Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Hello all,

Still in Florida, enjoying sunshine and my parents' gorgeous view of the water. Made it down in 12 hours exactly, aided by books on CD and sedatives for Alex. We went hiking today and then took the dog to the beach. He has declared that we shall buy waterfront property as soon as possible (which is at least twenty years from now).

Pictures and stories to come. Hope everyone had happy holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2005

I Wish You a Merry Christmas

Subtitle: And I Hope You Don't Have To Spend 12-15 Hours In The Car Like Me

(to the tune of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas")

I wish you could take my place now
I wish you could take my place now
How I wish you could take my place now!
I can't stand this car.

We’re traveling to Florida
Twelve hours of bliss
Now that’s with no traffic--

Please come and take my place now
Oh please come and take my place now
For the love of God, please get me out of here!
We’ve only gone how far?

We should be there soon
A few hours, tops!
(As long as Liz doesn’t get hauled to jail
for flipping off the cops.)

I wish you would take my place now
I wish you would take my place now
Oh I wish you would take my place now
I've listened to my Madonna CD six hundred times.

The palm trees rush by
The geezers are thick
Now we’re listening to audio books
While the dog’s getting sick.

I wish you could take my place now
I wish you could take my place now
I wish you could take my place now

My parents are thrilled
We’ve found their address
Butts aching, dog’s quaking,
The car is a mess.

I wish you would take my place now
Oh I wish you would take my place now
Won't you be nice and take my place now?
The hell? I can wear SHORTS in DECEMBER?

It’s all been worthwhile
Though my mom is insane
Have fun driving back home, M,
I’m renting a PLANE.

I wish you a merry Christmas!
I wish you a happy Hanukkah!
I wish you a jolly Kwanzaa!
Don't be a moron like me-- stay home, will ya?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Massaged, Extracted, Polished, and Totally Without Sexy Shoes

In November M revealed my big Christmas surprise, and Saturday was the big day. At noon I was off to a day spa where I was pampered and reminded once again (during the massage) that I hold a lot of tension between my shoulder blades. This is the third professional massage I’ve had, and it was the third time I’ve heard, “Wow! You’ve got two big knots back here!”

(which reminds me. When I was a social worker I briefly considered becoming a mssage therapist so I could earn extra income on the weekends. But would I really have wanted to touch strangers, knowing that they are wearing little or nothing under that towel? If I am honest, HELL NO. I tried very hard not to be offensive in any way— showered, shaved, used deodorant—but I know that not everyone cares if they are offensive to the senses— and in fact, some people know and don’t care. There must be an entire class in massage therapy school dedicated to Handling Yucky People With Tact.)

So I was massaged and facialed and my fingernails were Connecticut Cranberried, and I briefly considered asking them if they had time to do makeup for me, but my manicurist was wearing scary purple eyeshadow and I was afraid that she might also be the makeup artist and would make me wear scary purple eyeshadow too, so I said nothing.

I really needed a new pair of black heels, since most of mine are too summery for December and the ones I wear to work are… dare I say it? A bit too librarian. I wanted something sexy but comfortable. I tried to look for some during the Black Friday shopping torture trip, but have you ever seen the shoe stores on Black Friday? Utter chaos. I took one look at the Lord & Taylor shoe department and fled in terror. After that I could not bring myself to shoe shop again and the librarian heels won by default.

We went to dinner on top of the Kennedy Center, which was lovely, and then headed to the show. The Nutcracker was fantastic, even better than last time. I actually cried when the dancers came out to take their final bow. Oh, how I wish I could dance like that.

We had very nice seats right by the stage, where we were surrounded by interesting characters. To my right there were two men who appeared to be a couple. One clapped very ethusiastically at the end of each solo and kept whispering “Fantastic!”, while the other one sat and stared at the stage, wearing a surly expression on his face and periodically whispered “Shh!” to the other man. I noticed that the enthusiastic man kept glancing over at me, especially my fingernails. I thought about waggling my fingers at him and chirping, “It’s Connecticut Cranberry!”, but then I thought maybe he was really looking at my librarian heels and wondering why I don’t have better fashion sense.

Moments before they dimmed the lights, a very regal-looking woman swooped in with her handsome husband and two perfect children, wearing an emerald gown and a big fur cape. As she moved towards her seat she coolly appraised those around her and, apparently finding nothing worthy of her attention, allowed her husband to remove her cape so she could sit down. Her son and daughter giggled at something and the boy snorted a little as he laughed. I heard the woman say, “I did not teach you that.” Her husband just sat there, probably trying to figure out how the hell he was going to escape the hundreds of dead minks that were piled on top of him. And also, perhaps, his bitchy wife.

The four seats to our left were empty for the first half of the show. At intermission a woman came in with three little girls and carrying a baby. There was a collective grumble all around when the baby was spotted. Fur Cape Ice Queen communicated with a single arch of her eyebrow her intention to instantaneously execute any unruly babies. Everyone stopped grumbling and shrank down in their seats in fear.

But the baby? Didn’t cry. Not once. She stood on her mother’s lap and stared raptly at the dancers on the stage. Once she giggled with delight during the Waltz of the Flowers and I would be shocked if the Queen’s icy heart didn’t melt just a little bit.

After the performance we went for drinks and I had an espresso martini. If you enjoy cocktails but drinking makes you too sleepy, an espresso martini might be the drink for you. I haven’t slept since last Friday!

Please Santa, send me some fabulous shoes. Because the librarian heels? Look even worse when I’m sleep deprived.

Monday, December 12, 2005

360 Degrees--- of Total Unabashed Love

For the past few days I haven't anything very bloggable happen to me. I know, you're shocked, especially since my last entry was all about poop. Because honestly, why would you write about poop if you had anything else to say?

I have been patiently waiting for something weird/exciting/creepy to happen so I can tell you about it. But suddenly, now that I need them most, all the strange people in this area have gone into hiding. I didn't even get the bird on the way to work this morning. It was an eerily pleasant commute.

The bright and possibly bloggable spot in my week was Saturday, when I got my big gift from my husband-- the day spa, the dinner, the ballet. And it was a truly wonderful evening. I have some things to say about that, but it'll take a little time. Absurdly expensive wine, sexy lingerie, a baby, a fur cape, and an espresso martini were all involved. I may or may not tell you about the sexy lingerie.

(and don't throw paint on your computer-- the fur cape wasn't mine)

So in the meantime, I want to tell you that I have developed a crush on Anderson Cooper and I want to know what you think about that. I don't know if it was watching him report on Hurricane Katrina from filthy, knee-deep water, or if it's the prematurely gray hair, or what. But I think I had a dream about him last night.

I may or may not tell you about the dream.

But really, what do people think about the crushability of Anderson Cooper? Did I subconsciously dream this up so I'd have something to blog about?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What's black and white and yellow all over?

This entry contains poo talk. If you're eating right now, you might want to come back later.

My husband and I were walking Alex the other day. The air was cold and crisp. Alex ran up a fairly steep, grassy hill and started sniffing around. Giving a snort, he was suddenly intent on one particular spot. I saw that he was pressing his nose to the ground, head tilting slightly to the right, in a fashion that can only mean one thing:

He'd found something stinky to roll in.

"Nooooooooooooooo!" M yelled, but I stopped him.

"Oh, let him roll," I said. "Let him have his fun."

Alex ground his head into the grass and flipped his body upside down, his furry black and white body wriggling from head to toe with the pleasure of a good roll. M and I laughed.

Suddenly Alex jumped to his feet and grinned at us.

M gasped.

I gagged.

Our dog had a huge streak of runny, bright yellow poo running from the top of his head down to his right haunch. It looked like war paint.

Alex seemed pleased. M and I were speechless.

Seeming disappointed that he hadn't won any praise for his trick, Alex went in for a second roll. He had just gotten his furry body flipped over again when I came out of my stupor and pulled on the leash. Alex came tumbling harmlessly down the grassy hill, a ball of wriggling dog bum and furry black legs, flashes of white chest and toes, and, of course, bright yellow poo.

When he was once again upright, Alex came and sat obediently at my feet like a little angel.

A little poo-covered angel who stank all the way to God's holy heaven.

He strutted all the way home. He clearly thought he was the Mighty Poo Warrior of the East. Maybe even the World.

M and I followed behind, trying not to be sick when the wind blew towards us.

"You so have bath duty," I told M. He looked grim.

"Do you think this is worse than when he rolled in the axle grease?"

"Absolutely not. I had to wash him four times to get all that grease out of his fur. At least poo is water soluble. "

"Oh, God."

We were quiet for a minute.

"Guess we're not ready to have a kid."

"Guess not."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Butternut squash, snow, and other late-night tidbits

It's after 1 a.m. and I can't sleep. I told Bearette I would post my recipe for Butternut Squah & Red Pepper casserole, so I thought I'd make productive use of my insomnia. It is delicious (the casserole, not the sleeplessness).

I'm typing in the dark, so please forgive likely typos:

3 1/2 lbs butternut squash
2 large red peppers
3 T. olive oil (I sometimes use more)
2 large cloves fresh minced garlic
3 T. fresh parsely, minced
1 1/2 t. minced fresh rosemary (definitely use fresh if you have it!)
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash crosswise into 2-inch thick slices, then cut slices into 1-inch cubes (about 9 cups). Cut peppers into 1-inch pieces.
In large bowl, stir together red pepper and squash.

In a small bowl, mix olive oil, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and ground pepper. Pour over squash mixture and stir.

Transfer mixture to a 2-2 1/2 quart gratin dish (or other shallow baking dish) and sprinkle evenly with parmesan.

Bake on middle rack until squash is tender and top is golden, about 1 hour.
(serves six as a side dish)

We got snow today. I made it home from work without too many delays. I was the first one home, which rarely happens, so I got to take Alex on his walk. The snow was covering all the streets, buildings, and trees and looked lovely, even in the dark. Even someone who hates the cold has to admit how beautiful a new snow is. I was happy that I got to walk Alex while it was still all clean and unbroken. He loves the snow and was very frisky, jumping and prancing down the street. This is his third winter, but last year it seemed like he didn't remember seeing snow before. He got very excited. For some reason he liked to put his chin on the ground and push himself along like a snow plow, burying his head.

On Friday I ordered my sister a gift card for Express (her favorite store). Tonight she called me from NYC and said, "Guess where I'm going!" The card had already arrived, which seemed amazingly fast to me. It turns out that she was literally on her way there. She sounded a little breathless, and then I heard a car honk and realized she was walking to the store at the very moment. She already knew what she was going to buy. :-)

I don't know why I can't sleep. I was so tired after dinner that I dozed off on the couch for a while, and M practically had to carry me upstairs. But once in bed my mind was full of thoughts and I couldn't drift off. Sometimes I think I do it to myself... I sense that I will not be able to fall asleep and I start thinking about things that make me upset or anxious. For example, I'll start remembering when I had to put my old dog to sleep. Or tonight-- I started thinking about a fight I had with a good friend months ago, wondering if we've ever truly gotten past it.

I guess I'll stay online until I'm sleepy and hope I have a delay at work tomorrow morning. But the more likely outcome is that there will be no delay and I'll have to leave at 7 a.m. like usual and just yawn my way through the day. M, on the other hand, works for the public schools and will likely have a delay or a free day off. Grrr..

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Sober Jazz vs. Drunk Jazz

On Saturday night M and I went to Blues Alley in Georgetown to see bass guitar legend Stanley Clarke. Blues Alley is a great place to go if you like jazz in an intimate setting. It's small, dark (sometimes you have to hold the candle over your plate to see what you're eating), and close quarters. At one point during the performance, the woman to my left was reaching for her purse and grabbed my foot instead. After the show she apologized and we laughed about it. "Don't worry," I said, "There are worse things you could grab."

The only downside to the evening was having to wait outside to get in. In the past we've always opted for the later 10 p.m. show, which means that you have to line up outside in the alley and wait for the earlier performance to let out. To get a good table we got in line at 9:25. My toes were numb when we finally got inside.

While our wine was being poured M and I were laughing about a time several years ago at another jazz club. I had been drinking cosmos and didn't realize I was drunk until we stood up to leave (has that ever happened to you?). I grabbed on to M's arm and he started helping me towards the door. Suddenly I realized that people were yelling and motioning at me, but they seemed to be moving in slow motion and I couldn't figure out what they were saying. After what seemed like an eternity I realized that I had left my purse at the table. I think I was smiling and nodding at the man in front of me, saying "Yesh... my pursh....", trying to figure out how I was going to walk back to the table and get it. Thankfully, M had already gone for it. Thankfully I didn't realize he'd let go of me, or I probably would have fallen into that nice man's lap.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Alpaca's Revenge


Today I am wearing a hair clip that bears a striking resemblance to the single button on my sweater. I was feeling tres chic as I left the house this morning.

Unfortunately, it is an Alpaca sweater that is shedding all over the chair at the reference desk. Also, strands of fleece keep floating up into my nostrils, causing violent sneezing fits.

I keep staring down at my beautiful sweater, wondering which of those wispy fibers will be the next to launch an attack.