Monday, July 31, 2006


Dear Phil:

It's not you, it's me. And I hate you. You think you can just drop by, hang out for as long as you want, but you always do it without warning. And then you leave a mess behind for me to clean up.

And now you're really messing with our future plans? No way, mon not-so-much ami. I've already tried to kick you out of my life once, but you held on. I put up with that only because I knew there would be bigger guns coming.

This time, I'm putting my foot down. Phil, you fucker, you're gone. You're not going to get another chance. You don't deserve it.

See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya. 48 hours from now, your ass is grass.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The time to have told me was, oh, TWO WEEKS AGO

Andrew is getting invited to more and more of these fancy pantsy shindigs through work or his industry or whatever wherein he agonizes about talking to strangers and I have no fear. One, because hey, I'm just arm-candy! and two, because get a couple glasses of wine in me, and I can talk to anyone. And usually without embarassing myself, these days, so yay me.

Last night we had one of those thingies. The last one we went to, I realized I had nothing remotely grown-up to wear to these. No cocktail dresses, no actual glam trousers, nothing. I, in fact, only had one dress, and it didn't even fit. So the day before the gathering (it was a fundraiser for the contemporary art museum, the kind where they have a silent auction and such, so all sorts of avant-garde movers and shakers) I freaked right the fuck out and went on a shopping rampage, and miracle of miracles, when I needed something, I found it.

THE dress. Sexy, yet adult. Comfortable, yet elegant. And hawt. Like, femme fatale hot. Marilyn Monroe on a steam grate hot (although a little less upside-down-ness), simple, classic, yet DAYUM. And then I found the perfect strappy heels that go with it, and quite simply, I was ready.

I had acheived that heralded place in female-ness. I had the perfect little black dress, ready at a moment's notice, perfect in almost all situations.

So when Andrew had another thing-a-ma-jig, I didn't sweat. I had the perfect dress, the perfect shoes, it would take me twenty minutes to get ready and then I'd be off in the flutter of a hem!

Until he casually calls to me from another room, "Oh, yeah, there's a dress code?"

Excuse me?

"Yeah, there's a dress code? No heels, it's outdoors at a vineyard."

No? Heels?

Now, it's not that I have a problem with not wearing heels--I have several options in my wardrobe. I'm a teacher, for the love of jeebus. It's just that my Perfect Outfit? The one that could go anywhere? I had one pair of shoes that went with this dress, and they were strappy pointy heels. I didn't have other shoes that I could substitute that would look right.

And there are now fifteen minutes until we need to leave. He waited until fifteen minutes to show me the email that has the dress code. "Summer dress attire--dresses or slacks for women. No heels."

No problem, I think, I'll figure something out. In fifteen minutes. No worries.

I just have to replan my entire outfit. And I have no dresses or slacks. Crappity crap crap.

"Oh, yeah, I think Governor Kulongoski is going to be there, too. And Senator Wu." And, in fact, seven other major politicians from the state. Which means other movers and shakers are going to be there.

He tells me this fourteen minutes before we are supposed to leave.

So I now have an entire wardrobe to overhaul from the shoes up, for a social event of an entirely different caliber than I had been expecting. And I had thirteen minutes to do this.

I could have cheerfully killed my husband right there and hid his body in a cool corner of the basement. Until I looked at my (ahem) shoe collection, I didn't realize how many shoes I had that had at least a wee heel. And most of my flat shoes were for teaching and so were much longer on comfort than on looks, unless I was going for grunge.

I was throwing shoes around the room in desperation, swinging wildly from my shoe rack to my closet, trying to find the right dressy-but-not-too outfit for a vinyard. My rumpled brown pants? What the hell happened to my silk pants (oh, yeah, red wine)? Dammit dammit dammit! These shoes? nope, these? Crap!

Thank god I've been obsessed with wedges since they came back in style--and it turned out I had a perfect pair of shoes that I had bought on a whim at the large-size shoe event. See? Whims, they have purpose. (I think, by the way, this will do NOTHING for curbing my shoes obsession.)

I actually ended up feeling really happy about my outfit--slightly funky (I mean, I had on orange t-strap wedges, after all) but still garden-party-ish with a longish floaty skirt, a green t-shirt, and a jacket of sorts. And once I got there, I felt much better--the realization that every single thing I was wearing, except those shoes, had come from either Target or Fred Meyer (including my underwear and my necklace) made me feel like I'd be pointed out as an imposter as soon as I arrived. But considering the number of mom-waisted linen pants, hawaiian shirts, and pleated pants? No one was gonna notice my bargain-basement funk.

That is, they'd notice but only because I was 6'4" in those shoes.

I was pretty grateful, in fact, that I wasn't in my little black dress. I was glad I was more casual. Not to mention--the shoes would have sucked--we were outside, on grass, and those shoes would have aerated like no one's business.

But he still should have given me more than one quarter of an hour to throw my outfit together. Trust me, from now on, I will DEMAND to see the invitation within 24 hours of receipt.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

ARG. With a side of FEH.

Being home all day like one is when one is a teacher and it's summer, you realize something you didn't realize with with such immediacy.

Telemarketers even when they "aren't selling anything, honest!" suck big hairy donkey balls.

I just got my SIXTH call from Key Financial Group. That would be the FIFTH after I told them to put me on their Do Not Call List. Each time, they've had a different reason for why the "do not call" command didn't work. First it was because I didn't hear their spiel. I don't care. Put me on the Do Not Call list. This last time it was because I didn't speak to a supervisor. I don't care. Put me on the Do Not Call list.

Even if they were giving away diamonds shat out by a virgin sheep, I wouldn't be interested anymore. Fuckers.

But now I have the supervisor's name. And you, Funky Cold Medina, are now responsible if I get call number 7.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I don't listen to the radio. More specifically, I don't listen to commercial radio (I am, after all, a giant NPR geek). I hate ads, I hate listening to forty-five minutes of dreck to hear one middling good song, I don't like 80's revival, I hate hate hate that new "I am a murderer" song by whatserface (so just break up with him, you ho bag!) so me and commercial radio just don't get along.

Unfortunately, since our shiny car stereo got stolen and we had to put back in the crap-ass original factory radio with its crap-ass antenna, I don't get OPB in patches. Large patches. Like every time I go around a hill, or in a dip, or behind an SUV. Which is a problem in Oregon. So I occasionally slip and just punch through the crap that is commercial radio here.

Which is when I heard this Partnership for a Drug Free America PSA, it went something like this:

"My friend told me to smoke pot last week. So I did. And today, she told me to shoplift, that everyone is doing it. So now I have a cupcake down my pants. With frosting. And it won't sit still. And now the manager is looking at me..."


A cupcake.

With frosting.


And it won't sit still.

I wanna be in that development meeting, where a restless be-frosting-ed cupcake down a girl's pants seemed like the ideal choice for keeping kids off the evil weed.

(I have been Googling and Googling every choice I can about cupcakes and shoplifting trying to find some real reference to this. I want to make sure I didn't dream it in some pot-induced stupor.)

Summer Flushing, Happened So Faaaast

Before I forget, I have to pass on to you some dude's hilarious flickr sets:

Totally hilarious TV commentary, and touring a thrift store.

My sister sent them to me, and if you're bored, they're worth the funny.

So, summer's rolling along. There's, like, a month left and I'm feeling like I let myself down a little. I had all these great plans, but since we're Brokey McBrokiest right now, ambitious plans (relandscape the backyard! build shit in the basement! travel!) fell by the wayside. Our attic isn't even done being done, and it's been EIGHT FREAKING FRACKING MONTHS. Our big Family Time this weekend was going out and buying lamps and sconces and faucets and toilets.

Seriously, it's hard shit (ha!) buying toilets because jeans? I know how to shop for jeans. Shoes, jackets, even hats. Cars, shopping for cars makes me nervous but I basically know what to do. Houses, even! I can shop for dogs, I can shop for microwaves, but who the hell ever learns how to shop for a toilet? Quick, without googling anything, what do YOU think the average price of a toilet is? You have NO IDEA, do you? Of course not! Now, quick: do you want a one-piece or a two-piece toilet (they come in PIECES???)? Round bowl or elongated bowl? No, wait, there's more choices to make, and these choices only come out once you go to Home Despot or Lowest or whereverthehell you go because you sit there staring and the rows of toilets--and aside from color, because hey, that's ONE choice I can make--you stare slack jawed at dozens and dozens of toilets and think, well, what makes the $100 toilet different from the $500 toilet? And that's without going to the Fancy Pantsy Plumbing Place (you didn't even KNOW they had those, did you?) and learning that those you saw are Baby Toilets! Toilets with Training Wheels! Oh, you could spend a couple GRAND on a toilet, like one that blows warm air on your girlie bits or those ones that look like hatboxes and only belong in Julia Louis-Dreyfus's house in Christmas Vacation right next to the neon-bubble palm tree and so I'd never feel comfortable with that staring at me at 3 a.m. after too much wine.


So, yeah, we bought a toilet. (And FYI: we did it by going to Consumer Reports and saying, "Consumer Reports? Yeah, we'd really like a toilet that (a) flushes everything on one go and (2) won't break very much? Couldja help us out? Thankyeeeewwww!"). And it flushes, and it's white and it took waaaaay too long.

And THAT is how exciting my summer has been, Chez Whole Nother Day.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Go. Now. See.

There have been quite a few movies that have captured me in the past few years. Brokeback Mountain wouldn't leave my thoughts for days after, as I relived the agony and the moments of supreme--well, hotness, to be honest. Amelie enchanted me, and I couldn't stop giggling and glowing after I saw that movie. There have been tons and tons of others that surprised me. Hustle & Flow. Crash. Whale Rider. Documentaries that provoke me, make me think or make me smile. Supersize Me. Spellbound. March of the Penguins. Winged Migration. Murderball. The Fog of War. Born into Brothels.

All of these I'd recommend to friends, and say, "I hope you like them." (A habit I'd like to pickup from a friend who pointed out that saying, "You'll love it!" is totally presumptious and occasionally horribly wrong.) Seriously, if you haven't seen some of those--every single movie up there is one that drew me in and held me clamped in my seat, for whatever reason--and they are all ones that, if you asked "Should I rent this?" I'd say, hey, sure, I liked it!

None of them--none of them--carry the urgency of An Inconvenient Truth. This one, I don't care if you like it or love it or hate it. It's not one I want to wait until you ask me what I thought. It's one that you need to take an afternoon off work to go see. You need to hire a babysitter, you need to drag your husband, your wife, your parents, your boss, or your idiot brother-in-law and go see this damn movie. Then you need to convince anyone you know who hasn't seen it to go see it.

In fact, it should be everyone's job to find one person who thinks Al Gore sucks, who thinks global warming is a farce, and pay them to go see this movie. Seriously, please. Me, Andrew, you, everyone needs to drag one person in who wouldn't go see it otherwise.

I've never felt so immediate, if that makes sense. So desperate to make a difference.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

One of those Nother Good Days

I got shit done today. Well, partially done, anyway. I did, like, two and a half loads of laundry (mental note: don't let that half load of laundry sit in the washer until it's stinky like you usually do). (Also: never mind that it took me all day to do that. shush. really.)

And then there was kickball, which, by the way, we rocked. Well, not so much rocked, but we did finally win. And it didn't matter that the rest of the league still isn't showing up to the bar: fuck them. We have fun.

The still unfinished upstairs is looking good, and they're telling us three weeks. Never mind that my surgery is in two weeks. If the only people I need to deal with while recuperating are the electricians, I'm doing okay.

And today, for one day? We didn't worry about money. See? That's a good day.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Dance of the Red Dress

So, when a friend of yours is getting married? and she says, I want you to be my bridesmaid, and you're so honored you say yes yes yes? and then she says, I don't care what you wear as long as it's, say, knee length and red?


Very far, very fast.

Okay, maybe that's just me.

It seems like it's sweet and open of her to leave it so open, and it would be if I weren't Giganta-girl, five inches, four cup sizes, and 60 pounds of gibbering fat above the norm. Do you know how many red dresses I can buy right now that allow for a bra, much less have a waistline that doesn't sit at my nipples?

None many, that's how many. None many.

No, seriously. YOU look. I don't fit size 14s (I used to, and then I gained those ten pounds back). So YOU search, and find a non-strapless, non-spaghetti strap dress is a red that isn't a hooker dress. Because it really would suck to look more fuckable than the bride on her wedding day.

So. I've been stressing about this, because the wedding? It's in six weeks. I woke up at 5:30 today--I'm on vacation, people--and couldn't go back to sleep.

And I don't have a red dress.

So--I formulated a plan. I'll have one made!

Now. How would YOU go about finding someone who could just whip out a dress for you? Yeah, that's the tough part. I asked around and asked around and asked around and finally called someone who couldn't help me and she gave me some more numbers and they couldn't help me either until FINALLY! this wee little transplant from Mexico City (seriously, I'd trip and squish her ai Dios mio! dead) who said she'd squeeze me into her schedule.

She's going to make me this dress (view A, the one in the orangey-red) and we went and picked out the fabric. While driving to the fabric store, she told me that she won't be able to follow the patterns because my torso, she is too long from shoulder to breast and from breast to waist, she is too long! so she will have to make a new pattern! a separate pattern! and so this dress will be sexy hot, and yet still demure (no hoo hah, no cleave) but it will also cost me an arm, a leg, the name of my first born and all equity in my home.

On the other hand, is my wonderful dressmaker says, this dress, she is so timeless! And chew will be quite sexay!

I ask you... do we lose both our swiffer and our broom?

Normally this wouldn't be a problem and we'd live in our dust-infested crack house without a problem, but right now our dog is apparently determined to go bald or is signalling a deep psychotic problem. She's leaving hair everywhere, like little love notes, like, "help me!" and "my people are abusing me!" and "see what not letting me sleep on the leather couch gets you!"

And since I'm home all summer (yay teaching!) it's sending me around the bend. It's not pretty.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

How to charm me.

"ah oo ha me uh hamma?"

You hand me the camera.

"ah oo."

"I was kind of curious what I'd see when I turned around. And I turned around and said, oh look! There's a hamma!"

Dwelly McDwellsALot--that's me.

Dear J.,

I’ve been ranting at you in my head for the past eight hours. I wanted to do something about it—call you, confront you, email you, something. Those communication methods, though, would only lend weight to something that shouldn’t necessarily get it. But then I realized, I’ve got a blog and this is what blogs are for.

You chose to hurl at me what was essentially a big ol’ middle finger and then walk away. I’ve got something to say that I was too hurt, angry and confused to say at the time but has been circling around in my brain ever since.

We started out with what I think is a necessary conversation about where the kickball league is going. It sounds silly when I read that statement aloud because Sweet Jeebus: this is KICKBALL we’re talking about. The fourth grade game for kids who can’t connect with a ball and bat yet. There shouldn’t be debate and issues and confrontation. It’s KICKBALL. And that, at essence, is why I’m displeased with the elitism and clique-ishness that’s developing.

If we can’t be better than fourth graders when it comes to making sure that no one feels like the last kid who gets picked for the team—even after the kid with the clubfoot and the one with the coke-bottle glasses—shouldn’t we be ashamed of ourselves? And yes, I’m saying that because I’ve felt that way these past two seasons. Moreover, I feel bad for the newcomers because if I’ve felt that way in my fourth season where I DO know some of the people in the league, I can only imagine how they are feeling. It’s not enough to say that it’s human nature and let it lie. I don’t dispute that there’s always a side to humans that create an in-crowd. I’m saying that it’s our responsibility to try to fight it, to rise above the instinct, to work at inclusiveness.

This new attitude towards league members is manifesting in ways big and small in the league. A break off league where teams have to be “invited”. Lots of talk about how one night is “better” than the other (which I don’t dispute on athletic grounds, but I think that’s been caused by the break-offs and siphoning). Some teams suddenly not showing up to the bar after games and the rest of us not knowing why (which, whatever, we had a good time, but still.) Almost no one from Thursday night’s teams showing up at the theoretically-whole-league barbeque—because they didn’t know about it, didn’t feel comfortable, or didn’t feel invited.

And maybe that’s what you like about the league, J.. Maybe you, like me, were never one of the in-crowd kids, and now you’re getting your in-crowd chance. Maybe that’s why you groove on it, defend it, excuse it. If that’s the case, own it. I personally took my unpopular past (and present, to be honest—I have a small group of friends that I feel blessed to have, but I’m no social butterfly, I’m not the go-to girl for social whirl, and I’m more than okay with that) and use it as a reason to try NOT to be that kind of person. I don’t always succeed, but the honor is in the striving. So if you are digging the chance to be The Guy Everyone Knows, the in-demand guy, I will still have a problem with what the league’s becoming, I will still argue with you about it, but at least you’ll be honest about where you’re coming from.

So that’s what we were discussing. It was actually really interesting, because I had a chance to voice to someone from another team something I’d noticed about the league, and get honest input back. The suddenly, you turned it around. You asked whether it was because of the you leaving the team that I felt that way.

“Is this about me leaving the team?” you asked.

Which, by the way, I never answered. No. No, J., it’s not about you leaving the team. I would have felt this way if you stayed on the team. In fact, I felt this way before you left the team.

But in the shock of the abrupt turn of topic, I let myself get distracted. Because I answered a different question than you asked.

The question you asked: “Was I mad about you leaving the team?”

Was I mad about you leaving the team? No. I’m not mad you left the team. I wasn’t mad at the time, I’m not mad now. I understand why you left, and it makes sense, and I bet you’re happier now, and that’s great. You weren’t the first, you weren’t even the last, even my husband left the team (for a time). Leaving happens. Yay leaving!

The question I answered: “Was I mad about the way you left the team?”

Because yes. I was. How Andrew left the team: “I don’t think I’m signing up next season.” How Beth and BD and Dan and Juice left the team: “Yeah, this didn’t turn out to be what we thought it would be. It’s not for us.” How Jane left the team: “Yeah, Jane’s not coming back. She didn’t like it.” How even T and N left the team: “Hey guys, we’re joining another team, and here’s why…”

How you left the team: “J., are you signing up with us? J.? J.? J.?” while you tried to shrink into your pint glass. The night before signups closed. And you’d already signed up with another team. And despite the previous comments you’d made with us about “Next season we should…” or “Next season we could…”

So was I mad about that? Yes. It was cowardly and dishonest, and most of all, it was laaaaaame. It put us in a tight spot. You’d let us count on you, encouraged it even, and then fled without a warning. That is what I was mad about.

But I never got a chance to say all that, J., because with that hard look on your face, you hissed at me about how hard the decision was and what a bitch I was to hold it against you. Note that if you hadn’t taken a wussy way out on leaving the team, you could have had a chance to tell us all that and I could have said, “Yeah, I understand, but I bet this is the best choice for you—you’ve got more friends on that other team, and you spend more time socializing with them than your own team anyway. Go for it!”

But I didn’t get a chance to say all that—neither when you left in the spring, nor last night—because your next comment was just mean. Your face was stone-cold hard. Your jaw was clenched, as if you were forcing deeply-buried words out through unwilling teeth. Your voice was raspy when you said:

“You never liked me anyway. I never felt like you liked me at all.”

Well, that certainly makes that hug I gave you when I saw you yesterday morning awkward in retrospect, huh?

I feel like shit for ever giving you that impression, because until last night, I never disliked you. I was mad, sure, but that doesn’t mean I discounted anything about you. You’re J., you are what you are, which is quirky, different, someone I don’t entirely get, but I’m okay with that and never disliked you for it. Do I have to get you to like you? I never thought so, but maybe you were looking for the getting to know that I liked you, and that’s why you thought I didn’t like you.

Why does this bother me so much? Why did I know that, with bottom-of-my-gut sureness, I had to get away from everyone before I started crying? (I hate hate HATE that I cry at the drop of a hat, by the way.) Andrew doesn’t understand why I’m so upset by this either, and that—at its heart—is why I’m writing this letter I’ll never send to you. Because I want to know why that upset me so much too. So let me try to spell it out.

I’d hate to be the reason someone left the team. I hate that you felt that way, and I didn’t know it. I hate that you’re using some emotion I don’t even feel to justify anything you did or didn’t do, but especially such an ugly one. I hate that someone thinks I’m capable of being so ugly. And most of all, I hate that you never gave me a chance to tell you it’s so far from true.

So there, J.. That’s how I wished I’d been able to finish the conversation. I'm a little pissed you'd say those things to me and never give me a chance to respond to them, but maybe that makes you feel better. Whatever.

In retrospect, it’s pretty stupid to be wound up in a ball about, “J. doesn’t think I like him!” and I guess I can only blame the drinking or latent insecurity or the moon or something. But hell, I feel what I feel what I feel, and what I feel right now is pissed and depressed and tired. And if I feel that way over someone I still barely know thinking I dislike him, then maybe this fourth-grader’s "sport" is more appropriate for me than I’d thought.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Vocabulary from a day of rafting.

Personal Floatation Device: What the rest of the entire world calls a "life vest", Andrew calls a "PFD". If you can explain this, let me know.

Chicken dance: no, not the wedding dance. A odd clapping chirping dance that only Bruce can do. That other people--especially Kevin--asked for.

Yard sale: what you shout when you notice assorted items--hats, coolers, beers, coozies--floating downstream from a (presumably) overturned raft upstream.

Hat: what you really really need because otherwise your face burns.

Neon fire: what you gather 'round after the Saturday Night Dance Party (yes, this is hardcore camping here, people). Our group took their neon necklaces from the SNDP (they were handed out like this was an ecstasy-free rave) and tossed them in the middle of the ring of camping chairs (the kind with drink holders and footrests--hardcore, here!). So there it was, this pile of pink and yellow and green neon stringy plasticy cheap things, glowing at our feet. Suddenly Andrew got up, and without a word re-arranged them. Like a modern-day picasso, these unrelated glowing lines suddenly took shape. Of boobies.

The Silent Artist: what everybody called Andrew after that.

360: what Andrew made our raft do, what I really didn't like.

Poop: what you REALLY don't want to do for about 2 days. Because the options are limited and stanky.

Flotilla: linking up with any number of other rafts. That way you can take the widdle baby wapids without paddling--as long as you're okay with having no control, you'll make it fine. (Most of the time--Bruce only washed overboard once, but that was a freak occurrence).

Peace: what you really feel as you're drifting downstream on a sunny day, a cold beer in your hand, friends up and downstream ready to pull over with you, have some lunch, and keep on floating. Posted by Picasa