Wednesday, July 29, 2009

please spay or neuter

...your children.


Especially if your bratty kid is going to bite my kid and leave a huge, bruised welt.

Especially if your bratty kid does this a lot.

Especially if you're going to offer me a lollipop afterwards instead of disciplining your child.

What on earth is the world coming to?


She looked like such a sweet little kid, and then the Biscuit was running to me in tears.

She keeps asking me why someone would bite her, and all I can think of to say is, "Because she's smaller than you and probably doesn't understand what to do when she's angry. She doesn't know any better."

But what I want to say is, "Because her parents totally spoil her and she's desperate for attention and she never gets punished for biting because her mom is too busy playing on the computer."

How do you explain that some people are just bad eggs?

Like today, when we watched an old lady come within 8 inches of hitting a guy in a crosswalk after she ran a stop sign. She slammed on her brakes and threw her hands up in the air as if to say, "How dare you exercise your legal right to walk in the part of the parking lot specifically designed for walkers! I don't have time to stop at this stop sign and allow you to perambulate!"

I guess old ladies are already spayed, though, so no worries there.

Unless, like, you've got a time machine.

Sorry to rant again, people, but I just can't believe that my kid has tooth marks in her shoulder.

I know she's totally NOM-able, but that takes it to a whole new level.

Reason #4892 that I love t.rex: No teeth yet.

Monday, July 27, 2009

unruly soapbox: don't ask.


So today at Walgreen's, the cashier said to me,

"I'm trying to sell M&M's this month. Will you help me out?"

"No, thank you," I said, with that certain fake/polite smile that I reserve for people trying to sell me things that I don't want.

"You won't help me out?" he tried again in a high, wheedling voice.

And I almost told him exactly why I wasn't going to help him out and where he could shove his M&M's, but I know perfectly well that there's no point in fighting losing battles, and that he's being forced into it, anyway.

He probably hates having to sell M&M's for $7 an hour, and his manager probably hates forcing him to sell M&M's for $12 an hour, and Walgreens probably makes loads of extra cash by forcing them all to sell M&M's, and the CEO of Walgreens probably rolls around nekkid in a king-sized bed full of fifty-dollar-bills and M&M's, laughing maniacally at the fruition of his evil M&M plan.

I simply hate being the victim of salesmanship. I don't know if it's the fact that I was raised to dislike folks who ask for things or seem greedy, or if it's because I've read enough on the psychology of persuasion to see through the tricks and find them tiresome. But I almost never respond favorably to any sort of solicitation.

The exception? Girl Scout Cookies.

Hear that, Scouts? You're always welcome here. That "No Soliciting" sign on the front door? Don't worry your pretty little green vest.

But I will purposefully avoid stores where people stand out front, trying to get my money. When I see the bell ringers at Christmas, I use another door. When they ask me to contribute to a cause by writing my name on a shoe or a leprechaun's hat for a dollar, I'm out. I just really, really hate the way that stores use their cashiers to ask for money. That i'm forced to listen to solicitations on my personal time. It makes me uncomfortable. I'm not there to donate; I'm there to shop. If the store wants to donate some of that money to a cause, that's their business.

Thinking about it on the way home, I have to admit that it's a pretty dastardly script at Walgreens. He never actually said that the money was for any certain purpose, but it comes across as a personal plea, affects the listener on the gut level. He needs us to help him out. The wording subtly implies that the store or a cause needs help, too, and I imagine that plenty of people automatically substitute the words "for a cause" right after "I'm trying to sell M&M's".

I bet you that everyone who says "yes" feels like they did a good deed, when all they really did was give more money to the Mars Company and the Walgreens store and allow that cashier to put a tick mark next to his name on the bulletin board for "Most M&M's Sold Gets A Free Visit to Cici's Pizza" in the break room.

I'm not saying that philanthropy is a bad thing. My point is that it shouldn't be forced, wheedled, cajoled, sold, or cheapened by psychological tricks.

p.s. I hit page 100 of my book today. 36,500 words. I think it's cupcake time.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

d von kat


With a synchronicity I've come to expect, my week included both my introduction to LA Ink/Kat Von D *and* my first experience with henna.

I think that I could have been a slightly pudgier version of Kat in another life. If I had had something to rebel against or if my father had been a little less conservative, maybe. As it is, my three tattoos are small and hidden. But sometimes I dream of making my skin a canvas, learning to sling ink, and generally looking like a rock star/elf queen most of the time.

Maybe that's why henna appeals so much. You get to draw and make intricate, interesting masterpieces, but they're temporary, so it's not the end of the world if you mess up. I like the idea of art with an egg timer, an ephemeral sort of genius.

I did a mandela on my friend Christine's belly, and then she gave me the leftover henna to enjoy. I did my left hand as shown above, and then this morning, I did my feet.


Following my dream about tattooing/dancing with/ baking with Brian Setzer, it all just fit together like one simply elegant Care Bears puzzle from the Dollar Store.

Okay, maybe not a Care Bears puzzle, which I happen to be regarding with a lazy eyebrow on my coffee table. But definitely a simply elegant puzzle of some sort.

Maybe one of those ones old ladies do that include 890 pieces of clear blue sky.

Friday, July 24, 2009

thanks, hope scholarship

My friend Carrie at Bright Shop wants to collaborate on some shirts, so I was very excited to get my new drawing tablet.

Sadly, I kinda suck.

Here's my 4th try at drawing a dragon:

I think I'll go back to using the circle tool, Stroke, and erase.

Back to writing, which, I have to say, is a lot like being pregnant. I feel busy all the time, I don't get enough sleep, and it sucks the creativity and interestingness right out of me.

At least I can still draw ugly pandas, right?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

OMGWTFBBQALICE!

Here is what I look like when I eat my own eyebrows with anticipation.



2010 has never seemed so far away.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

picspam plus


I'm caught in a marvelous but frustrating landing pattern where there are simply not enough hours in the day. Boychild wakes me up too early, sacrosanct morning, babynap, writing, toddler activity, luncheon, babynap, writing, toddler activity, supper, bedtime, editing, writing, trying desperately to watch Clash of the Titans with Dr. Krog, go to bed too late.

Whew.

So I thought that instead of using my time in Photoshop, I'd just show you the pictures, make pithy comments, and get back to page 60 of my novel.


Girlchild triumphs over panda bear.



Girlchild triumphs over somewhat skinny elephant.



Girlchild triumphs over unruly spigot.




Girlchild triumphs over modern art. Mondrian meets Louise Nevelson?



Boychild triumphs over gravity and his great-grandmother's sensibilities.

"He's too young to do that!" she says.

Like I can stop him, the little jerk.

And, yes, I triumph over my lifelong mental roadblocks by reaching page 60 of my book. The book I've been meaning to write since I turned 4. I wasn't going to tell anybody until I hit page 100 and it started to feel "real", but it feels quite real enough, and I need the excuse for my lack of blogging and social discourse.

Please. Never ask me in public about my "novel". And don't ask me what it's about. I'm very shy. And I'll just stick my tongue out at you.

Seriously.

Monday, July 20, 2009

me and chef kool kat

I had a dream last night that I was invited to be on a reality show.

It was called LA Ink You Can Dance in the Food Network Challenge.

I was paired with Brian Setzer.

We had to dance a tango, then bake a wedding cake, then do matching tattoos on each other simultaneously.

It was a really tough show.

Sadly, before we could finish our rockabilly tattoos, which were of dice (on him) and cherries (on me) and find out our scores, I was awakened by an angry baby and found that we were both sleeping in a huge puddle of tink, thanks to cheap diapers and improperly positioned baby anatomy.

I will always wonder if we could have won.

The prize was a new maroon Oldsmobile that was pimped out with a swimming pool in the trunk and those Spartacus deathspikes on the wheels.

And that, my friends, is what happens when you go to sleep watching Clash of the Titans.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

bamboozled!


Dr. Krog takes such good care of me.

Do you know what he did last week? He bought me this.

And now I can draw all over my sweet baboo with graffiti.

Or go to the trouble of handwriting something that I could type in 8 seconds.



Other really nice things he's done for me lately:

* bought me season 1 of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares so I can actually see an entire episode at some point.

* bought Clash of the Titans, so we can watch it and laugh a lot, but also really love it and be kinda nostalgic

* took me to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which I think was the best HP yet, and which I wish was a 9 hours long

* took the kids out so I could do some work

* took me out for chicken wings when I desperately required chicken wings

* is really nice to me all the time

* took out 1 bag of overflowing garbage, 3 paper bags of recycling, and 3 grocery bags of diapers, and then dragged the big trash can up to the top of the driveway, which he actually hasn't done yet, but he's going to, and I thank him for it.

We're both working on projects, and the house is a wreck, and the laundry is done but not put up, and my last cooking effort was a FAIL, but we're having the best time of our lives.

Dr. Krog, you rock. You krogodile rock. You just freakin' rock, man.

love, d.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

how to purchase perfume oil online


My dear friend charissimo asked how one chooses perfumes online.

After all, if you can't smell it, and the whole point is to smell it, how do you know you even *want* to smell it?

I have been selecting perfume oils online for 6 years now, and I am infinitely more pleased with hand-blended, alcohol-free works of olfactory art than the prepackaged bottles I used to buy at the department store. I like to smell unique, and I like having lots of different choices for different moods, seasons, and events. So I will now share with you my rules for buying perfume online.

1. Quality. Shop only with perfume artisans who know what they're doing and use top-quality oils. Perfumes have top notes, middle notes, and heart notes, and you want to make sure that the artisan knows how to blend scents that are delicious at every stage. You also want a quality base like jojoba or coconut oil. And you want to avoid anyone who offers you a "scent list", because it's probably going to smell like burning plastic ass if you're choosing things like "Drakkar Noir Type" or "green apple".

My four favorites are
www.blackphoenixalchemylab.com,
www.wiggleperfume.etsy.com,
www.villainess.net, and
www.possets.com.

2. Start with samples. All three of the links above offer 1-oz. samples for $1 to $3 dollars each. It's best to start with things that sound good, then pay attention to what works on your skin. If you've never purchased this type of perfume before, just enjoy reading and order about 10 things you think might be pleasant. When you get them, give each one a complete day's wearing so that you can see what all the notes are like and how they work with your chemistry.

You'll be tempted to open and smell them all and wash one off and try another that first day, but don't do it. Give each one time. Unless it's an immediate HELL NO, then wash it off and move on.

3. Take notes. You'll start to get confused by all the names of things you do and don't like. Keep a list or a chart, or at the very least, have one stack for GREAT, one for MEH, and one for HELL, NO. Try to look for similarities. For example, I have learned that almost all foody and green smells are nice on me, but woods and musks are horrid. Red fruits like currant and berry and pomegranate are lovely on me, but banana and apricot and melon are nasty. I cannot under any circumstances wear cedar. That sort of thing.

4. Discuss. BPAL and Possets both have forums where you can review and compare different oils. Wiggle has thousands of feedback entries on their different scents. And at www.bpal.org, you can browse through threads that group the oils into categories and see what people think of all the different vanilla fragrances or oriental oils.

You can also use the Search function at www.blackphoenixalchemylab.com to search for different notes. Type in "sage", "grass", "chocolate", or "oakmoss", and every oil in the catalog with that note pops up with its full description. Handy!

4. Once you have several you like, order larger bottles. I like to always have a green scent, a vanilla/almond scent, and something pink-peppery around. I like to wear pumpkin in the fall, mint in the winter, grass in the spring, and fruits in the summer. I like something sexy and spicy for dates. But I only need one of each, really. And if i'm not sure I want to take the leap yet, I just buy another sample.

5. If you have samples or bottles that don't work for you, you can give them away to friends to share the love or sell them. www.bpal.org has a great Swaps thread where you can buy, sell, or swap any of their scents. Since the turn around time for the Alchemy Lab is a couple of weeks, you can get a quick fix by buying on the forum.

6. Mix carefully. Don't forget that the soap, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, and lotion you use will affect your scent. So if you're crazy for your new vanilla perfume, don't use a pear soap, lavender shampoo, apricot deodorant, and blackberry lotion or you'll smell like trash juice.

If you've got any questions, let me know. It can be a bit of an obsession, really.

But I smell awesome.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the 30 days of shredding

On the first day of shredding, J. Michaels gave to me
A distinct pain in my left knee.
On the second day of shredding, J. Michaels gave to me
Really achy shoulders
And pains in both of my knees.

Etc.

I'm not going to do that to you.

But on the 30th day of shredding, the returns were undeniable. The bones are returning to the surface of my face, and I'm starting to look like the "me" I have in my head. My favorite "skinny" jeans fit and look great. My arms are stronger, so I can hold my moosey baby longer, not that he wants to be held. My legs are totally tight and look better than ever-- I even have that little bulge/dimple above and to the side of the knee that says, "Oooh, muscley!" And I feel great.

July 10 marked my 30th day of doing the Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, and i'm now 5 days into Level 2, which means i'm achy and exhausted all over again.

But there are perks.

First of all, i'm starting to get really lovely muscles under my layer of fat. See?


For another thing, Dr. Krog bet me $100 that I wouldn't shred for 30 days, and he lost.

Suck it, Dr. Krog!

And so I bought the coquelicot necklace by my friend Alicia Istanbul, and it is gorgeous.



Third of all, I had $60 and needed a new pair of shoes, because my summer sandals were giving me a callus reminiscent of the sharp little hooves of Mediterranean goats. So, yes, they're big, cushy, practical moonboots.

But they're blue. That has to count for something.


That left me with $30, so I bought some larger bottles of Nicosia, DuBois, and Sicily from Wiggle Perfume on Etsy, as well as some samples of her other scents. Mmmm... smelly.

I've got $10 left.

Any ideas?

Monday, July 13, 2009

your opinion needed!


Friends, I would like to solicit your opinion. Please help me.

I would like to write a book.

Working on Dr. Krog's project has made me feel intelligent, witty, clever, funny, and just generally useful. I had forgotten how good that felt. And I want MORE. Income would also help.

But I'm not sure what to write. Seriously. No clue.

I have momentum, energy, drive, and talent. And no idea what to do with it.

Thoughts?

I thank you in advance, and I will pay you back somehow. What do you want in return? My famous pumpkin cake? The elusive pictures from my night as a public bellydancer? My most embarrassing story ever?

Let me know on both counts, s'il vous plait.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

my weekness

Allow me to give you a visual rundown of my week.

It was dominated by this guy.



You can't see it, but behind that empty bottle and that attractive forearm, my laptop has been purring nonstop. We've been working hard. For about 4 hours each day this week, Dr. Krog used his evil sorcery to make both children disappear so that I could work on his secret project.

His evil sorcery mostly included trips to the bookstore, McDonald's playground, and gas station. And lots of driving around.

And then there's my next tormentor. He's such a jerk. Seriously.


He decided that he wasn't nearly annoying and dangerous enough crawling around my house.

Instead, at the ripe old age of 7 months, he decided to do this.


And, if that wasn't bad enough, he then proceeded to do this.




That's right, people.

My tiny little baby is pulling up to stand on everything that'll hold still, and even some things that won't, like my very tender achilles tendon or my parents' chorkie. So I spent a good part of my week trying to protect his head from all the things onto which he was falling while simultaneously protecting all the things that he can now reach. Like those Onion books in that picture.

I love it when my photos capture the most trite, banal parts of our life.

And then there's this kid. First she's a princess.


A messy princess wearing my "fancy shoes".

And then she went through a brief period of hula dancing.

And then she decided to become a ballerina/hippie.


Or something. Her daddy helped her choose those hideous purple glitter shoes. I voted for some nice, entertaining Colorforms, but the disco platforms won the day.

Oh, and did I mention that this guy absolutely refuses to leave me alone??


Milk, naps, baths, prunes, diapers, smiles, laughter, attention.

It's TORTURE.

Anyway, that's about it. I had very little "me" time, up until last night's hour-long "interrupt me and I will punish you, but in a bad way" bath. Come to think of it, I could really use another one of those.

Tomorrow: I Shredded For 30 Days And All I Got Was This Awesome Necklace, And These Weird Shoes, and This Totally Rockin' Bod, And Also Some Perfume Oils That Are Currently In The Mail..

I missed you guys!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

halp.

This is my first blog post since Wednesday, which is a new low for me.

But it's not my fault.

It's Dr. Krog.

He's got me chained to the computer, working on his project.

You've seen Misery, right? James Woods and Kathy Bates? The tape on the doors, and the ankle breakage, and the Kathy Bates Is Very Scary?

It's a lot like that.

My kitchen is a wreck. My house is a catastrophe. I haven't shaved my legs in a week. And I just now finished a magazine that I started last Thursday.

But I think i'll be able to sneak in an hour tomorrow to tell-- nay, show!-- you what we've been up to this week.

The secret project?

Nope. He won't let me let that cat out of the bag yet.

But if you know a good publisher and/or literary agent, hook me up, please.

Otherwise, he may never let me go.


Halp.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

behold my massive cop-out

Sorry, guys. I got nothin'. No cute pictures, no funny stories, and apparently all my tales of the past are disgusting and drive away readers and comments like so much Michael Ja... No. Like so much screaming infomercial gu.... Um. Like so much OJ Simpson?

You guys just don't like that stuff.


So here's some random crap, because it's better than the story about how I spilled hot coffee on myself, broke my cookie, and was bitten by a flea at a coffee shop today.

I'll have brains again soon. Pinky swear.

1. Where were you 3 hours ago?
downstairs, shredding, wishing i was already done shredding.
2. Who are you in love with?
dr. krog. he's got really awesome forearms.
3. Have you ever eaten a crayon?
not to my knowledge-- art materials are holy.
4. Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?
i'm 6 feet from my underthingy drawer, 15 feet from my closet, and 8 feet from a 3 year old girl, so yes.
5. When is the last time you went to the mall?
two weeks ago to use the indoor play area. if you mean "went to the mall to actually shop and enjoy myself", we're talking several years. and cinnabon closed, too.
6. Are you wearing socks right now?
nope. who wears socks in georgia in july?
7. Do you have a car worth over $2,000?
yep. but i wish i had a carp worth that much. that would be a really awesome carp.
8. When was the last time you drove out of town?
i can't even remember. how sad is that?
9. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?
i wish! i count the days until harry potter opens, when i can admonish noisy teens and eat popcorn.
10. Are you hot?
definitely. getting hotter every day. physically, metaphysically, and seasonally.
11. What was the last thing you had to drink?
water. tepid, ant-riddled water.
12. What are you wearing right now?
glasses, yoga pants, and a tank top. and a small, blue argyle toddler barrette.
13. Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it?
car wash. we still have water restrictions. and the kids think it's as good as tv.
14. Last food that you ate?
chickfil-A. mmm. i could eat it again right now. or, in cow language, "i kud eet itt ugin riit nowz".
15. Where were you last week at this time?
probably at home. we're pretty boring around bedtime.
16. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?
i bought a necklace on etsy as my personal reward for getting below 150 pounds. i'm down to 147. if i ever hit 130, i think dr. krog has to buy me a horse.
17. When is the last time you ran?
ha ha ha ha ha.
18. What's the last sporting event you watched?
the kids' grapple-a-thon that dr. krog refereed a few months ago. nothing like watching kids push eachother around.
19. What is your favorite animal?
horses for reality. armadillos for funsies.
20. Your dream vacation?
clear blue water, snorkeling, diving, horseback riding, gourmet dinner every night. no kids. obviously.
21. Last person's house you were in?
my parents' house for my mom's 60th birthday. happy birthday, nina!
22. Worst injury you've ever had?
the broken nose was the bloodiest and required surgery. also my mom's fault.
23. Have you been in love?
only for 11 years or so.
24. Do you miss anyone right now?
dr. krog. and he took my car, too, so i miss that.
25. Last play you saw?
i stage managed macbeth in 2000. and saw cats last year, but that's more of a spectacle than a play.
26. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
brains + humor + boobs.
27. What are your plans for tonight?
convince the children to sleep, have a glass of wine, and collapse.
28. Who is the last person you sent a MySpace message or comment?
someone in 2006? srsly, who uses myspace?
29. Next trip you are going to take?
i plan a visit to funkytown soon.
30. Ever go to camp?
loads of day camps and art camps. one sleepaway camp that was desperately disappointing. it was nothing like meatballs!
31. Were you an honor roll student in school?
yep. i was the high school valedictorian. lot of good that did me, eh?
32. What do you want to know about the future?
when will air conditioning be free?
33. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?
Nicosia by Wiggle Perfume on etsy.com. lovely, light pink pepper.
34. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit?
of course. they need more blood.
35. Where is your best friend?
choking people and teaching children to choke people.
36. How is your best friend?
um... chokey?
37. Do you have a tan?
i have a naturally sort of olive tint, but i haven't been in the sun this year. dr. krog's kids are half albino.
38. What are you listening to right now?
robot puppets singing about du lac on shrek.
39. Do you collect anything?
i used to collect interesting versions of alice in wonderland. and i enjoy strange marbles. and also blog followers.
40. Who is the biggest gossiper you know?
if i knew someone who was gossipy, and i told the world on my blog, then wouldn't i be the gossipiest gossiper that ever gossiped?
41. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?
2001. driving too happily up a country road after a great trail ride.
42. Have you ever drank your soda from a straw?
not often. i hear it makes little lip wrinkles. plus, i like to look tough, and you can't look tough sipping through a straw.
43. What does your last text message say?
BFF 2GOOD2B4GOTTEN GLTS HAGS!!! or maybe that's my 5th grade yearbook.
44. Do you like hot sauce?
on thai and indian food. not as a condiment. great-- now i'm craving chicken wings.
45. Last time you took a shower?
9:30 this morning. but i'm using non-AL deodorant lately, so i have a bit of a stanky fug about me.
46. Do you need to do laundry?
always. always. but i don't wanna.
47. What is your heritage?
mutt. boring white folks, native americans, etc.
48. Are you someone's best friend?
dr. krog. and t.rex thinks of me as a sort of giant cheeseburger/electric blanket/buddy.
49. Are you rich?
rich in friendship. and family. and tomfoolery.
50. What were you doing at 12AM last night?
trying to convince dr. krog to let me watch more serenity instead of turning on dr. katz and giving me ray romano dreams.

Monday, July 6, 2009

the most beautiful thing in the world

Why can't I go to Belgium, you ask?

Because i'm too embarrassed. It's not like they have WANTED posters of me at age 17 plastered on their post office walls, my heavily-eyebrowed face surprised and mortified.

But I was firmly escorted out of the Brussels airport.

*

I had my first plane ride when I was 16 on a 3-seater Cessna owned by my mom's boss. There were 4 of us in the little dangerbox, and I whooped and laughed at the turbulence and even got to hold the joystick for about 20 seconds. They do call it a 'joystick' when you're controlling a tiny plane and holding the lives of 3 other people in your hands, right?

My next plane ride was to France, a slightly larger plane with better drink service and less turbulence. After that trip, I decided to go to Italy with a high school exchange program. Since we were trading students with an exclusively French school in Milan, I was excited to be able to visit a new country while speaking my high-school-fluent French. The fools carried about 20 alcohol-hungry, hormonally-raging teenagers over to Milan for a whirlwind trip around Italy and a week with host families.

I was never popular here in America, although I did eventually find my niche with the drama freaks. But in Italy, I was really, really popular. Not because I was pretty or witty or wise, but because as the most fluent American, I was the portal for hook-ups between the 15 French/Italian guys and les filles Americaines tres chouettes, which roughly translates to smokin' hot American sluts.

I will admit that the shyest and cutest of the French boys did eventually make a move on me, but I didn't really want to make out in the urine-stink-filled-mini-bathroom of the Ghighlione family basement before prying his hands out of my pockets and hopping on a plane the next day. Je suis vraiment desolee, Gael.

Anyway, it was our last night in Milan, and our hosts were determined to get as much American love as they could, and therefore they threw a secret, no-teacher-no-chaperone party with 897 gallons of melon vodka. There were flaming shooters and little hip flasks of gin and just generally buckets and buckets of booze. And I got extra heaping drunk and had a hell of a time trying to translate from horny masculine French to polite-like-omigod-English. It was a fabulous party, and I felt popular and well-liked and practically floated on a cloud of the aforementioned melon vodka.

The next morning, my host mother gently prodded my shoulder for 2 hours until I finally woke up with my first hangover, 5 minutes before our plan took off. She said hasty goodbyes and handed me a packed lunch of the decidedly non-American, non-hungover kind: hard, dry rolls; unsweetened chocolate; and the worst orange juice known to man. I gulped it all down in the airport, starving. And then I got on a tiny little puddle-jumper of a plane from Milan to Brussels.

I spent almost the entire flight in tiny bathroom, face pressed against the air conditioning, trying not to spontaneously vomit and explode as various Europeans cursed me in different languages because I wouldn't get out of the only WC. When we got to Belgium, I was ready to DIE.

Our tour group got lost because no one could read Belgian; at least, that's what I vaguely remember, because I was trying so hard not to DIE. I asked to go to the bathroom and was denied. Police were apparently trying to hold up some of our Asians, and to this day I wonder whether they wanted to throw them in jail or add them to the Belgian population.

In the ensuing chaos, I snuck into a large, high-ceilinged room of the airport, almost a cathedral. The walls, floor, and columns were shiny, cool marble. It was beautiful. I put my forehead against a column and drank in the coolness.

And then I barfed the largest, nastiest barf that any human being has ever barfed in the history of the world.

I tell you, it was goddamn beautiful. I have never heard a sound to rival that SPLAT. It was my chef d'ouevre, the masterpiece of my life. Well, besides my kids. But it was beautiful. I looked at that puke and I saw colors that I had never seen before.

And then some nice men in uniforms picked me up by the arms and dragged me off to my plane, saying all sorts of incomprehensible things to me in very stern voices.

And I slept the whole way home, somehow managing to eat two meals without waking up. I've loved tiramisu ever since.

And that is why I can never go to Belgium.

FIN.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

spin the ketchup

Okay, mom. Here you go. It ain't what you think.

Spin the Ketchup, or Geek Story #57

I was a cute kid and an awkward teen. I was slow to catch on to trends, a little pudgy, and relatively unpopular at my middle school. But one of my two best friends went to a different school in a different town, and they didn't know that I was a total dork.

When she invited me to her first boy-girl party, I was excited and hopeful. At 13, I had never been kissed, although I had come pretty close to smoochin' on top of a houseboat once with a boy we met on vacation. Because there's nothing sexier than a houseboat. Alas, something intervened at the last moment, and to this day, I can't remember if it was someone else climbing up the ladder or me getting skittish and asking him if he liked Chips Ahoy Cookies.

What can I say? I was shy. And I liked cookies.

The party was to happen on Halloween in her basement, and her mom had promised to stay upstairs and keep her younger siblings from intruding. It was just four girls and three boys, and my friend had told them all that I was really pretty and popular at my school. I'm sure my K-Mart flowered pants, side ponytail, and fluorescent yellow mock-turtleneck clued them in that my finger was not on the pulse of fashion and coolness, but I was too naive and interpersonally oblivious to understand.

In preparation, we had hung up spooky decorations, including ghosts made of sheets, bats made of paper plates, and those smelly, stretchy spiderwebs. But it wasn't enough for my creative spirit. I convinced her to put down her curling iron and help me make a scarecrow/dead body out of her dad's old clothes and balled-up newspapers. While she did her makeup and tried on different cute outfits, I was in the basement, drawing a scary face on the pumpkin head and artfully spackling the body with ketchup blood.

Surely, that's what popular 13-year-old boys like in a girl?

Artsy spunk and dead body crafting?

When the other guests arrived, I had nervously downed half the cookies and was covered in ketchup, which didn't merge well with the Drakkar Noir wafting from their Hypercolor t-shirts. We snacked and made awkward small talk to the delightful sounds of Vanilla Ice. There was some dancing, but I sat that out, because I was scared and had never learned the Electric Slide. Then there was some slow dancing, but I sat that out, because I was the 7th person and smelled of ketchup.

And then there was spin-the-bottle.

I'm not sure how it happened. But the bottle didn't land on me a single time. I thought it did, a couple of times, but the boys quickly leaned past me to the cuter girls on either side, saying, "I think it was more towards Jennifer."

About the 4th time Jennifer had gotten kissed when I was sure it was my turn, it started to sink in: even among people who didn't know me, I was a total pariah.

I think I faked a stomachache and ran upstairs to cry before they started playing Five Minutes in the Closet, Which is Actually My Dad's Chevy, Because Our Basement Closet Is Full Of Spiders.

My friend got to 2nd base for the first time that night.

I won Ducktales on Nintendo while eating lemon-flavored sugar cookies in her room.

Things didn't really start to turn around for me until I hit 16.

But that's another story altogether.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

mr. turtleclown's tidbits

My child told my husband a bedtime story today about how our house was full of boxes and boxes of clowns, and Mr. Clown is the best at jiujitsu, except he's wearing a turtle suit. Now we're not sure if he's really a creepy, demonic clown or just a turtle with a funny name. And i'm scared to look in spare boxes.

Where on earth do they get this stuff?

My 7-month-old son pulled himself up to stand today on his Jungle Party Manifest Destiny. Then he shrieked maniacally, turned on one fat little foot, and tried to walk across the room. He almost ate bookshelf, but I was luckily sitting right there, jaw dropped in amazement, to catch him as he fell. Because 7-monthers don't know how to catch themselves when they fall. Or eat Cheerios. Or play Parcheesi. He's a jerk.

We're engrossed in Season 7 of Family Guy right now, which seems tightened up from the last season and is actually making me cackle again. Sadly, i've got "The Fart Song" stuck in my head. That's what we get for putting the DVD on Play All before falling asleep. There's a lovely homage to the fax machine death scene in Office Space in which Brian and Stewie put the royal beat-down on a record of "The Bird is the Word".

And now that's in my head.

Sorry that my posts aren't as contrived as usual, folks. Most of my creative energy is being channeled into Dr. Krog's Super Secret Project of Doom, so by the time I get t.rex to sleep and floss the spinach out of my teeth, all I have left for you are anectdotes, toddler quotes, and weird stories about nearly drinking dead baby mice.

But I'd be more than happy to tell you the story about how I got thrown out of Belgium. Or maybe you'd like to hear about how I ended up covered in ketchup and crying at my first spin-the-bottle party?

Or what about the time I was behind pro wrestler Goldberg at the mall?

Well, that's the story, really. It was on the escalator. His neck was as big around as my waist.

Anybody got any questions or requests?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dr. Mrs. the Dr. Krog

Something amazing happened today.

I got to be Dr. Krog.

Kinda.

See, he's working on a big project, and he has requested my help, but I can only help him if he removes the children from the zip code, because I can't think if I hear their little voices because their presence automatically squashes my brain into a Dixie cup.

So today, he woke up with the kids and entertained them for FIVE HOURS while I worked in a quiet, cool house. A silent house. While enjoying meals and actually tasting them and savoring a cup of coffee that only had to be reheated ONCE. And then he brought me a cheeseburger!

BEING DR. KROG IS SO FREAKIN' SWEET!!

The only way this deal could be any sweeter would be if I could literally hand him my mammary glands and take my laptop to a quiet beach with clear, blue water and good snorkeling. And then go horseback riding.

And now, to continue being Dr. Krog, I am going to crawl into bed and go to sleep before midnight. If only I had testicles. Aaaaaahhhhhh.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

nice try, snapping turtle of hell!


Oh, people.

Dr. Krog and I fell into a bizarre sort of wormhole today. We were walking down Canton Street, because our current favorite pub was packed to the gills. And we saw a darling little restaurant with a shady awning, outdoor tables, and quaint brickwork bursting with pots of fresh flowers.

And we thought, "Oh, that looks nice!"

Much like a fish, seeing the tongue of a snapping turtle wriggling around like a delicious worm, says, "Oh, that looks nice!"

Right before his head pops off.

We sat down and looked at the menu. Every entree consisted of meat, covered in cream sauce, with an industrial scoop of potatoes and half a tree of broccoli. Seriously. I watched the waiters amble out the door, and they all carried the same thing. Dr. Krog had the Portobello Chicken, and I had the Sauced Wild Salmon, and we couldn't tell them apart until we cut into them.

We turned to the drink menu. Wine started at $9 a glass and rocketed upwards, which is pretty steep when the entrees are $14.95. No liquor whatsoever. Also, no bread. Which i've mostly given up, except when faced with bland salmon drowning in nondescript cream sauce, and then buttered bread starts to sound pretty uptown.

I know, i'm complaining again. But it was utterly ridiculous. We came to the conclusion that the restaurant stays in business only because its emptiness preys on people who don't like crowds. Fortunately, the date wasn't so much about finding the best food on the planet and watching each other's eyes roll back into our heads. It was about being alone, away from the kids, able to talk without interruption and watch people walk by and enjoy life to the fullest.

And after attempting to enjoy our entrees, we hightailed it across the street to our favorite porch swing on our favorite balcony to enjoy a lemon drop and a red velvet cupcake, which never disappoints.

After all, these days, a funny experience is worth more than a fabulous dinner. And I feel like I escaped some sort of Stephen King-esque giant alien monster whose mouth is probably the portal to hell but appears to be a simple ladies' room in a bad restaurant.

At least, that's what I tell myself.
And if you know Gordon Ramsay, please send him to Nine South and let him know that Old Roswell is dying for a cute little sushi joint, if you catch my drift.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

nyet!


Oh, that was the best dinner. Red snapper baked in a citrus-soy sauce over smashed purple potatoes with butter-and-garlic veggies. And I remembered to take a picture *before* eating it, too.

I was not always such an accomplished chef. Okay, i'm still not. But one time, I made the worst mistake anyone can make in the kitchen. At least, the worst mistake that can be made without a butcher knife and a baggie full of ice.

*

It was the last day of my last semester of college, and I was cramming in as many studio classes as possible. I was a horrible roommate, and therefore I had ruined several roommate relationships, and therefore I was sleeping on a papasan couch in the trailer of some bizarre pagans. I even woke up with a baby ball python on my head once.

It was... a different sort of life.

I had endured a horrible, endlessly long night preparing to turn in my final projects. Hacked into my hand so deeply that I had to back the saw out in the metals studio. Painted for 8 hours straight. Chipped plaster until my hands were numb. Rode the bus that picked up the fresh-faced sorority sisters who were like, totally bummed that I was up until 11 working on that "Fall" bulletin board for my final and somehow managed not to choke any of 'em with their pearl necklaces as I bled onto my steel-toed shoes.

And then I had finally turned in all my finals, and I decided to celebrate by getting drunk all by myself in the trailer. I snooped around, found a glass, some kahlua, some vodka, some milk. Mixed up something that would have passed as a White Russian to a sleep-deprived college kid. But I needed ice.

I puttered around in the heavily frosted freezer, seeking an ice cube tray or a bag of ice or a handy place to chip off frost. Nothing. So I started shaking the plastic containers, assuming that something would contain ice. Aha! Found it. Dumped the ice into my drink, plunked the container back in the freezer, brought the cup to my lips.

And felt a frozen baby mouse bob gently against my nose.

Yup. I had just dumped a Tupperware container of snake food into my drink, and three pinky mice were floating around, slightly defrosting, their tiny, frozen faces mirroring my own mask of horror.

I put a $10 spot in the container, left a letter of apology, threw the drink out the back deck, packed up, and drove to my parents' house. And the next day, I left for a whirlwind tour of the Grecian isles, so it was a pretty decent summer, altogether.

But I have never wanted a White Russian, or a Black Russian, or any other sort of Russian, again.