Showing posts from January, 2011

vacationing for post-its

Usually AK is all, “Let’s get outta town! We never travel!” And I’m all, “Remember three weeks ago when we went to Denver because I had that conference and you got to chill out in our super nice hotel room? But I was kind of stressed out because I had to moderate that panel and you got lost looking for the baseball stadium, so I can see how it wasn’t totally a vacation. But still, travel is travel, and it’s not like the cats will understand if we just leave them again because our last trip wasn’t fun enough.” Well, this time we really haven’t traveled in six months. Not for work, not for pleasure. No airplane rides, no road trips. And the two very big trips we did over the summer, while lovely and magical in their own ways, were not exactly of the beach-and-umbrella-drink variety. So for once we both agree: We need a vacation. I’m getting one: three nights in Austin without a single meeting to run or reading to give or even any friends of my own to see (not that I don’t love visit

why colin firth makes me think i could beat up angelina jolie

We finished up the Favorite Movie phase of movie club, so Maria decided we should just go see a movie, theme be damned. But The King’s Speech might be one of my new favorite movies, or at least a movie that should have made my 2010 top five . The premise sounded a little British-y and biopic-y—one of those movies where you’re supposed to care very much about something very small just because it’s a famous person doing it. But first and foremost it’s a movie about having strength without confidence. My ex used to idealize Strong Women in this way that was always baffling and eventually maddening to me. I got this feeling she wanted to date Angelina Jolie, which she probably did and who wouldn’t*, but not the anorexic, blood-drinking Angie, rather the hero of all her Tough Girl films. Strong Women might get very quiet and gaze off into the distance at times, but only to contemplate how they would immediately overcome adversity via plentiful ass-kicking. They certainly wouldn’t sni

i'm just saying

You know that William Carlos Williams poem, “This Is Just To Say” ? You probably read it in elementary or middle school, and may have been asked to write a riff on it. A couple of weekends ago, my organization sponsored a sort of mini retreat for people who lead writing workshops, and we got to write our own insincere apologies. Here’s mine, which AK did not find funny: This is just to say I cleaned up the plums you left half-eaten on the bedside table purple crime scene of stains beginning to set hairy seed beckoning flies. I know you were still enjoying them a momentary caesura in sensual abandon but if they were so delicious you should have finished them and washed the plate. Here’s another, by real poet Craig Santos Perez : Second Apology to the Lone Ethnographer I have eaten the preserved heads that were in the glassbox and which you were probably saving for science Forgive me they were mysterious so savage and so alone

i'm lovin' it

This is one of those moments when it would be really nice to have an iPhone, because I would love to take a picture of the mural across from me and post it with this post. I’m at McDonalds because Antigua, my chosen writing spot, was closed for plumbing repairs (not that paying $1.10 for coffee is such a terrible consolation prize). The mural next to the counter depicts a McDonalds with some people milling around outside. I know it’s supposed to be this McDonalds because there’s a lamppost with a banner that says “Highland Park Fall Fest,” as if the artist’s goal was to capture not only a specific place but a specific time as well. But here’s the weird thing: If I were standing outside this McDonalds, I’d see a Food4Less doing its best to imitate a California Bungalow, some sparsely leafed trees, a side street populated with crumbly actual California Bungalows and a few 1960s apartment buildings, and, in the background, low hills peeking up from the other side of the 110. The

worst coochie, best sausage

Wurstkuche is a bar in Downtown L.A. that has beer and sausages. It also has an umlaut, but I'm not sure how to insert one, or how to pronounce "Wurstkuche." AK said, "I think the technical German pronunciation is 'worst coochie.'" We went on Saturday night. I did not have beer, because I had a cocktail called an Old Boy Friday night at Good Luck Bar with Nicole and friends and, somewhat embarrassingly, its effects lingered (I got happily drunk and subsequently sick from one drink --I am that much of a lightweight, and Good Luck Bar's drinks are that strong. At least I got my $10 worth). AK has a birthday this week, and the part of me that channels the Jewish great grandmother I never met believes that feeding people is the best way to show love. According to my dad, she was a phenomenal cook who never met a stick of butter she didn't want to melt in a saucepan. Me, my mantras are more along the lines of "I don't do pie crust" and

elementary oppressors and what i read in december

When my best friend Bonnie and I were in fourth or fifth grade, we got shuttled off campus for GATE once a week, a baffling but fun reward for having scored well on some mysterious test back in second grade. Our mutual friend (and my former BFF) Stephanie was not in GATE. So what did Bonnie and I do? We invented an awesome girl from another school whom we’d befriended at GATE. Chonnie (as in Cheryl + Bonnie) was an amalgam of all that was cool in our ten-year-old minds, meaning she probably crimped her hair and did a lot of babysitting. We talked about her all the time, just to let Stephanie know what she was missing out on. We also made lists of all the things we had in common with each other but not with Stephanie, so that we could casually drop such gems as: “Names with six letters are really the best. Nine letters is just too long.” These are the kind of mind games tween girls play with each other. Not all girls—AK spent her youth playing quietly with Star Wars action figures—bu

year of the rabbit rabbit

Historically, New Year’s Eve has not been my holiday. The early years were spent arguing over Scrabble with my sister in the motor home and eating a camping version of Hopping John, a dish my mom had read would bring good luck. The main ingredient was black-eyed peas, and the only good-tasting ingredient was sausage. Once my sister and I became vegetarians, New Year’s Eve sucked a little more. I spent NYE Y2K in San Francisco with my sort-of boyfriend Alex. It was a big deal because 1) I was in San Francisco and 2) I had a sort-of boyfriend for the first New Year’s Eve ever. My main memories of that evening are of thinking I might be trampled by my fellow celebrators at the Embarcadero, and of Alex yelling at a drunk guy he thought was being racist, and wondering if the fact that I was embarrassed by Alex made me a racist too. I was excited to ring in 2001 with the coworker I had a big crush on. I should add that he was gay and we were house- and pet-sitting for friends of his. At mi