Stealing a meme from Librarisaurus Rex. Stealing is fun. Go ahead, steal this from me, you'll see.
1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Commuted more than five miles away from where I live to get to work every day. I am now a card-carrying member of car culture. And it sucks. And I watched the Bachelor this year for the first time ever. And that sucked too. Wow, way to start off the list all cheery!
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Honey please. I'm living in the now, dude.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! Babies were shooting out all over the place. Most notably, Neighbor J and B had a sparkly eyed girlie who is now locomoting herself around town via her patented rolling technique, and friends H and J had a little zen baby who looks at you with eyes that say "'whatsa haps?" And lots more babies. All destined to be more mature than I am in a year or two.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, although it was pretty damn close this year. Too close. That shit was the real deal.
5. What countries did you visit?
The good 'ol US of A had to be the only resting place for mine asseth this year. That's ok. Sometimes I think I have spent enough time on a plane in the first 25 years of my life to last me forever. Oh, but I did get to go see Frankenmuth. Which should totally be its own fake German nation.
6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Healthy, healthy loved ones. All of them! I don't want to hear ONE SNEEZE out of the lot of you! Because I have HAD IT. A robot vacuum cleaner would be nice too.
7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory?
H and R being born, a Most Shocking Day at work (and I am not easily shocked but this one was a doozy which I wish I could tell you about except I would surely get dooced), the day my dad had a stroke, finding out that my sis-in-law has MS, finding out that Nordic Boy's mom has a combination of serious health ailments, the day when my brother went into the hospital (what a pattern this is, huh?), sitting in my parents' back yard with my mom, dad, and Nordic Boy when my dad got out of the hospital and me just soaking in the precious time that we had together, eating cupcakes in the middle of the night with Alli and Map, having an official Librarian Girl and Bio-Girl Day of Fun (much like Joey and Janice's Day of Fun, except, you know, we like each other), getting to see ex-roomie Palindrome for a day or two and playing with my nephew.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Having a laugh each day, even when things were bad. (You know how the catchphase on Extras that Ricky Gervias always says is "Is she havin' a laugh?" Yeah, that's me. I'm having a laugh.)
9. What was your biggest failure?
I stopped categorizing things I do as failures a long time ago. That shit is toxic. Not doing that.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, I made it through another year in tact.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A washer and dryer. Not an iPod, or a trip, or an exciting pair of shoes, but a washer and dryer. God I'm old.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Did I tell you about the time I didn't whine about being cold? Ok, ok, spotlight off of me. I had a couple of friends who were just the most kick-ass support system ever when all the family health crises were going down. Most notably K and Bio-Girl. Nordic Boy and I were barely functioning for a while there and you two rocked the hizzy. And everyone else that helped us out too. So much kindness out there.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
World events certainly can make my mood go over into the bad place.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, mortgage, mortgage. Oh, and um, my mortgage.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Ok, I am starting to sound like a one-note Sally, but I was obviously excited when my Dad started to pull through. On a more superficial note, I was also excited by Lost and Battlestar Galactica (shut it, I know it's geeky), the final Harry Potter book (geek points going ever higher), finding a really great pair of jeans, and hosting Alli and Map in my town.
16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Stronger by Kanye West (which I could totally spit out word for word for you which you would think I wouldn't be advertising but hey, whatevs). And What Ever Happened by the Strokes. Neither of these have anything at all to do with what actually happened in '07. I just heard these two songs a lot.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier, baby.
b) thinner or fatter? Who the hell is counting? Not me.
c) richer or poorer? About the same, I think. Maybe a tad richer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I haven't been arting as much as I would have liked during the year.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent it with Nordic Boy and blood-sucking zombies and Will Smith.
21 is missing. Couldn't be bothered to stick around, apparently.
22. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Every damn day.
23. How many one-night stands?
365 in a row. What a hoochie!
24. What was your favorite TV program?
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
What kind of jacked up question is this?? The yearly hatred question? I'd have to say that my hatred levels are all about the same as they were last year.
26. What was the best book you read?
Asking a librarian this question is like kicking him/her in the mouth. OUCH! I plead the fifth.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I re-discovered Radio Department this year. I loved them and then sort of forgot about them. Now the love, it be renewed.
28. What did you want and get?
29. What did you want and not get?
A nice yard.
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn't have one. Movies weren't really grabbing me this year. I liked the Queen with Helen Mirren in it.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Sick, weilding tissues, hacking up a lung, cancelling birthday plans, and mad as HELL. I felt like I was turning older than dirt.
32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I missed out on my annual Oregon beach trip with my best pals this year. I wish we would have gone because the year just didn't seem right without it.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Head to toe fabulous, of course. Same as every year.
34. What kept you sane?
Who says I was kept sane? Clearly, meme-question-writer, you don't know me.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Who did I "fancy?" Oh, I don't know. Jonathan Rhys Myers is a cutie.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Iraq, of course. The situation in Myanmar. Now Pakistan.
37. Who did you miss?
Too many people to name, sadly. This meme is starting to bum me out.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
Well, the two new babies in my life are right up there. And when you ask "best NEW person," they are definitely that. New people, that is.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:
Dancing around and singing nonsense songs can always cheer you up in a pinch.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"And you were not a dot dot dot
waiting for me to complete you
and it was like I just forgot
to measure everything that I do"
2007 was a kick in the crotch and walk in the park all at the same time. I smiled a lot and worried a lot, and I tried to grow up and I felt about a hundred years old too. 2007 was just more of my life and that life is pretty damn good. I can't wait for more. Bring it!
Stealing a meme from Librarisaurus Rex. Stealing is fun. Go ahead, steal this from me, you'll see.
What do you do if you:
a) have a fear and hatred of cold weather the likes of which is so out of control that all of your friends and family tell you that you need psychological treatment because you whine so goddamn much about it; and
b) have the day off although you just had one on account of it being Jesus' birthday; and
c) don't have your gloves, hat and scarf with you; and
d) are wearing shoes that can not in any way be described as "weatherproof" or "practical"; and
e) are witnessing icy rain pelt down in a sideways fashion?
You decide, as you're driving back from the store, that you need to go to the plant nursery, of course. The outdoor plant nursery. Just for the pure joy of being completely underdressed for December in Seattle and to see just how wet one can get while running around trying to find a good deal on some plants. And to remember with nostalgia what it was like to not be able to feel your hands and then to feel them painfully thaw out just as you did as a child growing up in Michigan. And to watch a droplet of moisture actually freeze up on the end of your beloved's nose as he tries to pick out a lovely evergreen shrub before it gets too dark. And to experience what a huge nursery is like when there is not one other person there. Even the people who work there are huddled inside. Buncha wusses.
You do this because you have a coupon for this nursery that expires on December 29. And the savings are too great to pass up. And even as you curse your parents for making you so pathologically frugal, you run around the nursery just the same, milking the coupon for all it's worth, even though the experience is making you seriously consider peeing in your pants just to feel a few seconds of warmth in your nether regions which you fear may never have feeling again.
At the end of it all, you have some new winter plants, at a STEAL of a price, and a compliment that you never thought you would hear.
Nordic Boy: (on the way home) Wow. You didn't even whine once. That WHOLE TIME.
At the close of 2007, this is the biggest statement of progress one could make about me. I'm so proud.
Even Nordic Boy was cold. And he's NORDIC.
I have only posted 7 times this month. After the post-a-day binge of November, I have gone on some kind of crazy posting-fast for I'm not sure what reason. So although I am not much of a New Year's Resolution kind of lady, I am going to give myself until the first of the year to get my shit together and post more come 2008.
I hope you all had some days off of work this week. As far as I am concerned, that is the best part about this time of year. Well, that and the cookies. I was going to tell you all about my existential feelings about the Christmas holiday but then I realized that the liklihood that you all would give a flying figgy pudding about that is pretty slim.
So instead of doing that, I'll tell you what I did on Christmas.
1. Nordic Boy and I are not big Christmas celebrators. In order to explain this further I would have to go into that existential Christmas feelings thing I was talking about before, so don't ask. We don't give each other presents or anything like that, usually. This year, we decided we would exchange a couple of things. Small things, no wrapping required. I got a pop culture crossword book (score!) and a pair of earrings from my favorite handmade store. He got a whole mess of socks and some new pens, the type of which I know he likes to use on his blueprints for work. Nordic Boy loves socks. And pens. We were both genuinely overjoyed with our gifts. They were the kind of gifts that only we would have gotten for each other. What a coupla geeks.
2. We stayed in our pajamas and read books on the couch while sharing a blanket until lunch time.
3. Nordic Boy made us his famed grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and we watched the snow fall outside of our window.
4. At 1pm, while still in our pajamas, one of us said "let's go to a movie!" We got ready in five minutes, jumped in our car, and went to the movie theater to see what was playing. We ended up with tickets to "I am Legend" which started at 1:30.
5. Saw Will Smith battling zombies on crack using fire bombs, automatic weapons, and hand-to-hand combat. Happy birthday, Jesus!
6. Got home and made a big dinner and ate and talked.
7. And talked, and talked.
8. And talked some more.
Here's to the close of another year. I had the perfect day and I hope you all have one too, whatever that may look like.
If I had to describe Nordic Boy with a list of adjectives, one of the top things I would say about him is that he is patient. I think this is part of what makes him so good at designing and building stuff. He takes his time to think it through, and he never gets frustrated with the process. As obstacles or problems arise, he just deals with them as they come, and he doesn't have that impulse that so many people have (ahem, cough cough, ME) to hurry up and be done with something. He does things wholly for the process, not rushing toward the result. Other qualities that I think of as quintessentially him (thoroughness, thoughtfulness, craftsmanship) are secondary- I don't think he would have these other things if he wasn't the poster child for patience.
Hey, remember that Guns N Roses song? Patience? Am I remembering it wrong, or is there a part to that song where Axel Rose just sort of lets out this long note where he's not really saying anything? Sort of an aaaahh-eeeeeh-aahhhh-eeeeeeh-aaaaah sound? Am I totally hallucinating that?
Anywho. Nordic Boy and I had this conversation last night, and after it was over, I laughed until I wanted to die, it hurt so bad. And I am walking around today, and it is STILL FUNNY. I keep cracking myself up over it. It may be one of those stories where you had to be there, or you have to really know Nordic Boy and me in person to really get how gut-busting funny it is, but what the heck. I'm telling you anyway.
Nordic Boy was watching "Ask This Old House" last night, and I was doing a crossword. I happened to look up, and there weren't any familiar faces on the screen. No Norm, no Kevin, no Tom, no Roger. It was some random guy I had never seen before, doing the project. I was about to ask who they were, but then the scene changed and there was Norm and Kevin and the whole familiar gang again.
Me: Who was that guy?
Nordic Boy: That was the electrician.
Me: (thinking that he wasn't understanding that I was referring to the guy who was on the screen a second ago, and not the guy who was on the screen now) But who was that other guy?
Nordic Boy: The electrician. He's not on here as regularly.
Me: (Still thinking he wasn't getting who I was talking about). No, not this guy. The guy before. Who was that guy?
Nordic Boy: He was the electrician. Not on every time. You probably just didn't recognize him.
Me: The other one. The one BEFORE. Who was he?
Nordic Boy: He was the electrician.
Me: The one in the BLUE SHIRT. Who was he?
Nordic Boy: He was the electrician.
Me: The one with the blue shirt?
Nordic Boy: Yep. He was the electrician.
Me: Not Roger (on the screen now). The one from before. The one with the DARK blue shirt.
Nordic Boy: He was the electrician.
I am not even kidding you guys. This entire conversation, Nordic Boy knew exactly who I was referring to, and he answered my question. And I kept, like a frickin' moron, re-asking it. Thinking he wasn't with me. Clarifying my question for him. Re-clarifying it. Oh, he was with me alright. He was with me from the first five seconds of the conversation. And yet. His voice never wavered. He never sounded the least bit exasperated by my vitriolic badgering. He never went to the place of "OH MY GOD YOU GODDAMN LUNATIC. I KNOW WHO YOU MEAN. HE'S THE MOTHERSUCKING ELECTRICIAN NOW STOP ASKING ME." He answered it each time, calmly, lovingly. No problem.
This went on for a few more rounds. He never made me feel like an ass, although clearly, well. Yeah.
When I finally caught up to this conversation I had been having, where he had said to me about twenty gajillion times that "he is the electrician," I realized how insane this was. And how patient he is. And his level of patience was just so FUNNY. How long would he have kept working with me, his slow-witted lover? How many times would he have sublimely informed me of the dark blue shirted electrician? 20? 30? I'm almost sad that I caught on, because now we'll never know.
I laughed about that all night last night. And today. As I washed my face and he brushed his teeth I would bring it back up. "So what you're saying is, that guy was the electrician?" and that would start me off laughing all over again.
Patience. It's awesome. Aaaaahhhheeeeeeaaaaaahhheeeeeeeahhhhh.
Who was that guy?
The year is winding down and so all you are going to see from all sides is Attack of the Year's Recaps. There will be countdowns aplenty and people summing up the year and pontificating about the best songs, the worst shows, the most fascinating people, the most intriguing artisanal cheeses, the top-rated beard groomers, and the must-have nun-habits of 2007. And there will be lots of bloggers tagging other bloggers with year-end recap memes, and although I tecnnically have not yet been tagged, I am anticipating that I will so I am going to declare myself tagged. I should have thought of this technique a long time ago. This way, when I wasn't picked for the dodgeball team in middle school, I coulda just said "eff you, effers. I pick myself for your team. Deal with that."
Two things about that little imaginary anecdote there.
1. I used to get picked pretty quickly for dodgeball. Not first, but somewhere in the front of the middle. So I didn't have that whole picked-last trauma that everyone else seems to have. I have never understood that mathematically- how can SO MANY people have picked-last trauma? If everyone in the world was getting picked last, then who the hell was getting picked first and second and third?
2. I never would have said "eff you, effers" in middle school. I would have said something way more cussy. I had a rotten mouth back in the day. Sorry Mom.
Then, after I had tagged myself for Recapping Fun, I started to think about my year. And I started to type. And you know what? The really Big Events of my 2007...kind of sucked. I mean, I started to look at it and I realized how Eeyore-like it all sounded. First of all, my beloved Dad got sick. Really super serious scary sick. Second of all, my BFF lived far away and this was the first time in years that I hardly ever saw her, which totally felt weird. Third, another (former) BFF of mine, after a couple of years of The Chop Chop Salad between us, finally bowed out of my life for good and it truly broke my heart in a way that was in the back of my mind for much of my year...
Jeez, Wheezy. What kind of jacked up list is that? Because I hadn't thought my year was so bad until I actually started writing this list out. In fact, I had been under the delusion that the year had been ok. Good, even. Because in my head, on a day to day basis, I think about things a certain way that is actually quite sunny. For example, when my dad was sick, I was really upset, yes, but I was also really full of love for him, and I spent a ton of time thinking about how lucky I am to have had a dad like I do, and how many people I know that don't have such great dads. So in the midst of feeling sad about what was happening, I was also feeling at peace about it, in a weird way. I'm not trying to minimize the worry that I felt. I was scared shitless, believe me. But to sum up the whole event by putting it on a list as "my dad almost died in '07" just doesn't feel like a fair assessment of what happened and how it affected my life.
So I'm going to take myself right back off the Recapping Train. At least in the way that I have seen it done, which makes you have to reduce your life into the really big deal events. My life is more than the really big deal events. It's all the little things that add up to my year.
Freaking out the Gap ladies.
Rating men and MEN.
Talking in my sleep for the first time ever.
Running around with a horde of librarians.
Going green by subtracting some green.
Becoming an auntie.
Keeping Nordic Boy alive.
Talking on the phone a lot. And always about very important matters of state.
Living in Operaland.
Showing you a 9th grade note.
Showing me some love.
Getting beat up for beauty.
Being cold. I talked about being cold a lot. A really lot.
These are the things that made up my life in 2007. I can't reduce it more than that. Life is, to me, by and large, silly. Day to day weirdo stuff. I'm trying really hard not to use the phrase "fabric of my life" since that will just make everyone think about cotton. But you get what I'm saying right? Life is made of the small things. The unrecappable.
What are the small moments that happened to you in '07? Comment or write about them on your blog.
Look at that. I totally just picked you for my dodgeball team.
In the car, radio on, flippin' zee channels. Nordic Boy and I, totally silent.
"Oh Yeah" by Yello comes on.
Me: Ferris Bueller!
Nordic Boy: The Secret of My Success!
Me: Starring Michael J. Fox!
Nordic Boy: Planes, Trains and Automobiles!
Me: Oh my god! You are on a roll!
Nordic Boy: Teen Wolf!
Me: Really? This song was in Teen Wolf?
Nordic Boy: And K-9!
Me: Oh my god. You didn't just say K-NINE.
Nordic Boy: This song is in everything. From the 80s.
Me: And you remembered like, all of them.
Satisfied silence for the rest of the ride.
I guess it's no secret to you that I watch tv. And contrary to what the I-never-watch-tv contingent may say about me (you know them, the folks who are all "who is Scooby Doo? Never heard of him"), I am not a person whose mind is made into a lump of gelantinous mush by my tv intake. My mind is a gelatinous mush for other reasons, like staring at taillights on the freeway for an hour of my day every day, but not because of the evil tube de la boob. On the contrary, I would argue that I am more of a critical thinker because of my tv-watching. I can break down the pre-feminist tropes layered with hegemonic displays of the dysfunctional american work ethic on top of christian litotes with a side of classist paradox that underlies almost any episode of Little House on the Prairie you care to throw at me. It's all in there, and I see it just fine.
In fact, most of the time I think I go too far in the opposite direction- like I am so critical of the stuff I see on tv that I don't believe any of it may actually reflect reality. My first inclination is to think that the crazy marketing people are trying to sell me an idea of what life is like and that that totally doesn't exist. For example, I don't think that most men really find bony ladies attractive. I don't care how many times I see Keira Knightly's skeleton poking through her skin. I am just not buying it. I might be wrong about this, I can admit that. Perhaps there is a whole army of dudes out there that want to feel a nice set of brittle ribs jabbing them when they go in for a little action and I am deluding myself to think otherwise. But I can't help it. It's on tv so it must not be true.
Here's another thing that I find hard to believe that I learned from tv. I had to be proven wrong to make my mind wrap around it. Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers go buck wild at Big Box stores? I didn't believe in that, for the most part. I mean, I know that that is a Very Busy Day in retail world. I have worked retail during the holidays, so I know. But people getting up at the crack of ass and camping out all night in order to get a deal on a HD tv set? Really? Come on. No way. Don't believe the hype!
Except then I read this account of just such a crazy happening on a blog friend's blog. And I was shown that what I had learned on tv was TRUE. Say what? Next thing you'll be telling me is that the ladies on the Bachelor really ARE in love with Random Dude of the Season, and that Charlie Rose is as stoned on the chronic as he appears.
The other night, when Bio-Girl was here visiting, we were watching Chuck. (Stop making fun of us for watching Chuck. You are talking to someone who watched Dance Fever right up through the Adrian Zmed years so Chuck is small potatoes in my book). And there was this scene, where Chuck (he's supposed to be a geek but in that cute Jimmy Fallon sort of way) is alone in his apartment and his love interest (who is so totally a Marcia Brady/Christine Taylor copy) knocks on the door. As he answers the door, there is Christmas music playing in his apartment. I am talking grandma style, choral, churchy pew Christmas music. The kind where it's all falsetto and you can just see the choir robes and giant hymn books and all the words are sung with a really dropped jaw. So instead of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," it's "Awww Cahhhhm All Yeh Fethhh foool, jawwwfool ahnd try-uhhhhm-phuuuunt..."
Me: Oh come ON. Look at this marketing of Christmas! Who hangs out at home and listens to granny Christmas music, especially if you're in your 20s, cute, hip, trendy? Who's going to buy that Chuck and the Marcia look-alike are rocking out to this?
Bio-Girl: (Chagrined silence.)
Me: I mean just LISTEN TO THAT. It's totally unbelievable. WHO DOES THAT?
Bio-Girl: Um. I do.
Me: (back pedal, back pedal!) Oh, I mean, hey, you know, I get it. You're a Christmas celebrator person and that's cool. You probably listen to some Nat King Cole or a little Dean Martin, or Burl Ives. I'll even give you Perry Como or Funky Funky Christmas by New Kids on the Block. But I'm talking about that style!! Come ON. "Haaawk the Herrold Ain-jells Si-hing!"
Bio-Girl: Yeah. I know. I listen to that.
Well I'll be a monkey's ball sack. Honestly. I didn't know. I thought this was all bullshittery that the evil tv makers want us to believe in, because it makes us buy more tinsel covered dental floss and stuff.
That's it. TV reflects reality. Lifeguards really do run in slow motion like on Baywatch and Cops really do break out into musical numbers like Cop Rock. It's all happening, people. To see what life is really like, watch the teevee.
And to all you hipster hotties out there who are rocking out to the Grandmaw Tabernacle Choir, I salute you. And I apologize.
Awww tahh-nenbahhhm awww tahh-nenbahhhm....
You have so been checking back here, day after day, just WAITING for me to finish the Taco story, haven't you? You know you have.
Please. Just let me have my delusions.
I'm going to start Part Deux with a word about Taco's friend, Dave. They were best friends, and in best friend world, it was clear who was who. Taco was the Hot One. Dave was the Funny One. They sat next to each other in choir, and so as I tried to worm my way into Taco's good graces, I also got to know Dave. And shit, you guys. Dave cracked my ass UP. And he was so nice. In retrospect, he is so OBVIOUSLY the one I should have been macking on. But no. I only had eyes for the Tacola.
Anyway. There were days where our choir teacher would make all of us get up and mix up where we sat. The point of it was that he wanted us to be able to sing our part of the harmony, even if we were sitting next to someone who was singing a different part of the harmony right in our ear. One day, when we mixed it up like this, I happened to be sitting next to Dave, in the third row. Taco was way up in the front row. And Taco kept looking over his shoulder at Dave and me, and the two of them kept making these faces at each other. And then Taco started to mouth these words to Dave, right in front of me: "I'm going to ask her! I'm going to ask her." After which Dave and he would look at me significantly. Dave's face was bright red at the mortification of me seeing this exchange. But I didn't care.
Taco was going to ask me something!! I swear to you sparks must have flown out of my panties.
The day passed, and no asking of any kind was happening. Rats! That's ok though. I was willing to wait.
Oh, and I forgot a slight detail. Taco had a girlfriend. The lead soprano in the choir. They had been dating for over a year, which was, in high school terms, like being an old married couple. But this holiday season, there had been trouble in tenor-soprano heaven. They had fought and were in Ross and Rachel land ("on a break.") So see, technically, Taco was free. And now that he was free, he wanted to ASK ME A QUESTION.
That night, our choir was going out as a group to bring food to some needy families in our town. We loaded up our bus with all kinds of presents and food and rode around town dropping the stuff off. And that night, Taco (with Dave in tow most of the time) would not leave me alone. He never quite sat next to me, but he was sitting behind me, or in the seat in front of me. There was more significant looking. Dave cracked jokes in the background, and we all laughed, the three of us. Merry, merry times. I was giddy with excitement.
After the bus ride, we all went over to a friend's house for hot chocolate. I remember it vividly. I was sitting on a couch while Holiday Inn with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby played on tv in front of me. And who should happen along, but Taco. He plopped down in between me and my friend Donna who was sitting next to me, and turned his head toward her and started to chat it up. And I sat there, with my eyes on the screen, watching Fred Astaire and his crazy Firecracker dance, and thought about the fact that Taco's leg was touching my leg. It was too good to be true. Finally, he stopped talking to Donna and started watching the movie with me. There were people all around, flopped down on the floor and on either side of us. The place was packed. And as we sat there, not talking, he put his hand next to my hand. The backs of our hands were now touching. We're talking skin on skin, people. All we would have had to do was turn our hands over, and we would have been holding hands. But I didn't do it. And neither did he. We just sat there and watched that movie, knuckle to knuckle, with Fred Astaire tapping the shit out of that movie in front of us.
The following week, Dave called me up on the phone. In typical buddy fashion, we talked and joked and laughed, and I didn't have the bawls to ask him about Taco.
Him: What are you doing right now? You hungry?
Me: Totally. You?
Him: Yeah. Let's go get something to eat.
Awesome. Time for me to grill the best friend about the knuckle-make-out that had gone on and what it all meant. Dave was so easy to talk to, and I wished I could be as relaxed around him as I was around Taco.
When we got to the local food court (which was, by the way, a brand new concept at the time in my town) and sat down, Dave totally changed. There was no more joking, there was no more easy manner. He got all nervous and serious.
Do you all see where this is going? Do you see what I am about to say? How the hell am I always telling you guys stories where I come out looking like an ass?
I was, totally unbeknownst to me, ON A DATE with Dave. He had asked me out, picked me up at my house, and brought me to an eating establishment for a textbook date. And I had no friggin' idea that it was happening. Because he was just DAVE. Jokester. Friend-guy. No smouldering eyes. No acid-washed clad ass.
I sat there and remained oblivious to this date the entire time. I did not catch up. And you guys, it gets worse. In my state of Taco-smog that I was sitting in, I started asking Dave about it. Does Taco mention me? What did he say after the Holiday Inn night? Do you think he's going to ask me out?
Looking back on this whole shipwreck, I still feel awful. Because I have to realize that this was probably the story of Dave's life, having Taco as a best friend. The girls, they must have all gone for Taco, and he must have just had to accept it, all the while knowing that he was the better dude. Smarter, funnier, nicer. Aw Dave. I was an ass. I know better now.
After that date was over, Dave never talked to me much after that. And I did end up having more escapades with Taco in the weeks before he finally got back together with his girlfriend. And after he got back together with his girlfriend and forgot about me, he started man-whoring it up all over school behind her back and I never could look at him quite the same again.
The lesson? Andie should have gone for Duckie. Angela Chase should have been with Brian Crackow. And I am stupid enough to go on dates without knowing I am there. For all I know, I am on a date right now. I should probably go check.
Well look at that. I go all the way through November, posting like a, um, crazy posting lady, and then December hits and whammo! I drop off the face of the earth. Did you miss me? Huh, huh, did ya?
My lack of posting has nothing whatsoever to do with the end of NaBloPoMo (that word never stops sounding dirty, does it?). I have only one thing on my mind these days, and that is weather and traffic. I guess that's two things. Whatever. The point is. I think of nothing and do nothing that is unrelated to traffic and weather these days and really, who wants to read about traffic and weather? I mean, isn't weather what one talks about when there's nothing left to say? It's like, the banter that you say to people who you don't have anything in common with. It's right up there with how about those Mets or did you hear about Britney or TGIF. And I don't want to do filler-talk with you guys.
So, instead, I will hearken back and tell you a little story about a boy named Taco. It's a holiday story. Ready?
When I was in 10th grade, I auditioned for varsity choir. The choir in my high school was supposed to be a Really Big Deal and making it in at all, much less as a lowly 10th grader, was nothing to sneeze at. And if you were a star in this choir (which I never was), that was better than being a star on the football team, or the class president, or whatever other bullshit high school popularity thing you may have up your sleeve. It's only now that I see how weird and unusual this is. What kind of high school deifies the kid who can sing a Mozart mass the best? Isn't that kind of strange?
So I made it in to this weird little culty club, and there was this tenor that sat in the row behind me. I called him Taco. I called him Taco because the word sounded punny when paired with his last name, and also because then I could make all sorts of lewd taco-related jokes with my friends about him (taco meat, taco meat between the shell, sour cream...high school humor rawks). Taco was a senior. Not only was he a senior, but he was the best singer in the choir. He was that guy. He was my Jake Ryan. I was mad about him. Cuckoo for cocoa puffs insane.
I can't tell you, even to this day, why I was so in love with him. I was not one to go gaga over boys like that. I dated them, thought this one or that one was cute, but I wasn't a groupie type. I thought girls who tripped all over themselves over a boy were stoopid. But the power of Taco was too much for me. I can honestly say that I have never in my life, before him nor after him, ever, obsessed so acutely over a dude like I did over him. All I can attribute this to was that perhaps my pubescent hormones just kicked in and he happened to be the target? I don't know.
I befriended Taco. He sat behind me in choir every day, and we would talk. I still remember the conversations we would have. There was nothing to them. At all. For instance, we had a whole running conversation about the colloquialism "you can like it or you can lump it." We thought this was hysterically funny and would say it to each other about any situation. Deep, right? And I would go home, every night, and write in my journal every word that he ever spoke to me. Every word. Not only that, I would write down what he was wearing, every single day. I still have this strange catalog of Taco happenings. "He was wearing his acid washed jeans today and boy did his ass look NICE." Ladies and gentlemen, this may have been the first thing the future librarian ever catalogued. Taco's outfits. What's the LCSH for that?
Although I never got my hands on Taco for real, there were moments that we shared that were so full of messed up teen sexual tension of the Welcome to the Dollhouse variety that I feel like we almost had a relationship, in a way. I had thrilling moments with Taco. For instance (and I can't believe I am about to tell you about this one as it makes me look slightly pervy but who wasn't slightly pervy when they were 15?), the number 69 was a big number for us in high school, as I am sure it is for everyone in high school. We used that number for everything, because we thought it was SO FRICKIN' HILARIOUS. Examples...
Teen #1: Dude, when do you have to go home?
Teen #2: Six or nine o' clock. Either one.
Haw haw haw haw haaaaaaaw!
Teen #1: God that test was hard. I know I failed it.
Teen #2: I bet you got about 69 percent on it.
Haw haw haw haaaaaaw!
You see what I'm saying? It was 69 everything. Extra funny points if you could slip in saying sixty-nine to an adult with a straight face without them realizing what you were doing.
I was not above such tomfoolery. I said the magic number as much as the next person. Except the difference for me was, I didn't know why it was so funny. I had no idea what 69 meant. Isn't that sweet and innocent? I want to pat my 15-year-old head like a little fuzzy puppy for that. I knew it was something dirty, but I didn't exactly know the details. I thought it was something slightly sexual, but had no idea what it was for reals.
So you know what I did? I tried to flirt with Taco by confessing to him that I didn't know what 69 was. And I asked him if he would please explain it to me.
That day in choir, we all stood up to sing. And when I sat back down after the song was over, there was something on my chair. It was a note! From TACO. Oh my word. We were acquaintances, not friends who wrote each other notes! He was taking the acquaintanceship to the next level. What did it say?
The note didn't SAY anything. It just had the numbers 6 and 9 drawn out next to each other, and then, next to that there was a...drawing. Of two people. Two people who were doing the sixing and the nining. To each other.
Taco. Drew me. A diagram.
I crumpled up the note and freaked the fuck out. THAT is what 6 and 9 is? Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod. I was mortified beyond mortified. How could I ever talk to Taco again? I thought I was going to die. Not metaphorically die. Literally melt into the floor and croak.
But you know what else? Besides the imminent kick-the-bucket-ness? The note gave me a thrill. Taco and I had shared a moment. A freaky deaky, jacked up, non-sex-but-sexish moment.
I know what you're thinking right about now. You're wondering what the hell I meant when I said at the beginning of this story that it was a "holiday story." What kind of weirdo holiday am I talking about, is what you're thinking. This is not a Hallmark Channel Original type story. This is bordering on the Skinamax channel. Hold on, though, I haven't gotten to the holiday part yet. In fact, I think I may have to hold off on that part of the story, because this post is getting way too long and I have to go and you know, live my life and stuff. So I will finish telling you about Taco and the holiday part of our flirtation next time. Wow, I don't think I have ever done a two-parter blog post before. Look at me, being all wordy!
Until next time then, my friends. Taco, Part II. Sorry to give you only part of the story and run. How much is left, you ask?
About 69 percent.
Ok, brace yourself. I am going to talk about Scott Baio again. Wait! Before you click away from here! Hear me out! I assure you, this post will have relevance. Who knew that Scott Baio would lead to not one, but TWO blog posts? Thanks, Chach. I owe you one, even if you are kind of a hoochie. Or, as you would have us believe, you were a hoochie. Past tense. The artist formerly known as Skankbomb. Whatevers.
So on his show last season, Scott took a long hard look at his friends. Most of them are ok. There's a guy who lets everyone call him "Cooch" which, although he seems like a nice enough fellow, the fact that he would allow this makes me look at him askance. Scott's other best friend is Wayne from the Wonder Years, who I cannot help but think of as "Scrote" because wasn't that what he always used to call Kevin? So yeah. Cooch and Scrote. Kind of an unfortunate pair. But really, they seem ok, despite the names. Then, there's Johnny V. Johnny V. needs to be re-named Johnny V.D. and that's all I have to say about him. So in this episode, Scott decides that he needs to "break up" with Johnny V. It is his most toxic friendship, and so he has to get rid of him. And he does.
Getting out of a bad friendship is hard. Have you ever done it? Have you ever had it done to you? Breaking up with a romantic partner is so much easier. We have social conventions on how to do this. We have words to describe it. We have ways to talk about it. But breaking up with a friend? No one really talks about how to do that, do they?
Well, I'd like to offer you all a way to think about the friendship break up. See, back in my homeland, not only do we have turquoise ocean waters and coconuts falling from the trees, we also value a friend just as much as we value a husband, a wife, a girlfriend or a boyfriend. And when you place that much love and care into these friendships, getting rid of a friend is on the same level as getting a divorce. It's yooge. And when something is yooge, as a concept, you have a name for it. So in the South Sea land where I come from, we call friendship divorce: friendcutting. Friendcutting can be a noun or a verb. "We had a fight and then we had a friendcut." "She totally friendcutted me!" "I'm going to friendcut him for that." Friendcut. It's the perfect word for when you have to say that the bonds of friendship are done broke.
I have taken this concept of friendcutting and I have added some terms of my own. Because there is more than one way to get the Cut.
1. You can get the Chop. This is a severe form of Friendcutting, where the Cutter tells the Cuttee that it is over. Balls out. It's when someone tells you in no uncertain terms that you suck as a friend and that it is over. Pros: There's no confusion. Everyone knows where you stand. Cons: It's way harsh.
2. The FriendSlice. This is when you tell the person straight out that you don't want to be their friend any more, but you try to be nice about it. It's kind of like the "it's not you, it's me" method of break ups. It's like "I'm glad we had our time together as friends, but it's just not working for me any more. Still love you." Pros: You can kick someone out of your life without having to feel like as much of an ass. Cons: It can be kind of passive aggressive. "I don't like you any more. Now let's hug it out."
3. The Cold Cut. This is when you just totally freeze someone out and don't give them any indication that you were even friends in the first place. It's all "who are you again? I don't believe we've met." Pros: It's over and no one has to ever speak of it again. Cons: Ice, ice baby.
4. Indirect drift. This is when you just drift away from someone, not even intentionally. Time passes, you don't do a good job of keeping up with that person. You feel kind of bad about it, but let's face it, if you felt REALLY bad about it you would do something about it. So away you drift, and they drift, until you can't see each other across the miles. Pros: No confrontation! And you don't have to feel like the bad guy. Cons: You'll probably feel guilt, because you've fooled yourself into thinking that you didn't mean for this to happen. Will you try and change it though? Prolly not.
5. Directed Drift. This is when you intentionally drift away from someone in a pre-meditated manner. The exact same thing as #4 up there, except you totally mean to do it. Oops, forgot to return that call. Huh? What? Your friend stopped by? I'll get back to them another time...or not. Oh, there they are, across the grocery store...I'll just pretend that I didn't see them. They'll never know. Pros: Again, no confrontation necessary. Cons: If the other person doesn't take the hint, this can be a long, drawn out process.
6. Statue of Liberty Non-Cuts. This is for you folks out there who have no boundaries whatsoever and will take on just about anyone as a friend and keep them no matter what. Bring me your tired, your hungry, your annoying masses, yearning to breathe in the air of clingy friendship, even though I hate you I will endure being around you, just because. Pros: You'll never be at a loss for company, as you will accept anyone. Cons: No standards friendship is a dangerous, soul-sucking thing. It's akin to the loveless marriage.
7. Chop Chop Salad: This is when you keep trying to break up with a friend, but they keep coming back and you keep trying to make it work. The cycle of breaking up and getting back together makes the chopping happen over and over until your life is like a shredded up salad. This usually has an endgame of someone finally doing a successful chop and puking out the friendship like a big old Salad Shooter. Pros: You can keep the hope alive for a little while, and who knows? You could save the friendship. Cons: Did I mention that one or both of you ends up shredded in this situation? It's brutal.
8. The Friendship Whittle: This is when you don't actual cut someone out, but you re-configure the friendship to make it better. You mold something nice out of something dysfunctional. You work it out. You make a piece of wood into a nice tobaccy pipe.
Really, the Art of the Friendcut is multifaceted, much like the breaking off of a romantic relationship. But I am a firm believer that sometimes, this has to be done. And having a name for it is the first step in making it easier to think about. So that's my present to you.
I have to admit to you that I have done every single one of the above Friendcutting techniques. Some of these I am proud of (like the FriendSlice and the Whittle) and others I am not (like the Cold Cut).
And you know what else? If you feel like you made a FriendCut in error, you can attempt to woo your friend back to you. Repair the damage. I call this The Friendship Suture. It is, out of everything that I have outlined here, the most delicate and difficult to do. I can only think of two times where I have successfully Sutured.
Next time you have a dysfunctional friendship, consider your options. There is a way out.
I grew up with all kinds of ambivalent feelings about holidays. Almost all holidays. Name a holiday and I will spew back at you some sort of love-hate crap associated with it. For example:
Postive: Parties and staying up late and feeling like you can start anew! Negative: All this pressure to change your life with resolutions and such can really get to be a drag.
Positive: Eating and friends and days off from work!
Negatives: That whole Native American genocide thing.
Positives: Again, parties! And fun/funny costumes. And candy. All good stuff!
Negatives: Bossy costume people who make shy people and/or people who aren't costumey feel bad. Or work places that make you dress up in themey outfits. Halloween peer pressure is very high maintenance.
Positives: Celebrating love! What could be better than that?
Negatives: All this coupley hetero "you complete me" boolshizz. Gross.
I don't know why I am like this. I think it's partly because I have two very strong character traits that sometimes go toe to toe with each other. One part of me is just really a very happy, genial, accepting person. Hey, you want to celebrate something? I love celebrating! I'm IN! Another equally strong part of me is an introspective, critical thinker type person. Wait a minute. What does this all really mean? And does it mean something to me for real or just because everyone else is making a big hooey about it?
Not only do I have a split personality in that way, I have this split personality thing in another way. Culturally. I was born in the US, but as child of immigrant parents. One part of me is all you better believe I am as American as you! And the other part of me is all this American stuff isn't mine. Not really.
When I was growing up, my family did it up on all the holidays. No one ever overtly told me that Thanksgiving wasn't mine, or Christmas, or St. friggin' Patrick's Day. There was no difference in how we celebrated holidays if you compared our house to any other house in our city. But somehow, the message seeped in. I never really felt ownership of holidays. There was always a part of me that felt like I was just playacting the part of holiday-celebrater. Not all of me, but a part of me. And the thing is, it works both ways. When I go back to the place where my parents were born, those holidays don't seem like they're completely mine either. So I get half of both, but whole of neither.
So. This time of year. The Big Holiday Season. Puts me in a tizzy. How much do I envy the people who just celebrate because they know this holiday-- it's theirs. I look around at my friends and I see a certainty about how they celebrate that I never have felt in my entire life. They all do things a bit different from each other, depending on their religious beliefs, or their family traditions. But they are (well, most of them are) all American. And so they know what they want to do for the holidays, and they just do it. Simple.
Not so at my house. Every year it's the same damn thing. Do I get a tree for Christmas or not? And stockings? And mistletoe? Is Christmas, the way that it's celebrated in this country, mine? Should I do that? Some years I do, some years I don't. The years that I do, I always feel a little bit like a fraud, but at other times I really like it. The years I don't, I am always wistful at the cozy trees that reside in my friends' houses. It's like I am looking in on someone else's house and it's cozy and warm in there, but I can't quite get in. But I also feel good that I'm not feeling that fraudulent feeling. So it's part good and part bad. I just never feel whole. Either way.
The older I get, the more I am trying to make things my own. I feel like that's the only solution that feels ok to me. I do this all the time with other parts of my life. For instance, the way relationships are set up? So many things I hate about that model. So, my relationship with Nordic Boy has to be made our own. Just because the rules don't apply to us doesn't mean I can't participate, you know? So we'll do this whole relationship thing, but on our terms. So I've got to figure out a way to do this with the holidays. For instance. Eating and parties are two things I never have a problem with on any holiday. Those two things are consistently what I find positive about every holiday I can think of. So my December holiday? Has to involve these things. Also, loved ones. Yes to those, please. And giving/getting a little giftie-poo is a nice thing. So check yes on my list for that.
That's the stuff I am sure about. The other stuff? I'm still all mixed up over. Maybe that's what I should be celebrating. Not to get all Coom-Bah-Yah about it, but I'm just all mixed up and that's sort of beautiful in its own way, right?
Or maybe I could saw a tree in two pieces and put up half of it. That would be uniquely me, wouldn't it?
Tell me, what are some holiday things that you do that are just ALL YOU? Things that you do not because it's tradition, not because it's what you're supposed to, but just because you've made the holiday all your own? Go ahead. Inspire me.
I've really been jonesing to write a post that is cohesive. Just something with a clear beginning, middle, and end, all on one topic. See how I set the bar really, really low for myself? A clear beginning, middle, and end. What kind of chimp can't do that?
This chimp, that's who. Not today. Just ain't going to happen. Ahh, to set one's sights so, so low and then not be able to follow through. My parents would be so proud.
So, NaBloPoMo doesn't include the holiday weekend, right? Because, like, that's a holiday. See my reasoning there? It all works out perfectly logically in my head.
Hey, as long as we're talking about me sucking at things like cohesive posts and logical thought, you want to know something else I suck at? Listing my interests. Bet you didn't even know that that was a skill. It totally is. You can test your skill by asking yourself this question: so what do you like to do? Find that question easy to answer, and you are an Interests-Lister. If you do what I do, which is say something like "um, I don't know. Sit? I like to sit. Also, I like to walk around." This means you are in my demographic. The interest-listing-challenged.
See, I was getting my hair did the other day, and I was with a new stylist. (The search for a stylist that does not intimidate me with floofy hipster cool, nor beat me to a pulp is still going strong). And this stylist was super perky and chatty. She asked me: "so, what do you like to do?" And me? What did I say? "Uh, I don't know. Lots of stuff."
Lots of stuff. What kind of doofus says that? The stylist then started asking me if I was interested in specific things, and it just so happened that everything that she asked me about was something I don't do.
Her: So, do you like winter sports? Snowboarding, skiing?
Me: No. I have a really deep hatred for cold, so I never really got into that kind of thing.
Her: Oh. How about baseball? You a baseball fan?
Me: No, not really. I've never seen a game.
Her: You know, Seattle is really great though because it's such a nice looking city that you can just have fun while drinking some coffee and sitting at a cafe.
Look at that. She's trying to be all nice and tell me that it's ok that I don't do ANYTHING and that I can't even list any sort of interests. She's making it ok for me, the Hobby Retard. So kind of her.
I don't want to be the Hobby Retard, really I don't. But I think our society is set up to make all of us feel like, if we're going to claim an interest, we have to be really, really into it. An aside: ha haaaa. Look at me, talking about SOCIETY. What a dork.
For instance, I have a small drawer in my home where I keep some nice paper, and some stickers, and a rubber stamp or two. When I feel like it, I might make a nice homemade card for someone on their birthday. Not every birthday card, but sometimes. To me, this is not enough of a part of my life to make me a "crafter." I don't feel like I can CLAIM that. Who am I, making a card two or three times a year, to list card-making as a full-fledged interest? The same could be said for painting, or writing, or hiking, or traveling, or baking, or yoga. These are all things I may do, here and there, when the mood strikes. I am not dedicated to these things. I may not do them or think about doing them for long periods of time. So are these things really hobbies of mine?
I look out there in the world and I see people really going full throttle on their hobbies and interests. I have a friend who always makes her cards. SHE is a crafter. I have another friend who trains for triathalons. SHE is a runner. I have this other friend, who I made a card for a couple of times, and he still asks me ALL THE TIME, "so how's that card-making going?" This always makes me uncomfortable. What does he mean, how is it going? I know, I know, he's just being nice and trying to make conversation, but still. I hate the thought of being one of those meat-eating vegetarian types, not really doing something but claiming that I do. Just doesn't sit well with me.
Part of me thinks that this whole unsettled feeling I get around hobbies and whether I can claim them may just boil down to a question of stuff. It seems a big part of hobby-ing in our society (there I go again) has to do with the stuff that you accumulate to do it. I don't have enough knitting stuff to really be a knitter. I don't go to yarn stores and salivate over the merch. I don't have enough painting stuff to really be a painter- in fact, I have three or four canvases that I just paint over and over again each time I want to paint. When I exercise, I don't have special shoes, or outfits, or journals where I keep track of the times I go or how I did or what goals I have.
So what does that leave me with at parties when someone asks me what I like to do? I'm not sure. Maybe I should just try and be honest about the things I am dedicated to. The things I do think a lot about and have to do because I love them so much? Who says hobbies have to be things like knitting or photography?
Here is my new and improved list of my hobbies/interests: listening to people tell good stories either in person or via books, tv, movies, music or blogs; having a good meal whether I cooked it, you cooked it, or someone else cooked it; being observant about my surroundings; laughing; hearing something new; silent reflection; non-silent reflection; general thinky-ness; being around kind people; creating or looking at art or design; getting a good night's sleep.
I'm going to try and bust this approach out the next time I'm at a party and someone asks me what I like to do. It may take me out of the Hobby-Challenged demographic and into the Weird-Lady demographic. But let's face it, I'm probably in that demographic already anyway.
I know. Giblets are disgusting. But it sounds cuter than "disjointed moments from yesterday."
Roll out of bed. Slowly.
Nordic Boy goes to the hippy dippy granola cafe down the street to get us some bagels. The place is notorious for the slowest service around (the staff are all hanging loose, dude) but the baked goods are tasty. Nordic Boy comes back after an entire hour of waiting in the slowest line known to man.
Nordic Boy: The service is so bad in there. No one seems to know what they're doing. But, it's Thanksgiving, so I just kept saying to myself, over and over: I'm thankful to the hippies for teaching me patience, I'm thankful for the hippies for teaching me patience.
Me: I'm am so digging that, dude.
Nordic Boy: Yeah, it was far out.
Me: Live in The Now, you know?
Nordic Boy: Totally.
Me: I'm going to take a shower and then figure out what to wear.
Nordic Boy: Wear something comfortable. For all the eating.
Me: You mean, it's not going to be Spanx-giving for me today?
Hardy har. I makee the jokee.
We set the table and then I decide to make placecards from a Martha Stewart article I found online. Then I notice that the directions say the process will take me three hours. Who the hell is making three-hour placecards? I ditched Martha and made my own design. Piss off, Martha.
Neighbor J, B, and H arrive as does Delium and Jennifer. Wine is uncorked and ceremoniously poured into water glasses. I have no interest whatsoever in owning wine glasses, so our guests have to swill from tumblers. Classy.
Jennifer (to Nordic Boy as he whips up the gravy): So, are you the cook in this house?
Nordic Boy: Oh no. It's 50-50, pretty much. Evenly split. Yeah, LG helps out all the time.
Total. Bald-faced. Lie.
Little Hannah makes her cute, happy, creaky door noises and thoroughly entertains us all.
Topics of conversation cover everyone's interests. Neighbor J tells us about fonts and how everyone has a font that is "so them." She reveals that Nordic Boy and I are "so Futura." Of course, then everyone wants their font-fortune told. Neighbor B tells us about voice command software developing and we all do our best impressions of voice command robot voices, while saying totally inappropriate things that voice command robots would never say. Delium tells us about zombie movies and the best way to avoid getting one's brain eaten, which will totally come in handy for some of us some day. Nordic Boy tells us about U-values, and as usual, psyches everyone up to do home improving. I swear if there was such a career as "home improvement motivational speaker," Nordic Boy would make a hundred jillion dollars at it. When he preaches the gospel of energy efficiency, people start to say amen and get out of their seats to start home improving.
This story is revisited and everyone's gut is busted all over again.
Pie and ice cream is consumed, games are played, stories are told, love is felt.
Back to bed as frost sparkles on the windows, my throat aching from the belly laughs. The full, full belly laughs.
After dinner is over and guests have gone, we have this little chat.
Me: So...what are we having for dinner tomorrow?
Nordic Boy: Why are you even thinking about that?
Me: We shopped and prepared so much for today that I don't think we have anything left to eat tomorrow.
Nordic Boy: I don't know. We'll figure it out tomorrow.
Me: Whatever we have, it's got to have more veggies. As much as I love Thanksgiving food, my body doesn't feel right if I don't eat a lot of veggies. Corn and green beans weren't enough for me tonight. I'm all full of starch. Ugh.
Nordic Boy: Ok, so we'll go back to lots of veggies. TOMORROW. Why are we talking about it now? Are you worried you're going to get scurvy from one starchy meal?
Me: No. Unless your body can feel temporarily scurvish. Then yes.
Nordic Boy: Oh my god.
Me: I'm shutting up now.
I am going to start off today by saying something totally nauseating. Ready?
I avoid making, writing, or saying out loud any sort of "I am thankful for" lists, not because I am a grumpypants who is dead inside and can't come up with anything to say, and not because it is kind of a sappy thing to do, but because I have so much to be thankful for, from the really, really big stuff to the day-to-day minutae, that a list seems so inadequate that I just don't even start.
Are you barfing now? Just a little? More than a little? I'll wait until you're done. Go ahead. Hold your hair back and let thy cookies tosseth.
Despite the barfy nature of what I just said, I decided that today, I am going to attempt such a list. I'm not going to think about it, I am just going to start typing and let the thankfulness flow, no matter how disorganized and jumbled it all comes out and no matter what kind of goofy things I may reveal about my thanky feelings. I'm just going to blah blah blah and then click publish. Ok, so this is normally what I do anyway so maybe it's not so different except for the gratidudinal nature of the blah blah blah. You got me. But I'm still doing it. Here goes.
I'm thankful for heat. Heat in my house, heat in buildings, hot water heaters. What the hell did people do before heated houses? I don't want any part of that shit. Heat. Yes. Hallelujah.
On a related note, I am thankful for leggings that can be used in place of long unnerwears. It's just more attractive. And warm. So far I only seem to be thankful for heat-related objects but I promise to diversify from this topic now. Just know that I am also grateful for sunlight and hot chocolate and steam and gloves and warm beach sand and slippers and blankets. Heat is good.
I'm thankful for thank yous. When you're in my line of work, the thankful phrase, the look of gratitude, the sigh of relief that you've helped someone out and treated them with respect can lift me right off the ground.
I'm thankful for phones, email, video-conferencing, snail mail, and texting. I know lots of people think that we're overburdened by this stuff, and I totally get that, but I live far away from many of my loved ones and all of these things make us all seem so much closer. Now if we could just invent that transporter...
I'm thankful for Tivo. Shut up. I just am.
I'm thankful that I live in a city that still has recognizable seasons but is not buried in snow for 6 months out of the year. Oh shit, I veered right back into being thankful for heat-related topics again. Sorry. Heat is a big factor in my life.
I am thankful for my pals Allison and Map, who almost kill me with laughter every time I see them and have loved me unconditionally for my whole entire life, even through my Bananarama outfits, blue mascara, and every embarrassing crush I have ever had.
I am thankful to be kissed awake every morning.
I am thankful for colors. Aren't colors awesome? They're so goddamn colorful.
I am thankful for parents who modeled so many great things for me, including laughing hard and listening well.
I am grateful for the movie Xanadu.
I am grateful for this innate ability I have, which I don't quite know how I got, to get the hell away from draining, exhausting people. I just slice them right out, and I am so glad I know how.
I'm thankful for Biology Girl, who I can say anything to, from my shopping lists to my nonsensical musings on imaginary people to any secret that I have in my stash to big, heavy, teary talks and she is always interested. That girl will talk to me about paint drying if I wanted to.
I'm thankful that I never had really big, tall 80s bangs.
I'm thankful that I know what it's like to be poor, lonely and sad. I'm even more thankful that I'm no longer any of these things.
I'm thankful I can speak the language my ancestors spoke.
I'm thankful that my years as a dancer didn't leave me with ugly feet.
I'm thankful for Nordic Boy, a stand-up guy, all salt of the earth and stuff, who has never been mad at me for one second or even slightly perturbed by me no matter what kind of shit I pull and who cracks me up and dances with me and cooks me up dinners and is so frickin' consistent about everything it's crazy and who is by far the smartest person I know and who looks at me all moony and also is totally sultry. I know. He sounds too good to be true. But he is. So, so true.
I am thankful for kind people, in all situations and places.
I am thankful for the word succubus.
I am thankful that places like Ace Hardware and Ikea play cheesy oldies so that I can relive my youth. Where else would I hear "Don't wanna lose you now" by Gloria Estefan, which is a song we had to sing in choir back in the day?
I am thankful for my pal Neighbor J, who writes bad poetry with me that makes us cry with laughing and is the only person I know who can keep up with me in clothes-shopping and who feels like a family member in the best possible way.
I'm thankful I have nice hair that covers the fact that I have a small head under it all.
I told you this list would go on and on if I started. I feel like I am just getting warmed up but I will spare your having to hear any more since I already made you feel barfy once and no blog post should have multiple pukey points.
So, to wrap this all up, I am thankful that I am me. I like that I know who I am and that I don't quite fit in with anyone but in that misfittery I manage to fit in with everyone, and that I have a super genial disposition wherein I don't get mad a lot and that I'm from where I'm from and I know who I know and that I take care of my body and myself first before I take care of anyone else and I don't ever feel guilty about that and that I write people snail mail letters and cards and that I always make room in my life for the people that I like and that I rock the librarian gig on the daily and that I don't have any room in my heart for bitterness which makes my life sweet sweet sweet.
And also? I'm thankful for you guys. I love reading what you have to say and you're all so ridiculously kind in your emails and comments. Blog friends are real friends, one of you said to me a while ago. Thanks for that.
Now let's stop all this gratitude and go do what this holiday is really all about. Eating until we pop out of our pants.
Happy Thanksgiving, homies.
With Thanksgiving coming up, let's talk about food, shall we?
Things I Believe About Food
(Caveat: I know some of this is totally irrational. But if you wanted rationality, you wouldn't be reading this blog right? This is the blog where I talk about my Celine Dion nightmares and argue about the difference between pajamas and leisure pants, after all.) So here we go.
1. I grew up in a house where I seldom ate the same thing for dinner twice in a row, ever. It was all about variety in our house. To this day, eating the same food twice in a row (pizza? AGAIN???) seems wrong to me. I am always amazed at people who can make a huge batch of something and eat it all week. I am a very non-monogamous eater.
2. Oh, you know what? BioGirl has a friend who knows Doris Day. IN PERSON. FOR REAL. I adore Doris Day so being two degrees of separation away from her is more than I can BEAR. This totally has nothing to do with food but I just thought about it and it was so thrilling that I had to tell you. Ok. Moving on.
3. Processed, packaged food was doled out very sporadically in my childhood house. This has had some strange repercussions. Like, the only time we ever had pop in the house was when we were sick (7-Up for a yucky tummy) or on holidays. My parents would serve us Faygo Red-pop (that reference is for all you Michiganders out there) in wine glasses to make us feel all grown up on Thanksgiving and birthdays. And we could have a Coke when we went out to this Chinese restaurant in our town, which was like, maybe twice a year. Even now, I like Coke with Chinese food but hardly ever any other time, and I think of red soda as a Very Fancy Beverage, akin to a nice Merlot.
4. The lack of packaged food also had the result of me coveting certain things as if they were gold in my youth. I had an aunt that didn't have anything against packaged food and I would go to her house and gorge myself on frozen pizza and Keebler Fudgestripes until I was blue in the face. It was awesome and felt so SPECIAL. To this day, sometimes I walk by Funyons in the grocery store and stop and go "wow! Funyons! Can we have that??" Who am I asking permission from? I am an adult, I can bring some goddamn Funyons into my house if I want to. But I hardly ever buy them. It seems too special for just me. Funyons are like, food for company.
5. We were a very sit-down-together family when it came to eating. I still do this and have never, not once, EVER, eaten food standing over a sink. In fact, I find it hard to believe that people actually do that. I half-convince myself that this is just something that people SAY they do, like go to the gym every day or bake their own bread in the morning or something, but that no one really, truly does it. I know I am wrong about that, but I can't help myself from doubting.
6. I miss Blue Moon ice cream so bad sometimes that I think about planning a trip back to Michigan just so I can have some. Does anyone out there know about Blue Moon ice cream? If you do, can you please describe the taste for me so I can explain it to Nordic Boy? Thanks.
7. I don't know if I could live if I couldn't have hot, spicy food. It's like an addiction. Certain foods just don't taste right unless they are burning the skin right off of your skull. You know what I mean? The kind of hot that is so good that while you're eating it, you're all "whoo!" like Cher? Come to think of it, maybe that's why she was always "whoo"-ing and sticking her tongue out like that. Maybe she had a mouthful of Tabasco or something. Whoo!
8. I was always a kid who brought lunch to school, and never bought lunch. I was always jealous of the buyers. When I think back to the nasty food that I was so frickin' jealous of, I want to smack my former self across the back of my head. I mean, the rectangle pizza with that kibble meat on top? What was the story with that? And the taco meat that seeped orange oil? Gah.
9. When I was growing up, we had tea time in my house every day after school. Sometimes my mom would make these crepe things that were basically like little pancakes that you put jam on. Tea and snacks. It rocked and I miss that.
10. I believe that Necco wafers are an evil plot to try and get kids to eat chalk. Who, you might ask, would want kids to eat chalk? And for what purpose? Don't bother me with details, people. The Necco company is chalking our children!
11. When I was in high school, I thought the Olive Garden was WAY FANCY.
12. I shop at small markets. I went into a large chain grocery store over the weekend (I couldn't find fried crispy onions for the top of my green bean casserole any where else) and I almost cried with the magnitude of it all. 8 million aisles! Surgery-bright lights! Aisles the size of, well, something huge! Where the fuck is everything? How many types of cereal can the world POSSIBLY NEED? Aaaaahhhhh!
A big part of my job is to be plugged in to what people are saying. Heck, I even have to pay attention to what people aren't saying. The point is, being an observant sort is a big old plus when you are in my line of work. Being able to communicate is key. Trust me, there is nothing worse than a librarian with communication issues, as many people have told me. (And about that? Why must people always tell me about the crusty mean librarian that they had when they were kids, or that they saw when they took their kid to the library? I am not responsible for all the librarians around the world, people! I don't know why that librarian was mean to your kid. There's no librarian mind meld that I can do with them to make them act better. I am sorry that you had a mean librarian once at some point in your illustrious life. I feel the need to apologize on behalf of all the hordes of kind, hard working, smart, lovable librarianfolk I know. We're sorry, ok? All of us. Really truly sorry).
This weekend though. I felt disconnected from people. Confused. As if I were dropped into another culture of which I know nothing and I am trying to muddle through by communicating via charades or something. And Nordic Boy, he is right there with me. We were lost this weekend. Totally lost.
Episode #1, In the Anthropologie store.
I bought this pair of pants at Anthropologie that were as cute as can be. I loved them in the fitting room. Then I came home and tried them on again, and as I walked around my house, the pants felt a great need to be at one with the floor. It was as if gravity in my house was way stronger than in the store, and the pants wanted to just fall right off of me. Walk, walk, walk. Sag, sag, sag. So I took the pants back. And had this conversation:
Me: I'd like to return these pants.
Anthro-lady: Was there something wrong with them?
Me: Oh, they were just really droopy on me.
Me: Droopy. They were droopy.
Anthro-lady: What does that mean?
Me: You know...saggy. Like they were going to fall off.
Anthro-lady: Oh! Saggy! Ha ha! And what did you call that? Droopy?
Me: Uh. Yeah.
Anthro-lady: Ha ha! That's funny!
Is it just me or does it sound like this lady has never heard the word droopy before? Isn't droopy a word? Of course it is! There was even that cartoon dog named Droopy and everything! DROOPY.
Episode #2, at dinner
Nordic Boy and I went to dinner on Saturday night at this italian place that we've been to many a time before. When we got there, we could see that there was only one table open for two, and the rest of the ones that were open were large tables for 6 or more. The hostess took us over to a huge table.
Me: Is it ok if we have that table over there?
Her: Oh. Yeah, but are you sure?
We sat down.
Nordic Boy: Why did she not want to seat us here?
Me: I don't know. She looked kind of concerned for us, didn't she?
During the course of that meal, the server asked us not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES, if we were sure we were ok at that table. "Are you sure you're ok over here?" "Let me know if you want to move ok? It's really no trouble." And, at the end of the meal, "thanks so much for putting up with that. We'll get you a better table next time, I promise!"
We kept looking around, trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with this table. It wasn't cold, nor was it hot. It was spacious, yet cozy. The table was stable and not wobbly or anything. It wasn't near any obnoxious people nor was it near the bathrooms. What was wrong with that table? WE WILL NEVER KNOW.
Nordic Boy went to a party on Sunday night. He came home early, around 9:30.
Me: How was the party?
Nordic Boy: I had to get out of there.
Nordic Boy: You ever go to a party where you can't understand anyone?
Me: Oh, was it too loud?
Nordic Boy: No, I could hear everyone. I just couldn't understand them. Like, what they were talking about. And when I would start talking about something, they would all nod their heads and give me a sympathetic look, like I was their slow cousin and they were all just humoring me to be nice. But I couldn't be mad about it, because when they would start talking I was doing the same thing. You know what I mean?
Me: Totally. I hate being the slow cousin.
Nordic Boy: I'd rather be the slow cousin than be surrounded by a party full of slow cousins.
Me: Good point...hey, can I ask you something?
Nordic Boy: Yeah.
Me: If I said the word "droopy" to you, what would you think?
Nordic Boy: Huh?
Me: You're giving me the slow cousin look.
Nordic Boy: So are you.
This weekend, the air smelled like snow. You know what I mean?
In honor of snow, and winter, and holiday fun, take a look at this. Scaring the jeebus out of little children is a sign that the winter solstice is just around the corner.
Santa could make your pee your pants.
I am not able to see humor in politics without a little help from my imaginary boyfriends, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Usually, on my own, I am not watching BBC News and cracking up. On the contrary, usually it is a whole bucketful of somber, sobering stuff. I still keep up with the news, but it's not something that naturally lends itself to chuckles for me. Until today. Did you guys hear the one about the King of Spain and Hugo Chavez? Doesn't that sound like the start of a joke? Well it IS something hilarious, and it happened for reals. The King of Spain totally got all diva and and told Chavez to SHUT UP. He really did! I was hoping that Chavez would have come back with "You shut up!" but unfortunately, the shutting up commands stopped after only one round. Dang.
I went and had me some public speaking time today. I gave three presentations in two hours and now I am NEVER TALKING AGAIN. I am so tired of hearing my own voice I am not even kidding. I wonder how people who talk a lot, just as part of their personality, can stand it? I just heard myself talk for only two hours straight, which in the grand scheme of things really isn't that long, but SHIT. I needed the King of Spain there to tell me to zip the lip.
So after my three, count 'em, three presentations, I was leaving the venue, and a couple of people came over to tell me that they liked what I said and really got something out of it, and not only that, they were specific about what they got out of it. It was SO NICE. What nice, thoughtful people they were to do that. It made me think that I am totally doing that the next time I hear someone talk and it was relevant and helpful to me. Because really, I did my two hour tap dance in there, and then I shook hands with a bunch of people who said thanks and were polite, but then I just got my coat on and started to head for the door, and not having any idea if what I had just spent my afternoon doing was worth it to anyone at all or if my voice was just the background white noise for everyone's mid-afternoon open-eyed nap. So yeah. I guess I don't really have a point to make other than yay for those thoughtful people.
And on that note, I need to shut up, even typing-wise.
And hey, did I ever show you guys the awesome Christmas ornament that Bio-Girl made for me? It is to die for. And so useful.
I worked a split shift today, and so during my extra long lunch break, I headed over to the local T-Mobile store because I needed a new charger cord because Nordic Boy decided to go on his latest business trip with his cord and my cord. Perhaps the separation of the two of us was just too much for him so he had to make sure our cords stayed together all week, even if we couldn't. Cord love. So deep. Anyway. You know what? Everyone was in the T-Mobile store. Not even exaggerating. The whole entire city of Seattle was squished into this store, buying up cell phones like there was a shortage or something. It was way weird. I stood in line for like, ever, which was really insane because the store is laid out in such a way as to not have a clear space to line up and no straight pathway to create one's own line. So we all just sort of milled around, and the salespeople would call on people like it was the Price is Right. "You! You're next!" they would say and point at the next lucky cell phone desirer. Surprisingly, everyone (including yours truly) just accepted this method. Well, I almost accepted it. I tried to rebel at first. "YOU!" the T-Mobile lady said and pointed at me. "Um, actually, I think he was here before me," I said, and pointed at the guy who was standing next to me. The lady did not like that I was taking back my power by pointing at someone else. The only pointers allowed were wearing T-Mobile staff lanyards and she was clearly not going to giving up her pointing power. "You!" she said again. The guy looked at me with a "go ahead, save yourself!" look and I went ahead of him. I'm not proud of it, but we were clearly the sheep and she was clearly the border collie in that situation.
Totally unrelated. (And by the way, I have to say that when I am feeling especially lazy about writing, the first thing that seems to go down the terlet is transitions between ideas. I remember taking creative writing classes in high school and college and always hearing about how important it was to master the art of transitioning from one idea to the next, and I always thought it was super over-emphasized, like sentence-diagramming. But now, I see I should have been paying more attention.)
As I was saying. Totally unrelated. (And, now that I talked about transitions, does that count as a transition? And how come every time I type the words "totally unrelated" I start parenthetical babbling?) I totally cried watching "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" this week. Can you believe that shit? It was an episode about when their dad died. I am such a sucker.
Lastly, and still unrelatedly, I find books and lists that have the words "before you die" in the titles totally morbid. "1001 Books to Read Before You Die!" "1000 Places to See Before You Die!" "100 Films to See Before You Die!" I mean, GAWD. Why can't it just be "1001 Books to Read Because They're Cool"? Or maybe just "100 Films to See"? I guess it's not as dramatic but still. Stop with the death stuff. It bums me out.
See, the first point I made was about me transitioning from no phone cord to new phone cord, then I talked about transitioning as a concept, and then I talked about two death-related topics, and isn't death the ultimate transition?
I am so themey. Bet you didn't even notice.
Me: You want to know what I did at work today?
Nordic Boy: What?
Me: (insert library-related story about how I rocked the library world with my genius but that I can't tell you about because I don't want to get dooced)
Nordic Boy: Wow! That's great!
Me: Hell yeah it is. (And then I break into the Crank That dance).
Nordic Boy: What is thaaaat?
Me: I'm Soulja Boy! Check it!
Moral of this incident: I am silly, yes, but I am current and hip and down with the youth of today. Nordic Boy, you will notice, did not point this out.
Me: (first thing in the morning) I don't wanna go outside in the cold!
Nordic Boy: Come on, you're going to be late!
Nordic Boy: Get up!
Me: I am going to chain myself to this house. Just like Boy George did to that guy. I am going to be that guy AND Boy George, all at once.
Moral of this incident: I am current and hip to the crazy machinations of 80s icons. Once again, Nordic Boy does not notice this.
Me: This week is the premiere of Project Wunway!
Nordic Boy: The premiere of what?
Me: Project Wunway!
Nordic Boy: What is with the Elmer Fudd?
Me: It's not Elmer Fudd. It's Heidi Klum!
Nordic Boy: My power, my pleasure, my pain!
Me: I get it! You're Seal and that's that Batman song!
Nordic Boy: Totally.
Moral of this incident: I am current and hip to big shows and big supermodels and big fashion and alla that. Nordic Boy, AGAIN, does not feel the need to comment on this.
Me: (doing a crossword) Mmmmmmm--mmmmmm-mmmmm
Nordic Boy: Why are you squeaking like that?
Me: I'm not squeaking. I'm being a Skexie.
Nordic Boy: What?
Me: A Skexie. Like from The Dark Crystal?
Nordic Boy: That is the geekiest thing I have ever heard. You are such a geek. And what is that reference? From like 20 years ago?
Yeesh, one nerd-like reference and all the previous hipness is forgotten. I must learn to be more diligent.
There are those trends from our youth that we all admit to sharing. Everyone had a copy of "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, didn't they? Or perhaps you were more a "Hysteria" by Def Leppard sort? Ha ha, remember when we used to wear Day-Glo? Hee hee, acid-washed peg-leg jeans! Ho ho, VC Andrews books!
I am convinced, however, that there are the pop culture items that we think we love alone. You think to yourself, did anyone else remember Frankenweenie? Nah. They don't. I was the only one. And you feel alone in your cheezy love, but also sort of glad no one else remembers it, because it is so bad, SO cheezy, that it would be too painful for anyone else to know of your love.
This is how I feel about Father Ralph.
Anyone know what I am talking about? I am talking about (and I barely can make myself type this out) THE THORN BIRDS. I, at an entirely age-inappropriate time in my life, had a burning love for Father Ralph. That's right. The priest that raised up little Meggie from toddler-dom to womanhood, and then turned his fatherly love for her into sexy-forbidden-horizontal-lambada love for her. Father DeBriccasart. De-frickin-Briccasart. Doesn't that sound like a combination between fricassee and brisket? So meaty. And I loved it. LOVE, love, loved it. I am always so forgiving of my youthful self, and I almost always can remember what it felt like to love the things I used to love in my childhood years, but this one? I can't do it. Former me, I don't GET YOU. Former me, I totally judge you for this. I mean, EW. Ick ick ick. Leathery, orangy Richard Chamberlain? Wearing priest dresses? Really????
Yes, really. I can barely remember watching the mini-series on tv, and I can't imagine HOW I was able to watch this at such a tender age with my very media-conscientious parents around, but I did. There are certain scenes of it that I have a hazy memory of, like Meggie's pink dress, and Father Ralph chasing her down the beach (oh dear jehosephat) and other nasty bidness like that. I then remember discovering that this epic miniseries was based on a book, which I read as a teen and recommended to all of my friends who loved Father Ralph just as hard as I did.
When I went to college, I had just about forgotten about Father Ralph and his smudgy eyeliner. (He totally had smudgy eyeliner on all the time. I swear.) Then, one year in college, I was sick for like a week. And during that week, I watched bazillions of movies. And when I was at the end of this week, I was at the movie store, and completely out of ideas. Until I saw him. On the shelf. Father Ralph! You have returned to me! I rented it to see if it was all I had remembered it to be.
It wasn't. I rolled my eyes at it. I laughed at it. I couldn't believe that I had loved it so much. Could. Not. Believe. Then, towards the end of the series-- (because yes I totally watched it all. All nine million hours of it)-- some scene came on. I wish I could remember now what it was. But the melodrama! It sucked me in! And I started to tear up. Oh, the forbidden love! They can never be together! Waaaaahhhhh!
This is the precise moment that my friend U. walked into the room. I may not remember the scene I was watching, but I remember my friend's face. He looked at the screen. Father Ralph in his be-frocked glory. He looked at me. Teary-eyed. He just stared at me and Father Ralph. Our forbidden love exposed.
My friend laughed at me. And you know what I did? I tried to DEFEND it. No really, it's a good movie, I lied. It's not what you think! My friend knew I was talking crap. He could smell the shame on me. It was the scent of Father Ralph, emanating off of me. We never spoke of it again.
Yesterday, I saw U. I hadn't hung out with him since my birthday, and he brought me a present. I am always, always open to accepting presents. So exciting.
I opened it. And what did I find? This.
The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years
The Missing Years?! The Missing Years.
I looked at this present- a gag gift, in all senses of the term. Ha ha, funny! Gag.
He so called me out on that one. He remembered, all these years, when he caught me crying over Father Ralph. And he brought it back. In front of OTHER PEOPLE, even.
Oh the shame of it. Father Ralph, you've besmirched yet another young victim.
Please someone. Make me feel better. Did Father Ralph ever touch your heart? Your dirty, dirty heart?
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