I am going back to the drawing board, or the cd collection, I guess. I’m thinking you can’t go wrong with a little Ramones, a little Sparks, a little Nerf Herder. And I’m guessing he might dig some They Might Be Giants and some Eels. I don’t think a little education could hurt so I’m thinking a little T. Rex and The Cure should go in there too. Any suggestions?

Monday, September 11, 2006

PURPLE! The roses are PURPLE!

Something you may not know about me (and really, why would you know anything at all about me? I am just words on a page that you might occasionally glance at, but still...) is that I was a drama minor in college. Granted, I may seem to have a major in drama now, or at least be a major drama queen, and I did intend to have a drama MAJOR in college, but I realized that I was simply not tough enough to be an actress and not a good enough seamstress to be a costumer and not stupid enough to be a make-up artist. So I just did my little minor, had some fun and went on my merry way.

I say I wasn’t “tough” enough to be an actress because even as a college actress, you find yourself under painful scrutiny and that’s just not fun to me. But in truth, I was never crazy enough to be an actress either. And I’m kind of crazy, so that’s saying something.

It became obvious to me pretty early on. I juggled classes my first semester in order to be able to take both acting 101 and stagecraft 101. Stagecraft intrigued me because I have always liked the design aspect of the theatre. I love when a set looks livable, or in contrast, so fantastic that it couldn’t exist in my world. And the idea of creating those sets sounded good to me. But it was acting that I really liked. I had already been acting for years. I was in at least one production for every year I had been in school. An Indian in the kindergarten Thanksgiving play, an elf in the first grade production of “The Cobbler and the Elves”. There wasn’t going to be a second grade play until I rallied the troops and co-wrote and co-starred in my most genius bit of writing ever “The Princess and the Unicorn.” I think I even managed to costume and design sets for that one. And it was produced for the whole school. I even remember my first line “Oh woe is me! How I wish I had a horse. Oh father, father! May I have a horse?”

OK, maybe genius is generous. But I was only about seven!

But the list goes on from there. And while I never thought that I was Oscar-worthy material, I figured that I had as good a shot as a character actress as any other funny looking girl on the block. And so I plowed ahead into beginning acting, only to find I that for the first time in my life, I was just too sane.

The point was really driven home when I had to prepare a two-actress scene for class with a girl of whom I was not particularly fond. She was an imperious and pretentious little thing and annoyed me to no end. We chose a scene from “Pride and Prejudice” and naturally, I chose to play the centered and down to earth Elizabeth, if only to play against type and keep my partner from the plum role. If I remember correctly, we played a scene where Charlotte, Lizzie’s best friend, tells her that she has accepted an offer of marriage from Mr. Collins, Lizzie’s boring cousin, who will eventually inherit Lizzie’s ancestral home due to archaic English property laws. Lizzie is horrified, not only because Mr. Collins is an idiot and a bore, while Charlotte is quiet and kind, but also because Mr. Collins had eariler asked for Lizzie’s hand in marriage and Lizzie has refused for all the previously listed reasons, despite the fact that a union would insure her family remaining…what’s the opposite of homeless? Homeful. Sure, why not.

Personally, when I did act, I was of the non-method school. I always felt that we all have the basic emotions inside (well, those of us who are not serial killers, anyway) to accurately portray those emotions in a recognizable fashion to other non-serial killer type. The other actress, however, went a little method on me during rehearsals.

The scene takes place in a country drawing room. Lizzie is admonishing Charlotte for “settling” and Charlotte explains to Lizzie that some girls just don’t have options. Should be a simple enough scene for two young modern women, right? It’s still a universal discussion between women I know anyway. The stage directions called for Charlotte to rise from her chair and cross the room to the mantelpiece as she explains her decision. I suggested to the other actress that perhaps Charlotte might feel uncomfortable under her friend’s questioning and would fiddle with something on the mantle. “Yes, that’s good, but what is on the mantle?” she asked. Um…I don’t know. Let’s say something typically British like a china shepherdess. “How big?” Um…small? “And then” she says, “I think I will cross to the window and gaze out into the garden. What is in the garden?” My character, we had decided, would stand firm in the middle of the room, barely containing her outrage and might seem fearful that if she moved, she would lose her cool…so I didn’t really care what was in the nonexistent garden but I suggested that there might be…flowers.

“Ah, yes…flowers…and maybe a fountain? Or perhaps a sundial?” Sure, why not both? “Lovely…what kind of flowers are in the garden?” At this point, my acting was about to become method because I could barely contain my own rage. LET’S JUST SAY ROSES! OK? ARE ROSES EMOTIONAL ENOUGH FOR YOU?

“What color are the roses?”

Thus endeth my acting career.

P.S. Here is an excerpt from Rupert Everett’s new book that got me thinking about my actress friend.
Although it is well established that I am a nerd and dork and whatever else you choose to call me (I won’t argue), I don’t really think of myself as a “word nerd.” My grammar is pretty bad, my spelling is terrible and I just really don’t care about the rules of the literary road. I capitalize only because this stupid word processing program does it for me. I am far too lazy to hit that shift key at precisely the right moment. And I just don’t care.

But that said, I really do like words and language and all that. And I have found that I am an obsessive word…looker…upper. OK, so maybe not so good with the vocabulary there. But I am that person who will go look up a word that they don’t know. And then spend another twenty minutes looking up other words just to make sure I know them. And I am also kind of obsessed with etymology. I always wonder why we say what we do. So I end up on the grand quest to find out precisely why we say what we say.

I am quite sure a lot of people are like this but in my circles, I get laughed at when my bookmark falls out from between the pages of my latest entertainment and there is a lengthy list of words I have looked up or I still need to look up. I don’t do it for every book and often times context alone is enough. But when I read something particularly technical, say, something about codes or plants, or when I read something very period where every fabric and type of carriage is named, I like to know exactly how many wheels a “barouche” has.

The other day, I overhead someone use the word “ipecac” and although I know what ipecac is, I had no idea of the origin of the word, so I looked it up. I never expected that a duck’s penis would come into play. But there you go, the benefits of using the dictionary.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What it's like for a girl.

The other night I stopped at the drug store to pick up some touch-up hair dye. This is an inauspicious and silly beginning to a story but it ties in because I am writing here about what it’s like for me to be a girl. Not that I have any thing to compare it to…as far as you know. But you’ll see my point I think.

So, I stopped at the drugstore and the kind of parking spot I usually look for at night (directly under a light, as close to the door as possible and not blocked by other cars) was not available. No, I’m not really that lazy. During the daylight or when I am out and about with a partner, I park in the last spot available and get some walking in. But when alone…I try to be smart. But in this case, no optimal spots were available so I took the open spot. What the heck? It’s not a neighborhood I feel particularly uncomfortable in, so why worry, eh? When I came out of the store and walked to my car, I realized that vans had parked on either side of me. Big vans. Effectively blocking anyone’s view of my tiny car. Effectively making me…uncomfortable.

Here’s the thing, I am not paranoid. But I am aware of what is going on around me and I think that, for the most part, I am practical and sensible. I am often alone when I go out. And sometimes when I am home. So I take care to do what I can to keep myself safe. I park under lights, I lock my doors as soon as I get in the car, I check the backseat and under the car as I walk towards it, not in a freaking out kind of way but just in a noticing what’s around me sort of way. When someone acts in a manner I find unnerving, I leave the area. I don’t use the ATMs in dark little streets, I drive to the well lit ones (and I also have a habit of looking directly into the camera, just in case). I lock the door to my apartment as soon as I close it. I carry my keys in my hand and my cell phone in my pocket. I just try to be smart about things.

I used to have a friend who lived in a very nice neighborhood with very bad parking and I would often park several blocks away. When I would walk back to my car in the dead of night (OK, well, after dark anyway, on poorly lit streets) I never felt “unsafe” or “threatened” until the one night when a man stepped out from behind some bushes about 20 feet ahead of me. I immediately picked up my phone and pretended to talk to a friend. “Oh, I’m on my way to the car, I am parked on Elm and Broad but I am just now walking down Pine. And OH! Gee, a man just startled me.” I wanted the guy to think that someone knew exactly where I was and that I had seen him. A few seconds later, his little dog stepped out from behind the bushes too. The poor guy was just taking the pup for a stroll before bed. I felt silly. But then I realized that he didn’t need to know that. All he needed to know was that I knew he was there.

It’s not something I really think all that deeply about. I don’t really worry that I am going to get mugged when I leave my house. I don’t think I will be murdered in my bed. But when I get up in the morning and I find that my husband neglected to lock the door behind him, I get upset. And I notice when he parks in the darkest, deepest part of the parking garage and I think, “Gee, if I were alone, I don’t think I would park here.” I don’t think, as a big guy, he really worries about these things. But he probably should. We probably all should. Not worry, just pay attention.

So, when I saw those two vans on either side of my car, I took pause. I looked around, didn’t see anyone in the vans, got my keys ready and got in the car, locking the door as quickly as I could. I didn’t hyperventilate. I didn’t panic. But I did think for a moment. And then I thought about all the other times I thought for a moment. And I realized that although I don’t like defining it this way, this is what it is like to be a girl.

ADDENDUM: I wasn't sure that I wanted to post this as it makes me sound a little crazier than I am. But I reiterate: Not paranoid, just practical. And I hope, if you are not, this will remind you to be aware of your surroundings.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This one is for Steffie.

(It should really say "strawberry scented rainbows" but there's not enough room!)

Make your own here.

I give it my

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What will the fashion-conscious pirate
be wearing this fall?

Why ARRRRRRgyle, of course!

Sorry, couldn't resist. I was working on this pattern for something else and...there it was.


Ah, the holiday weekend. One more day to do nothing at all. I like weekends.

Nothing at all isn’t entirely true. It’s close to true but I did clean the shower and sink, the kitchen counters, the living room bookshelf, my overrun “desk” (I use the dining room table. And it was bad.) and… probably something else, I don’t know.

I also finished reading a preview copy of China MiĆ©ville’s young adult book Un Lun Dun which I liked very much. It has elements of a lot of traditional young adult novels, certainly of The Phantom Tollbooth and The Wizard of Oz. But since I like both of those books, that’s just fine with me. And I think his loveliness has managed to bring familiar ideas into a new century. In fact, I am starting to wonder if I am too old to get some of it! But keep an eye out for it in February if you have a taste for that sort of thing. Besides, China Mieville is hot and smart. What better recommendation can I give?

I didn’t really do much cooking but I did make my first chocolate tofu pie. I thought it was just ok. I didn’t put any extra sugar in it since I figured that the chocolate chips had plenty. Turns out I was wrong (quelle horreur!). But James gave it a thumbs-up. People, if this man willingly eats tofu, it must not taste like health food.

Let’s see, what else? Oh! Four episodes of “Dr Who”. Which just gets better and better. Yeah, yeah. I’m a dork. I know. But then again…so are you (I’m looking in your direction, Jodi!). And I finally saw Little Miss Sunshine, which I enjoyed very much. But as I was thinking about the movie this morning. I realized that it is an incredibly familiar and predictable story. I knew what was going to happen before it happened but guess what? I didn’t care. Because it was just that well acted and directed. Well worth the money, especially since I didn’t pay for it! (Well, I did buy the popcorn and soda and then the dinner later…so I guess I paid a lot for it. But it was still worth it.)

Anything else? A quick trip to Amoeba Records. I held fast for as long as I could but when I saw the Sugarplum Fairies for just $4.99…well then I had to get that Underworld cd too…c’mon. I was going to pay $4.99 anyway! What’s an extra $8?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Moist AND erect.

There are certain words I hate. I don't actually have real reasons for hating most of them. I guess I just don't like the sounds of them. For example, I hate the word "panties" and I was actually kind of glad to hear Nick Lachay say that he hated it too on one episode of Newlyweds....what? (OK, SO I WATCHED NEWLYWEDS! IT WAS A GLORIOUS
CARWRECK AND I COULDN'T LOOK AWAY!) Panties is just a silly word and for some reason it evokes the idea of kiddie fiddlers to me. Like only dirty old men who leer at little girls would use the word. I know that's not true but it's just one of those words that I avoid using because it gives me the creeps.

"Boobs" is another one of those words. I know everyone in the whole world finds it acceptable but I really just detest that word. And I actually cringe when I hear nursing children use it. I'm sorry, I don't really know why but it just bugs me. Almost every other rude word for breast is fine with me. Well, I am not overly fond of "fun bags" but the others, they are ok. But boobies...yeesh. I think the etymology of the word comes from "bubbie" which I have seen show up in Middle English literature (damn, that makes me sound smart, don't it?) which, for some reason, doesn't offend me nearly as much. Honestly, I can't explain it. (And, even more disturbingly, as I type this, the word "boobs" has just been utttered on TV.)

There are, however, two words that I know exactly where I learned to hate them. It was college and I was editing the literary magazine. SHUTUP! I got a stipend, I was an English major, it was a perfectly respectable job. And I liked it. But I was an edgy editor! Oh yes, I was. I instituted "blind reads" so that the people choosing the poetry would not know the names of the writers. And I collected readers from all majors so we would get opinions from someone other than snotty English majors. It worked well. Until that one fateful night.

We were all sitting around reading poetry and marking it. A plus (on the back, so the next reader wouldn't be swayed) if we liked it and thought it should go into the magazine, a minus if we didn't like it and a check if we thought it was ok but not necessarily a favorite. Seems fair enough, eh? But on this particular night, a minus wasn't going to be enough to express our collective horror and distaste.

I wish I had the actual poem to show you, I really do. You would find that you no longer liked the words "moist" or "erect" either.

It was a love poem. No, actually, it was a sex poem and after the first reader discovered the poem it was a free for all. Everyone wanted to know who the writer was. I tried valiantly to keep the info contained know. I was over-powered by poetry enthusiasts. They can be tough ones, you know.

It was bad. There are certainly sexy sex poems that anyone can appreciate. This was not one of them. And while I am sure that the object of the poets desire was flattered by his use of "erect" and "moist", I was totally turned off.

Those words have been on my no-no list ever since. And hey, that cake might be really moist, but I will go to great lengths to not describe it as such. And you can rest assured that no one has received an erector set from me since that day.

One last thing. The poem also contained the phrase "labial lips." Not only completely unsexy but redundant as well.

Friday, September 01, 2006

License to make me ill.

I have always wanted a license plate holder. You know what I mean, right? Those frames around your license plate that has some witty saying or adorable picture on it. They seem to be a nice alternative to bumper stickers when you feel you have something you must proclaim but might change your mind about later. Just in case your presidential pick ends up sucking or something. But, like most things, I over think the liscence plate holder. I want it to say something about me but I don’t want it to say too much about me. I am always kind of concerned for the grandmothers who proudly announce via the license plate frame that they are “Tyler, Anastasia and Betty’s Bubbie”. I worry that some unscrupulous person will take advantage of them somehow with that information.

I thought for a while that I would get a college alumni frame. But then I remembered that I don’t like my college all that much and why should I advertise for them when all they ever gave me was…well…hell, I paid for everything I got there (ok, MY PARENTS paid for a lot of it, but I paid in blood! And sweat! And various other bodily fluids that shall remain nameless). And you know, about a month before I graduated, I got called into the financial comptroller persons office and they asked me if I would mind pimping for donations to the college at the various senior events that would be going on for that time before graduation! They said that they felt that people would be receptive to giving money to the college at the senior balls and parties since they would be in a good mood. I was aghast. Seriously. I don’t use the word “aghast” lightly. I told them no, only with a lot of other really unpleasant words mixed in and stormed out. So, um…no, not pimping for the college with the license plate frame. Look, I told you I over think these things.

Well, last night, I came across someone who didn’t over think his license plate frame. I am not easily shocked and I am not one to censor myself but I gotta spell this one out. His frame was black with silver writing and his truck was big and badass. There were three people in the cab. The driver was male. The front seat passenger was, I think, also a dude and there was a woman in the back seat. I am assuming that the driver was the owner of the truck and the one who decided that “Hold my beer while I ef-you-cee-kay your bitch” would make a nifty statement to all drivers behind him. It sure made an impression on me.

And here I was thinking that the skulls I wanted might send the wrong message.