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, December 10, 2009Authoring Update
Everything is good, which means everything is boring. I mean, too boring for me to describe to y’all here, or to my cousins or my hairdresser when they ask me how everything’s going. Who wants to hear "Hey, another awesome thing happened in my career," or "Yeah, I’m working on another few projects" all the time? No one. I don’t even want to hear myself say it, you know? So I don’t say anything. I just go home and do work. Or do emails about work. Thankgodfully, I have a lot of projects going on now. I’m working like a mad man and am, in fact, about to go part-time at my day job in order to get more work done. If y’all know me in real life or have read this blog for a long time, you can probably imagine what a big deal that is to me and how happy I secretly am.
All that said... Let's talk about the next project you'll see. I have a new, real live novel, Lone Star Legend, coming out in January. Launch party is here in Houston, on January 28 at Brazos Bookstore. With wine -– they said I could bring some wine, and I definitely will.
I’ll also do a signing in Austin (at BookPeople) on February 5, I think the date is. And one in San Antonio, don’t know when yet. And I want to try to go to Dallas and then Los Angeles later in the year. But that’s about it, I think. As you’ve probably read by now, publishers have figured out that book tours don’t make as much money as they cost, and that’s why I never do them. So don’t hold out for signed copies, anybody. Instead, buy my book in January. Then, email me and tell me you bought it. Then, I will email you back, making the email say the words I would have written in your book if I’d flown to your town and met you at a bookstore table. And then you can print that email and Scotch-tape it to the inside cover of your book! Or, you know… you could always order a signed copy from Brazos Bookstore, and they’ll ship it to you. They're nice like that.)
(It kills me to write all that, all presumptuous about the possibility of people screaming for signed copies. But I kind of obsess over signed copies, myself, so I’m typing all that for my fellow OCD’ers.)
What is the book about? you might ask, because I’ve never yet told you. Is it about lone star legends? A little, yes, but that’s not the only thing.
It’s about a woman named Sandy Saavedra who lives in Austin and is super happy and proud of herself because she’s putting her journalism degree to work for a site called LatinoNow. And she’s scored a handsome grad-school-poet boyfriend. And even though her mom doesn’t understand anything Sandy writes, or even what she does for a living, it’s okay because they still have a pretty decent relationship, considering, relatively, since her mom drove Sandy’s dad away.
And then… bom bom BOM… a gossip-blog conglomerate buys LatinoNow. And they ask Sandy to stay on, but as a gossip blogger of the “bitch, pleeeeease” sort and not a Real Journalist.
All that’s in, like, Chapter One. So what do you think Sandy does, at that moment and for the rest of the book? Oh, and also, what do you think would happen if Sandy had a blog on the side, all along, into which she spilled all her uncharitable, secret, anonymous thoughts? And also, what do you think professional bloggers think of their fans and the people who comment on their sites? And how does it feel to make fun of people online for money? You know that I know, because I used to do that years and years ago, back when people were first learning how. And what happens when people don’t want to expose themselves on the Internet, but suddenly find themselves there, exposed? And what’s up with people who don’t even have Internet connections, or even want them – how do they live? How is that fathomable? That part I had to imagine, since I’ve been on the Internet since cavemen first drew cybersex hieroglyphics on Usenet walls, and now I only eat e-food and drink virtual gin with virtual diet cranberry juice.
That’s what my next novel is about, and Publishers Weekly says Sandy is a smart, funny heroine that y’all will root for. So I hope y’all will consider picking it up in January, maybe with the gift certificates y’all will receive this month from people who love you.
Did y’all see how Heidi Klum took my grackle costume idea, before I could even get the chance to implement? My costume was going to be better than that, and I wasn’t going to paint my face black.
I said this on Twitter a while back, so I’m recycling it here, but it’s important and bears repeating. Y’all will be relieved to know that, whenever I get the time, I continue my grackle research on patios throughout Houston. And recent studies at La Madeleine on West Gray have yielded important results:
1. Female grackles will eat butter, not just bread. They dip their beaks into it and it stays on them for a while afterwards.
2. Even if you put the bread near the butter, though, they will not dip the bread into the butter. They do not instinctively know that it tastes best that way, like I do.
3. Some female grackles like La Madeleine’s red jam, and some don’t.
Future research will focus on grackles’ (of both sexes) reactions to La Madeleine purple jam and orange jam. I suspect that they might like the purple, since it contains seeds.
In Lieu of a Christmas Newsletter
My family is doing well, despite my semi-regular bitching at them. Dat is steadily composing music and has about an EP’s worth of synth pop completed now.
Rory is studying multiple musical instruments and has been collaborating with his stepdad (aka “Pep-Pep,” for you fans of Tim and Erik). Rory has also remained on the Almost Honor Roll all year.
Dallas, who still lives with his dad, made First Chair in his instrument, which is pretty good considering that his high school’s band is super hardcore and competitive. They subsequently demoted him to Second Chair as punishment for losing his sheet music, but I’m content to ignore that completely. Dallas is also on Almost Honor Roll, in all advanced-level academic classes, which is pretty freaking good, considering that he spent half of junior high in “alternative” classes because of “distractions” caused by his Asperger’s.
Josh is about to get his first car, y’all. First car! And a nicer one than I’ve ever owned (but not new), due to a rare collaboration of his dad’s campaigning and my fiscal cooperation. Josh is very good and quiet and tall in general, although he did rebel against me mightily this year by shaving his head. I was upset and took to my bed, yes. But, in the end, I came back into the living room with newfound respect for my child. Josh is not on Almost Honor Roll and never really has been, but he passed Physics last year, when he was a junior, and I never even took it, so I’m satisfied with his academic achievements. Send him good vibes for his SATs next month, y’all. He wants to go to the University of Houston or University of Texas.
Toby has moved into his own little apartment. You might think it's just a bunch of moving-box lids that we brought home from my work, thrown on the floor in my office, but rest assured that it's his apartment, with different rooms (lids) for different purposes. He has his Resting Room, his Brooding Room, his Watching Room and his Room of Violence. You can tell the difference by the way he's marked up the corrugated cardboard in each.
Starbuck rapes our Christmas tree and steals its water.
See? Life is good. In the words of the immortal Joe Walsh: “I can’t complain but sometimes I still do.”
I hope y’all have the best December holidays you’ve ever had, peeps. I hope y’all are happy and warm. 6:09 AM # (11) comments
Friday, May 08, 2009You can tell I’m a Capricorn because…
I have rigid ideas about what’s right and proper and just and polite. Like I said earlier, the role of daughter-in-law is coming back to me now like riding a bike, and I’m intent on doing it the right/proper/just/polite way. That’s just how I roll.
I’ve been dating Dat for 6 years now and it’s funny to see how marriage changes the roles, in my mind. There are ideas and roles that I never bothered to analyze until now. Like this one:
It’s okay for a bachelor son to tag along on someone else’s Mother’s Day plans.
However, once that son marries, the couple formed must take responsibility for themselves by planning their own Mother’s Day observance.
Do you agree? You know what I mean? I’m wondering now if that’s kind of sexist, if it means that once a son marries a woman, the woman has to be responsible for that stuff.
But no… I’m imagining that bachelorette daughters are also allowed to tag along on coupled siblings plans, aren’t they? And if a son married another man, I think that couple would also have to step up their game, gender notwithstanding.
Really, there’s what’s polite, and then there’s individual family tradition. I think that politeness dictates respecting the traditions of individual families. When in Rome (i.e., your partner’s family), do as the Romans do (i.e., eat or pretend to eat Aunt Lucy’s Jell-O cake and don’t bitch about it).
I like the idea of working within the other family’s traditions and adding positive contributions that reflect your own personality. (Eat the Jell-O cake, plus bring your sage flatbread for everyone to try). I’m always struck by the attitudes of the people who post complaints to Yahoo Answers and such, who say stuff like, “Help me deal with my horribly rude mother-in-law! She is forcing everyone to do a White Elephant gift exchange! My family always does Secret Santa and I told her this and I told her I would not participate in the White Elephant and now she has the nerve not to answer the phone when I call her because I need babysitting!!!” I don’t know how people can live like that. Isn’t it difficult? Isn't there a simple rule you can follow to get out of those situations... It has a catchy name... Gold... Golden Something? The "Don't Treat People in Ways That Would Piss You Off" Gold Plated Rule? Google it -- it's a good tool.
(I’m not trying to brag on my own awesomeness here… I’m trying to brag on that of my family, who raised me to be tolerant and appreciative of difference, and to be brave about trying new things. That attitude has helped me in more ways than one.)
So, anyway. I think I’m telling y’all this so you can know what’s up with Capricorn women. Did I ever tell you that every woman in my immediate family sphere, when I was growing up, was a Capricorn? (Capricorn with Taurus moon, to be exact.) You’ll either think that’s fabulous or frightening, or else you’ll disregard it entirely because you don’t believe in astrology.
I don’t know if I really believe it or not, but “Capricorn” is good shorthand for “headstrong, slightly obsessive control freak who likes shit to run right.” And I come by those qualities honestly, through nature and nurture, and I like what they’ve done for me in life.
gross story for you
I woke up last Saturday to find that Toby had thrown up on my bedroom floor. No biggie – he has a sensitive stomach but its results are generally pretty solid and easy to clean.
Armed with a wad of toilet paper, I picked up the catfood-colored mass in one fell swoop. Under it, there were feathers.
“Oh, Toby,” I thought. He’s eaten a cat toy, or part of a pillow. He often eats things he shouldn’t. I felt a little guilty for buying toys that resembled mice with bird tails. Apparently, they were irrestible.
I used the edges of the toilet paper to pick up the bits of feather, which were all brown and wet. They held fast to the carpet, but I was persistent and plucked them out one by one.
The last piece poked my finger through the tissue. Poked it hard. Hurt.
“What the hell kind of feather is this, that stabs your fingers? This isn’t safe for inclusion in cat toys!”
That’s what I thought. Then I bent farther and looked harder to see the feather closer.
It wasn’t a feather.
What do you guess it actually was?
Did you guess “piece of plastic or metal”?
Did you guess “piece of bone, like maybe from a bird”?
No, but closer.
A giant, nasty, effed-up roach’s leg. Legs and smashed roach wings, sticking in the carpet. Wet from Toby’s mouth and spit on the floor.
Although I was completely disgusted, I was also glad (feeling glad while shuddering and pouring alcohol over my poked finger) that I can count on Toby to dispose of giant roaches that try to attack me in my sleep.
(Long-time readers know my experiences and fictional nightmares about roaches, and will therefore have even more insight into the role that Toby’s character plays in the story that is this blog. :)) 5:28 AM # (4) comments
Thursday, March 12, 2009getting married
Part of the reason I’m marrying my boyfriend Dat is that we share many of the same values and beliefs. Like “Art is a priority” and “You should never do something just because everyone else does it.” We’re no Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre, but I do enjoy the home life we’ve created for ourselves, in which the dining area can become the crafting area and music practice isn’t considered noise and fake birds can populate any space for no other reason than their cuteness.
Some of our values might make the act of getting married seem like an oxymoron. But, as so many of y’all know, there are jillions of reasons to get married other than “because I want a big day that’s all about me just like everyone else gets to have on TV.” So we’re doing it for those other reasons. Of course, we want the wedding to reflect our values. Meaning, mainly, that we don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a ceremony that has no personal meaning for either of us.
I went through the old dilemmas that braver women than me have lived through before I was even born. Like: Are we getting married for ourselves, or for others? and then: Even if we’re getting married for ourselves, what do we owe our families and the people who care about us and feel invested in our relationship?
Even though other couples have answered these questions admirably and come up with workable solutions, it’s really a case-by-case kind of thing, isn’t it? No two couple and no two families are alike, so you have to work with what you have and not stick your star-shaped block into the octagon-shaped hole.
Here’s the solution we came up with. Here is what our “wedding” will be:
1. On a Saturday morning this May, we will get married at the courthouse downtown. This was going to be just us and the kids, but one of my cousins really, really wants to be there, so we’re opening it to anyone who wants to show up.
2. Right after that, we’ll have dim sum. Because dim sum has great cultural significance in Dat’s family’s culture, of course. No, just kidding. It’s only because we like dim sum a lot and use any excuse – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Ash Wednesday – to eat it. Again, we planned it to be Dat, me, and the kids, but we’re imagining that some of my family might want to attend. So we’ll invite Dat’s family, too. Anyone else who wants to attend is free, as we live in America, to show up. But we’re only paying for ourselves and the kids and our parents. :)
3. That night, we’ll have a party at our house. At that party, we’ll have wedding cake and champagne. Maybe appetizers, too. Or brisket, if someone wants to bring a brisket. Maybe some potato salad. Or maybe sushi. The food part hasn’t been worked out yet. But we’ll have a cake and champagne, for sure, and a few more people we know will be invited.
4. In June, we’re going to Hawaii. (Not the kids – just me and Dat.) That’s our honeymoon. In Hawaii, we will eat dim sum again, if they have it. If not, we’ll just eat everything else.
And that’s it. That’s what it’s gonna be. Now that that’s settled, we’re actually looking forward to it. You know? I mean, we were always looking forward to our marriage, but now we’re actually excited about the wedding, too. (I don’t want to be a person who looks forward to her wedding and not her marriage. That’s a commonly used recipe for unhappiness, in my opinion.)
Do I sound defensive? Right now, there’s a message in my Inbox from a certain person. I can’t see it until I get home tonight, but I kind of don’t want to look at it, anyway, because it’s undoubtedly in response to my recent Facebook announcement that I’m planning our wedding. Earlier in our engagement, this person was trying to plan our wedding for us. I love her, but she’s one of the people who comes over to our house and says stuff like, “Why the hell do y’all have fake birds on your bookshelf? I don’t get it.” So I don’t really want to get into a discussion about the wedding with her. If I were rich and wanted a big wedding, I’d hire a planner. But first I’d show that planner a bunch of photographs of random things that we think are cool, and I’d watch his/her face. If s/he made a wtf face, I’d know s/he wasn’t right for us. You know?
something else that’s related to the stuff above, but which I’ll discuss in third person
In case anyone’s curious, here’s a list of possible reasons that a married couple might decide to have separate bedrooms:
1. You both want your own space, not just for sleeping but for other things – fashion, hobbies, decorations – that might occur in your bedrooms.
2. You have completely different sleeping preferences. Maybe one of you needs the door open and the other needs it closed. One of you can tolerate the light on the cable box and the other can’t. Both of you like to sleep with your arm under your head, but you face each other and therefore your elbows are at odds. One of you needs cats posted at the foot of the bed throughout the night, and one of you can’t sleep with cat hair in your lungs. And so on, and so forth.
3. You can’t afford separate houses. :)
4. You see that, often, elderly couples sleep in separate bedrooms, and it’s not only because they’re more comfortable that way, but also because they’re so old that they no longer care what anyone thinks of them. And you think, “Why do I have to wait until I’m older, to stop caring what people think?” And you don’t care what people think, and you want to be comfortable.
5. You realize that sleeping in the same bed is neither proof of romantic love nor a guarantee of a satisfying sex life.
6. You enjoy attention, and therefore you enjoy having people come to your house and say, “Oh my god, WHY do you have separate BEDROOMS? What’s WRONG? Are you guys breaking up? Are you guys secretly gay? I thought you guys liked each other. I don’t understand. What do you mean, you like it better this way? What’s WRONG with you two? That’s not what married people DO. What do you mean, you like your cats to sleep on the bed? That’s DISGUSTING.”
Just kidding on that last one. That one goes on the cons list. But, hey, it’s one of a very few things on the cons list, apart from “can’t yet afford a house with separate bedrooms.”
I’m not telling you guys this because I believe you’re the kind of judgmental that needs an explanation. I’m telling you guys this because maybe some of you want to sleep in separate bedrooms and are going over the rationale, compiling lists of pros and cons. In that case, you’re welcome to my reasons.
… feeling like you’ve created your own space in the world -- you and your partner -- that doesn’t need anyone else’s approval. Or maybe that’s what codependence is? I get those two confused...
Just kidding. Ha. Love is... worth sharing, right? I feel protective of the people and things I really, really care about, which is why you don’t see me posting a lot about my relationships with Dat and my kids. But I know some of y’all have been following this journal for a long, long time, and that some of you identify with the main character in it (heh) in certain ways. So, for the sake of the story and its readers, I’m sharing with y’all that, after careful consideration, I’ve found love worth making into a legal entity, and a relationship that I believe will create long-term, overriding happiness for me, for him, and for our family.
And, in sharing this with y’all, I’m sending out good vibes and hopes that y’all have found or will find the same. 6:27 AM # (21) comments
Monday, December 22, 2008Merry Christmas to my cats, who don't know anything.
Yesterday we gave the cats a new, expensive scratching post. They weren’t as grateful as you might imagine. But that’s how cats are – it takes a while for them to appreciate new things.
Last night I was petting Toby on my bed and I realized that, not only was his fur kind of oily, but he also stank. He stank like greasy fur and the cat litter lodged between his toes.
“Let’s just give him a bath right now, I guess,” I said to my boyfriend/fiance. My boyfriend was happy because he always wants to give the cats baths, but I’ve been telling him no for the past month because it’s been too cold.
We took Toby into the bathroom and closed the door. My boyfriend turned on the water and began to fill the Cat Bathing Bucket. Suddenly, Toby realized what was happening and began to cry.
“OW,” he said. “OWR!” Really loud and vibrate-y, like a siren. I hate it when he makes that noise. It breaks my heart. But he needed a bath.
He ran and hid behind the toilet while we prepared the water. When I went to retrieve him, he clawed at the tile floor, trying to hold on. “OWR!”
I felt so terrible. We washed him fast, and he cried and tried to scramble out of the tub. Usually he doesn’t hate baths that much, but for some reason, he was scared as hell this time. Clumps of dirty hair rolled off his body. We shampooed twice with Jonathan Frieda’s shampoo for blonde women and rinsed him as quickly and thoroughly as we could. I squeezed him dry. He cried. We rubbed him with two towels and swaddled him with a third. He stopped crying. He didn’t want to admit that he enjoyed the swaddling, but he always does. We let him go and he shook like a dog, then ran to hide in the laundry hamper.
(I’m lying to you. What I’m calling a “laundry hamper” is actually a laundry basket filled with and surrounded by dirty clothes, all mounded under my antique walnut vanity.)
It was Starbuck’s turn, and she knew it, and she wasn’t happy. My boyfriend had to push her from under the bed with our broom. She didn’t make any noise – just stood there looking like the saddest person on Earth while we washed her with the same blonde shampoo. (It was the only shampoo I had without excess fragrance or body-building properties.) She also liked the swaddling but pretended not to. (They make sad faces, but their ears are no longer pressed back.)
No matter how hard they licked themselves, they couldn’t get dry. So my boyfriend and I hauled them back into the bathroom prison and turned on the blow dryer. Last summer, the blow dryer scared the crap out of them. But now, in winter, they liked it. They didn’t want to like it, but they did.
They didn’t speak to us for the rest of the night.
This morning, though, they meowed at me when I woke up. Later, I sat down to put on my tights and they swarmed to get petted.
I swear to you, they had these attitudes like, “Pet us! Feel how soft and not-greasy we are! Feel the difference! We’re clean!”
I want to believe that they understand, in the end, that taking a bath makes them feel better. But I’m a realist, so I know they’re probably too dumb. They probably just think they got clean by licking themselves a lot after all that torture.
Some people celebrate Spring, instead.
A fellow carpooler asked us, “Do y’all celebrate Christmas? Have you got all your shopping done?”
And I thought it was nice of her not to assume that we all did celebrate Christmas – a carful of Caucasians in Texas. It was considerate of her, or at least polite. It probably looks rude or nosy in print, here, but I promise you the way she said it sounded perfectly friendly and polite.
So the other day, I asked a rider the same thing. “Are you celebrating Christmas this year?”
“Yes,” he said pleasantly.
“Have you got all your shopping done, then?” I asked. Just making conversation.
He exhaled audibly. “Actually, I don’t really celebrate Christmas.” He told me his ethnicity and the country where he was born. It was one where they don’t do Christmas. He explained that, as his wife and kids were American, he was obliged to do the secular stuff that everyone else in our neighborhood does. But really, Christmas wasn’t a real holiday for him.
“Oh,” I said. “So… Do you do Ramadan, instead?” I pronounced Ramadan two or three times, all wrong. I’ve seen it written but don’t often hear it aloud.
“No,” he said. “That’s the Saudis. We celebrate….”
He didn’t say the name of what they celebrated, but he explained it. Spring solstice (equinox?), for two weeks. With fire and symbolic colors and baskets of things that start with the letter C. And visiting friends and family. And that was their major holiday for the whole year. It sounded nice, but he sounded sad. Of course, because he can’t really celebrate that holiday here. He can’t take two weeks off work, even though his boss would probably be empathetic. There are always meetings and things that he can’t miss. And even if he could take two weeks off, no one around him could. He said their celebration was supposed to start on a Wednesday and progress with different activities each day. He said, “I try to do most of it, in small ways, on the Saturday nearest the Solstice.”
I said, “That sucks.” I tried to imagine living some place where no one celebrated Christmas. I’m sure I could swing it, if I felt like I was making a better life for my spouse and kids that way. But of course, I’d still be a little sad each December.
Because I’m self-centered, I made him change the subject and tell me about the food of his people. I like food a lot, and I’m always on the look-out for new food to try. He described his cuisine in detail and told me which restaurant in town was his favorite. As he was an educated and well-traveled person, he was able to describe things pretty well and find comparisons within our overlapping experiences. He was polite and candid, and I asked him if it’d be okay for me to show up at his people’s restaurant dressed as I was. He said yes, that all flavors of people went there and no one cared. In exchange, I gave him directions to my favorite Turkish restaurant in town. He’d been to Turkey and loved the food.
You think I’m going to end this section with some smarmy conclusion about people bonding across ethnicities. But I’m not. I just wanted to share with you that I learned about a new kind of food, and that I’m always down with other people who like to eat.
Some people celebrate Santa Claus.
Last night we went to my sister-in-law-to-be’s house for her yearly Thai food dinner and gift opening. (She’s not Thai, but her mother-in-law is, luckily for all of us who love curry.) So we were there, me and my fiance and all of his family and a few family friends, and I was sitting next to someone who happened to be a Catholic, and she turned to me and said, “So what are your boyfriend’s parents doing on Christmas?”
I said, “Nothing. They don’t celebrate Christmas.”
She gasped. “Why not?”
Me: “Because they’re not Christian.”
Her: “Yeah, but they still celebrate Christmas. Right??”
Her: “Why not?”
Me: “Because they’re not Christian.”
Her: [blank look]
Me: “You know – they don’t believe in Christ. So they don’t celebrate Christ’s birthday….”
Her: “Yeah, but still… Santa Claus. Hello – SANTA CLAUS.”
Me, quickly, mercifully deciding not to explain that Santa Claus doesn't exist where they were born: “Okay. This is their Christmas, today. They’re celebrating Santa Claus right now.”
Her, with audible relief: “Oh!”
Really, they’re going to celebrate Santa Claus Day by crossing the state line and gambling. But I didn’t want to confuse the issue any more. She changed the subject, then, to my uterus and how soon she could expect to see a baby pop out of it. That conversation was just like the one portrayed above, but longer and with more in-depth explanations. 6:14 AM # (8) comments
Tuesday, October 14, 2008My work is under stress.
My company is going to be sold, no one knows to whom or when, and we already know what our severence packages will be, if applicable, but I have no idea whether it'll be applicable to me.
I wish that, if I were meant to get laid off, they'd do it RIGHT NOW. But they won't, of course. They'll wait until some date in the murky future. Something I can't control. I'm trying not to want to control it, then.
Last week I wanted to tell you guys a bunch of stuff about my work and all the extreme, literal-national-news-type drama that's going on, and all the misconceptions and the un-fair-ities, and my giant mission to make people understand what's really going on, and the media distortions, and how much it hurts to have one's hard work disregarded and one's company's reputation completely trashed without warrant by all that stuff,
but this week I'm just over it. Which is probably for the best, because I don't need to get in trouble for blogging about my job.
Toby is going to the vet tomorrow.
He has a jacked-up claw on his right hind leg. The jacked-upped-ness of it has a scientific name that I can't remember how to spell, but you've seen it on humans -- especially on their pinky toes. It's when the nail gets all hard and crusty like a rhinocerous horn, and you can't even cut it with the clippers anymore.
Poor Toby -- he's had it for a long time, it looks like. I only just realized a couple of nights ago. Now I know why he's been more and more lethargic. His toenail is sticking out way too far, and it probably bugs him to walk. I don't think it hurts him, but it most definitely probably bugs him.
I trimmed as much of it as I could with the biggest toenail clippers in the house, and that seemed to help a little. Already, he's been more mobile and lively. (And evil, but that's probably just because of the full moon. Starbuck's more evil, too, and her claws are fine.)
So I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow so they can mess with it. I don't know if he's going to need surgery or medicine or just regular professional single-claw trimmings or what. Something in the future that I can't control. We'll see.
Things in the future that I should be able to control but am finding it hard to because I have, like, zero personal time lately.
Namely: my writing.
Also: I need to redo this Web site.
That's all I can say without having stress-related stomach stress.
Today I went to a shopping center in my neighborhood and felt like hitting everyone in it with a two-by-four containing a single rusty nail. From the incompetent punk kids who work at every single retail establishment in this zip code, to the punk kids who perambulate in every shopping center because they have nothing better to do, to the shitty, shitty drivers, to the trollish old women who exist only to give strangers unsolicited ugly looks.
I was cranky. I was bothered. Then I realized, I always get this cranky right before Halloween. And I always get a little fatter, too. And stressed about looking fat in my costume. And preemptively background-stressed about eating or not eating on Thanksgivng and Christmas.
I don't think it's all about my weight and eating, mind you.... No, that's only one part of the annual holiday emotional ferris wheel. (Didn't want to say "roller coaster," but you know that's what I actually meant.)
And... yeah. Here it goes again. Whatever. I'm tired of it. Purposefully refrained from tailgaiting the asshole who'd been tailgating me. Tried really, really hard not to hate every single person. Succeeded in only hating half.
Tomorrow is another day. Another phase, another degree in the sun rays' refraction. Anohter chance to be a better person. Wish me luck.
I think I should go to sleep now. First I'll do a few Variety Puzzles from my Dell Variety Puzzle book, and then I'll go to sleep.
I'm going to be a "pirate vixen." Josh is going to be a pirate. Rory's going to be the guy from V for Vendetta. The Guy Fawkes guy, I mean. Tad's going to be Jesus. Toby's going to be a cat with a refurbished claw. Starbuck's going to be a little bitch.
It's gonna be awesome. We're gonna have fun.
Leave a comment telling me what you're going to be for Halloween, if you want. Put a link to your Flickr when you get back your pix. 9:06 PM # (6) comments
Monday, September 01, 2008domestix
This weekend we made (I made) picadillo, rosemary chicken, and a loaf of white bread. And sloppy joes, which I'm not counting because the recipe wasn't good and they came out too sweet. This weekend we also made tomatillo salsa with tomatillo from the farmer's market. And it came out awesome. As did the chicken and the picadillo.... The bread came out crustier than we expected, but the inside was still very good.
Remember I told y'all I'm trying to cook more -- that I've been inspired to cook more. It's working, actually. One of the biggest lessons I learned this past week, though, was that not every recipe book is trustworthy. And that, when you make a crappy recipe from a crappy recipe book, it doesn't mean you're a bad cook. I think I used to get caught up in weird beliefs like that. Now I know I can just tear those recipes out of my binder and move forward.
(I don't want to get all into this here and now, but I've kind of become a disciple of Nigella Lawson in the past couple of weeks. I've joined her cult. Some people say her recipes aren't so great, but I don't care because her words are insightful and have been helping me get over some old psychological barriers to cooking. It's helping me to feel better not just about cooking, but about other domestic and womanly spheres.) (I say I don't want to get all into that right now, and that's because I think it'd be more proper to write her a fan email, first.)
The Love That Dare Not (and Is Physically Unable to) Speak Its Name
Toby is having emotional drama lately. Here's the stuff I wasn't ready to tell y'all earlier in the season -- the stuff I wasn't sure y'all were ready to hear.
Toby is forlorn because he thinks he's my boyfriend. He's my boyfriend, but he can't have sex with me, and I keep having sex with some guy who comes over every weekend.
That's about it. That's the sum of his dilemma.
Every afternoon that I get home from work, I find Toby waiting for me on my bed. He always meows or purrs at me when I come in and take off my work clothes. He often persuades me to pet him, rather aggressively. Sometimes he makes what I can only describe as "sexy eyes" at me.
At night, Toby must sleep on my bed. Usually he sleeps at my feet, like a good boy. And that's nice. But once in a while -- maybe once a month (when the moon is full? when I'm especially fertile?) -- Toby will wait til dark and walk up to where my face is and try to... what? I don't know. I never get it. He gets all up in my face and rubs his face against me and meows and does the sexy eyes and reeks of cat manliness, basically, in general.
And when he does that, I pick him up and say, "Toby, no! I'm not that kind of girl!"
And that's usually enough to make him quit. But, if he doesn't, I say very firmly to him, "Toby, you're a freaking cat, and I'm a human being. It's not going to work out between us. QUIT."
And then he quits. And then we're happy again. And then Starbucks meanders into the bedroom, and then Toby date rapes her. (But not really. She likes it. She even looks at me over her shoulder, like, "Don't be jealous, you old prude.") And then I throw a pillow at them and they go rent a hotel room. And everybody's happy, and life goes on.
Until Tad shows up.
Whenever Tad is here, Toby skulks. He hides in one of the kids' rooms, or behind the dryer, until Tad leaves. All weeked long, I mean.
Or else, Toby waits until night, when Tad and I are asleep in my bed. Then, he walks into my bedroom and sits there and stares at me in the dark. I wake up sometimes and see him doing it, and he has the most bitter, sad, jealous, and -- I'm sorry, but -- hilarious look on his face. He's like, "You bitch. You beautiful, faithless bitch."
Or else it's like, "Some day, Tad.... Mark my words. Some day you'll be sorry you tangled with me and dared to touch my woman."
And then I reach out a hand to him, and try to coax him to the foot of the bed. But he just turn on his heels in disgust and walks away.
There. My secret is out. Now you know the truth about me and what I am:
I'm a cat tease.
May as well tell the whole truth...
Starbuck is a drug addict. She's addicted to catnip, and I'm the one who got her hooked.
I grew these stupid catnip plants in the back yard, thinking it'd be fun for the cats to have around, right? And, at first, when the plants were small, I got a kick out of picking the young leaves and garnishing the cat's food with them. Only Starbuck noticed. She'd arrange the leaves on the floor and sort of roll around in them. How cute, right?
Well, like all domestic pleasures undertaken here, the catnip eventually got forgotten. It got big and bushy, and I noticed that it didn't smell minty, anymore. It smells like weeds now. So, I figured it was defective (or else actual weeds had overtaken the plants when I wasn't looking) and I quit using it...
until today. Today, I went out to work on my plants a little, and I cut off all the flowering stalks and put them in a vase, as I am wont to do, and the catnip had started almost-flowering, so I cut a big hunk of it and brought it into the house. And, like the lazy slattern I am, I threw the big hunk on the floor near the cats' dishes, then walked off and forgot about it.
Five minutes later, I heard Tad yell, "Dammit! Stupid cat!"
As he explained it later, Starbuck was rolling on the catnip with a dazed look on her face, and went he went into the kitchen, she snapped out of her trance, jumped up, and knocked her water bowl onto the floor.
"Oh, man," I said. Then, ten minutes after that, I was doing laundry or something* in my bedroom. I was standing near my bed, and I suddenly heard Starbuck underneath it. She was meowing in a weird way and thunking against something. Like rolling around or running in circles, bumping against the underside of the bed. And meowing, weirdly. In a possessed way, sort of.
I didn't even want to look at her. I was kind of scared I'd see her looking creepy, like Ren and Stimpy or Cow and Chicken. So I ignored her, but made a mental note not to give her anymore catnip. It's too strong now. It's too pure. Too uncut.
A few minutes after that, she quieted down and I got down on the floor to have a look at her. She was lying there very calmly, but also kind of wary. Seriously, her eyes were saying, "Whoa. That was a bad trip, man."
Not in a bad, bad way... not bad enough to actually worry or take her to the vet, you understand.... But in a hungover, "I've learned my lesson, no more catnip binges" kind of way. You know how that goes, I'm sure.
Poor Starbuck. The teen years are so hard. Hopefully she'll stay on the wagon and take care of herself.
I think I'll uproot the catnip and plant regular mint in its place.
*Okay, I wasn't doing laundry. I lied to you. I was flipping through a cookbook, trying to make last-minute decisions about which recipes to xerox before returning them all to the library.
Domestix! 9:41 PM # (6) comments
Tuesday, July 08, 2008recent dream themes, for Ashley's eyes only
(And for whoever else can stand to read them or who likes to interpret dreams.)
1. Again and always with the dreams that I'm tricked into living with and/or marrying my ex-husband. KHAN! Last time I had a really involved one, in which I'd won a "dream" wedding from Sears/Macy's. When I showed up to participate in it -- a little late, a little tipsy, feeling celebratory -- I found that the department store had misplaced my wedding gown and wanted to offer me a shitty Miss Texas sheath, instead. By the time I got that ironed out with a late-night shoplifting trip at a nearby costume shop and a run-in with the local Mafia, I was getting worried that it was too late to marry my fiance on Sears/Macy's' dime.
And then I arrive and see that the groom is my ex-husband. And the preacher is preaching, and I feel like it's rude, at that point, to interrupt the ceremony and call off the wedding. And yet I'm determined to do it. And then I wake up.
Annoying-o-freaking-rama, as you can imagine. This dream is obviously about my annoyance with my never-ending forced involvement with that person, which always occurs against my wishes.
2. I always, always dream about monster fruit plants. Usually I dream that there are monster fruit stalks growing in my dad's backyard, or next door to his house, and I'm trying to cultivate or harvest them, but people keep interrupting me and no one seems to value the fruit like I do.
But lately I've dreamed that I'm trying to purchase monster fruit plants on sale from various places. The weirdest thing about it, as I already told you on the phone, Ashley, is that, in the dream, I never realize how unusually freaky the fruit plants are. In the dream, they're just valuable/awesome/beautiful/desired. When I wake up, though, I realize that they were kind of monstrous. They're like corn stalks covered with bunches and bunches of giant plums that are stuck together like testicles. Or, like, giant brocolli stalks covered with giant, blood red, tumorous peaches. They are fruit plants to be feared, but not when I'm dreaming them. In my dream, they're something to covet and acquire.
I don't know if they mean money or artistic acheivement. Maybe both.
3. I used to always dream that I was trying to ride the Metro bus somewhere, and I got on the wrong bus or couldn't find the right bus stop, and it was getting later and I was getting into more dangerous parts of town...
But lately those dreams have shifted into something else. I ride the Metro bus and get off downtown, before it can carry me somewhere wrong. Because I know that, downtown, I can transfer to the exact right route. So I'm downtown, trying to figure out where to get the right bus, and I try to take a shortcut by going through one of the big buildings that I used to work in or used to walk through when I was a teenager.
And then it turns into some thing where I'm screwing around on the elevators. I don't know why. Sometimes I need to get on the elevator because it's one of those buildings where the ground is uneven and can be on G or 1 or P, depending on what side of the block you're facing. But usually it seems that I want to be wicked and nosy and ride up the elevator to see what I can see. Maybe even to steal something. And then, eventually, the elevators take us someplace weird or scary, like a boiler room. But I don't care. It kind of thrills me and I keep riding. And the other riders, even though they're dressed in business casual and I'm not, don't question my right to be there. Sometimes they even follow me, as if I know what I'm doing.
I don't know what this dream means. Maybe that I feel like I don't belong in Corporate America, but I'm doing well there, anyway?
4. Sometimes I dream about stealing the purses of rich old ladies. Their purses are always ugly, but I steal them. And then I feel guilty. But also excited. The goal in those dreams is always to stop someplace safe so I can open the purses and see what I reeled in. But I never do get to stop, and usually I lose the purses while on the run.
I know this dream says something bad about me, like maybe I resent rich people and have a chip on my shoulder and covet other people's stuff.
5. Three or four times now, I've dreamed that we visited New York. Usually it's by accident, maybe because Houston's Metro bus took us there without us noticing. Once we get there, we want to make the best of it and have fun, but we don't know where to go, and the natives aren't helpful. Or else we're afraid to ask them because we assume they won't be helpful, because I read Gawker and Overheard in New York all the time, and they give me the impresssion that native New Yorkers are assholes who take pleasure in being rude to tourists.
So we end up driving/riding/walking around the city, finding our own fun. In one dream we shopped in Chinatown at night. In one we found a carnival in the middle of Manhattan. In the last one, I walked through a Lithuanian apartment complex and looked into everyone's dining room.
This dream says that I crave adventure but don't have the means to get it on a grand scale, maybe.
the cats, good and bad
I like it when the cats lie near me like curved slugs, with their arms and legs tucked under them.
I don't like it when Starbuck scratches the glass patio door because she wants to go outside. Like all cats, she only wants to be outside if we leave the door hanging open so she can come back in at will. But then flies get in. So she can only go out if we close the door behind her. So she only stays out for a few minutes, then scratches at the door so we can open it. Then, of course, as all cat owners can guess, she's back at the door thirty seconds later, scratching to get out.
And the sound of her claws on the glass is very, very, VERY annoying. So I yell at her to stop. But she seems to think that me wanting her to stop is only a very temporary condition. So she goes back to the scratching again and again, until I take more drastic action.
And that is not one of the highlights of having cats as pets.
Equal opportunity: I don't like it when Toby acts possessive over me. Sometimes it's funny, but then sometimes he gets all testosterone-y about it and I have to remind him that I'm a human being and not his conquest, and I have to throw him off my bed or whatever. And then he gets pissy and takes it out on Starbuck. Which is probably why she always wants to go outside all the time?
I just realized that my cats might be living in a Sartre-esque hell of my making. But oh, well. It's better than living at the county shelter, I'm sure.
the photo thing
I feel like I've said this before, but need to say it again and will do so as simply and directly as I can.
1. I only put pictures of myself online if I think I look good in them. So, if there's a picture of me on this site or on my Flickr, even if it's not a stereotypically "good" picture, one can rest assured that I like the way I look in that picture. "I'm Gwendolyn Zepeda, and I approve this photo." Like that. Usually, I only want to share a photo because I like the way it looks.
2. But it's hard to say that. It's hard to say, "Hey, y'all, I think I look awesome in this photo. Check it out. Check out this awesome picture, the subject of which happens to be me-e-e-e!" So, I don't. I skip that part and talk about the more modest other part, like "This is how much I weigh" or "This is an old t-shirt I wear" or "This is a new hair color for me."
3. And then I always manage to come off like I dislike the way I look, or like I need reassurance. And then people (very nice people) are quick to reassure me and tell me that I look nice/pretty/good/decent.
4. And then I feel guilty and gauche, like I was fishing for compliments. When I wasn't. Wanting to share a nice picture isn't the same as fishing for compliments, is it? I don't think it is. Not for me, at any rate.
5. And then I bury the picture under a lot of other pictures or posts, because I am embarrassed.
Does all that make me crazy? No, I know: It means I over-analyze the shit out of my motivations and the impression I'm making on others.
But that's okay.
In related news: There's this person in my life who makes me a little nervous because she's always commenting on things that I say or do. Like telling me to relax or telling me that it seems like I worry too much. And, when this person does that, it makes me way less relaxed than I'd normally be. And I don't think this person does it to be annoying -- I think this person does it because that's normally what people want to hear from this person. And, finally, the other day, I had to tell this person that I liked myself the way I was, and that the way I was totally worked for me and made me a success. And this person accepted that, and I was relieved.
There are two people in my life, actually, who are always telling me to chill out and to act more confident and not to let on that I feel worried or insecure...
And I'm starting to think that these two people, who seem super confident and secure, actually aren't. And that they're telling me all this in order to remind themselves.
But I'm okay, really. I swear to God, if I didn't like myself and have self-confidence and feel secure, I wouldn't be able to talk about myself so much on the Internet, would I? Not for eleven years, I couldn't. Really, it takes all the false modesty I can muster to keep you guys from realizing how conceited I really am.
Think about it.
Don't worry about me, people who worry. I'm happy.
the other day
I played Rock Band with my son and his friends who'd come over for a slumber party. I played because no one else wanted to sing, and they needed a singer for extra points. "Want me to sing?" I said.
"Your mom sings on Rock Band?" one of the friends asked my son Josh.
"Uh, yeah. My mom's, like, a trained singer," said my son Dallas. But not in an "I'm so proud of my mom" way. It was more like "Duh -- why wouldn't a grown-up who knows how to sing, sing on Rock Band?"
So we played, and it was fun because we stopped being mom and sons and friends of sons, and became a force. A team. A rock band. We had three rotating drummers who I assigned to songs according to their skill level. Aside from that, there was almost no talking. As the evident band leader, I reminded myself to praise each member after particularly difficult songs. But that was it. And we racked up some serious points. And I felt the same feeling I have when my coworkers and I get through a really tough project. (We unlocked "Enter Sandman" by Metallica, and that's my very best song. I'm going to sing that next time I go to a karaoke bar.)
I went to bed at 2 AM. The next morning, we woke up and went outside and saw one of my neighbors walking over from across the street. "I'm so tired," she said. "We stayed up all night playing Rock Band."
I'm telling you, man. The families that Rock together stay together.
I had a lot more to tell y'all but it's night now and I can't stay focused well at night. I'm really only worth anything (besides Rock Band) in the mornings. So hopefully I'll wake up early tomorrow and get some novel-writing done...
Y'all have a good night, okay? Y'all have good dreams. 9:59 PM # (4) comments
Saturday, May 31, 2008self censored
The other day I did like 2002 and posted an IM chat here for y'all to read. It was between me and my friend "Olivia," and we were being very silly and clever in it. I deleted all the most personal parts.
But then I looked at it online, all visible to the world, and imagined the world seeing it. Specifically, people who might come to this site because of my children's book. This is what they would have seen: badword badword hating sex badword children badword cats hate drama sex vanity badword.
So I deleted it. Not so much of the badwords, but because I realized that posting that chat session was a little like saying, "Check it out: Me and my friends are so witty that strangers should feel privileged to read our chat-distorted ramblings!"
Maybe I'll re-post it later, though, next time I haven't updated in a while. :)
I realize, now, how people become hardcore workaholics who never leave the office. I realize, because I've been fantasizing about going into work on the weekends, or going in at 5:00 AM, just so I can get some stuff done without having to answer the phone or stop what I'm doing to go to a meeting.
You hear that? I'm fantasizing about doing work. It's a sickness. I'm sick.
There is an imaginary end in sight. Right now, our particular workplace is particularly busy because of a certain law that recently got passed. (403(b) compliance. Do you feel a tingle of excitement running down your spine?) Soon (in two months? six months?) things will slow down.
I'm looking forward to that time, not because I'm lazy, but because just about everyone I work with is pretty freaking cool, and we keep promising ourselves that we'll do more team-building (AKA eating and drinking) as soon as things slow down.)
So, there it is. Busy but not bad. Things could be less busy and not at all as good. You know?
People keep asking about the cats. Starbuck and Toby are doing well. Are they still having romantic relations? Yes, but only at night. Starbuck is a good Catholic wife and she only does it when the lights are off. If Toby tries to get romantic during the day (and he does try, often), then Starbuck yells at him and hits him in the head with her paws.
"I'm not that kind of girl!" she says.
"But last night..." he says.
"Unhand me, you cad!" she says.
"Um... How about now?" he says.
"NO MEANS NO!" Starbuck yells.
And then she kicks Toby in the face, and he walks away, dejected. And then she runs back up to him, inserts herself under his body, and strikes a provocative pose.
"Now?!?" says Toby, immediately Don Juan again.
"No, stupid!" Starbuck yells, and bites him on the leg.
It's beautiful. It's so poignant.
Besides that, they like to practice martial cat arts, and they really like their new cat food, which is the Purina in the white bag with the extra special flavoring added. It's, like, chicken and orso with balsamic reduction. Or something. Can't remember the name of it.
We just gave them each a bath, so they temporarily hate us. However, even they saw the amount of loose hair that went down the drain, and they were at least a little relieved.
More later, when I get the chance. PS, my hair now looks like Katie Holmes' hair, but in auburn. With less severe bangs. And only because my stylist straightened it -- tomorrow, after I wash it, it'll be a wavy, wavy mess again. :) 7:27 PM # (12) comments
Tuesday, April 15, 2008News!
You guys, I landed a new day job. Just gave two week's notice. This new job is more applicable to my skill set, too. Long-time readers will remember that, for the last five years, I've been working in the lucrative Puppy Wedding Arrangement industry. (Not to be confused with the Dog Wedding Planner industry, which is slightly less lucrative.)
Now I get to use my writing skills, and be a Dog Catering Menu Writer. As everyone in Houston knows, dog catering encompasses way more opportunity than dog weddings. I'm going to have to get a different kind of license. But it'll be worth it.
In other words, I'm not planning on talking about this job in great detail, either.
Cat Porn News
Yesterday I came home from work dead tired and decided to doze a little bit on my bed. No sooner had I closed my eyes, then Toby and Starbuck began trying to get it on. Silently, this time, but still.
"You guys. No," I said weakly. They jumped off the mattress and slunk away.
I don't know why they have to do it while I'm in the room. They have all day alone, practically. Maybe they're exhibitionists. Maybe they aspire to be porn stars. Cat porn stars.
Starbuck's porn name is Kitty Delite. Toby's is Johnny Frisco. That's what they told me. Now I'm supposed to find them an agent. That's what they said.
Not much else to say at the moment.
It seems like, the more I accomplish in real life, the less I have to tell y'all on this blog. :)
More later, then. Y'all take it easy. 8:46 PM # (9) comments
Thursday, April 10, 2008Now I have to go back and delete everything cute I've ever said about my cats. And maybe get them baptized.
Starbuck (girl cat) customarily sleeps at the foot of my bed. There's a little patch of cat hair there to prove it. But I don't mind because she's really good about keeping out of the way of my feet, and she stays quiet.
Toby (new boy cat) did mind, though. Every night, almost, he's been coming into the bedroom and whining at Starbuck. He wanted her to go with him into the living room with him. He wanted to play. Sometimes, he'd even jump up on the bed and get all up in her Kool-Aid, meowing in her face. Then they'd fight. Then I'd kick them out of the room.
That was a semi-regular occurrence, until last night.
Last night, I woke up to the sound of Toby quietly yowling. I opened my eyes and looked down at the foot of the bed. There were Toby and Starbuck...
[If you have kids reading, cover their eyes now.]
...having cat sex on my bed. Trying to have cat sex, I should say. They're both fixed. But that didn't stop them from enjoying themselves last night. I swear, I opened my eyes and it was like a freaking porn set, right there in front of me. Toby was like, "Starbuck, baby, you're so hot..." Starbuck was like, "Oh, yeah, Toby, give it to me! Pretend you're not neutered and give it to me right!"
"You dirty little cats!" I yelled, and I pushed them off the bed with my foot. Prudish, I know, but I couldn't help it. I was still half asleep and therefore susceptible to old Catholic learnings.
And now there's an opportunity for, oh, so many punchlines:
1. "I learned it by watching you, Mom!" said Starbuck.
2. "I thought this was where we were supposed to do it," said Toby.
3. "Genitally mutilated cats need love, too!" said Starbuck.
4. "Don't look at us like that! We are not a monster!" said Toby.
5. "It's spring time!" said Starbuck.
6. "Don't be jealous, baby -- it didn't mean anything!" said Toby.
7. "Don't worry -- we're both fixed!" said Starbuck.
8. "Isn't this why you hired me?" said Toby.
9. "Quit staring, you pervert!" said Starbuck.
And... yeah. It could go on and on. Because I'm trying to make light of the situation, here. Because I am so completely traumatized. Oh my gosh. I mean, yes, I did hope that Toby and Starbuck would fall in love. But platonically! In a cute, innocent way! Like those Precious Moments figurines! You know?
Wait, what? Those Precious Moments figurines...? Oh god, no.
Next episode: Shot gun cat wedding at my house. Because, as Marge Simpson knows, you can't have your pets living in sin.
Labels: cats6:12 AM # (16) comments
Sunday, March 23, 2008How I Spent My Spring Break Vacation
I ate too much, exercised too much, slept too much, spent too much, and didn't work enough. So, you know, it was awesome.
My kids got back from their dad's today. Before they did, we hid three dozen candy-filled eggs and set up a new badminton set in the back yard. Hot dogs for dinner. Fun, fun, fun.
How Starbuck Spent Her Spring Break Vacation
She went into the backyard several times, under adult supervision. Once there, she explored and practiced climbing the pear tree.
Once, Tad caught a lizard and set it down in front of her. She immediately picked it up with her mouth and carried it into the house. "Oh, no!" the lizard said.
"A new toy, with batteries!" Starbuck said. She dropped the lizard in the living room and batted him between her paws a bit. He ran away and she turned round and round looking for him, stepping on his head with her back paw in the process.
I yelled for Tad to please remove the lizard from my house, before his tail fell off and became another lizard or whatever.
Slightly bruised but still quite alive, the lizard went back to our patio furniture, where he hits on female lizards to this day.
How Toby Spent His Spring Break Vacation
When he wasn't eating, Toby hid under the bed. No, that's not true. Sometimes, he came out to be petted on my bed, and then he sat on my head a couple of times. He tried to get petted on the couch, but being out in public in the daytime was just too frightening.
That's about all I can tell y'all now. Except for the following:
I want to write more, but I can't get my mind straight. I do have at least 3 things to tell y'all, the first of which is my thoughts on Gong Li. But I have to prepare myself mentally before that can happen. I have to get back into the routine. Maybe tomorrow.
I'm thinking about taking the bus to work every day, at least until gas gets cheaper again. My calculations say that it'll save me about $80 a month. It would save more if it didn't cost three damned dollars to ride our park-n-ride. How sad, that $6 per day would still save me money.
My boyfriend (fiance) took half the week off so he could vacation with me, a little, and he's so sad about having to return to work tomorrow. I don't want to go back, either, but he really is kind of depressed about it. Poor guy.
The other day, he and I went on what was supposed to be a 3 mile walk at a local park. (Teresa B, you know which one.) And, instead, we got totally lost on the trails and ended up walking 8 miles. It was brutal. My butt still hurts. And yet I don't think that excursion negated all the calories we ate this week, unfortunately. Oh, well.
I got all my hair cut off a couple of weekends ago. I think I told y'all that, right? I didn't go to my regular stylist for that one because, gosh forgive me, but I didn't think she'd understand what kind of look I was going for. So I went to [chain salon that's supposed to be all awesome], and my hair came out cute but sort of uneven. You know?
So then, a few days ago, I went back to my regular stylist to get some new highlights. And she saw my hair, and I told her what happened, and she was like, "Let me just fix the ends for you."
But she said it like, "Let me just prove to you that you should've come to me, instead." And then she totally re-cut my hair, y'all! And then she razored it until I was like, "Um, it's okay if I don't look like Victoria Beckham." And then she straightened it, like she loves to do, and it did come out super cute... but then I tried to get a photo of it at home, to show y'all, and the photo made me look like a lazy-eyed Liza Minelli. (Sometimes I look like that, at certain angles. Can't help it.)
And... I don't know. I'll upload a picture if I get a cute one. Or maybe I'll just break down and upload the weird picture. Or maybe I'll finally realize that it's not that big a deal, either way, and that people's lives can continue without constantly updated pictures of my hair.
We went to Katy Mills Mall, and someone there had a sign that said, "Happy Easter and Holy Week Sale." And I thought that was weird, that they mentioned Holy Week like that. I mean, I get that suburban retailers in Texas sometimes get good results from pandering to Christians. But... Holy Week? What is that, like, "OMG, y'all, I got the cutest jeans on sale on the anniversary of the day that Jesus was crucified!"? I don't know, man.
We saw a chick get handcuffed for shoplifting at that mall, too. She got arrested on Good Friday, y'all. Saddest part? The store she stole from had a sign that said, "Nothing over $8.98." I'm guessing she stole from Sarah Jessica Parker's Bitten line, because she simply didn't consider it cheap enough.
Okay, that's all. More later. Hope y'all had good Easters, or at least good Easter candies, or at least found nice things to buy or steal sometime around the time that some people commemorate some kind of thing. 7:46 PM # (6) comments
Sunday, March 09, 2008status update
1. I cut off my hair. It's shorter than heck. Chin length with long bangs. I'm glad. I'm getting too old for long hair, I think. My boyfriend doesn't think so, but he doesn't have to be a 36-year-old woman with three kids, a conservative job, and razored-to-hell long hair. So I cut it. I took in a picture of Number 6 from Battlestar Galactica, and they cut my hair, and now I look like a mom. But I am a mom, so I'm good. (I might go solid blonde next, though. Screw it -- it's only hair, right?)
2. Toby and Starbuck are inseparable now, just like I knew they eventually would be. I would tell y'all cute stories about them now, but Toby just got on my lap and he smells like vomit, so I'm not in the mood, all of a sudden. I swear: Toby is a dog, not a cat. He always needs a bath.
3. Finally got my signed copy of Rob's book, so I'm reading it in quick bursts while I ride in the car and etc. It's very good. It inspires at least one laugh or one lip tremble per page. He had a nice turn-out at his Houston reading, and he cracked us up, despite the not-quite-hilarious subject. Congratulations, Rob!
4. Uh... seems like I had at least five list items to tell y'all...
Oh, I'm getting ready to take a vacation. From my day job and my kids, for a week, coinciding with Spring Break. Guess what I'm gonna do on my vacation? Work my freaking ass off. I have a novel to finish.
5. Uh... Send me your email address if you want my publisher to send you a coupon for 20% my Growing Up with Tamales kids' book. If you're already on the mailing list, I've taken the liberty of putting you on that list. :) But they promised not to spam y'all with other stuff, so don't be sad.
That's it. More later. Busy, busy day tomorrow. Busy, busy life. 9:03 PM # (4) comments
Wednesday, February 27, 2008Kat Konversations
for Diane G.
Note: For the following kitty dialogue, the cats' non-verbal communications will be in italics, and their meowed words will be in normal font. Most of their conversation is non-verbal. Luckily for y'all, I can understand and translate their language.
Toby and Starbuck have finally signed a treaty and declared my bedroom to be neutral territory. Starbuck has, therefore, resumed her nightly occupation of the foot of my bed. So I'm lying in bed, recovering from the work day with a sexy domestic magazine, and Starbuck sees her opportunity to spend quality time with me. She does this by jumping onto the bed and lying on top of the next magazine on my list, a foot away from me. Mmm... magazine bed...
Toby: Are you on the bed? Should I get on the bed? Are we on the bed? Can I get on the bed?
Me: Hey, Toby-binky. Hey, Toby Tonka Truck. Get on the bed.
Starbuck: Oh, jeez. Whatever.
Toby: Hi! Here I am!
Toby steps on my magazine, hits me in the face with his head. His butt is all up in Starbuck's face.
Toby: I have a special offer for you today! You may pet me! A lot!
Toby wedges his entire body between me and Starbuck, falls onto the magazine I'm reading, head butts me again.
Starbuck: WTF? Seriously, WHAT the HELL?
Toby: [Looking into my eyes.] I love you! Do you love me? I love you! You love me! We're a happy... Pet me, please!
Starbuck: Oh, hell no. Eff this.
Me: Starbuck... Wait! Starbuck, we love you, too!
Starbuck jumps off the bed as bitchily as non-verbally possible, and leaves the room. Toby lets out a happy sigh. I remove cat hair from my lip gloss.
It's night. I turn off all the lights in the house and retire to my room. This evening, there happens to be a child in my bed. (Scary movie, potential bad dreams.) The other kid is in his own room, lights out. Lights out in my bedroom. Next thing I know, Starbuck has appeared at the foot of my bed. She is curled up, head down. Ready to sleep. I'm glad, because at first I was worried that Toby was making her nocturnal again. But no. Here she is, and everything's quiet. I roll up in the piece of the blanket my child has allotted me, and close my eyes.
Fifteen minutes of silence. Then, the sound of cat claws clicking far away, across the dining room floor.
Toby: HELLO? IS ANYBODY THERE?
Me: [Calling toward dining room.] Toby! Go to sleep!
Toby What? Who was that? Man. This is, like, so weird. It's happening again. It turned dark, and suddenly no one's around. Why does this always happen? Where'd everybody go?
Me: [Trying not to wake up my kids.] Toby! Be quiet!
Toby: Oh, there's that chick again. Let me go see...
Toby enters the bedroom. I see his giant, half-white body glowing in the doorway.
Toby: HELLO? Hey, you guys! What are you doing? How come you're all in bed with your eyes closed?
Me: [Weakly.] Toby... Please... Shh-h-h...
Toby: Should I get in bed, too? Are you gonna pet me? No? Okay, well, I'll be in the living room if anybody wants me. Just let me know.
Starbuck: Oh, Jesus Christ.
Toby clicks back into living room.
Toby: Doo dee doo... Here I am, walking around alone. Mmm, cat food. Delish! People all over the world... join hands... start a love train... love train...
My child: Can't sleep... Mom! Ricky's wearing that ugly hat again and he's crying all over my outfit for school... zzz...
Me: Why does he only meow at night?
Starbuck: See? You see how I'm being all good here, and he's making noise? This is what I've been trying to tell you. He is bad, and I am good! You need to take him back to the shelter! Oh, damn! [Jumps up and runs from room.] He's eating all the cat food!
Toby has PTSD. We know this now. At some point in his childhood, someone apparently abused him with household items. This is how we found out: I lying in bed, recovering from a long day of broking commercial insurance by flipping through a magazine and talking to my boyfriend on my cell. My cell was also charging at the time.
Me: And then I was like, whatever! And she was like, let me just email everybody as if they care! And I was like, well I will Reply All on that shit, and CC our boss, his wife, and my lawyer! That'll teach her to ask me if I followed up on Alan's file! I'm like, "You follow up on YOUR files, and I'll follow up on MY files, and you follow up on SHUT THE HELL UP." Not even to mention that she's trying to copy my hair color.
Tad: Uh huh.
Me: Oh my God, can they please stop showing these kids from the Hills? Jesus! So anyway, remember I was telling you about that one time a long time ago when I saw that green skirt on sale and it was too small? Back when I was sixteen? And I was like, totally traumatized?
Tad: Uh huh.
Toby: Hi!! It's okay if you want to pet me now!
Toby falls onto my magazine, tearing the Heidi Montag page, and head butts me in the eye.
Me: Jesus, Toby. Toby's here. Oh, guess what. Toby and Starbuck didn't make any noise at all last night. Until 3:30 AM, when they started fighting under the bed. But they stopped at 4:30 AM, when I finally got up and sent them out of the bedroom. I think they're getting better, don't you?
Tad: Uh uh. Not really, no.
My elbow is falling asleep, so I turn from my stomach to my side, temporarily pausing my petting of Toby. As I turn, the charger cord connected to my cell brushes across Toby's ear.
Toby: Oh my God! It's happening again! RED ALERT! RED ALERT! THE VEE-CEES ARE IN THE TREES!
Toby jumps up, makes a warning motion as if to bite my hand.
Me: [Sitting up quickly, so that the charger cord pulls out of the phone.] What the fuck? Toby, what's wrong with you?
Toby grabs phone cord, starts feverishly biting it.
Tad: What happened?
Me: I don't know. Toby just freaked out. I think it was because I turned away from him to talk to you. Do you think he's jealous of you? Do you think he wants me all for himself? Do you think he's emotionally abusive, looking to get into a codependent relationship with me? Oh my god, why does this shit always happen to me? Why am I a magnet for...
Tad: He probably just got scared. You know how he's kind of jumpy.
Me: Maybe. Oh, shoot -- I need to charge my phone. I don't know why it keeps running out of charge so fast... It's not like I talk on it all the time or...
I reach over and take the charger plug from Toby. The cord brushes against his body.
Toby: JESUS CHRIST!
Toby jumps straight into the air, lands near Starbuck at the foot of the bed, and bites the air near her back.
Toby: [Jumping off bed.] Why? Why does the devil cord follow me???
Starbuck: Oh, for the love of...
Me: Oh. I think I know what's wrong with him now.
Tad: Baby, do you mind if I get off the phone and eat dinner now?
Me: Oh, I guess. I'll call you later, okay? [Hanging up, putting phone cord out of sight, turning to Toby.] Toby, come here, baby. Come here.
Warily, Toby jumps up on bed. I reach over to my nightstand and grab the cat brush that's there.
Me: Here, baby. Let me brush you.
Toby: [Jumping off bed, running out of room.] Not the cat brush! Not the CAT BRUSH! No means no! No-o-o-o!!!
Me: What is his deal?
Starbuck: Hell if I know. I told you, you never should have got him from the shelter.
Me: Oh, Starbuck. Come here.
Starbuck: Only if you're going to brush me. Otherwise, shut the hell up.
Labels: cats5:06 AM # (15) comments
Monday, February 11, 2008Toby Update
by request, for Pixielyn
Toby seems to be doing okay, y'all. He still hides a lot, but we're starting to realize that he just gets off on hiding. For instance, he likes to hide under our bed and watch us. Eavesdrop on us.
And it seems that he and Starbuck have bonded over that. One day last week, Starbuck ran to hide under the bed, and Toby was already there. So what did she do? She hid with him. They sat under the bed, facing the same direction, for half an hour. Then, someone made a noise and Toby ran out into the living room. Starbuck ran out right next to him. I knew that she was trying to play the Chase Game with him.
The Chase Game = Whenever someone walks out of my bedroom, Starbuck runs like hell to get in front of that person and pretend she's being chased. Each Chase Game must include at least one 180-degree spin-out on the Pergo floor and one wreck into furniture or walls. Conversely, if one of us walks into my bedroom, then Starbuck has to run ahead, through the bedroom and into the master bath. She's better at this one. She has this cool trick where she jumps up on two wheels, so to speak, and bounces off the side of my bed on her way to the bathroom. It's very Matrix-y. Usually we just watch her do this and laugh, but sometimes we'll pretend to chase her around the house a little. We have to make monster noises. She has to run through the kitchen, office, hall. We have to reverse directions and chase her back through hall, office kitchen. She ends up under the dining room table, panting and with gleaming eyes.
So anyhow. Toby ran out from under the bed, and Starbuck ran with him with a look on her face that clearly said, "Oh, yes, now is the time we play the Chase Game!" And Toby stopped and looked at her like, "Why are you running, too?" And she looked at him like, "C'mon!" And he looked at her like, "I don't understand this person." And then he went and ate some food.
So, since then, Starbuck's been hiding with him and trying unsuccessfully to teach him the Chase Game. But sometimes she still gets pissed off at him, too. He likes to be petted, but we have to drag him out of hiding, first. The other day I was petting him and he drooled on me.
Here are a few more pics, for those of y'all who missed them. More soon.
I'm sending sympathy and condolences out to the tornado survivors in the South. I hope y'all get all your stuff rebuilt and recovered as soon as possible. And sympathies to the blizzard/snow-having people in the North -- I'm sorry y'all are cold and have to shovel snow.
The weather was nice here, so we wanted to do something outside. Of course, so did every other human being in Houston. So we went to Hermann Park, which is right next to the zoo, the biggest museums, and a bunch of other stuff. And of course, there was no parking. Because never, since I was born, has there been enough parking at Hermann Park. Ahem. Mayor White, please fix this. I'm not mad at you anymore. I mean, please feel free to finish the skate park first, because that's going to be completely awesome. But then, right after that, please add some parking to the zoo area. Thanks.
So we couldn't park there, and we were sad. And then I said, "Oh, wait -- weren't we going to go to the Arboretum?"
Yes. So we did. And it was awesome. I'd only been there once before. On that first time, we got lost on the trails among the swampy woods, and it was hot. But it was still fun. This time, the weather was perfect and we took a little trail map with us, so it was completely effing awesome. And it was free -- well, donation requested, not required. And there was a ton of parking. Because no one ever goes there, because it's kind of educational and nature-y, and that turns people off, I guess. I don't blame them. It turned me off at first, too. But then I gave it a shot, and it was cool for reasons I didn't expect. It's like, you walk twenty feet into the swampy woods, and that's it. You're gone. You're in the middle of the wilderness. You're a hobbit, and Gandalf's waiting for you, over there by that creepy tree.
I used to think the pond was the coolest part, but then we saw the swamp, and it's shockingly beautiful. It's creepylicious, with gnarly trees reaching out of the water, and the water covered with pale green algae or scum or pollen. It's kind of like the swamps around the bayou, but without the homeless people or the smell. I can't explain. You just have to go.
Funny thing -- I joked with Tad that we should have our wedding there, and I could wear my Halloween fairy costume. But now I see that they do, in fact, host weddings.
If you're thinking of going, go before it gets hot. So, before May. This weekend was so completely perfect -- one of those unrealistically perfect Houston weather times. Sunday we went to another less frequented parky area, which I will always call Transco Tower, even though that hasn't been its name since I was a teenager. Transco Tower is awesome because it has a local landmark of a fountain, that looks just like this, except with a cross section of everyone in Houston standing in front of it, damp, trying to get a photo. And at least one quinceanera with her court of 14 teen couples. Always.
Does this sound like I'm trying to boost Houston tourism? I'm not -- y'all know I just love my hometown, and it's fun and inter-webby to show y'all what we did via links. I keep meaning to take my camera, but it's old and therefore too heavy to haul in my purse. Pulls at my shoulder muscles, you know.
This entry has been for people who really care about the details of my life, in the context of nothing. Sometimes I feel weird posting a lot of that stuff, because I imagine that no one cares -- that y'all come here for hard-hitting judgmental thoughts, ranty feminist screeds, and tasteful book promotion, instead -- but hey, what's the point of having a blog if I'm not going to yammer about life details, at least a little. Right?
Back to the work week. Sighz. 5:41 AM # (5) comments
Wednesday, January 30, 2008what happens most
All day long I look at people doing things they don't want to do, or not doing things they do want to do. It's depressing.
Obviously, most of us have to work for our living. But does that also mean that we have to talk about the weather? Eat bland food? Buy only one bag, and make sure that bag is black so that it goes with everything? Watch whatever they put on the TV at 7 PM? Stay home when we'd really rather be out, doing anything else? Drive by places we'd like to see, but tell ourselves we can't go in, for no reason at all? Wear whatever set of something that someone put on a rack? Keep our opinions to ourselves? Keep our eyes down? Laugh at things that aren't funny? Smile at people we don't like? Do things for people who don't appreciate it, and wait in vain for them to do things for us? Do the same things every day, even if they've never made us happy?
Why, people? Come on and love yourselves better. If you don't, who will?
A Sad Story About Body Image
A while back I hauled my boyfriend, Tad, to the 35th anniversary celebration of MECA, the local non-profit arts organization at which I used to do artsy stuff as a teenager. Someone there had made a DVD compilation of many shows they've hosted over the years. One of them was West Side Story, staged in 1989, in which seventeen-year-old me played Anita.
My boyfriend Tad wanted to see the whole thing, so we borrowed MECA's old VHS tape of the first half. (It's like, three thousand hours long, and no one knows where the VHS of the second half is.) I told the MECAns that I would have it copied to DVD and then return it postehaste.
At home, Tad and I made popcorn (or glasses of wine, can't remember) and settled in to watch the blast from my past. We pushed Play on the VCR (that I still keep plugged in because it's the only way we have of connecting the DVD, the PS2, and the XBOX360 to our TV. I know -- I need to upgrade.)
Just hearing the intro music made me nervous. Then, I saw myself on stage in my red satin dress with salsa petticoats, in the long, brown, curly-haired wig that covered my tacky '90s skater hair, in the flat jazz shoes I had to wear instead of the sexy character shoes that everyone else wore, so that I wouldn't be taller than Bernardo... and the first thing I thought was, "God, I'm so big."
I was 5'9", size 6.
God, I was so big.
I'm not saying that as a former or current sufferer of body dysmorphia. I'm just telling y'all that, compared to everyone else I knew then, I was very big.
Watching the show made me uncomfortable. I don't think I'd ever even seen it before in its entirety, but watching myself on the TV that night instantly freaking transported me into the prism of awkwardness that I was way back then. I saw my lackluster dancing and it made me feel, again, the fear of putting my arms out too far, standing up too straight, and being too big for the stage, my man, and everyone else. I heard my minimalist line recital and felt again the fear of being too Latina or not Latina enough. Too good or not good enough. I looked at my own face and re-felt all the worries, fears, insecurities, and awkward, awkward, embarrassing, humiliating, shame and guilt and insecure, fearful, worried etcetera. All the time. Every day.
"This is terrible," I said.
"This is awesome," Tad said. "You were hot. I wish I'd known you back then. I mean, even though I was only eleven years old and you wouldn't have talked to me. But still."
"I'm so big," I said. And then I told Tad everything I just told you, about the insecurity and the awkwardness and the bleh.
He said I wasn't big at all. He said, "Baby. You were a woman, and those other girls were girls. That's nothing to be ashamed of."
Why didn't he tell me that back then? you're wondering. I don't know.
Anyway. I called my friend Letty, also a MECA survivor, and she told me she often felt the same way. Too big. Not small enough. Weird. Ungainly. Grotesque. Like a monster. Funny how the world can make you feel that way, while simultaneously exploiting girls your age for illegal pornography. You know?
So anyhow. I decided not to have the VHS tape made into a DVD. I don't want that thing. It doesn't make me happy.
I was kind of sad not to see the second half, though. The second half contained my best song -- a duet with my friend Tania, who got the Maria part but wanted Anita, while I got Anita and wanted Maria so badly. I think we did very well, considering that she was the natural alto and I was the second soprano.
Also, the second half contained the "struggle" scene, which was pretty much an attempted rape scene, in which Ziggy Garcia played a white guy Jet who wanted a taste of spicy Anita, and in which I regularly fought Ziggy off, sometimes to the point of hurting him, and once to the point of my wig falling off. That was a fun scene to play. It was cathartic, at least -- all that angst getting channeled into violence. Getting to be angry in front of everybody. Being glad, for the moment, that I was big.
A Sad Message for Twenty-Something Women
I'm going to tell y'all something that a thirty-something woman told me, back when I was in my twenties. Because it was something I never would have known, otherwise, and because I love y'all. Here it is:
The first part of you to get old is your stomach.
Your digestive system, to be exact. That's the first thing on your body to fall apart. When you turn thirty, something on that trail will start slacking on the job. Acid reflux. Constipation. Gall stones. Flatulence. Etcetera.
You'll think back to all the times you heard older people make weird, random-seeming complaints like, "I need more fiber" or "I wish I could eat processed meats" or "Today's one of those mashed-potatoes-only days for me." And you'll be like, "ZOMG! Now I know what they're talking about! And therefore, I am turning old!"
And you'll be right. And you'll be sad.
I'm just telling y'all because I love y'all, and I don't want you to be scared when you turn thirty, thinking that it's only happening to you. It's not. It's happening to us all, and we will all end up eating nothing but mashed potatoes and oatmeal. It's the cycle of life.
1. Starbuck still doesn't like Toby.
2. Toby still feels a need to dig in the houseplant, although I couldn't tell if it was for waste products or just for fun.
3. Toby discovered that food and water taste even better when they come from Starbuck's bowls.
4. Starbuck kind of hates Toby's guts, actually.
5. I forgot to tell y'all the other day that I think Toby's part Siamese, or some other kind of Asian cat ethnicity. You can't really tell in the pics I've shown you, but he has the Asian cat eyes and head shape. When we got him, he didn't really meow a lot. When he got home, I noted that he would meow once, in response to his name. (Smart boy.) But then, last night, at 1 AM, Toby decided he needed to meow. A lot. It was like, "Meow. What's up, y'all? How come everyone's lying down and all the lights are off? What's everybody doing? Why isn't anyone petting me? Hello? HELLO-O-O-O!"
And I was like, "Oh my god, someone's on fire!" as I jumped out of bed and ran into the kitchen to warm a bottle or catch vomit in my hands or fight off a monster or whatever. But it was just Toby, speaking his mind. He got quiet as soon as I came out and found him. He even stayed quiet when I tripped over his giant cat body in the dark. So I pet him half a time, told him to play quietly, and went back to bed.
Thirty minutes later, it started again. "Hello! You guys! What's up? I thought y'all woke up and were gonna play with me! How come I'm the only one talking? Meow!"
I ignored him so he wouldn't be rewarded for his noise-making. He quieted down. Then, an hour later, he piped up again. But this time it was more like, "Meow yow yow, doo dee doo... Here I am, walking around. I think I'll eat from this bowl. Mm, that was good. Hmm. Why's that other cat hissing at me again? Man, it sure is quiet in here. Hey, what's that out the window? Man, I sure am awake now. Funny how I'm the only one..."
And then I thought that he sounded Siamese. Because isn't that something Siamese cats do? Talk to themselves?
6. I took more pictures of Toby and Starbuck, with a Mexican piggy bank next to each for scale. Didn't have time to post them, though. I'll have to do that later today, after the day job is done.
I'm still doing the Shimmies. However, I'm starting to realize that belly dancing in sweatpants and a t-shirt could never be as fun as belly dancing in a hip scarf and sequined bra.
That's how they get you, see. That's how they get you hooked. They make you shake your hips to the too-mellow music, and then you wish you had fake gold coins to keep the beat. Next thing you know, you're spending all your money on costumes and spending all your weekends at the Renaissance fairs.
It's a racket, I tell you. "Sensual dance with mystical origins, as old as the sands of time." Sure. That's how old the hip-scarf-selling racket is. I should have known. 5:21 AM # (13) comments
Tuesday, January 29, 2008Toby update
Toby spent the night in my oldest son's room. Starbuck spent the night in the living room, instead of on my bed like she normally does. Was she guarding the whole house from Toby? I don't know. After I woke up, she went into my room, I guess. Moments later, Toby bounded in to say good morning. I petted him. Then I heard this ominous, "Er-r-r-r-r... ERR-R-R-R!" from under the bed. "Starbuck! Be nice!" I yelled.
Poor Toby, after apparently holding it all night, finally went to the bathroom... in one of our houseplants. "No-o-o!" I cried, scaring him across the house. But then he let me carry him back into the hall and show him the real litter box. I'd shown it to him yesterday, but neglected to scratch his paws in it, like you're supposed to. So I did his paws, and he made this face like, "Oh. That's why you showed me this box yesterday. Okay."
I hope that, once the house is emptied of humans, Starbuck will get bored enough to be a good hostess. Maybe she'll give Toby a tour and let him share a seat next to her at the Bastard-Squirrel-Watching Window.
Avon: What's up with it?
At my work, in the room called Ladies, there's a new Avon catalog with something weird on the back. It says, "Rich, creamy goodness! Moisturizing body yogurt!" And it shows pastel, fruit-scented lotions in yogurt-carton-like containers, with a spoon dipping into one of them.
Isn't that kind of disgusting? Body yogurt? Not only does it sound like smearing food on your body, which is a practice best left to seventies porn, in my opinion, but it also carries the vague connotation of... I don't know. A cure for yeast infections or something? Okay, I'm sorry I said that. But I had to. It was there, in the back of my mind. I'm just not turned on to the body yogurt idea.
Plus, the ad copy: "Rich, creamy goodness." Doesn't that sound like early 2000s blogspeak? Like a phrase a blogger would use facetiously, on a blog called something like, "A Blog of One's Own" or "Randomized Thoughts," to describe Josh Hartnett in a shirtless scene?
You'll be glad to know that I finally found a pair of brown boots.
And I got them on outrageous discount, 65% off. I want to wear them every day. I'm wearing them today, in fact, with a dress they probably don't go with. They look sort of like galoshes with this dress. But I don't care.
Here they are. They look just like that, but darker. That picture is way bright/reddish on my monitor, for some reason.
And, normally I wouldn't link to something I bought in that way, but I really wanted you to see the boots, because I've been talking about looking for brown boots on this blog for, what? Nine thousand years now? And I know y'all have probably been worried about it. It's probably kept y'all up at night, your concern regarding my boot search... So I just wanted you to know you can lay the matter to rest now.
rich people annoyingness
There are certain web sites in this world on which the commenters annoy me with their snobbery. It's usually on sites about fashion or New York that a certain breed of blogsnob will show up and hate on people who buy cheap clothing. They'll be like, "Oh my god, I wouldn't be caught dead in Old Navy. People who shop at Kohl's should kill themselves. I use Banana Republic silk blouses to wipe my nose. I can't touch, share oxygen with, or live in the bourrough of anyone who browses the Barney's clearance racks."
And I always think, "Yeah, right." Who are these people, who brag about their wealth and discriminating taste anonymously, in someone else's blog comments? Who are they supposed to be fooling? Who would care, besides the other faux rich people commenting anonymously?
Then again, maybe they aren't fake. Unfortunately, I've met some rich people in real life who really do believe that either:
a) they're smart for being rich and everyone else is stupid for not being rich, or
b) they're better than everyone else, as evidenced by the fact that they were born rich.
Maybe people who were born rich are better than everyone else (or at least they were, in a past life). But I don't think so. And I'm not just saying that because I was born poor.
Some people think that we're all the same -- that no one is better than anyone else. I don't believe that, either.
I think that being a good person (good person, better person, best person) is based on your behavior. We can't all be born rich, smart, or attractive, but most of us can make the choice to be good -- to treat others as we'd like to be treated -- or to be assholes. And that's the basis on which I set a person's value, in my mind.
All that sounds super elementary and not worth discussing, I know. But I swear to gosh, I really do talk to people on a daily basis who believe that being born with money makes someone a more valuable person. Or that pretty people are more valuable. Or that smart people are. To each their own, I guess. But I hate it when people apply that value system to me. I hate it when someone quite obviously decides that I'm good enough to talk to because they find me attractive enough, or because I've published a book, or because I've pulled myself up by the bootstraps. Don't talk to me if that's why you're talking to me. Don't talk to me if you're an asshole.
(I know some of y'all reading this blog are rich, and some of you are Republicans, and that it sometimes seems like I hate rich people and Republicans. I know this because y'all write to me and say, "I know you hate rich Republicans, but I am one and I still like your blog." I don't hate rich people or Republicans! I know a lot of decent people of both persuasions, and I wouldn't judge y'all on that, alone. :) )
And that ends my rant for today. Come back next time for another petty, judgmental, evil rant.
A while back, I was on this here blog pretending that I might take up jogging, and my e-buddy Mike gave me some advice. He said, "Don't overtrain." And he cited an example of his own overzealous exercise and self-injury.
I thought of Mike the other day when I was trying to break through my weight-loss plateau. I'd already walked a couple of miles that day and done a half-hour routine with Gilad. And I was so annoyed at not having lost any more weight, I decided to do some cardio an hour before bed.
And I pulled a muscle in my lower back, and Mike's words floated above my head like the Ghost of Overzealous Workouts Past.
And now my back hurts, and I can hardly exercise at all. And I've only lost 2 lbs this month, when I should have lost 5. And now I just have to eat less, I guess, if I want to meet my goal, which is to lose 20 pounds total by May 1.
If I can't meet that goal, I won't hate myself or anything. But it will be a little disappointing, and it'll set back my plans and my time table for deciding on a Halloween costume. And etc.
But, if all that turns out to be the least of my problems, then I'll be doing pretty well and I'll be relieved. :) 5:30 AM # (7) comments