Monday, December 31, 2007

Hello, Again. Hello.

So. It’s been a while since I posted. At first a few days went by, and I thought, well, I really should post a little something. Then a few more days, and I started thinking, God, what I post next had to be GOOD. And then I kept upping the ante until I had convinced myself that nothing less than the Best Post Ever Written could justify my absence from the blog. “Or what?” a reasonable person might ask. I don’t know. Maybe the terrorists win?

Anyhoo, here’s to a good end to 2007 for everybody. Me, I got from my fellas an amp for the karaoke machine for Christmas, and tonight we’re having a karaoke party. My mom got me a CD with “Fergilicious” on it. I’ve been practicing. I think I can nail it.

But I was remembering last year when my friend did “Tainted Love.” It was one of the first songs of the evening and no one was anywhere near tipsy yet. He started singing and was going along good, good, good. Until—and it didn’t even occur to me until the words came on the screen—that at one point the song gets really kind of suggestive. Touch me, baby, tainted love, he sang. All the lights in the house were on full blast, neighbors munching on chips and veggies, kids playing in the next room. He felt weird.

To avoid the same situation, I’m thinking I’m going to have to save telling my neighbors how tasty I am, how I put their boys on “rock rock,” how “I be up in the gym just working on my fitness” for later in the night.

But for starters this might work, huh?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just in Case

Last night, while we were waiting for Brandon to finish brushing his teeth, Caleb asked me why I dye my hair. I explained that if I didn’t, most of my hair would be gray, and I’m not really ready for that.

He was a little horrified. “You’re not old enough to have gray hair,” he said.

I told him that, actually, I am and that on my dad’s side, people tend to get gray hair young. He asked if he was going to have gray hair when he was my age. I told him that I didn't know.

“When I grow up, don’t want to have gray hair.” He paused. “I want to have sparkly hair.”

“That sounds fancy,” I said.

“Maybe I’ll put glitter in it!”

I’m writing this down, in case he becomes one of those thick-necked high-schoolers, with the wrestling and the smugness, the copying of homework and obsession with the pecking order. I don’t think he will, but just in case, I have this in my back pocket.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Location, Location, Location

Jody tagged me for this location meme in which you write seven things about where you live. Go read hers. Especially #4. Okay—you back? Can I say I love where I live? And that even though your location is not supposed to make a huge difference in your happiness, being mildly dissatisfied in Charlottesville is a million times better than being mildly dissatisfied where I used to live? Here is Charlottesville for you:

1. I don’t know if it’s true anymore, but at one point in the last ten years or so, we had the most restaurants per capita in the U.S. We have three tapas restaurants alone (one Spanish, one Asian, and one, um, plain old). Weirdly, though, we don’t have a really good pizza and pasta place.

2. What else do we have? Apparently, and fairly recently, gangs. A few months ago, the front page of the paper announced that we have a franchise of either the Crips or the Bloods (I can’t remember which.) “Why is the Daily Progress teaching us how to throw gang signs?” I asked Brandon when I noticed the signs and the graffiti tags on the front page. We don't know why, but we know how.

3. Good luck finding your way around! When I was walking Caleb to school one day, someone stopped and asked for directions. “Well,” I said, “turn right at the stop light. The road will change names. First it will be Rugby, then Preston, then Market Street. If it changes into Avon, you’ve gone too far.” This was a matter of blocks.

4. If you move away from here, chances are excellent you’ll be back.

5. People don’t walk fast enough for my liking.

6. A lot of famous people live or have lived here, including William Faulkner, Sissy Spacek, John Grisham, and Jessica Lange. Jessica Lange took her pets to the same vet that I do. One of my roommates used to work there and reported that, in real life, my mom is prettier than Jessica Lange.

7. Before the property was sold, there were a bunch of cabins on the tippy top of a nearby mountain. Every year, the people who lived there would hold Kite Day. I got to go one time. It was both dizzying and breathtaking, seeing the sky all around.

If you’d like to, tag yourself!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Who Are You?

I’m reading Katha Pollitt’s Learning to Drive. I’m not done yet, but like everyone else, I was a touch surprised at the contrast between the Katha I know from The Nation and the Katha in the pages of this latest book.

But you know what? I shouldn’t be. This afternoon, I’ve been looking at the discussions of the parts of the current Brain, Child we put on the website. We have a flamer, folks. As my blog self, I’d be tempted to haul ass in there, and say, “What the fuck, angry anonymous? Why you gotta be like that, all disrespectful?” But as the Brain, Child lady, I’m gentler.

I don’t know. I don’t have meanies commenting here. Do you allow anonymous comments? Does it cut down on comments in general?

Also, have a read! There’s a call for Backtalk entries (acrostics, that thing where the first letter of each line forms a word); a terrific feature by Juliette Guibert about a movement that maintains high functioning “neuro-atypical” people don’t need curing, but a culture of their own; a funny and provocative essay by Heather Caliri about E.C.; and Donna Eis’s essay about finding community, online and in real life. Very meta, no?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Gift of Links

They keep on giving.

--Via Gretchen, The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. My favorite is the Real Estate “Lady.”

--I read (the quite good memoir) But Enough About Me by Jancee Dunn, and tracked down her blog. Her father worked at J.C. Penney, and she happens to have been given an old Penney’s catalogue. Double your pleasure here and here.

--Via Galleycat, The Daily Coyote, a blog about a baby coyote after it was orphaned. So cute, you’ll want to brush your teeth extra good tonight.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My Lost Sunday

If you tend to get sucked into playing games on the computer, don’t read this post. Here, go look at this picture of a tiger underwater. (It makes that face to close off its ears and nose. True story!)

Okay. I found online Scrabble. At first, I thought you could just play it with friends, but no sirree, Bob—you can play against the computer. All I have to say is that I’m in big trouble because willpower is not my strong suit, and by the time yesterday was over, I had a sort of sick feeling from extreme overindulgence. I don’t even know why I did it for so long. Playing against the computer is anti-social; it’s bad for my posture and my eyesight; I don’t even want to think about what I could have done in the time I wasted.

After dinner, I stretched and said, “I’m heading upstairs.”

“Scrabulous?” Brandon said.


“Hey, at least you’re building your vocabulary.”

“I know,” I said. “And that’s going to be great for my college applications.”

But I slunk off and did it anyway. Today, the weaning began.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday Cheer

Yesterday, Caleb’s teachers sent home his Thanksgiving project, a little folder with his story of our family tradition (we go up to my mom’s house for “3-5 days”) and pictures on both the front and inside. Inside, our extended family was drawn, with the curious exceptions of Brandon and my brother-in-law Mike. (Pity they couldn’t make it.)

On the front was a drawing of a turkey, a thought bubble coming from his head. I hope I don’t die like the other turkeys did. UH OH!

Uh oh, indeed. I’d best get cracking on some new traditions.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Befriend Me

I know that I’m famously bad at Facebook. I just don’t know what to do with it. I don’t what to write on people’s walls, and I’m not much of a joiner, even in regular life. I don’t know the difference between a “poke” and a “superpoke.” Just writing that feels a little porny.

But! I’ve signed up for, and I think I’m going to like it, possibly in an obsessive way. I read a lot, and I’m always looking for more to read. Sadly, I can’t find most of you. So, if you’re into the goodreads thang, too, add me as a friend?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Something New

I bought a new hair dryer the other day. My old one died a couple months ago, so I’d been using my travel hair dryer, which is small and snub-nosed. Apparently, I’d gotten too used to it because every time I’ve used my new dryer over the past few days, I’ve beat myself on the head with its longer barrel.

Oh, I like to think of myself as adventurous and always up for a little something new, but this whole week it’s been me, both literally and figuratively, whacking myself with the unexpected. I had to write some business material for Brain, Child yesterday, and I just couldn’t do it. I’ve been describing the magazine for longer than the existence of sliced bread, and I could not get my brain to think the new, improved way.

So eventually, I went downstairs and watched Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Love, Pray talk on Oprah. On the one hand? Enjoyable. On the other? Frustrating in the (of course, narcissistic) way in which I realized that if someone called on me to talk a little about divinity and happiness and the self, I couldn’t. Gilbert can describe a spiritual destination to her spiritual journey. The best I could do is offer a possible shortcut for agnostics. There’s a lesson about thinking in different ways here. (The more important lesson, though, should be that all professional jealousy gets you is a bad mood.)

By five, I was a little tired of all this stretching, of wrapping my head around something new. (Remember the hair dryer? Get it?) Stretching has its place. If I don’t do it, I will most certainly become unbearable. (WHO MOVED THE TEABAGS?!! WHY IS THE DISHWASHER LOADED LIKE THIS?! I CLAIMED THE RED TYPE FOR EDITING!!) But it was a comfort last night to watch Kathy Griffin’s new special, to just chill out with the meanness and humor to which I’m so accustomed and forget about new anything. She had a piece about Dr. Phil, and it is awesome.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Book Club

Warning, y’all: This is more of a reference post. And by “reference,” I mean “necessary self-promotion that nonetheless makes me feel uncomfortable which is why I could never be a politician or a professional wrestler.”

So, let’s say you belong to a book club. Let’s say it’s the sort that decides the whole year’s list in December. And let’s say the paperback of Practically Perfect in Every Way comes out in May 2008 (and in the winter issue of Brain, Child, there’s a super deal on the hardback with any subscription or renewal). You see where I’m going with this.

I’m pretty sure the paperback will not have a readers’ guide in the back, and frankly, it’s fine by me. Readers’ guides tend to smack of reading comprehension exams, and you know what? Ain’t nothing wrong with being a skimmer.

But, if you’re thinking that maybe PP could be your book club friends’ cup of tea, here are some topics addressed in the book that (obv.) interested me:

--Do you believe that, if one detail of your life was different, you could be living a completely different life than the one you have? Also, do you believe that consciously changing one aspect of the way you live could change you whole life?

--Do you believe in luck? (I do. Oprah, among others, does not.)

--What is happiness to you?

--Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you think it affects your happiness overall?

--Can a person be concerned too much about her worries?

--Can a person concentrate too much on other people’s worries?

--Have you done any self-help? Well… what did you think of it?

That’s for starters.

Also, I understand that you might just want to sit around with you friends without my worming in to your party, but if you do happen to want to have me there (if you’re local to Charlottesville) or have me call in (if you’re not), we might be able to make it happen. Shoot me an email, okay?