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, November 29, 2007Thrift Store Story 1: Mother Daughter Bonding
I was at a Goodwill in another town, eavesdropping on strangers.
Mom: How about this one?
Mom: Well, I know it's kind of boring, but it also looks professional. You have to look professional.
Mom: Okay, so you have your black skirts... How about, instead of a jacket, you try something like this? Because it still looks professional, but
it's not as formal as a jacket. Cute, huh?
Daughter: Kind of, yeah.
At this point, I can't resist peeking at them. Both 30-something mom and teen daughter are tall and thin, in t-shirts and very short shorts, with long, long, very blonde hair. They're talking loud and I can't help but form the impression that the mom wants everyone around to hear what a good parent she's being. I look to see what professional item of clothing the mom is holding. It's a black vest with shiny black lining-fabric back.
Mom: See? That looks real professional. Trust me, I know these things.
Daughter: You know my friend Melissa? The other day, she found a pair of Hollister jeans here.
Daughter: Yeah. And she wore them to school!
Mom: Really? Wow.
Thrift Store Story 2: Little Girl Free to Good (or Any) Home
I'm shuffling through the sweaters at my second-favorite mega segunda. A little girl, maybe 2 or 3 years old, ambles near in a pink dress, with two filthy baby dolls cradled in one arm, and with green snot hovering above her lip.
My heart: [Crack!]
Me: [approaching little girl] Are you lost? Do you know your mom's name?
Me: [in Spanish] Let's find your mom. What is your mom's name?
Girl: [pause, then] Mami.
Me: What color is your mom's hair? What color is your mom's hair?
Girl: [Points to her own hair, her own dress, her baby doll's dress.]
I lead the little girl around the store, pointing at each oblivious woman we see and asking in Spanish and English if this is her mother. The little girl shakes her head no at each one. For a while, a pre-teen girl helps us out, but then returns to her own mother's side. I start to worry. The little girl has stopped worrying by now and seems content to follow me around like a stray cat. My boyfriend comes over.
Tad: Did you find a kid?
Me: Yes, and I'm starting to totally freak out. This one can't even talk, and we've looked at, like, every single woman here, and she says none of them are her mom. What if her mom left? What if...
The little girl stands at my side, unconcerned, chewing on her hair. A little boy, about 4 or 5, walks up. His runny nose serves as family resemblance as he grabs the little girl by the arm.
Boy: There you are. Come on.
Me: Are you her brother? Do you know where y'all's mom is?
Boy: Yeah. My mom told me to find her.
He hauls the little girl away. Curious, my boyfriend and I follow at a polite distance. The kids' mother is younger than I expected. She stands over a shopping cart, with a companion, in the middle of an aisle. She and her companion wear tight jeans, sleeveless tops, and tattoos. The mother is talking to her companion and into a cell phone, simultaneously.
Mother: That's what I'm saying. I told that stupid fucking bitch!
Her friend: Hell, yeah!
Mother: Fuck that stupid bitch! I'll beat her ass down! [Looking down, noticing her children. To boy:] Now you watch her. Don't let her run off!
Tad and I exchange looks. The little girl looks over at me and waves happily. I wave back and Tad and I resume minding our own business in another aisle. I look through racks and racks of sweaters, skirts, suits, shoes. Every time the little girl crosses our path with her family, she waves and says, "Hi!" or "Bye!"
Me: Bleh. That makes me sad. I should have just stolen her.
Tad: That's probably why she wasn't looking for her mom too hard. She was probably hoping her mom would leave her and she could go home with you.
Me: Maybe. I would have had to give her a bath first thing, though. And some antibiotics.
Tad: Right. But, you know... you already have the cat.
Thrift Store Story 3: I Am Rich and Famous. Dammit.
I'm at the same thrift store as the one in the story above. As usual, I'm combing through the pink sweaters, looking for one that doesn't have holes or scuff marks or a Faded Glory tag.
Random chick passing by: Excuse me. Do you shop here often?
Me: Uh... I shop here. [Thinking she's doing a survey or something.] Why?
Chick: Oh, um. Because... do they have tank tops here? I mean, this is my first time here, and I'm kind of looking for a tank top. But, like, none of these tops are tank tops. Do they not sell tank tops? Do you know where they are? Do they have them in a special section or something?
Me: They're in the next aisle. See that rack of sleeveless tops, under the sign that says Sleeveless Tops?
Chick: Oh, okay. Cool. Thanks!
She walks away and joins a friend, who is over by the tank tops. I flip through the pink sweaters and try not to feel self-conscious. My boyfriend Tad walks up.
Tad: There's nothing here.
Me: You always say that. You're not looking hard enough.
Tad: I don't feel like looking hard. I'm not in the mood.
Me: Whatever. Okay, listen. This chick just walked up to me and started a random conversation, and I think she knew who I was.
Tad: Someone from your work?
Me: No, I mean someone who reads my blog, or who read about me in the Chronicle or something. You know, because I just talked on my blog about thrift-store shopping, and I mentioned this store? Or because the Chronicle just did that article and they said where I lived?
Tad: Hmm. I guess.
Me: No, seriously. I'm starting to be able to tell now. Because they always start completely random conversations. Like that chick who talked to me in the bra section of Ross? Or that other chick who started talking to me about fountains at Home Depot that day? I mean, I know it sounds conceited as hell, but I really think they're talking to me because they recognize me from the blog.
Tad: How, though? You only have that one picture of yourself on your blog, and it doesn't even look like you.
Me: Because, like, I don't know. I mean, how many Caucasian chicks in Houston have Asian boyfriends and three kids?
Tad: Yeah... I think you're just being paranoid, though. I think they're just being friendly.
Me: I'm not being paranoid. I'm not saying they're stalking me or that it's bad or anything. I'm just saying that I think they recognize me and, if they do, why don't they just say so? You know? Because, otherwise, I'm wondering why I'm such a magnet for chicks starting completely random conversations.
Tad: People do that, though. They start random conversations. People do it to me all the time.
Me: Oh, okay. So you think I'm just being paranoid. Or narcissistic.
Tad: No, no, no. Of course not. Baby, if you say people recognize you, then of course they recognize you.
Me: Okay, don't patronize me.
Tad: No, sure... Why wouldn't they recognize you? You're famous. You're like, a famous writer and blogger and whatnot. You're my famous baby.
Me: [Turning away, sighing.] I am famous, dammit. You just can't handle the truth. You're jealous. You can't hang with being the boy-toy of a celebrity. I always knew it would come down to this -- that my immense blogging fame and writing success would tear us apart. I didn't want to believe that our love was so flimsy, so susceptible to petty envy. But I should have known better. That's why they say it's lonely at the top. It is. I see that now. This thing with my fans seeking me out at thrift stores, it's tearing us apart. That's the price I'm paying for my high-flying lifestyle...
Tad: What's that, bunny? What'd you say?
Me: I said, let's go get some gelato now.
Tad: Okay. 12:03 PM # (7) comments
Saturday, November 24, 2007reminder of what I have
2007 has been a disappointing year for me, for various reasons beyond my control. A year of rejections, failures, unexpected expenses and medical dramas. I'm calling it, in my mind, a year of learning experiences and character strengthening.
The one thing I have been able to control is my own body--namely, how much I eat and how much I exercise. (And I know that's the seed of anorexia: focusing on controlling your own body when you feel powerless to control anything else. But don't worry; I'm very, very far from that.) So I've failed at increasing my income this year, but I succeeded at decreasing my weight.
So I need new clothes. And I'm broke. And I have a whole wardrobe of clothing that doesn't fit me anymore. So I thought I'd have a garage sale. But I couldn't, because my neighborhood association won't let us. And no one else I knew could get it together to have one... and selling clothes on eBay or Craigslist is too much work for too little money... But I was hoarding these bags of too-big clothes, thinking I'd sell them one way or another and then use the money to buy new clothes.
And then, the other day, my friend Letty, who works for the local women's shelter, called me up. I was walking around the clearance dress racks at Macy's when she called, in fact. She said, "Do you still have those clothes that are too big for you?"
I said yes. She said, "Would you consider donating them to the shelter? They just called me and said they desperately need clothes in that size."
I said uh, yeah, I guess, maybe. She said, "You don't have to give them all of it. They just really need work clothes and underwear."
I said, "Underwear? Y'all take underwear? I was just gonna throw mine away. I never donate underwear because that's kind of weird, you know? I mean, who wants old underwear?"
She said, "Well, sometimes women who come to the shelter have just been raped. So their underwear gets cut off of them when they're being examined. And, you know, we have clothes to give them, but we don't always have underwear--especially in the bigger sizes. So, you know, they just come to us..."
And I said okay, and I went home and got all the clothes together. And I went through my underwear drawer and pulled out the stuff that was fit to give away, and I tried not to think about how horrible it would be to have your underwear cut off, and then to move to a new place, full of strangers, with borrowed clothes and no underwear on your body. Or to try to start a new life with nothing but borrowed clothes, or literally no clothes at all. Not a wardrobe full of things that are a little too big, not a closet full of things you're a little bit tired of, but literally nothing.
Houston Area Women's Shelter needs larger sized work clothing and underwear, y'all. Especially sizes 20 and up. And winter coats. And toilettries. And diapers. And everything, all this stuff we take for granted.
I gave Letty the clothes and then we had lunch, and we talked about a lot of stuff. I've known Letty since Kindergarten, and we don't have lunch as often as we should, but when we do, we always end up discussing massive things. Because we are massive-issue-discussing friends. Which is good. It unblocks our minds.
One of the things we talked about was fear of poverty versus the ennui of middle class existence. Most people educated in America know of middle class ennui, because we read about it. It's like, the prevailing experience of our literary canon, right? So I knew about it, but I didn't really understand it until I became middle class.
I just bought a house, and Letty's agonizing over whether or not to buy a house, and we both see now what it is--a huge financial commitment to a lifestyle you're not sure you want to live for the life of your mortgage. And, if you fail (foreclose), then you aren't just a failure--you're a failure with worthless credit. Marked for life.
And Letty's been wanting to go to grad school, but says she's afraid to be broke. AKA poor. (I hope she doesn't mind me telling you this. Letty, tell me if you mind and I'll delete.)
Assuming everyone reading this has a little money, and therefore access to a computer and time to read this entry: Did you grow up poor? If so, then you know what it means to be afraid of returning to poverty. Did you grow up rich or middle class? If so, know that all your friends who grew up poor and scratched their way up are secretly, desperately afraid to turn poor again.
So I understood what Letty was saying, on the house count and on the grad school count. And I told her that, even though having a house makes me completely broke (AKA land-poor), I don't mind because this time, I'm controlling my poverty. This time, I look at my budget and make conscious decisions. There's no shame in being broke--in eating ramen noodles, buying thrift store clothes--if I've made the decision to do so in order to hold on to my house. And, if I decide to sell my house and go back to renting, it'll be a slight failure, but again, something I controlled.
It's winter now in Houston, finally. And it's the holidays. That means that, all over town, people who grew up poor are experiencing PTSD, and coping with it in various ways. Turning the heat up high. Not turning the heat up at all. Spending lots of money at the mall. Not spending money at all. Clinging to family. Avoiding family. Reliving old habits and trying to make sense of them. Creating new habits and trying to move on.
I turned up our heat a little today, because I think it's worth paying to be warm. I've been taking things out of storage--things people gave me that were kind of a pain to store all summer when we lived in an apartment. Tea pot. Coffee press. Warm slippers. Sweaters and coats.
And you know what? I'm glad I have these things, and people who love me enough to give them. And I'm especially glad that I have this little snail-shell house. Meaning it's heavy on my back, but it holds all the things that we need. In all senses of those words.
Last night we went to local club Rich's to see Felix da Housecat. Because he always puts on a good show, and Rich's is our favorite venue. And, guess what? Felix wasn't there. There was a hand-written sign on the register saying he was in the hospital, and that cover would be free, and that our pre-purchased tickets would be good for when Felix rescheduled.
I hope he isn't really hospital-worthy sick. I hope he just felt like flaking. But if he's really sick, I hope he gets well soon.
The opening act DJs did their best to make it up to us. They did a pretty good job.
After Rich's, we went to South Beach. South Beach is one of Houston's premier gay clubs. The reason we go there is JD Arnold. JD Arnold is, pretty much, Houston's best DJ. He used to work at Rich's for years and years and years. Then he went to South Beach (which is, incidentally, the phoenix risen from the literal ashes of hate-crime-ruined Heaven, as some of you will remember).
And then, JD Arnold left South Beach, apparently. Recently, I think. Because he was there last time we went, several months ago, and now he's not.
"What happened to JD Arnold?" I asked the door guys.
"Who?" they said. "Who is that?"
"Hey, what happened to JD Arnold?" I asked a bartender who was running around.
"Who?" he said, just like the caterpillar with the hookah in Alice in Wonderland.
A bunch of employees gathered together, then, and complained about some customer hitting on or failing to hit upon one of their number. I was kind of tipsy, so I said it again. "Hey, you guys, what happened to JD Arnold?"
They looked at each other, made faces, rolled eyes, and said in a haughty chorus, "Who?"
Then I got it. "Y'all are mad at him, aren't you? Y'all are, like, never saying his name in this club again?" They lifted eyebrows and scattered like feathers on the wind.
I still don't know what happened. South Beach hasn't updated their web site, either.
Last month we went to see DJ Sasha at Bar Rio. I know none of y'all listen to the music I listen to, and y'all probably just mentally blip over my long descriptions of the DJ shows. But, if you've read this far, know that in my fantasies of a post-lottery-winning wedding, I'm wearing a fuchsia silk cheongsam with embroidered peonies, and Sasha is DJing our reception. Got me?
A man called Spooky opened up that night, and he did very well. He's an older guy, looks like an extra on a Lord of the Rings set, in t-shirt and jeans. Not ranking on his looks at all--just saying he didn't look like you might expect a DJ to look. But he played like a mofo, so we loved him with all our hearts, right at that moment.
Then Sasha came out, and I was so, so excited, and I was right up there in the front where I could breathe his air...
... and he played this set that he later described as minimalist (in response to complaints, I think), but which I would describe as easy-listening techno. And I was sad, and disappointed. And I respect that he wants to try new stuff, and that he may be chilling out as he gets older, but, dude...
don't come to a dance club and play undanceable music.
Now I'm thinking JD Arnold will have to play at my wedding. If anyone can find him. If he hasn't been run out of Houston by the local velvet mafia, I mean.
I painted a bunch of paintings--commercial interior dec stuff like they teach you to do on Trading Spaces--and they came out nice, and I'm happy. And it felt good to make stuff off the top of my head, with no pressure.
Try some crafting today. Start a holiday tradition. Put your dinette set in storage and make your family a crafting room. Let the cat help by stepping all over your drying canvases. (Because, of course, mine did. Thanks, Starbuck!)
Okay, that's all. More later. Thanks for listening. 3:35 PM # (17) comments
Wednesday, November 21, 2007gimmicky "diet" book
I went to the bookstore the other day and came across a diet book called Skinny Bitch. Or Skinny Bitches, Skinny Bitch Diet... something like that. I had to flip through it to see what the gimmick was. The beginning was "tough love" type insults. They said that "fat slobs" had to admit that they had a problem, get off their lazy asses, quit eating so much, etc. And it went on in that vein for a few chapters, telling the reader to exercise more and eat less, with liberal peppering of the words fat, slob, bitch, lazy, etc.
"How long can this book sustain itself?" I wondered.
In the middle, there was a chapter about meat being fattening. And then, with no warning whatsoever, the book became a hardcore vegan tract. Flipping through it there in the aisle, I saw the usual arguments about cruelty and health issues. They even busted out and told the reader that she didn't need that much protein survive. "Look at giraffes!" the authors said. "They don't need that much protein!" (That's usually the part where I stop listening to vegan evangelists in real life--when they suggest that my dietary requirements should be the same as an herbivores.)
So the book got hardcore vegan in the middle. Then, for Act Three, the authors apologized for the ugly words and the tough love, and said they only did it out of genuine concern for the reader. Then, there was a lot of "you go, girl!" sort of truisms, about living for yourself and not waiting for love to change your life, and only being able to change yourself, and loving yourself whether you're fat or thin... and that men would love you if you were beautiful inside as well as out, and that being beautiful inside was only possible if you were "cruelty free." (I.e., if you don't eat meat.)
And this is what I have to wonder. What is the point of browbeating insecure straight women into becoming vegans? If you believe in veganism, why aren't you browbeating everyone equally? Do the people behind this book believe that insecure straight women, once they become vegans, will influence everyone else in the world to follow their example?
I didn't understand it. It was puzzling to me. I was, and remain, puzzled.
I am secretly a man.
That's what people think about me, when I don't act the way they believe a woman should. I am secretly a lesbian, a robot, an alien, an animal, or crazy.
No, you guys. I'm a woman. Really! I just don't always feel like getting all emotional with you. I don't want to have personal dramas--at least not between 8 and 5. I just want to do the work I've agreed to do for money. And then go home.
I save my emotions. I'm running out of them, as I get older, so I save what remains for the weekends and spend them on little things. You know? Art, music, commercials with sad music... my own children, my own family, my own romance.
Don't take it personally, that I don't get emotional with you. Don't think I'm abnormal. I'm just conserving resources. Please understand, and help me. I'd do the same for you.
I just wrote, deleted, rewrote, and deleted a bunch of stuff about prettiness. About losing weight, becoming prettier, people hating pretty people, people treating pretty people like objects or possessions, people stalking and harassing pretty people, pretty people becoming defensive and protective of themselves, other people mistaking pretty people's defense mechanisms for haughtiness and conceit, people who hide their own prettiness out of fear, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, attempts to change one's negative mental associations with prettiness and weight loss, fervent wishing to be judged by my actions and not my looks, the fact that prettiness, in spite of everything, is still valuable and not something you would ever really willingly lose...
... the fact that I can't write anything about any of these things because it's obnoxious, it sounds like Andie McDowell smirking "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful," the fact that you're not allowed to say aloud that you might believe you're pretty, sexist socialization, my grandmother flying down from heaven and slapping my face, women being damned if they do or if they don't, possible self delusion, annoying self censorship, annoying fear. 2:51 PM # (11) comments
Monday, November 19, 2007Gourds!
We went to an HEB in the middle of nowhere the other day. (HEB is a big ol' grocery chain in Texas.) Out in front of the store, they had crates of bagged gourds and mini pumpkins for $1.50 per bag, surrounded by desperate fruit flies. So I bought three bags of gourds. Even though it's almost too late for harvest decorations, I bought them, figuring I could paint them silver and gold and use them for Martha Stewart-y xmas decorations.
Last night I cut open the bags and sorted through all the mixed gourds, picking out the best ones to display on the mantel. And, oh my god, I love mini gourds so much. I wanted to hug and kiss each one. They're so cute and harvesty. And now I don't want to paint them, because they're so beautiful just the way they are. I want to keep them forever. I want them to be my pets.
blipping over Thanksgiving
So the kids are going to their dad's for Thanksgiving, and we're not even cooking turkey--we're going to a Chinese restaurant. So, in a way, I feel like Thanksgiving doesn't exist and therefore I'm already planning for Christmas.
And it kind of makes me sad, to skip a holiday like that. But then again, I'm so glad to have the kids for Christmas this year, I'll gladly skip Thanksgiving in exchange for that.
I got my hair cut, but didn't have it all cut off, like I threatened. They layered the hell out of it, but left the back long. While Tina hacked away, I noted the clear line of demarcation between my old color and my roots. So I went home later and dyed my hair Navajo Bronze, aka "light caramel brown," and it came out dark auburn instead, and it looks nice and I like it.
And we got a new scale, and I've lost 35 pounds total in the past 6 months. And my goal is to lose 20 more, and I'm giving myself 6 more months to do that. So... yeah. Wish me luck.
My boyfriend can cook like a mofo.
The other day we were ambling around the grocery store, trying to decide what to make for dinner. My boyfriend says, "How about chicken wings?" And I said, "You mean like buffalo wings? Eh."
And he made us baked chicken wings, with salt and pepper and garlic, and DAMN they were good. My boyfriend is the master of cooking stuff with just salt, pepper, garlic, and making whatever it is taste like a $29 entree.
My night elf, she is sad.
My World of Warcraft character, Xora, has been stuck on Level 32 for the past nine months. I'm on this quest where I have to go into a haunted house and kill a bunch of zombies. Whenever I log on, no one else is playing that quest so no one can help me out. So I'll go into the haunted house and kill a few zombies, until the biggest zombie kills me, and then I'll spend a while bringing my character back to life, and then I get tired and log off.
I told my kids that, unless they wanted to get grounded, at least one of them was going to have to get online with me and help my character level up.
"I can just play your character for you until you're like, Level 35," said my youngest, who is 10.
"I don't want someone else to play it for me!" I whined. "I want to level up by myself!"
"Fine," said my oldest. "I'll help you the weekend after next, if I have time."
It's that time of year, when the world needs new clothes.
My boyfriend Tad wanted to look at trenchcoats, even though he already owns at least two. But we finally had a cold front, and the temperature set off that trenchcoat impulse within him.
So we went to the Galleria, which is where a few rich people go to shop, and where zillions of poor people go to watch them. We went into Neiman's and pretended we could afford it. We went to Saks 5th and pretended we were classy enough to lift our noses at the mannequins. We went to the new Barney's and sniffed that it was nothing like the one in New York. We peered into the window of Fendi and disagreed over the spotlighted purse. (I was for, Tad was against.) We went to Club Monaco and enjoyed the music. We went to Nordstrom and left in a huff over the fact that there were no more BCBG sweater dresses in size XL. (Which was good, since I couldn't afford one, anyway.)
Most importantly, we noted that fingerless knit gloves (solid or striped) were all the rage again, just like back in the eighties. We thought my 10-year-old son might like a pair. But the cheapest pair we found was $14 at Urban Outfitters, and that was too much.
We left the Galleria. The next day, we went to Target, where we purchased a set of two pairs of knit gloves--one black and one black and white stripes--for $1.49. We took them home and cut off the fingers with pinking shears. When my youngest son got home from Austin that night, we told him our Galleria adventures, then presented him with the knock-off gloves. He takes after us... I couldn't tell if he was more enchanted with the trendiness of them, or with the fact that we'd recreated the trend for so cheap. 6:37 AM # (6) comments
Friday, November 16, 2007Days of Our NPR
I'm all wrapped up in the Pakistan drama as it's revealed to me each morning by NPR. This morning I made my boyfriend listen to it, and then we found out details that compelled me to look up these people's photographs online today. Because I'm a visual learner, and I need to see names spelled in order to remember them. Photos of their faces seal the deal.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is the current leader of Pakistan. George Bush & Co. have been sending him money to "help fight terror" or whatever. But Musharraf's term is about to end, and he's not eligible to run again. So guess what he did. He declared a state of emergency, put on his military uniform, and sent out soldiers to deal with the lawyers who immediately started protesting this BS.
Benizar Bhutto is Pakistan's former prime minister, and she's been calling for Musharraf to leave office. So he put her under house arrest. But she didn't stop talking. She just called a press conference from inside her house.
Imran Khan is the cricketeer-turned-politician who's trying to incite university protest, if he could only keep rival groups from kidnapping him before he even takes the mic.
Jemima Goldsmith is Imran Khan's British billionaire heiress ex-wife. That has nothing to do with what's happening in Pakistan, of course. But it's brilliant backstory, isn't it?
How long before this becomes a movie, or a miniseries at the very least?
I'm also following the French public-transit-worker strike, but haven't yet felt the need to do Google image search on that one.
Speaking of NPR and Sexiness
What is with people fantasizing about the voices on NPR? I read a piece on Nerve about Sarah Hepola getting off Ira Glass's voice, and now Salon or someone has voted him "sexiest man living" (as if that's not Clive Owen--please), and then of course Gawker got hold of that... and every time I read a post about this, everyone and their dog is chiming in with comments about which NPR peep they'd like to do.
And that is so bizarre to me. I mean, I'm not judging. I think it's totally cool to fantasize about the NPR people, if that's what works for you. Obviously, I enjoy reading people's comments about it. But I never, ever, ever thought of any of them in that way. Here are the three most personal thoughts I've ever had about NPR people:
1. "Renee Montagne sounds like she doesn't take crap from anybody. She seems kind of awesome."
2. "I guess it would be kind of cool to have Carl Kassell do my voicemail greeting."
3. "Why does the local weather guy on our NPR station have to say his name like that? So annoying."
And that's it. Their voices sound like newspeople voices to me. But other people are like, "Steve Inskeep sounds like he'd be considerate yet dirty in bed," or "Mee-chelle Norris is probably the best dominatrix ever. She sounds like a size 4, but with good stiletto feet and a light sprinking of freckles." And I'm like, "What? What the? Where are y'all getting this from?"
Please feel free to share your NPR sex fantasies in the comments, though. Please don't let me stop y'all from doing that.
I want to cut my hair.
I'm saying this now so that, when my boyfriend reads it four days from now, it can help break the news to him gently.
I kind of want to cut my hair. My hair's all long with layers now -- same cut I had when I was 15, and again when I was 22, and now I'm 35 and I think that's a little too old for this hair.
You know? I feel like I'm trying to be in a metal rock video, and those aren't even on MTV anymore. You know what I'm saying? I want a more coifed sort of thing, yet still leave it long or medium length. But I know my boyfriend will cry if I cut it. He won't cry where I can see him. No, he'll keep it secret, like a man. But still.
Last time I was this size, I had *really* short hair and it looked pretty decent, I thought. And I don't even want to go that short now. So I think it should be okay. I think it's safe for me to purchase a Hairstyle Guide magazine... 11:55 AM # (11) comments
Thursday, November 15, 2007Extreme Annoyance
You aren't going to know what I mean if you don't know Houston streets, but I'm going to say this, anyway. There sure are a lot of stupid, rude people driving down Allen Parkway in the mornings lately. And in the River Oaks area, in general.
Stupid woman in the Lexus SUV with the bluebonnet license plate who lives in (or visits someone in) Allen Parkway condos: You almost killed me the other day, and you didn't even notice.
Rude people coming west down Memorial, then going left on Shepherd: Quit running the red light, assholes. Quit running the red, then filling up the intersection on the red, then having the nerve to honk at me when I'm trying to come east down Memorial and go right on Shepherd while I have the green freaking arrow. Who do you people think you are? Do you think that, because you're going into River Oaks, that makes you special? You're wrong.
People going south on Shepherd, turning left on Allen Parkway: That's a two-lane left turn. See the arrows on the signs? Stay in your lane, or don't throw the finger at people who honk at you to keep you from wrecking.
Stupid people driving Hummers or Tahoes while texting on your phones: Stay in your lanes, or else don't act all hurt when I honk at you for coming out of your lane and drifting toward my car.
There -- I feel better having typed all that. I know it won't keep me any safer, though. Unfortunately. Constant vigilance...
What Not to Pay a Lot For
Today I'm wearing a $3 sweater. It's fuchsia, 100% mercerized cotton, from Jones New York. Also, I'm wearing $8 pants -- black, lined, perfect fit -- the label of which was removed before I found them at the thrift store.
My shoes are heeled loafers from the Kohl's Junior section. I bought them on clearance, along with two other pairs, before I realized that Kohl's had a junior shoe section. It's where they put all the shoes with chunky heels, looks like. So, like... training heels? For teens who don't yet know how to walk in heels, but still want to? I think I'm the only one buying them, though.
Normally I don't wear heels with pants, because I don't care enough, but today I have to because my favorite black loafers -- flats -- have finally given out. They're broken in a way that I can no longer fix them. *Sighz!!1!!*
This is boring, isn't it? Let me sex it up for y'all, then.
You don't own me. Nor do you own my wardrobe.
I have this friend named Julio, and as his name implies, he is a latino male, and therefore he embodies certain stereotypes on a regular basis. (I'm sorry, latino men reading this, but y'all do. Y'all just do.)
Me: ... and I had to wear heels today, because those shoes I wear every day? Now have a big old hole in them.
Julio: [with knowing look] That's not why you're wearing heels.
Me: It's not?
Julio: Come on. Don't play dumb. What does your boyfriend say about it?
Me: Dude. Stop being latino.
You see what he's saying? No? Okay, here's another.
Julio: I like your ring.
Julio: So, is your boyfriend going to pop the question?
Julio: Come on. Don't play dumb. We both know why you're wearing that ring on that finger. You're trying to tell him something. So, I guess all that stuff you said about not wanting to get married... You've changed your mind now, huh?
Me: I'm wearing my ring on this finger because I finally lost enough weight to wear it again, but I haven't lost enough weight to move it to my middle finger yet.
Me: If I want to get married to my boyfriend, I'll just tell him that. With my words.
Julio: Okay, sorry. You don't have to get all mad.
You see what I'm saying now, about latinos? No?
Me: So I have to go meet with the underwriter after lunch.
Julio: Oh, I see. So that's why you're wearing a skirt today.
Me: What the hell? Julio, I'm wearing a skirt because all my pants were in the wash this morning.
Julio: Whatever. Look, you don't have to lie. I know how women are. If you have a crush on this underwriter guy, it's fine with me. But does your boyfriend know? He's gonna figure it out, when he sees that you're wearing a skirt.
Me: No, he isn't, because my boyfriend isn't a possessive, self-centered latino. He knows that I dress for myself and not for every man on earth! Dammit!
Julio: That's what you think. I have to hand it to your boyfriend -- he plays it pretty cool, and obviously that works for him. But all men are the same, and we all know how women are. He knows why you're wearing that skirt. You'd better watch yourself.
Me: Oh my god! What the hell is wrong with you and every other latino man I know??!??1!1!
I'm not obsessed with my weight. I'm obsessed with the means of measuring it.
My scale finally broke all the way. For the past month or so, it's been telling me that I weigh 354.5 pounds. (That's not really the number, but I don't feel comfortable saying the real number online. So I'm telling y'all analogously, instead.)
One day last week, it told me that I weighed 351.5, which was my goal weight at the time, so I chose to believe my scale on that day. Then it went back to 354.5, and I chose not to believe it.
Now I should weigh 349.5, if I'm counting my calories right. (Which I am, because -- hello -- look how obsessive I am about the numbers, here.) But the scale won't tell me that I've lost two pounds this week. Instead, it obsessively sticks to 354.5.
This morning, it said 99999, then it said 298.5, then it said 351.5.
I guess it's time to get a new scale. I was all freaked out about that, starting from a new baseline, within a new system. Because, see, I don't care if the scale tells me my true weight -- I only care if it accurately gauges weight loss. But if I buy a new scale, the baseline will presumably change, and what will I do with that integer of difference?
Julio said, "That what standards are for." I said, "I have standards. What are you trying to say?" But he said he meant mathematical standards, and that I should put a filled 5-gallon jug of water on each scale, to gauge their difference, and then make my calculations from that. (He's good at math. He has a degree in it or something.)
I was happy. "What a good idea!" I said. "But I'll use a ten-pound dumbbell, instead."
So now all I have to do is buy a new scale.
"So is that why you're always in a bad mood lately? Because you're starving yourself in order to change the numbers on your broken scale?"
"No. Shut the hell up."
"What does your boyfriend say? Does he say you're always in a bad mood lately? Does he think it's worth the weight loss, to hear your bitching all the time?"
"SHUT THE HELL UP."
Turkey Day, or Pork Day, or Mussells in Black Bean Sauce Day
I'm not cooking for Thanksgiving, after all. What with all the stress of my ex-husband suing me for custody of our kids, I am simply unable. Plus, I don't have the kids for Thanksgiving this year, anyway, so I'd prefer to spend the four-day weekend loafing, not washing dishes.
We're going to a Chinese restaurant -- me, my boyfriend, and all my family members who've been displaced by my decision not to cook. My boyfriend wants to buy me lobster. I said I'd rather just eat pork. Or mussels. Or shrimp. Or tofu.
And I'm thankful. I give thanks for my boyfriend, my family, my friends, and especially my kids.
It looks, by the way, like this whole custody suit thing might work out better than I'd feared. Fingers crossed...
That's it. No more whining. Really, I'm relatively content now -- the bad stuff has been handled and potential good stuff looms on the horizon (always). So, I'm good. I'm thankful. I'm hopeful.
What are y'all doing for Thanksgiving, peeps? What kind of pies are you going to make? Will you send me a piece? A 100-calorie slice, please? 6:08 AM # (11) comments
Tuesday, November 06, 2007Sighz lol!!!1!!
Remember how I told y'all, a while back, a few thousand times, that I had a novel coming out in Spring of 2008? Well, I just found out that it's been pushed back for a second time, to January 2009.
What does this mean to you? It means that, by the time Houston, We Have a Problema is actually available for sale, you'll feel like you already read it two years before.
However, it does not mean that I won't be there, January 2009, nagging you to buy it. In the mean time, I just have to update all the tiny places on my blog that now mention the wrong date... Here I go... Doo de doo...
In other book news: I'm pretty sure my first kids' book, Growing Up with Tamales, is still coming out in May 2008. I mean, I hope it is. It's at the printer now, they tell me.
There. Now you have renewed reason to be envious of my life, which is the glamorous life of a published author.
Special Linkelodeon Single-Link Feature
My new favorite site is LOLSecretz. It's a cross between Post Secret (which I have always suspected is mostly faked) and LOL Cats.
I UZED 2 B SO INTO U.
I like the way the best submissions parody the Post Secret style -- the single shocking sentence, or the one-sentence layout and second-sentence twist. It's like LOL Cats, but nine thousand times more nuanced and hilarious.
Yes, it's a sickness, I know. Yes, I fear the day that someone catches my boyfriend and I speaking LOLSpeak to each other. We don't even do it ironically anymore.
Me: We R going 2 lunchez now?
Tad: Yes, I can haz rice 4 us.
Stranger passerby: What the hell is wrong with you two? Are you not grown adults? Why are you talking like that?
Me and Tad: O noes!!!!!1!!!1!!
Never do your job well.
If you do your job well (quickly, correctly, efficiently, with minimum complaining), then you will be rewarded with extra work. People will start stacking crap on your desk with little Post-Its that say, at first, "Rhonda: Can you please process this cog today so I don't have to do the extra widget report on it? Thanks!! :)"
Then, they'll stack stuff on your desk with Post-Its that say "Rhonda: Need today please thx."
Then, they'll stack stuff on your chair with Post-Its that say, "TODAY."
No one will ever say, "Man, Rhonda sure processes those cogs quickly. Remember, before she came here, how we used to have cogs stacked up all over the place, waiting to be processed, necessitating extra widget reports and late fees? I'm glad Rhonda works with us. She's awesome."
But people will say, "Man, Rhonda sure has been acting bitchy lately. What's up her butt? Oh, hey, are you going by her desk? Can you put these cogs on her chair? They're not due 'til next month, but she may as well get them to me before I go on vacation."
So don't do your job well. Do just enough to get by, and surf the Web all day, like everyone else. You'll be happier. 6:37 AM # (9) comments
Friday, November 02, 2007"You were destined for a pauper's grave."
You wouldn't think listening to depressing songs would cheer a person up... or maybe you would. Maybe you know.
I am undergoing stress lately, so I listen to sad songs from the '90s and it cheers me up. Or maybe what I'm actually doing is listening to the sad '90s songs that got me through my last custody battle, and they are reminding me that I have nothing to fear in this recent custody battle. (Other than attorney's fees.) Because I'm still a good mom. In fact, I'm a better mom now than I was then. And Steven Malkmus and Ben Folds validate this feeling within.
Okay, who knows what happened after Ben Folds Five recorded that song using Ben Folds' dad's answering machine message? What did his dad say? Was he amused? Embarrassed? Proud? I imagine he was proud, but I wish I could get an anecdote on that. Wikipedia has nothing. What, then, is the purpose of Wikipedia? I have to wonder, because it's sorely failed me in this regard.
Last night, as I read the kids their latest Harry Potter chapter, we got to the part of the book where Harry learns the astonishing, shocking, hardcore truth.
Usually my kids like to crack little jokes throughout the readings, or else poke each other and poke the cat, but this time everyone was listening, silent as heck, mouths agape.
"That's sorry," my middle son finally said, upon the conclusion of the chapter. His brothers agreed. What happened to Harry Potter was sorry.
I'm now gearing up -- gathering the emotional strength -- to read them the next chapter. AKA, the Tear Jerking Chapter. Y'all who read the book know which one I'm talking about.
I was telling my friend Joolio about this -- the Boy Who Lived and The Chapter That Awed -- and he asked if I purposely read the book in a dramatic way.
"Well, yeah," I said. "I try to do different voices and stuff. You know. You can't read aloud if you're gonna do it lame."
He said that he not only did voices, but he would also do dramatic hand gestures when reading to his kids. (Back before they turned to teenagers.) He said they'd tell him, "How did the monster do it, Dad?" and he'd have to do the gestures again. He did his monster gesture and I had to laugh.
But I wasn't laughing at his monster. I was laughing because it's kind of awesome to read your kids a story and have them enjoy it, and people who don't know that are missing out.
I said this before, I know. But I'm still thinking about it, because reading my kids Harry Potter is one of the best things going on in my life right now. Just like it was nice when we got into the van last night and the old '90s songs came on, and my middle son said, "I remember this song. Isn't this Ben Folds Five?" He's a musical genius, that one. He remembers every song he's ever heard.
Don't think I'm being insecure, but I have something I need to say, to clarify.
Remember how I told y'all I lost 31 pounds? (It's 32 now.) Well, I meant that I lost the 32 pounds I've gained since 2003.
So, if you haven't seen me since 2003, you won't notice anything different.
That's all. Just wanted to disclose. Don't want anyone to think I'm misleading, here. For the record, I am still proud of this accomplishment. The other day I told my boyfriend, "Look. These are the pants I wore on our first date! They fit me again!"
He was like, "Oh, wow." But non-chalant. He's a very good boyfriend and therefore doesn't get too excited about the weight loss. I love him.
I was supposed to have lost 33 pounds by Wednesday, but I've only lost 32. Sighz. Okay, onward. 12:35 PM # (6) comments