Monday, January 30, 2012

Book it. Book it real good!

My Guy is always making fun of my love of biographies. This is all ha ha whatever, except ... I realized that most of my recent reads are, indeed, biographies. So, let's discuss.

The Garner Files by James Garner
I love me some James Garner. Maverick, or Rockford, or whatever else? Love it. And I loved this book. Jim - and yeah, I feel like I can call him Jim - is from Oklahoma, became an actor because he was sick of laying carpet, and doesn't give 2 shits what you think about him. Also? He did so much for actors' rights, and was known for being way nicer to the crew than he ever was to the "important" people. Just a nice guy.

My only qualm about this book was that Jim didn't read the audio book. However, he can't even drive anymore - he's arthritic because he did all his own stunts. James Garner = Bad Ass.

American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee
by Karen Abbott
I didn't know much about Gypsy Rose Lee until I read this book. I've never even seen the musical Gypsy ... which, as a former theatre geek, is pretty shameful. But this book is really interesting. Gypsy and her sister, actress June Havoc, were raised in vaudeville as a baby act - like, "oh, look at the little kids singing and dancing!" Throw in the stage mother from hell, a series of shady stepfathers, and some financial instability, and you end up with 2 adult women who have trouble connecting with other people. And each other. And they have no idea how old they truly are because their mom was always lying about their ages to keep them semi-plausible as a baby act.

If you're feeling bad about your own mama, read this book. You will appreciate your mama for sure. This is also a great look at the old days of vaudeville - so interesting!

A Girl Named Zippy
and She Got Up Off The Couch by Haven Kimmel
Yes, Cyndi B., I did read these - thanks for the recommendation! You know all those memoirs about craptastic childhoods? A Girl Named Zippy is not that. It's about a happy childhood, where a girl felt shame for a kindergarten report card that said she talked too much and didn't follow directions. And then her parents said, "Good for you." And it was fine.

The second book focuses on Zippy's mom, who did, indeed, get off the couch. And go to college. And graduate school. And lost 100 pounds in the process. If you want to read about true bravery, this is the book.

This is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl
by Paul Brannigan
Oh, don't you for a second believe that I wasn't first on the library's hold list for the new bio of My Celebrity Boyfriend Dave Grohl. I mean, I was sort of surprised that Dave didn't FedEx me a personalized copy, but I know he's busy. And besides - this isn't an officially authorized biography, even though the author had Dave's sort-of cooperation.

This book is interesting if you're interested in music. The author is clearly a music journalist, so the book traces Dave's journey from the D.C. punk scene to the L.A. punk scene to Seattle's grunge scene ... just lots of scenes. I learned some stuff. But I was annoyed about the lack of detail around some basic biographical stuff. Like, for me? Getting married was a big deal. And this book was sort of like, "Music music music ... by this time, Dave was engaged to this person not mentioned before ... music music music." So, it didn't give me a lot of stalking information. But it's also interesting to see how a musician who was basically told that he was kaput done reinvented himself and his art, and how he listened to his heart when it said he wasn't done creating.

If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't)
by Betty White
I would be unAmerican if I didn't love Betty White. And I do. This was an entertaining book of essays about just random stuff. It felt sort of like some literary agent gave Betty a list of topics and told her just to riff on them. It was a fun listen - the author narrates the audio book - but I couldn't really tell you anything I learned or anything that stuck with me. Just ... go Betty!

Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch
I'm sort of sick of Glee. But this was an interesting book. Jane's super honest about being an alcoholic, sort of messed in the head, and happily prone to the weird accidents that led to her most interesting castings. Like, she ran into Christopher Guest in a coffee shop, and he remembered her from a Frosted Flakes commercial, and that's how she ended up in Best in Show. That's cool.

I'm currently sitting next to My Guy, and pointed out that I've finished 7 biographies in the last few months. Our conversation went like this:

My Guy: You read a lot. I'm always surprised at how much you like biographies.

Me: Do you have a quote you'd like to add to the blog post? Like, your official stance on my biography reading?

My Guy: For as many biographies as she reads, her boobs are still quite nice.

Me: OK!

My Guy: Don't post that! Don't!

But see, that's what biographies are all about. Real life, friends. Real life.

Support my biography habit. Got any suggestions?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

If the woman wants to talk about poo, you can't stop her.

My Guy and I had lunch with his mom and his grandma yesterday. We ate in the dining room of grandma's retirement village. The portions were tiny, the food bland, and the conversation ... unappetizing.

Grandma: So, there's been a lot of diarrhea going around lately.

(Side note: a) Grandma is 91 and has no filter; and b) Can we all just agree that this is the greatest opening line of all time?)

MIL: Oh?

Grandma: Yeah. Lots of people have a stomach bug.

My Guy, trying to redirect the conversation: Well, right before Christmas, I had a horrible stomach bug. I've never been that sick.

Grandma, eagerly: Did you have diarrhea?

My Guy: Uh, no.

Grandma, disappointed but not deterred: Well, whenever your mother had a stomach bug, she always got diarrhea, too. Always had it coming out both ends! None of my other girls were like that, but your mom always got diarrhea.

MIL: Mom!

And ... scene!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


It was yet another lovely day of men of a handy nature traipsing in and out of our house. I worked from home, and got to listen to the dogs complain about the carpenter and the plumber and the general contractor, all of whom had the nerve to come into our home and work on beautifying our master bath. The nerve!

I hadn't met the carpenter before, but basically ran outside when he was unloading to ask if he'd move his truck when he was done. No problem. He was nice as can be. We got to talking ... about his work, and dogs, and living in the city. I felt a kindred spirit. Then I found out why.

Super Nice Carpenter Guy? Is from my grandma's hometown - a tiny, tiny hamlet in western Kansas. He knew my great aunt and uncle.

I couldn't get over it. He couldn't get over it. I wanted to make him a cake!

Now, not to be too sappy about it, but ... we both agreed that the folks in the city are generally very nice. But there's something about being from a small town. It's just different. I asked him if he found himself being drawn to people who are from small towns, and his response made me laugh. "No, well ... umm ... well ... shoot! I never really thought about it, but, well, yeah!"

The whole thing just made my day. And I just know that somewhere, my grandparents were looking down, laughing. Delighted.

Speaking of small towns, I generally don't give a rat's ass about the NFL. However ... a boy from my hometown is a rookie playing for the Giants. A local boy is playing in the Super Bowl! Facebook is on fire with pictures of signs and helmets and jerseys all over town. People are out-of-their-minds excited and proud. It's a big, big deal. He's a nice kid (hi, I sound soooo old - he outweighs me by, like, a gajillion pounds of pure muscle). Everybody knows his family. And it's just nice to see a local boy do good.

Small towns? Yeah. They're just different.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In which I promise to be a cheap date.

Remember that SNL gameshow called "Is It Date Rape?" And Chris Farley was a frat boy who reasoned that an expensive dinner date meant it wasn’t date rape. He was all, "Surf and turf? That's like 40 bucks!"

Politically correct? Oh, hell no. Funny? Yes sirree.

So, the good news is that today, I significantly reduced the chances of my husband thinking he bought himself some nookie by taking me out for dinner. I discovered that I'm allergic to lobster.

Yeah. That special treat lunch to celebrate surviving the last week of completely hellish emergency problem-fixing at Corporate Behemoth? That lunch where I ordered the lobster mac and cheese?

Yeah. Not such a treat. The positive? I didn't blow up like a red, puffy, allergentastic blowfish in the office. The negative? I, umm … had to go home. To drink ginger ale and, umm … do other stuff in the privacy of my home. More negative? Umm … the dudes came over to work on remodeling the bathroom. But the extra positive? They were kind enough to pretend not to notice that I wasn’t wearing a bra when I answered the door.

So, if I’m never going to order lobster ever, ever again, and I don’t eat a lot of red meat, I think it’s safe to say that I’m never, ever going to order surf and turf.

My Guy? You’re welcome.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Serenity now, dammit!

There's a very large, rather Chris Farley-esque man who is destroying my house right now. Actually, he's tearing out the stair treads and putting in new ones. In a few weeks, after the bathroom is remodeled, other, surely swarthy men will stain the steps when they stain the new floors that are going in on Thursday.

Everything is covered in sawdust. Or drywall dust, from the electrician who ripped out the gajillion little can lights in our living room and replaced them with 4 big can lights. Now, the room won't resemble an airport runway. But for now?

The dust. Ohmygod.

I'm huddled in the basement with 4 dogs, having just finished a marathon of Corporate Behemoth freak-out response. Yes, my team will stay on the job and get these "emergency" items addressed, even when everybody else has gone home. No problem! And since this is a pet project of a senior leader, I totally appreciate that it trumps any other plans I might have had.

My house is filthy and I have a black, black heart. And my husband is crabby, too.

For some reason, our contractor only talks to me. My Guy will speak, and the contractor will look to me to validate what My Guy said. It's so weird - it's like reverse sexism. I'm uncomfortable in the new role of speaking for the team, and My Guy is pissed as hell at being, well, the woman.

We're feeling a bit unsettled. But there are brighter days ahead, right?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Shit my husband says.

In response to me trying to lick his face ... after he licked mine:

Stop it! I'm going to tell your mom. And she's going to say, "Finally, my children have brought something positive into my life. And that's you, My Guy!"

(Mom? This is your cue to e-mail me and tell me that I actually brought something positive to your life ... something besides my humble spouse.)

Monday, January 9, 2012


Who do you friend on Facebook? Or connect with on LinkedIn?

I find myself looking at the suggested connections in those apps and thinking, "Oh yeah, I totally know that person. But do they remember me? Will I look too needy if I friend them? I never post anything and my picture is, like, 3 years old. I should wait and get my social media shit together and then connect with all these people. You know, when I'm all together and have something interesting to say and might pretend to be fabulous. Like that guy I used to work with who is batshit crazy but whose photo is of himself mountain climbing. Surely I could come up with something remotely noteworthy like that."

And then I don't connect.

I'm not one to collect friends simply so I can say I have a lot of connections. But I also realize that the time to really think about this is not a Monday night when I worked until 7 and came home and immediately put on my pajamas and ate a gajillion peanut M&Ms because it had been That Kind of Day. And with that sort of, well, awesomeness, who would want to connect with me anyway? I'm not sharing the M&Ms.

But seriously. What's your Facebook / LinkedIn modus operandi?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I am a terrible person and I started young.

My parents have these pet names for each other: Willard and Gladys. And at Christmas, they'll invariably address gifts to each other with these names.

My brother Poochie first noticed this when he was maybe 4 years old. That means I was 9. We were carefully examining all of the gifts under the Christmas tree when he came across a gift from Willard to Gladys.

"Cha Cha, what does this say?"

"It says 'To Gladys, from Willard.'"

He thought carefully. "Who are they?"

I thought carefully. I recognized opportunity, and I grasped it like a man dying of thirst might knock a bottle of water out of the hands of an elderly lady: swiftly, and without remorse.

"Those are our real parents."

Poochie was alarmed. I continued, "They live in a Winnebago, and at Christmas, they're coming to pick us up and we have to go live with them."

Always one to be concerned with logistics, Poochie asked, "How will they get their Winnebago up our driveway?"

I considered this carefully. "I dunno," I answered nonchalantely. "But since they drive it everywhere, I'm pretty sure it won't be a problem."

That line of defense down, Poochie started to get panicked. "Are you sure they're our real parents?"

"Oh, sure. I'm surprised you didn't know."

About that time, Poochie freaked the fuck out. He screamed, "Moooooooom!" and ran out of the room.

Later, I got the "CHA CHA! What. Ever. Possessed. You. To. Do. That. To. Your. Brother?"

I don't know. I didn't know then, and I don't really know now. Except that it was funny, and it's still funny. And sometimes? It's fun to be wicked.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

An open letter to whomever wallpapered our bathroom.

Dear Wallpaper Man or Maven -

I don't know whether to punch you in the mouth or shake your hand.

You know how sometimes wallpaper comes off in big strips, and sometimes it comes off in teensy, tiny little shards?


The wallpaper you put up lo those 20 years ago falls into the latter category. That shit is stuck to the wall like white on rice. And my meager attempts to scrape it off resulted not in big sheets of sweet, sweet relief, but in teeny razors of emotional pain. Itsy bits of blue metallic paisley paper that pollute my life and stand between me and a remodeled bathroom.

I respect your wallpaper hanging prowess. But don't you ever, ever come near my home ever again.

Peace out -

Cha Cha

Monday, January 2, 2012

Yeah, we're nice. Now eff off.

Tomorrow is the day that my peoples have been praying for: The Iowa Caucuses.

Not that denizens of the Hawkeye state are chopping at the bit to stand in a corner on behalf of their least-hated Republican presidential candidate. I mean, some are. But mostly? Mostly, they want the phone calls to stop.

Over Christmas, my parents' phone was ringing off the hook. Not with family and loved ones ... because last time I checked, we're not related to anybody named Newt or Mitt. No - it's pollsters and people calling on behalf of candidates and ohmigod, don't even get me started about Michele Bachmann making appearances around the state during the Iowa / Minnesota game this fall. You wanna out yourself as a nitwit? That's a good way to do it.

Somebody posted this on Ye Olde Facebook, and it made me cackle. Language is NSFW, but you're reading this blog, so, well, you know what you're in for.