Sunday, June 17, 2007

trauma

Okay, so I've been trying to post for a week now, but I'm babysitting my nieces (4 yrs and 9-months) at my sister's house in BF, South Carolina, and every time I sit down to write, somebody poops.

I'm unbelievably tired, inhumanly tired, catastrophically tired. I haven't brushed my hair in days, I had, er, effluvia, from several sources on my pajamas the other day and didn't even realize it until nearly 12:00 (and I was still wearing them), and I may have cracked a Miller Lite this morning by 8 am. But the good news is that both of them are still alive!

However, I may not be. It just isn't possible to look this bad and not be dead.

Let me tell you, my ovaries are withering, people. WITHERING! My parents came up to visit me today for a Father's Day Picnic, which really meant, "Help me! I can't concentrate on other people's needs for this many hours per day without losing my shit! Oh, and bring food." And like kind and giving parents, they came. I told them that I hope they enjoyed playing with the only grandchildren they are likely to have, so there.

It really has been fun apart from the exhaustion bit. I've gotten to go on a slip-n-slide, which was a whole new experience now that I have hit 30 and have flying squirrel arms to give me a little added lift. Beanie and I made the World's Messiest Cupcakes and a King Granddaddy crown for her Granddaddy. And we've played with glue and dinosaurs and play dough and had a tea party with Real Tea (decaf, do you think I'm insane?). And oh sweet blissful cracker sandwich, I've gotten to watch The Sound of Music, which I not so secretly love...like when Mother Superior sings Climb Every Mountain, I get all goosebumpy and want to go climb an Alp and spin around with cute gamine hair and make out with the hot Captain like a banshee. Ahhh...that Maria is a minx.

But I confess I find the nightly "How many more bites do I have to eat?" mindnumbingly tedious, partially because it used to irritate me so much to hear my parents nag me to sit up and use a fork and eat your spinach, dammitohell! And saying it myself is like scratching my own nails down the chalkboard. And the whining...oh my god, I just can't stand that tone. She could be begging me for another spoonful of spinach and offering me a million dollars and I would still give her a time out. And the baby, as scrumptiously cute as she is, and named after me besides...she is going to give me the vapors. Every time I turn my back, she has jammed something down her throat to choke on. I vaccuum the playroom every day, yet her sister, who can sack a room more efficiently than any Hun or Visigoth, is immediately in there tossing beads and leaves and sequins and feathers and those goddamned Dora stickers (curse you, Dora! I hope Shackleton cuts your head off!) and play dough and everything else on the floor. It's like the husband in that Julia Roberts movie that drags her around the house beating her for not lining up the tinned fruit properly. That's me, with Baby, the cleaning nazi.

Oh, and let's not forget the Code Brown last night. Any of you with children...you know what I'm talking about. Don't you. Mmmhmmm...you're laughing.

A Code Brown is when the cute little pink monkey you've been allowing to crawl around noodie patootie after her bath suddenly poops all over the place and then crawls about it in it. I was so tempted to take her outside and hose her off...I mean, hell, she ain't mine. I didn't incubate her. But I didn't. So see, I really should be up for the Best Aunt of the Year Award. It's mine and I demand a trophy. And maybe a fabulous new car, because that was a LOT of poop.

God, I love puppies.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Overheard on a backroad in Appalachia

Kelly: Oh my God, my emergency break is on. Where are we going? Where’s the B&B?

Erin: This way feels right. Go straight. I feel like we should go straight.

Jemima (piping up from the back seat): Feel? FEEL? THAT WAY GOES TO TENNESSEE! Sweet fancy Jesus. TURN LEFT! LEFT!

Kelly: You are the idiot savant of navigation

Jemima: I don’t know what that means. What’s an idiot savant?

Erin: It’s like in Rainman, the guy who was all good with cards.

Kelly: You know, Dustin Hoffman's character?

Jemima: Wait, are you saying I'm autistic with weird underwear issues and shop at KMart?

****

This weekend goes down in history as the longest I’ve ever been without water. I’ve subsisted entirely on a “diet” of beer, wine, champagne and Lick-m-Aid.

Erin, Kelly and I spent the weekend in an adorable little B&B cottage in Asheville as part of Aleigh’s destination wedding. I must say, it’s a good thing Kelly doesn’t drink, because the rehearsal dinner and ceremony both required a compass and a clear view of the North Star. There was a lot of pointing and shouting and wild gesticulation. And I think if Simons ever dies, I will move to Massachusetts and marry Erin.

She almost got me kicked out of the rehearsal dinner, because during the early speeches, Aleigh gave Kelly this lovely little perfume atomizer that looked a lot like a vibrator, which Erin noted...unfortunately, right during one of those quiet lulls in conversation when everyone hears you. So I got the snorts, which gave her the snorts, which sent us off into helpless peals of laughter, the kind where you don't make any noise, but shake and cry and snort and have this hideous rictus grin for about 15 minutes and you can't breathe. And it was during the goddamn blessing, and I was trying so hard not to snort, but then I'd hear Erin hissing away next to me and then that would set me off again. God, it was terrible.

Kelly kept threatening to separate us. And then we all went outside for a smoke (no, I haven’t really started again), and the old bag named Tex on my left thought we were on drugs, and said all snotty when we got back to the table, "You were gone a long time. I hope that was just a cigarette break and nothing else," and Erin rounded on her like a rattlesnake and said, "No, we were shooting heroin! That okay with you?" And that just set me off again. Yea gods.

Erin maintains that Tex was inappropriate first, but then I said “Hi, Pot, this is Kettle calling, just to say ‘vibrator’ and then ‘Amen.’” Sinner.

At the wedding, which was on a farm with goats and ponies and bunnies and llamas (I do love a llama), Aleigh looked beautiful and totally herself in a gorgeous short dress with a blue obi. And considering she went through about 12 trial dresses, this one was all the more lovely for being hard to find.
Her shoes were fab too.
I mean, look how cute Aleigh and Ian are.
Excellent food, great wine. And Kelly got to sharpen her fingernails on the groom’s uptight brother, who kept popping out from behind the outhouse with a video camera to demand an interview, which was not appreciated. (I mean, who can be expected to come up with the meaning of love and marriage all impromptu like that? I guess he has to creep up on people, because otherwise everyone would see him coming and scamper off, like a slow motion game of chase. But maybe that mentality should be a clue that making a video like that is a BAD IDEA?) Anyway, he lunged at Kelly, who does not like the paparazzi, and asked her for some words of advice for the married couple, and without missing a beat she said, “I know a great divorce lawyer, and I’ve got him in speed dial, Aleigh, so call me anytime, day or night.” I think I yipped a little and my eyes bugged…like a Pekinese. So did the uptight brothers’.

And then Aleigh came mincing over in her adorable shoes and Kelly said, "Did you come over here for a cigarette?" And Aleigh said, "Of course not." And then we all went behind the outhouse and smoked, even the bridesmaids.
After the band started playing Old MacDonald for the children, Kelly and Erin and I went back to our beautiful little cottage and stayed up till about 3 a.m. drinking Miller Lite and smoking and dishing about rabbits and boys and the illegitimate offspring of various relations. God, it was totally fab.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bitch and Bitch Some More

So Simons was sick all last week and during the holiday (lifts his hand feebly from the couch to take his soup. And his medicine. And his gingerale. And his fizzy tablets. And his heated neck pillow. And his special popsicles.) and this week has a friend in town who is hunting for jobs...although I personally would be skeptical about giving a job to someone who is too stupid to wash his own dishes.

And I tell you, I have about had it with cooking and cleaning and caring about other people's needs. Fortunately, drum roll please, I am staying with two other girls (women?) at a B&B cottage in Asheville this weekend, yes, for a Aloysius' fabulous wedding, and it's going to be AWESOME! Three whole days of girlish squealing and wine drinking and frolicking and dishing about work and men and other things that suck. And crying over how beautiful and sweet Aleigh looks in her tenth wedding dress. I can't get on a plane fast enough.

LALALALALALALALA!!!!! (I'm bouncing up and down on my yoga ball)

Now, I know full well that I have a lovely husband, and that probably half of the coddling was my own doing, but REALLY, I need just a small break.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm goin

TO BLOGHER 2007!

WHOOOO HOOOO!
Chicago, here I come!!!

Just roll over and die already

Has anyone ever had the unfortunate situation of telling a client to push off and then having them refuse to push? Seriously, I’m at a loss.
I told these people April 17 that I was giving them my notice, citing several instances of being grossly taken advantage of. For instance, they asked me to work over Christmas with no warning. They ask me edit their entire magazine the Friday before it goes to print, which means that regardless of whether I have guests in town or a kidney transplant, etc, I have to drop everything to get it done. And the evil NY whore calls me at ungodly hours to explain Outlook to her when I own A MAC! I do not lie... she phones at 6 am to accuse me of sending my emails to her junk folder DELIBERATELY! Gah!

Anyway, this is just a partial list, but anyone who has been over in the mornings can attest to the fact that this job is a real pill.

So, after the April 17 debacle (in which evil NY whore was so incredibly late, my poor temporarily immobile mother had to take a cab from the airport after I promised to come fetch her), the publisher called and apologized and tried to smooth things over, but I told him I’d stay on only until they found a replacement, whom I would be happy to train.

It is now May 29. I’m beginning to perceive that the advantage taking continues. I begin to doubt that they are really looking. The publisher called me yesterday to make sure I was going to work this week, and when I reminded him that I’m leaving town for Al’s wedding (which I told him about in March), he had the nerve to inquire whether I was sure I couldn’t do it while I was gone. And THEN he asked me, "Well, are you actually in the wedding?" KILL!

This is a freelance position, so where do they get off with this constant crappy behavior? The loss of the regular paycheck is going to be tough, but I’m more than ready to quit the daily harangue and lateness and Christ-bitten hours of six am to noon. Oh, you think that sounds easy, do you? You try getting up in the cold and fog and being interested in the pharmaceutical business day in and day out for an embittered evil old hag whose very existence is a thorn in your side.

Anyway, I feel like this crappy freelance job is keeping me from needing to do smarter work. I don’t HAVE to go out and pitch good writing, because I can make do with boring writing and pay the rent. I’m sick of making do. I’m thirty and I’ve DONE NOTHING WITH MY LIFE!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Post whereby I admit something shameful

So my ex got married this past weekend.

Now I don’t mind this in theory. I dumped him, remember? He’s a nice guy, and I wish him well and all that, but I wouldn’t want him back. I’ve married the perfect husband, love our life, and we are always out doing fun and exciting things together…laughing toothily and tossing our fabulous hair.

So, in this brilliant concept called "theory," magnanimity is easy. But in practice, my rosy graciousness pales a shade or two when I think that The Ex is somewhere fancy on his honeymoon with someone who ultimately ranked higher than me on his personal awesomeness scale. And that chafes just a little.

I confess, when his cousin sent me an email with the ex’s new wife’s name, I did indeed look up the engagement announcement (which creepily enough looks almost exactly like a picture of me and the ex at a ballet gala about six years ago, only she’s blonde), and she looks…nice. I would probably like her (shyah, as IF!). She has a cool name. And he looks happy, which somehow bothers me not at all. So that's not what is needling me, although I confess I liked it better when he was rebounding with the tattooed ne’er-do-well his whole family christened, “Trasha.”

I’m not crying and wringing my hands or anything. It’s just a vague grumpiness and a masochistic desire to google their names to see if any wedding photos have been posted yet. So the question is: to stalk or not to stalk?

WHY, you ask? Why in the hell would I want to see their first dance and cake feeding and moony wedding glowiness, etc? Maybe it’s just because I know my wedding was better.

Well, no. I mean, mine probably was better, but I’m not that pompous. That’s not the reason.

Maybe the issue that's feeding my masochism is realizing that it doesn’t matter one bit whether I wish him well or not. My opinion no longer matters to him. My graciousness has no affect. I could just as well be rending my hair and frothing at the mouth for all the universe cares. Hmmm...no, actually that feels a little hollow too.

I bet I know. It’s a small and stupid touch of buyer’s remorse. I do it all the time at restaurants—order the filet and wish I’d gotten the fish. Not that Simons is a filet. And if he were, he’d be a Kobe beefcake branded with my name on it: "Destined to be Jemima's. Hands off, bitches!" But if I bought a ticket to Paris, I’d suddenly start whining about Venice. You know? It’s just the thought of something that is never going to happen now because you made a choice. It’s better that it doesn’t (picture here bombs going off in Venice, during a cholera epidemic with those flying monkeys from Oz), but I like to wallow in the odd spot of melancholy, and here is an excellent opportunity.

I think maybe I shouldn’t look at the wedding photos. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bare to Breakers

WARNING: Mentions and images of nudity to follow...

There are so many, many reasons why I am glad I live in San Francisco. The first one is that this fellow is not my dad.
Look closely at the man with the backpack and the yellow hat.

That’s right. He has no pants.

He is not an attractive man. He is not a fit man. It wasn’t even that chilly a morning, but I saw him from the front, and he was not even a well-endowed man. But, by God, he is proud to be a Naked American.

This weekend was the annual Bay to Breakers race here in Freak City, USA, where some people race, some people suit up as Superman and other people man out in their birthday suits. We saw people dressed as storm troopers, centurians, hookers (at least I think they were in costume), the little crazy fellow from Twelve Galaxies, superheros, and the crazy people dressed as salmon who run upstream against the current, spawning, so to speak.
But there were a lot of folks getting sunburn on their wobbly bits. Oooh! Painful!
I was discussing this phenomena with my sister and she brought up some interesting...er, points. First, if you were a man, wouldn’t you be embarrassed if the day was cold and rainy, and things were…small? Or WORSE, what if you took a fancy to the naked female jogger bobbing along beside you, and things started to “happen?”
Well, Dear Sister, I can assure you now, since I have seen and taken note. There is nothing attractive about these people. Sweaty naked people in athletic socks…NOT HOT!

You’ve gotta love The Crazy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thank you notes

Thirty today and 68 more to go. World's lamest bride. Under the gun.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Irony



Last night, Simons and I shelled out $220 for a parking place about 6 blocks away. This is because we have paid about $1000 in parking tickets since we moved here, so any parking place, no matter the price, is going to be cheaper. They shell out $80 parking tickets like Hershey at Halloween here. A bird craps on the street and you get a parking ticket. I got two $275 parking tickets for being within seven feet of a handicap ramp the other day. That's $550 for eight hours of parking. $550 between 11pm in the rain and darkness and 7 am when I moved it in the morning. $550 after driving in circles for an hour and a half trying to find a space and finally giving up in despair.

So this morning, while working on invoicing, I got a loud hammering at the door, which somehow I heard over the loud hammering of the workmen gutting the apartment next door. And it's a workman. And it's a meter maid (are they maids if they are men? I think they are. They deserve the emasculation.). And they say that even though the construction crew already has their allotted 40 feet of space on the block, they also demand the 10 feet of space I am taking in our legally parked car which has been in the same place for three days without complaint, and if I don't go move it, they will tow me. So I go to move the car to our newly paid for parking space, and there is another goddamn ticket for $40 on it.

It's a good thing meter maids are fast, because I'd have dearly loved to have told him what a

cheap, lying, no-good, rotten,

four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating,

inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking,

dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless,

heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged,

spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is!


I need to go eat some cheese.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pittsburgh

Okay, don't tell anyone (Simons), but this morning, I downloaded the whole second season of Weeds and watched every single episode and now I'm DYING. Is the second season over? Is it still ongoing? Because I don't think I can wait however many months for them to give me more Mary Louise Parker.

I. Love. Her.

Anyway, Simons and i just watched the first three episodes (there only 27 minutes long, people, stop looking at me like that! AND I knit while I'm watching, so it's not totally unproductive.) and it was all I could do not to say, "Oh you think THAT'S crazy, wait and see what Uncle Andy does with a microwaved banana peel in a minute."

[Spoiler Alert] For those of you who don't know about Weeds, it's about a suburban widow whose husband leaves her penniless with two sons, and she ends up selling pot to make a living. And at the end of last season, she found out her new boyfriend is actually the DEA.

I'm telling you, downloading TV from iTunes is the BOMB!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Maximum Efficiency

So today I was a model of efficiency, accomplishing the following:
  • Paid my $550 parking tickets
  • Finally posted on my blog
  • Updated a client's webpage on behalf of some very pushy architects
  • Filled in my schedule
  • Bought cedar balls for the winter clothes, which we have exchanged and picked through
  • Found a dermatologist
  • Booked a hotel for the non-blogging Aloysius' wedding
  • Invoiced my clients
  • Outlined two articles and one essay
I'm telling you, it's Spring. Time of renewed inspiration and aspiration!

But apparently not nutrition (she says while typing with one hand and spooning caramel sauce into her piehole with the other). Back when I first started this blog, I tried an ayurvedic cleanse in a failed attempt to wean myself off of sugar and processed wheat gluten and all other things George Bush is using to destroy our health and nation. I say "failed" because on the very day the cleanse was over with, I polluted my new detoxified cells with two bottles of Pinot Noir, kicked my big toenail off in a famous author's hot tub and then barfed in my front yard.

I'm not proud.

Every so often, usually before planning a big trip, I get into the My Body Is A Temple routine and run and stretch and drink herbal water and consider my chakras. I'll be going home for weddings in June, which I guess count as trips, not that I have to shape up for them (normally my trips involve hiking or rock climbing or looking attractive for high school reunions). But since I work alone and some days only see the dog and Simons, I'm not getting as much feedback on trip planning and fitness. I miss the days when I would wake up and meet friends for a morning run. Maybe I need more verbal rewards. Maybe I require a sense of competition. I think it's a little sad that I require someone to pat me on the head in order to acquire the appropriate My Body Is A Temple sensibility. In itself, MBIAT ought to come from within. Clearly I am a new age failure who is drowning her self loathing in caramel sauce.

With my recent cancer scare and treatment, it ought to have sunk in that "it can happen to me." It ought to be abundantly clear that I cannot avoid cancer, diabetes and heart disease because I simply pretend they won't happen. And judging by my reaction to the contractors working on the apt below mine, my blood pressure is in immediate risk. So how do you find the willpower not to eat crap? To face the future pragmatically and take your health planning as seriously as you do your financial planning?

Happy Easter!

Did we go to church?
No.

Did I go running?
No.

Did I actually leave the house beyond the morning foray for Peet’s and Paas?
No.

It sounds like my day sucked, but it was actually dee-lightful. I spent the better part of the day either cooking or knitting = utter bliss. Holly and Sean came for dinner, and one of the best things about them is they don’t ask if there is any butter in the food. Because they know there is. Butter is the base of my food pyramid. I’m Southern. All my recipes start with “First, take a stick of butter…” One of the other best things about them is that I don’t have to stress whether the dinner sucks, because if it does, we can order Chinese and they’ll still love me.

Although I considered doing a traditional Easter feast with lamb and Peeps and whatever, I instead opted for comfort food and richness. We had Chicken Suzanne, which I didn’t bother photographing, because I don’t think mushroom sauce translates well to visual representation. And Holly made brussel sprouts with rosemary and shallots, and they were totally delish. And then came the caramel apple tarte tatine,

Isn’t it pretty?













Don’t you want to lick it? No? Look CLOSER…










The caramel sauce is pretty amazing. You kind of moan involuntarily, and no, I’m not bragging, because I didn’t invent the recipe. Maybe I should call it Porn Pie. Holly and I can open a bakery and just sell Porn Cake and Porn Pie. We shall call it simply, "Porn," and our mothers will be so proud.

Simons and I did dye Easter eggs, and we came up with some pretty purple tulips for décor. And, you know, some Reese’s peanut butter eggs, because it isn’t Easter without mealing a few of those.

The rest of the weekend was pretty much spent wringing my hands, because our new landlords, they want us out. No, no Simons hasn’t been streaking the courtyard and playing loud deathmetal again...much. They’re renovating all the apartments so they can up the rent to $2500 or so, and therefore are offering $8K to most tenants to move. We were tempted, and even went so far as to go apartment hunting on Saturday. It was just as horrible as before, full of nervous optimism at the beginning and then crushing despondency at the end. You think a place will be grand, because the photos have such shiny wood floors and lots and lots of cabinets, and then there are crackwhores on the front stoop and the paint is peeling and it occurs to you that your lovely corner store that you walk to every afternoon to decide on dinner will now be a 30-minute drive across town. You will have to find a whole new corner store. And while once that seemed an exciting prospect, you just had to go through all that six months ago, and the idea of packing and unpacking and orienteering a new neighborhood just seem so hard. So. Hard. And we came back home and realized the issue was that our little squalorous 700-square feet with no parking and no closets is our home.












So unless they up the ante to $12K, we aren’t moving.













Andy and Harriott’s wedding blanket is now 5.5’ x 7’ and I only have three balls of yarn left. Hallelujah. Also, here is a nice picture of the sweater I made Simons. I love that he wears it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Reno

Sim and I got back from Reno at about 9:30 last night, after spending the weekend with Julia and Robert Payne in their ultra cool house (it has closets…and this whole separate area for eating). They’re the badasses who took us on the awesome hike in Lake Tahoe earlier in March.

Lucky Simons got to go backcountry skiing (check out the video) with Robert on Saturday, while I worked all morning (gross). Fortunately, I got loads done and then went for a snowshoe with Julia in the mountains overlooking Lake Tahoe. Snowshoeing! In the snow! In Reno! Snow!

We spent the evening marinating and cooking some wild duck with apricot jam and bourbon, and then had some lovely steaks for dinner instead, and laughed our asses off until 2 am, only it was really 11 and we’re just very old.

[This is what ignorance looks like]

Then yesterday we all went to Mount Rose, where they dumped me in the beginner ski school and took off for the black diamonds. After I'd dribbled down the bunny slopes a few times, they came back all pink-cheeked and sparkly and barely winded, fortified me with beer and then whisked me off up the roller coaster ski lift to a blue slope, a clifflike precipice that had my teeth chattering from the instant I set ski to snow. All three tempted me up there with falsehoods about “cat tracks” and easy
shooshing, and then even the LIFT went faster than the bunny slopes. I was so busy gawping over my left shoulder at the initial slope that I fell off the lift when we landed.

[Do you see anything on the other side of this peak? No? Really?
THAT'S BECAUSE THERE WASN'T ANYTHING BUT MILES OF WHISTLING AIR AND DEATH AND PAIN!]


Then I stood up there over this cliff with my knees knocking together and all the blood draining from my head, while Simons giggled and said, “Oh, you’ll be fine.” I think he was high from the altitude. God know I must have been, because after 30 seconds of panicked gibbering about it, I said, “FINE! I’M GOING! I’M GOING! FUCK!” And then shrieked, “God DAMMIT!” as I reached 85 miles per hour point five seconds later.

Amidst the screaming and falling and bloodletting, I did get to see Sim doing his telemark deal, which is very cool and fancy looking. I think he was pretending not to know the moronic beginner hurtling past him, strapped to the cheapo rental two-by-fours. He maintains that every time he looked at me, I shrieked at him, so he was only acting like he was ignoring me, all while keeping a very close eye on my wellbeing. God, my husband is such a LIAR.

Robert gave me some coaching on how not to hold my poles like they were anchors (but…aren’t they?) and body turning and other such stuff that made me scream lots more professionally on the way down. And I only fell once.

Well, excepting the lift.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Girl Parts (Not for Boys)

So, um....Cancer Free!

This past Wednesday, after many delays and rescheduling mishaps, I underwent The Procedure, as we like to call it, and I am officially healthy once more. After months and months of agonizing and stressing and eating Haagen Daazs out the yin yang, it ended up being very much ado about nothing actually. Although I feel some sense of obligation in case some other girl has to go through the same thing and wants the honest truth, I won't go into the nitty gritty since my dad reads this. Here's the glossed over version and you can have your friends email me if they want some extra comforting:

They did ask if a male resident could come observe, and I said absolutely not. I KNOW they have to learn somehow, but I just wasn't in the mood to be gawped at by some weirdo man. I mean, seriously, I can't figure out why a man would go into gynecology. I get the obstetrics part, although all male OBs should look just like Cliff Huxtable and do that moony smiley face as soon as your baby pops out. But male gynecologists just seem kind of...wrong. (Plus I secretly feared that Alex Karev would suddenly come smirking into the room while I was sitting there.)

They stuck a big grounding strip on my leg, which cracked me up for some reason, and the medicine they administered gave me the shakes. But the nice nurse let me knit, which also struck me as being funny (um, ladies, you can picture this...guys, you probably don't want to), and she actually held the yarn ball for me so it wouldn't roll on the floor. Knitting is very therapeutic, and there I was shaking and knitting, knitting and shaking. It was all quick and painless and afterwards Simons got me an orange dreamcicle jamba juice and drove me home so I wouldn't have to park the car. He is a most excellent husband.

So, Holly, thanks for the Hob-Nobs and US Weekly. Melissa, thanks for the lavender plant. Mom and Daddy, thank you for the flowers. Sonia, the Godiva was/is delish. I have such marvelous support.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Okay, first, I didn't knit that bag. Mine is still in progress. Rachel, I'll have to copy it and mail it, because the magazine issue the pattern was in is very hard to find now. Apparently that bag was extremely popular. It's hard though, because it's INTARSIA. Doesn't that sound like a disease? "Oh, I can't come in to work today. I have...intarsia."

Sadly, I have no one to have intarsia with anymore, because damned Sonia has abandoned me for Australia. It's totally unfair, and it made me feel very small deleting her number from my cellphone. Stupid Damion. Actually, I curse Damion twice because whenever he visits, he brings three tubs of ice cream, all of which I eat singlehandedly in front of the computer. If my ski pants don't fit this weekend, I'm totally mailing him Krispy Kreme until his suspension gives out. Oh, and that ginger sesame brittle from haagen dazs...I'm divorcing Simons for it. God, so delish.

Speaking of Simons, does anyone else ever have problems with their spouses' method of "helping?" On Sunday morning, I asked him to please help with the pre-dinner-party cook and clean, and then he went surfing for three hours. When he got back, I requested that he take out the trash and make room in the kitchen while I went to the Whole Foods, a miserable 18-block walk (round trip). When I returned, like a laden pack mule, he was outside cutting wood for the new kitchen shelf he'd designed in my absence. So I cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, cleaned out the fridge, took out the trash and recycling my own damned self. After this, I denied him goat cheese and things got ugly.

We're off to Reno this weekend, hurrah! I don't know that I'll be up for much skiing, but it will be so lovely to watch Beuls romping around in the snow...in her super lame booties. I'm mean like that.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Just doing my part...

I've just come from a meeting with my biggest freelance client yet, and oh my God, I have so much work to do I may perish. At least it's an awesome project, and the people I'm working for are incredibly brilliant, so i leave these meeting overwhelmed but so inspired. Still. So much work. I have to have their entire website completed by April 1st, which is a LOT of copy. Bye bye knitting.

While hiking on Sunday afternoon (saturday was pretty much shot thanks to raging all day hangover), Simons and I were talking about ways we could do more to stop global warming. We sign petitions and make sure our votes go to candidates to are environmentally active. We recycle and have the special light bulbs. We eat pretty strictly organic. I buy environmentally friendly cleaning products, bath and beauty products (plant extracts, not tested on animals, phosphate free, etc). We already walk or take public transportation 95% of the time. But surely there is something else we can be doing. I've looked into buying back our carbon emissions, but I'm not really sure that it makes a lot of sense. The idea is that you pay a company X amount to pay for your car's emissions. That company turns your money around and buys carbon credits from the federal government, that in turn a big power plant or some other manufacturer cannot buy to offset their own, harmful pollution, and must therefore actually make improvements to their plants. But doesn't it just make more sense to make industry cut back emissions anyway? And shouldn't we just get an alternative fuel car...as soon as we can afford it? What do you think, oh wise and splendid internet? What more could we do? What do you do? Any good websites on meaningful changes?

In other news, Simons and I have been running together every night this week, which I now consider a Regime. I like regimes. I even like the word: "Reh-geeeeeeem." It feels very final and respectable. And hardcore. Trust me, with the hills around my neighborhood, even walking Beulah around the block is hardcore. Oh, speaking of Dog, we took her with us on Monday and halfway through, I looked at her and her eyeballs had sunken into her head and were almond shaped. What the HELL? We brought her home immediately and she didn't seem overheated or wobbly, and (thank God) her eyes went back to normal within 5 minutes, BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? And if you think we are taking Beuls to the vet because her eyeballs fell out, think again. I've only got one kidney left people... Remember "The $3300 Duck Debacle" and the "$350 Pooping Catastrophe?" Well they're still awfully fresh in our memories.

The wedding blanket I am knitting for some friends of ours is one-third done and very beautiful. Simons' sweater is back from the finisher's, and is heavenly. He wore it three days in a row (it's really more of a jacket), which was extremely satisfying. I'd post a photo, but my DAMNED CAMERA IS STILL BEING REPAIRED. I also found some gorgeous pink and blue yarn to make this bag. And you can't tell from the picture, but it's really big. Sonia and I went to a few knit shops in Noe Valley yesterday afternoon, which will be our last real knitting jaunt, since she's moving back to bloody Australia. Damion, how could you do this to me?

Also, I've decided that I'm spending entirely too much time by myself in my pajamas (granted, I'm working, but still...I feel a little schlubby). In order to have more social interaction and feel more professional, I've been looking into writers' colonies and there are a few in the city. That way I can take Eudora the Laptop someplace with real, live human beings, and work there instead. Also, I'm planning to take a photography class and maybe some piano lessons. After all, Simons and I do actually own a piano now. It's not here or anything, but we do own one. And maybe one day (YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS from now...ahem) we will have children (or maybe just more dogs) that we will want to sing Christmas carols to, and it ought to have musical accompa...accompanim...music playing with it (God, it's just like Oh Brother Where Art Thou). I can't sing, but maybe I can play along while Simons sings.

Also, just because it made me happy, here is my recipe for a tasty snack:
1 banana
2 Tbs low fat peanut butter
2 Tbs Giardelli cocoa powder (I didn't actually measure, so might have only been 1 Tbs)
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1 c- one and one half cups skim milk

Put in blender and blend, and it comes out all tasty. And except for what's in the peanut butter, it doesn't have a lot of sugar. I'm trying to watch it, thanks to California's ceaseless messages about diabetes and the American obesity epidemic. Just doing my part.

Monday, March 19, 2007

How to charm me

"I'm back from the store. I picked up two New York strippers."

"Oh, really? What are their names?"

"Tammi and Cyndi, both with i's."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Inspiration is dead

My God. It's 12:19 a.m. and I've been working since 6 a.m.

Yesterday.

The Girl Scout cookies are lonely.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rant wherein many of life's questions are answered

WHY AM I SO FAT?

WHY IS MY SKIN SO BAD? WHY DIDN'T I WEAR SUNSCREEN?

WHY IS THIS LAB SO GODDAMNED HAIRY?

WHY ARE MY ALLERGIES SO BAD?

(one mystery solved)

WHY DO I CLEAN AND CLEAN AND EVERYTHING IS STILL AWFUL?

WHY CAN'T I CONCENTRATE?

WHY DO ALL MY SOUPS TASTE BORING?

WHY DOES BEULAH LICK HER PAWS SO MUCH?

WHY ARE HILLS SO HARD TO RUN ON?

WHY DOES EVERYTHING TASTE BETTER WITH BUTTER?

(fat mystery solved)

WHY IS MY HAIR SO HIDEOUS?

WHY CAN'T I FINISH THIS FREAKING CAPITAL CAMPAIGN SITE SO I CAN GO OUT AND PLAY?

WHY WON'T THE DOCTOR CALL?

(distraction problem answered)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

People Meeting People

Yesterday, after a very hard day’s work, I realized at about 5:00 that Simons had invited some new people over for drinks, and the house was covered in hair and full of trash. In the scramble to decrapify the apartment, I managed to get an enormous chunk of wood jammed under my thumbnail while dusting, dropped a book on my foot searching for the peroxide, then knocked over the effing jade plant (hateful dying thing) all over the newly vacuumed living room floor, and finally bashed my head on the corner of the DVD player while vacuuming up the mess. I kind of hated these people already.

When Simons came home, I gave him the stink eye and announced I was going to knitting for an hour and he’d better have wine AND CHEESE by the time I came home. He’s so used to my shrieks of pain now, he doesn’t even respond quickly. My legs are bruised, my big toe is black, my thumbnail is a horror…lovely.

This general gracelessness is not is helped by the fact that the doctor’s office last week reported that I’d shrunk an inch and put on ten pounds in the past three months. Lovely. Apparently my enormous ass is dragging me down and pushing me off balance.

Why, God, WHY?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Evaluation: knees, ankles, back, hips, shoulders, neck, thumbs

These are things that hurt.

Holly and Sean and Simons and I piled everything into the car, including two dogs, Mirren the large and smelly black lab, whom we unexpectedly are dogsitting for two weeks, and Beulah, who has an entire suitcase of dietary needs, seeing as how she has GIARDIA, and drove up to Tahoe on Friday night. I hadn't seen snow since boarding school (read "shivering on sleeping porches") and hadn't skied since our sixth grade French class field trip to Quebec...with Simons, come to think of it.

Perhaps Tahoe is really an industrial town filled with corrugated shanties and dirty winos, but I doubt it. It wouldn't have mattered though, since under three feet of silvery-white snow, every house looked like a Swiss cottage with six-foot glistening icicles and the warm glow of firelight. Our B&B was adorable, although obscenely fish obessed. There was even a three-foot trout on our bed, with which I promptly attacked Holly, and antique painted lures hanging over the potty, including one called, "Wiggly Willie," which amused the boys. (Couldn't be better than the Electric Chicken or the Disco Grub)

Day One
The next morning, while Holly and Sean flung themselves down steep precipices at Squaw Valley, I discovered that the trick to cross country skiing is to pretend to be a roller skating gay man. It works, I promise, and my thanks go out to roller skating gay men everywhere for their inspiration. My God, that is hard work. To our delight, we found that cross country skis are A) half as expensive to rent as downhill skis, so Simons rented instead of using his telemark rig (Sims is a really good skier, but a patient husband), and B) the national parks have perfect trails that allow dogs and are free. We went down some fantastic trails at Blackwood Canyon with fresh powder and views of the mountains and snow covered firs and only saw about 10 other people the whole time. Granted, there was no lodge for mid-day hot chocolates, but there were also no lines, and the joyous dog frolicking more than made up for the lack of humiliation/maiming on the ski lift. Here's me, giving Simons the finger for having snapped a photo of me lying on my back contemplating the tree canopy, the cold snow down my shorts and the blue sky overhead.

We had a snow picnic overlooking a completely unblemished meadow, with cheese, crackers, sausage and trail mix.
Beulah, thanks to her grinch-like feet, had to be outfitted with fancy dog booties, which she felt were deeply infra dig...or infra dog.
What is this white stuff, and why is my nub so cold?

Day Two

While Holly and Sean were off to Squaw Valley again for a second day of intense downhill skiing, Sim and I met some friends from Charleston, Julia and Robert, who now live in Reno and are awesomely cool x's 5million. The nice thing about having friends who are more hardcore than you, is that they push you to do new and exciting things that you would not ordinarily think to do...or necessarily want to. We met for a day of snowshoeing/mountain climbing at Maggie's Peak, which overlooks Emerald Bay. I'd never snowshoed before, but Julia set a kind pace, and up we went. Their 10-year old lab, Goose, also demonstrated the proper snow climbing dog technique for Beulah and Mirren, who thought he was a total stud. This dog apparently goes back country skiing with Robert, and roots in the snow like a blissed out pig, dizzy with pleasure.
Every time we'd get to a lookout point, I'd be relieved and think we were done, but we kept going up and up, for about two and a half hours and over 8,600 feet. And that last 100 almost killed me. Breathing like an obscene phone caller, kick stepping up the steep incline, only pride kept me from saying, "Far enough." It was worth it. I mean...just look at it.
To the east, we could see over the entire lake, with tiny seaplanes that looked like dragonflies, and to the west, the Desolation Wilderness. Robert met some friends of his who had snowshoed up with telemark skis, and was able to advise them on how best not to go down the cliff side of the peak.
We tried a few times for a good picture, but usually ended up with dog hinies or the blur of Headless Simons.













Going down was the most fun, since you can lean back on your shoes and slide down almost like skiing. The boys took these flying troilistic leaps off of boulders, landing in a puffy heap at the bottom, which sounded for all the world like pillow fighting...WHUMP!
As soon as I can move my arms, I want to do it again.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I Heart My Dog


Here’s how the discussion with the vet went yesterday:

Um, yeah, so the dog has some massive diarrhea, right? Really bad.
...
Since Valentine’s Day.
...
Oh, no, not the whole time. Off and on. I’d make an appointment to bring her in, and then it would go away, so I’d cancel it.
...
Actually, there could be a lot of reasons for the “episodes.”
...
Well, let's see. On Valentine’s she stole some lamb from off the table. She might have swallowed some bones, but I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure it was the Bordeaux reduction that made her so sick. But that passed…so to speak. All over the living room. Oh, and the hallway too.
...
No, no, that’s not all. She’s also been in the mountains and drank some streamwater and got two ticks. That was on President’s Day.
...
No, still more. She broke into the bathroom and ate everything…toilet paper, soap, cough drops, a bunch of vitamins, but we made her drink hydrogen peroxide and puke all that up. When? Oh that was….last Wednesday.
...
No, no, she puked up everything she’s eaten for an entire lifetime, so we’re pretty sure she didn’t digest any vitamins. And she didn’t have any diarrhea then anyway.
...
No, no, still not all…she also climbed onto the kitchen table and stole a really nice loaf of Italian bread from the top of the refrigerator…that was on Friday. Yeah, she crapped up the house pretty good that night. She also ate some butter, I guess to go with the bread.
...
She’s on Prednisone for her persistent paw licking, and no, we can’t take her off of it. But she was this bad before the Prednisone.
...
Yes, our dog IS the devil. How did you know?
...
$202? For this dog, I consider that a steal. Cured!

Monday, February 26, 2007

wintry

Everyone here keeps saying how droughtish we are and how much we need this constant sog, but I can’t stand it. I’m wringing my hands and wandering around the house picking up objects and putting them down again, and I need more sun. In Charleston, we have great big crashing thunderstorms and drama and torrential downpours, but then, it’s over. There isn’t this lingering drizzly pall for days on end, where the dog won’t go outside unless propelled by a booted foot, and all my coats are damp, and its so depressing. What is with this rain?

I guess, on the other hand, that it means snow, and YES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, this is essential because I now have SKIS! Cross country ones. And ski boots and ski poles and ski gloves and a brand new spanking pair of somewhat flattering ski pants. I say somewhat flattering, because I’ll be damned if women’s ski products have changed since George Mallory. If they aren’t jammed up your hiney in ways that make it impossible to sit, then they force un-hardcore types like moi to reenact Hammertime in the foyer of the Marmot store. I know that the important thing is their wicking function and sub-zero wind sheer, but who skis in parachute pants? Simons, who used to work at Marmot after college and was talking with all of his outdoor buddies and using ridiculous phrases like “agro” and “jammin’ uphill” and “totally sweet solo ascent on Whitney,” tried to pretend like we were not together. The truth is he’s just jealous that he and MC Hammer aren’t tight.

And guess what else I bought this weekend! Guess! Guess! You’ll never guess. (And you won’t care when I tell you.) Here’s a hint: it involves sheep. No, it wasn’t an early anniversary gift for Simons. It’s wool!

Sonia and I attended Stitches West on Saturday, which is a knitting conference . There, we rolled around in vats of cashmere and alpaca and fended off other buyers with pointy sticks…because we’re cool like that. Seriously, there was fancy yak wool that cost $65 per 20 grams or so, and handcarved rosewood needles and trendy knitting bags and every kind of yarn and knitted lingerie and books and koigu galore. Every pattern and fiber and spinning wheel and loom under the sun was in one building, and Sonia and I scurried around like the yarn harlots we are, and I spent at least five hours worth of writing on enough wool for a new fancy finger weight scarf and an alpaca sweater in cream. And I bought needle bags and patterns and a new Kenya market basket to hold everything in…although I refuse to feel any remorse for that, since the woman was there representing a basket weaving co-op in Kenya and Tanzania. And if you’ve ever been there, you know if anything is going to get better in rural Africa, it’s the women who are going to do it.

So soon the yarn for Andy and Harriott’s wedding present will be here, which will take me months, and I also have enough yarn for two scarves, four or five hats, one more baby sweater, five pairs of baby booties, two sweaters, four pairs of socks and a shawl. I’d take pictures but my camera is broken. And no one cares except me anyway, especially not Simons who cackles every time a moth flies through the window and I have a panic attack. He is bored rigid by wool.

For instance, I nearly brought the alpaca to Holly’s dinner party on Friday, but Simons said, “Why? Is the sweater for her? No? Well, then why would she care?” And he has a point. So I went with wine and chocolate bread pudding and Provencal napkins instead, and we drank FAR, FAR too much wine, and ate almost enough cheese to satisfy even me. Holly is an excellent cook, and her quiche and gratin potatoes with gruyere and lashings (I love that word) of crème were fabulous. I wanted to take some home but felt tacky asking. Their apartment has rewarded their many hours of suffering and trips across the bay to Ikea and Target by being positively adorable and monochromatic except for these glorious splashes of color from Sean’s photographs of their Asian adventures. Hopefully Sean will recuperate enough so that they can accompany us on our Tahoe trip next weekend, so Holly, GO BUY SKIS!

And one last thing, did anyone else feel sorry for Peter O’Toole last night? I didn’t even see Venus, and I wanted him to win. Poor old guy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Want to hear a lot of whining, come sit by me...

Oh, Internet, you're so nice to me. You compliment my wedding dress and agree that my husband has adorable dimples and give me pat-pats for my scary girl problems. It was such a relief just to write about it, I really feel much better now. Only one more week until I get this all taken care of, and if I’ve lasted three weeks, one more won’t kill me. Unless, of course, it does…(cough, cough, lolls weakly on the couch)

In case you’ve been wondering how I’ve been spending my time, let me report that Simons’ sweater, the one I’ve been knitting since Christmas, is at the finisher's getting its zipper put in. After all that work, I wasn’t about to screw it up by sewing it. All in all, this sweater will have taken two and a half months (three and a half counting the wait for the yarn to come from Uruguay) and about $200. I could have purchased him the same sweater made from the chin hairs of infant Ibex goats for the same price and he would have had it immediately. He wouldn’t have had to see me rip it out and reknit it at least four times and curse and cry and screech and rip, rip, rip, redo. God, I hope the damned thing fits.

We also took a trip down to Big Sur for the President’s Day weekend.
It was awesome. And I mean that in the Victorian sense of the word, because every time we turned a corner, our jaws dropped and Simons nearly swerved off the highway. There were so many tiny coves, smashed with spectacular blue waves and foam and insane rock formations, all very violent and dramatic.
I was terrified that Sim would try to surf something just on the principle of being there, but he did not. Instead, we found a bakery with croissants the size of your head, and we hiked in Los Padres National Forest, which allows dogs. So Beulah charged about on the trail and greeted everyone and swam underwater in extremely cold mountain streams with just her little wagging bottom poking out, because she is a crazy dog. We are determined to go back and spend three or four days backpacking there, so we can make it to the Sykes hot springs. At a ten mile hike, it was far too long to do in one day, and we’ve been looking for a place where we can bring Dog and spend a few days in the backcountry. The redwoods are unbelievable, and what better way to end a hard day of hiking with a soak in a secluded hot spring?

It’s a good thing the weekend was so lovely, because yesterday was a craptacular waste of time. I finished my work, wrangled with clients WHO DON’T READ THE WORK I SEND IN AND THEN ASK ME 45 QUESTIONS ABOUT IT THAT WOULD BE SELF EXPLANATORY HAD THEY BOTHERED. Said clients might also go back in their email messages and see where I requested photo specs WEEKS AGO, so how could it possibly be an emergency NOW?

Ahem, excuse me…

And then I stocked the house with food, baked muffins, cooked, stirred and chopped AND did eight loads of laundry. Eight, people. And when my husband came home from work, did he remark in the nicely folded mountain of boxers on the bed? No. Did he dance around at the scent of banana peanut butter muffins permeating our sparkly clean apartment? No he did not. Did he exclaim over the food I’d made him for him to take for lunch today, or over the penne with chicken, mushrooms and asparagus in lemon cream sauce I made for dinner? The answer is NO. NO! NO! and NO!



In other unpleasant news, I am growing horns. On my face. In the manner of an unattractive adolescent rhinoceros. Or maybe it is a second- third- and fourth-head sprouting, since I am so smart that my primary brain cannot contain my brilliance and requires backup for mundane matters…such as PARKING. Have any of you people ever gotten a $500 parking ticket? Does that seem somewhat unconscionable to you? Does anyone have any experience with persuading the California DMV to at least halve the fine? Who do I sign the firstborn child over to?

And for anyone who is already calling the SPCA on my landlord, go ahead and call it on me. Beulah has been spanked and tied to the back door this morning for stealing banana peanut butter muffins FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE, and later scolded and threatened about a jillion times with eternal bucketdom for feasting on her tasty ear medicine. God, I swear that stuff must taste like cream cheese frosting to her, because the second I put it in, she’s got half her hind leg rammed down there. Grooooooss! Anyway, this table thievery has to stop, since it’s giving her rotten indigestion. After she stole a bunch of lamb from the table during the 8th Annual I Hate Valentine’s Day Dinner Party Extravaganza, she had ED for three days. Now that is not cool.

I really need to get out more.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Antebellum

Okay, yes, I’ve been in hiding lately. I’ve had good reasons and bad reasons. The first is that I couldn't figure out what I wanted to say about the ball. I know that some people would prefer that I say nothing, and some would prefer a scathing reproach for the whole social convention. I don't really feel like either is appropriate, so I'll just tell you what it was like.

Simons and I had a lovely time and danced until two something and then stayed up till three admiring me in my wedding dress (or maybe it was just me admiring me). It fit like a glove, by the way, even slightly better than at the wedding, when perhaps I had been doing too much comfort eating. (Doubtless that was the last time I shall ever wear it, and the trauma of taking it off necessitated about fourteen cell phone pictures, some of which got sent to Holly in a fit of drunk text messaging.)

The ball was preceded by a beautiful cocktail party, and it felt like walking into another time, what with Charleston’s carriage blocks out front and the chandeliers and the ball gowns in every hue and cut imaginable. I was forced to stand in a corner, since my dress is not, shall we say, maneuverable, and was stood upon numerous times, most particularly by my husband, who was extremely handsome in his tails. Extremely handsome. Did I mention that he was handsome? So, so, so handsome? He really was.

[cold shower]

Simons and his sweet father, who was positively on a TEAR with excited bossiness, fetched me water and hors d’oeuvres, so the trapped-in-the-corner thing worked out nicely. People came by and chatted and stood on my dress and brought snacks and I did not pour anything down my front, which was a miracle of genetic resistance. Several people took pictures that turned out too white, thanks to my enormous expanse of white satin -- I said to put it in "snow" mode, but would anyone listen? Finally, Simons' dad insisted on driving us the three block trip to the Hibernian. I really wanted to walk, since, although chilly, I had my black opera cloak (yessss, finally an opportunity to wear it) and being tossed into a car with your petticoats flung up around your ears is most undignified, but I was overpowered and stuffed with absolutely no ceremony into a small sedan and sat grumpily wishing I’d never agreed to any of it. That soon passed, fortunately.

The hall was resplendent with flowers, and gentlemen in tails waiting to escort the ladies to the powder room, to repair bustles and sashes, powder noses, tape bosoms and various such feminine activities. The funny part was being “corralled” afterwards while waiting for one’s escort to come fetch you, since ladies must not walk anywhere alone…I daresay we might take over the world otherwise. I did wonder, what happens if a husband and wife get in a fight on the way there? Can he just leave her in the powder room all night? Would she sit there, impotently gnashing her teeth, plotting revenge and pacing the corral like a rabid mustang? Simons and I didn't fight, so I never had to find out.

The dancing was lovely, despite all of the…ahem, dancers. They really should dispense with the foxtrotting. No one foxtrots anymore. The box step is hard enough for most men without adding a toe touch in there to muddle them even worse. The waltzing went much better. Since this was the first year they allowed divorcees to attend, it was quite a crush (don’t I sound like Danielle Steele?) and the Grand Cotillions a work of multiple logisticians, with curlicues and waves and much rustling of skirts and imperious sweeping about. One went on so long, the maestro played every single marching song he knew, from America the Beautiful to Yankee Doodle.

Mr. X and I lead the march into supper, which was superb. He and his bride had the whole table collapsing with laughter, with stories of her French pug’s day in court. I wish I had a recording. The champagne was excellent, and I trust I did not drink so much that I discredited myself. Sim and I returned to the dance floor, where I danced with the most charming young marine, who was one of those people who really listens when you speak, which means you can’t just prattle on with absurd small talk. After speaking to him, Simons looked completely embarrassed and said he realized the same thing halfway through and had to stop talking out of his ass and really say something meaningful. He thought he’d convinced the guy to become an architect, he was so genuinely interested in Simons’ conversation. We both felt a little humble that this nice, gentlemanly kid had already been to Falujah three times.

Anyway, that was the ball, and now you know as much about the whole affair as I do. Lots of people said stuff to me about my blog, none of it bad, although it made me fairly twitchy. But that’s not the reason I haven’t been blogging.

The reason I haven’t been blogging is that my doctor told me I might have cervical cancer. This sucks in more ways than I know how to count. First, the way she told me was rather unfortunate. Her nurse called at ten till seven, forgetting the time difference, and said, “Hi, it’s Ann, Dr. Baker’s nurse. Did you get her message about your precancerous test results?

And I said, “No.”

And she went on about biopsies and other scary words that equal death and pain and not being around to admire my husband’s dimples every morning, until it suddenly occurred to her that I had said No and that I meant No and that she was scaring the crap out of me. So she transferred me to the doctor who talked me off the ledge and said I was “precancerous” which is not the same thing as “cancerous” at all.

The other thing that stinks is that it is very hard to find a doctor one feels comfortable with, and now I have to find a second one out here. And this new doctor can’t even see me until March 1. I heartily disapprove of anyone who gives you shitty news and then won’t let you fix whatever is wrong for thirty days. It’s just unfair.

I’m feeling enormously defective and stupid and nervous and tense, and all of this must continue for another few weeks, which just sucks, sucks, sucks.

So it may be something bad. It may be fixable. It may be nothing at all. But I didn’t want to tell all of you people until I had told my mom. Because my mom loves nothing more than a crisis, and can become unbearably managing in the event of one. On occasion, she will invent a crisis where there is none, just so she can manage it with the utmost of efficiency. For those of us who are not nearly so efficient, but who are thirty years old and occasionally like to feel in control of our lives, her normally endearing disaster management talents can become, shall we say, eye-bleedingly annoying?

So…I had nothing to think or write about beyond this one issue, and was positively exploding with the need to talk about it, but couldn’t tell my mother, because she would read about it and then the managing would happen and then the tears and remorse and finally the multiple phone calls with “helpful” information from various doctors and researchers and strangers she had found to take care of the problem. I had just a scrap of rational brain matter to get on with work and breathing and trying not to feel defective without all that. So, I’m sorry you had to wait, but there it is. Mom knows, and Mom has gritted her teeth and pulled up her socks and is going to let me handle this, all the while being there, gently and silently panicking, which I am grateful for….the being there part, not the panicking. Because although I said she loves nothing more than a crisis, I reckon she does. She loves me more.

Anyway, I'm sorry you had to wait, but I had good reason.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

oh My GOD!!!!!!

I hate our landlord. My desk faces out into the courtyard towards the street, and I just watched his very large Rhodesian Ridgeback attack my downstairs neighbor's aging pug. After he'd dragged his dog off the pug, he asked my neighbor if her dog was okay, had a whole conversation with her, and THEN kicked the hell out of his dog. I'm not really cool with kicking a dog to begin with, but his damned dog probably had no idea what it was being punished for at that point. He never has him on a leash, and is constantly scolding and shouting and directing him to do things that the dog does not understand...such as, "What do you think you're doing? Get over here!" What, does he think the dog is going to answer him?

It really pays to have a little dog psychology sometimes. Such as, walk your enormous lion-hunting breed of dog, because it wasn't designed to sit inside your apartment all day. Keep the dog on a leash so you can praise it instead of yell at it and beat it. Punish the dog the instant you catch it, not after it's just obeyed you by returning to your side. If you beat it AFTER it comes to you, it just learns not to come to you.

I really hate that man.

In other news, here is what I have done today: Knit a pair of gloves. Make dinner.

No really. That's it. I have about 10 articles to write by Friday, as well as, 15 entry pages to write for a marketing company's new client. The museum people are going to be assigning me the details of the project any day now. And all I can think about is starting this blanket for some friends of ours who are getting married and how much freaking wool I'll need.

WHAT IS MY DAMNED PROBLEM? WHY AM I SO LAZY????? WHY? WHY? WHY? THIS IS WHAT I'VE BECOME? This person who reads knitting websites and lazes about all day twiddling pointy sticks?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

deadline shmeadline

I've been staring at a blank screen for about three hours now, interspersed with caramel eating, tea making, sleeve knitting, desperate eyebrow tweezing, Vanity Fair reading, and now, caramel sicking. The meeting with this brand new editor is in 13.5 hours, and if I don't get it together between now and 10:30 tomorrow morning, things are going to get ugly.

And so is my figure if I don't drop the Werther's caramels.

The nasty thing about writer's block/distraction is that I can think of about 15 brilliant writing projects for OTHER magazines and projects. I feel like a goddamn genius, only NOT FOR THIS. GAH!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Are you ever...

...just glowing with the satisfaction of a career, that while perhaps not raking in the Gs, is actually paying the bills and rent and possible skiing weekends? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, freelancing is actually working out. Today I had an emergency (read, $$$) assignment from my regular publisher. Also got an invoice request from a potential monthly magazine, which confuses me a tad since I wasn't aware I was supposed to have any finished products done yet. Yesterday I sent a major pitch to a contact of Miss Nobody's. And a friend of ours here just got a contract for the new SF museum at the old Mint and wants me to write all the copy for the website and capital campaign.

God, that feels really good.

Yesterday was considerably less feminist, spent conquering the Matterhorn of laundry we have accumulated since CHRISTMAS. Yes, I have not done laundry since December 17th. (Well, not HERE anyway.) The pile, when combined with bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, blocked off the entire hallway and reached my neck. Very impressive, even for me. It reminded me of a school cheer my dad used to sing when he was being an especial pain:

We are the Haut Gap girls
We are them flying squirrel
We wear most everything from blue jeans on down
One day, I'll be a wife
Wash clothes the rest my life
Yessir, I'm a Haut Gap girl.

I also made about sixteen batches of peanut butter pecan chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Got dam, they were delish. I trotted a box of them down to my favorite knitting shop (Hello, June Cleaver?) and bought white merino wool to make baby booties for my niece's christening this weekend, and fingerless gloves for moi...the most HEAVENLY blue wool and silk yarn you've ever seen. I've been walking around freezing while everyone else wears my hats and gloves and mittens, and it's high time I made something for ME.

So tomorrow we fly off to Charleston again for the ball and to play with all the babies. Beulah is staying with her Uncle Charles here, and will doubtless ruin his life and apartment by the time we return to rescue him. He has this lovely minimalist apartment that was not made for galumphing devil dogs who hoist their stumpy bottoms up onto couch, regardless of whether you were sitting there first. Perhaps he will learn to love her bossiness and incessant paw chewing. Maybe he will even want to keep her.

I've been reviewing my adherence to the new years resolutions: So far I:
*Suck about giving Simons unwanted advice in the kitchen. It did save us from having to eat his nasty broiled steaks (flares nostrils with contempt). He did this on our first date, and I gnawed my way through that hockey puck as politely as I could. Who BROILS New York Strip?
*I did remember one birthday but forgot to send a card and had to call instead.
*I will have dinner with my godmother on her birthday, so I am making an effort not to be such an abysmal godchild.
*As far as keeping up the aunt and godmother relations, I will be seeing all of them in a few short days and come bearing knitted gifts (booties, leg warmers) and Chinese pj's from Chinatown and parasols.
*I have made several recipes from cookbooks, including the aforementioned cookies of delicious fatness, the coq au vin of doom, and my sister's crockpot mac and cheese of moo cow heaven. Also, this delicious pizza, pictured here.

*During these cooking adventures, I mastered the braiser and the slow cooker.
*So far I have run twice, gone to yoga not at all, and my new mat and weights sit shining in their unblemished newness on my TV table. They may sit there all year and become part of the colorful scenery of our home. South Beach has failed unless you're counting cookies, rice and pasta as vegetables.
*Simons and I did another three hour hike this weekend, and then tortured the dog's limp and broken frame while she languished on the couch. This is always good for some laughs, because she's too tired to bite us. If you tweak her toe hair, it makes her extra special mad.
*I have researched about three writing competitions, but haven't written anything yet
*And I did buy two extremely flattering pairs of jeans: Joe's and Sevens with the Sak's gift card from my mother-in-law. Isn't it amazing what an A-pocket can do for one's posterior?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Walking

Beulah and I had a glorious walk yesterday, after spending far too long indoors invoicing and doing difficult sums and coming up with wrong numbers. Also dealing with evil hags from New York who are making me FAIL IN MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS! HATE HER! HATE HER!

Anyhoo, it was extremely bright and cold and unbelievably windy, which made Beulah Dog awfully prancy. She almost dragged me right into the enormous grumper she left in front of the fancy nail salon on Polk Street. We walked down Union and then to Fort Mason, where the bay was a mass of whitecaps and screaming sailboats going about 100 miles an hour. We found a ball right next to this very tall gentleman.


















Alcatraz has this weird effect, where some days it will seem miles away. And then you look at it from Nob Hill or the streetcar and it seems like you could jump across to it, it's so close.













I saw this at the Aquatic Park and I'll be damned if I can tell what it's for. It's two storeys tall, has no stairs, and there's a second one facing it about a block away. I want answers.

I ought to have come home and done a spot of exercise (as if climbing Russian Hill from the Aquatic Park isn't enough). I have bought weights and a yoga mat (check, check), but haven't used them (boo). This week has been great for fruit and vegetables (check!), although Simons was very resistant with my suggestion that we go vegetarian for a month to jump start our approach to health. His response was to glare at me and start defrosting some hamburgers. Little Miss Nobody has sent me a great new freelancing possibility (thanks, Al!), which will hopefully result in some steady assignments. With enough of this long term work, I may be able to afford to blow off the NY hag permanently. Please, God. Please, God.

I did cook breakfast for Simons yesterday - French Toast- and started the cappuccino so that Simons could get in a good surf before work. So that's a ton of resolutions already working out! See, 2007 is going to be awesome.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

That Not So Fresh Feeling

Remember that post where Simons said I ought to talk about douching and menstruation a lot and nobody would read my blog anymore. Here it is.
















Yesterday was pretty uneventful, with work, a trip across town to the Haight, and a late afternoon of cooking coq au vin in my new braiser, compliments of Little Miss Nobody.

The roux smelled heavenly. The browned chicken thighs sent the dog into a whining spasm. I helped myself to a really delicious zinfandel while I cooked, plus used almost half of a bottle of good chianti that we’d accidentally left uncorked overnight and let spoil. The wine and pearl onions and mushrooms were delicious with our fat organic chicken (since old wizened rooster was unavailable). I steamed the rice with some of my rich chicken stock and delicately blanched some haricot verts and brussel sprouts to go with it.


Simons walked through the door and remarked how wonderful the apartment smelled, and poured himself a glass of wine for a relaxing dinner. And just as I was putting fork to mouth, I asked him how his day was and he dropped this bomb.

“I got a call from Mr. X at work today. Z emailed him your blog about the ball and Mr. X was really upset. I told X that I don’t read your blog, and he told me that I ought to and asked me to tell you not to write anything more about it.”

Indigestion accomplished.

Here’s the thing. I have known Mr. X for a long time and genuinely like him and think his wife hung the moon. So I’m pretty offended that 1) he ruined my coq au vin. I worked really hard at that dinner and didn’t get to taste a bite. 2) The fact that after Simons politely said he didn’t read my personal blog, because it would make him uncomfortable and make me censor myself, something my excellent husband doesn’t ever intend to do, Mr. X instructed him to do something that would come between a husband and a wife. (Um, hello?! What would Jesus do?) And 3) I haven’t even been to the damned ball yet and already this secret society is attempting to put this woman in her place.

Once I’m there, I understand that there are things I’m not allowed to do, and I’m not gauche enough to flout its conventions. I’m not that tacky. But attempting to silence me on my own blog is rude, wrong and chauvinist. If they don't like it, they can go to some other website and read something else. I was done writing about it, but now I’ve got my back up.

And I have to wonder why people are getting mad about the opinions of one little girl in San Francisco. Why are people so defensive if I’m writing about my own personal conflict with popular Southern traditions…lots of them, not just this one?

Clearly if they’re already telling me to shut up, and white males are already sending messages back and forth about my presumptuous online journal, I was right to be conflicted. Something stinks in Denmark, people.

My sister tells me that it’s important to maintain relationships so that our children will be able to join this particular society, and honestly, I am not sure I want that. I don’t know that it’s the best example of the kind of citizenship I want to encourage in my children. I’ve been considering adoption rather than natural childbirth, and supposing we adopted a child of another race or culture, I wonder how welcome he would be. I wonder she would fit in Charleston’s schools, its clubs, its businesses, its organizations.

I love Charleston, despite and even because of its turmoil. It’s home. My home, and I’m allowed to think and write whatever I like about it. My in-laws are so excited for us to be there, and I love them for being that way. Since last night’s brouhaha, I feel badly that I’m not as excited as I’m expected to be for this honor. It’s not that I don’t recognize that it is one. There are a lot of girls who would have given their eyeteeth to be in my position. I appreciate that fully. You have no idea.

But I was the one selected- ME. And they chose a bride who was a feminist, a liberal, a chef, a writer, a do gooder, a runner, a knitter, a smartass, an idealist. They chose me. That’s who they’re getting, and I’m not going to suddenly be someone else.

I’m going to go, and I’m going to dance and have fun, and I’m not going to talk about my blog with anyone, so I deeply hope that no one is gauche enough to ask about it or hint or do anything else that will make me uncomfortable and force me to say something quelling. I haven’t been rude, so it will be up to someone else to throw down the gauntlet of tackiness. I consider this matter closed.