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. :)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009[I got married on Saturday. This post is about my wedding.]
I couldn’t find fake or real flowers for my hair, and I was running out of time to do so. I asked my oldest son to go with me to pick up lemons and limes and goi, five hours before the wedding. As we rode from the grocery store to the restaurant making the goi, I thought aloud. I said, “You know what would work? Oleanders. But those peach-colored ones. If only I could find some of those. But I probably won’t… they’re usually fuschia or white….”
And then we were passing Home Depot on the right, and their parking lot was bordered by ubitiquous oleander hedges. But not the fuschia ones or the white ones – the peach ones!
I pulled over. I parked in the corner past the wheelbarrows. I left the engine running and my son watching from the shotgun seat as I disembarked and snagged several sprigs of oleander flowers.
An hour after that, I walked into the salon with a small bouquet tucked into the outside pocket of my purse.
“Ooh, what beautiful flowers!” the receptionist cooed.
“I got them from the Home Depot parking lot,” I said.
I don’t know if they believed me, but what does it matter?
The rice came out bad. Or wrong. Or something. It tasted okay to me, but as my new father-in-law painstakingly explained, “It tastes good now, but in one, two hours, it’ll be bad.”
So we threw it all away. Dumped it all into a trash bag. The early guests gasped.
My new brother-in-law sped to the restaurant where we’d gotten the goi, to pick up replacement fried rice.
Everyone looked at me, as if it had been my decision. I looked at my in-laws. My mother-in-law was upset. Disappointed. Embarrassed? My father-in-law, though, had the impassive face of a man who cold-bloodedly performs sacrifices for the greater good.
He will serve no rice before its time. Not after its time, either.
We had two cakes. The main cake (“wife’s cake,” as Dat explained it to his parents) was supposed to be Italian cream with raspberry filling, but I think it was just yellow cake, and the raspberry was combined with cream cheese. It had simple off-white buttercream frosting and edible candy pearls that surprised everyone who encountered them.
I’d wanted pineapple filling, but changed the order at the last minute out of deference to my mother-in-law, who was getting us an Asian cake (groom’s cake, “man’s cake”) so that the elder Asian palates in attendance wouldn’t go into sugar shock. I was told that the classic Asian wedding cake was pineapple flavored.
I was relieved, because I’d been afraid they’d order taro root cake. I don’t care for taro cake, but I was ready for anything.
We cut the bride’s cake first, then the groom’s. We fed each other bride’s cake. Then my sister-in-law Van very graciously took the cake server from me so that I wouldn’t be stuck serving cake for the rest of the night. Someone else manned the groom’s cake, and everyone was served sweets tout de suite.
“Oh my God, the cake is so good!” said a friend of the Caucasian persuasian, later.
“You think?” I said. “I’m kind of annoyed because I told her Italian cream, but I think she used yellow, instead.”
“What do you mean? I thought it was mocha or something.”
She meant the Asian cake. I went and tasted it. It was very moist yellow cake with whipped cream icing and mocha filling. It was very, very good. Immediately, I cut a slab of it for my dad, who’d eaten the first slice of bride cake. “Eat this one – you’ll like it,” I told him. (All dads love mocha, don’t they?)
Later, one of my Asian friends said, “Your cake was so good.”
“Wasn’t it? It was mocha.”
“What? I thought it was raspberry filling.”
She’d eaten the bride’s cake. Someone else told her, “You should have tried the Asian cake.” She said, “I never eat Asian cake. I don’t like pineapple and taro.” But we made her try it and she was happily proven wrong.
Everyone liked the cake, whichever one they tried. I was glad.
Dat and I didn’t shove cake into each other’s faces. We’ve always said that we don’t believe in that sort of thing. If you look at the pictures that got posted on Facebook, though, it does sort of look like we’re shoving. But we’re not. We were just hungry by then, I think. 5:29 AM # (19) 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
Monday, May 04, 2009things to do
When people say “How are the wedding plans coming along?” I say “Umm… fine,” because they are coming along fine, I think, but then the plans themselves start swirling in my head and I fall into a daze. The wedding is now less than three weeks away, and there are a lot of little things to do. Lots of little things to remember.
How do you pin down a plan daze? By making a list.
Here’s my list, for people who sincerely want to know how the plans are coming along:
1. Get rings. Even though we don’t actually intend to wear wedding rings for the rest of our lives, we should have them for the ceremony, I think. So we need to buy a couple. We were supposed to go to Harwin for them last weekend, but that didn’t end up happening. Worst case scenario: we get them at Wal-Mart the night before, or make them from aluminum foil.
2. Get marriage license. We have to do that more than three days before, but less than 30 days before. Or something like that. Something with a timeline, which I’m not good at keeping in my mind. So I put it on my Outlook calendar and it’ll pop up when it’s time. Outlook calendar is the external hard drive of my brain.
3. Get more Xmas lights. Remember I told y’all about the fairyland thing? My cousin’s getting flowers and special “gazebo lights,” but we’re supplementing with white xmas lights and other secret ingredients I can’t tell you about yet.
4. Situate the cake. The cake lady was pretty breezy, last time I talked to her. I said, “Do you need me to give you a deposit or fill out a formal order form?” She said, “Your cake is small, so you can just pay me cash the day of. We’ll talk closer to the wedding and work out the details.” That made me a little bit nervous, so I put it on my Outlook calendar. (“Think about cake” with two-week reminder.) Now I’m a little more nervous because… because…
because I’d told her pina colada cake with pineapple filling, okay? First of all. Because that’s what my son suggested, and I didn’t really have a strong opinion about it.
Then… ( I wasn’t going to tell y’all this story online, or at least not in this entry, but here it goes. Apologies if you already heard it in real life, especially if I told it to you while drinking.) Dat, my beloved fiance, told me a couple of weeks ago that he’d spoken to his dad, and that his dad had asked about a few things regarding the wedding. And… Okay, I’m just gonna say it here. I’m just gonna reveal my own personal last bastion of sexism, which is that men don’t know how to plan weddings or negotiate family issues. Ever. At all. Not as well as women do, I mean. Not for their own weddings, at least. I know most of y’all married women reading this know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, go ahead and think I’m a jerk, but be glad you don’t know. So… here’s our conversation. I’m just gonna paraphrase it here and let y’all see what went down. Keep in mind, for purposes of the story, that English is Dat’s parent’s fifth or sixth language, so I can’t necessarily just call them and hash these things out on my own.
Dat: My dad said my mom said she could get us a cake, if we didn’t already have one.
Me: Oh, really? [Thinking “Wow, they’re really getting into it.”]
Dat: Yeah, he said my mom’s friend knows this really good bakery, and she could get a really nice cake. She said it might be nice to have an Asian cake, since, you know, the old Asian people might not be able to eat American cake, since it’s too sweet. So my mom was all excited and wanted to buy us a cake.
Me: That’s cool. That’s so nice…
Dat: So I told my dad to tell her no, since you already ordered a cake.
Dat: I said to tell her no thanks.
Me: What??? Dat! Call your parents right now and tell them we would love to have the cake and we’re very happy they offered! Jesus. Call them right now! Hurry!
Dat: But you already ordered the cake. Are you gonna cancel the order?
Me: No. Tell them… tell them we ordered the American cake, but that we still need to get a groom’s cake and were still looking for a good one, but that the Asian cake will be perfect for that.
Dat: But they don’t even know what a groom’s cake is.
Me: Then EXPLAIN IT to them. Tell them it’s an honor to provide it, and tell them it’s supposed to be representative of the groom’s personality, and that his mother is therefore the perfect person to pick it out, and that we’re so, so happy that she wants to do that for us.
Dat: [Sighing, looking bewildered.] Okay.
Me: Call them now!
Dat: I will. Oh, another thing… This is funny. My dad asked me what religion you are.
Dat: He said my mom’s best friend Mai [not her real name] wants to know what religion you are, because she wants to give you some gift or something, but she needs to make sure you’re the same religion as her. Or something. Funny, huh?
Me: What religion is she? She’s Buddhist, right?
Dat: No, she’s Catholic.
Me: Oh. Well, so you told your dad I’m Catholic, too, right?
Dat: No. [Smiling proudly now.] I told him you were no religion, just like me.
Me: What the… What the eff?? Dat! Why did you tell him that? Why didn’t you just say I was Catholic??
Dat: Because… uh… I wanted him to know that part of the reason we love each other is that we’re not religious, and we respect each other for not giving in to societal pressure and…
Me: Dat!! Jesus Christ!!! Call your dad right now and tell him I’m Catholic! God! Now they’re gonna think I’m Baptist or something! Jesus!
Dat: But what does it matter? You’re not…
Me: Baby, they don’t care if I go to church. They’re trying to find out more about me. Catholic means something way different from the other Christianities. Come on. You should know that! Jesus. Now they probably think I’m Baptist*… Oh, my God… Who knows what they think? I need to start watching you to make sure….
Dat: Well, I told my dad you were raised Catholic, but that now you’re like me.
Me: Oh! What’d he say?
Dat: He said okay. I think he just told my mom you were Catholic, even though I told him not to.
Me: Okay. Thank God.
Dat: [Long pause, then bravely speaking up.] I don’t get why it’s such a big deal.
Me: No, I know. You don’t. Listen – from now on, you ask me before you tell them anything. Go call your dad right now and tell him about the cake. I’m gonna sit next to you and make sure you don’t mess it up.
* Nothing against Baptists or other Protestants – y’all know I love you just as much as every other religion… but y’all also know how it rolls with old people and religion, especially at wedding time. You don’t want to misrepresent, and Baptist and Catholic are, in my mind, probably less alike than Catholic and Buddhist. It’s all in the idols and the incense, you understand.
So you either read that and felt my frustration, or you didn’t. I told that story to our friends June and Vivek (who are cross-ethnic wedding veterans) over the weekend. Vivek said, “It’s kind of like PR, isn’t it?” I said, “Exactly. I need Dat to represent my brand.” June said, “I don’t get it. I would have said exactly what Dat said.” And I was like, “Look, y’all can rebel against your parents on your own time. But right now, I need faithful representation of my brand!”
Back to the cake thing… So, when Dat’s mom said she’d get an Asian cake, I kind of assumed it’d be taro flavored. But then June heard my story and said, “She’s gonna get a pineapple cake, then, I guess.”
And now I’m thinking I need to call my cake lady and switch my cake from pineapple to… I don’t know. That’s what I have to decide. Italian cream and raspberry? That’s what I need to figure out.
5. Order goi. I think that’s how it’s spelled. Dat’s parents and my cousin Helen are going to make all the food except the goi. We have to have goi (not least because I love it) so I have to remember to order some.
6. “Hair appt.” I’m putting it in quotes because that’s a whole other ball of wax – another thing that shouldn’t have been a big deal but that’s becoming a big deal the farther we get into this. I didn’t want to get my hair done, but then I decided I’d go ahead… partially because my salon peeps are so very excited about the fact that we’re getting married, and they really want to do my hair. You’ll remember, long-time readers, that the woman who cuts Dat’s hair, Linh, believes that she’s the reason Dat and I are getting married. So we told them about the wedding, and they got excited, and Linh said Lan should do my hair, and I said okay… but then Lan said she wanted to do my makeup, too.
And I said okay. But then we drove home and Dat said, “I’m scared they’re gonna do your makeup all hardcore Asian wedding style.” Which, I think, means frosty eyeshadow. So I want to get my hair done and maybe my makeup too, but first I have to find a good picture of the exact look I’m going for, so Lan knows not to veer into iridescent territory.
And then… I don’t know. It’s a long drive over to their salon, and I don’t even know what I’m going to be doing on the morning of my wedding day yet. At first I thought I’d just do nothing – clean up the house a little and then throw on my dress and then get married real fast and then eat cake. But then my friend Ashley said something about this being the day that I get married for the rest of my life. And then I kind of started thinking that I needed to do something. Something girly or womanly or just female, I mean. Something ritualistic. We’re not having a bachelorette party – I put my foot down on that one. But maybe I need to go to a salon and have them smear mud and hot rocks on me. Maybe I need to go to a café with a couple of friends and do slam books or something. You know? Dat says he’s going to spend the morning making sushi, which makes me feel guilty. But, then again, if Dat weren’t already used to cooking stuff while I’m freaking out over superstitious beliefs, then he wouldn’t be asking me to marry him now, would he?
So, my list says “hair appt,” but that’s shorthand for “figure out a meaningful yet not-stressful ritual to mark this momentous occurrence in my womanly life.”
7. Buy liquor. That’s the part I’m looking forward to, actually.
8. Flowers. My cousin Helen is being awesome enough to buy us flowers, but I need to get with her and make decisions on that. We need real flowers and fake flowers. My dress has peach flowers. We have a gazebo thing. Those are the parameters.
9. Paint front door. Our front door needs painting. It’s currently ‘90s Hunter Green. We need to paint it for the wedding, anyway, so we figure why not just go ahead and paint it red and make Dat’s parents feel lucky? (Red door = luck. I swear Dat’s parents aren’t hardcore religious/superstitious, though. I think it’s the Catholic in me… I think “A little extra superstition can’t hurt.”)
10. Finish remodeling the effing bathroom.
11. Shoes, jewelry. Earlier in the process, I felt confident that, on the morning of the wedding, I’d open my closet and find at least one pair of shoes among the zillions in there that coordinate with my dress. Now I’m thinking I need to open my closet a few days ahead of time and make certain. Same with the jewelry. Either I have something, or I need to go to Harwin and snag some faux pearls.
12. Teeth cleaning. My future brother-in-law is a dentist.
13. Rory and Dallas outfits. Josh has an outfit because I found him a nice shirt on clearance at Macy’s last month. Rory and Dallas need outfits. Nice shirts, I mean. They grow so fast that I have to buy them new outfits for every special occasion that comes along. Come to think of it, I’d better check Josh’s new shirt and make sure he hasn’t grown out of it already.
14. Cash for judge. We don’t need it until the big day, but I don’t want to forget. Maybe I should put it in Outlook….
15. Make playlists. We need three playlists, I think. One for the ceremony, one full of mellow music for the early part of the evening, and one full of faster music for when everybody’s drinking. Ironically, that’s the part I’m most worried about. I’m worried that Dat and I will disagree and have a traditional pre-wedding blow-out over how many Delerium songs are too many. (I’m saying now that one is plenty. But I’ll freely admit that Dat might make the same argument about Pavement.)
16. Figure out the tea ceremony. We’re having a tea ceremony, all of a sudden. Which is good – his parents want us to do the traditional Asian thing, which means they consider this a real wedding and not a rebelious whim (heh). But so far I only have Dat’s explanation of the tea ceremony, which means I know nothing at all and need to figure it all out asap.
17. Appetizers. My dad says he can’t eat Vietnamese food because it reminds him of being in the Vietnam war. Most of our food will actually be more Chinese, and we’re going to have brisket and American cake, but I think I need to throw in some appetizers, too, just in case. I need something classy that I don’t have to mess with too much. I’m hoping Specs has something nice that doesn’t cost too much. Otherwise, I guess I’ll have the kids make pigs in blankets.
18. Situate the coolers. Party people know what I’m talking about. One for drinks, one for clean ice. Find the coolers. Clean them. Put them in the right places. Dat already thought ahead and got us a classy new ice scoop. He’s a good man. He’s gonna make a good husband.
19. Update my blog with wedding status so people who are interested can go read about it. At least I can cross off one thing, now.
20. Think up some way to thank everyone who's contributing. I could thank them here, but that's not enough. I will thank them here, though. I love y'all -- everyone who's helping or offering to help or even just sending good vibes and wishes. We feel it all, and we appreciate it.
And that’s about it. That’s my list – Dat has his own, I think. It says something like “buy a small snake to clear out that plumbing in the attic,” whatever that means, and fifteen or twenty other things.
I think it’s all under control. I think it’s gonna be good. I’m excited. I can’t wait.
Labels: wedding stuff5:28 AM # (15) comments
Thursday, April 23, 2009I want to be Amish.
You know? I want to live in a house that I built and cook food that I gathered or raised myself. I want to sew my own clothes and knit my own blankets. I want to take care of myself and my family, and only occasionally have to weave baskets to trade for the things I don't know how to make. That's just a different way to live... a way that isn't based on spending 8 to 5, every week day, dealing with other people's egos. I don't like working with or around other people's egos. Not so often, you know?
The problem with being Amish is that you have to conform to their ideas about good taste, and you can't use electricity. Maybe I want to be a Mennonite.
Or maybe I just want to be a farmer. In the movies, when times get tough, farmers always say "Well, we're fine here -- we have enough to feed ourselves for the rest of our lives. It's the other people [their neighbors or love interests] I'm worried about."
I want to be like that -- where I rely on myself, and I'm completely reliable.
Really, I think all of that just means that I want to start my own business. Because I don't really know how to slaughter anything, and I'm too finicky to sew whole wardrobes out of calico.
Or else I'd be happy working in a room by myself, maybe. Making widgets according to written specifications. It's not the working that bothers me -- it's everything else.
It's not even about people being jerks. I could be in a building where every single person is competent and nice, and it'd still exhaust me mentally. I'm an introvert, okay? (People who know me in real life, stop telling me I'm not. I am! I want to live on a farm or work in a room alone!)
Every spring I feel restless. I want to get up and run out the door.
Last night, though, me and Dat and the kids put together one of those patio structures that Target calls a gazebo, but which is actually more like a canopy with mosquito netting on the sides. Dat and the boys put it together, actually, while I trimmed the pear tree above them. We got a new lopper (is that what it's called?) a while back and this was my first time to really use it, and it lops off the branches very beautifully. I did the pear tree so it'd be out of the canopy's way, then started on the oak tree on the other side of the back yard.
Tonight I want to finish those and then do every tree and bush in the front yard. I'd been planning to do that anyway, but now that I've felt the power of the new ... loppers... I'm excited. I love trimming the trees -- giving them little haircuts and making them feel lighter.
We have a bunny living in our front yard, randomly. When he was smaller, he fit through a gap in the garage door and so spent his nights there. Now he's bigger and we're guessing he just lives in the nandinas. We get home from work and he's there in the flower patch, eating weeds. He just watches us. We watch him. We say "He's growing." Then we go inside.
It's okay with me that this entry might be boring.
Sometimes it has to go down that way.
Life's just plugging along. Like the bunny, our wedding is growing. It's still an informal wedding in our house, but now Dat's parents are getting even more into it, and so they're inviting extra people. Which is fine -- I want them to be comfortable and stay the whole evening, and having their peeps next to them will make that possible. I'm starting to think the wedding might spill over into the front yard, though. We still have physics in which we have to work, you know.
We're gonna... transform the back yard into a fairyland or something. You know how people do that for weddings, sometimes. It involves Christmas lights, mostly. It's not difficult, I don't think. I feel confident in my fairyland transforming abilities.
At first I didn't think we were going to buy flowers, but then my cousin said she wanted to buy them for us, and now I'm thinking of many ways in which flowers will be called into service. See? It's a tumor. Weddings grow faster than rabbits.
That's all. Back to work! Happy spring.
Oh, one last thing, just to annoy my kids....
My kids didn't know that Ozzy Osborne was the lead singer of Black Sabbath. Really, now that I think about it, how would they have known?
They found out the other day because they wanted me to look for MP3s of Black Sabbath songs, and I searched for Ozzy's name. And the kids were like "No, Mom...." and then I told them, and then they were like "What? Oh. But.... I thought he was just a guy on TV." And I was like "That's why that World of Warcraft commercial shows him as the Prince of Darkness. Right? Get it?" and they were like "Oh-h-h-h...." and I saw their minds reconfigure around the world.
They're also learning which musicians are dead from ODs and which are dead from suicide, and which were ever called "the best [guitarist or drummer] in the world" and which dabbled in black magic or were rumored to have done so. That's important history, I think. Kids should know these things. Don't you agree? 5:34 AM # (6) comments
Monday, April 13, 2009Stuck Inside a Starbucks with the Colored Pencil Blues
If a copyeditor was copyediting this blog entry, she'd probably read that title and then attach a little Post-It that said, "Did you mean 'blue colored pencil'? Please clarify." You know why? Because I'm old, and therefore all my references are
It's a Bob Dylan reference, people.
It's a Douglas Adams reference, people.
It's a Road Warrior reference, people.
It's an Eddie Murphy 1980s stand-up routine reference, people.
What if I say it's a Rock Band reference? From the video game? That one song you have to download for $1.99, that no one downloads or else no one plays because it goes on and on and on and it's hard to stick the vocal notes and the guitar is too, too repetitive?
Don't mind me. I'm just old. Someone else who's old is shaking his head, saying, "But those aren't even reference-worthy pop culture relics, Gwen."
That was going to be a story about going through a lot of trouble to arrange some time alone to go over my latest manuscript's copy edits... going through trouble to find a suitable coffee shop in which to do that in before settling on a Starbucks that wasn't even mine... stopping on the way for Special Writer Supplies (Tax Deductible)... trying the Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte despite trepidation; finding it rather good; worrying then about its calorie count... and then, after all that, opening my copyedited ms and finding out that I was only supposed to write on it with colored pencil, not with Uniball gel pens or Pilot gel pens or any of the other gel pens I've been buying and intending to write off on my taxes.
Yes, I'm going to post a few pictures. If they come out flattering enough. If I don't have cake crumbs all over my dress. For those who asked. Thanks for caring, you guys. :)
The plans are coming together as well as I could've hoped. Now Dat's parents are making all the food, themselves. They called Dat last week and said, "You know we're coming to the wedding, right? We told you that, right?"
Dat said, "Oh, sure. Good."
Dat's dad did that thing that he does... that thing when he cares, but doesn't want to be the cheesy, spoiling parent who shows that he cares. He asked if we were catering, and Dat said we were of course catering Asian food. Dat's dad goes, "Are you getting rice from Lucky Restaurant*?"
We weren't, but before Dat could say that, his dad gets all faux-upset and goes, "Don't get rice from them! Their rice isn't good! Even I could make better rice than them! Don't waste your money! You always waste too much money! Let me just make the rice for you!"
Dat said, "Okay, Dad."
Then his dad was like, "What else are you ordering from Lucky Restaurant*? Don't order egg rolls. Their egg rolls aren't good. Stop wasting money. Your mother's going to have to make the egg rolls for you. No, don't argue with me, son. You've got to stop this habit of wasting money on bad egg rolls, and we're going to teach you that lesson by making the egg rolls and the rice, and whatever else you were planning on getting from Lucky Restaurant* for your wedding. Also, I should probably make my special lobster noodles, because you're such a bad, spoiled, money-wasting son."
Dat said, "Thank you, Dad. Gwen loves your special lobster noodles."
Dat's dad went, "Hrmph. Well. I'm just trying to save you from wasting money, eating bad food, and throwing your life away."
His dad's routine would have had more striking effect if Dat's mom hadn't been in the background all along, calling excitedly, "Tell him I'm gonna make my coconut cake! Tell him! Have you told him yet?"
I know y'all realize that this is good news to me. But do you realize why? Because Dat's parents are retired restaurant owners (of course), and they can cook like no tomorrow.
* I'm using a pseudonym for the restaurant because their food isn't bad. It's good, and the owners are super nice. But you understand that Dat's dad had to pretend their food was bad in order to offer his gift without looking like he was fishing for gratitude.
still talking about the wedding
I found my dress, finally. It was at Talbot's, waiting for me all spring.
I would link y'all to a picture of it, but I don't want to because the catalog picture on their web site looks absolutely nothing like the dress does in real life. See, it's one of those MadMen-inspired fit-and-flare numbers, but they put it on a typically slender model, so the skirt is all sadly pleated around her hips, instead of flowing outward like it's supposed to be. Also, that dress was made for a big ol' chest, and the model doesn't suffer from one. So you can't see the dress's potential, so there's no use linking.
But I will tell y'all that it's white with peach flowers and green leaves. You have to imagine the peach flowers, obviously.
I will also tell y'all that, while I was there, I tried on a similar dress with blue roses, and it was super, duper cute, but not garden-party enough for my idea of the wedding dress. So I put it back on the rack. Then I went to the web site and saw that Talbots hadn't done that dress photographic justice, either. Then, later, I saw a picture of Michelle Obama wearing that dress. And I'm a little annoyed with her, because I saw it first. But that's okay. It looked nice on her, too. Not as nice as it looked on me, but.... No, just kidding. Just kidding, Mrs. Obama.
you would think I'd never had a wedding before or something
We found a cake lady right near my neighborhood, and she made us sample cupcakes and they tasted nice.
We found a beautiful yet suitably informal design for our invitation, and my brother-in-law-to-be is printing them up for us. (Not my dentist b-i-l... the printer one.)
It's past eleven p.m.!
It's time for me to go to sleep so I can wake up and go back to work tomorrow.
No sighing. No whining. No asking for extra glasses of water, Gwen. Just go to bed.
More later, then. Always more later. Good night. 10:34 PM # (14) comments
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Since my fiance and I started carpooling to work, I pushed my 8-hour work day back an hour, so that it now coincides with the busiest part of the morning commute, and also with our HOV lane’s 3 Rider Rule. For a certain portion of the morning, you have to have 3 people in the vehicle in order to get into the High Occupancy Vehicle lane. Therefore, even though we’re carpooling, we still have to pick up a stranger from the Slug Line each morning in order to make it to work in less than 90 minutes.
The Slug Line forms at the park ‘n’ ride bus stop. The bus at that stop goes into downtown on Smith Street. It goes all the way down Smith, then turns around and comes back to the park ‘n’ ride. The Slug Line is formed by people who don’t want to ride the bus – who stand in line and wait for drivers who need extra riders to meet the HOV requirements. See how it works? See the mutually beneficial symbiotic parasite relationship that’s sprung up?
We don’t work downtown. We work near downtown. So we pick up a stranger, haul them downtown, then turn around and hurry back out west, to our workplace in Houston’s beautiful Montrose.
If we drop off our passenger on Smith Street, we can easily make it to our workplace in time to enjoy breakfast at its cafeteria. If, however, we drop off our passenger anywhere past Smith, we fall into a time warp whereby each red light adds an exponential amount of minutes to our drive, and then we get to work late and can’t eat breakfast, and then we’re hungry, cranky, and sad. You see? Every minute counts on this morning commute, for us.
Some slug line drivers will take riders wherever they want to go downtown. I used to do that, before I started carpooling with my fiance. But some drivers don’t. Some drivers say “Bus route only.” Smith Street only, they mean. So we decided to start doing that, too. Before a rider gets into our car, we roll down the window and say, “We’re only going down Smith.”
Before I say anything else, let me say that this is America, and I was born here, and I believe that we all have the unalienable right to pursue happiness. If it makes you happy to wait in line at the bus stop for a free ride that’s going to take you directly to your place of work, like a hired chaffeur, that’s totally cool with me. I support your right to do that. Rock on.
You should, in turn, support my right to offer strangers rides to Smith Street only. Or to Milam only. Or to the Sam Houston Tollway, or to the moon, or to whatever point I choose. If you don’t want to accept a free ride from me, that’s fine. But don’t argue with me about it. When I say, “We’re going down Smith only,” don’t stand there and say, “I’m just going a few blocks away, to Fannin and Dallas. Why can’t you go to Fannin? It’s only going to take you a few minutes longer. Where are you trying to go?”
It’s none of your business where I’m “trying to go,” or why I might need the few minutes that dropping you off on Smith would save me. Step away from my car so that the next person in line can get into it. Wait for the next driver to come along, and see if she wants to play chaffeur.
When I very politely tell you, before you get into my car, “We’re doing the bus route only,” don’t stand there in the way and tell me, “What? Why? I don’t see what difference it makes.”
Yes, that’s right. You don’t see what difference it makes. And I don’t have to explain it to you. Just like I don’t see what difference it makes if I drop you off on Smith and you have to walk a block or two, the way you’d be obligated to do if you were riding the bus. I don’t think walking a block or two is going to kill you. And I wonder, if you can’t walk a block or two, why you don’t drive yourself to work, instead of putting yourself at the mercy of strangers on a daily basis. But I wouldn’t block traffic to tell you that, and I wouldn’t ask you to explain it to me. Especially when there’s a whole line of people behind you who understand the social contract of the slug line and who exhibit manners and common decency.
Most people in the slug line are perfectly polite. But some of them are so bizarrely entitled and rude. It would be funny to me, if it weren’t so early in the morning.
I don’t want to go on and on about bad behavior on the carpool. (Well, I do, but I won’t.) I’ll just say that, if you get into my car and I turn the air conditioning too high, it’s probably in a vain attempt to blow your cologne cloud out of my face.
Also: If you’re a blonde woman who lost a pair of glasses two months ago, or if you’re someone else who lost a pink mitten three months ago, email me. You might have left them in our car.
Weddings are like tumors.
Because they grow, you see. No matter how small you think you can keep it, it grows. But this one’s a benign tumor, so far, and I believe we’re strong enough to keep it that way.
We realized that Harris County doesn’t do real courthouse weddings. You pay for the judge’s or JP’s time, and it costs the same whether y’all meet at the courthouse or he drives to the location of your choosing. So we’re having Judge Yeoman come out to the house in the evening, right before our
The cake-and-champagne has become a dinner. Dat looked it up in his list of Cultural Heritage Statutes and realized that he’d been contractually obligated, at birth, to serve catered fried rice at any wedding in which he might eventually become entangled. So we’re doing that. (I love Asian parties because, along with the fried rice and egg rolls, they always have goi, which is vinegar-y salad with shrimp and peanuts. So we’re having that, too, of course.)
I’m relieved, because I felt a little uncomfortable about having a party and not serving a meal (Chicano Cultural Statute, Clause 57.03), and I was already planning to sneak in a brisket (Clause 57.92) next to the wedding cake… and now I can put the brisket on a nice plate, right next to the fried rice, and it’ll be beautiful.
You can’t have a dinner without extra seating, and you can’t have extra seating without building a gazebo in the back yard, and you can’t build back yard structures with remodeling the bathroom, first, and you can’t go through the trouble of remodeling if you aren’t going to wear a nicer dress than you’d initially planned. So you may as well have a photographer or three, and printed invitations.
And you can’t have relatives without opinions, and they can’t show up empty handed. So someone’s bringing flowers, and someone’s bringing lights to string through the trees, and someone’s bringing special crunk champagne flutes with our initials engraved in emeralds or something. And (more than one) someone has volunteered to do our family planning for us and tell us when we should have babies, and how many babies we should have, and what they should look like, and what we should name them. But that comes later… we told them to wait to the day after the wedding for that, if possible.
And… let me say right here, right now that I’m sorry that we can’t invite everyone we know. We wish we could, but we can’t. This was supposed to be a quick courthouse wedding because we couldn’t justify the expense of a lavish 300-guest fantasy wedding. But weddings are like tumors, so it’s gone from a practical elopement to a tiny version – a 1/10 scale model – of a real wedding. But our house is pretty small, as is our budget… so please understand that, and don’t be upset if you haven’t been invited. It wasn’t because we didn’t wish we could see you there. We wanted to invite you, but we had to invite our immediate family, first. We wanted to invite everyone we know, but there was literally no room.
Now, between books (assuming I write another book soon), I’m going through a mid-life assessment. Trying to assess where I am and decide where I want to go.
Every time I’m between books, I think up a lot of crazy ideas. But now that I’m in my mid-40s (i.e., 37), the crazy ideas seem not only more plausible, but almost obligatory. Like: “Do I want to spend the rest of my life [x thing]? No.” Like, “If I have to spend the rest of my life [x thing], shouldn’t I at least [y and z things]? Yes.”
I’m sure y’all know what I mean. Don’t you go through the same phases? Aren’t we all getting older, but also smarter and more efficient and better at making ourselves happy?
Hope so. 6:07 AM # (8) 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
Thursday, December 04, 2008Now I have time to be stressed out.
I haven’t written here lately because I’ve been under some stress, and I never feel like talking on the blog (or to anyone) when I’m under stress. But now it’s all over, thank goshfully.
If I were in an airplane crash (God forbid; knock on wood), I already know exactly how I’d react. Cool and alert as hell, I’d put the oxygen mask on my face then put masks on everyone else. I’d pull out the floatation device seats, hand them out, calculate the distance, count it off “3, 2, 1, inhale!” and then swim everybody to safety. Then I’d go back for the more valuable plane cargo. Then I’d help with the rescue/recovery. Then I’d clearly and cogently debrief to the authorities.
Then, I’d go home, where I’m safe. Then, I’d go to the bathroom and throw up. I’d climb into bed, trembling, and cry. I’d cry for two hours, probably. Then I’d fall asleep and have a nightmare or two. Then I’d wake up and be ready to start a new day.
I’m guessing I’d do all this because that’s how I usually react in less major catastrophes. Except that I rarely throw up afterwards – it’s more like momentary nausea and retching.
Last week I finished my second novel and turned it in the night before deadline. (Extended deadline, actually, but that’s okay.) Also, last week, I had extreme Family Court drama that magically resolved itself on the same day that I turned in my novel.
And now I feel… relieved, right?
No! I feel stressed! I feel all knotted up and uptight and downtrodden. I feel crazy and unsafe. I feel scared.
I’ll probably try to cry a little bit tonight, before I go to sleep. But there’s hardly any time. I have a lot of stuff to move on to. I think I’ll just move on, instead, then. Sometimes I find that stress is the best distraction from my stress recovery. :)
(This is what you call Type A personality. This is what it takes for me to succeed. Don't feel sorry for me. Be happy for me that I'm this crazy, because the sickness is what makes the dreams come true.)
shout out to Carl Jung
Do you ever have a recurring bad situation that makes you question your existence and your karma and all that? And you think “Why does this keep happening to me?” because you believe everything happens for a reason, but you can’t think of one single reason for this crappy stuff to keep happening to you over and over again?
And then, finally, you find the one silver lining in the crappy thing, or you realize the one lesson it’s taught you?
And then, the moment you have that realization, the crappy thing stops happening?
Yeah. That’s happened to me a few times. It happened just the other day, in fact. And I’m very, very relieved that the crappy stuff seems to be over.
Thanks, Carl Jung!
I’m excited about this weekend. Here’s what I plan to do:
- Go see that movie Milk
- Go to the Turkish restaurant with the super fabulous dolmas that are not called dolmas in Turkish
- Start shopping for xmas presents for my brats, since they’ll be at their dad’s house and therefore unable to see what I’m buying them
- Go to an Indian restaurant in my neighborhood that a real live Indian person from my neighborhood said was good. (I totally, gauchely but desperately, hit up an Indian stranger during a carpool ride. I was like, “I’m sorry to be rude, but are you Indian?” He was like, “Um… yes.” I was like, “Can you please tell me if there are any good Indian restaurants in our neighborhood, because the only one I’ve found isn’t very good.” And he was like, “Oh! Yeah, sure.” And then he told me where two of them are. Thank gosh, because I was starting to have the Butter Chicken DTs and I can’t be driving all the way instead 610 for treatment all the time.)
Despite my irrational feelings of discomfort, which are probably only Seasonal Affective Dysfunction, anyway, things are pretty awesome.
Even the carpooling has been awesome, lately. I’ve been talking with a lot of nice/cool/smart people, and that restores my faith in humanity and makes me happy to be alive. The other day I met a geologist who seemed like a really decent person. Another day I met a guy who’s sort of obsessed with ballroom dancing and he told me a lot of fascinating stuff about that scene. I met a Republican precinct judge’s wife and a former Democrat activist precinct judge on the same ride, and that was a good chat.
I continually meet legal secretaries who have hilarious or shocking stories to tell. I often talk with older peeps who have insightful viewpoints on local issues. Sometimes the people are witty and we laugh, and that’s good, to laugh with strangers.
Today a transplanted Floridian and I gave a woman advice on what to buy her grandkids for Christmas, and I felt like we did some serious good. Usually, if I’m driving, I just drive in silence. Especially with men, who don’t care if you talk or not. Also, I like to concentrate super hard on my driving, so that everyone is comfortable. I’m currently obsessed with learning to brake my van as smoothly as possible, because my van has annoyingly tough brakes. Sometimes, though, I’ll get yakky with people and talk away the miles. Either way, it’s good. I don’t mind my commute anymore, now that I’m doing the HOV all the time. Even when I’m not talking to people, there’s always a lot to see out the window. I love my city, despite its flaws, so it’s good.
Some of you might consider this big news.
My boyfriend (fiancé) is moving in with us. I feel like I already told y’all that, or like most people reading this assume he lives with me, anyway. But...
(saying this next part knowing, and knowing that you know, and knowing that you know that I know, that plans like this are likely to change and shift and grow)
we’re thinking about eloping now. Or just going to the courthouse or whatever.
See, we’ve never been as worried about the wedding as we were about the marriage, and particularly about the physical love nest. So we set a long engagement, and kind of set the timeline around the housing market. Because we didn’t feel we could be married until we’d secured a house in a certain area. And that’s not feasible until at least two years from now. So, while we were in deep talks about that, people around us were asking about the wedding. And we’d be like, “Um… two years from now… string quartet, samba band, and DJ.”
But now, the stars have aligned such that it makes more sense for us to live together in my house. And, now that that’s happening, we’re like, “Wait, why do we need a wedding, again?”
It’s kind of like: living together was the final step, so why do we need an expensive middle step? You know?
It’s kind of like: why spend on a wedding, money that would be better spent on, say, a trip to Europe? Where we could hire an Italian homeless person to pose as a priest for a few photos to send back home? You know?
So, that’s where it’s at right now. In case anyone’s interested in that aspect of this eleven-year-long narrative. Plans subject to change, of course. Subject to Pricing, Funds, and Comp. Everything on Earth is subject to change, right? Even rocks, albeit very slowly.
(Every time I write “soon” for a subtitle, I think of the My Bloody Valentine song of the same name. Do you?)
Pretty soon, I’m going to announce dates/times/locations for readings for my novel, Houston, We Have a Problema, which is coming out January 9th.
I’ll go ahead and tell y’all right now that there aren’t going to be many physical readings. I feel guilty about this, because every time someone’s asked me in the past, I’ve been all glib, “East Chickenfoot, Arkansas? Yeah, sure, I’ll do a reading there in January or February.” But it’s not actually like that. My publicist peeps have done the math, and they think online and media efforts sell more books than physical readings around the country.
So… if you’re a book blogger or media peep who wants to review my book or interview me or otherwise be involved in some way when this book comes out, now is the time to tell me, so I can put you on the list or put you on the calendar. Actually, tell me also if you’re hosting any literary events or own a bookstore and would like to have me visit. I’m not supposed to invest a lot of time/energy/$ in readings out of state, but I am going to do a few, even if it’s only for the excuse to travel around a little and write it off on my taxes. :)
So, yeah. Contact me now. Our operators are waiting to take your call. Buy my product. Get a giant one for her pleasure and doesn’t leave you. All systems go. See you soon. And thanks.
Gwen 6:08 PM # (13) comments
Sunday, October 26, 2008soon
I never write, I never call. Soon, though. Almost finished being busy here. Literally, I don't know how I get everything done.
Last night I dreamed Matt Damon and I ran into each other and got to talking and catching up on what was happening with our mutual friends. In the course of our conversation, we admitted to each other that we'd always had crushes on each other. No, not crushes... we were in love.
I made out with Matt Damon. We told each other in great detail how and when and why we each knew we'd fallen in love with the other. Then we realized that each of us was currently unmarried.
"Note to self," I thought, "Break up with my fiance next time I see him." Because, as much as I loved my fiance, I knew that I had to take the once-in-a-lifetime chance to find the ultimate romantic happiness with Matt Damon, who was so obviously, probably my soulmate.
Matt Damon and I made out. I decided I'd tell my fiance we should take a break from our relationship for a month, to make sure we wanted to get married for absolute certain. During that month, I told myself, I would date Matt Damon. I decided not to divulge that part of the plan to my fiance, as it would only hurt him. Also, that way, if it turned out that Matt Damon and I were not really soulmates, I could just get back with my fiance and move forward.
I thought my plan over and could see no problems with it. Matt Damon stepped away to speak to a mutual friend. I rode a very long swing that was hanging from the sky. I swung in great circles and picked a giant almond from a tree in an orchard full of giant-almond trees being tended by Miss Carmen Abrego.
I swung back to the park and Matt Damon was waiting for me. We kissed. Then, my fiance appeared at my side. "Oops," I thought.
When I Woke Up
I realized how silly the whole thing was. Because, in reality, my fiance loves me very much, and I love him. So I know that, if Matt Damon were to come to me and tell me he'd always loved me, I could totally go to my fiance and say, "Baby, Matt Damon says he loves me. Can you and I break up for a month so I can see what's up with that?"
And I know he'd say, "Sure, baby. I know you really like Matt Damon, and I wouldn't want you to miss out on that chance."
Also, Matt Damon is married to someone who seems really nice. So, the whole point is moot.
I'm getting older.
And I'm not sad about it. It's not a bad thing, to lose patience for immature people. The best thing is that you can walk away from them without worrying that they'll stop liking you, or that they'll call you old or stuck-up or boring. You won't care about petty shit like that anymore. It's really kind of awesome, the not caring and the walking away.
This blog entry's gonna kind of suck because I have no time to write it. No time to craft. But y'all know why and y'all know that it doesn't diminish the undying distant affection that I feel for each of you. Y'all feel that great impersonal artist-to-viewer love and want to reciprocate it in terms of book sales. Don't you? Don't you? Doncha just wanna, and make it all real to me? Give me the excuse to have been doing this for so long? Create my pay-off? Give me the royal nod? Vote with your dollars? Pay my commission?
Sure. Love y'all for doing so. Y'all are the bestest.
Halloween is over for us
because we had our party last night. Next is Thanksgiving, which I'm hosting this year, so I'll have to get pretty obsessive and then OCD about every aspect of that. Then comes Christmas, which we aren't really celebrating since it's the year for the kids to spend it at their dad's. And, weirdly, although you'd think I'd mind and I would've agreed with you a year ago, I now kind of look forward to the non-Christmas years just like sophisticated people always do in short-story collections.
You know -- in award-winning short stories, people are always travelling in other countries on Christmas day and feeling only slightly melancholy, but still experiencing meaningful things that have some parallel or counterpoint to some aspect of the narrator's previous Christmas experience. And the story ends on something poignantly tragic or quirkily literarily beautiful.
So it'll be like that for me this year, except that instead of a non-American country, I'll be in a dim sum restaurant. And, in addition to all the drama and angst and metamorphosis that always takes place in my head (and is painstakingly detailed there, and then recreated later on the phone with someone, late at night), I'll have a culinary adventure, as well. Doubtless. Probably in the form of a dessert -- a new-to-me formation of red beans and dough.
And it will be magical. The stuff Nobel Prizes are made of.
P.S.: If there were any particular excuse for me to leave my fiance for Matt Damon, it would be because my fiance keeps trying to pretend that he doesn't know what American Thanksgiving food is. He keeps talking about brocolli rice casserole, and I keep getting mad to the point of tears while describing acorn squash and sweet potatoes. "Orange not green!" I cry. "THE COLORS OF FALL!"
I say we "keep" doing this and by that I mean once per year. We already had that talk this year, so it's out of the way and we can move forward. He promised to try. I promised to try to show him. (I show him the recipes, and he cooks them.) That's what being engaged means. It means a compromise. Before the compromise comes, it means making a concerted effort to figure out each other's personal traumas and mental scars. His is autumn foods for Thanksgiving, which he knows all about and only pretends not to know about even though he's been in this country since he was two. Mine is autumn foods for Thanksgiving, which I know all about because I obsess about it every year that my family cooks beans and rice instead.
Being engaged also means
calling each other fiance and fiancee instead of boyfriend and girlfriend. I know that now, because everyone keeps telling me. "Did you just say 'my boyfriend'? I thought you guys were engaged. Are you engaged or not? Isn't that an engagement ring you're wearing? Do you wish you weren't engaged? Have you called off the engagement?"
No, Mr. Damon, we haven't. The engagement is still on. But, like I told y'all, it's a long engagement. And the problem is, I can't say the word fiance without feeling like Sigourney Weaver in that episode of Seinfeld where she keeps saying fiance and Elaine says, "Maybe the dingo ate your baby."
I know what people are worried about. They're worried they're going to get cheated out of a wedding. Particularly a wedding that Tad and I have slaved and OCD'ed over, which means that it'll be the best wedding anyone's likely to see in their lifetimes in this town.
Don't worry, people. We're still engaged, and we're already obsessing over the wedding in our spare time.
Okay, that's all.
I was looking for a clip of the dingo quote for y'all, but couldn't find it. Sorry.
I'm thinking about getting a new car, by the way. Maybe two weekends from now. Send me New Car Financing vibes if you want. Or, better yet, just preorder my book.
(Impersonal, Distant, Nonetheless Heartfelt Love,)
Gwen 5:36 PM # (9) 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
Tuesday, January 15, 2008Linkelodeon
Tom Cruise promotes Scientology in a scary way, in a video that is apparently exclusive to Gawker right now. (Remind me to post later about my varied experiences with cult members.)
I didn't want to let this happen again, but I'm addicted to American Gladiators. And so are my kids. After only two episodes, too. My favorite Gladiatrix so far is Crush, because she has awesome hair.
Pretty Indian wedding dresses! If I were to wear one for my own wedding, it'd be this one. Not that I'm trying to appopriate anyone's culture. I'm just saying -- I want a fancy pink dress, and that's the best one I've seen so far.
I know this chick who took a class on lampworking, and then started her own little side business making and selling glass beads. She's doing really well at it, and I've been meaning to tell y'all that I admire her. She thought up an idea, then just went for it. You know?
My favorite site that I can't read. 6:05 PM # (11) comments