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Showing posts from August, 2010

and the amy goes to....

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Last night Amy fed us cookies and spinach empanada thingies and narrated the Emmys for us. Even though AK and I don’t have cable and usually block our TV with plants, the biggest nominees were conveniently the shows we do watch: Glee, 30 Rock, Modern Family . And I’d seen at least a couple episodes each of Mad Men, Nurse Jackie and The United States of Tara thanks to in-flight entertainment. AK missed them because she was, like, reading or something. Awards shows are all about heckling snarkily, but I have to say Amy takes it to new heights. Case in point, re: the many awards for Temple Grandin : Amy: I just found out from my mom that she went to high school with my Aunt Owie. [The real Temple Grandin stands up in the audience, wearing her signature cowboy shirt and kerchief. Waves.] Wait, that’s Temple Grandin?! She looks terrible! She looks thirty years older than my Aunt Owie. The rest of us: Well, she’s autistic. Amy: Autism doesn’t make you look old . Me: Maybe

babytime!

I realized that my last, like, six blog posts have been about death. And the ones before that were about depression and anxiety and fighting with my family. When did I turn into a 15-year-old goth kid? Even though I probably blogged about that stuff in an upbeat way (“You present very cheerfully,” my therapist told me once), it may not be totally evident that now I actually am upbeat. To counteract the death posts, some news from the other side of the circle of life*: Jamie and Lee-Roy’s healthy baby girl was born this morning at 10:25 a.m. That’s all the official news we** have so far, since they want to give their families the scoop on the name and birth details. But I was so excited when I saw Lee-Roy’s post that I actually gasped and put my hand over my mouth like an anime schoolgirl. I like to think that Jamie and Lee-Roy’s little one will be a sorta niece—at least she’ll be the first of my friends’ kids who doesn’t need to be reintroduced to me every time we meet. (We may see

small village building itself

Seven years ago tomorrow, my mom passed away. I used to hate the phrase “passed away” because it seemed like a euphemism. (I also refused to refer to her as “dead.” I would say, “My mom died” but not “My mom is dead.” The former suggested she was a person who just happened to have died, the last in a long line of activities. In the latter, death superseded who she was—like referring to “the gays” as opposed to “gay people.”) But then I heard someone—poet Imani Tolliver , maybe?—talk about how, in the African American community, passing on is understood as transitioning to another state, like passing through a toll booth. That seemed accurate, not euphemistic. So now I like it, as much as one can like a phrase that means death. I also like this poem by Eloise Klein Healy . I don’t think anyone has summed up the predictable shock of parental death quite so well. Appropriately, it’s from her book Passing . Living Here Now My father’s dying resembles nothing so much as a small village

i pray at the temple of anti-snark, but in a snarky way

This morning I went to the dentist, where the technology was very 2010 and the soundtrack was 1996. Hello, Blues Traveler. Hello, Goo Goo Dolls. I felt like I was milling around the lobby of Rieber Hall my freshman year at UCLA. It was a tough year, but still probably a better mental space to occupy than the current one, where someone was scraping my teeth with a sharp object. On the way into work afterward, I listened to AirTalk with Larry Mantle , the fun, less current-events-oriented second half of the program that I usually don’t get to hear. A theology prof named Velli-Matti Karkkainen (<--spelled with multiple umlauts, which I don’t know how to add) was debating an atheist magazine publisher named Michael Shermer about mortality and faith. Shermer proposed that humans like the notion of an afterlife because, like all animals, we’re wired to want to live, but unlike all animals, we know that we’ll eventually lose the battle. So we make up a myth to comfort ourselves. Having

star turtle summers

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The summer after my freshman year in college I worked part time at the Wherehouse . My duties consisted largely of alphabetizing now-archaic media, explaining to people that no, we could not just open up another register every time there were more than two people in line because you have to count out the drawer and shit, and occasionally being sent home for wearing a T-shirt beneath my red apron. Because we were supposed to be a classy polo- shirt-and-red-apron-wearing joint. But it was actually a great job because it was so much easier than the hardcore journalism training I was spending the rest of my summer doing. The training was full of unpleasant surprises: What’s a budget meeting? What do you mean you mean the lead dancer at American Ballet Theater isn’t available for an interview two hours before my deadline? At the Wherehouse, all I had to do was alphabetize in a kind of Zen fog accompanied by the soundtracks of that summer: Dave Matthews Band’s Crash and Harry Conni

how do animals experience time, am I still married, and other kind of important questions

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1. how do animals experience time? The Team Gato update is that Team Gato is at risk of losing its team leader.* T-Mec has a not-small tumor in her left lymph node and a bunch of small ones starting to bloom nearby. According to the kitty oncologist, it hasn’t spread to her organs yet, which is good. The kitty oncologist also thinks this is reason to do surgery, which would mean amputating her left front leg (which includes one of her Ferd-batting paws), and some follow-up chemo. So I’ve spent a few days trying to separate my contradicting brands of selfishness (I Want My Cat Alive For At Least Another Five Years vs. I Would Like More Than $5 Left In My Savings Account) from what’s best for T-Mec. The three-leg thing is not the issue. T-Mec would rock that look. The constant trips to the vet and the months spent healing from a surgery that might only buy her a matter of months are the issue. I consulted D, one of my New York co-workers, who is practically a pet psychic. She’s the

seasons of love

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1. cool kids in camo I’ve fallen in love at first episode with If You Really Knew Me , an MTV reality show which A) is a reality show actually based in reality and therefore free of the weird scripted puns of, say, Parental Control and B) makes teenagers look like the sweetest, most vulnerable creatures ever to walk the earth. The show follows a program called Challenge Day, which is basically high school group therapy aimed at preventing bullying. Over the course of an intense day of activities, the kids let down their guard and share the most difficult parts of their lives—we learn that the homecoming queen has been scarred by her parents’ divorce and the bipolar outcast deserves a ton of admiration for the shit she’s gone through. Half the fun is seeing the subcultures at different high schools. Jocks and nerds may be universal, but “creekers” are particular to West Virginia, where hunting, fishing and wearing camouflage put you on the upper social rungs. (My friend

libros schmibros

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I just took one of those great literary field trips that remind me why leaving the office make you do better work. Jamie, new co-worker Cathy (<--not to be confused with sister Cathy or writer friend Kathy) and I dropped in on former book critic and NEA guy David Kipen’s newest, somewhat unlikely venture: a used book store and lending library called Libros Schmibros . As the Spanish/Yiddish name alludes to, it’s in Boyle Heights. (At 2000 E. 1 st St., to be exact, since the website will be under construction until David’s DSL is up and running.) As we arrived one by one, David mildly shamed us for not only driving (it’s right off the Mariachi Plaza Gold Line stop) but taking three separate cars. Yes, we are Angelenos. Then he showed us around: the barred storefront window where two men with very loud tools were carving a door, the vintage Born in East L.A. poster (Kipen was born in Hollywood), the shelf he’s reserving for authors featured at the Guadalajara International Book F

what i read in july

When I'm not posting photos on Facebook or eating Trader Joe's sun-dried tomato pesto directly from the container or Googling "bed bug stains" (don't worry--the funny marks on my box spring are something else, possibly cat-related...although that's probably not cause not to worry), I obsess over books. Books and writing are probably the only healthy obsessions I have. Here's a review I wrote for Gently Read Literature if you're like, Dammit, those capsule reviews re-posted from Goodreads just aren't long enough. Testimony by Anita Shreve: This novel tracks the lead-up to and fallout from a prep student orgy that gets taped and posted online. Shreve calls upon many (possibly too many) characters to tell the controversial and mysterious story: the school's headmaster, the boys involved, the girl involved, their parents, their roommates, a reporter, a cop, a lunch lady...the list goes on. I was a little unnerved by the girl--Shreve's c

community: built

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Christine and Jody got married Friday night, and I know I say this every time one of my good friends gets married , but it was one of the most fun weddings I’ve been to. (Not too long ago I came across a blog entry where I sung the praises of my friend Cara’s wedding , and in retrospect I was like, Really? What made that so great? All I remember about it now is that B wouldn’t go, so I was date-less, and that Cara’s aunt tried really hard to get me and Cara’s [quite possibly gay] cousin to dance to “YMCA.”) So I’m probably totally unreliable, but whatever. I can unequivocally say that Christine and Jody’s wedding was the most conveniently located one I’ve been to. AK and I could have biked there. (But we didn’t, seeing as how my shoes were barely made for walking.) They got married at the L.A. River Center and Gardens, a stunning piece of landscaping and mission-style architecture tucked somewhere between our house and the Gold Line, and they decked the place out with black-and-wh