Friday, December 10, 2010

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It seems to be that time of year again, when I spend money I don't have on an inordinate number of cards to send out (which will most likely just live in my nightstand's top drawer, along with all the others), and bitch about all those ugly life-size Frosty dolls on people's lawns.
The boyfriend has implied on more than one occasion that I'm a scrooge, but I'd still like to know WHEN Christmas became code for "be as tacky as you possibly can."

Still, though, I love seeing Santa. Not in my home at midnight, because then he'd be uninvited and most likely robbing me, but out on the street ringing bells or listening to wishes. The Bay Area, it seems, is a wonderful place for such sightings.

Take last weekend for example, on our way back from watching A Very Merry Murder Mystery (which I highly recommend, because what says "holiday cheer" better than murder?), we took a short jaunt through the Marina, only to be entrenched in Santas. All kinds of Santas, even the slutty variety, and all of them raging drunk. Santas carrying each other home, Santas fighting in the street, Santas peeing in the alleys. We saw them all.

I tell you, I'm not much of a Christmas spirit kinda gal, but watching a third Santa try to break up a fight between two other Santas really brought a tear to my eye. I'm a better person for being reminded of what this time of year is all about: boozing.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Time to Pretend

I'd like to tell you a little story now, and I apologize beforehand for its melancholy notes.

Let's say you're a man, new to a city, starting a new life with your partner. You both spent most of your money to move out here, find a home, and start fresh.
Now let's say it's a national holiday, and you don't have to go into work today.  A day of respite after a few hard weeks. Your partner wakes up early and volunteers to take the dogs for a walk, allowing you to stay in bed and catch up on some much needed sleep.
Less than an hour later, a phone call wakes you up. We're at the Starbucks on King Street. Get here now.

Now let's say you're a different man. You've taken a brisk walk around your new city, with your two dogs by your side, Nina and Nani. They're a couple of mutts, not like the purse dogs you've seen so much of lately. You catch Nina, mid-stride, looking up at you, one ear cocked back, like she's asking if she's doing it right. You're ok, N, good girl.
It's nearing the end of your walk, and you decide to surprise your partner, still asleep back home, with a big cup of coffee. You tie Nina and Nani to the base of a table and head into Starbucks.
And then a commotion.
A dog is barking across the street and Nani perks up, ready to play. Nina looks at the door, looking for you, ready to check in. Just then, Nani bolts, no longer able to resist the call to frolic, and Nina follows, dragging the table behind them.
A screech.
2 thuds.
A lump of dread in your throat as you call your partner. We're at Starbucks on King Street. Get here now.

You're a young dog and you were on a walk, and now you're in this strange place. There's blood running into your eye. Most of your scalp has been ripped off, exposing the entire top of your skull, and your ribs are broken. You'll go into surgery soon and the people in blue will fix you. You're nervous, though, looking around for Nina.

You're a good dog, and you meant to ask for permission. You're having a hard time breathing because something has caused your intestines to be pushed forward into your chest. Maybe you could be fixed, but your people just moved to this city, and they can't afford it. Then again, maybe you couldn't be fixed anyways.
You're on a blanket and your favorite people are petting you and calling you Good Dog.
There's a needle.
2 kisses on your head.
Then nothing.

Let's pretend now that you were driving too fast on your commute. Out of nowhere, 2 dogs ran into the street. You couldn't avoid them. Who could really blame you? Horrible things happen every day.
But then you sped away.
And that's what makes you a terrible person.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In Which I Recount a Lame Conversation

Someone ran by singing a terrible song (Waterfalls, by TLC), and like all terrible songs, it wriggled its way into my grey matter.
I knew the one thing that would unseat it.  Yum Yum Bumblebee, bumble bee tuna....and so on.
I told Sam, The only way to make this better is to make it much much worse.
"You're funny. Are you a comedian? 'Cause you're, like, really funny."
That's stupid. Don't be stupid, Sam, just 'cause the man expects it.
"What man?"
That one, over there.

Friday, October 29, 2010

In Which I Drink too Much and Wax on about Missing the Fam.

I'm listening to some Traveling Wilburys and thinking of my dad.  Specifically, End of the Line (That sounds dreary, but I swear, it's kinda an uplifting song). I think it's due to the fact that he introduced me to the boy band when I was a kid and I've had a fondness ever since.

There's not much point to this update other than for me to say that I miss my dad.

I miss my entire family, in truth, but it feels like forever since I've seen the dad and we're due a visit. For reals, people.
There is some serious Harry Potter viewing and music commentating to be done.  It's well past due.

The boyfriend and I are planning a visit in February and I can barely keep my boots on. Except when I sit back and think on just how boring I remember I found my hometown to be when I was a teen.
I'll show you my favorite comic book store.....and my favorite place for coffee.  And maybe that statue of the lamb in my town center.
And then it's just a matter of what to do for the next 4 and a half days.  I suppose Boston could offer a short reprieve.

It'll just be nice to put my feet up and be all sarcastic and awful around my dad.  He's one of the few people who actually thinks I'm funny.

*On a side note, I google image searched "sterling, massachusetts," and this is quite truly the most exciting image to be found.  I think it's high time I stopped pretending Sterling is without it's glamour. NYC, beware!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In Which I Whine, on 3 Counts.

Hello again, friends.  Long time, right?
I've been using the excuse of 13-hour days as a reason to stay sedate on my days off, so just back the hell off, right?  Wrong, maybe.
Because now I've forgotten how to write about anything.  I could tell you of my day.  Very exciting stuff.  Today, dears, was the 2nd day in a row, mind you, that a frightened dog *ahem* expressed on my scrubs.  Have you heard of anal gland expression?  If not, then rest assured, it's not something you want on your clothes, or a smell you want following you on your commute home.
So, maybe work is out.

I could wonder aloud why women are so awful to each other.  Back to work.  I'm spending these long days with 20+ people at a time, only 1, maybe 2 of them are men.  As a new person, you expect to go through certain trials, proving yourself and all that.  As a new person, you DON'T expect to be put through tests similar (I assume) to that of a sorority pledge.  Girls are mean, more often than not, it would seem.  Making me all the more grateful for my wonderful female friends.  It is these few personalities that raise me back up and allow me to enter a new week, once again trusting women.

Lastly, I could bitch about the boyfriend's man-date.  How he sees certain people more often than he sees  me, and doesn't seem to miss me at all.  He talks extensively about hanging out with a friend, never mentioning that I'm not invited.  It seems small, especially in writing, but it's my only day off this week and it would have been nice to hear that he wanted to spend that time with me.  He says he can squeeze me in for a couple hours, but, frankly, I'm not so into that idea.
Bitch, bitch, bitch, I guess.  But it IS my blog.  Where better for it.

How 'bout you?  Any new jobs, mean women, or man-dates you've been dealing with?  How's your week going?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In Which I Have a "Puppy Day"

For those of you not in the know, I got a new job.  Today marks my completion of the first, tumultuous week.  I'm a vet technician, which basically means I'm a nurse for animals in an exotic animal hospital in San Francisco.  I work 11 hour shifts, 4 days a week.  Add commuting, and you've got yourself a 13 hour work day.  It's long, is what I'm trying to say.  I am, quite literally, on my feet all day long.  Taking temperatures from fractious cats.

Side note: "fractious" has become one of my new favorite words.  It's a nice medical sounding word for basically saying, "That cat is an asshole!"

I've assisted in drawing blood, I get all the vaccinations ready, watch surgery and tooth cleanings, and all kinds of other small jobs that are beyond fascinating to Yours Truly.  Then again, I was also that kid who would stay in to watch surgeries on the Discovery Channel, and I still never pass up the opportunity to watch some program on parasites.  Man, that botfly is disgusting!

All in all, it's wonderful and exhausting.  Euthanasias are something I don't think I'll ever get used to.  You should know, pet owners, that once we've gotten the job done in a calm manner and done the best for you and your pet, we then collapse in back and pass boxes of tissues around.  It's not easy.  Not for anybody.

Yesterday was my last day of the first week, and also the first day there were NO euthanasias, making it kind of awesome.  In fact, I called it "Puppy Day," since ever patient was under 15 weeks, and little wiggly creatures.  Every one of them is happy to take all kinds of shots, if you'll just let them kiss you.
My favorite was a 10 week old Irish Wolfhound.  That calm temperament, those sweet eyes, it was hard not to just sit with him and sniff that puppy smell all day.  His mother came with him, as company, and I got an eyeful of just what this pet owner was in store for.  The mother was over 160 pounds!
160 pounds of dog!  She could reach the shelf where we keep the treats, and as my feet were pinned under her, I was more than happy to allow it.

Rounding the day off were Burmese Mountain Dog twins.  2 years old, full of energy and hair, and not at all happy to be at the dreaded vet's.  They were in for anal gland expression.  If you don't know what that is, count yourself lucky.  Very, very lucky.  The smell will linger, either in my clothes or memory, till my last days.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beans for Dinner, and No One Got Hurt

Just a quick note here, since I'm knocked out by a severe head-cold and boyfriend's welcome heavy-handed use of whiskey.

I saw these today and nearly died of happiness.  It might have been the cold, but I think it was happiness.

That's right, Subtle Butt.  For those times when your friend made beans for dinner and nobody is buying your story that a rat crawled in during conversation and died right beneath you.

Subtle Butt: when you dealt it, and NO ONE smell't it.

Subtle Butt: we haven't had to blame the dog since 1908.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Want To....

- Go to a concert that's entirely too loud, get deaf for a day, and spend the next morning in our pj's shouting above the ringing in our ears, drinking coffee.

- Get massages in the same room, sneaking glances, and giggling.

- Stay up all night, drinking wine, and listening to music, telling secrets of what memories each song evokes.

- Camp out, eating around a campfire and sleeping intertwined, reeking of smoke.

- Take a painting class together, and astonish ourselves.

- Go on a road trip, crooning with the radio, windows open, dog's ears flapping in the breeze.

- Dance in the rain.

- Have a thunderstorm, lose the power, and share a quiet moment.

- Have a picnic upon a checkered blanket.  You in a tie.  Me in a dress.  Both of us wearing hats, and lightly brushing hands.

- Spend a weekend in Vegas, lounging around a pool, sharing headphones and a playlist.

- Lie together on a golden beach, under a golden sun, staring at the blue, blue water.  Laughing quietly with the surf.

- Live happily ever after.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In Which I Love on Children's Stories ....that title sounds awful.

So, I've been reading a new book lately, The Name of the Wind, recommended by my brother.  It's a fantasy novel, which I don't tend to think of as my genre of choice, but I have been so pleasantly surprised by it.  I'm not going to go into description, you can read it for yourself.  It's a little bit of everything, and most recently it's reminding me of a Harry Potter for grownups.  Not that Harry Potter isn't perfectly perfect for grownups.  I loved that series.

Then, today I was thinking about movies I like.  And when I'm in a relaxed mood, not looking for anything too serious, I always go for children's movies.  Or those films that are somewhere in between childhood and adulthood.  Because (and this is a concept brought up in The Name of The Wind) they always have a distinctive outline.  Child faces danger and loses.  Child goes into the wilderness to learn about the foe, and learns about themselves along the way.  Child often encounters wacky, outlandish mentor, and must prove him/herself.  Child faces danger again and succeeds.  All is well with the world.

There's something so satisfying about that formula.  I'm sure it's the last bit of it, but I also think satisfaction lies in the foe.  The danger is always immediate, not some metaphorical bit of nonsense.  It's a witch, or a bogeyman, something that actually can be defeated.

Then I thought about a famous childhood movie/tale we're all familiar with.  Old Yeller.
That movie was just plain mean.
Where the Red Fern Grows, as well.
I don't know how we're not all a little more psychotic having lived through those experiences.  To this day I'm kinda ticked off at wild boars.  ....and red ferns.

At least in my book, it's only the bogeymen he has to fight.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On How You Know You've Found the Right Man

Earlier this evening, the boyfriend received an email from me declaring: "The lady of the house wants ice cream for dinner!"
This was post-workout madness speaking (sorry Jillian Michaels), and since I didn't get a response, I assumed he allowed common sense to rule and ignored me.
A couple hours later, after I'd showered and simmered down a little, he arrived home with a grocery bag full of goodies.  Among said goodies were my 2 favorite kinds of ice cream.  "Because you said you wanted it."
My heart went all mushy.  But that might just be the cholesterol.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Well, She's No Bryan Adams

When did I first tell myself I couldn't paint?  That I am not a good dancer, lacking any and all rhythm?  That I am not artistic, aesthetics losing the battle?  Exactly when did I relegate myself to a boring life full of greys and browns?  All I remember is when I decided I couldn't sing.

I was 10.  In music class, our teacher would have us line up on these mini-bleachers in the classroom.  While we all sang whichever ditty (most likely, "Everything I Do, I Do it for You" by Bryan Adams.  Teacher had a real hang-up on that song), she would walk down the line and listen to each of us.
As class went on, she would point out the good singers among us, and ask the bad singers to stop and listen.  Most of the people she stopped would be allowed to start up again after hearing the talented choir she'd cultivated.
When she halted my spastic harmonies, she kept it that way.  Sat in silence the rest of the period.
About the 3rd week in, she testily asked me if I wanted to go to the principal's office.  I was so bad at conveying Bryan Adam's melodious sensibilities, she thought I was misbehaving.  She asked me to stop and listen to what singing is meant to sound like, and then proceeded to down some aspirin she had conveniently stored inside her piano bench.

Your father has a nice singing voice, too.  That's what my mum told me, as we drove about town one day.  It's the "too" that's misleading.  The implication being that among my many inherited traits, a vocal acumen was bequeathed.
Looking back, that was awfully kind of her.
Maybe she had a value size of Tylenol stashed away in the glovebox.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

On Feminine Mystique....and Chili

I made my first chili the other day.  Came out really well, so very proud.
At the end of the night, as boyfriend is clearly ready to go to bed, my mouth decided to get all serious.
Do you still love me as much as you did?
"I love you more."  (boyfriend, I should note, is genius at deflecting the crazy)
But are you still attracted to me?
He ignores the hardened clump of chili on my chin, "Of course I am!"
Yeah, there still that feminine mystique?
"...Are you saying you once had a feminine mystique?"
Indignant now.  Yes!  Of course I did!  And then the chili decided to take that moment to stage an encore.
"Oh my god.  Was....was that the dog?"
....It was the dog.
"That was you?!  That is foul!"
It was the dog!  Shuddup!  We're talking about my mystique!
"Right.  Of course you still have mystique, baby.  Wads of it.  Like a cloud surrounding you.  Right now.  Your mystique can really clear a room."  Boyfriend hurriedly goes to bed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

For My 16-Year-Old Self

Did you ever meet someone, but never really get to know him?  Have someone going on with his life, never knowing he made an impact on yours?  I'm going to pretend we all have that someone, so I won't feel embarrassed, and I'll write him a letter from a girl he never knew existed.  Because sometimes, you want to go back in time and tell yourself to just ACT!  Do something, even if he laughs, if they all laugh, so that when you're old you won't wonder why you didn't.
So, here goes:  To you, for me.

Dear So and So,

We sat next to each other for only a semester in my junior year, your senior.  The class was music theory, or something like that, taught by Mr. Something Or Other.  He was fat.  Obese, really.  With a mustache.
There was no assigned seating, but we sat next to one another, in the back corner.
You were....tall.  Taller than me, and gangly, with scruffy brown hair.  Your uniform was jeans and a t-shirt of a distant, long-dead band.  I would light up when you wore Pink Floyd's The Division Bell, because I just knew we were destined to be friends when I saw that shirt.
The days we had class together, I would wear my band t-shirts, so that you could see I was cool, also.  So that one day, you would declare, "Hot damn!  The Who kicks ass!  Let's hang out!"
But you never did.

Instead, we would crack quiet jokes and make brief eye contact.  And then the teacher would shout, "Good cracker!" as he was wont to do, and you would burst into laughter.  I only just recently learned that good cracker could be construed as a racist term, and wish I'd known then, so I could laugh with you.  I always thought he was talking about Saltines.  Don't know why...

I never asked to be friends.  Looking back, I don't know why.  I suppose that awkward teen I was must have had some pretty important reasons.  I was so lonely, though, and thought we would have gotten along pretty well.  I spent my solitary hours listening to music, looking at pictures of the 70's in my history books, and reading Aldous Huxley.  You would have liked me, I think.

But you were a year older, and gone before I knew what hit me.  The school flooded, but I think you knew that.  One of the mean girls, who always wore pink, and put hairspray in her bangs got an infestation in her locker from all that water.
I wanted to thank you for that.  Like a weird going-away present, one you didn't even know you gave.  I missed you when you were gone.  Continuing on with music theory, watching Mr. Something Or Other balance precariously atop a small stool, and having no one to impress with my limitless knowledge of Pink Floyd.

I hope you're well.  Let's be friends.

Good Cracker!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In Which I Write a Book

I've decided upon an idea for a book.  Pretty sure it'll be a best-seller.

How to Tell if Your Dog is an Asshole.

Chapter 1:  Does Your Dog Look Like This?

If so, then clearly your dog is already an asshole, and you have failed.  Big time.  Better luck next time, sucker.

You have many things to look forward to as an unwilling, embarrassed owner of an asshole dog.  Things like, coming home to find your dog has raided your entire underwear drawer, and eaten all the good undies, leaving you with only granny panties, and that one pair with dinosaurs all over them which are completely uncool, but you're not about to throw them out now that you have no options, now are you?  So stop asking!
Your asshole dog will also raid your landlords' compost heap, and then wake you up by licking you right on the mouth.  Except your mouth was open, because, let's face it, you're one of those mouth-breathers, and now you have a weird piece of compost grit stuck in your teeth, and your boyfriend realllly doesn't want to kiss you.
Your asshole dog will also steal your belongings, and everyone else's belongings, run away with them despite your repeated shrieking, and then taunt you, a mere ten feet away, leaping just out of your grasp.  He will do this with your purse, and your socks, or your friend's books or shoes.  Anything he can get his jerk teeth around will fall prey to this behavior.  Just as he tires of the game, he will make eye contact with you, drop the object, and pee on it.

Maybe it's your own fault, though.  Remember that first car ride, when you held him in your lap and he looked up at you with those cute puppy eyes and then unleashed a massive pee flood?  You should have turned around and brought him right back for a refund and an apology.  But you didn't, did you?  No, you thought I can train this little sucker.  He'll be a star pooch!

But you were wrong.  You were so wrong.  Your dog is an asshole.  And now everybody will think you are an asshole for keeping him.  And here's the thing about asshole dogs:  they are invincible.  They can fall off cliffs, get hit by cars, whatever.  Asshole never dies.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Depressing Everyone on the Bandwagon

I suppose it's time to jump on the bandwagon, and mention that NY Times article about 20-somethings.  I suppose it's bad manners to assume you've already read it.  As Stuart Smalley (nee, Al Franken) said, "...when you assume, you make an ass out of Uma Thurman."
So, the basic points of it were that the 20-somethings has become a time to discover yourself, a time to process adulthood, rather than being a full-fledged adult.
...You should probably just set an afternoon aside and read it for yourself.

I left that article behind feeling ... more lost than ever, I suppose.
I'm in the last gasp of my 20's, and have less idea of what to do now than ever before.
I want to change the world, but I don't want that to change my world.
I want to be entrenched in a job I love, but still have plenty of vacation time.
I want to make a real difference, so long as I'm paid amply.
I want to write stories, but I can barely keep this blog afloat.

If you've ever been in the same boat, let me ask you something:  Did you get out?  Did you sink or swim?  How did you find what you wanted to do.

And so long as we're talking articles, how 'bout this one in Psychology Today, addressing the bad habit we all have of comparing up.  With Facebook, and MySpace (oh, that jilted love), and Twitter galore, we have a barrage of fabulous lives to compare ours to, and how could they ever live up?  The article's point was that well-adjusted people don't compare themselves to anyone other than themselves.

The whole bit made me feel pretty ok, for about 2 minutes, until I thought what about siblings?  If ever there was a fair comparison to make, wouldn't it be to siblings?  Someone a similar age, with similar opportunities, and even the same damn gene pool?  
My mum once told me it's not fair to compare myself to my brother, but I couldn't think of anything more fair.
My brother the doctor.
My brother, the life of the party, the social butterfly.
I mean, the man gets paid to take summers off and visit friends.
And if I don't compare myself to him, how about all the other fabulous people I know?  I don't need to venture as far as tabloids to find amazing lives.  They're all right here, sharing their city with me.

I've never lived overseas, like some friends, nor have I started my own business, or biked an entire coastline.  All these amazing people and their stories, and it's so hard not to feel like an anchor.
I remember that feeling of possibility, and for my life, I don't know where it's gone.  I used to swear I would never work in some office, on some menial job, and now I'm pushing my resume just to be allowed a cubicle and some grey lighting.

Will another article be written, giving hope to those of us (almost) out of our 20's, saying that the 30's are a time of self-discovery and fulfillment?  Or is this it?  Have I wasted it all away?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In Which I Celebrate My New Year

It's that time of year again.  Only a few weeks left before all those horrible, awkward looking bipeds kids running around have to go back to school.  I know my teacher friends are probably groaning about that sad fact, having to pack up their book clubs, put away their sleeping bags, and individual styles for something a little more teacher-ish, but to them I say: pfff!  Don't care!

Because I always loved this time of year.  When an entire section in Target gets deemed the "Back to School" section, positively over-flowing with new notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters, etc.
I don't remember the last time I actually made a purchase from one of these aisles, but they still get me positively aglow.  All that yellow, blue, and pink stickey paper.  Those fancy mechanical pencils.  The idea that this year is going to be better than the last.  This year I will learn and even excel.  I will make new friends, and participate in exciting activities.  I will run that friggin mile, and I won't be as slow as last year.

I suppose the back to school season is like my New Year's.  All these promises to myself, and unspoken hopes can live in the days before it all actually starts.  Before that first day, when you realize the popular girls, and not so popular girls, and even the unpopular girls, still won't talk to you.  Before you come to grips with the sad fact that you're still considered just as much of a freak now as you were at the beginning of the summer.  When you buy yourself a pretty outfit, stare at yourself in the mirror, and practice conversations with your invisible potential friends, and you can really believe they will like you back.

These are the days when everything feels like an opportunity, and there's nobody around to tell you different.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Huzzah for Reality Television....Just Not Really

The boyfriend and I have been studiously following Last Comic Standing this summer.  Watching reality television seems to go against his very thread of being (he still has to ask me what a Snookie is), but he'll sit through anything involving comedians.  We share that feeling of love for anybody who has dedicated their lives to making us laugh.
Tonight we watched the season finale, desperately rooting for Tommy Jonnigan.  I'm sure I didn't spell that correctly, but nobody ever said I was the guy's publicist.  We sat through an hour of pure hell waiting for that final judging, fingers crossed.
Part of that pure hell involved a few minutes of Gloria Gaynor singing "I Will Survive."
She's the ultimate one-hit-wonder, I announced.
Still, how can you not love that single woman anthem?  Here's how: she changed the lyrics a bit to add some "praise god" lines.  Ick!  I forget the actual lyrics, since I was too busy choking on my vomit, but it was basically, "yay Jesus."
I feel betrayed.  My single woman anthem can now only be sung by Cake....or I'll just have to listen to Beyonce's "Put A Ring On It"...or whatever it's called.
oh, and spoiler alert, Tommy Jonnagin didn't even win.  *double sigh*

The short end of it is this: if I'm going to see lyrics changed, I'm gonna watch this girl.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Evel Knievel Don't Got Shit

Sorry beforehand, for the poor writing.  This is a bit of a manic update about yesterday's activities.

The boyfriend and I went for a romantic walk through a graveyard yesterday, ignoring all signs that said dogs must be on a leash. Mountain View cemetary is really the place to go see outrageous mausoleums, and given that Watson is the home-schooled dog, we didn't think it was right to deprive him of the history lesson. He ran about like the uncultured idiot he is.
In fact, as we stopped to look over a blocked off drop to concrete, noting the awesome graffiti plastered on the sides, he idiotically ran right off the wall.
It was another of those moments, when time slows down, and you hear yourself scream, and you have time to think of all the consequences before he even hits the bottom. After about 3 lifetimes, he finally did hit the concrete...on his back...25 feet below. he screamed, even louder than me, and kept trying to get up and walk. The boyfriend took off, running around, looking for a place to get through and climb down to the dog. I used up all the calm I had left and found a spot in the fence he could climb through, and spent the rest of the calm telling him, "Just take your time. Pick him up like I showed you, and go nice and slowly. It's ok."
We tried walking him to where we parked the car, switching off carrying him, but at 50+ pounds on uneven footing, it just wasn't working. When he was in the boyfriend's arms, I held his head and pet him gently. When I pulled away, I noticed there was blood all over my arm.
Oh my god....he's bleeding.
Go get the car.  I'm going to stay here with him.  There's no way we can carry him all the way back.
So I ran.  And the whole time I thought about Harry Dresden, in the Dresden Files books, when he always talks about how he practices running, just in case.  And I always think shaddup!
But now I was wishing I'd heeded his fictional wizardly advice, because I was out of breath and only halfway there, the hill still ahead of me.  I trudged up the hill, all the time thinking about this little puppy Watson was, and how our only job was to make sure he didn't kill himself.  I was failing my job.
Got to the car, jumped in and started driving before taking the time to think of the route.  This is an extensive cemetary, and no road leads in the direction you'd think.  Took me forever, and questioning two startled strangers, before I found them again.
Then: traffic.  Fucking East Bay traffic.  Like the world moves in between 4 and 7 pm on weekdays.  Goddam nightmare, is what it is.
We have to drive to Berkeley for the emergency room.  Watson goes onto the table and starts shaking, the shock wearing off.  The doctor comes in and hears what happened, checking his ears, his heart, his bones.
"He's ok.  He's extraordinarily lucky.  I can't believe it, but not even a broken bone."
And I start crying.  Big time.  It didn't occur to me till then that I was convinced that Watson was that dog that you only get a short time with, but shows you how good dogs can be.  He's a good boy.
The doc gives him a couple shots for the pain and warns us he's going to whine because he doesn't understand why he's all spin-ny.  "No jumping.  No activity for a couple days."

We actually bought him steak.  Cheap steak....but we're vegans, and this is a big deal.  This is LOVE, people.  I cut it into strips and froze it, so when he gets extra sore he can have a meatsicle.
Dog, being the indestructible smarty-pants he is, has learned already to just whine an extra bit and he gets steak.
He's a good boy.  A lucky boy.  A sore boy.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Old-Timey San Francisco

Speaking of hipsters (weren't we?), I saw a TON of 'em last night, gathered together like sardines in the Hotel Utah Saloon.  Together, we banged the tables, drank our shots of whiskey, and partook in some banjo-plucking ambiance.  Because nothing says San Francisco circa 2010, quite like a bluegrass band from North Carolina.

The boyfriend and I arrived early, so as to get a good seat against the wall and rub some elbows with those of the elbow patches.  I've never seen so many fedoras and newsboys in the same room, and I half expected them to draw a line and pick their sides.  "I'll have you know, sir, this is an honest to goodness newsboy and I am dressed in my finest herringbone blazer for that touch of irony which you lack."  "Well fuck you, sir.  This is a wool fedora in JULY!  Now, gather 'round, my unnecessarily warm counterparts!  We shall have an ironic standoff!  You people in the newsboys, you can bob together by the stage, because as everyone knows, the real hipsters sit in the back."

I'm not sure where I fit in with this crowd.  I like to think I held my own, there on the sidelines, watching the magic go down.  In the meantime, I enjoyed me some good music.

We went there to support a friend and cheer on his awesome band, Walking in Sunlight.  Please do check them out.  But then stayed for the raucous twang of Emily Bonn & the Vivants, and finished the night off cheering for Chatham County Line.  All 3 acts were stupendous, and did me the favor of transporting me in time.  I felt like I was ensconced in Deadwood, and expected Al Swearengen to make his way into the room, bowie knife in hand.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Too Much to Share, Really

A foreword: this is more personal than I'm comfortable with, but it's real, as far as that goes.  Pouring something out has made me feel better and free of it.  Letting anyone else in goes against my better judgement.  Be warned, is all I'm saying.

I'm 29 now and have been thinking of you recently.  So hard to let go.  Like it'll be breaking off a piece of me.  Me beneath the covers.  You telling me I'm beautiful, and I disagree but believe, because the two can co-exist here.
Saying goodbye to you is saying goodbye to odometers, cold tiles beneath my feet, waves breaking, elton john sung at the top of our lungs, coils of smoke, october nights, first snowfalls, thunderstorms, red plastic cups, driving at night.
I wonder if in the moments I miss you, do you stop walking whatever sidewalk, in whatever city, and all of a sudden think of me?  Do you start to sing Elton John songs?
Or, maybe it's all reverse.  Maybe I get sad because you decided to stop and think of me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Going for the Grammy

This morning I forewent coffee in favor of health.  I read that caffeine increases stress hormones, which can facilitate in the production of fat.  So, small steps, I thought.
And now, at 5:30 pm, I can tell you it was all a huge mistake.
Not a single interesting thought has entered my head, my preoccupation instead being with how comfortable my bed is and how happy it would make me.
Indeed, the most taxing thing I've done today is practice singing.  Arguably, it was much more taxing for anyone home upstairs, forced to listen to the death rattle below.

Singing is one of my bucket list achievements.  It is shaping up to be a slow, agonizing year towards 30. The dog began to cry in the midst of my octaves.  Believing he needed some bladder relief, I let him out, only to witness his mad dash to freedom.  Instead of trotting to the side yard, as always, he ran so fast down the drive that his front legs caved while the back two continued to push.  All the way to the car, parked on the street.

Once back inside, not even through my first octave, he pulled all the stuffing out of his bed, spun in circles, and then growled.  Puppy is a harsh critic.

How does this all tie in to my lack of coffee?  I have no idea.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

In Which I Fail an IQ Test

With nothing better to do on a Friday night, I decided to take a page from Hyperbole and a Half, and test my dog's IQ.  There are 6 different tests, and before starting, the rules warn to treat it like a game and not get upset or concerned if the dog can't figure his way through one of the 6 puzzles.

Puzzle 1: show the dog a treat and then let him see you put it beneath a can.  Then, allow the dog to work his way to the treat.
I knew this one was going to be difficult when I was failing it for him in my quest for a can.  I looked in the recycling, only to see that damn!  boyfriend emptied that.  So, clear thinking individual that I am, I went for the trash, reaching for that can of beans that boyfriend took out of fridge last night for security's sake.  The stench alone managed to cut straight through my snot-riddled head and was the physical manifestation of stink.  For the second night in a row, can of beans knocked me on my ass.
After all the vomiting, I decided on a measuring cup.  Put treat under it, dog stared lasers through it, and quickly got down to business.  Neither the measuring cup nor the treat stood a chance.

Smarty dog! I squeeled in delight.
Then dog decided everything on floor must be a treat and ate about 800 ants, a piece of paper, chewed on my hand weights, and then careened throughout household on epic quest for morsels.
Not so sure how to judge that one.

Puzzle 2:  Throw towel over dog's head and judge how long until he finds his way clear.
Yes!  Doggy is like Odin! and is clear in seconds flat.  Except towel must have been covered in weird puppy hormones, and dog's red rocket shoots out.  I bend down to save towel from floor and dog goes manic, spinning in helicopter mode, knocks into my legs.  I reach for new bookshelves, only to stub my toe, knock them over, and fall all crazy-like to floor, clutching shelves.
Maybe I should be taking an IQ test.  Dog 1, Caitie 0.  Bookshelves....less than stellar.

Puzzle 3: with dog sitting about 6 feet away, make eye contact.  After a few seconds, smile broadly.  Faster the dog responds to smile and comes over, smarter dog is.
Dog can't help but be charmed and races over.   I am nearly charmed right back, but then red rocket brushes my hand, and suddenly I feel dirty and ashamed.  Go to your spot.
Dog 2, Caitie 0.  Bookshelves still sulking.

Puzzle 4: Show dog another treat, and place treat under tea towel.  Encourage dog to find treat. is wicked smaht.  Perhaps dog could help me find keys...
10 seconds, guys.  This dog is potentially much smarter than me.

Puzzle 5:  Place treat in spot dog cannot reach with head, and must use paws to pull it closer.
Dog just invented tools!  Dog may as well have invented the Gopher.  He used mangled toy, and swept it under table, pulling treat out.  Dog is going to Harvard.

Puzzle 6: have dog seated away from you.  After he is settled in, using tone you'd use to say his name, instead, call, "Refrigerator."  If dog looks, but does not respond he's apparently discerning the difference, and thus is smart.
Shit.  Dog has flunked out of Harvard.  Dog comes racing out of his bed when called, "Refrigerator."  I think perhaps dog is so smart he knows that food is kept in refrigerator, and is showing entirely understandable reaction.  Same reaction I show when I hear "refrigerator" called.  I have dog go back to bed, wait a few minutes and call, "Closet!"
Dog turbo-jets out of bed, careening into my legs, once again angering book shelves.  But of course!  Dog knows shoes are kept in closet and shoes mean walk!  How could I be so short-sighted?  Dark murmurs begin to creep in.
"Sarah Palin!"   I whisper from bedroom.  Dog bolts in, and jumps on bed.  Obviously, he is attack-ready.
"Aerobics!"  In a flash, dog is at my side.  Dreams of Harvard have fallen by the wayside.  Dog should know by know that fitness has no place in this home. ashamed.  Dog sits, looking at me with tilted head.  Desperately trying to understand why I haven't given him a cookie.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In Which I Get a Massage

There was a poster of the muscular system on the door of the room I was placed in, waiting for my massage.  Practically nekkid, lying under a thin sheet, staring at the muscles of a friggin god.  It makes a person feel, at the very least, humble.  Realistically, I felt more  like a beached whale brought in for the autopsy.  Then I think how funny it would be if it was the muscles of just some average schlub, with bad posture and a trick knee.  I would like to see them standing together.  I wonder what schlub's butt would look like, and if it would be better than mine.

The lady came in and started to raise the table, prompting my need to comment that I felt like I was at the dentist.  Which then prompted her shushing me.  Now I feel like I'm in school.
"Just try to relax," she instructed.
How do I relax when a gore-tastic Superman is over there staring at me?

You know your brain is being a little too chatty when you spend 60 minutes wondering if you're laying correctly on the table.  She lifts your leg from under the sheet and you attempt to assist.  "Just relax," she says again.

If I knew how to do that, I wouldn't be here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What, You Don't Like Funny?

I touched him! you stage whisper to me, after Paul Mecurio runs through the audience, collecting high-five's.  And I think you should be up there, making people laugh.  I know, at the very least, you won't be like that warm-up act, doing an impression of Carol Channing singing David Bowie.
What's a Carol Channing? and I shrug, no answers to give.  But there he is, screaming at the audience, powering through his last ten minutes before he can vacate the stage and spit in all our drinks.
Then the professional takes the stage and I hear your sigh of relief, and the audience begins to wake up.  He looks at everybody and damn near yells at a lady for not clapping.  "I won a fucking emmy!  You better goddam clap!  What is that you're wearing?  You look like a stripper!"
I sink into my seat, knowing that most of his act is talking to audience members and magically turning the mundane into funny.  We arrived early, hoping to get a good seat.  In our minds "good seat" meant as far away from the funny man as possible.  The man seating us, though, decided "good seat" meant smack dab in the center.  So I make it my mission to laugh at every joke, since he picks only on the ones that are clearly too good to be there.
"Where are your husbands?  Camping?  Sure they are."

We laugh all the way home, wondering why more people don't see comedians.  Their only goal in life is to make you laugh.  How could that be bad?  Only if he talks about Carol Channing, that's how.

These Thighs O' Mine

So, 29 is fast approaching, and it occurs to me that my bucket list is getting less and less time to reach completion.  For example, what's haunting me most recently is that I have yet to ride a mechanical bull.  How does that even happen?
Are there mechanical bulls to be found in the Bay Area?  Knowing SF, I would assume that there are at least 2 bars offering such a luxury.  Truthfully, I think I'd be pretty good at it.
I grew up around horses.  Even went so far as to be a member of Pony Club, which basically consisted of learning all the parts of the hoof and then jumping over a few cross rails, and bam!  Pony Club!  Mostly all I learned there was who was sleeping with who's tennis pro.

My first horse was named Ralph.  Technically, he was a pony, but he had the full attitude of a larger animal.  He had limited patience, but behaved well enough to give rides at my birthday parties, so long as my mum was there to guide him.  Also, and my favorite, we had a cart and harness to attach to him and my mum would take me for rides around the neighborhood.  Had I been older, I would have happily pretended to be the heroine in a Bronte sister novel.  Especially considering the frequency with which my grandmother dressed me in hand-made lace dresses.
Nirvana would have shriveled up in agony with just one glance at me in those moments.

My next horse was named Dusty.  He was a love of my life.  He was, first off, the most beautiful pony I had ever laid my eyes on.  Also, by far he was the smartest.  He was the one that taught me about mind games, acting all obedient for an entire lesson and then galloping for the barn at the very end, with me strapped to the saddle.  Later, as I outgrew him, he taught me about bucking and rearing and the utter terror that comes with those actions.  Do you, dear reader, know how much it hurts when a horse steps on you?  Can you first picture being thrown off the horse before being trampled upon?
Did you know your typical pony weighs around 700 pounds, and bears his weight down upon you the harder you try to push him off? hurts.

Long story short, Dusty taught me to hold the fuck on.  To dig my heels towards the floor, tighten my stomach, and squeeze my thighs until they go near numb.  I credit him to this day for the god-like strength of my legs.  Seriously.  It's ridiculous.  I'm like a Bond villain.

In short, if you see me in some seedy western bar atop a mechanical bull, put your money on me.  These ridiculous thighs of mine will bring some game.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Death of the BFF

Dear Adulthood,

The bills are tough, but worth it to have a home of my own and the freedom to live in sin if I so choose. Responsibility often sucks, but hey, I get to have a dog and a cat and that's all well and good.
Mostly, you're much more difficult than people warn, but mostly it's all ok.
I only have one main complaint:

where does a girl go to get some bff's?

When you're a kid, it's so damn easy. She's the girl you sit next to in homeroom, or the girl 3 houses down that you got paired with because your mothers were friends. She's the friend that chooses the locker next to yours and also doesn't quite fit in. The first person you call when you get your license; the one that lets you sleep over when you're all upset that your crush started dating a total jerk. She ditches school with you, sits in the back of the bus with you, and knows every one of your secrets.

The last time I ever had to make the effort to find close friends was the first day of college, when you scramble not to be left out. To show everyone that you're someone worth knowing. And even that was pretty easy, because you were all in the same boat. There were R.A.'s, forcing you to sit in the common room together and play horrible games that you were secretly grateful for. There were those weird, older students that had done their time in the army and were now back, getting their free education. Your bff was the girl that walked with you, to ask them to buy you some beer.
And after that fear of leaving home was gone, you had a new group of close friends. The people that stayed up late, whispering secrets in the dark, bringing back the pinky-swear. The people that held your hair back, or whose hair you held, the ones you could call for no particular reason and would happily show up, so we could sit quietly together and enjoy the company.

But then college ended, and the real world began. And I'm here, on a different coast than the one I was familiar with, that's home to all those friends.
And I realize, when it's late like it is now, that I don't really have anyone out here to call. No one to sit quietly with. There are some truly fabulous people that I've had the pleasure of getting to know, but I can't call them bff's. I hope for some miraculous day that I could, but for now, they remain just lovely people.

Adulthood, you made making friends nearly impossible. Now, it's more like asking someone on a date. Awkward, and you damn well better have a plan. Don't expect to just sit around, no, no. Now there are guidelines, and weirdness, and smalltalk. You've made slumber parties taboo. But why should they be? When did they become so wrong? Damn you, Adulthood, because I loved those nights that we stayed up too late, giggling over our dreams. Those were the times that bff's were made.

What am I supposed to do now?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Not Complete Without an Elk Hat-Rack

It's like, FINALLY!  All my questions have been answered.  I don't know where I'd be if smarter people than I weren't there to show me how cowboys decorate their homes.
Yee-haw!  We've got doilies!

Clearly, we also have images from my nightmares.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All I Need to Know...I Probably Did Not Learn in Kindergarten

Sometimes you don't learn everything you needed in school.

It just doesn't teach you things like how to deal with a dead-end job.
Or how to stand up against a boss that wants you to do something at the very least unethical, and very much illegal.
And when you do stand up, it doesn't teach you how not to cry when said boss fires you.

You never learn how to make your brain stop chattering on that long drive home.  "You fuck-up.  What is wrong with you?  How do you get fired from a receptionist position?"
You don't know how to make the most of it.
You never learned how many hours there could possibly be in a day, when you have nowhere to spend them.

You also never learned how fortuitous a visit from your mum could be.  How she can show you that a nature walk, far from the city, can make your brain stop chattering.
You learn that petting your dog can stop the tears.
That you're not a loser, just because your ex-boss is a criminal.
Your mum shows you how baking a blueberry pie can while away some of the long hours.
A blueberry pie can show you that it's not such a big deal, you'll get a better job.
You'll be ok.

Friday, June 25, 2010

An Outburst a Day Keeps the Medical Plan Away

Definitely one of those days.
You know, the days where your boss asks you to lie to people and rip them off and you try to vent to your boyfriend about it before finally getting up the guts to tell your boss that you are not willing to besmirch your integrity for a measly $15 an hour, but you say it much nicer because you still don't want to be unemployed, even if your job IS a load of hot crap.
It's the type of day when you think you are venting to your boyfriend, but you're stupidly using the office's Outlook mail, and you respond to the wrong email and in effect tell your boss how much of a jack-off you think he is, and you whine a bit about how much your back hurts.  And then your boss calls you in for "a word" and asks what the deal is and you're all, "I have a problem basically stealing from people.  What?"  And he's all, "You're a total dick swipe.  Clearly, you don't understand how the system works."  And you come back with, "I understand that if you accept work from a person, you're supposed to pay them for it.  And I understand that if there were more people doing what you're trying to do, my dad wouldn't have been able to provide food for us."

And then you spend the rest of the day barely suppressing the urge to yell, "AM I FIRED, OR WHAT??" Because you kind of sort of need that $15 an hour and you try to remind yourself of your tendency to over-react just a bit.  So instead, you blog about shitty jobs and shitty pay and how you're obviously the only semi-lucent person in an office filled with barely-mobile cesspool humanoids.  And you spend the rest of your time trying to stop your heart from racing and hoping that if they don't fire you, you will still somehow avoid becoming a cesspool like them.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Absolut Fetid

OH MY DEAR GAH...I now have 2 followers, and one of them is one of my absolute favorite bloggers.  I only discovered him yesterday while I was "working," but the piece I read is already a classic.  It's like one of those TNT New Classics, only without the ad breaks.  You'll re-visit it a million times, be able to recite it at a whim, and never grow tired of it.
May I present you with: Mr. London Street's take on the end of a relationship.

I would typically use that as a segway into some post on the last time I felt the same thing about some relationship corpse I still have tucked away in my brain folds, but there is a 9 inch tall stink demon currently rooting through my purse that I feel the need to acknowledge instead.

Said stink demon's name is Toby.  He is a year old American Bulldog with an apparent penchant for sniffing out the dankest dungeoniest food he can fit his gigantic mouth around, and for growing balls the size of my fists put together.  He is the faithful companion of my cow-orker (yes, I meant to spell it that way), but you would have no idea the two of them are a pair since it is MY purse he's fascinated with, MY papers he has disheveled, and MY legs he has covered in mephitic farts.
Were I one of the other cow-orkers, I'd be angry, vindictive, even.  But he slurps my entire left side, and I am smitten.  Mr. Toby could teach Mr. Watson a thing or two about making a woman swoon.
Whether I'm swooning from those sweet, brown eyes hidden away among the folds, or from noxious fumes emanating out of his may never know.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In Which I List Your Qualities

We've lived together over a year now, and it hasn't always been easy (like that time we broke up because you didn't want to spend 8 katrillion dollars on a comforter), but I like to think it has all been worth it.
In place of a birthday card, which I can't believe I forgot to get for you, I will give you, instead, a list.
What I've learned about you, who you are, what you do, what makes you tick.

1. You claim to hate it, but *if* The Bachelorette is on, and *if* you are sitting beside me, you more than participate in your fair share of yelling at the tv. I mean, my gawd, what is WRONG with that Kasey guy?

2. You hate Comic Sans. I mean, you really hate it. You would willingly tie it up to your car's back bumper, and do figure 8's around a sandy parking lot mid-day, in the dead of summer. Watch out, Papyrus, he's not too fond of you, either.

3. You definitely (don't even deny it) think lesbians are somehow smarter than the rest of us.

4. You will do just about anything for a laugh....or for an Apple product.

5. My gawd, do you love the smell of pizza places.

6. You talk to and about Watson more than I think you realize. I love how much you have bonded with him. It's always good to see a man and his dog together. Also, what isn't hilarious about when you pick up his back legs and pretend he's some kind of sub-machine gun?

7. You take Aikido very seriously, and I wonder if they know how much you practice. Your 1st kyu is going to be inspiring to watch.

8. You are one of the rare men that is willing to embarrass himself on a dance floor, just to make me happy.

9. You kind of sort of like the cat. Don't even play, you know it's true!

10. You are a loyal friend. I've never heard you tear anyone down. Instead, you love how each friendship makes you a better person.

11. You get misty-eyed when you talk about your brother, Mark, Ian, and Russ.

12. You are such a genuine pleasure. You are worth every broken dish, every crushed toe...everything.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why People Aren't Allowed to Touch Me

Things that make my skin shrivel:

1. snooty comic book store clerks. Because obviously you are the only person that has ever read comics. ever. That's why there's this store. Just for you, and your vast knowledge. Jerk-off.

2. Bad manners. I've said it before and I'll say it again: If you are over the age of 10 and you still can't wrap your mind around saying please and thank you, then you are just not worth my time. At least phrase your demands as questions, and maybe I'll consider not spilling my water on your sandwich. oops.

3. When I wish you a happy this or a merry that, just friggin say thank you. Don't sigh and commence to put me through a battery of loyalty tests to see how much merriment I really wish you. Because when you're all done, my wishes will be much reduced.

4. Hold the door! If I'm right behind you, at least tap it open with your foot. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize the queen was in town. You uppity b*tch.

5. Don't claim that just because you're so many years old, you can't change. That's bullshit. You can change. you can turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth. You can demonstrate some civility. At least start by demonstrating some honesty and confess that you just don't want to change.

6. STOP WITH ALL THE NOSE-PICKING!  I know I joke about it from time to time, but I left that behind me in grade school, and so should you!  If I see one more person jabbing a pointer up there on my commute, I will hit you with my car.  And then the inspection!  Do you honestly think you're going to come up with gold?  A tissue, at least, is more hygienic.

7.  Shake like a man.  Enough of the dead fish or the limp wrist.  When did the country go all sissy on me?  I remember being told before interviews to always give a good, firm shake, as a demonstration that I am someone to be taken seriously.  How do you wish to be regarded, Mr. Limp Fish?

8. No more cat calls.  Unless your intention really was to make me feel like a slut just for dropping off my FedEx packages.  If so, then job well done, you piece of shit.

Sorry for that, everyone.  Tuesday has assaulted me, and I in turn have assaulted you.  Maybe I should have said please first.

At least today will end in pizza and celebrations, and likely take a major turn for the awesome.

Lazy Brain Loves Zerona

I got this email from a Dr. Kang, and of course thought....well, gee...I could come up with $2000, if I could look like that in 2 weeks.  Given my overweight-itude, and my persistent love and acceptance of food, any scam involving no work and fat loss is particularly appealing to me.  Clearly, Dr. Kang is privy to the inner-workings of my lazy-brain.

Then, I took a 2nd look at the picture and it became all too clear to me:  Zerona has made this woman insane.  They have obviously photo-shopped out all the white-coats running after her.

What is she doing?  Other than ruining some families perfectly nice day at the beach.  Now Jr is going to have some weird fetish for crazy women dressed in white.

Thanks a lot, Zerona.  You've ruined Jr's life.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Vignette

"Why can't I lose weight?" she pondered glumly, as she wrote a cupcake recipe on the back of her exercise routine.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Not So Epic

Do you want to know what is exhausting?  Constantly striving to be something extraordinary, and hating myself for my normalcy.  Do you know what is ridiculous?  Hating a quiet life and a job that is less than fulfilling.  Yeah, it'd be great to be some published, revered author, or a beautiful model, or an admired artist.  But, the plain truth of it is: I'm not any of those things.

I can be beautiful, but I can't be a model.  Maybe I can take some drawing classes, but I don't have the innate talent to be the next Picasso.  I'd love to be an author...but I'm not (not yet, anyway).
My job feels pointless, fairly often.  But I have one, which is nice. It's nice to have a roof over my head, and a boyfriend I love, and friends that brighten my days.  It's nice to live in such a wealthy country.  It's nice not to be starving.

Does that sound like settling?

It's not.

There is a beauty in the tilt of my dog's head when he tries to understand my ramblings.  There is a beauty in that same tilt of my boyfriend's head.  It means something when you make someone laugh so hard they clutch their stomachs, or when you laugh so hard that a snort sneaks out.  Or those rare moments when you can look in a mirror and be happy with what you see.

Not every night needs to be epic.  Some nights are better in your pj's watching a movie, petting the dog, and eating too much ice-cream.  Maybe I won't be painting any Sistene Chapels, but I will be seeing you at your barbeques, making you laugh, trying hard not to snort.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

French Lessons

Florent was an exchange student at my highschool, one grade above me, and ridiculously cute.  He couldn't get over when I would ask, "Hey, Flo, what's up?"  He would always look up, like some glob of crap was going to fall down on him.  I'd say through much of our friendship, he was in a near state of panic.
Before he left for his flight home, I took him to an amusement park.  Whalom Park, to be exact, where "you'll have a whale of a time."  I had studied up before hand and informed Flo, "je vous donnerai des baleines cette fois."

This, judging by his confused expression, was to be the beginning of a whole series of language barriers.

Have you googled that translation yet?  If not, here you go: "I will give whales to you this time."
Maybe he thought that was like a specifically American form of Crabs.

Being lunchtime, we went straight for that astronaut ice-cream stuff.  Being French, and clearly classier than I,  he'd never heard of the stuff.  I tried to make a joke of it and let him know the astronauts make it themselves.  I think you already see it coming....that's not what I said.  Not at all. "Ils sont des boules faites des astronautes."

Translation:  "They are balls made of astronauts."

I can't believe he ate it.

Later in the day, we took a ride on The Scrambler.  This was my favorite ride back in the day.  If you are the unfortunate person to be in the outside seat, the centrifugal force drives the other person into you.  It is sickening awesome!  Being the host, I let Florent take the awesome seat.

Whalom Park was in its last season that year, so even though it was a weekend, nobody was there.  The carnie working the scrambler was more than happy to let it run while he ran off to grab a beer.  7 minutes in, Flo started groaning.  12 minutes in, he went really quiet.
6 minutes after that, Surly came back and let us off the ride of death.  Flo whispered to me, "Caitie, I have to kiss you."

That wasn't at all what he said, but I substituted, because I didn't know what he was trying to say.  This was only my second semester of French, and we hadn't yet learned that "dégueulis" meant "puke."

This day of sparkles ended with an enervating ride on the roller-coaster.  A piece of it fell off during the ride and hit Florent in the head.

He wrote a few months later, comfortably in his own country, safely away from all American whales, and told me I should come visit.  In the letter, he told me a phrase I would, "definitely need during my visit," but he didn't include the translation.  It was only last week, when I was proudly demonstrating my awesome French skills to co-workers that I learned what, "J'ai essayé de péter, mais faire caca est parti," really means.

"I tried to fart, but poop came out."

Thanks, Flo.

I'm Pretty Much an Expert

Having seen the velocity with which everyone around me is commenting about soccer, I thought perhaps it was time to weigh in.
Having played soccer in grade school and listened to people in the office discuss it at length, I think it's safe to call myself an expert on the sport.

When I was about 5 or 6, I played on some local town league.  My memories of that are as follows:

I think our shirts were light blue.

I think my dad was one of the coaches.  Clearly, he was preparing me for a glorious life full of medals, much like that of Venus or Serena Williams.

I think I played goalie, mainly because it allowed me the time necessary to search for 4-leaf clovers.  However, this may have been a clever ploy, since I only landed in that spot after scoring my first and only triumphant goal.  On my own team.

My footwork was tremendous!

I remember one of the boys my age caught me picking my nose and blackmailed me into being his girlfriend for an entire week.  Alas, we broke up after 3 short days, when he realized I would never change my ways, no matter how much candy he offered.

As you can see, my expertise knows no bounds.

Now, allow me to present to you, my darling addlepates, with the bounty of my knowledge:

1. They throw cards on the ground.  Clearly, this is the soccer version of valentines.
2. David Beckham won't be there, due to some lame-o reason like Achilles tendons or somesuchthing.
3. Coach McGuirk did it better. CALL A YELLOW CARD REF; YELLOW CARD REF, YELLOW CARD. Brendon, what's a yellow card? ... Oh it's literal... well that's just stupid..
4.  This is the lowest-scoring World Cup in....who cares some time, making it boring to watch even for fans.
5. The fans are all using these ridiculous looking trumpets which makes the entire stadium sound like a swarm of locusts.
6. Soccer players clearly have a motto of "All Hair, All the Time."  They are reminiscent of the Red Sox, circa 2004...before Johnny Damon went all suck.  Instead of the narcoleptic mascot of present, they should just have Samson walking around, slaying philistines.
7. If you're American, don't be that guy that calls it football.  I know the rest of the world does, but as an American, you should go about your solitaire ways and continue to expect the rest of the world to change for us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Plaid Shirt or Death to Angels

I like to think that, just as in a Disney cartoon, I am burdened with two warring angels on my shoulders.  Except, these have nothing to do with conscience, and much more to do with shopping (ah Life, so it goes).  On my left, weighing in at 3 oz and wearing some dazzling beading is my Spending Devil.  On my right...there is a distraught little guy near convulsing: my Saving Angel (he's so tired).

Spending Devil drives me to online shopping sites, like Amazon, or Gilt Group, or HauteLook, or whatever else you can imagine, and begins piling its trophies into the shopping cart.  He whispers things to me like:

"You won't get free shipping unless we get $30 more of vital goods!"  or "If you don't get this, it'll sell out and then where else will you find a plaid shirt?"

Then, at the last minute, Saving Angel swoops in, narrowly avoiding sharpened American Express and Visa cards thrown at him, and closes out the window before the sale is complete.

Today was payday.  My shabby, disheveled cheapskate angel is tired, and I'm tempted to let him sleep in.  In situations like this, he told me to alert you all:

"Send help....or plaid shirts."

Friday, June 11, 2010

This is for Me

I often get the impression that telling people that you have your own blog is basically the equivalent of telling them that I huffed an entire glue ...(can?), snorted a few lines of coke, and then finished the morning off by blowing Kermit the Frog.

For that very reason, I have refrained from telling any of my friends (other than my one, solitary, loyal, and enduringly handsome follower) about this blog.  I hope to make this change.  Starting today.

I got the advice that since blogs are a dime a dozen (actually, smarty-pants, they're free a dozen), it's the voice behind them that counts.  To write for myself, let my voice shine through, and maybe eventually readers will follow.  I also think that in order to discover this so-called voice, I need to continue to force myself to write.  Currently, it reminds me more of that first time you hear a recording of yourself, and you're all, no way, that isn't me.  Occasionally, I get a little feedback, and feel floored by some of the reactions.
That post about lying, for example.  was....weak.  I had no idea what to write about, tried for a laugh, and failed miserably. 
And now my dad thinks I'm a sociopath.

Actually, that's another problem I'm having with this whole blogging thing.  I'm so afraid you'll all judge me and dislike what you see that you will cast me away, send me up on some shoddy airplane, which will crash on some crazy damn island, and I will be forced to spend the next 6 years running away from some mystical smoke monster, only to realize after all the hassle that, hey....I'm dead!  What I mean to say is: try not to judge.
You might not like what you see here, or you might.  Maybe you'll block my number.  Maybe you'll become a follower of mine.  There's no way for me to know, and there's no way for me to please you all.  I hope you still like me (I like you!).  I hope sometimes I can make you laugh.  I hope I don't offend you, and when I do ('s most likely gonna happen), I hope you'll let me buy you a drink and then you'll forgive me.

Also....just making myself laugh here....I love my labels for this post, and look forward to seeing who gets directed here inadvertantly.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Lesson in Humility

Find an old journal, ideally from those years between 15 and 19. You know those years - when you're like totally an adult and mother and father and big jerk brother can bite me!
You might start to shudder around the first entry you open to, when faced with all those angsty feelings.  Every entry seems to have a line like, "the waves of despair pound against the dark, sandy shore that is my soul!"  

Please, if necessary, take a moment to go ahead and barf.

When you get back, you'll notice all the other thousands of bad decisions you made and the even worse decision to commit them all to paper.

Decisions that would make Andy Rooney cry.

In your shame at making such a nice man cry, you might start to slap yourself, hoping to slap some sense into that horrible brat that you just know lives within you, camping somewhere on that dark, sandy shore.  Stupid teenage self, always doing terrible things!  But really, how are you still alive?!  Why are your parents still talking to you?

You might see this a lot, too: "Nobody understands me."

Man, if I had a nickel for every jerk-wad kid that utters that phrase...maybe I could buy a time machine and go back to re-live it all.  Tell me this, Dear Reader, would you go back with me?  If you did, do you think you'd just end up doing it all over again, writing soppy diary entries and mooning over weird boys?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Lie for YOU

Do you remember your first lie?
Mine, I think went something like this:
"Are you sure you shut the hamster cage?"

God, it was so easy.  And then Houdini, my hamster, chewed his way through the wall in my bedroom, effectively setting up shop just above one of the outlets.  I was kept up many a night with his asshole nocturnal ways, but even that was occasionally comforting.
Lying was kind of nice.  I could do what I wanted, and not face any repercussions.

Never really occurs to you that nobody is fooled.  You really don't figure out for years that your parents were picking their battles.

"Why is there lettuce all over the floor?"
"Are you sure you ate your salad?"
"Good.  Then you should have energy enough to clean the kitchen."


I read this article recently about why some people develop into nearly chronic liars, and some people take an entirely different path and *gasp!* just tell the truth.  It had something to do with your first memory of lying.  If you got away with it and had a generally positive experience, or if you didn't and faced punishment.
The person they used as an example of having a bad first experience told this story of how she was listening in on her sister's phone conversation and was caught in the act by her dad.  She told her dad she was just cleaning the phone, and surprise, surprise!  She got sent to her room.
I know (I know!) I should have taken more away from that story.  Instead, I merely thought, "You idiot! You could have said you were gonna make a call and didn't know someone else was on the phone!"
Clearly, I had a positive experience with lying.
The more you do it, the easier it is, the article attested.  Like murder.
They used murder as an equivalent to some harmless lies!!

I hoped there would be some 12 step program listed, on how to become an entirely honest person.  There wasn't.  Instead, you just have to stop.
It's hard.

I don't think I lie much these days....but there are times.  And they are always prompted by this sense that I'm not getting enough out of life.  In order to keep people from feeling pity for me, my impulse is to lie.  "What did you do this weekend?"
Should I tell them the truth, "Sat around, mostly.  Talked to the dog.  Had a fight with my boyfriend."
Or....should I brighten their days?
"Ran Bay to Breakers and WON!  Then, at the finish line, I kissed Robert Downey Jr., and he confessed his love for me, and we got married on top of Kilimanjaro."
Who doesn't like a good story?
Even if you DO have to clean the kitchen at the end of it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

How DOES One Go About Getting a Tape-Worm?

Remember when you were 5 and nobody said things like "emotional eater?"  God, I miss that.
Everywhere I look, somebody skinnier than me is talking about their current diets, and I want to go all bulimic all over them.  If, you know...I WAS bulimic.
But I'm not.
I just eat.  Sometimes I eat too much.
Specifically, I eat too much when I've vowed to myself to start my diet tomorrow.
But like Ms. Joplin once said: Tomorrow never happens.
So, I just eat.
And then I eat some more.
And I don't even enjoy it.
I hate food.  Because I love it so much.

It doesn't help to have a boyfriend that's too sweet for my own good.  He knows I love food.  He's aware of my sweet tooth.  So, instead of surprising me with flowers, he surprises me with Airheads and french fries.
And it makes me want to cry.
Because I KNOW all those skinny girls are being surprised with tulips, or lilacs, or even baby's breath.

Sometimes, I visit websites about anorexia and I feel.... jealousy.  Sick, right?  I wonder if they have pointers.
What kind of a person does that?
Maybe I should just go back to hoping I get some kind of awful stomach flu and stop eating because I'm too busy vomiting.
God....that would be so sweet.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Laying Down Life Lessons

Before starting off with some fantastical story, I'd like to take a moment here to plug myself. sounded wrong.  So wrong.
I just mean that you may have noticed I now have this little bar off to the left for followers.  This means, you can now easily follow me, and get notifications whenever I update.  Theoretically, this is to make your life easier, but in actuality it is one more step on my way to becoming famous and wealthy and just utterly fabulous.  So fabulous, that such lewd remarks as "plug myself" will fall by the wayside, not being fabulous enough to keep up.
So there you have it.
Be a follower.
Join the flock.
Allow me to think for you.

Today, I'm thinking about a dog.  Specifically, a dog that arrived in my life when I was 15.
I hated her.  Then, when she grew on me, I seemed incapable of coming up with a suitable name for the small, black puppy.
One morning, as my dad drove me to school, he said (not unlike Mr. King, Jr.), "I had a dream.  We were calling the puppy Via (he pronounced it "Wee-eye"), seemed like a pretty good name.  Whaddaya think?"
"What does it mean?"
"Nothing.  Just a name."
"A name should mean something.  In Latin, Via means 'road.' Why would I want to name a dog Road?"
*sighs* "The dog needs a name, Caitlin."
"if you add a 't' then it would mean Life.  Like...Vita.  But I don't wanna pronounce it the way you're supposed to, with the v sounding like a w.  It should just sound like a v."
"Yeah.  Vita."

It fit.  Vita was a beautiful representation of life.  She loved it.  She was happy, and clever, and insistent upon being friends with everybody.  I learned that the children waiting at the bus-stop had named her "Wiggles," because she was always so thrilled to see them every morning.  She looked after all of us.

She died shortly after I moved to California.  I didn't give her much of a goodbye, so sure that there would be time enough for one more visit.

But I don't want to think about that.  Let me tell you about what Vita taught me:
There is never enough ice-cream in the world, and there is no shame in enjoying it.
A good walk with your pack can make even the worst day better.
When someone is sad, the best thing to do is to sit with them quietly.
Couches and beds are always preferable to the floor.
Cover yourself in smells you like.
Take enjoyment from those around you.
Be patient.
Be kind.
Undies fresh out of the dryer are nothing short of awesome.
Nap in front of the fireplace.
There's no shame in snoring.
Ladies DO fart, and they do it with abandon.
Always call shotgun.
Enjoy a good wiggle.
Take from life what you can, while you can, and give back even more before you go.

Thanks V.  You were one of a kind.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sweet & Sticky

When I was about 8 years old, I spent nearly every waking minute with my best friend, Lissy.  I don't remember meeting her.  We'd known each other since before memory, and I figure we fought so damn much we may as well have been sisters.
Collin told me to write about my best childhood memory, but rather than try to narrow it down, I just generalized to Lissy.  

She was tall and skinny and beautiful, and I thought she was everything I wanted to be.  
One thing Lissy didn't have going for her though: she was terrified of her dad.  She never said so, but she stopped speaking every time he entered the room.  The man was unpleasant and scary, to say the least.  If he arrived, it was only a matter of time before we were yelled at for one inane thing or another.  More often than not, yours truly was yelled at for eating the play-doh.  Why would they have those frikkin play-doh food factories, if they didn't want us to eat it?  Yeah, that's right, shaddup!

Here's one of the things I remember most about Lissy: she was COMPLETELY OBSESSED with the sticky part of envelopes.  She insisted it tasted like sugar, but you never get to lick them, so it's hard to notice in the short bit of time it takes to wet the envelope.  So...
One day during those long summer afternoons, when the grownups mysteriously didn't get the days off, we made ourselves some hot chocolate.  Lissy always put extra marshmallows in, ensuring the ultimate sugar rush.  *I think it's safe to say that my friendship with Lissy very nearly gave me the diabetes*  Then, since obviously you can't just have liquid and simply must have some solid food to go with it, we chose to partake in those sugary sweet envelopes.  
The large, mean man forgot to lock those tidbits away, so we promptly grabbed his new box of 150 envelopes and split them evenly, to be fair.  Commence the licking.
By the time her dad came home, Lissy and I both had cuts all over our tongues and this sweet almost rancid taste that didn't go away for days.  Unfortunately, the fun ended there, and I was told to go home.  
The next day, Liss told me she got in trouble, but didn't elucidate.  We never got the chance to extol on our shared experience.

To this day, I still get all happy when I get to lick the envelope.  My office-mates point out those envelope wetting things, with the sponge tips....but where's the fun?  I always think of Lissy; if she still enjoys the taste, or if the sweetness she once exclaimed over disappeared entirely.