Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Smiley things

1. I was telling someone about this link that the effervescent Miss Davies had on her blog the other day, and the person I was talking to pointed out that I, apparently, do not say "McDonald's." I say Mack Donald's. With a heavy emphasis on the Mack. MACK Donald's. How is it that I have gone my whole life and no one has pointed out this ridiculousness to me? It seems that discussing Happy Meals and Chicken Nuggets turns me into an old man from the South. "What would like for dinner, Peepaw?" "Why, I do believe I would like me some Mack Donald's!"

2. I was at this training for work yesterday, and we were learning supervisory stuff (aka how to not be an asshole boss). At the end of the training, the trainer asked us some questions to review what we had learned. It was the end of an 8 hour class, and we were all totally beyond done. At this precise moment, I got called on to answer the question. The trainer said "What are the two tools that we discussed that all supervisors should have at the beginning of every year?" Me: Blank stare. Her: "They both start with a "p." Me: "Um, I don't know. Pride and Prejudice?" Everyone in the room almost puked from laughter. What did I learn at this training? Tired library types plus bad literary jokes equals GUTBUSTER.

3. Speaking of bosses, do you refer to your boss as "boss" right in front of them? As in "Let me introduce you to Joe. He's my boss." I don't know why, but that's funny to me. Why not say "supervisor" or "manager" or "library director" or "CFO" or whatever? "This is my boss" just sounds funny.

4. At my work, we have an automated system that moves books and other items around. You return your book, it goes onto a conveyer belt thing, the magic robot machine scans the book and knows where it should go next (back to another branch to reshelve? back to another location to fill a request for someone?), and then the book gets deposited in the correct bin to be taken to its next location. (See the Picture Picture style short demo here). Each of the bins has a little computer attached to it that can detach and attach to different bins as we work. We call these computers "brains." This name causes me no end of hilarity, because I get emails that say things like this: "We really need more brains at this location. We have a serious shortage of brains. Can you help?" or "We have been juggling brains here because some are out for repair. Can you help us with our lost brains?" or even verbally from the work room, I can hear staff members talk to each other, saying things like "Oops! My brain fell on the floor!" or "Are you done with your brain? Can I borrow it?" or "Why isn't this working? Oh, I forgot to plug in my brain." I have worked here for how many years now? And still. Never stops being funny.

5. I saw this sign last weekend, and I have tried to come up with an occassion that could be classified as a "Cigar Emergency." I can't think of one.

6. I was singing along to "Bad Romance" in the car the other day, and I said "I want your lettuce shredded kiss in the stands." Instead of "leather studded kiss in the sand." I guess I don't really want a bad romance, as much as I want a healthy one during a sporting event of some sort.
7. This song came on my alarm this morning and woke me up. I stayed in bed, looked out my window, and listened to the whole thing before I got up. Ever hear a song that just hits you totally the right way, at the right moment? It's nice.

Monday, June 28, 2010


This weekend was titled "Stop being so goddamn glum, I am just pissing myself off now. Just stop it!"

And I did! I did stop it.

Here is my recipe for glum-stoppage.

On Friday night, I eschewed (gesundheit!) all social gatherings, grabbed a take-out burrito (dirty!), and spent the evening on my couch with Nordic Boy watching Tivo'ed episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report from the entire week. And my phone rang, and I just DIDN'T ANSWER IT. I have friends who I call? And they literally never answer their phone. Ever. They get back to me later, via text or email or in person, sure. But their phones are basically just voicemail devices. Still, it never occurs to me to not answer my phone unless I am truly indisposed (meaning, I am at work, or chatting with someone else in person, or I'm in the bathroom or something). If I am just hanging out at home, I always answer my phone. Until Friday. I just didn't answer! Revolutionary.

On Saturday, we woke up, and the sky looked like this.

The sky has looked like this for pretty much the entire month of June, which is to be expected in Seattle, but the thing that was getting to me was that the forecast kept CALLING for sunshine, and then it would just. not. happen. The weatherpeople (sort of like the Village People, with less fun outfits) kept dicking me over this week, which was just not cool. So when we woke up, and I looked out the window of what was supposedly a cloudy-that-would-turn-sunny day, I was all YOU WILL NOT FOOL ME AGAIN AL ROKER and I looked at Nordic Boy and said

"Let's get in the car and drive over the mountains."
Him: Why?
Me: Because if we do? There will be sun.

I also made a joke about "There Will Be Sun" being the more cheerful version of a Daniel Day-Lewis movie, but I can't remember the joke now, so just fill that one in for yourselves.

So we got in the car and drove. No plan, no idea where we would end up. We just went. The drive started out like this:

And then became like this!

And then, by the time we started to get hungry for lunch, we just so happened to be right next to Leavenworth, Washington. Leavenworth, for those of you who don't know, is a town that is nestled right in the middle of a bunch of mountains, with breathtaking views, and also, by the way, it is totally set up to look like Bavaria. Buildings, food, music that is piped into the streets, everything. All the signs even have a Bavarian font.

I don't know what it is with me and fake German towns. When I go home to Michigan, I end up in Frankenmuth, for reasons I can never quite explain to myself. And now this. Achtung!

We had lunch and then hiked around some trails there and just soaked up the sun and looked at the mountains all around us. And maybe we did Colonel Klink imitations too. Maybe.  Aside from the fact that within the city limits of Leavenworth, there was a beer garden somewhere that had outdoor karaoke so that no matter where you walked you could hear a drunken, yodel-infused version of "Sunny Came Home," it was downright pleasant.

When we tired ourselves out, we got back in the car and headed home. And thus, gloomy be gone! Faux Germany can really be wunderbar.

(I kind of want to find a video of Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson singing Wunderbar from Kiss Me Kate, but I'm too lazy to find it right now. Just hum it to yourself and think of that awesome yellow dressing robe she's wearing. Also very ungloomy).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Consumables #18

Thank you so much for all the sweetness and light that you commented and emailed me yesterday and today. Each and every one of those things made me smile, laugh, or chortle. I love a good chortle.

And now, just so that I have to do some of the work too, I shall list out some more awesomeness in my life at the present time. And also combine it with my weekly consumables.

1. I went to visit my friends in the hospital the other day. They just had a baby and the baby is premature so they have been staying in the hospital for the past almost-three weeks, trying to get the little guy strong enough to come home. They are doing well, and they may get to all three go home in the next few days. They are handling the whole thing remarkably well and I am in awe of them. That kid has got some great parents right out of the gate.

2. I watched Elegy the other night. Now why would I watch a depressing movie about fucked up lonely people when I was feeling glum? I don't know what it is about me, but I love stories about fucked up lonely people. I am neither lonely nor fucked up (well, relatively un-fucked up. Maybe. I don't know), but yet I feel kinship with those people.

3. I also watched This Movie Is Not Yet Rated. Jack Valenti reminds me of Lorne Greene. And Lorne Greene, rather than reminding me of the original Battlestar Galactica, or Bonanza, makes me think of Alpo. Which is sort of a sad thing, really. That's the insightful thing I have to say about that movie.

4. I always forget to mention books in my Consumables posts. What kind of librarian am I, anyway? First I don't wear sweater sets and now this. Sheesh. This week I read a book called The Rebellion of Jane Clarke. It's historical fiction, set in the era leading up to the Revolutionary War, and it was quite good I thought. The mention of Sam Adams just makes me think of beer though. First Lorne Greene and now Sam Adams. Damn you, Don Drapers of the world.

5. Last night, there was a very pretty moon out. It was low in the sky, and silvery, and there were wisps of clouds that kept passing in front of it like gray ribbons. Nordic Boy and I opened up our living room window and sat on the couch and looked at it for a while. Our conversation went like this.

Me: There's this book called Life as We Knew It, and it's about this girl who is living a normal life with her family when a meteor hits the moon and knocks it off its axis, which causes the Earth to go kind of haywire because gravity gets thrown off, and most of the population dies off.
Him: You sure know how to make a moment really romantic, you know.
Me: There are earthquakes, tsunamis, the whole thing. And she has to learn how to survive in this new reality that's created by this event. It was a really good book.
Him: Sounds interesting.
Me: It's not real though. It's fiction.
Him: Um. Yeah. Thanks.

"It's not real though. It's fiction." Really, me?

And to think I am paid to talk to people about books.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


My favorite person-who-is-related-to-me is my cousin Rosita. Rosita totally cracks my shit up, and if you can do that you're likely to make it on my favorite people list. She rocks it.

When Rosita was in her teen years, she was, as many teens are, often annoyed by people. And when she was annoyed by people, she would tell me about what they had said to annoy her. She would imitate what they said, just how they said it, in great detail. And after she would go on and on with whatever long-winded obnoxious quote that the offender had delivered, she would wind up the whole thing by an emphatic Rosita-coined phrase. "Oh my god. Shut-up-nobody-cares!"


I don't know why, but this phrase totally cracks me up. The teen angst of it. The surly nature! Old people often get the reputation for being the curmudgeonly folk in our social circles, but really, it's the teens. SHUT UP NOBODY CARES. I mean, really, right? Ouch. It's, like, the ultimate dismissal. And I wish I could convey the tone that needs to be employed with this phrase. First of all, you have to say it super fast. Shutupnobodycares! And the disdain, it must drip. And you have to mean it, so so hard. It's the only way to say it.

I would like to interject here that Rosita is no longer a surly teen (and really, when she was a teen she wasn't all that high on the surly scale to begin with) and I haven't heard her say this phrase for many years. Surly teen phrases aside, I assure you she did not grow up to be an asshole. Ok then.

One time, many years after I had heard this phrase or even thought about it, I was hanging out with Biogirl. We were going to try a new restaurant, and we arrived at the building and pushed the button to wait for the elevator. As the doors opened and we got in, I said this:

"That elevator really took a long time to come down. I mean, it's a big building, but it's not THAT big. Seems like it should have been faster. Slow service from an elevator, it's really stupid. And wow, look they have fancy art on the wall inside the elevator. That seems so hoity-toit, to have something that expensive in the elevator. Of all things to spend money on, people. I mean, I am all for art in unexpected places, but this elevator doesn't even have good lighting. So the art is totally being wasted. It's ridiculous. I mean, just look at it. Can you even see that? I can't. The person who made that decision really does not know a thing about how to hang art. OH MY GOD SHUTUPNOBODYCARES."

I shutup'ed MY OWN SELF, everyone. I was talking, and talking, and complaining about some shit that does not even matter, and all of a sudden, it was like I left my own body and I could hear myself. And WOW was I annoying. So I had to give myself the old one two punch. One: Shut up. And two: Nobody Cares. It came out of me so strong, so organically, right from my core.

The big finish phrase? Made Biogirl literally almost fall on the floor laughing.

Since then, this has become a phrase that Biogirl and I have totally revived. Whenever we go on too long about something, especially a whine of some sort, we tell ourselves ShutUpNobodyCares. A bit of tough love for ourselves. Sure, we are kind of kidding, but really, we all know when we reach that point where we are being a big whiny crybaby and truly, nobody cares. So shut it.

Well, I don't know that we all know that. And there are probably times when I am doing it and don't know it as well. But for the times that I am doing that and I realize it? Best. phrase. ever.

The past week or two, I am having multiple pre-emptive shutupnobodycares moments. Before I even start to say something, I know I am in danger of a shutupnobodycares moment, so I stop myself. Hence, my post about not really having that much to say lately, and my other post about being Debbie Downer. And also my sparse blogging this week. All of these things feel supremely uncomfortable to me. Crisis, I can deal with. Happiness, also good for me. But general worry and malaise in a sort of cloud that hangs over things? Not really my strength. I usually can buckle down when things go really wrong, or suck it up when things are just sort of not ok and see the good. One or the other. I'm good at those. But this? I just sort of don't know what to say or do with myself. I suppose I was brought up with the "if you don't have anything productive to say, don't say anything" sentiment, and whether that's a good or bad sentiment, it's in me.

So that's where I am at these days. Trying not to go to the Shutupnobodycares place. And the reason? The reason is that everywhere around me right now, it's bad news. People around me are going through stuff, I'm going through stuff, and it's all pretty glum. And I feel the danger of throwing myself a big old whine and cheese party. Which will just make me feel more glum.

So today? I am giving myself a blog style shutupnobodycares. I shall spare you any of the whine that I could dole out. (You're welcome!) Instead, I am turning the tables. I want you, if you are so inclined, to tell me something good. Comment me something positive, something happy, something funny. Send me a link that will make me smile, or point me to a source that made you feel good about what's happening in your life, or in the world. Because I need that right now.

(And please, don't be alarmed- nothing horrible has happened to me. I am just totally feeling surrounded by bad news on a personal, local, and global scale lately, and it's fricking bumming me out and I DON'T LIKE IT. That's all. Nothing earth-shattering).

So...tell me something good.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Consumables #17

This week my brain ate:

Live Nude Girls Unite!
Documentary about workers at The Lusty Lady in San Francisco who organized and became the first unionized sex business.

Robin Hood
Lately, my brain has totally been on complete overload with work and outside-work nuttiness. Because of this, I was in the perfect mindset to see this movie. As a matter of fact, I think the real title of the movie should have been Robin Hood: Calgone Taketh Me Away and Hither! Because it really does not demand a goddamn thing out of you when you watch it. It is exactly and precisely everything you expect it to be and nothing more or less. It's Russell Crowe being all Gladiator-y with bows and arrows and Cate Blanchette being all ethereal-yet-feisty and the fight scenes come on just when you know they will and the story goes just where you want it to. Nothing new in the slightest. Ahhh. My overtired brain really needed that.

Planet B-Boy
Doc about The Battle of the Year, an international breakdancing competition. This ain't no Boogaloo, peoples.

500 Days of Summer
I found this much more melancholy than I expected. Must be my mood right now.

That's all I got. Let me just express my week thusly.

Adieu, my pretties.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Love a Parade, if I can find one

Chances are you have been to a parade in your life, right? Homecoming parade? Pride Parade? Something. You may think that the thing that you are supposed to do for a parade are along the lines of the following.

1. Get up at the crack of ass and lug your lawn chair to the parade route to save your spot.
2. Sit on your keister and watch the parade go by.
3. Perhaps holler and clap while keister-sitting.
4. Perhaps dance along as marching bands or music-playing floats drift by slowly, as if being pushed by the breeze.
5. Flash your boobage in exchange for getting pelted in the face by junky fake beads.

Well, guess what parade goers. You have been doing this ALL WRONG. Parade-spectating, which seems to be an activity with very little room for evolution, has been taken to the next level. By me. And now you can follow in my paradey footsteps.

Last weekend, I heard that a local high school marching band was going to march around my neighborhood to celebrate the end of the year, to have fun, to practice, to...whatever. I don't know why they did it, to be honest. I just heard that it was happening and was all hell yes let's parade it UP.

Parade-watching, me-style.
1. First of all, look up the parade route. Once you find it, only give it a cursory look and interpret it to mean that the parade route is going right past your house. Right past your very own front stoop, even! Disregard that the map clearly shows that that is not the case. Invite a friend over to sit on your stoop with you and watch the shit go down.

2. Gather said friend, your loverman, and yourself at the appointed time and sit on your stoop. Wait, and wait. Watch your loverman bail on this whole idea and start to do yardwork. Convince your friend that you should walk down the street to meet the parade that is FOR SURE COMING. Start to walk. And then walk some more. And then even more. Get hot and tired. Finally get to the actual high school where this whole thing was supposed to start and stand on the corner. Look really confused. Listen for music in the air. Notice that this whole time, there don't seem to be any other spectators. Watch a tumbleweed blow by. HAVING FUN YET SUCKERS?

3. Continue to walk some more in a random direction. Start to give up hope. Suddenly, your friend will claim to have heard music. "I think it's coming from that way!" Start to speed walk in that direction.

4. Walk up and down blocks and hear parade music drifting in and out of range. Wonder if this is how those people who walk along the beach with their metal detectors feel. Also, think about the futile journey of life.

5. Start to hear louder music. Break into a run toward it. Know it's here somewhere! SOMEWHERE.

6. Discover the marching band playing "Pinball Wizard" while standing in a drugstore parking lot. Note that they are clearly not marching and they are not in your neighborhood but at all.

7. Stand and watch for a while and wonder how all of the customers of the drug store must feel because their cars are trapped in this parking lot. Hope that there isn't some sort of pharmeceutical emergency that is being held up.

8. The band director dude will then announce that they are going to start an actual parade now. And then watch as the band takes off like they are ON FIRE. Which they just might be, considering it is 78 degrees and they are wearing full suits that look like a poly-wool blend. This is not merely a marching band, everyone. It is a band that only has two speeds. Drugstore-Stand-Still and Carl Lewis.

9. Follow along as a crowd of onlookers begins to literally chase the band down the street. If not full on running, at least speed walking. Because parade watching equals hauling ass as if we are running with the bulls. Only they are the bulls and we seem to be chasing them. Der.

10. After blocks and blocks of chasing, decide to turn off the parade route and circle around so that you might, as they say, cut them off at the pass. You kind of want to see them marching from the front.

11. As you turn off from the path of the rest of the crowd, feel as though you are outsmarting all those other parade goers and think to yourself that you would be awesome on The Amazing Race, if strategizing about frontal parade viewing was part of that show.

12. See the parade from the front. Act like this is a HUGE accomplishment. Feel smug. Take a photo.

13. Drag your ass home.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Now is still good

I have been a bit of a Debbie Downer lately, I must admit. Not because of anything that has happened. Instead, I've found myself worrying too much about things that are looming in my future. There are tough times on the horizon and when that is the case it's hard to stay in the moment (woo-woo hippie talk, please forgive) and enjoy it when there's that goddamn impending doom. Having a sick papa for a while now, I have thought myself quite the Jedi master when it comes to dealing with impending doom. Seriously I felt like I could give lessons in doom dealing, but add a few more doomy horizon things on top and I'm all OK FINE UNIVERSE I'm worrying. Which is stupid, I suppose, the worrying. It's like being sad in advance, and who needs that?

I remember when Biogirl was going through a similar sadness-in-advance time a few years ago, and she was sitting over at our house one night and she and I were talking about it, and talking about it, and talking about it some more. There were tears, and it was seriously not a good scene, man. When we had talked ourselves completely out, we sort of looked at Nordic Boy, who hadn't said a word. Feeling on the spot, I suppose, he busted out with something to say, just to contribute. "Yeah," he said, " badness." That made all three of us crack a rib from laughing, which brought us right back into the present, the non-sadness-in-advance place. Since then, whenever Biogirl and I get ourselves into that headspace, we can always still get at least a little bit of a chuckle by saying " badness" to each other in our best Nordic Boy voice.

So, this post is just to remind me. No sadness in advance. It'll come when it comes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mad Men Babies

Yesterday, the gaggle of neighborhood kids that live on my street set up a lemonade stand. The ages of the kids range from 5 to 14. During the course of the afternoon, they exhibited just about every form of lemonade Public Relations that you can think of. I swear to you every single one of these was shouted up and down my street. It was cracking us up. It went on for HOURS.

1. Straightforward.
"Lemonade! Seventy five cents! Lemonade! Seventy five cents!"

2. Repetition
"Lemonade! Seventy five cents! Lemonade seventy five cents lemonade seventy five cents lemonadeseventyfivecentslemondadeseventyfivecents..."

3. Gossip Girl-ish
"Lemonade! You know you want some!"

4. Price Wars
Kid #1: "Lemonade! Seventy five cents!"
Kid #2: "Lemonade! $35 cents!"

5. The Hard Sell

6. The Personalized Approach
"Hey there. Hi. Do you want some of our lemonade?"

7. Greenwashing
"Organic Lemonade! Seventy five cents! It's fresh!"

8. Too Cool for School
"Lemonade is here, if you want. Only if you want though."

9. Jingle
"Have a lemonade raid! Have a lemonade raid! You'll have it made! You'll have it made!"

For all that? Only like three people stopped for lemonade. And two of them were me and Nordic Boy. Dang.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Consumables #16

There has been an epic battle in my town weather-wise this week. It rains, and then gusts of wind blow the clouds away, for like five minutes. Then it's rainy again. And on like that. The weather report promises a sunshiney weekend, but I will believe that when I see it. Right now, I feel like this dude.

Barenaked Ladies
OMG The Barenaked Ladies were guest stars on The Bachelorette this week, you guys. What kind of shit is that? (See how I judge them for being on it, but I don't judge me for watching it? I'm a clever one, I tell you).

Facial Expression Babies to Teens
I could look at these art books all day long.

So You Think You Can Dance is back, but nothing of note yet. Still, it makes me deleriously happy. Let's hearken back to an old piece from a previous season, yes?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Most polite graffiti ever

I went to City Hall today, as I sometimes have to do, for work. Rather than tell you some anecdote about what I was doing there, or something about the Mayor, or something of any import whatsoever, I shall just give you this photo that I took inside the City Hall restroom. This sign was posted directly above the toilet. Inside the stall, on the wall.

In case you cannot see what is happening here, the sign says that rainwater is used in the City Hall toilets, yadda yadda. And yes, we are all indeed a bunch of damn pinko commies in Seattle who want our peepees to go into rainwater, bu that is neither here nor there.  Someone has taken it upon themselves to asterisk the sign to say that the discoloration sometimes found in the rainwater "looks like piss."  Someone else, clearly wanting to provide a rebuttal to this very important debate gauntlet that has been thrown down in the toilet stall graffiti community, comes back with the comment "It's great that we aren't using our amazing drinking water to flush toilets- this should be a Best Practice on all new buildings."

This sign is printed on regular printer paper and then slipped into a plastic sleeve which is stuck to the wall. The person who started this whole war of words didn't just take out his/her pen and start writing on walls, no sir. They took the time to slip the sheet out of the plastic to write on it properly, and then slipped it neatly back in. Not only that, they didn't just scribble across the sheet. Or even scribble across the bottom of the sheet. Nope. They wrote across the bottom in a straight line, as if on lined paper, in legible writing. And, in perhaps my most favorite touch, they asterisked the exact word to which they were referring their piss appearance comparison. Just so we weren't confused, I suppose. Why just graffiti something on a sign when you can footnote it instead?

The person who wrote back did not deface the original comment. Instead, they skewered this rube by unfurling the double asterix! Awww, snap!

Oh Seattle. I love you.

Monday, June 07, 2010


Weekend, my weekend. To quote that bard from Hobbiton, Josh Groban, you lift me up. Or, shall I say yoo leeft me aaaaaaaahp. Yes, yes I shall.

This weekend, I saw a bunch of my pals. And I was thinking about the diversity of my pal group. Not just ethnic diversity, but just that I have close friends of many ages, stages in life, and life experiences. It got me thinking about what I base my friendships on. Common interests? Not really. Age demographic? Nope. Profession? That's not it either. I mean, sometimes there is something to all of those things, but that's not really what brings my crew together. What is it then?

I have this one friend who throws parties sometimes, and whenever I go to those parties, I always notice that everyone at the party seems sort of the same. All really nice people, but they are all in the 30-35 age group, white, all married, all with little kids. I am not much different than these people, except for the kids thing, and the white thing, and even that is enough to make me feel like an oddball. In a situation like that I guess it's normal that I feel the differences highlighted, right? Not really that surprising.

And I think we all have those people in our lives who only seem to associate with people they know from work or who are of a particular profession. So if you show up to a party, it's 100% librarians, or 100% computer programmers, or whatever. Granted, I have a lot of librarian friends, so I see how this can happen. But at or near 100%? How do you get yourself into a space where that's all you've got? I don't know how that happens.

There is this other person that I knew, who seemed, on the surface, to sort of be my doppleganger in terms of common interests. Same (sort of) career, same age group, same family structure (hetero couple, no kids), same artistic sensibilities, same interest in dance, same interest in design and art, partner who (sort of) works in a Nordic Boy-related field, blogger, all around nice, kind person, vegetarian, pop culture interest, and on and on and on. She even had a parent that was really ill and had to find ways to deal with that. Um, yeah, ME TOO. Really, it was even down to things like the fact that she and I only wear skirts and are not much for pants. Come on, right? It seemed like we SHOULD be friends. And to be honest, I was sort of into the idea of us being friends and gave it a few earnest shots. But for whatever reason, she never was into me for friendship. I don't know why, but my friendship overtures never were reciprocated much and we seem destined to remain friendly acquaintances. I still think about her (we are still friendly acquaintances) and I wonder why, with so many things in common, we didn't click. It was my one attempt at connecting with someone on the basis of OMG SO MANY THINGS IN COMMON. And it was a total failure. I guess I just don't do well with those standards. I don't know. I am still sort of confused about it.

Anyway, I was just thinking about this whole idea about how we choose our friends because I saw so many of my most favorite peeps this weekend, and I am so thankful for the fact that we have different lives and different things going on. I love that it's all mixed up and that we all love and include each other no matter what our lives look like and that the common denominator is just that they are all kick ass, kind, lovely people. Do I miss out on having friends that have more things in common with me? Maybe I do, and I just don't know. Maybe I could be getting all sorts of support from pals who are just like me, or at least are more like me. I can totally see how that's true. My friend Alli and I have the most things in common out of all my friends, and I really do value that and see how awesome in-common-ness can be. But that's not the way things happen for my friendships on the whole. For whatever reason.

So rather than give you the rundown of my weekend, I shall just say this:

This weekend, I saw some of my closest peeps. Among them were single people, married people, coupled but not married people, people with babies, people with teenaged children, people with grown children, people without children. There were gay people and straight people, and people of different ethnicities. There were people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. Artists and librarians and service workers and retired people and moms and dads and techies and musicians and people without jobs.

When I think of my best friends, I don't think about them in terms of what I have in common with them. I don't care if they have kids and I don't. I don't care if they are 65 and retired. I don't care that they love mountain climbing and you wouldn't catch me doing that in a million billion years. I am just on the lookout for awesomeness. And if you're awesome, I want to be friends with you. That's all.

What is the top thing that you share in common with most of your best friends? Just curious. I don't mean this post as a way to dismiss friendships based on stuff y'all have in common. I just want to know what's happening out there. Do tell.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Consumables #15

Quick and dirty consumables!

Delightful documentary about a guy in South Carolina who makes his whole yard a topiary kingdom. Sounds weird, but it isn't. It's touching.

Kings of the Earth, by Jon Clinch
When I got an advance copy of this, I had to read it. Remember that documentary I talked about a while back called My Brother's Keeper?  This is loosely based on that. Although the book goes in another direction from the doc, I sort of love both equally.

I actually really liked this. Sue me.

I already told you I was late to the game in watching the last Lost. But now that I have done it, I am kind of sad that it's over, although there were things that annoyed the holy hell out of me. I got used to the annoyance. It was like a long term annoying friend. Bye, Lost.  Nordic Boy always contended that your full title should be "Lost: Where There Is Always Someone In the Fucking Bushes," and that is always how I shall remember you.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Sing It, Nell Carter

As you might know by now, I am the queen of giving myself a break. I don't really go in for all that self-hate stuff and if that makes me a class A fuckwad, then so be it, I have long ago made my peace with that.

Well, if I am being honest, it's more accurate to say that I mostly give myself a break. I don't do the "I'm so fat" or "why can't I have hair like hers?" or what have you. I just don't. However, there is one way that, if I feel inadequate, I frickin' drive myself crazy.

It has to do with etiquette. I can be a sort of Emily Post on steroids.

Living life gracefully is important to me. With courtesy and kindness toward other people, amen. It's a part of what we used to call, when we were growing up, "home training." There was no worse insult in the world back then, than acting like an ass and then having someone say about you "clearly, he just hasn't had good home trainin'."  Please do not confuse home training with being house-trained. Totally different things. One has to do with shitting in the house. The other has to do with being a shitass in someone's house. There's a very clear distinction there.

Respectful courteousness is one of the things I love best about being a librarian, in fact. The ethics and expectations in this profession are that we treat everyone with respect. Everyone, consistently, no exceptions. I adore that and I find it really beautiful when done well. I am so proud to be a part of a profession that values this so highly.

(Before you all write me emails and comments about the mean librarian you had when you were little, or the mean librarian at your own local library, I didn't say that all librarians were generous, respectful people. There are librarian assholes, it is true. I am just saying that overall, the librarianfolk are supposed to be democratically respectful to all. Not every doctor has good bedside manner and there are teachers out there who seem to genuinely loathe children. Every profession has its expectations and every profession has its mofos).

So good etiquette. It's important to me. And there is nothing worse to me...NOTHING WORSE...than if I am in some sort of social situation and I unintentionally act like a dick and then only realize it later. Like, there was this one time, I was on a first friend date, and I was so tired, so exhausted, that I just couldn't act enthused about the first friend date with this extremely nice person. I didn't realize it at the time, because I was too tired to notice, but then the next day, when I realized how FRICKING LOW ENERGY I was, and how I didn't really ask very many questions or engage the way I should have? OY.

This happened over a year ago now, and I still feel bad about it, can you tell? I have a really hard time giving myself a break about stuff like that.

I even make myself feel bad about stuff that seems totally socially acceptable to everyone else but me. For instance, answering emails, voice mails, etc. I have this idea that when someone emails me or calls me or texts me or sends me a smoke signal, then I should respond within 24 hours. 48 hours TOPS. And I know this is not what other people seem to have collectively agreed upon, because other people are not doing that, and it's all ok. No one will die if an email (and I am talking a non-professional, non-worky email) goes unanswered for a little while, so what's the big deal? I DON'T KNOW. But there are times when I forget to email someone back for a few days longer than that, and when that happens, I feel horrible. I feel like I have dishonored their time by being lame for no good reason. I think about it for a long time and feel remorse. It's dumb. I mean, really. My email correspondence is not heart surgery. If someone emails me it is usually along the lines of "whazz uuuuup?" But if I don't email back in a timely way to say "whazz uuuuup back to you, suckaaaa!" then I feel terrible. All out of proportion terrible.

So last night, Biogirl and I went out to dinner at one of our favorite haunts. We had dinner, and then we sat at that table and gabbed our faces off for hours. I think we met there at 6:30. We didn't leave until almost 10pm. And it wasn't like we were ordering drinks that whole time or anything. We just had a regular dinner, and then monopolized the table without realizing where the time was going. So then, the check comes, and in the midst of our intense conversation, I went on autopilot and left a regular tip.


I have had many friends who have waited tables. I know how important it is for tables to turn over so that waiters can make some cash on the tips. So what I should have done is realized that we had parked our hineys for a long time, and prevented that table from turning over, and didn't even really order anything more than just dinner, so LADY LEAVE A BIGGER TIP.

But I didn't. Totally not thinking. Until I got home and I realized it. And I couldn't stop thinking about it.

It's the next day and I'm still thinking about it. And there doesn't seem to be a break from me to me in sight.

Dear Me: GET A GRIP.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Imagination House

My parents are not what you would call fancy people. They are real, much in the same way that Jenny from the Block is. Except, you know, for real real. They are frugal, to say the least. They also just have a very simple way of living. They grow a lot of their own food, it would never enter their minds to have a fancy car even if they could have one, and they don't go in for deluxe vacations and such.

One thing that they do go all out for? Their house.

By that I don't mean that they spent a ton of moola on their house. I just mean that they put their all into it.

By the time my parents went from renting to owning a house, they were well on their way to 50 years old. And rather then just buy a house, they decided that they wanted to build, because they had a vision for what the design of this house should be. They didn't want a run-of-the-mill house. They wanted something artistic, something that expressed who they were and the lives that they dreamed for their kids, who had spent their lives up until that point living in sad apartment complexes and cookie cutter rental homes, and who (besides me, the baby born in the US), had had a kind of harrowing immigration experience so far.

My parents couldn't really afford an architectural firm fee for this artsy fartsy house of their dreams. Instead, they went to an architectural firm and asked if they had any entry level architects in the hizzy. They did. My parents took this young architect out to dinner and talked to him about their dream design. And totally inspired this dude. Inspired him enough so that he drafted up their house plans for them on the side, outside of his work for his firm. They became close friends in the process. He said that my folks totally spoke his language. It was a meeting of the minds, a happy partnership.

After the house was built (and how they accomplished that little miracle is a story in and of itself), my parents designed every room themselves. None of the rooms in our house growing up was ordinary. There was art everywhere, and unexpected palettes of color, and nothing looked like my friends' houses. The only thing that wasn't meticulously, thoughtfully designed by my parents? The kids' bedrooms. In those rooms, my parents let us have free reign. Express yourself, kiddies! And boy, did we. My brother had blood red wall to wall carpeting and a wallpaper mural. My sister had a crazy canopy bed that seemed 5 feet tall and walls and floors the color of Mylanta. I had a severe looking white bed, the frame of which was shaped like a cube (I was a big weirdo minimalist even before puberty). My parents, so simple in every other way, wanted us to live in spaces that we loved, and that we had a hand in creating.

I am so grateful that my parents instilled this love of design and creativity in me. They are the least extravagant people I know, and their house is not the largest or the fanciest that you'll ever see, but it feels like it is to me. The design of their house is open and airy, which makes it seem so much larger than its actual square footage, and the art is just everywhere, from the items on the walls to each piece of furniture to the structure itself. More than anything, that house symbolizes to me that they wanted our lives to be beautiful, right where we were, and that you don't have to go on a fancy trip or have a ton of money in order to make your life feel special. My parents' house feels like an oasis. It always did, even when I was a kid. Why have the need for a getaway when your own house is the place that feels the most getawayish?

I aspire to have this same kind of beauty in my own home. Small, expressive, true to who we are, special.

Here is a small sampling of photos taken at my folks' place. Thanks moms and pops for bringing me up in the middle of so much imagination.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Laundry Room Upgrade Part One

This weekend was tip tops!

First of all, I realized that for all the housey stuff that we do around here, I don't really share the joy, do I? Why not, since I love to see all y'all's housey and arty and other types of projects? I should really be reciprocating on that stuff, is what I just figured out. Listen, I never said I was the brightest bulb in the box. But I get it now. So from now on, I shall share. Ready? Ok.

Have I ever told you about our strange laundry room? Our laundry room is a totally unfinished eyesore, with strange mismatched built in cabinets that don't have shelves in them, and also a weird sideways door (with a doorknob and everything) that opens up to reveal a creepy twin bed compartment that looked like it was built for a jail cell or a dungeon. When we first moved in, that bed was the first thing to be ripped out, because hello, I don't need no Flowers in the Attic style vibe in my house freaking my shit out, no thanks. Since then, the dungeon bed was gone, but the rest was still ugly and very low on the functionality scale. I don't have a great photo of it, but here's one that I took the week we moved in.

That large open cubby on the right is part of where the vampire bed used to be.

Anyway, recently I was all "hey how about some for reals cabinets in there?" and Nordic Boy was all "shut up about the for reals cabinets we have bigger fish to fry" and I was all "make me shut up" and he was all "ok I will."

And this weekend, this is what happened.

KAPOW! Cabinets! And paint!

And then KA-SLAM! Shelves, and doors, and handles!

Ooh, look at the doors, people. BI-FOLD! Fold, you doors, fold!

We need to wire in some better lighting in that room, so the photos are kind of not great, but there you have it. Cabinetry galore. And see how I blamed the lighting for the bad photography? Did you catch that one?

Anyway, what you can't really see here, but is super delightfully awesome, is the sizing of the cabinets. Nordic Boy designed them so that each one has more depth than the one before. The first one is skinny, the second one steps up and is a little fatter, and the third one (which you actually can't see here) is fatter still, and the last one is huge. So it's a terraced sort of design, which maximizes the space and fits all of our shit perfectly. I love them more than is ladylike, really.

Other than that, we...

...hung out with Delium on Friday night (which included the three of us watching the new season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance, which HELLO BLOG FRIENDS not one of you told me that this was coming up. Sheesh, what is up with that?)

...played a harrowing game of 80s Pop Culture Trivial Pursuit with BioGirl and her gentleman friend where my undefeated status was crushed to itty bitty pieces by Nordic Boy and the four of us got the giggles when someone said "Bettino Craxi" and it sounded more like "Buttino Craxi" because that's the kind of classy joint we run around here

...went on a popcorn field trip with pals, which I could try and explain to you but I don't think I could even if I tried

...called my friend Chris to wish him a happy birthday, and actually considered warbling the Happy Birthday Song to him, but then chickened out because Chris is a bonafide for real opera singer and hearing my broke down version of Happy Birthday might just make him cut me as a friend

...finally, on Monday, had a Lost finale viewing party (listen, we were away when it was actually on) wherein Biogirl and I got to yell out LAPEEDUS many many times which I am sure enhanced everyone else's viewing pleasure.
Also, I spent a fair amount of time cheering on the cabinet-making. Which totally counts as contributing.