My goal for the last few days was to lie in a heap on my couch (time off work! My favorite thing about Christmas!) and read books and watch movies and never get out of my jimmer jams. The icy rain that seems to always be coming at me sideways was telling me that's what I wanted to do, anyway. Yes, I now hear rain voices, what OF it?
I did get some of that accomplished with some busting out for certain very important things. Such as:
1. I went out to see two movies (and the couple who brought their 3-year-old to see Lincoln and he was mesmerized the whole 2.5 hours? Either that child is a genius or that there is scientific proof that Daniel Day-Lewis is mesmerizing).
2. We went out for our annual Chinese food for Christmas Eve dinner. I sort of felt bad for the waitstaff because that place was so completely slammed with all us non-Christmasy folk it was sort of on the ridiculous side. Wall-to-wall humanity! They probably all got tipped really well that night though right?
3. I spent an afternoon with my brother and nephew. Dudes, my nephew is 11 and is so into reading right now. After all those years where he could barely give me the time of day because Uncle Nordic Boy was so much more fascinating (Nordic Boy + tools + a red truck = me/chopped liver), this is SPLENDID NEWS. How long will having a librarian aunt be cool? I don't know, but I am loving it.
4. I spent a day with Biogirl, her mom, and her mom's dude, walking all over Seattle. My town is really fun in general but it's a special kind of fun with out-of-towners.
5. Dinner with Delium. That dude cracks me up.
6. We have a new oven and cooktop and Nordic Boy made us a frigging feast on Tuesday. Channa masala, aloo with black eye peas, egg curry. Awwww yeah.
These are all awesome things. Here are some not awesome things, just to counterbalance.
1. I was at a party recently and got asked by a complete stranger if I was planning on having children. When I gave him my reply I got sad, pathetic face as if I needed a telethon of some sort. Listen, I am not naive and I know that people have opinions about ladies who do not have the babies but you do not have to look at me like I am Tiny Tim from a Christmas Carol. I am fine. I promise you: me and my desolate womb are just fine.
2. I went to this perogi place the other day and ordered a potato one, and the lady at the counter said "you Indians, always ordering POTATOES." Really, lady? You are telling me that Indians eating potatoes is a stereotype? Like, that it's even a thing? You are just making shit up and assigning it to my Indian-ness now. Next thing you know it'll be all "You Indians! Look at you! WALKING AROUND LIKE YOU DO." Isn't potato-loving universal? Like, shouldn't humanity be defined by breathing, sleeping, loving, and potato-eating? Some racial shit happens to me pretty dang regularly but that one was just weird.
3. A bird had explosive diarrhea all over my car this morning. Well, from the looks of it, it may have been a bird or a pterodactyl.
And one neutral thing:
1. I have been trying to wear more sweaters lately. I am not known for my sweater wearing as I think for some reason they look lumpy on me, and I don't like to look lumpy, my lovely lady-lumps notwithstanding. My sweater stance results in me being cold from October through May, which is also no good. This year I have made an attempt at buying some sweaters. I bought 5 and returned 3 for lumpy reasons. Still, that's progress, right?
And one dumb thing:
1. Am I the only adult on planet earth that feels bad when I hear other adults talk about Santa to little kids? The blatant lying of it makes me feel uncomfortable. Those sweet trusting faces! I kind of can't handle it. But you may have heard that I'm a Scrooge. Plus my womb instincts are broken according to random party dudes.
6 Awesome Things, 3 Not Awesome Things, One Neutral Thing, and One Dumb Thing. And the Not Awesome Things aren't really that bad in the grand scheme. I'll take that math.
My goal for the last few days was to lie in a heap on my couch (time off work! My favorite thing about Christmas!) and read books and watch movies and never get out of my jimmer jams. The icy rain that seems to always be coming at me sideways was telling me that's what I wanted to do, anyway. Yes, I now hear rain voices, what OF it?
Hope you got some time to max out and hug your homies this week.
Last week I was at work and I saw a colleague that I haven't seen in a long time. She was really busily walking somewhere and I was really busily walking somewhere (did you know that sometimes I catch myself at work doing a very scary speedwalk? It is the prissiest rushed walk ever and I am embarrassed on behalf of me and my whole family whenever I realize I am doing it because the priss reaches across generations) and we were passing in the hallway. We spotted each other right at the last minute and she said "oh hey!" and I said "great to see you!" and she sort of reached out (for a handshake? a hug? a pat on the arm? a high five?) and so I reached out but we both kept walking past each other and neither of us knew why we were reaching so as I passed her I sort of grabbed her forearm in what I hope was a grasp of warmth but she was sort of waving so, well, to be honest, she smacked me pretty good and this about sums up my whole month so far. Just that whole exchange. That's what I stand for this December.
There is also the possibility that she clocked me on purpose. Sure, true.
As you know, I am not a huge fan of Christmas. I have given it a good college try some years, but it has just never seeped in and I am just going to have to face it that I just can't get it up for Santa. (I just made you shrivel up a little with that mental picture, didn't I?). There are people who gather around the tree and hang stockings and eat turkey legs and hamhocks or whatever the hell it is on Christmas Eve, and there are people who get Chinese takeout, and I am solidly in group B. I think, as a grown ass woman, I am finally starting to be ok with this, but it's hard. I know it's a dumb thing to say (that it's hard), but whatever. Feel free to judge me. I just think that for some of us who have never quite felt a part of majority culture on a regular day, there is nothing quite like the Christmas season to make us feel like outsiders. It's the only time of year where I get sad about not being invited to things or included in yuletide infrastructure, but then confused because I don't really want to have yuletide infrastructure, do I? I mean, really, do I? I am asking. Because I never have figured that one out. Mostly I am ok with it but I think there will always be that 7-year-old me that feels like I am pressing my nose up against the window, looking at Christmas, knowing it's not for me.
Hey, I just admitted something really embarrassing on the interwebs. Wheeee! Just know that I know it's stupid. And stop looking at me about it. STOP LOOKING.
Anyhoodle. The one thing that I do like and can heartily participate in for Christmas is to take in holiday-related pop culture. Surprise! I like watching movies and stuff. Did you know this?
Here are some Christmas things I have been tasting. I have lots but I shall limit to 5.
Christmas in Connecticut
Barbara Stanwyck, the only thing that I feel sad about regarding you is that the first time I encountered you was when you were playing that creepy old lady in The Thorn Birds. Of all things. Little did I know the bastion of awesomeness that came before until I was in my twenties. The shame of it! Carl from Casablanca and Schultz from The Great Dictator are in this one too, which can never be a bad thing.
Everybody sing! "I feel it in my fangers, I feel it in my toooooes..."
Ok, so remember I told you once, a very long time ago, about the crush I had, an even longer time ago, on a boy I unfortunately called Taco when I was 15 years old? There was a significant evening I had with Taco, where we were at a party sitting next to each other on a couch with our friends, watching a movie, and his hand was next to my hand, and he pressed the back of his hand onto the back of my hand, and my knickers went up in flames because of it. I call it the Famous Knuckle Makeout. Anyway, the relevant thing here is that I remember that the movie we were watching during this event was Holiday Inn. It is a nice memory. The other night, I made Nordic Boy and Biogirl watch this with me, thinking it would be a lovely way to keep my Christmas in Connecticut feelings going. All of this is preface to say that YOU GUYS BING CROSBY BROKE MY HEART. Because he does a very long, very upsetting song in that movie in full on blackface. I know, I know, it was part of the times back then blah blah things were shitty that way. But dudes! I just! Oy. How could I have not remembered Bing blacking up from my night with Taco? His knuckles were just that overpowering I guess. Oh Bing. Not even cool. Irving Berlin, I blame you also.
Holiday in Handcuffs
I have been partaking in my usual amounts of Hallmark Christmas movies (or should I say Hallmark style, since Lifetime and Ion and others are getting in on this action too), and this one stars Mario Lopez and Sabrina the Teenage Witch and it was really weird. Sabrina's boyfriend breaks up with her right before Christmas and so she has no one to take home to meet her parents so she picks up a fake gun and kidnaps a cute man (Mario) in a restaurant and makes him meet her parents. I guess we are supposed to think: WACKY! Which, mission accomplished. I really loved it a lot and when I say that I mean that I am totally JKing you.
A Christmas Tale (Un Conte de Noel)
This movie is the Frenchest shit I have ever seen in my life. It stars Catherine Deneuve as a mom who has just learned that she has cancer and all of her grown children come home for the holiday and there is lots of introspection and speaking in soft tones about life's absurdities. Also, it is about 5 million minutes long. I'm not saying it wasn't a good movie, but festive it certainly was not.
What are some other holiday movies that I should watch, especially ones that maybe get forgotten about? Email them to me or tell me in the comments.
See, what I was doing was, like, a thing where instead of doing NaBloPoMo, I was doing the opposite, see, a sort of Bizarro world thing, where I posted nothing every day for the month of November instead of posting every day, so it's totally legit because I meant to do it on purpose and stuff. Buying it?
Anyway, let's not dwell on my shortcomings because if we start off on that road we shall be here all day and no one wants that.
Here are some of the things that happened this month, in memoriam of November.
There was this big election that happened, first of all, don't know if you heard about it. My neighborhood celebrated in much the same way as the last time: a kid across the street ran outside and played a celebratory tune on his trumpet. 4 years ago it was "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and this time it was the national anthem. It was still wobbly but that kid has stuck with it for four years! I see how the anthem was a better choice, objectively speaking, but really, I kind of missed Mary and the lamb.
We got a new, fancy, delightful microwave/oven/convection combo dealie and I love it so much I want to take over the job of being the primary cook in my house. Ha ha, there is a fib in that last sentence somewhere.
Oh yeah, and I fired a gun for the first time in my life. And probably the last, unless the zombies come in which case I am ready. My friends- all liberal non-gun-toters every one- decided this was an experience we needed to have, and so we went to the local gun range and shot the shit out of some paper hanging up by clothespin type clippy things. I found it a bit anti-climatic, to tell the truth. I don't know, I thought it would be more exciting or scary. Plus, our instructor was kind of a dick so that was not enjoyable either. We left after like a half hour. My verdict: guns = a snoozefest. Who knew?
I had four glorious days off over Thanksgiving, during which we cooked a bunch of food (new oven! new oven!) and had our besties over and that's really it but dang it was good times.
And then, um, some other stuff? I'm sure happened? I am sure? This month?
No, I guess not. Election, oven, guns, Thanksgiving. God bless America, dudes.
Driving with Biogirl, we see a "Do Not Pass" sign.
Her: None shall pass!
Me: You shall not pass! Fly, you fools!
Her: Wait, what?
Me: Gandalf. We're doing Gandalf, right?
Her: I was doing Monty Python.
Me: NERD WAR!
I saw this birthday card recently that said the following: "Martin Luther King. Jr. gets one day where we celebrate his birthday. So calm down, Birthday Month People." It sort of cracked me up.
I mention that only because I want to emphasize that I didn't even set out to be a birthday month person this year, and yet, it just happened. This whole month has been super terrific happy times. These are among the things that have been making it grand.
1. Delium took me to see the Paul Taylor Dance Company who just so happened to be in town. They were so delicious and unitardy. I loved every minute of it.
2. Nordic Boy and I went to a fancypants restaurant and did a million-course tasting menu. The final course was brought out and the waiter explained what it was using not one word that either of us could define. It was also visually indecipherable. "You taste it first and tell me what it is," I said after the server had gone. Nordic Boy took a big bite and said "Oh, you'll like it. It tastes like a lemon muffin with Cool Whip!" Really, when eating fancy food you should take Nordic Boy with you for descriptive assistance.
3. Biogirl took me for a road trip down the Oregon coast for a weekend. In the car, she invented what might be the best mash up of all time: Demi Lovato's "Give Your Heart A Break" mixed with "Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar."
4. My brother took me out to another fancy dinner and regaled me with stories about my nephew who recently, after scoring a goal during one of his soccer games, with no forethought whatsoever, busted out into the Gangnam style dance in joyous celebration which led to all his little friends joining right in. Trust me, I know you don't know my nephew but this is hysterically adorable.
5. My coworkers made a really big deal about my birthday this year. I know that work-related birthdays are usually cheesy and excruciating but this one felt really genuine. I felt appreciated.
6. I sent out a blanket invite to a bunch of friends to meet up with me at my local pub for a drink on my actual birthday and it was just the lovliest night. The weather was gorgeous, we sat outside, I got to soak in the awesomeness that is my life, and my friend Kevin actually brought me some Vernor's so I could indulge my newfound love for the Detroit Cooler.
7. All of my favorite faraway people called me or texted me funny, thoughtful messages. My parents, Alli, her husband Chris who I also adore, Map, Palindrome, my brothers, my cousin R, just my small but steadfast group.
8. I have discovered that there is a thing called a pajancho. Yes, I am taking this fact as a personal birthday present to me. Not the item. The word. Don't you just want to say it every day of your life? Pajancho, pajancho, pajancho.
Holy smokes, so many Consumables to talk about! Let's DO THIS.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Documentary about an 85-year-old master sushi chef. Even if you are not into sushi specifically, this film essentially functions as a portrait of a great artist. If you are into sushi, it'll make you want to lick the screen.
The special effects are pretty dang cool in this one. The characters were a bit too much of a rehash for me- I mean I know it's Alien-related, but something new? Anything? The entire scene where poor-man's Sigourney Weaver takes an alien out of her belly was just dumb. Also, there's too much set up. The whole thing is setting up, which I guess will feel better when the sequel comes out but as a stand alone movie, not so much.
Deep Blue Sea
The other night, Nordic Boy and I were in a mood to snuggle up and see something romantical. The description of this movie made us think: doomed love in post World War II times, with pretty Rachel Weisz and pretty Tom Hiddleston. Sign us up! Only, oops, nope, do NOT sign us up. The following phrases were used while we were watching this movie. "Wow, that's messed up." Also, "dude, these people have got PROBLEMS." Then "someone PLEASE separate these suckers, for the love of god!" As the credits rolled, Nordic Boy just summed it up by saying: "well, shit." Precisely, my good fellow. Well, shit.
Can it be true that I haven't mentioned the Avengers until now? I saw it in the theater ages ago. This is everything you expect it to be: cheesy, fun, explosion-y, bubbly goodness. Some random thoughts: will we ever see Robert Downey Jr in a non-sardonic role ever again? Because he can do that too, remember? And why wasn't Gwyneth Paltrow allowed to wear shoes in this movie? I want Pepper Potts to be in a suit and acting smartly buttoned up, not a Daisy Duke wearing hippy dip. Lastly, I think it's probably an uncool choice but the Hulk is sort of my favorite.
I think that the thing I enjoyed most about this movie was the convergence of pop culture that happens in it. Dan Humphrey plus neo-Spock plus the Mentalist guy plus leathery old Jeremy Irons plus Demi Moore plus Aasif Mandvi and of course, Stanely Tucci. I say of course because isn't the Tooch in everything? Also, this movie made me think about suspenders. In order to wear suspenders, you have to either be a Wall Street business dude or a lumberjack. There isn't a lot of middle ground on suspenders.
If this movie was in a heartbreaking contest with Wendy and Lucy, which would win? Probably this one, but it would be close. All I really need to say is that I love John Hawkes, ever since he played Sol Star in Deadwood, so that was good enough for me.
I am just now catching up with this, and is it weird that the ingenue person that we're supposed to root for (Katherine McPhee) is the one I do not like? I wish that the show had a bit more of a wink to it. I think it suffers because it takes itself too seriously. Come on! You are singing show tunes and having soapy plot twists and you have Anjelica Houston making out with that One Life To Live Irish guy! Own your ridiculousness!
These are the most clean, stylish, shiny-haired, lip-glossed apocalypse survivors I have ever seen. And doesn't the guy that plays Miles have a distinctly Herb-from-WKRP vibe going on?
Oh my god, I'm so tired.
Blindness, by Jose Saramago
Trippy story about a plague that sweeps through an unnamed city that causes some people to lose their sight. The fear of the plague causes the government to quarantine these people in an abandoned asylum, and the book describes the social breakdown that occurs within as well as outside of its walls. The characters in the story all remain nameless throughout, and the baseness and despair that occur are awful. The poetic language is the draw here, but there are seriously no rainbows anywhere to be found.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson
A big mammer jammer of a nonfiction book that tells the story of the migrations that occurred in droves (1920s through 1960s or so) of African American people who fled the Jim Crow south. I loved how it had an engaging, readable narrative that focused on representative individuals, but it doesn't rely too heavily on anecdotes.
The Sparrow, by Mary Dora Russell
A Jesuit priest leads a team on a space mission to discover an alien civilization on another planet. Think Contact mixed with The Mission and you've got it.
Habibi, by Craig Thompson
There are some gorgeous drawings in this graphic novel, but the stuff that didn't work for me outweighed that. There was some serious race, gender, and sexuality trouble of the kind that was so glaring that I couldn't see past it. And the gratuitous naked ladies with the idealized bodies in every single scene, alRIGHT already. I will forever think that this book should have been called Haboobie.
Castle Waiting series, by Linda Medley
Graphic novel re-tellings of fairy tales that are fun and soothing. I think this is a great series for kids in upper elementary because it has a tongue-in-cheek sort of humor that they will get an especial kick out of.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts, by Susan Cain
These kind of anecdotal sciencey books are always a bit of a frustration for me. On the one hand, it's interesting, but on the other hand, I just end up having so many questions about the meanings of the various studies and conclusions that are discussed that it ends up being not so convincing to me. Also, the author's definition of introversion seemed hazy at best. I understand that this term is not one that has definitive boundaries, but in this case there were times when things got so broad as to seem kind of meaningless.
Just My Type: A Book About Fonts, by Simon Garfield
A fun, informative book that talks about font history and theory in an entertaining way. It was fontastic! (Come on, I had to).
I AM SPENT.
My birthday is this weekend, and I gotta say, I am feeling super good about the birthday this year. Like, not just an excited birthday feeling because I have a lot of things planned (which I am because I do), but a bigger, better birthday feeling. I know that birthdays are sort of meaningless, really- I mean we are aging all the time and so marking a particular day and feeling like we are all of a sudden older on that day is sort of weird when you think about it. But birthdays are a time to look around at one's life, and take stock, and think about how things are going. And for me, this week, I have been feeling good, just deep down in my soul. 2011 was, in a way, about letting go of 2 people that I was trying to keep in my life who- when I really took a look at the truth of it-didn't really want to be there. So I let them go, and it was really, really sad, and I was sort of preoccupied a lot of the time with the fact that those people were missing. 2 core people who had kind of always been there for me for years and years and years, were just gone. Even though I didn't wallow, I did sort of feel like it was in the back of my mind a lot of the time. It was like I was walking around with these ghosts of people who I loved so much that just didn't love me back. It was hard to eat that, but eat it I did. I kind of didn't have a choice, I guess. I have to say that as hard as it was, I took it like a champ, which is something.
This past year though, I feel like that phase is finally passing, and just in the past month or so it really feels different. I just feel... better. More than better. I feel really good. I think the ghosts are- if not gone- then at least they don't live with me all the time now.
Last night, Nordic Boy was doing the dishes, and I was reading a book, and the new Tegan and Sara song came on, and Nordic Boy came out of the kitchen swinging a dish towel around in that silly way of his, and pulled me out of my chair, hit "repeat" and we danced. We laughed, and jumped, and Saturday-Night-Fevered, and dipped, and were breathless, and just got our boogie on in our living room, and I thought to myself, yay for me. I am still loved, and I'm not even talking about that gorgeous Nordic Boy of mine. I'm talking about me. I heard my own laugh and I felt my body moving around and I felt the parts of my soul that are still open to things, to people, to fun, to life, and I thought: ah, yes, now I remember. I am kind of awesome. I really love being me. Look at that girl, I thought to myself. She pretty much rocks it. I love her.
Go dance around and think about how awesome you are. It's really so necessary, you guys.
Is this thing still on? Anyone there?
So I may be just talking to myself at this point, but that's ok. Hi, me! How have you been? Well, me, I feel that I have to quote my close personal friend Inigo Montoya and say the following "Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up." Not that anything big has happened. Just livin' life, as T.I. would say.
Where else are you going to get Inigo Montoya and T.I. in the same breath, you guys? Did you miss me? Or does that make you not miss me? I could see it going either way.
So here's some stuff that I want to tell you, with no rhyme, reason, segues, or cohesion. In other words, I AM BACK.
I went to Michigan last month and Map told me a story about a coworker of hers who, when agitated, will over-aspirate her "wh" words. So like this: "hhhhhhhwhere are those budget numbers and hhhhhhhhhwhy haven't they been turned in yet? Hhhhhhhhwho is responsible?" I don't know why but this made Alli and me so completely delighted that we have been talking like this at every opportunity. I highly recommend it.
We went to the local state fair. Nordic Boy, who has spent part of his life working an actual family dairy farm when he was a youngster (and will not drink a glass of milk if you paid him ever since), revealed to me that he has never ever been to a fair before. To which I said hhhhhhwhat? How can that be? He's from Wisconsin, for pete's sake. Isn't it the law that everyone go to the fair in Wisconsin? It turns out that his family was more likely to have gone to carnies that would travel through his town, which actually rings true for me too. We didn't do the fair thing when I was a kid either, but we sure went to the local ethnic festivals or travelling carnies and did some fair-like things, like eating cotton candy and getting on rickety/dubious death-traps (aka rides). I have a lot of really fun carnie memories. But yet, whenever I think about the carnie concept all I can think of is that movie Two Moon Junction. Do you guys remember that? It was Sherilyn Fenn having sexy times with a burly carnie worker drifter guy who had veins popping out everywhere. It was all kinds of ICK. It is also one of Nordic Boy's mom's favorite movies. Which I sort of think is awesome while also is a thing I wish I didn't know. Like, simultaneously.
Thankfully, there were no burly drifters trying to sex us up when we went to the fair, at least that we could tell. We had an awesome time, although afterward, Delium was asking us about it and we realized that we had probably the most un-state-fair-est time of anyone who has been to a state fair. It went like this:
Delium: So did you go on any rides?
Delium: How about animals? Did you see those?
Me: Well, we actually skipped that part.
Delium: How about fair food? Slushies? Kettle corn?
Me: No, we skipped that part too.
Delium: You went to the STATE FAIR, right?
In our defense, we had no time for all those things, because we got sucked into three other, much more awesome things.
1. Giant vegetables. PUMPKINS AS BIG AS MY CAR, YOU GUYS.
2. Grange competition. There was this competition where these farms would put together a huge mosaic made from their produce. Which, yes.
3. Home arts. This was actually where we spent most of the day. Quilts! Crochet! Dollhouse construction! Pie contests! It was totally mesmerizing. There was even something called a "table setting competition" which, from what I could surmise, was just what it sounds like: pick a theme and set a table according to that theme. And then you get a RIBBON if your setting is superior! I have pretty much been demanding a mf ribbon every time I have set our dinner table every night since the fair. I will tell you if I ever get one.
In other news, it is coming up on my birthday and I have celebrated so far by sleeping wrong and pulling a muscle in my neck to the point where I basically couldn't move. I felt like I maybe would have benefited from one of those brace things like Joan Cusack wore in Sixteen Candles. Neck pull around birthday time makes me feel, let's see, how can I put it? Forever young, I think is how Rod Stewart would prefer I say it.
Also, in related old fartness, I have been out three times in the past month and have not been carded AT ALL. Now, I know I am way, way, way (waaaaaaaay) past being at an age where I should really be getting carded in bars and it was happening less and less over time, but I was still averaging a carding about a third of the time. Sure, it was probably sympathy carding that was happening but I WILL TAKE IT. But apparently not anymore.
So, to summarize: I find the home arts fascinating, I have a pulled neck muscle and I don't have to have ID when going to clubs that perhaps I am too old to be in in the first place. I am rolling up to this next birthday like a BAWSE.
Warning, incoherent blogging ahead!
The blog silence has been because I've been searching for words, which, let's face it, I never really do before I puke-write on the blog.The trip through the midwest is over and I am completely confused about settling back in. Does anyone else get like this after a trip? So far it has been wall-to-wall bewilderment: my house, is that you? Oh, and walking around my neighborhood: this is my neighborhood, yes, I remember now. I have to go to a job and do job things, ok. But what am I supposed to be doing and thinking about? It feels mystifying, my life.
So to ease back into the blogging, I'll just jot some things down about the last week of the tripsie.
Nordic Boy spent a goodly amount of time fixing up busted stuff at my parents' house. He got them a new dishwasher and tv and installed them, fixed wiring, found every last loose closet doorknob or sticky screen door and fixed those up, just everything. This meant that we were at the local mom and pop hardware store every single solitary day, sometimes twice. The folks that work at the store quickly identified me as "cookie man's daughter." The hardware store also provides UPS service (seriously that place is like Oleson's Mercantile) and my dad is constantly showing up there with packages of cookies that my mom has made for sending off to all the grandkids, and he often has a cookie or two for the staff there as well. My dad, therefore, is known as "cookie man." Could you just die from the cuteness?
For more cuteness, see: my mom. Alli and Map dropped me off one night after we had all gone out, and my mom got her pajamafied self together to make them a snack, and then when they were ready to go, she says to me "they aren't staying over?" Like, an assumed slumber party, as it was when we were kids, when none of us ever slept at our own houses on weekends like, ever.
I am so glad I grew up in a household where cookies and slumber parties were a given, with pals to share them both and parents who encouraged the tomfoolery.
One night Alli, Map and I put out a call on the Facebooks for some childhood friends to come out with us. Did we have fun? Dude, we had all the fun. Most of the people that I saw that night, I met when I was in kindergarten, and we all are so, so different from each other now and I love it. I really adore those people. They are just so genuine, and so freaking hilarious. And it's so funny how we all think we have changed so much, and I guess we have, but really every last one of those people seemed, at their core, pretty much the same as they were when they were 5 or 15.
I also got to spend some time with my all-time favorite relative, my cousin R. We stayed up almost all night talking. What is better than staying up all night because you just can't shut up around someone? It's pretty awesome.
Anyway, I feel sort of at a loss now that I'm back, just for words in general. So I guess that's all I will say about it, even though I feel like there's so much more to say. How about some photos from my week in Traverse City with my favorite ladies and we call it good?
I'm typing this on my phone, is the first thing that I want to say up front so as you understand the pain-in-the-arse-ness I am feeling and also so that you excuse any auto-correct boolshizz that may happen along the way here.
I wrapped up my Madison trip, whipped through Chicago for less than 12 hours (most of which was spent in sleepy bye bye land) and then got in Alli's car and drove up to Traverse City at the top of the Michigan Mitten. (I wonder if people there say good morning by saying "top o' the mitten to ya!" because if they don't that's a damn shame). We checked in to what we have now dubbed Chateau Relaxeau, also known as Alli's sister Steph's house, for three days of silly girl times. During this time, we ate 4 kinds of cheesecake that was sent all the way from New York City ("New York City??? Get a rope!"), we confessed things to each other that made all of us cry (feelings! Whoa whoa whoa feelings! That's right I am Morris Albert-ing you), laughed until we wanted to pee ourselves, and saw some ridiculous beautiful scenery every last place we looked.
Oh, and I finally found a cocktail that I really and truly liked! And you know what it took? It took a soothsayer like Steph to look into my soul and understand the truth of the matter which is that I am, at heart, the least refined drinker you'll ever meet. So, with flattered thanks to all of you over the years who have looked at me and said "try a gin and tonic" or an Old Fashioned or a Lemon Drop or a Tom Collins or a Apple Martini or a Whiskey Sour or a Manhattan or a whatever, you have clearly misread the true essence of who I am and Steph knew better within 10 seconds. She looked me dead in my face, pointed at me and said two words: Detroit Cooler.
Vernor's ginger ale (it's got to be Vernor's), a shot of vanilla vodka, and a shot of root beer vodka. That's right I said ROOT BEER VODKA, bitchez! Class out the mutha effing ass.
I have to admit that most of my even wanting a favorite drink in the first place was so that I could sound cool ordering it. I mean, Joan Holloway ain't ordering no goddamn Detroit Cooler. So on the one hand I'm disappointed. On the other hand, for the first time in my life I could see myself getting seriously shit-faced. So...yay?
In other breakthroughs, I finally have some semblance of a Free Pass List. See how my lady pals keep things so elegant? You know those lists where you pick 5 celebrities that you're allowed to sleep with if given the (obviously highly likely) opportunity? Alli has always had a list, for at least the past 15 years. Not only that, but her #1 spot has been held by John Cusack for all 15-plus years of it, unabated. She has even lobbied for him to be able to get two slots on her list, as if that makes any kind of sense. That's serious passion, people. John, you better watch yourself because if given the opportunity that girl is going to tear. you. up.
I have never had a list. One, because I am very indecisive about such things. I don't have a favorite color or a favorite food so how am I supposed to pick a favorite imaginary booty man? The other reason is that I am a bit predisposed to think that celebrities are fuckwits, and I don't want to fuck a fuckwit. Also, in my theatre and dance days I was peripherally around a good number of that lot and 90% of them were straight up dicks. So, I don't know about this whole list business. Still, on the 6 hour drive from Chicago to the Mitten Top, Alli counseled me through list-making. And after six hours- (SIX HOURS! Let us all take a moment to applaud Alli for her friendship duties in putting up with that car ride) I came up with three candidates. They are still candidates, mind you. My list is firmly incomplete, in metaphorical pencil, and nowhere near being in a state where I would laminate it. My candidates are: Jon Hamm, Daniel Craig, and Ewan McGregor. Even as I say this, I feel that I should be more excited about my list. I don't know. I'm sure I'll have an epiphany at some point. It's like the drink: I was rooting around for years when who knew that all I needed was for the Detroit Cooler to walk into my life. I need the Detroit Cooler of men, perhaps. Except, ew! That scares me, just as a, like, concept.
Anyway, the Mitten Top was grand. I'm in the hometown homestead now, with a week full of hospital and doctor time to occupy myself, but no computer except for this here phone so we'll see if further posting happens until I return to Seattle.
Until then, I leave you with a photo I took in a candy store the other day. Just cuz.
Have you ever taken one of those Myers Briggs tests- you know the one where it tells you how introverted or extroverted you are? Is that a legit thing? The test, I mean? I have skepticism about such categorizations but I have no basis for my skepticism, so I am also skeptical of my own skepticism. (Wow, dudes, I swear I am not even smoking a doobie right now). Anyway, I have taken that test a few times throughout my life and although I feel like I have gone through phases where I have a super crazy extroverted time (hello, early 20s) and then times when I have not wanted to talk to a single solitary soul for like, a year (hello 1994 and 2003), my results are always the same. I pretty much always fall right near the dead center between extrovert and introvert, with perhaps just a teeny leaning toward introvert.
I'm taking a trip to see some pals and my family, but first I stopped off in one of my favorite towns for three days so I could indulge the introvert half of my innards. Madison, where I lived for one year back in the 90s when I was a youngster, holds a special place in my heart because it is, more than anywhere else, a place where my life totally changed. I was one person before I moved there, and a different one after I left there, some of that for the better and some of it not, and it's hard to explain the whole enchilada but suffice it to say I just love that town.
So I checked myself into a cute inn and proceeded to spend hours and hours by myself, wandering aimlessly and thinking about Big Things and nothing at all. Three days may not seem like a long time, but when was the last time you did nothing but pay attention to your own thoughts for three days? It felt crazy extravagant.
All this contemplative stuff did have two fun breaks- I met up with MetaLeah and her trophy husband for dinner one night, and another night MetaLeah and I met up with Katie, a longtime blog friend who is now an in-person friend. My streak of awesome blog friends who turn out to be more awesome in person continues! I managed to snap out of my introspective haze for each event and form words of communication. At least I hope I did.
Oh bloggie! I have plum forgotten about you. It's been a slow week in news about my life because my job is trying, willfully and spitefully I believe, to kill me, which means I have been heading to bed in the 8pm-9pm range each night of the week.
However, to counteract this, I did go to a dinner party at Biogirl's house where we sat around a table in the middle of her raised veggie garden beds and I got to know 5 more people than I knew before, and all 5 of them? Frigging delightful. Plus there were two pans of fresh cobbler and mango mojitos. It was one of those perfect summery evenings where the air smells sweet, everyone laughs a lot, and I remember that there are more awesome people out there that I have yet to meet.
That's all that is new. I am leaving town in the next day or two so mayhaps there will be more adventures ahead. Until then, let's talk about Consumables, shall we?
The Dark Knight Rises
I kind of think Batman is a bit of a snoozefest at times. I get impatient with all his gravelly angst. However, this time around I had a rip-roaring time of it. I think because really it wasn't 100% bat stuff.
The Bourne Legacy
The Bourne movies did something that I thought impossible, which is they started to turn my mind around about Matt Damon. I do not propose we get into why I didn't like his stuff before and I shall not get into why, of all things, Jason Bourne made me change my mind, because frankly my reasoning will not make me look good. (And no, it has nothing to do with levels of hotness or not hotness, because I stand firm on that point regarding him across the years, and that is, if you will allow me to pontificate: ew). Anyway, that has nothing to do with this new movie but I felt the need to unburden myself about Matt Damon. As for this movie, I had several thoughts. One: look at Rachel Weisz getting all actiony! Do you think that Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig have ass-kicking competitions now that they are married? Like, instead of playing cribbage they get in a kick-boxing ring or something? Or at least Wii swordfighting? I want to believe this is true. Two: There is a motorcycle chase that I swear to Evil Kneivel goes on for 6,000 minutes. If you have to go to the bathroom during the movie, that's a good time to go.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
An animated story about friendship, love, and a man who gives his life to books and the books that give back to him. I admit it, I cried, ok? I ADMIT IT.
Up Heartbreak Hill
This one got me too. Must have been a week for waterworks. This documentary follows the lives of teens from the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico who are on the high school's long distance running team.
Dumb and Dumber
I had never seen this before. I thought it would be funnier. Why I thought that is really the unanswerable question.
Oh Bill Murray, I love how you just play the same thing over and over and yet remain so enjoyable. "Ned? Ned Ryerson?" I love it.
Harper Lee: Hey Boo
Did you know that she was working as a waitress ("in a cocktail bar, that much is true") and she had these pals that were wealthy and they were all "we believe in your writing talent so here's a year's worth of your salary so you can quit your job now go forth and write your hiney off" (totally a direct quote). And she was all "okey dokey smokey" and she then pumped out To Kill a Mockingbird? I know there are many notable things about Harper Lee but I sort of couldn't get over that one.
CANNOT STOP WATCHING
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
Is it blasphemy to say I liked the movie more? The book is great too, but so much of it deals with films and filmmaking that I thought that was better told as a movie. The illustrations in the book are not told in comic-like panels or anything, but they do sort of function like a storyboard, which is pretty cool.
The Emerald Atlas, by John Stephens
You've got orphans, you've got time travel, you've got a beautiful but evil witch, you've got a secret world not easily accessed unless you know where the portal is. You know why so many stories have this stuff? Because it works.
I keep forgetting my lunch at home. This morning, someone put a piece of homemade tomato mushroom focaccia (wrapped up, put partially inside my purse, wearing my sunglasses, with my work badge attached) by the door. Hint received.
Apparently when the sun comes out in Seattle for more than a couple of days, I start to come to work dressed like a meringue.
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