May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Thursday, June 28, 2007A Nurturing Kind of Love
As I mentioned the other day, I've been losing weight, via the magic process of burning more calories than I take in (TM physics).
My boyfriend Tad hasn't said much about my weight loss, either because he wants to maintain the illusion that he's just as happy when I'm fatter, or else because he's actually a little happier when I'm fatter. Either way, he's been sending me little Yahoo news articles about weight loss lately. The last one was about how reducing stress and anger helps you burn more calories. Reading that finally got on my last nerve, and I wrote to Tad thusly:
I feel like, now that I'm losing weight, you're sending me all this information on how to lose weight. Or telling me to exercise more. Hello - I have been exercising more. That's why I'm losing weight!
Also, I've been trying to reduce my stress/temper a lot in the last couple of years, but you don't seem to notice that, either. I know you're telling me this stuff because you care, but when you give me "advice" or "reminders" on stuff I'm already trying to do, it just makes it seem like you don't notice my accomplishments.
[Omitted: Three paragraphs of analogies and examples illustrating my point.]
Do you want me to nag you to run at the park more? Maybe you feel like I don't care, since I don't tell you stuff like you tell me?
Jesus - diarrhea again...
What can we learn from this?
One: All the stuff I said to Tad -- that is what he's been doing lately.
Two: If you ever become my significant other, this is how you can expect that I will argue with you: via email, with many, many, many words. (But then, there will usually be makeup sex, provided you pass the pop quiz that proves you actually read the email.)
Three: If you ever become my significant other, I can promise that you will be continually updated on the state of my digestive system, as well as the latest theories on what causes me to be ill. (Very latest theory: My job itself turns my bowels to water.)
So... back to Tad and his transgressions.
"Yes," he eventually said, when we revisited this subject post-makeup-sex. "I would like it if you nagged me to run more."
"Why?" I said. "Why do you want to be nagged? I don't want to be nagged!"
"Because..." he said. Then, his cell phone rang. "Hello?" he said. Then, he started speaking the Chinese dialect of his people, which happens to sound almost exactly like when grown-ups talk on Charlie Brown. "Haw bwa, wa bwa," he said. "Bwa haw... Okay, Dad! Okay!" Then he hung up, then turned back to me. "Because if you nag me to run, it lets me know that you care. That's the only reason I sent you that weight-loss article, baby. Because I care about you."
"What did your dad want?"
"Oh, nothing. He just asked if I ate any fruit today."
"He's been nagging me lately about eating fruit. He says I don't eat enough. He bought a melon and wanted to see if I felt like coming over to get some."
And that's when I remembered that my boyfriend and his dad are crazy, and that they really do prove their love by nagging the shit out of people about their health.
(The next day, we were in the car, and Tad's dad called and just said one sentence. "Bwa haw baw wah BWA HAW BAW!" Tad said "okay Dad" and hung up. Translation: "Don't forget to EXERCISE!")
OMFG, my bloggi-freaking-versary!
Tomorrow this web site turns ten years old. Here is your proof.
Incidentally, this is the first time in that ten years that I've remembered to mark my blog's anniversary.
The ten-year gift is paper, btw. Feel free to send your surplus notebooks and cute Japanese stationery my way.
The Daily Quest
Every day at my job, in my department, some time after lunch, someone starts looking for a file.
Do you do this at your job? Do you have old-school paper files? If you do, you know how they go missing, right? And then someone will look for them and, depending on the standing of the person searching (hierarchical and social, both), one or more coworkers will aid in the search.
Usually when people look for files, I just check my desk and then yell, "Nope," across the department.
Sometimes, however, I'm in the mood to be helpful, so I get up and walk around, searching other people's desks and file cabinets, too. Whenever I do this, I like to get into the real spirit of it. I'll say, "Didn't Thomas Johnson come downstairs last week and ask us for that file?" or "I thought I heard Sharon asking Rhonda about that one." And people will say, "Yeah, that's right. I remember that," even if I was just lying and remembered no such thing.
I like to see how far I can take it. "Jim Smith came downstairs yesterday, right after you left, Joanna. He looked really pissed off, and he was sort of sweating, and he twirled his mustache and said, 'Is Joanna here?' I said no and thought nothing of it, and went back to working really hard at my desk. I heard a bunch of scratching noises coming from the file room, and then I smelled smoke. You don't think he..."
Then someone says, "Oh my gosh. Jim's assistant, Brianna, was down here Monday. She looked really sneaky and had blood on her jacket!"
I say, "I've always hated Brianna. I told y'all she slept with my ex-boyfriend, right? Plus, I think she's secretly bald."
Then, right about then, someone will say, "Here it is. Found it. Here's the file."
Most embarrassing? Is when they find it on my desk. 5:42 PM # (13) comments
Monday, June 25, 2007Expensive Flea Bags
My youngest son and I enjoy driving down to the nearest big-box pet stores each weekend and seeing the caged animals up for adoption. Particularly, we like the kittens.
Every time we go, my son asks if we can get a cat. I ask how much the adoption fee is, and it's invariably $85 or more.
This past weekend, they wanted $85, and the kittens had mucus-y eyes and visible fleas on their kitten-stomachs. Give me a break. The county shelter is selling cats two-for-$55 right now. I know what's up with these little non-profits showing up at Petco and PetsMart. They're just old women who like cats, and they're running 501c3s that will let them write off the cat food while "fostering" any old flea-ridden, stanky, meow-box they can find. The cats cost so much because these cat ladies don't want to get rid of them.
And I don't blame them. When I get older and my kids have all moved away, I'm totally opening a "no-kill shelter" called Miss Kitty's Pitter Paws Sanctuary Haven, and that'll be my excuse to pet mangy cats all day long. (Because I like cats. Get it? I'm being sarcastic, but not really.)
Can't we all just get along? While flapping our hands?
(Some of you may remember that one of my children was recently, formally diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which is a form of autism.)
So I don't know what the hell I was thinking, trying to hook up with the "autism community" online. No, wait -- I do know. I was thinking, "Oh, hey, maybe I can meet local parents of kids with Asperger's, and my son Dallas can meet another 12-year-old Aspergers kid who also likes video games, Roombas, and energy-efficient vehicles. And they can hang out on weekends without anyone telling them they act weird or talk weird. Yay!"
But I was completely delusional on that front, because that's not what the online autism community is about. Nope. It's not really a community at all, but a bunch of splintered factions, each of which pursues its own cause. Here are the separate causes, as far as I've been able to gather:
1. The curebies. Curebies are people who believe that autism has some environmental cause, often one (such as vaccinations or the mercury in our tuna) that might lead to a huge, class-action lawsuit. They get online and talk about all the stuff they're spending money on to cure their kids, and how they're getting other people to pay for it.
2. The anti-curebies hate the curebies, and they're very vigilant about it. Like, if you go on their forum and say, "Oh, hi, you guys. Y'all seem cool. I'm looking for a playmate for my son, who is really good at math and likes Roombas," they might say something like, "Oh my god! How dare you insinuate that non-savant ASD kids aren't as GOOD as your kid, and need to be chelated into what passes for normalcy among you stupid, rude, hypocritical NTs!!!!! Leave our forum immediately, curebie! We're trying to talk about American Idol!"
3. Embittered adults with autism. These are the people who make me want to say, "Dude, I'm sorry that your parents were ashamed of you and made you undergo chelation and biofeedback... but could you please not call me a stupid, rude, hypocritical NT? At least not where I can read you saying it? You don't even know me. I'm here trying to get help for my kid." The worst is when they're abusive to NTs, then say they can't help it because they have autism. Hello -- if I can teach my son not to call people names, I think your mom should've taught you, too.
4. There are the "autism parents," who wage daily battles to force everyone in the world to treat their children with respect. Or, if not actual respect, then with special consideration born of fear of lawsuits, maybe. Some of these autism parents have kids with more than just autism, though. "Hi. My name's AspieMommy, and I'm mommy to Darren, 14, who is ASD, OCD, BpD, and Tourettes; Shelly, 8, who is PDD, OCD, OPP, and GGG; and little Wendell, 1 and a half, ASD, PCP, TNT, and EGBDF!" A lot of times, I notice people identifying themselves this way and then asking forum strangers for help. "Can I get a ride to the support group? Anyone want to form a playgroup and/or babysit? Can I bum a cigarrette?" I have to wonder if some of them are real. What's the acronym for Munchausen?
A subset of the autism parents are the autism parents who also have autism, themselves. I can't compete with that, I guess. I mean, they make that fact pretty clear.
5. The biggest factions of all? The political ones. The "movement" people. Every autism organization in America, it seems, hates every other autism organization in America. Every member of Factions 1 through 4 above seems invested in a giant competition for the leadership of "the movement." For instance, the adults with autism think they should run their own movement. Which makes sense to me... until they start hating on the parents of kids with autism, saying those parents can't really advocate for their own children, since they themselves don't have autism. They all have blogs, and they all complain about what's fair, and which blog should be the leader, and how unworthy blogs shouldn't have as many readers, and blah blah blah popularity contest disguised as real discourse.
6. Then we have the celebrity autism parents, and then the celebrities who've played autistic characters, and they're throwing in their two cents for this organization or the other. And then the celebrites who don't want to admit their kids have autism, because Scientology thinks that's a sin...
And, oh my God. Can I please just meet someone whose autistic kid might want to play with mine, without all the bullshit?
No, apparently not. What was I expecting from the freaking Internets, huh? Okay, fine. We'll be at home, playing video games and reading articles about the High Wire, the car of the future, which my son happens to know all about, if anybody out there is interested.
Good Books I Wish You Would Read
First of all, please, please read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Thom Haddon. If you've already read it, press it on others. Not only will it help you to understand what some autistic peeps go through on a daily basis, it's also a damned good book. Seriously. It made me cry, it was so awesome. And it's on a lot of high-school reading lists, so get your kids to read it, too.
The other book I recently read and enjoyed was Things You Should Know, a story collection by A.M. Homes. Yes, I know that I've told some of you that A.M. Homes scares me, and I'll never read stuff by her again. But this one's safe. It contains almost nothing about child abuse. You can read it at night without worrying about monsters coming to kill you. And the price of the book is worth it for the very last story alone. Teaser: It's about Nancy Reagan, and you will both laugh and cry.
That's all for this section. Besides those two, I've been reading a lot of non-fiction, which isn't worth linking to unless you, like me, are weirdly obsessed with bead crocheting or Christmas crafts. Also, I tried to read a novel that was highly recommended by a lot of book-bloggers, but I couldn't get past the first two chapters. I won't name it, because there's no need to be mean. I'll just say that, by the end of Chapter 2, I was like, "I get it! You're drunk, and you like to drink, and you black out all the time because you drink so much! I don't care!" 'Cause, seriously, I didn't.
Someone turned us on to a local gelato place.
And my life will never be the same.
An All-New Way Not to Care What Others Think
Back to the Asperger's thing. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that my son is experiencing an intensifying of his symptoms, now that he's embarked on the magical journey that is puberty. One of his more noticeable symptoms is the tic'ing. (Ticking? Ticcing? He has tics.)
When he was very tiny, he flapped his hands, which is a very common tic for autistic peoples. He flapped for years, until people in his family made enough jokes about it to persuade him to stop.
Then, he started clearing his throat, instead. And, I wish to God I could go back in a time machine and realize that the throat-clearing was an actualy tic, and not just a bad habit, like boys spitting out the windows of their cars. Because I have to say that I'm probably the one that made him stop the throat-clearing, with my constant nagging, because hearing it was driving me crazy.
So, now, he doesn't flap or clear his throat. He does something silent, but very noticeable, involving his head, his face, and his hands. Sometimes his arms in their entirety. I've been struggling really hard with the compulsion to control his tic. Other people tell me, "Dallas is doing that thing again. It's getting worse." And I whisper, "Shh. Just let him." But it kills me. I admit it - sometimes I really want to say, "Dallas, could you maybe flap your hands, instead?" No... let's be very honest, here. I have said that to him. But he can't flap his hands instead, and he can't go back to clearing his throat. The tics are involuntary. He can't not do them. And, it's not like they bother me, on their own. But I imagine him doing it at school, or out in public, and that people will stare or even make fun of him. And it kills me. I worry for him. I can't help it.
And that's not all... Lately, he seems to get upset more easily, and therefore he prefers to spend more and more time alone. That's not always possible, though. Social obligations do oblige us all sometimes. For instance, over the weekend, we went to a family dinner at a local restaurant. It was a belated Father's Day celebration, with my dad and my youngest brother and his family. Normally Dallas passes on family dinners, but this time he had no choice.
As always, I prepped all three of my kids ahead of time. I explained what we'd do, with whom, and how they'd be expected to act at each stage of the game. Dallas was worried about the restaurant we'd chosen, because he's a little particular about his food. My boyfriend Tad and I assured him that this restaurant had the pasta and pasta sauce he preferred. He nodded his head. He was ready to roll then, ready to do as duty required.
When we got to the restaurant, all my preparations came undone. There was no preferred pasta. Instead of the regular menu, they had brunch. All different foods, nothing like we'd described. Dallas stared at the menu and became visibly upset.
It's not that he's so spoiled that he can't eat something new. It's that he has a hard time with unexpected change, and with plans being derailed. (My boyfriend would argue that's probably a trait that he inherited from me, not a symptom of autism at all.) Add to that the stress of forced social interaction in a crowded, noisy, public place, and maybe some of you easily imagine how upset Dallas became.
I invited him to take a walk with me outside. He accepted. Away from the restaurant's windows, he said, "I don't want to cry, but I can't stop myself."
"That's okay. Cry," I said. "Sometimes I have to cry, too. Go on ahead."
He cried until he was done. Then we stood under a tree and talked about the menu options, Italian restaurants in general, and the custom of Sunday brunch with bottomless belinis. As we walked back to rejoin the family, Dallas thought of something new to worry about.
"Everyone in the restaurant is going to wonder what we were doing. They're going to look at us and know that I was crying."
"No, they won't," I said. "Everyone in there is dressed up nice, and they're drinking. All the women are worried about how they look, and all the men are worried about hooking up with the women. All people think about themselves more than anything else. They won't even notice us."
And they didn't. And Dallas ordered the pizza, and the rest of the brunch/lunch went off without a hitch.
And, afterwards, I realized that most people are too self-involved to worry about my son's tics. If they see him tic'ing and want to know why, we can tell them why. But, hopefully, most people will probably be too polite to ask or to stare. If they want to go home and talk about Dallas's tics behind our backs, there's nothing I can do about it, so screw them. It doesn't matter. Our lives are filled with family, family lunches, good times, video games, gelato. Movies, school work, work-work, housework. Internets and books and flea-ridden-kitten sightings.
I realize, then, that I really don't have time to worry about what people think, about anything at all. And the best "cure" I can give Dallas? Is to teach him to fill his life with good stuff and not worry, either. 6:41 PM # (21) comments
Sunday, June 24, 2007Why I Like to Spend the Evening with Gilad
He always takes me somewhere nice and mysterious, like an island overlooking skyscrapers and rowing teams. He lays a mat on the grass for us, and then we begin.
He always has a compliment for me. "You're looking slimmer since the last time I saw you." When we move together, he murmurs, "Nice. Yes. Good. You're looking great."
He's very strong and has big muscles, and yet he's always gentle and never pushes me to do things I don't want to do (or can't). He says, "I don't want to lose you. So, if you can't lift your leg on this part, just stick with our original lunge step."
He plays cheesy trance music, and yet it gets my heart beating and so I don't mind.
He overlooks my flaws. "Take out your big weights now," he says. "For women, that means five to eight pounds." I take out my 15.5 ounce cans of fruit cocktail, and he doesn't say a word.
Although plenty of women in turquoise, cleavage-revealing leotards flock to his side, he never gives me a reason to be jealous. He adjusts their triceps and tells them, "Okay, Danielle, you're looking good," but I know he doesn't feel the same way about them as he does about me.
However, when he stops to touch the leotard-ed men in the back, I do have to wonder.
My man Gilad.
Other Videos of Importance
A gay boy wished for a planet full of unicorns, y'all. Planet Unicorn, hey:
I once got sucked into a marathon of this show on Thanksgiving day, making us late for my boyfriend's family's luncheon. "Quit watching that shit," he said. "It's not even that funny." But he was wrong. It is that funny. Kung Faux:
Labels: pop culture9:34 PM # (3) comments
Thursday, June 21, 2007My Stylist. Let me show you her.
Pardon my lolcat-speak above. I can't seem to stop doing it.
I'm very pleased with my stylist right now. Her name is Linh, and she owns a salon in Houston's Chinatown/Vietnamtown area.
Half the time that I go to see Linh, I complain about it. See, I'm the type of girl who likes to change her hairstyle often. And, I always have some vague, ephemeral idea of a future hairstyle in mind. So I'll buy a hairstyle guide magazine, pull out a colored marker, and start creating a half-ass presentation of the way I want my hair to look.
Then, I'll take my markered-up pictures to Linh, and she'll look and listen and say, "Okay. Uh huh. Okay, Wen. I see."
And then, she'll cut my hair totally different from the way I told her I wanted it.
And then, it always comes out freaking awesome.
Remember a while back, I was telling y'all I wanted bangs, but was too scared they'd look funky? I eventually gave up on the idea, and went to work finding pictures of chicks with extremely layered styles. I was ready for something new, right?
So then I went to see Linh, two or three weeks ago, and she listened to all my conceptualizing, and then she pulled out her scissors and said, "I think you need bangs." And, just like that, she cut bangs. And, dude - they are kind of freaking awesome. I mean, I'm not trying to brag about the way I look -- but Linh made me the most flattering bangs possible for my face. People are like, "Did you cut your hair or have dermabrasion or something? You look... younger. Can I have sex with you?" And I'm like, "No, ma'am, you may not. Can you please just renew my drivers' license and let me go home now?"
I've been wanting to write about Linh for a while, actually, because we've known her for a long time and she's always fascinated me. She's been my boyfriend Tad's stylist since he was a kid, and she used to work for someone else's salon. However, ever since he's known her, she'd been talking about saving up money to buy her own salon, some day.
When he and I first started dating, four years ago, he took me to see her, and told her I was his "friend." Because we didn't want to freak her out with our interracial relationship, because we weren't sure how she'd react. Dude -- first thing she does, when cutting my hair, is start trying to matchmake me with Tad. She spent the whole haircut telling me how awesome he was, and how she could tell he'd make a really good boyfriend, and how we looked cute together, and etc. Eventually, we told her we were an item, and she got such a kick out of believing she made it happen, we just let her. (Now she cuts my kids' hair, and I think she's angling for Tad to adopt them. Ha.)
Linh is the only person who's ever made blond highlights look good on me. Before I met her, I tried them on two separate occassions and was extremely dissappointed with the results. See, even though I mostly look white, I have this light-Mexican-olive (i.e., lime green) skin tone, and it's super hard to make blond look right with that. But you know how I knew I could trust Linh to do it? Because's she's Vietnamese, and she's blonde, and she looks awesome. She told me, right off the bat, "No, I know what those other places were doing wrong. They didn't look at your skin. They picked the wrong colors. If you ever want to go blonde all the way, just come to me. I know what to do for you." And then she gave the most beautiful highlights I could imagine.
About a year ago, Linh finally realized her dream of opening her own salon. She threw a big party and invited all her best customers, so you know Tad and I were there, chowing down on roast pig and jellyfish salad and stuff. We were super impressed with the new salon, because everything in it was brand new, top-of-the-line. And it's, like, extremely... I'm trying to think of a way to say this that doesn't sound weird or stereotype-y... It's very Viet-fabulous. Like, if you think of every nail salon you ever went to, and the way they're decorated with the bright colors and elaborate floral displays... but multiply that times a lot of money, then you'll have Linh's salon. I mean, she obviously saved up and fantasized about this place her whole life. She has the giant, insanely over-the-top chandelier above her reception desk, and I love it so much, I'm trying to decide if I can get away with putting one in my house. And she has this awesomely groovy painting of herself -- a full-body portrait in which she's, like, a goddess or a muse in a field of flowers. She told us someone made that for her as a gift, and that sort of portrait is the latest trend in glamour photography amongst her people (it's actually a photo of her face, digitally blended into a painting, then printed on canvas), and that she put it in the salon to show her appreciation. And I secretly want a painting/photo like that of me, maybe with a unicorn or something in the background.
And she has all this other stuff that people have given her, like giant swans made of silver origami paper, and a little fake tree with dolls hanging from its branches, and a huge basket of candy that my children can't resist. But, most importantly, she always makes our hair look good, sometimes against our will. And she worked hard all her life, and now she's reaping the rewards at a relatively young age, and that inspires the hell out of me. And she reminds me, repetitively and consistently, why Tad is the best boyfriend I've ever had. And, well, she's just generally awesome.
So... I was writing all this, thinking, "I should put in a link, in case some poor light-olive-skinned Houston girl wants to go blonde and check it out," and then I found Linh's web site, and it has a photo of the awesome portraint and the chandelier, and the silver swans! So here it is: Linh's salon. Maybe some day I will see you there.
Labels: vanity5:31 AM # (9) comments
Tuesday, June 19, 2007Told you so, two months ago.
I hate to even tell this story, in a way, because I worry that talking about this subject makes me seem like a hysterical attention whore. But I am going to tell it, because it bothers me, and it happens over and over again, and I want you to believe, and understand, and go forth and change your ways or the ways of others, as applicable.
There is a man at my place of work. He's around my age. I only see him on the elevator, but I see him every other week or so. He's been working here for maybe six months now.
Until today, he's never spoken to me. In fact, he seemed to take great pains to avoid doing so. If you're a fat woman, you'll understand this part very well. You know how you'll get on the elevator, and one of your coworkers will be there, and you'll smile or nod, or at least make brief, polite eye contact with that coworker, just out of human decency... And then the coworker will very overtly avoid your eye contact, with an undertone of, "Oh, God, I hope this chick isn't hitting on me." You know? Those guys -- the ones who seem to think they're in constant danger of being raped by a woman who isn't thin, blonde, and implanted? ( Here is a fictional reference for you, from the brilliant creator of Achewood.)
So, I figured this particular coworker for that kind of fat-phobic guy, and I dropped all pretense at friendliness with him months ago. No big deal. Men like that are everywhere (just like old women who hate young women just for being young) and I don't need them to notice me.
Today, I got on the elevator and he was there. So, saying nothing, I turned my back on him and watched the little numbers. He said, "Hi." I was surprised, but mumbled hi back.
He said, "How's it going?" I answered as briefly as possible, without looking at him. Then, he said, "Headed to lunch?" I couldn't ignore this, but I answered in disinterested monosyllables all along. But he kept talking. He said, with an ultra-sly chuckle, "Sneaking out early, huh?"
Never mind that I was not sneaking out early, that I was in fact leaving for lunch at the same time I do every day, which is the same time a lot of people go to lunch, including him, obviously. The point is, one, he was making persistent nonsensical conversation with me, even though I had my back to him and was ignoring him as much as I could. Two, he has never spoken to me until now, and the only difference between now and the last time I saw him is...
Fifteen pounds? Gone from my ass?
What a difference a size makes, apparently. Just like I said. More than once.
I told this story to one of my best man-friends, Julio. He shook his head, saying, "He messed up. Those were lame lines. He should have just said, 'You look nice today.'"
"No," I said. "He should have just said nothing, because he's never spoken to me before, so why the hell would I want to speak to him now, just because he suddenly thinks I'm thin enough to speak to?"
Julio had to concur. I polled him, at that point. I asked, "Do you think this guy thinks it's okay to only talk to me when I'm thinner? Or do you think he didn't recognize me?"
Julio said, "I think some guys have a filter, like an email filter. They only see women they want to sleep with, so he literally didn't see you until now."
Lesson, repeated and reinforced: Only talk to me now if you were already talking to me when I was fat.
And, for the record: I see everyone, whether I want to sleep with them or not. Even when I don't want to sleep with a person in my building, I can bring myself to give them a small, phony smile. If I can do it (and I'm a bitter, miserable bitch), then anyone can do it. Show some human decency, people -- maybe it'll make you more attractive.
In more important news...
I love having a house, but I'm having trouble keeping up the lawn. (I also have trouble keeping the house clean, but the homeowners' association doesn't charge me for that, so who cares.)
I feel horrible about this, but I think it's time to hire people to do my lawn. On a regular basis, maybe. See, I can get my teenaged son to mow, and I can even get him to edge and trim the hedges, but there's no way we can compete. Not with the crappy hand tools I have in my garage. Even our edger, which is actually a weed eater, kind of sucks. In order to do the job right, I need a heavy-duty edger, a chainsaw, some giant loppers with very long handles, and, like, a goat.
And I can't afford that stuff right now. So, I'm calling in the mens.
You know what I think the sexiest gift would be? It'd be if you bought someone five or six gift certificates to their favorite stores, plus a gift certificate to a nice restaurant near their favorite stores, so they could have lunch amidst their shopping.
The thing is, you couldn't get them certificates for stores that sold anything practical. No Target, no Wal-Mart, no department stores -- because then they might be tempted to use the money on something practical. You'd have to do small boutiques only. Or super specialty stores. And you'd have to get them in luxurious amounts, like $100 each. See, that's my fantasy -- to win the lottery and then buy my friends this stuff for their birthdays. Five or six gift certificates, stacked up and tied with ribbon. Forced shopping. Sexy fun.
Here are my five, impractical fantasy gift certificates:
the Body Shop
Ulta (a local salon products shop -- God, how many bottles of crap do I need?)
the Bead Shop, in Houston's Rice Village
I'm getting faint just thinking about it. I'd better quit... 6:18 PM # (7) comments
Monday, June 18, 2007Where are you, little pants?
Like most women in the US, I normally have whole wardrobes in 3 or 4 sizes, stockpiled in my closets.
Now I've lost a little weight, and that's good. However, the pants that I had chipmunked away, that would have fit me at this weight? I don't have them now. I gave them to a Hurricane Katrina escapee last year. Doh.
I have one pair left, actually - they were too skanky to give the lady because the seams and hems are all shiny. But they're good enough for me. I just don't care. I'll just wear them every day, screw it.
Angry! Angry blogging!
Three times during the past week, I found myself yelling, "That's bullshit! You know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna put that shit on my blog!"
But now I can't remember what I was so upset about, in any of the cases. Something about crappy driving, local restaurants, and some other thing. Oh, well. Sorry.
Is it just me, or...
Does the Time Warner/Comcast astronaut guy have the same voice as Jack, of Jack in the Box?
Sighing for y'all.
See, the reason I don't update often isn't that I'm too busy. It's that I always think of stuff to tell y'all when I'm out in my car, driving around town, getting pissed off about the lack of good restaurants in my suburb.
When I'm sitting still at the computadora, I can't remember anything at all.
Then again, why should I feel bad about not updating this thing for y'all? Huh? When's the last time y'all updated your blogs for me? Huh? HUH?
Okay, that's it. Next time, lots of new photos on Flickr, and not just of my friends' shoes, either.
Labels: vanity4:30 PM # (2) comments
Tuesday, June 12, 2007All my meters are incorrect.
I'm still doing the magical eat-less-exercise-more diet that I started at the beginning of May. I try to eat 1600 calories or less each day, and I try to exercise as much as I can without feeling sorry for myself. And I think I've lost some weight. It looks like I have. But I bought a cheap scale, just to be sure.
According to my book (can't lose weight without a book), 1600 per day will make me lose 8 pounds per month.
According to my scale, I lost 7 pounds in May. Then, I gained 5 pounds during the first week of June. Then, I gained another pound before the second week of June was even half done. Then, apparently, I lost 5 pounds yesterday. Oh, and sometimes I weigh nothing.
It's too late to return the scale. Even though I'm pretty sure it's broken now, I keep weighing myself on it. I don't know why.
Meanwhile, I'm home sick today. I have the same illness I get over and over, in which my body has chills and fever, my stomach feels blech-y, and my muscles are weak. This morning I decided to take my temperature, so I'd have a hard fact to give my coworkers when they ask me, tomorrow, exactly how sick I was.
My temperature was 95.5. I think that means I actually died, on Saturday, and now I'm secretly a zombie, unbeknownst to anyone.
I almost died on Saturday.
We went to the beach town known as Surfside, Texas, and immersed ourselves in the filthy water. Normally, my height and buoyancy keep me safe in the deep waves. Normally, I love the deep waves. But this time, a huge wave overcame me and almost took my life.
My boyfriend was standing a few feet away. He said, afterwards, that a smaller wave had just knocked the white Nike visor from his head. It was bobbing a few feet in front of him, and he was reaching forward to grab it, when the big, almost-lethal wave overtook us.
First, the big wave hit me. "Yay!" I squealed, right before being knocked underwater. I landed partially on my left knee, which scraped hard against the ocean floor, but mostly on my boyfriend. "Garba glubba blubba!" I told him, as, like crabs in some kind of crab porn movie, we tangled limbs in the brine. I couldn't get loose. Couldn't get my face out of the ocean.
One long minute and two liters of inhaled salt water later, I was finally free. Standing on my own two sea legs again. My boyfriend was standing, too, safe. But his visor? Lost. Lost to the wrath of Neptune and/or Calypso.
"I have to find my visor!" he kept saying, throughout the afternoon. He went into the water with his glasses, then without his glasses. The kids went with him, sometimes. But they never found it. "Your visor's in France now," I told him, but he didn't listen. "I'm sorry," I said, but he said it wasn't my fault.
I stayed in the beach chair, under the beach umbrella, while everyone else searched and swam and conquered the waves. I'd had enough of the beach to last me all year, already.
My children are giant monster locusts.
Four years ago, when my boyfriend first met my three small sons, he said, "Three boys. Those kids are gonna eat tons of groceries."
"No," I told him. "You're wrong. My children are very polite."
Today, two of my kids are taller than my boyfriend. Taller than me, even. They wear giant shoes - sizes 13 and 12 and 10 - and their feet get bigger every school year. Faster, actually. I make them wear their shoes until three out of five toes are emerging on either side. Only then do I buy them new shoes. Again.
And, so, yeah, they eat a lot. It's frightening. I'll bring home groceries. Make them take the bags out of the van and pile them on the kitchen counters. "Put these groceries away," I say, and then run to my bathroom for, like, twenty seconds, to empty the bladder that has been rendered weak and worthless by the birth of three kids. When I come back, all the groceries are put away, all right. Into my children's stomachs. All the stuff is gone. There's like, one can of Campbell's Won Ton Soup left, and the kids are punching each other in the heads to see who gets it. They're knocking each other over, into the louvered doors that hide the washer and dryer, and those doors are broken again. They're dragging each other up to the roof of the house, then taking turns pushing each other off. When one falls, old, broken toys fall out of his pockets, all over the back yard and the patio furniture. Then one falls on the patio furniture, breaking it. Then, suddenly, all the furniture in the house is broken. The couch has giant holes in the cushions, and in each cushion is a stash of Nutrigrain bars or mini carrots or bizarre Asian candy or Campbell's clam chowder, hidden there by a seemingly starving child.
"Goddammit," I say. "Quit that!"
"Sorry, Mom," they mumble.
Then I have to go back to the grocery store for more. Again. Every minute of every day. It's the only reason I work anymore - to buy my children groceries. 1:02 PM # (11) comments
Wednesday, June 06, 2007O hai. I r dying.
I think someone at work gave me a disease. I've been freezing to death for two whole days now, and my nose and throat feel sad. Maybe it's just PMS/allergies combo, though.
I hate being around stupid people who think they're smart.
Seriously as hell. I'm not trying to be mean, but it really grinds my patience to get stuck in a conversation with someone who thinks she's way smarter and more interesting than she really is. I say she because I see it happen a lot with women. Semi-pretty women, who probably at one time were told they were brilliant by some guy who wanted to sleep with them. Oh, and by their parents.
I'm a magnet for this sort of person, especially now that I've sold a book or two. This sort of person corners me and brings out her brightest, wittiest, cleverest conversational topic. Then goes on and on and on. And there's usually a thick underlayer of barely concealed resentment, right there in her voice. Like, "You think you're so smart because you're a writer, but listen to me. I'm just as smart as you, and I will prove it to you now with this monologue about celebrity fashion, my precocious childhood, and my quirky, enlightened religious beliefs! Take it, bitch!" And I feel like the teacher of a spoiled, bratty child, who never gets enough attention.
Really, it's not the stupidity that bothers me. People can't help being born un-smart, just like people can't help being born un-handsome. But un-smart people can still be interesting, and often are. Failing that, they can learn the golden lesson of staying quiet when they have nothing interesting to say.
Not these certain chicks who surround me, though. Nope. They are not smart, and they are not interesting, but you can not stop them. It is their God-given right to annoy the shit out of you with their endless babbling and self-complimentary anecdotes. Isn't it? It must be.
Some day I want to tell someone, "You aren't as smart as you think you are. I was listening to you to be polite, but now I'm going to walk away, because you're boring me."
What would happen then? Maybe the world would explode.
No... probably just my grandmother would fly down from heaven and slap my face, for being rude.
I know you know people like this. What do you say? Is there any way of changing them? Do you just avoid them?
That was mean. Let's say nice things now.
Well, the weather is nice, and I really hope we get off our butts and go to the beach this weekend. Me, my boyfriend, and the kids, I mean. It will be awesome. All we have to do is pack up a bunch of stuff, borrow some extra lawn chairs, put $50 of gas in the van, and drive for an hour. That's all. Woo hoo. I don't know why we don't just do it.
Whatever it is I think I see, becomes an embedded advertisment to me.
I'm getting tired of reading blogs and magazine articles that are filled with "subtle" product placement. You know what I mean? And that's all I see anymore, I guess because all media is owned by, like, two separate entities now.
I used to like In Touch magazine, because they always had interesting photo features. Like:
- "Out of these two celebrities wearing the same hideous designer gown, which one looks best?"
- "Look at this expensive outfit this actress is wearing. Now, we will show you clothes just like hers from Target and H&M."
- "Are these celebrities down-to-earth or diva-ish? This one is washing his car! This one is getting a parking ticket! This one is getting a face mask made of 24 karat gold!"
But now, everything in In Touch, and every other trashy magazine, is a freaking ad. It's like:
- "Pictures of celebrity hairdos, alongside pictures of the hair products we're getting paid to pitch this week."
- "Incessant coverage of a romantic relationship between two actors you never heard of, who, incidentally, are starring in a new movie that opens in theaters this weekend!!!"
- "Bulleted lists of alleged celebrity sightings in which every celebrity is holding a brand-name product or thoroughly enjoying their time at a chain restaurant or theme park."
It makes me not want to buy magazines anymore. [Sighing.]
One last, very petty, yet very important thing.
Back when everyone was first getting into Sudoku, I said aloud, to everyone who'd listen, "Sudoku has been in American crossword/puzzle mags for years and years, except they called it something less fancy than Sudoku. (Number Lines? Number Cubes? Something.) Furthermore, those aren't even the best number puzzles in the puzzle magazines. The best one is Cross Sums. Cross Sums rule my world, and people who love Sudoku are living pale, shitty imitations of my life."
So I went to CVS the other night and looked at the magazines, and next to the fifty-seven publications about Sudoku, there was something new entitled "KAKURO! (Cross Sums number puzzles)."
See, all you have to do is give a number puzzle an intriguing Japanese names, and then it will be famous.
Will I be doing Kakuro puzzles on the bus with you now? No, I won't, because I burned out on Cross Sums long ago. But I hope you number puzzle freaks enjoy them. Wait til you get to Trigons, which you might, when they change the name to Trikurasakas. 6:08 AM # (23) comments