Thursday, October 29, 2009

Scary Halloween Post. Well, sort of.

There is a park in northeast Seattle that is being refurbished. (Is that the right word for a park? Renovated? Redone? Whatever.) Part of the revitalization is that it will restore a bunch of wetlands and other natural features. A few weeks ago, BioGirl and I went to check it out. While there, we came across signs and displays that tell you what sorts of re-doing has been done. Among these, there is a section called the Leaky Berms. Funny name, no? It sort of sounds like an old skool comedian. Ladies and Gentleman! Opening act for Soupy Sales and Red Buttons will be: Leaky Berms! Turns out it just means that there are sections of the land that have rocks and permeable fabric to help deal with water drainage.

And by the way, between Nordic Boy re-routing water in our yard and now this, how many times can I blog about drainage? I think I might have to change my name to the Pop Drainage Librarian.

Also, as long as I am being tangential, RIP Soupy Sales. Did I ever tell you guys that I met Soupy Sales once? It was in the early 90s and Alli and I went to the video store in our hometown in the middle of the afternoon one day, and there he was, sitting at a table, selling a dvd set of his old show. We got a glossy with his autograph and I distinctly remember that we were the only ones in the store who paid him any mind. It was sad.

You thought you were going to get some sort of witty story about my meeting with Soupy Sales, didn't you? Turns out, it was sad. And boring. Sorry.

So anyway. Back to the leaky berms. On the park walking map, there was this.

Why? Why is there a giant burrito on the map to denote the Leaky Berms? Are we not brainy enough to understand the concept of a leaky berm? Can anyone explain to me why the leaky berm had to be "aka the burrito"? Really. I am asking.

It's sort of scary actually. GIANT BURRITO IN THE PARK, AND IT WILL LEAK ON YOU.

Speaking of things that are slightly spooky, does anyone else think that Nikolas from Project Runway is related in some way to Severus Snape?

Scary when you put it together like that, right?

Also, since we are on the subject of scary (and it is almost Halloween after all so I am totally being topical), bike messengers? You are going to give me a mothereffing heart attack one of these days. Darting in and out of traffic like that? YIKES. Granny's ticker can't take it. It's super scary. They should make a scary movie out of that shit. Ghosts and masked killers don't scare me a whit, but a montage of bike messengers? Bring on the smelling salts!

Oh, and one more scary thing: TYRA MADE HER MODELS GET IN BLACKFACE. Oh yes, she did. And she did this horrid thing where she made fake ethnicity mashups. Like one lady she had dressed up as a mashup between Indian and Native American. She painted that stick figure brown and then put a sari on her and a giant feather headdress. Because TYRA IS SO CLEVER. She did this other mashup where the model was supposed to be Botswanan and Polynesian, which means Blackface, some garb made out of grass and a big ass necklace. And she told the person to pose as if she could hear music, because Botswanans always hear music everywhere. BECAUSE THEY IS TRIBAL SEE? And then one of the models waxed poetic about having always dreamed what it would be like to be brown, and that doing this shoot made her feel so EXOTIC. It was one tiny heartbeat away from Tyra sticking bones through these girls' noses and telling them to do the ooga booga dance. I swear! I am not even making it up. It almost made me barf up some leaky berm burrito.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Color Them Badd

We were looking at some buildings the other day, as we are wont to do, and the conversation went like this.

Nordic Boy: What is with the color of that paneling there?
Me: Where?
Him: Over there. It's like...mauve. No, not mauve.
Me: That one? That's puce.
Him: Sort of. It's not exactly puce.
Me: You're right. What is it?
Him: It's pucey.
Me: Maybe the actor Gary Pucey lives there.
Him: Yeah, he's even crazier than the original. Gary Pucey!

From this conversation, we came up with other Crayola inspired famous people. Such as!

The indie film director Jim Chartreuse
The why-is-she-famous-again starlet Burnt Sienna Miller
The son of an English rocker Cerulean Lennon
The lead singer of Red Zepplin, Robert Eggplant
Comedic Aussie actress Fuschia DiRossi
Sitcom star Matthew Periwinkle
80s star Sepia Zadora

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Party!

It's nearly Halloween and my holiday-indifferent brain is all in a twist because I need to come up with a costume to go to a Halloween party next week. The best idea that Nordic Boy and I have come up with is to go as Piss and Vinegar, but (a) that is probably only funny to us, and (b) gross and (c) hard to interpret into an actual costume.

Before I get to Halloween stuff, remember how I said that it had been a while since a dance show had knocked my socks off? Well I solved that problem by going to see the Hubbard Street Dance Company who were here on tour from Chicago this weekend. My socks were blown off as well as a few other articles of clothing, they were so good. So once again, Chicago, you beat the pants off Seattle in terms of dance shows I have seen from both of these two towns. Dang you, Chicago. Seattle still, mountains and stuff, and if mountain climbing were my thing I would mos def be sassing you about that. So there.

Things here in Seattle have taken a very rainy turn, and I have had to accept the fact that I won't see the sun for another 6 months or so and that all my white cohorts are going to begin glowing a translucent if soggy alabaster. I thank all of you for your coat suggestions- alas none of them fit my admittedly picky-bastard standards. Don't fret though- it's quite apparent that if I have not succumbed to a raincoat for over ten years then my neuroses is way stronger than any of you can help me with, clearly, unless any of you happens to be a therapist. You are awful nice for trying though. (Me, hanging head in shame. A very wet head.)

So far, this post seems to be all about what sorts of things are below acceptable standards, doesn't it? Costume ideas, dance in Seattle, sun levels, and raincoat appreciation. Yeesh. Let's turn this party around, shall we?

How about I share the fact that this fall has been such a pretty one in my town? Sometimes, our falls can be really short- we can go from summer to winter in a week, or at least it feels that way. But this month has seemed long and positively autumnal. I have some random neighborhoody photos that I've snapped offa my phone to illustrate. Take a looksie?

To celebrate the autumnity of the surroundings, as well as the upcoming Halloween eve, my friends M and B had a pumpkin carving party at their house over the weekend. And you know what you do when you live in the city and don't have a pumpkin patch handy to supply such an endeavor? You go to the local underground parking pumpkin patch, that's what!

Don't you just smell the mulled cider in the air? No? Too choked up with exhaust? Oh whatever.

At any rate, we got our pumpkins (Nordic Boy picked out a small white one, and BioGirl picked out a whopper of an orange one) and headed over to the party. I forgot to take a photo of ours (ok, fine, it should just be called Nordic Boy's since I didn't even touch the thing the entire evening because in case you haven't heard by now I am HOLIDAY DEFICIENT) but rest assured he carved the cutest pumpkin ever- it had little beady eyes and a tongue sticking out of its mouth.

How about you look at someone else's awesome pumpkin artistry instead?

Then we cozied up with a bunch of our friends and watched the best Halloween double feature ever conceived. First off, we watched Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster.

Followed by Queen of Outer Space starring the effervescent Zsa Zsa Gabor who ran around in action scenes in chiffon and sparkles the entire time.

I highly, highly recommend both movies. Highly.

Thus was spent another gorgeous weekend. One might say that the entire thing was full of piss and vinegar. And pumpkins. Piss, vinegar and pumpkins.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Where the Soggy Things Are

We have so much catching up to do. Let's do it now, shall we? Let's shall.

You didn't miss much from me last week because I was working hard for the money (dah-dum, dah-dum), so hard for it honey. Not to say that I don't usually work really hard, but compared to last week? It made me think: let's face it, I don't usually work that hard.

But talking about work is likely to keel you over dead with boredom so I'm going to skip to the end (please say "skip to the end" in your head like Prince Humperdinck during the wedding scene in Princess Bride, thanks) and get to the weekend. Unless you want to hear about how I was so tired that I ate popcorn and Smart Puffs for dinner due to tiredness? No? Ok then.

The only thing I will say about last week is that I attended a week-long conference type thing in my city at a fancy hotel. Lunch was provided and people got awesomely fed every single day. It was gourmet deluxe, which is very unusual for conferences in my profession. It was great. Except for the four vegetarians in the group. They (ok, we) got a cold, bland portabella and spinach sandwich every day. For five days straight. No chips on the side, no condiments even. I am not a picky eater and pretty much have the attitude that since I am in the minority about meat ingestion I should expect to just eat whatever veggie thing I'm broughten, but dang. You shoulda seen the spread that everyone else was getting. And I would have settled for a goddamn grilled cheese to break up the monotony. Something. A slice of tomato?Anything? An onion ring? But nope. Cold, unmarinated dry ass mushroom sandwich. For a whole week.

Oh well. My life is so hard, boohoo.

Friday night I attended my workplace's union meeting, wherein we all stood on tables with signs like Norma Rae, except ours said things like "librarians are hot" and "read a book, suckers" instead of your normal Norma Rae captions. Ok, we didn't really do that, but you know me, if I could live my life in a long uninterrupted string of movie clips that would be kind of ok with me. The library budget, much like everyone else's budget, is in the crapper for 2010 and so the meeting was not a barrel of laughs, that's for damn sure. Afterward, my friend J and I had to go brave the rain and cheer ourselves up with some avocado sushi rolls. We closed the sushi joint down and then talked in the car for a couple of hours, which made my evening last into the next day, which for a grandma like yours truly is sort of spectacular.

This weekend the weather gushed down in the form of large and in-charge raindrops of a Midwest variety. Seattle may be known for its rain, but seldom does it just POUR down in bucketloads. Rather, it seems perfectly unrainy until you walk around in it and find yourself inexplicably soaking wet from the teeny tiny mist drops that have been hitting you all the while without your knowing. But this week it was full on raining cats and dogs with some ferrets thrown in for good measure.

So when you have stayed up late the night before, and had a hellish workweek the days before that, and you have a weekend coming up and it's stormy outside, what do you do? Stay in and watch Tudors DVDs? Snuggle in your bed and listen to the bluster outside? Build a cozy fire in your fireplace?

Um, no. You get up at 7am and go to the dump and get super duper wet, and smell super duper smelly. Obviously.

Granted, I didn't have to get up and go to the dump. Nordic Boy would have happily gotten his ass up and done it himself. Wouldn't have been the first time. But remember when I mentioned Project Get Hella Involved? I am committed. I am not going to wuss out now. So we went to the dump to recycle a bunch of broken up concrete from a walkway of our yard. And I was reminded that I don't own a raincoat. Or rain-appropriate shoes.

That's right- over ten years in Seattle, and no rain gear. Because why? Because rain gear is ug-effing-lee. If there was ever a debate in my mind about whether form or function wins the day in the Land of Librarian Girl, that right there should answer the question for you. If it's ugly, I can't go there. I just can't. I'm not proud of this.

After the dump, we went rain coat shopping for me. At REI. Let me just say this right now- I am not an REI, Patagonia, North Face sort of chickee. I find the design of these clothes abominable, especially for ladies. The everloving CUT of these coats, people. It is as if they are all made for Rosie the Maid from the Jetson's. Big and boxey. Yick. It gives me hives just thinking about it. Plus, they were playing that song in REI? The one that goes, real fast: I gotta a pocket gotta pocket fulla sunshine I gotta love and I know that it's awl mine oh. Oh-oh. I am usually pretty ok with bad music and indeed I love a lot of bad music (hi Jody Watley) but I cannot HANDLE THAT SONG. So add REI box coats with a pocket fulla sunshine and I almost had to throw a pocket fulla coniption fits.

Needless to say from that story that a raincoat for me was not found that day.

Then Nordic Boy had to go in to work for a while so I had a nice long private makeout session with my couch. Don't tell him that, ok?

Then we went out with a bucketload of friends to see Where the Wild Things Are. Remember how that book is all wild rumpusish and full of joy and wild abandon and gleeful spirit? Well this version of the story is full of dysfunction and drama and not a small amount of outright disturbing violence. There was a little kid sitting behind me at the movie theater and she kept saying, in a really small scared voice "Why is that happening, momma? Why are they so mad?" It's pretty much guaranteed that that kid will have a straight up nightmare for the next few weeks of her life. So thanks for that Dave Eggers.

I'm not saying that the movie was bad or anything. But for some reason it made the group of us go to a bar afterward and talk about how sucky and often scary being a kid was over our beers until the wee hours. So that's my review of that movie.

Ok, I gotta go to work now so you'll have to wait for the riveting tale of Sunday and how Nordic Boy and I installed rain water collection tanks in our garage. Trust me, it's exciting. And I am not even being sarcastic.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Two weeks ago now...

Bloggie can you hear me?

I just sang that in my head as if I was Barbra in Yentl. Because that's just how I do.

Well there you have it- I just talked about my birthday and then fell off the blog wagon for over a week like I was giving you the silent treatment or something. Rest assured that the only reason that I was being a blog asshole was that work kicked me in the nuts last week and it was all I could do to drag myself home each night, take an Advil, and go to bed.

But just in case you care about the birthday, it ended up being pretty lovely. Aside from the fact that I spent a lot of the day on my birthday crying an effing river. It wasn't that I had a terrible birthday or anything, but for some reason I became The Most Emotional Birthday Girl Ever for the day. People kept saying/doing lovely things for me on my birthday and I kept bursting into tears over each and every one of them. As my tear ducts are usually akin to the Mojave on even a pretty bad day, this was throwing me all off. By the time BioGirl came over to my house ready to fire up the Kiss Me Kate dvd that she had brought over (sah-weeet!), I had to tell her not to even look at me funny or else I might just have a Hallmark moment with her and reprise the eyeball squirts.

Since then, I have managed to keep my face from leaking and have returned to my decidedly un-sobby personality. Ahhhh.

Here are among the things that have not made me cry since then.

1. The aforementioned Kiss Me Kate. How I adore that movie. Even if you hate old musicals, and cheese, and Technicolor (which, oh my god, are you made of steel?), you should rent it and turn the sound off if you must and just bask in the crazy costumes. Your retinas might burn out from the brightness, but it'd be worth it.

2. A lovely birthday dinner out with my newly preggers pal, Hopscotch. During which she graciously listened to a strange monologue I did wherein I gave her the play-by-play description of every pair of bedroom slippers I have ever owned. I don't even know how it happened, but I started to run my mouth and Feetwarmers of My Life was the topic I chose. Also, we got to share an odd moment at the fancy restaurant we were in where the server told us that the reason our dinners were taking so long was because they were having trouble heating up the cheese at the correct rate. Which made half of my brain think: fan-seeeee, and the other half of my brain think: boolsheeeeet.

3. I had the day off of work that Friday, and not only did Nordic Boy skip the Portland business trip that week (woohoo, birthday week!), he took the day off on Friday too. So we saw each other every single day for a whole week (what luxury) plus we had a whole day of uninterrupted usness. Best birthday present ever.

4. I also got material birthday presents, which were also awesome. I am all for material birthday presents. Just to be clear.

5. My friend M. wanted to get rid of some plants in her yard (which is a very beauteous yard) so she donated them to our yard (which is not beauteous but rather more like a boil on the ass of our neighborhood). We transported them over and now are hoping that they make the transition ok. We speak to them every time we enter or leave our yard as if we are in a Lifetime Original Movie and they are Janine Turner in a coma. "You can do it! You have to believe you can live! Do you hear me? Don't you quit on me now!"

So that's what happened on my birthday week. Which was over a week ago now. Perhaps I will get my blog-ass in gear and catch you up on this past week this week and then we can be in real time again. Shall we make that a goal? Ok, let's make that a goal.

(By the way, just so you know, I suck at goals).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hopscotch plus Rambo = Hambo?

Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I said that one of my top ten favoritest friends of all time is pregnant? She's made it public now, so I can tell you that it's Hopscotch! Go read her post about it and join me in a happy dance.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Starting off right

In my house when I was growing up, birthdays were a big deal. Need I remind you of this grandiose cake?

My very first memory is of me at my 2nd birthday party. That's right, two years old. I have a crazy accurate memory of almost everything about my childhood and it goes back that far. It's not a fully-formed memory or anything. Just sort of a hazy sensory flash of myself, at a table, and my dad taking out a little wooden toy dog from a box. The dog was wearing skis.

Of all things to remember. Leave it to me to have a weird first memory. A wooden dog with skis? Why the hell?

Anyway, I have an ever more vivid string of memories of each birthday after that, all the way through adulthood. The only birthday I don't remember is the one where I was, you know, born and stuff. And I don't remember anything about my first birthday. Which is kind of a shame because I hear it sort of rocked.

At the time, my parents lived in an apartment complex which has since been torn down. Recently arrived in this country, they had four little kids in a teeny cramped two bedroom apartment. The apartment complex was full of other immigrant families, many of them with kids. This place gave my parents a sense of community and all of the people that lived there became very close, very quickly. When my mom brought me home from the hospital, I was the only baby around and therefore sort of the darling of the bunch. I hear I got passed around constantly and my parents were never short on babysitters. When my first birthday rolled around, my parents threw me a bash. It was in the basement laundry room of the apartment building, and all the kids came. Of all ages.

It resulted in this photo, which is one of my all-time favorites. Come on, can it get any more awesome than this?

I don't know what I love the most. My sweet sister, holding me in the middle? My brother, next to her in a crooked yellow dress shirt? My other brother, standing like a ramrod with his tinted glasses and checkered pants in the back? The other kid next to my sister flashing the motherlovin' peace sign? The little kid in the front who looks like he's getting his brain squeezed between that dude's knees and enjoying every last second of it? There is something especially touching to me about the looks on my siblings faces. I know that their transition into this country was unbelievably hard on them, and seeing their sweet faces smiling in such a happy moment, surrounded by all of their new friends, sort of breaks my heart a little bit.

So I don't know what I love most about this photo. All of it, I guess. I just love all of it. What a way to inaugurate a lifetime of birthdays. I wish every birthday of mine could be as sweet, full of love, friends, family, and crazy outfits, just like that first one. It's a hard one to top.

Librarian Girl

Monday, October 05, 2009

It's What Month Again?

Highlights from the weekend...

1. Nordic Boy got us tickets to see a ballet Saturday night. It was fine, but just fine. How I long for a dance show that really knocks my socks off- it's been a while for me. There were too many problems with this one for my socks to go anywhere, but it was fun to get gussied up and traipse to the show. Don't get me wrong, there were good parts to the show. Just not sock-knockers.

2. I just said knockers.

3. I am in some sort of deep, deep denial that it is October. There are lots of Octobery things happening around me, and I am feeling constantly shocked about them. For one- my birthday. It is this week, and yet every time someone refers to it, I act as though it is far, far away. Weeks away, at least, instead of days. And then yesterday was BioGirl and my 11 year friendy-versary, and I totally spaced that too. She brought me a card and a funny gift and I was all WUT IS THAT. Nice one. Also, I have already gotten invites to two Halloween parties. And still, I don't get that it's October. My inner clock is all effed up.

4. I have decided that in order to combat the fall doldrums that I am susceptible to, I am going to get HELLA INVOLVED with the home improvement projects around here. Yes sir, you heard me right. This weekend, Nordic Boy was building shelves for the scrap lumber we have stacked in our garage. I know this is not weird for many people but to me I find it funny that we OWN LUMBER. Enough of it to need shelves for it. Who does that? But I kept such commentary to myself since having me help on projects is one thing without adding lumber punditry of a sarcastic nature on top of it.

5. Part of Project Get Hella Involved was accompanying Nordic Boy to the hardware store and not completely disengaging. Which I DID! Usually, when I go to the hardware store with him, he shops, while I follow him around the store with my iPhone, surfing the web and texting my friends like a surly teenager. But this time, I like, helped. And I am proud to say that I found the correct style of compression connectors that he needed. Hell if I know what they do, but I found them goddammit. Small victories, people. I have to start somewhere.

6. We got bracing up on the garage walls, and the shelves now need to be cut from some of his scrap lumber. Aside from a point where I got too bored for words and I went into the house to watch America's Next Top Model for a half hour break, I was Hella Involved the whole day. I call this a success.

7. As we were walking down the street the other day, we walked past a pile of human caca, right there on the sidewalk. As you do. It was, pardon me for saying so, a long tendril curled up on itself. After which we had the following conversation:

Me: Someone pooped out a pretzel.
Nordic Boy: Looked more like a heart to me.
Me: You are such a romantic.
Nordic Boy: So true, so true.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Roll With It

My mom is an amazing cook. I'm not just saying that because she's my mom and people tend to like what they grew up eating. She is a true gourmet. She makes everything, and I mean everything, from scratch, and her repertoire extends across ethnic boundaries. Guests have come to her house my whole life and have talked about foods that she has made for them years and years later. We didn't eat Ruffles potato chips in my house, we had homemade potato chips. I never had a store-bought baked good in my life unless I went to someone else's house. She makes her own bread, she makes her own yogurt, she makes her own ice cream (without an ice cream machine). She grinds all of her own spices and makes her own special spice blends. For years she did this by hand, not just with a mortar and pestle, but with a muthereffin' smoothed out ROCK, for pete's sake. Only in her retirement years has she deigned to get an electric spice grinder. She makes everything from deep dish pizza to paper thin crepes (which, with her accent, she pronounces "craps," as in "sweetie, would you like to eat a crap for breakfast?") to crispy baklava to any flavor of trifle to traditional fijian daruka cooked in coconut cream to the lightest potato latkes you have ever eaten in your life. We never had the same thing to eat two nights in a row, ever. Not even the same thing to eat for weeks on end.

Many of the things my mom makes, she sort of reinvents. I can't count the number of times when she will make something run of the mill or not really that exciting-sounding, and then the lucky eater takes a bite and says "oh my GOD. This is the best [...] I have ever had in my LIFE." Her carrot cake for example. I don't know what she puts in there but she has converted more people into carrot-cake love than is really healthy for them.

This brings me to the subject for today. My mom's cinammon rolls. Whoever has eaten them has become part of the Cult of Mom's Cinammon Rolls. They are addictive, and awesome, and I have never been able to find another cinnamon roll to compare. But the love of the cinammon roll can take over. It can get freaky.

My mom, because she is awesome, will often ask loved ones who are going to come to her house what their all-time favorite food is. Whatever they say, she will make for them. You have a request for pho? You got it. You have a hankering for cheesecake? Coming up. But over the years, the requests have dwindled. Down to one thing. EVERYONE WANTS THE CINNAMON ROLLS.

My dear mother has confessed to me that she fears she will not be able to keep up with the incessant demand for her cinnamon rolls.

Last year for his birthday, my nephew who lives on the east coast did not ask for a toy. He did not ask for a bike. He did not ask for money. He asked his dear Nana to send him some cinnamon rolls. Which she did. A big batch of about two dozen. And you know what he did? He called her up to tell her, in little-kid earnestness, the cinnamon roll countdown.

"Nana, we only have 12 rolls left. Only 12! Mom says I have to share them with the whole family. So we lose four every day!"

On the plus side, he is learning math this way. On the minus side, loss of cinnamon rolls are causing panic in the heart of a child.

My other nephew, who lives in Seattle, had yet to taste the cinnamon rolls, until this year. At the age of 6, he was initiated with a care package full of the sweet cinnamon stash. And you know what has happened since? He has asked about those cinammon rolls when he talks to my mom on the phone. Often. "So, Nana, you can send more cinammon rolls whenever you want, ok?"

I know that my mom loves that she can make something that her little sweeties love so much, but I know there is a small part of her that is galled. She can make ANYTHING. Her repertoire is endless! No one wants a lemon merengue pie? No one wants homemade fudge? No one wants hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows? No one wants anything else? YOU CAN HAVE ANYTHING ELSE.

Nope. Everyone wants the cinammon rolls.

Nordic Boy has been gone for most of the week, and has been gone a lot this past month, and it makes me grumpy. Last night I came home to an empty house, tired, cold, and cranky, with unexciting take-out in hand. On my doorstep was a package. I hauled it inside, opened it up, and this is what I found.

Gallon-sized ziploc bags! Like 10 of them! Full of mom's cinnamon rolls! Happy birthday to me!

I texted BioGirl to tell her what I got, and her immediate text back? An RSVP to hold one for her. Since she came to my mom's house last summer, she's on the junk too.

Here is my advice to you. If you ever were to meet my mom, and if she were to ever offer you a cinnamon roll? Walk away. Just walk away. If you don't you will never be the same.

Librarian Girl