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December 2004

November 2004

Three dinners in three days

Thanksgiving is over and it is now time to Get Our Figgy On. Oh good people of the Internet, there’s still time to donate! Better yet, get yourself down to Westlake Center this Friday night, 6:30-7:30 pm, and be one of my adoring groupies. Get your Figgy FAQ here and here and email me to find out where to mail your check. The old people will send you grateful sloppy kisses.

I don’t know about you, but three Thanksgiving dinners in three days was more than enough for me. Not that I don’t love turkey. Mmm, turkey. With mashed potatoes. And gravy. Lots of gravy.

Besides the food (turkey turkey everywhere!) and family (fabulous cousins who cut hair for free! Reminiscing with the Snide and Snarky Pincus Sisters! a father-in-law who does the dishes so we can lazily lounge about watching a movie!), my favorite part of Thanksgiving was the hour's worth of girltalk Saturday night with a 15-year-old and a 13-year-old who moved here from Hong Kong about a year ago. With all the "totallys" and "likes" in the conversation, you wouldn't have known it. All three of us were bored to pieces at the dinner table (we are way too cool for conversations about computers, okay?), and I felt bad because there weren't many kids and the well-intentioned grownups kept hammering them with Important Grownup Advice about school and extra-curricular activities and what college they planned to attend (she was THIRTEEN!) and the necessity of being Well Rounded. Once they ran out of steam, I excused the three of us and we escaped to a far-from-everyone-else couch where the girls could talk about the things that really matter: clothes and boyfriends. All I had to do was ask one question: So how is school different here? and they were off on a long sparkly aqua-blue streak of classes and friends and boys, about how American girls look and sound so much older than girls in other countries, about the amount of schoolwork a typical Hong Kong student takes home, and why you might learn English faster if you have an American boyfriend. They were super fun and I would totally, like, love to take them shopping sometime.

But I went to the gym on Sunday. The GYM. I don't go to the gym, the gym being an intimidating and stinky place involving machines that require an engineering degree to operate, surly employees in track suits, and entirely too much armpit hair. However, there is only so much turkey, gravy and pie a girl can consume before the immensity of her derriere begins to impede her ability to climb the single flight of stairs to her front door. So I read the December InStyle on an exercise bike until my butt got numb and then I transferred over to the treadmills. (You know what could get me to work out a little more, now that I think about it? The treadmill makers of the world need to start installing TV screens in place of the indignant little control board that emits those frantic little beeps the second your hands leave the heart rate monitor handles. And, if those little TV screens were somehow attached to my TiVo, I would totally put a treadmill on my Christmas list. Attention all you Treadmill Manufacturers- this idea is GOLD.)

Anyway, Phillip lifted actual weights and operated actual machines and checked up on me every five minutes or so because he kept worrying about me falling comedically off the treadmill due to my innate klutziness and/or the propensity of disturbing armpit hair flashing itself around everywhere.

The trip to the gym was put in perspective by the trip home, which took an hour and a half because the Seattle Marathon thought it completely acceptable to block off two of the three available bridges. And at first we were all, "Oh, it's a lovely day! We'd so enjoy a slow meandering detour through old moneyed historic Seattle to enjoy the gargantuan houses and the gorgeous views and we won't even be jealous!" But it wasn't long before we wanted to cram the stupid Stop! signs down the throats of the stupid teenagers holding them. Why, Powers That Be, are we running a marathon in the city anyway? Haven't they heard of a little problem, one near and dear to a Seattleite's heart, called HELLACIOUS TRAFFIC? I felt like a little Sim person with the Mood Meter floating above my head going from cheery apple green to furious stink-eye red.

But no matter- Christmas is in the air! I especially like the snooty sign posted in the Nordstrom foyer promising customers that they will never see classy Nordstrom decorated for Christmas until after Thanksgiving because, well, how gauche. The lights are on the trees downtown, the country music station is playing Willie Nelson's "Here Comes Santa Claus", my second bedroom is full of shopping bags, I have cookies in the freezer and have I mentioned FIGGY PUDDING???

By the way, thanks to all who have asked about donating or to find out where to look for us Friday night. You guys are awesome!


Home for the holidays

I watched five different news stories this morning about holiday travel. All bad stuff, of course- airplane security, traffic, bad weather, gas prices- but it still made me wish I was going somewhere for Thanksgiving. I have no shortage of out-of-state and -country friends and relatives whose holidays I could rudely interrupt. But, as I was unemployed during a summer we capped off with a three-week trip to China, I don't have the requisite funds to leave town, no matter how many exclamation point-accented discounted airfare emails I receive from Orbitz.com. Plus that whole getting-time-off issue is not easily managed when you've only been working two months. So much for going home for Christmas.

This year's Thanksgiving will be much like last year's- an Italian-American dinner at Grandma's on Thursday (turkey and pasta), then a Chinese-American dinner at Phillip's folks' house on Friday (turkey and the wonderlicious sticky-rice stuffing). We'll have another dinner Saturday night when my in-laws throw a Thanksgiving potluck for 20 guests, including the teenagers newly arrived from Hong Kong last year who barely spoke English and preferred Phillip's mom's Chinese cooking to Thanksgiving dinner.

It'll be a lot of driving and stuffing ourselves (okay, maybe that part's not so bad), but what I'm most looking forward to is Friday, when we'll wake up at my in-laws' house and everything will be quiet and soft and smell like turkey. I'll wake up first, because I don't sleep well in strange beds, and I'll tiptoe out of the room because I don't want anyone to hear me. Phillip's parents will be downstairs cooking and reading the paper with the TV on. I'll sneak down to say hello and then I'll go back up because ew, I have to take a shower. But I might put my pajamas back on afterwards and spend the morning as part of the couch, watching a movie we've been saving just for Friday and browsing through the stack of Thanksgiving weekend sale ads. It will be a slow lazy day and I will love it, because it is nearly impossible for me to have slow lazy days anywhere else.

I realized this about a year ago, when we went to visit Phillip's parents' one Saturday and I fell asleep on their couch. I might not have even been unconscious for very long, but I remember waking up with a start and realizing, wonderfully, that I had fallen ASLEEP! I know that doesn't sound like a big deal to most people, but it is huge for me. Even before I was a highly anxious person with five hundred times the normal amount of adrenaline pulsing through my body, I couldn't take naps. Naps are how everyone I know got through college, but I was in bed at ten and up by eight and going all day. Lying down for a nap meant staring blankly at the ceiling and making mental lists of all the things I could accomplish in the time I would spend napping on the couch. Even on Saturday mornings, when my husband rolls over to turn off the alarm  he forgot to turn off the night before and instantly goes back to sleep, I am wide awake planning my day. Free time is empty anxious space that needs to be filled.

Except at my in-laws' house, where free time means sitting on the couch under a blanket watching the promotional DVD Phillip's dad brought back from his most recent trip to China and falling asleep because it's showing waterfalls and lakes and wildflowers and narrated in Chinese. Or watching dinner get made or looking through photo albums or half-listening to Phillip and his dad talk about how to invest money. I'm not restless there like I seem to be everywhere else.

Visiting my parents is a lot like this, except for the fact that they live in Europe, a place where one is not supposed to stay inside all day watching TV.  The last few times I've visited I've been on a Trip, intent on showing Phillip everything I know, wanting him to try the coffee and the pizza, marching him all over town and pointing out all the things I remember. There are things to do when I'm there, but even so I try to wake up early every morning, because that's the restful time, the time to talk to my mom and not go anywhere. If my parents lived near me I'd probably feel the same way about "going home", like someone else is taking care of everything. If someone else takes over the 24-hour vigilance I'm always keeping, I can fall asleep.

This time last year was a scary time for both of us, our plans up in the air and not even an entire church of candle-holding vigil-keepers could help me go to sleep at night. Things resolved themselves and I'm a lot better. Not completely, but enough to not freak out about four unstructured empty days over Thanksgiving, enough to look forward to it. At the risk of being disgustingly and embarrassingly cheesy, I'll be thankful for Friday.


Sugar high

There is a crazy amount of sugar in my office. All the time. My boss was on a candy corn high the entire two weeks leading up to Halloween. (And candy corn? Why eat candy corn when the World provides its good citizens with M&Ms and Reeses Pieces and infinitely-tastier chocolate-based candy?) I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday and brought them in, feeling pressured to contribute.  Also hoping they'll stop calling me "new girl" already. But today? Today takes the Proverbial Chocolate Frosted Cake: two boxes of Krispy Kremes and a box of miniature cupcakes from an honest-to-God cupcake store. Did I mention the  food table is a mere five steps from my desk? That I have to look at a little box of cupcakes all day long?

We also listen to the radio while we consume our refined-sugary treats. For some reason the radio stations in my city feel compelled to play that godawful Modest Mouse song every hour. Well, I know the reason, that being that Modest Mouse originated half an hour away in that hotbed of exploding musical culture, Issaquah, and we locals are going to feel extra good about ourselves because of it (see: Mt. St. Helen's.) But really, I hate that song and want to puncture my eardrums with the little plastic forks on the food table every time it starts bounce-bouncing along the airwaves. That Carbon Leaf song though, the one they play almost every hour, the one about living the life extraordinary? That song is awesome. Memo to The Mountain: I'd like a more inclusive role in programming decisions. Thanks.

It's the Friday of production week, it's not raining, and I'm going to a concert tonight. (Albeit a Bruce Hornsby concert and I know I'm not supposed to talk about co-workers, but my boss just totally did an imitation of the aging hippies who are sure to be sitting next to me, the older Bruce fans, the ones with arthritis and palsy so bad they'll have to ask me to light their doobies for them and it was hee-larious.)  But because the concert doesn't start till 8 and I don't want to drive home and back again, there will be a bit of downtown Christmas shopping and pre-funking at a friend's apartment beforehand. This spells even more Friday afternoon restlessness than usual. Bleah.

What is this post about? Right. Nothing. Just wanted to get that mopey stuff from yesterday off the page. Which is solved, by the way. Magical things happen when Denial is your coping mechanism of choice. What about grad school? Was I researching grad school? Also, Creepy Eye-Batty Maria got booted off The Apprentice last night and all is right with the world again. (Okay, so Wes got himself sacked too, because, sadly, hotness does not equal leadership. But that cab ride? The shared cab ride of Oblivious Loser Exit Interviews? Funnier than old hippies with palsy.)

Aaaanyway... Bored? Read up about Figgy Pudding. And then? Donate!


Complications

You know those people in college who switched majors seven or eight times, graduated in five or six years, and then shuffled off to grad school because they still didn't know what to do with themselves? I was not one of those people. I liked school (how can you not like an institution that offers the opportunity to spend an entire quarter reading and analyzing Jeanette Winterson?), but I didn't want to be a student. I wanted to be a Real Grown Up with a Real Job. (I know. What a moron. But it's true! I wanted business cards. And a computer. Also, a two-week vacation to Italy every spring.)

So why, WHY UNIVERSE?, am I thinking about applying to GRAD SCHOOL?

Because (as the Universe is fully aware, as it is SMIRKING at me as I type) now I am the Grown Up with the business cards and the computer and, once I work up some tenure here, an eventual 2-week Italian vacation. I could have done it better, I could have majored in something other than the highly lucrative field of English, I could have turned on the charm a bit more at my last job interview for a real real job where I wasn't hired because I was, quote, "TOO QUIET", I could geek out a bit more and get myself going on the database developer track. But all of that means working in an Office, and I. Can't. Work. In. An Office. Anymore. I am actually thankful (waaaay after the fact, mind you) that I didn't get that real real job because that would have meant no trip to China and no resignation to the fact that the office thing just ain't workin' for me. I'd be telling myself I loved it because, oh, it was an awesome opportunity and everyone would be impressed, but I'd be wearing heels and making phone calls and managing meetings and directing programs and... so not caring about any of it.

And to all those people who, upon hearing that I was an English major, politely asked, "Oh, so you're going to teach?" and to whom I responded with utmost scorn and contempt with a biting, "NO, I am not going to be a teacher", I am heartily sorry, for I am eating all of my italicized words. Mmm, bitter.

It's not that I don't respect teachers. I am the product of the two best elementary school teachers in the world, people who were made to work with kids. I think I just didn't want to be predictable. Because I didn't always want to be a high school English teacher, it seems like a fall back for someone who can't figure out what else to do with her life. But it's sounding better and better. I'm not sentimental about it- I know teachers are poorly paid, get no respect, and have to deal with clueless administration, irate parents and surly apathetic students. I also know there's no shortage of high school English teachers. I just think it's something I could care about. I even think I might be good at it. And hello- June, July and August!

Which brings me to the actual point of this post, which is not nearly as sappy and introspective as the above reflections may seem to indicate. The point is: I might have actually Figured Out Something I Might Like To Do. This is quite a momentous event in the oft-mentioned Maggie Space-Time Continuum. Why, then, is Washington State's Higher Education System continually trying to screw me over?! WHY, UNIVERSE?

Initially I was interested in earning my certification only. A Master's degree seemed like a large investment for someone who isn't completely sure about teaching, and especially for someone whose husband is also thinking about attending grad school next year. Do we have rich nearly-dead uncles who plan to leave us big buckets of money? Nope. But you know what? There are two- TWO- certification only secondary education programs in my area. TWO! (Okay, four, but the other two are at tiny little schools I've never heard of and therefore they don't count.) Also, these programs are at private colleges which is an automatic gazillion more dollars. But did you know how much a gazillion is? $31,000. That is how much it will cost me to just get certified at Seattle Pacific University which charges post-baccalaureate students the undergraduate credit rate. The wailing may commence now. 

Do you know what this means? It is cheaper for me to get a Master's degree. (This does not in any way apply to elementary ed people because EVERYONE offers programs for elementary ed people. Whatever.) This little tidbit of information has entirely reframed my whole process. Add to that the deadlines for tests, deadlines for applications, program start dates, prerequisites, and recommendation letters and you have one very frazzled office-hating girl.

I could go on. I could bore you all with long self-affirming paragraphs about full-time versus part-time, one-year programs versus two, my whole foray into a Master's in TESOL investigation, and the fact that we will never be able to buy a house or have a baby because Higher Education has sucked away all our money. But I won't, you'll be thankful to know, because I have to save my energy to write a blistering letter to Higher Education itself (cc: The Universe), the institution that keeps telling me about the need for more teachers in my state, but which wants to charge me $31,000 just to get freaking certified. And does Higher Education know that I want to be just another English teacher and not a much more desirable math or science teacher? Noooooo! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE, HIGHER EDUCATION???


It's only Tuesday

Don't forget about the COOKIES!

What is the point of having Instant Messenger at work if no one is available to Instant Message you when you are thrashing around in that three-hour Can I Go Home Yet? time period that exists in every office? (For those of you who have awesome office-less jobs, those would be the hours of two through five and they are wretched.) Anyway, some Buddies you guys are!

Except- wait! Sun! Outside! Quick! Look! We might not see that soft shimmer on the water until APRIL! Oh, who am I kidding. It'll be at least June.

Welcome to Mighty Maggie with an Extra Dash of Bitter! Why? Because it is ONLY TUESDAY.

Here are the things that are keeping my chin up on this dark (the sun is gone ALREADY) and dreary little day:

1. Did you know Thanksgiving is next week? Next week! We'll be eating an Italian-American Thanksgiving (turkey and pasta) on Thursday and a Chinese-American Thanksgiving on Friday (turkey and The Deliciously Amazing Sticky-Rice Stuffing.)

2. Figgy Pudding rehearsal number two is tonight. And tonight? We break out the wigs.

3. We're kicking it with Bruce Hornsby on Friday. Have you been to a Bruce Hornsby show? Okay, so he's an old dude who plays piano and is only famous for that one song about bums and then weirdly morphed into Randy Newman on his newest album, but these things in no way detract from his awesomeness. And his concerts? All the songs are by request. HONEST! If you get to the show a little early, you can write down your song of choice and try and toss it onto the piano bench. All during the show the audience is shrieking out what they want to hear and Bruce? PLAYS THESE SONGS. Are you reading this, Indigo Girls?

4. But best of all, Malia, shopping partner extraordinaire and physical reminder that we are, unbelievably, old enough to boss around high school students, brightened my day with this:

Soap_comicedit   

Aren't you all REALLY REALLY BUMMED that you didn't have Malia for freshman chemistry? One day Malia was washing dishes and I was sitting on the kitchen counter and Malia was explaining, in great detail and with much enthusiasm, How Soap Works. This was not, obviously, a fascinating topic for me, but Malia was REALLY INTO IT and I sat there thinking, "If I had had Malia for high school chemistry, I might have actually learned something." And now? She IS a high school chemistry teacher. Awesome! (Also, I'm sure she would want you to know that it was me who named the soap molecule, not her, for she would never come up with such a dumb name.)

Send complaints about the propensity of the word "awesome" on this website to mightymaggie@gmail.com  And, if your name is "Malia", I post your soap molecule comic out of LOVE!


Silliest girls in England

***Figgy Pudding info can be found HERE***

Monday morning. Ugly Monday morning. We're on the couch, half awake, breakfast half eaten, sockless and tie-less, Colin Powell blah blah blah. And Phillip says, "Wanna call in sick?" And I seriously consider this, even though I haven't called in sick to work since my freshman year when I paid for tuition by injecting pure caffeine into the hardened veins of University of Washington grad students. Now that was a sucky job.

Topping off a lazy weekend was a wicked headache, the kind that originates after an hour navigating a Smart Car-sized shopping cart through the chaos of Costco, one that builds while reading the smallish print of the December Atlantic Monthly, nearly blinds you during 7 pm Mass, and deposits your trembling Jello-fied form onto the couch for an evening of self-medication consisting of Ocean's Eleven, an bottle of Excedrin PM, and a husband trying to funnel an entire gallon of water down your throat. In short, a span of several hours in which I felt as though some horrible and malicious person was slowly winding a rubber band around my brain. It wasn't a migraine, though, and for that I am thankful. I've had exactly one migraine in my life and that was more than enough, thank you Migraine Distributors. Migraines involve ten times more rubber bands and a dark, deathly quiet, and preferably padded room in which to weep without interruption.

Saturday, pre-Headache, was all right. Saturday involved a Brisk Fall Stroll, a veritable HEAP of French toast, catching up on The O.C., and some cursing at two-dimensional Halo 2 characters, but I try not to pay attention to that. Saturday also involved the following phone conversation.

BECCA: (giggly, like she's just snorted a Pixie Stick) Maggie! Maggie! We need you! We NEED you!

MAGGIE: (kicking into Wise and Not Visibly Panicked Older Sister Mode) What? What's the matter?

BECCA: We need you to do something! Katie! Katie, YOU tell her about our ISSUE!

(Phone is handed off with much whispering and giggling. MAGGIE is becoming Slightly Suspicious as BECCA does not seem to be in Grave Danger, only that she sounds like she has taken a drag or two from the potent Joint of Crazy. MAGGIE slowly reverses back to Uh, WhatEVER Older Sister Mode.)

KATIE: Hey Maggie! What's up? Whatcha doin'? Doing anything fun? Anything interesting? Are ya busy?

MAGGIE: I'm eating dinner.

KATIE: Right, well, we were kinda hoping you could drive us to, uh, Hollywood video-

MAGGIE: Drive you somewhere? (Glances out window: dark, rainy, yucky. Thinks about distance to BECCA'S apartment: freeway, stoplights, careening through sketchy University neighborhood. Checks internal stress factors: dangerously low on red wine. Then, suddenly, remembers an important detail.) ExCUSE ME?

KATIE: We were just hoping you could come get us and-

MAGGIE: Does Becca, perchance, remember what I did for her THIS VERY MORNING?

BECCA: (in background) Oh yeah...

MAGGIE: Does she remember how I picked her up at SEVEN THIRTY on SATURDAY morning, drove her to her four-hour Required-To-Be-A-Teacher exam, then RETRIEVED her sorry butt- in the middle of FOOTBALL TRAFFIC- and bought her a tasty and nutritious lunch before taking her HOME? Does she remember THAT?

KATIE: Dude, we were just asking.

BECCA: That Quarter Pounder was excellent, by the way.

MAGGIE: You are welcome to borrow my car, but I don't think I'll be chauffeuring you around this evening.

KATIE: But by the time we borrow your car-

BECCA: we might as well have just gone straight to the video store!

MAGGIE: Ah, dilemmas!

KATIE: Maaaaaaaaggie, pleeeeeeeeease???

BECCA: Mean! Meanie! Big fat meanie!

MAGGIE: Let me know if you want to borrow the car! Ciao!

(click

MAGGIE: (to PHILLIP) Un. Be. Lievable.

KATIE & BECCA: (feverishly plotting to take the bus to MAGGIE'S apartment, tie her up, gleefully jump up and down on the couch, and steal her Pride and Prejudice tapes AND the fresh pan of brownies for their sneaky Lazy Little Sister purposes. Also, a side discussion about how to persuade Mom and Dad to finally disown their mean and heartless oldest child.)

I was eating dinner (Grape Nuts- yummy!) and watching the end of a movie (The Stepford Wives, N. Kidman Version. Grade: Do not strain yourself, ever, to see this movie.) Could I be bothered to get back in the car? Obviously not.

Hi Becca! Still gonna let me borrow your big ol' fake diamond ring for the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition? Awesome! You're a gem!

(HA! I called her a "gem". Get it? GET IT?)


How to get me to send you COOKIES

Hello Lurkers: this one's for you!

Perhaps you were in downtown Seattle one Friday evening in December, maybe catching up on your holiday shopping, maybe meeting a friend for a movie or coffee or a look at the Christmas tree. You parked your car or rode the elevator down from your office, stepped out into the brisk cold, and suddenly your ears were accosted by:

SINGING! EVERYWHERE! SO MANY PEOPLE WITH THE SINGING! AND WHY ARE THEY ALL WEARING MATCHING MITTENS?

You, dear Reader, were lucky enough to catch some performances at one of the annual Great Figgy Pudding Street Corner Caroling competitions, a Seattle Tradition and a fund raiser benefitting the Pike Market Senior Center and Downtown Food Bank.*

I was once like you, dear Reader, and merely a wide-eyed onlooker happily overwhelmed in the presence of 40 Starbucks baristas belting "Jingle Bell Rock", the law firms dressed like snowmen, the salesmen dancing to "Here Comes Santa Claus", and the extended families wearing identical red scarves and doing the hand motions for "Thirty-Two Feet and Eight Little Tails."

But now? Now I will be one of THEM.

For those of you who aren't intimately familiar with the various Limbs on my Family Tree, I must introduce you to the woman who initiated the whole thing, Wacky Aunt. We adore Wacky Aunt for a myriad of things, including, but certainly not limited to: the time she did my makeup for my one and only tap dance recital, teaching me all the words to "A Bicycle Built For Two", taking me to 587 movies during my lonely freshman year of college, and the open invitation to play her piano, even though I totally butcher "Michelle" every time she tries to sing along. Wacky Aunt sent out an email a few weeks ago, imploring its recipients to please consider participating in the Figgy Pudding contest as she was going to register a team! Eeeeee! My immediate reply? "I AM SO IN."

And now I am, even though I sing through my nose and can't stand to be the center of attention. Okay, I can hear the snort my mother just let out from halfway around the world, so let me rephrase that: My lone warbly voice lifting across Westlake Center in front of THOUSANDS is not something I can get stoked about. Holding court at the family dinner table and pontificating on the Evil that is Administrative Assisting is one thing, actual performing is quite another. But we will be singing in a group and, as evidenced by our first practice last night, we have quite enough Hams, thank you. Want to rewrite the lyrics to "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire", turn it into a satire on holiday shopping, and slay the ladies with your killer Dean Martin-esque vocal stylings? Get in line. Our group includes a few hams, a Betty Boop voice, a potential saxaphonist, a prop man, and friend of mine who had no idea what she got herself into. Did I mention there will be wigs? And a version of "Santa Baby"? And wigs? Did I mention the wigs? BLOND WIGS, PEOPLE!

And you, dear Readers, will need to stop by and check it out. Especially because it is a FUND RAISER and we will be needing good people like yourselves to put a few dollars in our hat. It will be a crazy fun time, I promise, and there's NOTHING like a bunch of accountants decked out in their reindeer antlers and Santa suits singing "Suzy Snowflake" to put you in the Christmas Spirit. There will be over 40 caroling teams stationed all around Westlake Center and blocking the entrances to every store. My team is assigned a very prestigious spot, right in front of God's own cosmetic store, Sephora, and right across the street from the CITY CHRISTMAS TREE. We? Are going to be FAMOUS.

*By the way, we here at mightymaggie have a special affinity for the Elderly and think any senior center should be a happy shiny place. The Pike Market Senior Center has been around since 1979 and serves "over 800 low-income and homeless seniors." YOU CAN HELP! Send me an email and I'll tell you how to donate the money you might have spent on a gingerbread latte or those mini-doughnuts in the Pike Market. I know! Yummy! But it's Christmas and there are some old folks in town with no grandchildren and no turkey dinner, so please consider helping my team raise a little money for a Super Good Cause. Everyone who donates gets a Figgy Pudding button or lapel pin and anyone who donates $5 or more gets a package of homemade Christmas cookies made by ME. And my cookies are WAY yummier than those mini-doughnuts. Don't count yourselves out, Far Away Lurkers, because I can put cookies in the MAIL.


I am not always this boring, really

Okay, okay, I know I said I was going to post Halloween pictures. And I was going to do it the next day. Which was, like, a few days ago. But stuff came up. And the Halloween pictures aren't even loaded onto the computer yet. Phillip has shown me how to do that a few times, but I prefer to tread lightly in the realm of Geek and I try not to let too much stick. I'd forget about posting pictures, but I think the Internet needs to see a cat wearing a halo.

You may wonder how there can be no time for uploading photos when one is enjoying a Blissfully Free weekend. This is something I, too, am pondering. Where did my weekend go?

FRIDAY NIGHT (Typepad just gifted you all with colored text. Whee!)
I sort of don't remember Friday night. Must have been exciting. Oh wait- I fell asleep at my friend Amy's house in the middle of watching dreadful Lindsay Lohan in her dreadful bubblegum movie Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. In public, Amy and I prefer art films, anything with subtitles, and the occasional documentary. In private, on an indecisive Friday night at Blockbuster, we prefer teenybopper dreck. But even though I love me some teenybopper dreck, I wouldn't have approved this Lindsay Lohan movie were it not for Mean Girls, which was fabulous. (Untill Tina Fey got all preachy on us in the end. High school girls bonding over trust falls? Please.)

(Also? Typepad has gifted ME with not having to look at ugly HTML coding! Score another point for the amateurs!)

SATURDAY MORNING: Sleeping in. Oh, it was sublime. After returning from the evening of Lindsay, I insisted on staying up to watch TiVo'd episodes of Good Eats- the chemistry of PIE! awesome!- and went to bed pretty late (don't you totally want to hang out with me and my crazy fun Friday nights?) But last Saturday I woke up at SIX. And this was WITH the extra hour tacked on for the end of daylight savings! (Oh, how I miss you Daylight Savings.) Six? Ridiculous. Sleep and I don't get along much, so I spent hours six through eight chewing off fingernails and wondering what in the world I'd done to deserve to sit up in bed wide awake at SIX FREAKING AM. Anyway, this Saturday I woke up closer to ten and it was loooovely. Not only that, I managed to stay under the blankets a little while longer without giving myself a panic attack about all the things I had to accomplish that day. Shut up. This is no small thing. This was definitely cause for

SHOPPING: Of course there must be shopping on Saturdays. Especially when your husband is living out his rock star god fantasies at band practice and is not around to forcibly stop you from purchasing that sparkly table runner that is going to look FANTABULOUS at your Christmas party.

And I didn't have anything to accomplish that day as we were planning to spend the afternoon with Phillip's parents, eating heaps of good food and listening to stories about Phillip's dad's trip to China. I am also the new owner of 187 pieces of Chinese costume jewelry and one large hunk of jade in which a "mythical animal that eats everything and is also the "patron saint" of casinos" is carved. It's called a Pee-YOO. I know this because I was asked to pronounce it 800 times, even though it always sounded the same to me. Anyway, I hope Phillip's dad is reading this because I can say it well enough to even teach the Internet: Pee-YOO!

Couldn't stay too long, though, because we had to hurry back and arrange a surprise party for someone else's girlfriend that evening. As if I don't have enough problems taking care of my own girlfriend. Heh!It was easy enough to let ourselves into the house and get out the wine glasses and make the coffee, but we also had to deal with the Note, the note that ordered us to light all the candles except certain candles and to get out the glasses, but not those glasses, and to arrange the furniture any way we wanted, but only in these ways and holycrapshe'sgoingtobehomeanyminute! Stress! But a little while later there appeared chocolate cake martinis and have you HAD a chocolate cake martini? It's just like chocolate cake except for that nasty burning sensation.

There was sleeping in Sunday morning until I figured out that we had twenty minutes to get to church. And when we got to church? All the people we were supposed to sit with weren't there. (Right, so we're involved at church now and it's kind of a new thing for us, but very exciting, and we would like to do it right. That means, for starters, attending the right service.) We were supposed to go to the seven o'clock Mass and we totally hadn't even thought about it and now the priest was nearly ready to start marching down the aisle and we're waaaaay up in the front and if we left eeeeveryone would watch us scurrying out and they would sit primly in their pews and think to themselves, "Heathens!"  But we looked at each other and our expressions said, "We like church, but not enough to go TWICE in one DAY" so we picked up our coats and walked out,  pretending like we had a Very Important Place To Be. Sister Mary saw us leaving and hissed, "You're at the wrong MASS" and we were all "We KNOW" and then we went out to breakfast. Yum, breakfast.

Then there was the adventure wherein Phillip and I drove to Rebecca's house to pick up the Thrice-Stolen Mini Van (don't you want to know THAT story?) and drive it to the shop because Rebecca had been whining something about how the "gears don't work" and that means nothing to me, but Phillip seemed to think something might be wrong. So we're seconds away from Becca's apartment when Phillip looks at me thoughtfully and says, "I don't think the shop is open today." So the afternoon turned into watching The O.C. season premiere for the third time, getting a little snarky during the Jennifer Lopez E! True Hollywood Story, and also the Adventure of the Pear-Chocolate Sheetcake.

Which was gross. Very very gross. And not chocolate. Two tablespoons of cocoa do not a chocolate crust make. It was, as Becca kindly put it, "edible." But simply "edible" is not the result you're going for when you use your mixer AND your food processor AND every measuring spoon you own. It was so disappointing I insisted we buy more cream cheese on the way home from church so I could try AGAIN. Only this time the Pear-Chocolate Sheetcake is more of a Pear-Chocolate Brownie with a Cream Cheese Topping and is definitely not gross at all.

In fact, I think I will go cut myself a piece right now. It's nighttime and Phillip is enjoying his nightly bag of Lays potato chips and watching this year's boring and unfunny Simpson's Treehouse Of Horror episode. Obviously I need some sugar to pull me through the rest of the evening.

So, you see, things took precedent over Halloween photos. One day this will be amended and I'll be sure to let you know. Maybe I should get one of those notify list things. In the meantime, I'm accepting complaints here. Anxious pleading and fevered encouragement to finally get my own damn domain will be forwarded, with pleasure, to my husband. If we can buy another modem, another tuner thingy, and reserve a copy of HALO 2, we can certainly snap up a domain, doncha think?

 


Concession speech

Here is a list of things I should have posted by now:
1. A Halloween Extravaganza Gallery featuring a witch, a farmer, Wolverine, a furious-looking cat dressed up in an angel costume, and my husband who went as a Giant Pile of Laundry. It took large amounts of pouting to get him to cut TWO HOLES in a sheet and drape it over his head, and then he just spent the evening slouched under his sheet watching Star Wars through the eye holes. Which were so not in the right places. Honey, your eyes are not as far apart as your ears.
2. An open letter to Presidents of Non-Profit Clubs and Organizations who are slowly sucking the life force out of their volunteer Executive Secretaries with the incessant emailing and the question-asking and the not-paying-attention-to-any-of-the-answers-ing.
3. A thoughtful and intelligent analysis of the event the nightly newscasters keep insisting is the Biggest Election Of My Lifetime. But I do written thoughtful and intelligent analysis about as well as I do out loud- which is to say, HORRIBLY. There are many other places you can go for thoughtful, intelligent, and occasionally entertaining analysis. So instead, I will offer an Election Night Party Recap:

I'm going to leave out all the serious parts. Also, the debating parts, the brow-furrowed parts, the parts where one guest was surprised that we weren't all on the same side, and the part where the party hostess, after midnight and 3 glasses of champagne, got a little teary-eyed about The State Of Things. Ugh. Which means the recap boils down to a heated discussion over whether or not Chris Matthews got a haircut sometime between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm when the hostess was suffering withdrawal over the lack of cable television in her workplace.

Which isn't to say it wasn't a Fantastically Good Time. Because it was. There were streamers, a fair and balanced amount of Kerry and Bush Newsweek clippings artfully arranged and taped to the walls, bellinis AND flirtinis, a laptop each for the way cool maps on cspan.org and cnn.com, and a red white and blue cake. When you voluntarily squirt entire bottles of red and blue food coloring into your nice white cake batter, that's dedication. There were Nader voters and the guy who wrote "BUSH WINS" on his t-shirt with permanent marker. There were also the people who, when filling out the Unbiased Election Entrance Poll, did not put a check mark under Kerry for the question "Looks most like Skeletor". Obviously those people were very very wrong.

(And, confidential to the Party Guests: I swear I did not type "Skeletor" and "Kerry" into Google until just now. Honest. Although, when you're looking at this poll, Maria Shriver wins handily.)

Last night I drove home and counted up all the Kerry signs still hanging out in grassy medians and front yards. Before the election they (and all other political yard signs) were annoying. Now they just look sad. And I was listening to Dar, who is always good for the kind of thoughtful and intelligent analysis that is totally fine to say out loud if you are just sitting by yourself in your car and driving home in the dark. And Dar sang "It's nothing much new, but it'll do". What does that mean? I don't know. But I like the way it rhymes. If Dar and I were friends and she knew that I just used one of her lyrics to help me feel a little better about the future of the free world in general and President Bush in particular, she'd thump me hard with her guitar.

My reaction? Meh. I so don't get the people lying in the streets waiting to get run over because Mr. Bush was reelected. Then again, I'm not so hot on the President and the way he skips out on all our phone dates to talk about why things are the way they are. I've stuck up for you more than a few times, Mr. Bush, and I'm feeling a little abandoned here. Don't think these election results mean we approve. Maybe we just couldn't bring ourselves to vote for Skeletor, no matter how many movie stars tried to convert us to the blessed salvation offered in the Gospel of Michael Moore.

Anyway. There I go with the bloviating and everyone knows that bloviating is Bill O'Reilly's job.

Tomorrow: witches! farmers! piles of laundry!