Friday, April 28, 2006

Now everyone has to buy Frema something from her wedding registry...

Frema won the first round of pictionary. A new word is coming soon... will you be crowned the next Master of the Universe?? Or will Frema reign until the end of time?

Or if you want, we can set up a democracy with two-year term limits.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Welcome to the first edition of Quiet in the Stacks Pictionary!

Brought to you by Burt's Bees!

Okay, here goes. I have a word or phrase in mind. I'll post a picture of my drawing each time I add something new. Guess as many times as you want.

"Aaaaaand tell the nice people what they'll win, Liz!"

Darn it, I forgot about prizes. So there aren't any. But the satisfaction of guessing correctly is a reward that tropical vacations and thousands of dollars can't beat!

You're convinced, aren't you? I can tell. Okay, I'll post something special for whoever guesses correctly, naming him/her the Master of the Universe.

And now, a word from our other sponsor:

"Try not to guess anything stupid, okay? And watch out for
Vernicious... she's good."

First picture:


And another word from our sponsor:

"I'm not moving until you people stop
saying butt crack."

Good job, Suzy ! You are on your way to being a Master of the Universe! The first word is ROAD.

Picture 3:


The correct answer is: ROAD RAGE. That's me, on the right. (you didn't know that I'm bald and have unfortunate sticky-outie ears? but yes.)

Frema will be proclaimed the Master of the Universe tomorrow, and in the meantime I'm going to think up a harder word. Then you can challenge Frema's title. Mwahaha!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Why I'm now afraid to sniff and wipe my nose in front of my mother-in-law

So over Easter weekend M and I took Alex and drove to my mother-in-law's house for a family dinner. After a delicious meal we debated about which board game to play. I crossed my fingers under the table and prayed feverishly that it would not be Monopoly, which I hate with the burning heat of a thousand suns. My other prayer was that it wouldn't be Trivial Pursuit, because my MIL's fiance is quite literally a genius and I feel stupid when I play trivia games with him because he knows everything.

(Do you think I'm joking when I say he's a genius? Because no. Before dinner he was working on solving a mathematical problem, for "fun", and when he showed me his 3-page solution I could only scoff and say, "Robert, come on. Couldn't you come up with anything better than that?")

So when Pictionary was chosen I leapt out of my chair and screamed, "YOU'RE GOING DOWN, SUCKAS!" because I'm usually very good at Pictionary, and while Robert can make a cotton gin out of a paper clip, he is not good at drawing.

One of my drawings turned out to be quite scadalous and controversial. As you look at this series of pictures, see if you can guess what my word was. Clue: it was an action.

All the smart people should have guessed it by now.


The plot thickens...

First point of contention: was I allowed to use a symbol?

Hey- who's that?

By now even the not-so-bright should have it.

So do you?

If not, don't feel bad. Among the six fairly intelligent people and one genius who were playing, not ONE person guessed it. Much to my exasperation.

"SNORT!" I yelled. "CLEARLY this man is SNORTING cocaine!"

Dumbfounded silence.

"There are the lines on a mirror! And it's being snorted
up into the dollar bill..."

"...and into this man's nostrils. SNORT!"

To their credit, Robert and my husband laughed. Everyone else kind of giggled uncomfortably as though they thought I might have a gram hidden in my purse.

Maybe they would've gotten it had I drawn the dollar bill sitcking out of the man's nostril, but to be honest I felt a little squicky about drawing things coming out of people's noses.

So apparently pictures of cocaine are not appropriate for Easter Sunday. Tell me, then: how would you have drawn SNORT?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Alex the Amazing and Acrobatic

Oh my god do you love me? Do you really?

And now, the Amazing and Acrobatic Alex (AAA) will impress you with a few of his tricks! While his owner fails to impress you with her alliteration skills!

First, AAA sits and licks his lips in anticipation of a nice, juicy treat. Then he stares at the camera.

Then.... wait for it.... bye-bye!

And shake hands! Now lie down and wag your tail!

Now for the finale, it's time for up-up! Yes, folks, you too can train your dog to walk on his hind legs in a way that is completely unnatural!

Gooooooood boy.

Aw, shucks.


Y’all, my class at the gym last night almost killed me. KILLED. My beloved instructor is leaving my gym after next week, and she’s video recording the Tuesday night classes for two weeks so she has something to use for her auditions at other gyms. I love Sheila and I wanted to help her make a good impression on those asshole competitors who might hire her, so I jumped HIGHER and ran FASTER and my smile nearly BLINDED EVERYONE IN THE ROOM. In retrospect, instead of trying to impress strangers I don’t even like, I should have done this:

At the beginning of step class, Liz sets up her step in front of Sheila’s camcorder. Heh heh. The warm-up goes smoothly. Then Sheila gets to the “advanced” part of the “Advanced Step” class.

Sheila: Okay, revolving pop turn!

Liz: (knocks step over, crashes into the infamous pillar in the middle of the room)

Sheila: Lunge side-to-side!

Liz: (blood streaming down face) THE HELL?

Sheila: Shuffle step!

Liz: (looks directly at camera) Sheila always encourages me to push myself, even when her direction is too confusing to follow and I’m bleeding profusely from the head!

Sheila: Hamstring straddle! ARE YOU FEELING IT?

Liz: (slips on pool of own blood) WOO HOOOOOOO!

You know, Sheila used to be my neighbor. This meant I was frequently spotted flexing my biceps while gardening in case she was looking out her window. But then she was all, “Well, since we had the second kid this house is just a little too cramped… blah blah blah… WE’RE MOVING.”

And now, a year later, she’s switching gyms. Get it? SHEILA ALWAYS LEAVES.

And at bedtime I fell into bed like a sack of bricks and didn’t move even an eyelash for 8 solid hours. Next week I’ll be better prepared for sabotage. I’m planning to show up for class barefoot and wearing a T-shirt that says, “SHEILA SAYS ATHLETIC SHOES ARE BAD FOR YOUR FEET.”

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Alex the Afraid yet Adorable

Alliteration is amazingly awesome, all.

Alex has been none too pleased with all the storms we've been having lately. In desperation he has been seeking new hiding places, including behind the chair in the family room (see below) and the behind the washing machine. It's become a game now, hunting through the house and seeing who can find him first.

Oh noooooooooo...

On Sunday night we had storms all night long. When M and I went up to bed, Alex scurried up the stairs on my heels and curled up square on my chest. Remember when hotels used to have those vibrating beds that you could activate with a quarter? Yeah, it was just like that. He was shaking so hard, even reading a few pages of my book was impossible. Finally a huge crash of thunder sent him flying from the bed.

I drifted off for a while. I awoke when I heard a strange noise in the bathroom. Crap, I thought, I hope there's not a leak in the ceiling.

I went to check. When I turned the light on, there was Alex, hunched in the corner of our glassed-in shower stall.

My poor baby. It probably doesn't help that his new haircut makes him look all wee and vulnerable.

Before haircut. Behold the wooly beast!

And after:

Please, no storms today!
Am running out of hiding places!

Oh yes, and how do you like my new shoes?

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

  1. The Simple Life reruns on E!. This show makes me laugh so hard, it may be unhealthy. I wrote Nicole Richie a letter and asked if we could be BFF, but she hasn’t responded.

  2. Cleaning my car’s interior with Pledge Grab-It dry cloths while I’m in traffic. Yes, I keep a pack in my car. I love to swipe the dashboard with one and see the nice, clean path that follows. And they’re orange scented. Mmm.

  3. Also? I sometimes floss in the car. I LOVE multi-tasking.

  4. Caulking bathroom sinks and tubs. There is something very satisfying about pulling up the old, dirty caulk and squeezing in the new, clean stuff. The best part is wetting your finger and smoothing the line you just squeezed.

  5. Allowing Alex to chase the geese off our property. They’re so damn smug.

  6. Discovering the addiction that is Bubble Breaker on my new toy at work. I keep trying to beat my best score, which hasn’t happened yet. I lay awake at night wondering who may have a score better than mine.

  7. Mincing garlic for dinner last night and smelling it on my fingertips for the rest of the night. I love garlic.

  8. Opening and closing the windows in our family room. I hate the windows in our house; they are cranky and annoying. But the two in the family room operate with ease. I have ordered them not to associate with any of the other windows in the house. When asked why, I lied and said it was because they sniff paint thinner and hang out with racy doorknobs.

  9. My Super Sweet 16. I was delighted to find out that Heather B watches this, too. These kids and their parents fascinate me. I mean, their birthday parties cost more than my wedding and college education put together! Who has that much money? WHO? And why won’t they share?

  10. Getting the dog shaved down for the summer. Even though he looks funny, it means less vacuuming for me. And I like that very much.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The streets are paved with diamonds

We got back from NY late last night. It was a wonderful trip in many ways that I can't explain here, but I treasured the time I got to spend with my brother and sister.

I can now officially recommend the so-called Chinatown Express busses that run between DC and NYC. On the day of departure we found the tiny office in DC's Chinatown with only one small error. The error was that instead of going down the stairs to the basement-level bus office, I went up the stairs and walked into a Chinese woman's apartment.

Me: (opens door, lugging suitcase and dripping with rain) Hello!

Woman: (flies at me, furious) NO! YOU DOWNSTAIRS!

Me: (tries to shield body with wet umbrella) I'm sorry? What?

Woman: NO! (shoves me out and slams door in my face)

Once again standing in the rain, I turn and give M a stunned look. Then we burst out laughing.

Me: Well, now I can check off "get a door slammed in my face" on my list of life experiences.

M: You've never had a door slammed in your face?

Me: No.

M: Oh yeah... you didn't work in social work long enough.

So yes, if you want a cheap ride between DC and New York City, take the Chinatown Express. But don't use the bathroom if you can help it (the one on my bus was disgusting) and don't piss off the woman who lives upstairs.

Pictures from the trip...

On the bus. I read Anna Maxted while M tries to show off.

My sister and brother, terrorizing Brooklyn since 2000.

At Pukk in Manhattan

Many drinks later at Belly...

Whee! Being hungover in the blinding sunlight on
the Brooklyn Bridge is fun! (that's me in pink)

K needs my professional librarian support as she returns
overdue books to the Brooklyn Public Library. Naughty.

C and his dog at Sunset Park.

Match the caption with the pictures:

1. Spoke too soon
2. Crepe expectations
3. Bubble Tea- the strangest invention ever
4. Camera shy
5. Vogue


Friday, April 07, 2006

My blog is sinking under the weighty weight of this post

Hello. Posted my goodbye yesterday because I thought I wouldn’t have time to write anything before leaving for NYC. However, I wrote most of this entry a few nights ago and saved it as a draft. I wasn’t sure I wanted to publish it because it’s a bit heavy. I do that a lot—write drafts that I never publish (read into that what you will). But then Lisa posted something on religion, and I thought, hey! Maybe it’s a sign. Or maybe not, but at the very least it’s a way to organize my thoughts and get them out of my head.

Stories of NYC to come after the weekend…


Last Friday night a good friend and I got together at my house for the sole purpose of drinking wine. Well… also to talk, but wine always makes for more colorful discussion. We also lit some candles and banished my husband to the family room.

Much interesting conversation ensued, but the parts that intrigued me most were the ones about religion. My friend L is a youth minister who is currently attending seminary. I’m an agnostic. So you can see how that could create an interesting friendship, especially since I was somewhat religious when we first became friends 11 years ago.

At some point the conversation turned to death and dying. L was describing a friend of hers who died of breast cancer. The friend was hospitalized. She’d been suffering for quite a while. And then one night, suddenly, she lifted her head and fixed her eyes above on something no one else could see. Peace seemed to wash over her, and she smiled. And then she passed away.

Something seemingly similar happened to my mother when I was a child. She has a very rare disease that isn’t widely known today, and was even lesser known back when she first got sick. It had been weeks and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. At some point she lay in her hospital bed, wept, and thought, “I’m going to die.”

At that moment she saw a white cloud with a brilliant light shining behind it, and a voice said simply, “You are not ready to see me yet.” And while this sounds like something from a TV movie, later that day my dad happened to stumble upon a magazine article about a disease marked by the same symptoms my mom had. He showed it to her doctors, and guess what? That’s what it was. Treatment was started, and she recovered. With daily medication she lives a very healthy life today.

Now being a logical person (most of the time), I ask myself how I can hear stories like that (from my own mother, no less) and still be an agnostic. I don’t know. That’s the beauty that is my brain, which I think is slowly being squeezed out by the raucous carnival that’s taken up residence in my head lately.

After L left my house Friday night, however, I had an interesting dream.

I was in the hospital, and my friend L was dying. I was holding the broken pieces of a white plastic cross in my hand. The cross looked like it was made out of the same plastic as a treasured Christmas decoration that my mom displayed every year of my childhood. I was distraught because I couldn’t find one of the pieces. As I was searching the floor for it, L started thrashing in the bed. I raced to her side and grabbed her hand. And then she died, and it happened just the way she’d described her friend’s passing.

In the dream I fell to my knees, screaming and sobbing. I remember thinking that I finally understood the meaning of the expression “it brought me to my knees”. I had never felt such grief before, and the way it ripped through my body felt like dying.

And then I woke up.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

And we're off

You may not hear from me for a few days. M and I are heading to Brooklyn for a short visit with my brother and sister. To save money we’re taking one of the super-economical Chinatown Express busses that run between DC and NYC. When we told them about our transportation choice, my brother was all, “CHINATOWN EXPRESS ROCKS AND SHOULD RUN FOR PRESIDENT!” and my sister was all, “Ew.” Apparently she once had an unpleasant bathroom experience on one of the them when she was going to Philly. But she also favors Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, so I can see how she thinks we should opt for the stretch Hummer.

(just kidding, K. I love you! We can still stay with you, right?)

(K is my sister and she reads this blog)

(stretch Hummers are very nice)

But hey, it’s $70 roundtrip for the two of us, compared to $300 for the train. With the money we’ll save we can go to Whole Foods and buy a couple days’ worth of groceries!

(Whole Foods is also very nice)

The only sad thing is that Alex can’t come with us. So he is going to his Lap o’ Luxury kennel, which is his favorite place on earth (after the space behind the toilet).

Have good weekends, all. Let me know if you want me to score you some pizza or rock while I’m there.

(I have nothing against drug users)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I’m normally a very nice-smelling person!

You guys? I think I might have to get rid of a perfectly good pair of shoes.

The problem? A fateful day last spring when I decided to wear a skirt. It was a very warm day, so I opted to bypass the pantyhose. And I didn’t have any of those little footie things.

You see where I’m going with this?

I wore the heels all day on just my bare feet. I guess they were quite sweaty that day, because now I have a recurring… uh… “odor issue” with these shoes.

I didn’t realize quite how bad the “issue” was until I went to a doctor’s appointment. As soon as the nurse had taken my blood pressure and left the room, I scrambled to undress and get into the paper robe before the doc could barge in (yeah, doctors do that polite little “knock, knock!” thing to warn you they’re coming in, but the door is usually flung halfway open at that point and the last thing you want is for the entire staff to see your naked rear as you’re carefully rolling your socks).

So I ripped my clothes off, threw the robe on with the opening IN THE FRONT like I was told, and jumped up onto the examination table.

Door still closed. Body somewhat covered by flimsy paper. Success!

Sitting there, waiting, I hummed a little and read the educational posters on the wall.

Detection is the key to breast cancer survival!” one poster proclaimed. Well, there’s no time like the present. So I followed the directions and correctly did a breast self-exam on both sides.


Detection is the key to skin cancer survival!” Well, that’s why I was there, so I’d let the doc earn his money. I was just about to start running down the list of symptoms for carpal tunnel syndrome when I caught a whiff of something.


I inhaled again, more deeply this time. And almost died on the spot of sheer mortification.

The smell was coming from my feet. My naked feet. And my nose wasn’t anywhere near them! So if I could smell it, the doctor was definitely going to smell it.

I kicked my legs in the air and tried to fan the feet. But this seemed to make matters worse, so I tucked them under the exam table and tried to sit very, veeeeeeeery still. But after a minute, the smell wafted up again.

Panicked, I jumped off the table and surveyed the doctor’s supply shelf. Kleenex! I grabbed a wad and wiped the soles of my feet, threw the Kleenex in the trash can, and raced back to the table.

Oh my god, I might possibly have the stinkiest feet on EARTH. Am dying dying dying dying.

I eyed the sink and the orange antibacterial soap and briefly considered giving my feet a bath. But what kind of explanation would I offer when the doctor came in a saw me sitting on the counter, giving myself a pedicure in his hand-washing station?

Knock, knock!

Handsome, Nice-Smelling Doctor: Hello, I’m Doctor Smith.

Liz: Hello. Can you do your thing as quickly as possible and get out of here?

Handsome, Nice-Smelling Doctor: Excuse me?

Liz: Oh, sorry. Please do your thing as quickly as possible and get out of here.

It was bad. He had to inspect every inch of my skin, including BETWEEN THE TOES. I could barely speak to the man, or his assistant. I was red-faced and quiet until I got back to my car, where I cursed my shoes out and threatened to throw them into a pit of teething puppies.

The shoes are now covered in a layer of anti-stink shoe powder. And if that doesn’t work? Maybe I’ll sell them on eBay.

Buyer beware.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A flying box thought about killing me

Yes. It is true.

When I got home from work yesterday a TV weather reporter was saying that some nasty thunderstorms were headed for the DC area.

I looked outside. Blue skies, perfect temperature.

"HA!" I laughed. "I do not believe you, Bob Ryan. Remember that one time 11 years ago when you said we wouldn't get any snow but then we had an ice storm that closed everything down for a week? I will not trust you again. EVER!"

And in total defiance I put some herbs I wanted to repot on the back deck, and even set up the sprinkler in the back yard. Because if the weather man says it's going to storm, you can bet your bottom dollar the sun'll come out.

30 minutes later I was trying to chop some onion and realized I couldn't see the cutting board. I couldn't see the cutting board because it was dark. I looked up and saw the sky, which had turned an angry blackish-green color that never means anything good.

I turned the news back on, which was suddenly awash with storm, hail, and tornado watches. I looked out the window again and saw my big, burly neighbor leave his house for a walk with his Rottweiler. He took one look at the western sky and fled back to the house. Now I was frightened.

M very gallantly suggested that we switch our cars around so that mine, the newer car, would be under cover. As we were making the switch I noticed that our neighbor's trash can had blown into the street, spewing trash like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

M and I ran over to secure it when suddenly a big cardboard packing crate was whipped into the air next to me. It circled my head wildly several times before being sucked into the black sky. I think that was the moment when I remembered the movie Twister and knew that the next thing coming had to be a cow, so we abandoned the trash and sprinted back into the house.

The next thing I did was lug the container of dog food down to our "safety" room, in case we ended up stranded for a few days. M gave me a strange look but didn't say anything.

Alex, who is terrified of storms, sought refuge in the safest place he knew.

I kinda wanted to crawl in there with him.