Friday, June 20, 2008

l'ete accoutrements

These are some of the things that signify summer's commencement to me, and things upon which I rely and/or abuse until that last ray of summer sunshine fades into a fabulous new fall, and all its addictions. :)

Friends, I am in crisis with this stuff. I am joining L.A. (limeade anonymous) immediately. I've been known to drink a gallon a day. :(

Old Navy flip flops. I mean, come on, they come in my size AND rainbow colors!

OPI nail polish. The perfect complement to the flip flops:

I suppose C.E.A. is in order as well (circle earrings anonymous):

The uber-essential hair claw:

Mine is much much cuter, all Frenchy with polka dots, but a fatsuit nonetheless:


Starbucks iced tea (or coffee, really). Sometimes four times a day. Always unsweetened:

Better than any dessert known to man...unless it's sour or pithy or otherwise shitty:

Breakfast lunch and dinner:

And of course, just when summer bliss peaks, I have another fucking birthday, and whine and cry and start telling everyone I'm 40.

But if you can grit your teeth through my aging process and all the tears and irrational outbursts, have a great summer!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Seriously. I must keep this brief because A) Let's face it, it's about time, and B) I'd be a hypocrite to malign Middlesex's 529 pages, in my typically loquacious fashion now wouldn't I?

But I hated this book. It sucked the marrow from my life for like five months. Don't get me wrong, I read as fast as y'all, but I have been a prisoner of this unending yarn for so long I was sort of hoping to develop Stockholm Syndrome, just never got that lucky. I really could only take five pages at a time before a strand of hair on the carpet would catch my eye and off I'd go. I'd see the book on the nightstand sneering at me, daring me to resume the epic trek through the quagmire, and I'd grab it, determined to find/contrive a fresh outlook. But it was no use. For all her notable experiences, I just didn't five a shit about Desdemona, and cared even less for Lefty. There was absolutely nothing about them that gave me a foothold for pathos, and I was thusly dragged through their disappointing, beige, lives.

Even the crocus failed to engage me. (Ew.) Eugenides' use of humor was appallingly sparse, and his back story practically predated Genesis. The characters were bland like hospital food, and the author (finally) ended the book right where the story would have gotten interesting.

But don't let my critique fool you, he lost me at the mushroomy smell and for that I make no apologies.

buy the book

This time I just really wish you all could have been there. It's damned near indescribable. So surreal words won't do it justice, but I'll take a crack at it. The setting for this unfathomable occurrence was Costco, yesterday. The kids and I were hustling through the warehouse, and its $9,000 patio sets, in search of humbler things like Goldfish crackers and of course, my psych meds du jour. As we sped past the books, I made a note to myself to check back on the way around to look for David Sedaris' new book, which has received much acclaim by Adam and B. In fact they've taken to reading me excerpts sometimes as long as 35 pages. I wasn't sure Costco would sell a Sedaris book, and if they did, I was going to buy a copy when I get my allowance Friday. Oh God, I'm afraid a little background on my allowance is in order. It's a very touchy subject but it works something like this: Todd makes a respectable chunk of change and gives me a comfortable allowance each week. This particular week I had not only lost, for the first time in history, $20, which miraculously did not trigger a heart attack, but I had also been a little free with my spending and as such, didn't have the cash on me to buy the book yesterday.

So we're weaving in and out of the aisles in search of primo samples, but my kids got the shaft with chipotle spread and some succotash or something creepy. We loaded up on the staples, and all the while I kept seeing a woman I recognized, shopping with her mom, but I couldn't place her, which is rare for me. Grabbed flax cereal, there was the woman. Hoisted a 90 pound flat of bottled water onto the cart, she was there to see my grunting and wiping away the sweat. Damn, how do I know her? Finally we're nestled cozily in the pharmacy, my home away from home, my kids know just where to go to wait out the line. I get Maggie, who absolutely delights in my self-deprecating jokes, which is the surest way to keep me standing there until armageddon, but finally we make our way to the register. After schlepping so many boxes onto he conveyor, I felt like an honorary Egyptian, I stood up and realized that behind me were the mother and daughter duo of unknown origin. The daughter ran back for something, and as I rudely surveyed their cart, I noticed, perched atop the heap, was the David Sedaris book! Crap! I must have been fairly obvious in my exasperation, because Mom inquired as to my histrionics. I explained that I had come in looking specifically for that book, but had forgotten to go back. Dear God I had unwittingly unleashed the good samaritan from hell. First she offered to stand with my kids while I ran to fetch the book. "Oh no I couldn't, our things are on the conveyor." (Read: I don't have the coin to buy the book today.) Next she offered to ask the checker to wait, to which I sort of coughed and shook my head, smiling. As it became my turn, the daughter came back, and I continued to search my failing memory with a fine tooth comb in hopes of recognizing her. My concentration was lost however when the Mom said, "Honey, this woman came in to get this book and then forgot it. You have to go back." Again I stated that that was not necessary, and smiled, though I had long been faking it. I'm not exactly a doormat, but I definitely lack the cajones to shout out, "Listen lady, my (ex) husband buys the groceries and I live on an allowance, which I blew through already, and I can't actually afford the book until Friday, thankyouverymuch." Finally, as my purchase was complete, and I was holding four receipts (long story), Todd's debit card, my Costco card, and the cart, this precious do-gooding warrior did the unthinkable. She handed her copy of the book to the cashier, who didn't even look up for my approval, and just scanned it right through. "That's $14.89 ma'am." This is pretty much when time came to a crawl and I started hearing cacophonous music, and everything began to rotate. The truth was, I wasn't putting my fag-o-rama book on Todd's debit card, nor was I canceling the purchase, nor was I in a position to do anything but fake a seizure. I took the only money I possessed, my $20 for gas, and handed it to the man. What's worse, I had to make lovebird eyes at these wretchedly well-intended women, and thank them no less than 15 times for ruining my entire week. And I mean ruined. Thanks to them, I had to cancel an appointment, due to insufficient petrol, and my kids and I folded laundry that day and watched a very haggard, and as Quinn observed, "trans-gendered" Carly Simon on the Ellen show.

If you're wondering why I didn't just go and return it, it's because there was a very serious Japanese man returning a really large computer, but each piece was in a Ziploc baggie. If you're wondering why I didn't grow some stones and just refuse once and for all, it's because I was weak. What I'm wondering, as I'm sure are you, is how much I will love this book having already heard 89% of it. The answer to that is, hell yes, once I finish Middlesex. (Long stream of expletives!)

I hope, on those women's next shopping voyage, that some "kind" and/or deranged person loudly and fiercely insists on handing over her 1,000 pack of feminine itch relief products. Sweeter still would be if the clerk had to ask for the price over the intercom...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

take my breath away. please.

OMG you guys, I live for these golden moments in parenthood:

While toiling away on the computer this morning, my Reilly appeared with a tin of Altoids and offered me some. I took one, and she put a few more on my desk before flitting away in her sunglasses.

A little while later she was back, picking up one of the mints she had left, trying to put it in my mouth.

"That's okay honey," I said. "I was going to have breakfast, and don't want the mints to make it taste funny."

To which she replied:

"Trust me mom, you need to." I feigned hurt feelings, sticking my lip out, and she was immediately sorry and said, in the most tender voice you've ever heard, "Mom, it's just that...I don't want someone else to tell you..."

(Picture me laughing, with my hand over my mouth of course!)

Monday, June 16, 2008

rose to the occasion

It is widely known that the depth of my nature appreciation extends to B's 20'x20' garden, whose occupants I am only just starting to remember. At last I can distinguish peas from swiss chard, which I insist on being proud of, even though peas are the least mysterious of all the plants, being that they grow in multitudes right before your eyes. My affection for this garden is rooted (no pun intended) solely in the delight it holds for B. I love, on her behalf, that all her roses have bloomed in the front yard, and I can definitely see the fruits of her labor (pun intended). Aside from this, and my occasional surprise twinge of happiness at seeing my mom's lovely little garden, I don't really give a shit about nature. Not photosynthesis, not the ozone layer, hell not even the weather. (B and Todd would have me beheaded for this.)

Imagine, will you, my excitement when Todd said all he wanted for Fathers Day was a long walk in the Oregon Garden, followed by lunch. Okay well we all know perfectly well that I am a faithful champion of lunch, but the garden part was reeeeaaaaallly a stretch. I didn't so much smile as not frown, for I was determined to grant T this one wish. I woke up in considerable pain, the source of which I think you all know, so I dutifully popped 95 Excedrin and off we went. En route, my apprehension enveloped me, with thoughts of tour guide teaching us to pronounce the latin names for the flowers, and asking us if we knew what coniferous meant. As we parked, I shot Todd a fraudulent smile and we headed for the gate. I was immediately impacted by the serenity of the garden. It was quiet in the perfect sense, the displays were bountiful but not obnoxious, there were no tour guides in sight, and best of all, the refreshment stand was mere feet ahead!

As a first-timer, I followed T and the kids, who knew just where to go, which winding paths to follow, and exactly where all the slug-shaped drinking fountains were. We ambled through luscious rose gardens, which even excited my inner garden grinch, as well as poppy fields, water falls, koi ponds, and a giant hill perfect for rolling down. (Note: Only those weighing under one ton were permitted to roll, so I took pictures.)

Ordinarily I would have seized up in such a place, so anxious to leave I might go so far as to "trip and fall" or try to hit my head on something. But this place is gorgeous, so lush and tranquil, and all the usual nature-loving clichees. I truly derived pleasure from the ambiance, and we were able to give T the experience he sought.

A fetching yellow (rose?):

My favorite rose, because it looks like it's made out of icing:

Happy Fathers Day:

Quinn and Rei on a waterfall:

The whole gang:

Quinn of the cacti:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

a rose by any other name...

So my mom picked this little runt of a rose and sent it home with my kids a couple nights ago. When I saw it on the counter, I didn't hesitate to toss it right in the trash because I have a mental illness that forces me to keep all surfaces clean even if it means throwing away your precious belongings or my mom's paycheck. (Yes, that actually happened in high school.) Anyway, my kids noticed me giving the shrimpy little roseling the boot, and immediately intercepted. They asked if we had a vase to put it in, and I explained that since the rose was like 2.5 inches long, I doubted we had anything that would suffice. Leave it to my get-it-done-girl, Reilly, to find one, and I humored the kids by putting it in.

Cut to last night when I got home late, and was at the tail end of a panic attack rooted in a fear of being pulled over and arrested because I had had a glass of wine five hours earlier. As I set my keys down and began my nightly counter sweep, which I also do in the morning and midday, I saw this beautiful little engine-that-could rose staring up at me. Far be it from me to be connected to nature but it literally made me smile. This little fella was almost a goner and now it's brandished in a place of honour on my otherwise clean counter, making me ever-so-happy.

I planned to write, "Here is a rose my kids brought home," but, well, you all know me.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Don't let the shitty craftsmanship of this sentiment cheapen its value. I SUCK at! I adore you, and your flippy hair, your shiny clogs, your refusal to take home a cupcake. I love your red glasses, your cheerful 'hey lady' greetings online, and even your uncombed, combat boot-wearing children. I love your enthusiasm, your creativity, and your honesty, but in the reverse order, and I love you loading seventy five bags of reject clothing into your van and whisking them away, and out of our lives forever.

I love your flare for decorating, and your, how shall we say, over-attachment to everything (we are twins in this way so I can be honest). I love that you're nice, without being fake or boring, and I love that you read my blog. Your heart is good, and this is indisputable.

But most of all, I love the indelible image of you dancing alone on that chair, oblivious to the world.

Like I said: