Monday, February 25, 2008

One inspiring thing and two things that make me sound old.

All courtesy of the Oscars!

1. Diablo Cody winning best screenplay for Juno. Thanks for giving us outsiders a little hope ... although I hope that I don't have to work as a stripper to get a writing gig.

2. My favorite part of the Oscars, just like every year, is The Dead People Montage.

I know. I know!

3. Except this year, it was a little harder to follow because, umm ... the font size on the name banners was too small.

I'm going to go take some Metamucil and go to bed.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Like, you should, like, like yourself?

"Take a moment to not miss junior high today."

This important philosophical statement is brought to you today by the Shoebox Blog. Love the cards, love the blog.

And, really, I needed to find this quote today. My inner junior high misfit has gotten quite the workout lately.

You know, like, when, you have, like, really high expectations? Of yourself? And, like, you, umm, are being unrealistic? And, you feel, like, really bad? All the time? And think everyone, like, thinks you're a loser? Like?

Like, that's me? Like, right now? And I'm, like, 32?

Yes. I'm 32 and it has been decades since I have been mocked for my inability to serve a volleyball over the net. I'm 32 and I've (knock on wood) mastered the fine art of feminine protection and no longer worry that the gigantic pads that my mom bought are visible through my Zena jeans. I'm 32 and I'm successful and have tons of great friends and no longer spend my evenings counting blackheads and wondering if any boy could possibly like me as much as Patrick Swayze liked Baby in Dirty Dancing.

I am old enough to buy beer.

I am not, evidently, too old for damaging self-talk.

Seriously. I have been Crabby McCrabberson lately. Work is crazy stressful. My blue corduroy skirt betrayed me. And the vet says I should consider putting Geriatric Poodle on anti-senility drugs.

I'm overwhelmed. But mostly, I'm just mad that I'm not somehow smart or magical enough to make everything just FINE.

So, I'm crabby with myself. And I'm projecting that on to other people. Like darling Mr. Wonderful.

I realized that part of my trauma over him teaching how to ski is that he is a jock. And jocks make fun of choir kids like me, right? So, my inner junior high misfit was holding her breath, waiting for him to mock me.

We talked about this. It's totally unfair for me to have such ridiculous expectations of the man who loves me. Plus, as he so rightly pointed out, you get two options: mockery or poontang. He opts for the latter, so the mockery wasn't in his realm of comprehension.


So, I'm trying really hard to get a grip. And realize that I do, in fact, have it going on and am not a complete fuck-up. And nobody thinks I'm a fuck-up except for me.

And really, every junior high kid thinks he's a misfit. And none of them are. Because being awkward and unsure is what being in junior high is all about.

I just didn't realize that that came part and parcel with being a grown-up, too.

One giant plus to now versus then: I'm no longer growing out The Perm That Wouldn't Die. Thank god for small favors.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Really smart thoughts on a Saturday.

Running errands today, I saw a bumper sticker that made me laugh out loud:

Evolution: I give it two thumbs up!


And then, I saw a car with a Hawaii license plate.

Now, how does that work? Of course, somebody's probably legally a Hawaii resident, but their car just happens to be in the Midwest. I know, I know.

But I prefer to think that that little mid-sized sedan drove a really, really long way. Like, across a bridge. A bridge where, hopefully, they have really nice rest stops where you can sleep in your car without fear of pirates. Arrr!

Which makes me think of a joke Mr. Wonderful told me the other day.

A guy finds a genie. The genie will grant him one wish. The man wants to see Hawaii - but he wants to drive.

The genie goes ballistic. "Dude, that is one hella-long bridge! There's no way! Pick something else."

The man thinks for a moment. "Ok, then. I'd like to understand how women's minds work."

The genie looks at him. "How many lanes do you want on that bridge?"

Ha ha ha. Evolution: I give it two thumbs up!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Just leave me here to die!

Mr. Wonderful and I went skiing on Saturday.

Actually, he went skiing and I went falling on my ass.

My beloved is very hunky and athletic. He ran track and played football and was a flippin’ ski instructor. He’s a serious golfer.

I, on the other hand, am … a life-long reader. And sometimes, I manage to walk and chew gum at the same time.

He took me to the local ski area on a really nice day. He had the same idea as approximately 287,465 other people. It was packed.

And it was the very, very first time I’d ever had skis on my feet.

We spent time on the bunny hill. I fell down. He told me to get up. I just stared at him. How are you supposed to get up when you have no earthly idea how?

So, we addressed that challenge. I kept falling down. And getting in the way of the little kids who were trying to take group lessons.

In an effort to get some more space, Mr. Wonderful suggested that we try the next-sized hill. We got on the chair lift.

My first clue that something was horribly, horribly wrong came with the utter relief I felt at sitting down. And then the sheer terror I felt as the lift went up, up, up.

There was no bar across the front of the chairlift seat. I made the mistake of looking down.

I ended up holding on to the side of the chairlift with both hands. I kept my eyes closed.

We got to the top and, miracle of miracles, hopped off without much fanfare. They didn’t have to stop the lift on my account, which is a wonder.

But here’s the problem with chairlifts: they transport skiers to the top of high mountains. And then? And then, the skiers have to get down those mountains.

Upon surveying the “hill” before us, I filled with panic. And Mr. Wonderful admitted that gee, this hill was a bit steeper than the bunny hill. And icier, too.

So, we started our way down the hill, which I lovingly began to think of as The Hill of Death. I kept falling. I wasn’t good at stopping. I tried really, really hard not to cry.

At one point, I turned to Mr. Wonderful and said, “Just leave me here. Just leave me here to DIE!”

He now admits that he considered this a viable option.

But, lovely man that he is, he didn’t leave me to die. He helped me get down that blasted mountain. And it only took us 45 minutes. I almost wept with relief.

And then we sat in the lodge. The end.

Ok, not quite. I sat in the lodge. Mr. Wonderful skied. I then skied some more on the bunny hill. After I successfully slalomed through the five little squishy targets set up for kids, Mr. Wonderful proclaimed that I had mastered skiing. And I proclaimed, “Good! Now I’m done!”

Ha ha, funny. Cha Cha can’t ski. Ha ha.

Except …

Except it really bothered me. And it opened up an emotional can of worms that I didn’t realize I had been toting around.

Mr. Wonderful is athletic. His daughter, the Ladybug, is athletic and knows no fear – at 4 years old. And, the former Mrs. Wonderful is athletic. Tall and thin and athletic.

She’s a fucking runner. A runner!

Let me just fondle my asthma inhaler and ruminate on this for a moment.

I find myself feeling dumpy and completely uncoordinated and unattractive. Instead of family vacations where Mr. Wonderful, the Ladybug and I all frolic in some sort of athletic family activity, they will frolic and I will sit and get fat. They will ski and I’ll sit in the lodge and watch my ass grow.

Jumping to conclusions based on a rough first outing on a ski hill? Don’t mind if I do.

At one point on my long journey down The Hill of Death, I turned to Mr. Wonderful and said, “We all have our special gifts.”

And he said, “Yeah, and skiing isn’t one of yours. And that’s ok.”

I’ve toyed with the idea of being a gym teacher, just so I could put the close-handed smack down on any punk that makes fun of anyone. I’d tell the kids that we all have our special gifts. For some kids, it’s math. For others, it’s kickball.

I was a mathlete. And I’m a good singer. And I’m a supposedly confident grown-up with a successful career and life.

I’m just sort of channeling my inner, miserable seventh-grade alter ego right now, even though I wasn’t the last kid picked on the ski hill. I was the only kid picked.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The best Valentine's Day evah.

Mr. Wonderful and I agree that Valentine’s Day has morphed into a giant marketing gimmick. If I see one more of those “He went to JARED!” ads, I am going to … do something. Like scream and scare my one dog that still hears.

So, Mr. Wonderful and I agreed that we wouldn’t be all insane over VD. (Insane over VD. Heh.) We exchanged multiple cards. And, he sort of cheated and brought me the most gorgeous flowers. But he’s totally forgiven.

Our big treat was going to a concert.

We saw Air Supply.

Lost in love? All out of love? Here I am, the one that you love? Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes.

It was at a casino. Casinos heeb me out, but the venue was nice. Lots of dudes were there under duress, sucking down Miller Lites. We were among the youngest folks in attendance. Some folks were sporting sequins for their big night out.

I was wearing a pair of Chuck Taylors, a t-shirt with teeth on it and a sweater that I bought in a thrift store my junior year of high school. Do not let it be said that I don’t dress to impress.

Didn’t matter anyway. All eyes were on Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock. I must say: those dudes rock! Seriously. There was a slight vibe of dirty old man, but mostly, they just rock. They worked the crowd. They were great musicians. And … Russell Hitchcock, the shorter, once dark fro’ed of the two, touched my hand.

I know. I know!

By the end of the show, even the guys who had obviously been dragged there because it was Valentine’s Day were totally enjoying the show. And don’t even get me started on the long-haired dude wearing the Batman t-shirt and fringed leather jacket who stood for the entire show, waving his arms and occasionally throwing out the devil horn hand signals.

Mr. Wonderful and I agreed that it was unusual to attend a concert that closed the final encore at 9:40, but no matter. I would go see them again in a heartbeat, even if I had to ride in a hot air balloon to get there.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Leave Vicky alone.

So last night when I was all grudging on the blue skirt, I had the TV on while I was getting ready to go to the gym.

I ran across this gem: What’s Eating Victoria Beckham.

It’s a “documentary” on BBC America all about Posh Spice’s transformation from normal-sized wannabe starlet to crazy skinny fashionista who doesn’t smile.

This was a great opportunity for a thoughtful discussion about women’s body issues, the personal choice to do your thing or relent to society’s expectations, and the impact of beauty-driven body changes on women’s health.

Instead, it was a sleezefest of former boyfriends, former Spice Girl handlers and even former dermatologists and dentists dishing on Posh’s ongoing body image issues.

They dished about what she would eat and when and how the Spice Girls all had food issues. They ragged on about how she has always had bad skin, but it’s better now because she’s obviously getting lots of dermatological treatments. And the friggin’ dentist talked about all the work she’s had on her smile, even though she never shows it.

No wonder the poor woman is starving. She’s like a zoo animal. We’re both horrified and fascinated. We forget that she’s a real woman.

I wonder if she forgets that, too.

I must admit that last summer, I loved Victoria Beckham: Coming to America. She was sort of a fembot doing stuff like wearing heels to throw out the first ball at a Dodgers game.

But she was hilarious at a lunch with a group of Beverly Hills society matrons – she found the entire experience so bizarre that she got drunk. Good thing, too – one of the women did a dolphin call impersonation. I’d need a drink, too.

But the saddest thing was that Posh’s two best friends were her makeup artist and her hairstylist. Her entire world is literally her appearance.

Victoria might be an incredibly well-adjusted person with a scary metabolism and a strong dedication to her public persona. Coming to America made her sort of human.

But What’s Eating Victoria Beckham was morally wrong. An entire hour of television picking apart the details of someone’s physical appearance and rhapsodizing about what may or may not be going on behind it was just sick.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blue corduroy skirt, I hardly knew ya.

Ok, I know you really well. You’re a flippin’ size TWO. As in uno, dos. Two. I originally bought a size six, only to have it fall to my ankles in a most unladylike manner.

I exchanged the elephant-sized skirt for you, perfect, darling size two blue corduroy skirt that cost me sixteen whole dollars on sale at The Gap in 1999.

You made me feel skinny yet elegant. You sat saucily at my hips. You looked great with boots. We took on the world.

I’ve been afraid to wear you this year. Things have changed. Things like … my waist.

I needed a power outfit today. I was dreading work, and I knew only you could help me face the day with well-dressed zeal.

You still look good with boots.

You don’t still look good with me.

And after spending an entire day with your waistband like a rubber band around the lower regions of my ribcage, I hate you. Because hating you is a more immediate payoff than, say, actually losing some weight.

So, you’re going in the back of the closet. We’re not breaking up – not yet. But, we’re taking a break. I can’t give my love to anyone who makes me feel so bad about myself. For now, you can just hang in the closet and think about what you’ve done.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Respect the poodle.

The pack had been shacking up at Mr. Wonderful’s house for two weeks. Foxie Doxie loves the wall-to-wall carpeting, and Geriatric Poodle has a visible sense of accomplishment anytime he goes up or down the stairs. We were in a routine.

Except for the Super Bowl incident when Geriatric Poodle knocked over the dog food and the humans didn’t figure it out until halftime, after Foxie Doxie had eaten approximately seven times his weight in kibble. That wasn’t exactly routine.

We migrated back to my house this past weekend, and Geriatric Poodle has had a hard time adjusting.

It seems that in our absence, he forgot the layout of the house.

He’ll stand in the middle of the hallway and be confused about where everybody went. Or he’ll stare at a wall, wondering when the door will open.

One morning, he didn’t follow Foxie Doxie out of the bedroom after I freed them from their kennels. I found my 11-pound ball of black fluff leaning against the side of the bed, unsure of where to venture next.

He hears clapping, but it reverberates off the wood floors, so he can’t always figure out where it’s coming from. He also hears the doorbell, and, as I learned while watching a show about Scotland on the Travel Channel, he also hears bagpipes.

Maybe I should start playing the bagpipes and lead him around the house with them. Hmm.

So, we’ve been readjusting and figuring things out. Sometimes Foxie Doxie helps his brother out, but the dachshund? Sort of a me-centric being.

Last night, I was puttering about the house in my pajamas. Considering that it’s freezing and I’m tired and stressed, this was the ultimate in luxury. Fleece pjs on a Monday night? Don’t mind if I do.

I went down into the basement. The dogs have never been allowed in the basement. They stand at the top of the steps and peer out into the great unknown. Seeing as how it’s dark and creepy and I found a brown recluse spider down there a few days ago, I don’t like it myself. And yet, I venture out sans canine protection.

Until last night.

I was three steps from the bottom when I heard a sick thud-thud-thud behind me. I watched Geriatric Poodle’s body bowling past me. And then I saw it splay out on the cement floor.

My first thought? I have to change my clothes.

I have to change my clothes. I’ll call Mr. Wonderful from the car. I’ll call him and he will meet us at the emergency vet. He’ll meet us and I’ll be wearing a bra and everything will be fine. It will be fine because I will it to be so.

Geriatric Poodle gathered himself up. He’d just fallen down a flight of 12 open, wooden stairs and fallen hard on a cement floor.

He gathered himself up, took a slow inventory of his body parts, and then … started to explore the basement.

I gave him a thorough pat-down. No yelping. No protruding bones.

One rather sore but just fine Geriatric Poodle.

One adrenaline-riddled mama in need of a stiff drink and a baby gate.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bobbing along, bobbing along.

Every time I start a new job, I’m exhausted for the first month. The energy required to learn all those new things and faces just bleeds me dry.

I’m having a new job flashback at Corporate Behemoth. I am in the midst of learning new team members, their responsibilities and personalities. I’m trying to be open and honest, and accepting of new information and procedures – even if my soul is screaming, “Why the hell do you do it like that?”

I’m an editor. We tend to be precise. And judgmental.

At 3:12 this afternoon, I had to go to Starbucks. I couldn’t ask any more questions. I couldn’t learn anything else. And I certainly couldn’t be nice anymore.

The rest of the afternoon was spent huddled in my cube, dreaming of the night ahead.

I have a hot date tonight with my life partner, DVR. He’s feeling neglected, what with me having a life with Mr. Wonderful out amongst the three-dimensional world. But what DVR and I have together is real. No one understands me like DVR. And he doesn’t judge.

Remember when I had HBO and I became fascinated with Cathouse? (I defy you to name a better brothel reality show. Rock of Love with Bret Michaels doesn’t count.) DVR didn’t ask questions – he just recorded all the new episodes and didn’t waste my time with the reruns. That’s a true friend.

And those countless yoga and Pilates shows that I won’t delete but never actually watch or exercise along with? DVR says it’s all good. We have 100 hours of storage, baby. You gots plenty o’ space to spare.

Tonight, I have Ugly Betty calling my name. However, I also have Bedknobs and Broomsticks recorded from this weekend. If Angela Lansbury as a witch with animated aquatic friends won’t invigorate me, well, I’m in a sorry state, indeed.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

This post approved by OSHA.

I have a new addiction.

Why We Write is a blog of daily stories from striking WGA writers. Go, writers! Their work deserves to be respected and fairly compensated. But this blog is more than that.

Each day, a different writer talks about exactly why they write. So many of them are funny - guys started saying they were writers so they'd get laid, or it was a way to avoid going to law school. But many of them hurt - people became writers to escape painful realities.

The common link between all of the stories, though, is that writers just have to write.

I check the blog daily. It's inspiring. And it also makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with me.

I fall into the "I have to write" category. I have countless notebooks full of journal entries and bad, bad poetry to prove it. And yet?

And yet, lately I haven't been writing. The blogging - which I love because it makes my writing pretty and visible and organized and real - has, admittedly, been sparse.

I try to act like it's no big deal. But it is.

I'm snappish. Little things are bothering me big time. I feel off kilter ... although I'm not exactly sure what it means to be on kilter. What is a kilter?

Corporate Behemoth just had a brutal round of layoffs. I am still employed, but I now have much more work to do. Much more writing to do. And I'm somewhat paralyzed by it all.

While there's a huge difference between writing for Corporate Behemoth and writing for Cha Cha, it's the simple act of producing something that gets my mental ball rolling.

So, I'm back on the blogging horse. Blogging as occupational therapy. Because sometimes, Why I Write is so that I can buy groceries.

And also, so that my head won't explode.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fiber is so important.

I helped Alice clean out her closet. She has a Grown-Up Job, so we weeded out lots of suits that were at the height of fashion in 1998. However, as with any good closet cleaning, there were items that were not up for discussion.

The most notable of these items was her favorite sweatshirt evah – a sweatshirt from her sorority’s hayride, circa 1993.

She likes to wear it around the house and to walk the dog. It’s totally broken in and fabulous. What’s not to love? I had no qualms with this sweatshirt – until she made a very honest and painful point.

“Me wearing this shirt in public would be like some loser wearing a hayride 1978 shirt when we were in school. We would have made merciless fun of them.”

Gulp. So true.

She kept the shirt, but vowed that it would never again leave the privacy of her home. I sort of laughed it off. But this morning, I finally got around to changing the month on the calendar at my desk. My alumni association calendar that features photos from the campus of my dear old alma mater.

I have no fucking clue where the photo for February was taken on campus.

It’s some new dorms, and I think they are where a parking lot used to be, back in my day. But I’m not totally sure.

I’m not quite sure when I got so old. But I’m not sure I care.

More and more, I’m finding that I just don’t give a shit. I’m starting to do all those things that I found so wholly embarrassing in my parents when I was a teenager. I look dumb. I sing in public. And my greatest delight in life is Mr. Wonderful’s insistence on ninja kicking the air in front of automatic doors.

Next time I’m on my college campus, I’ll wander around like an idiot until I find the new buildings from the calendar. And I’ll probably tell anybody who will listen about how it used to be a parking lot, and my, how quickly things change.

Then, I’ll go take some Metamucil and get in line for the early bird special at the buffet.

Side note: I once had to buy Metamucil and canned gravy. Together. And only those two items. They were for my dog, I swear!