Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Real New Year's Resolutions

Admit it. Resolutions are stupid. People only make them so they can sound like they're really good people and have high aspirations of being the Perfect Human. But it's such a joke. Really. How many people have really quit smoking, lost weight, gotten out of debt because of their resolutions? Not me. I do not have the body I want, I'm constantly and continuously broke. New Year's resolutions are not the magic answer to Life's problems.

I have decided that New Year's resolutions should be about something you can actually do. Or will do. Then you'll feel like you've actually accomplished something. And you can feel good about it. Like two or three years ago, I made a resolution to drink more. And you know what? I did!!! I also resolved to take better care of my skin the same year. I think that making only one or two resolutions is the key to success. Really, ten is just too many. One or two is enough for anyone. If you accomplish those two in a year, then feel free to add more the next year. Resolutions should boost your ego, not tear you down. That's what the rest of the year is about. Or having a job. Or living with a teenager. I've said this before, but I will take my ups where I can get them.

Anyhoo, I have a single resolution this year. Okay, more like one resolution with sub-resolutions. I initially resolved to learn to make Hollandaise sauce and pie crust. I've been scared of both ever since I started cooking and I realize how much I am missing out on. I've never made a cherry or apple pie because I firmly believe they can only be made with a homemade pie crust. And as much as I love and critique Eggs Benny wherever I go, I should know how to make them myself.

Yes, my resolution is about eating. Who doesn't eat? Usually people want to eat less. Understandable, but it's not really going to happen. Sure, anyone can eat less for a month or so, but we're talking about a whole year. Twelve months. 365 days. It's a long time to try to do anything less. So I'm not trying to do it less. I'm just trying to do it better. Of course when I thought about it, I realized that I could reach my goal in the first month. Or at least get a really good head start. So I expanded a bit. I am now going to tackle one food-oriented goal a month. I don't know what they all are yet. There will be twelve. I know the summer months will be spent on perfecting the art of the barbecue. I know I'll fit in creme brulee somewhere. The rest I'll post as I come up with them.

The downside is that I now realize how scant my cooking supplies are. I will say now that I will not be offended by getting any cooking gifts for the entire year. The short list - I need a tart pan, torch, crock pot, lemon zester and food processor. I'd be blissfully happy with kitchen gifts all year long, but I'm not stupid. I'll never turn down a pair of shoes. Or a new TV. I just receive graciously like that. It's just who I am.

I think this will be my best resolution ever. Who can't eat more? Who doesn't want to eat better? Better as in taste. Sometimes less is not more.

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Am a Super Genius!

Alright, maybe not totally super genius, but I’m still feeling pretty brilliant. Or at least sorta smart. Kind of smart-cookie-ish. I know, somebody will think of the obvious way before I did, but just keep it to yourself please and let me have my small moments.

I must warn you before you go any further this is not a pretty story at all. It’s really pretty gross so if you have a weak stomach at all, I suggest you stop reading now.

Still reading? Well, I warned you…...

My pretty piggy hipppopupamus princess puppy, Ruby, has a very nasty habit. (See? Dogs are gross. There’s still time to stop.) She has taken to dining on poop for breakfast on an almost daily basis. I’ve no idea if it’s her own poo or her brother’s, but it is most definitely poo. She comes to the door happily licking her little whiskered lips so I know what she’s been up too. Her skunky, stinky breath is another telltale sign that can’t be missed.

Now, poop eating is gross enough. I already want to gag. But it doesn’t stop there. Because that would of course be too easy. And life with dogs isn’t easy. No, Ruby not only eats poo, but it of course upsets her stomach and she pukes it back up. In the house. Which I then have to clean up. I am extremely lucky that I don’t have an oversensitive gag reflex or I’d probably just have to move out of my house and have it condemned.

On Sunday she spent most of the entire day throwing up. Only it wasn’t like her regular gross puke. This puke smelled like the most rotten, dead, foul thing imaginable. This was beyond gross. I banished her to her crate for the day and lit every scented candle and opened every window. It was so horrible that I didn’t know if it was just gross or a symptom of some unknown health issue she might have. I was disgusted and worried. Great combination. She seemed fine when I got home the next day, so I went ahead and chalked it all up to her just being a Very Gross Dog. And sure enough, the next morning she was back to her breakfast of shit sausage.

I’ve pretty much had it at this point. I really can’t spend the rest of her life cleaning up poop vomit and avoiding her like the plague. I thought about following her out every morning so that I can yell at her when she gets the wrong end of her body next to a pile of something undesirable. But let’s be real. When it’s freezing in the morning, me taking a step outside just isn’t happening. And then I had the Best Idea Ever. Give her actual dog food for breakfast!!!

So last night I gave the dogs half of their normal meal. Half because Ruby is enough of a hippopupamus. She doesn’t need to gain anymore weight for Pete’s sake! I think they weren’t too happy about it and then I tortured them with baths and nail trims afterwards, so I probably wasn’t their favorite person last night. Then again, I was the only person in the house so take that, dog suckas!! Anyway, I’m sure I was forgiven for the dinner slight last night because they got breakfast this morning. I swear they acted like it was the greatest thing that ever happened to them. Like Christmas came early. (You know, that would have a better impact if I was writing this in July. Okay, like it had been their lifelong dream to have breakfast. Better?) The best part of all?? No poop eating!! (Insert sound of angels singing.) Ruby went outside and returned, not licking her little puppy lips, not with vile, stinky breath, but just doing a little happy dance and wagging her entire body. She makes up greatly for not having a real tail to wag.

That’s it. Nothing that will save the world or even a single person’s life. It won’t end world hunger or change the economy. But I don’t care. It will save my carpets. And my sanity. What’s left of it, anyway. It’s my little Christmas gift to myself. Yay me!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'm a Wordsmith Wonder.

I invented a new word today. It's awesome. Really. And very useful. No doubt you will find yourself using it in no time. Just remember where you first heard it. I insist on getting credit.

Nakedtive adverb, noun -
Having a bad feeling or embarrassment about being naked.

Let's use it in a sentence. "He left the lights on during their lovemaking despite her nakedtivity." Or I could say, "I am less nakedtive about my breasts than I am about my potbelly."

See? It's easy!

I will now begin my campaign to get nakedtive added to Webster's.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Once Upon a Time I Loved the Snow

The bitter cold and below zero temperatures last week brought back so many memories for me. It’s a little ironic that they’re really good memories, considering how much I hate the cold, but what can I say? I take the bright spots where I can get them these days.

Jenny was one of my two best friends in elementary school. She lived on Silver Tree Lane. I love that name. Her mom was a teacher and very petite. She had dark hair, styled like Dorothy Hamill’s, and very little feet. I think they were a size 5. She wore heels all the time (wedges and espadrilles that have since come back in fashion) and we would raid her closet and stumble around in her tiny heels whenever she wasn’t home. Her parents were divorced but seemed to get along really well. Her mom drove a VW bug that took us to the beach many times over several summers. She also had a boyfriend who drove an old BMW. One of those tiny, little boxy ones. (I don't know what it means that I remember their cars so well, I just do.) His name was something like Dale and he was tall and dorky and we laughed at him behind his back.

Jenny’s dad had remarried and his wife’s name was Gretchen. Gretchen’s mother was quite old and very German. I met her once or twice and she was lovely but I never understood a word she said through her thick accent. Jenny’s dad and Gretchen owned a cabin in Wrightwood, a little town tucked in the mountains high over Los Angeles. It was a second home for them but the only home of theirs that I ever visited and it remains one of my favorite places in the world.

During the summery months we’d go to the cabin and swim in the lake. I would go back to school after a weekend at the lake proudly showing off my sunburned shoulders. It was warm and beautiful and the closest I ever got to anything resembling summer camp.

However, it was the winters at the cabin that I fell in love with. Growing up in Southern California, especially as a child, snow was a treat. It often snowed in Wrightwood during the winter, being a mountain resort town. And the cabin really was more of a cabin than a house, although chalet may be a more appropriate description. There was a small, wood-paneled kitchen with a bedroom behind it that Jenny shared with her brother when I wasn’t there. The living room had a single couch, a chair and a small fireplace. Her parents slept in the loft upstairs.

We spent our days sledding on anything we could find – trash can lids, pieces of cardboard, our coats. If it was cold enough for the lake to freeze, we’d “ice skate” around the edges, knowing the middle would never freeze solidly enough. We wandered the streets admiring the Christmas decorations put up by the more permanent residents. Once we’d had enough of frozen toes and noses we’d return to the cabin to find Gretchen waiting for us with hot chocolate or buttered noodles.

At night, we slept on the pull-out couch in the living room next to the warm fire, covered by pounds of down comforters. Having to leave that warmth to go to the bathroom in the freeze during the middle of the night was like a dare and we did it as quickly as we possibly could. We’d stay up late into the night whispering and giggling under the covers, being silly as only young girls can and are. Our favorite show to watch was The Twilight Zone and her dad would bring us movies when he went into town for groceries. One of my very favorite movies is The Elephant Man. I can’t decide if this is because the movie is really that good or because I watched it snuggled under layers of feathers with my best friend, alternately horrified and delighted at the grotesque images of a deformed man.

I haven’t heard from Jenny since my first year or two of college, we lost contact after that. I miss her and think of her often. The internet is supposed to be the great reuniter of everyone on the planet but so far it hasn’t worked for me. Google refuses to reveal her whereabouts to me.

Living with cold and snow is vastly different from visiting it. I now curse the cold for freezing my doors shut, drying my skin until it cracks and keeping me holed up in whatever warm places I do manage to find. But now and then I get a glimpse or a reminder of those weekends at the cabin and the joy that the snow and frost brought me. These are memories that I will treasure always and maybe someday Jenny and I will laugh about them again over a cup of hot chocolate.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tutus and Tantrums

Sugar and spice and everything nice. Pink hair ribbons and ballet shoes. Bonding over ice cream and passing on my love for shoes. These are the things I envisioned when my daughter was born. I did not imagine that one day she would hate me or speak to me with such venom in her voice, as if I was the Worst Person on the Face of the Planet.

So she’s 13 and hormonal. So what? I get it. I have hormones. PMS is the bane of my existence. For at least a week out of the month I wish I lived in a different body. I don’t, however, respond to every question I am asked with hatred and condescension. My daughter does. A simple request to unload the dishwasher is met with a litany of proof of how that will ruin her life. She has homework, ballet practice, a test to study for, a life to live which does not include unloading the dishwasher at that exact moment in time. How dare I be so mean and cruel as to ask her to take five minutes out of her day to do something responsible to help me? I know. Worst Parent of the Year, right here. Damn me to hell.

That’s why this past weekend came as a surprisingly refreshing relief. Nutcracker weekend is pretty much my least favorite weekend of the year. It’s filled with hours of rehearsals, playing taxi to drive her to the “theater”, gift preparation for the other girls in her group, and a very exhausted, very depressed, very let-down child at the end of it all. Saturday morning she is literally high on adrenalin and the crash on Sunday coming down from it is painful just to watch.

I expected tantrums and diva behavior. I dreaded this year more than previous years precisely because of her thirteen-ness. I tried to head it off by reminding her of how much work it is, for me too, and that we would get through it with less scars if we could be nicer to each other. By we, of course, I meant her. And she knew it. She apologized in advance saying that sometimes she just wants to cry for no reason. I said yes, I understand. Wait until you have PMS and the feeling is at least 100 times worse. We bonded. Yay for being girls.

For the most part the weekend was a success. There was one small setback. I got a glimpse of the diva monster when I dared make a suggestion of how best to shower without washing her hair. It was over quicker than usual and I was so grateful that I didn’t point out how I was right in the first place. Even though I was and an acknowledgment would have been really nice. But, you know, whatever….

The rest of the weekend she was her little girl self that I so love. Only not so little anymore. She’s growing up. It’s odd to actually see her growth through the progression of her ballet roles. She started as a tiny mouse and even the polka girls and clowns looked so young to me. So young and silly and carefree. She’s still silly but she’s starting to lose some of her carefree spirit. I’m sad and proud at the same time. This was her first year on pointe and the first time she’s ever said she was nervous before a performance. Her first butterflies. Even when she complained that her toes felt like they were being cut from her feet, it didn’t come out as a whine. It was more of a statement of how proud she was of herself, a battle wound to be worn proudly.

As for me, I sat up a little straighter when she stepped out onto the stage. I watched her lightness on her toes and the smile on her face. I saw the young lady she is becoming and in that moment, I saw everything exactly as I had imagined it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Rednecks and When It's Okay to Be a Complete Bitch

Dating sucks. Really sucks. Good friends do not.

My friend met a guy online and they texted for a few days. Because, apparently, texting is now the best way to get to know someone. Don’t bother calling and actually having a phone conversation for 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes I hate technology. Anyhoo, he suggests they meet. In person - what a concept! He suggests they meet at a bar the night of the civil war game that he is going to watch with a friend. She asked me to go as backup (because who wants to meet a stranger in a bar with his buddy?) and of course I said yes. It turned out to be 45 minutes of my life that I will never get back but did inspire me to offer some advice to all of the poor souls out in the dating world.

How to make a good impression on a first date:

1. Do not be a redneck.
2. Do not imply in the first 5 minutes of meeting that your date is gay. Or, at best, a fag hag.
3. Do not be drunk.
4. Do not stubbornly and repeatedly put down your date’s college team choice. Especially when they’re not even playing at the time. What’s the point? Other than to show what a giant jackass you are.
5. Do not send texts before meeting about how much you’d really like to be in bed with your potential date. It sounds either really creepy or really insincere. Besides, it’s just tacky.
6. Do not be so drunk that you are slurring.
7. Do not repeatedly grab at your date, especially when she is sitting not facing you with her arms crossed. Learn to read body language, asshole.

How to be a good friend:

1. Always have your friend’s back.
2. Go for a pre-drink or two. It will help to calm your friend but also help to get you through 45 minutes of hell if you are buzzed. (Unless it’s freezing-ass cold outside and you immediately lose your buzz the moment you step outside.)
3. Shake the redneck’s hand with your gloves on. It sends the right message - that you think he has cooties and you don’t want them.
4. Be a total bitch to the drunk redneck.
5. Call the drunk redneck out on his inappropriate behavior/texts/questions.
6. Let it be known to the redneck that he will not be seeing your friend again. It’s worth letting him call you a few names in his head and to his friends and blaming you for not being able to call your friend again. Or text her inappropriately.
7. Get your friend out of there as soon as is humanly possible. Be the reason she has to leave if necessary. Remember, you don't give a shit what the dirty drunk redneck thinks about you. Friends come first and it is our right to be bitchy to protect them.

My work here is done. For now.
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