Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Set your TiVo.

Except for my friend Karen F. (who's a flautist, and everybody knows you can't trust a flute player's musical taste), all women of a certain age love James Taylor.

And he loves us, too. He told me so himself.

JT has a new album out today, and he's scheduled to be on the Colbert Report tonight.

Check it out. He said that if there was time, he'd sing one just for me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I was going to cut him some slack, but then I thought better of it.

My baby brother's birthday has rolled around again, and although he's no haiku fan, and I'm fairly sure he eschews the lowly birthday corndog, I don't think he minds having embarrassing pics posted on the interweb. This one gets the prime real estate because it hasn't seen the light of day since it was pasted in the album. See how young and freckled-y he is?

Don't let that adorable Jody Davis look fool you. This is the face of a kid up to no good, and was the expression I often saw through the window of the house he had just locked me out of.

If you look closely, you can see that he is treating my dog in a similarly coldhearted way--dressing it in lumberjack clothing without its consent.

I'm happy to report that he is much nicer now that he's all old and wrinkled. So if you run into him, be sure to wish him a happy birthday.

Other Butch photos here. (He has a fanbase.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Helpful tips.

Not long ago, a stranger came up to me as I was loitering in the paintbrush aisle of my neighborhood home improvement store. I was shopping for one of those really expensive paintbrushes that cost so much they should last a lifetime. And I'm convinced that they do last a really long time--or that they would--if only I would take care of them the way the manufacturer intended. But because I don't, and because I move and misplace them, I have to go back periodically and buy more lifetime-guaranteed brushes.

And so I was standing there, contemplating whether one three-inch brush would be sufficient, or whether I needed to also buy a smaller brush, when a slightly older man approached me and asked me if I knew anything about painting.

"I've done my fair share," I said.

And then he asked for my experienced opinion as regards the best way to paint a popcorn ceiling. I was, of course, happy to oblige. I'm nothing if not free with my opinion.

And as he was thanking me for my helpfulness, he made a throwaway remark about really needing to get this particular chore taken care of, because his wife was going to stay after him until he did.

"You know," he said, "it seems like I nothing I ever do makes her happy."

And something in his voice on that last syllable of happy stopped me. I had been standing there, nodding--smiling and nodding like one does when someone else is remarking on one of life's tiny little truisms.

"That's all a man wants, really. Just to be able to make his woman happy. None of the rest of it matters. Not really."

And that was how we left it--he, wandering off in search of ceiling paint and me, still standing in the paintbrush aisle, wishing someone had thought to tell me sooner.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I don't know how much more I can take. Well, maybe just a little more.

I don't know how it happened.

Good fortune looked around one day last month and decided--right out of the blue--that I was going to be her new best friend.

First, there was the great new job--out by noon every day, an office less than 5 miles away from home, spending all day in the land o' liberals.

But this last thing? This last, best thing absolutely takes my breath away.

They put a Starbucks in the lobby of the university library.

This pic is of the new Starbucks at the Sinclair Community College Library. Trust me, it looks just like ours.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Aw, Crap. I missed National Punctuation Day.

Just think of the mileage I could have gotten out of this one.

courtesy, BB-Blog.

Late. Way late.

My readers are, for whatever reason, probably not all that familiar with the work of David Foster Wallace.

And I wasn't either. More's the pity. After reading today (thanks to John Baker's Blog) an unpublished speech by the late writer on the Guardian Webpage, I'm beginning to wish I had been. Here's the link.

Yeah, I know. But I can't read EVERYTHING. Okay, I can. But not today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bag lady.

Are you one of those people who knows just exactly what you want?

If so, then you have my sympathy. We should get together and commiserate. Call me, and I'll buy the first Bloody Mary. Assuming, that is, I can find it in my size and color.

I know--you've heard this complaint from me before. To paraphrase Sally Albright, I just want what I want. (But I'd like the pie heated and I don't want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side, and I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it, if not then no ice cream just whipped cream but only if it's real; if it's out of the can then nothing.)

In this particular instance, what I want is a new handbag. Although my current bag seems--to the casual observer--perfectly serviceable, it has, in fact, developed a couple of tears in the lining. No doubt you have spotted me on campus, one arm elbow-deep in my purse as I search for my (ringing) cellphone. The reason why I am only ever observed digging for--yet never answering--my cellphone, is because it has fallen through the rent in the lining, straight through to China.

I'm missing a lot of calls.

Image, Signs and Wonders' photostream.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tick. Tick. Tick.

On Sunday, Muffin and I were at that restaurant of dubious cleanliness I told you about--having a couple of eggs, both of us anxious to be out of the house and away from a shin-deep pile of chores that wanted doing.

"Look at that couple," I said, nodding my head in the direction of the front counter.

"Aww," Muffin said. "That's adorable."

She's a pushover for old people pairs, especially when they don't act like they hate each other.

"I think," I said (chew, chew, chew), "that when it's all said and done, that's the only thing I'm gonna regret. Not having someone to grow old with."

"Mom. You can still find somebody. "

"Do you really think so? You don't think I've waited too long?"

"Oh, no," Muffin assured me. "You can still meet someone to be old with. It's definitely not too late."

We watched the couple pay their check and leave, she with her purse in the crook of one arm, he with his hand at the small of her back.

"I mean--you may have to, you know, fix up a little."

Image, Square America.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ninja Cat.

I saved it for today.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The cherry on top.

You can't tell me that somebody in the Barack Obama camp doesn't have a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by women "of a certain age."

I'm ordering mine right this very minute.

Get yours here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On being the best. At whatever.

I'm reading a little book of essays by Sloane Crosley called, I was Told There'd be Cake.

Even though I'd heard about this book when it came out, I was quite certain at the time that I most certainly did not want to read it. I had made that determination without having seen a copy, read an excerpt, or heard anything at all about the author.


Because she had given it very possibly the best title ever.

After all, I was going to write a book of humorous essays with the world's best, most clever, title. Given time, I could probably even have come up with this very same one--if Miss Crosley-pants hadn't gotten in such an all-fired hurry. Frankly, I don't understand her rush. I've been studying her picture on the back cover, and I'm fairly certain that I own emergency panties older than she.

You might think that being a writer who reads (or a reader who writes) represents the best of both worlds. You would be wrong. It is the sickest of sick relationships.

And I am trapped, right smack-dab in the middle of it. On page 112, actually.

Despite her youthful appearance, Sloan Crosley is an accomplished writer whose work has appeared in Playboy, Salon, the New York Times, and the Village Voice. I am enjoying her book very much. Because of this, I've decided to settle on another, equally perfect title for my future work. You can read about Sloan and buy her lovely book here.

superbomba's flickr photostream.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I hope this doesn't mean that misery is my muse. I hate that bitch.

You might not remember, but just about this time last year, this space was devoted to my crabbing about the number of items on my publication schedule and the way they were all piled up on top of one another.

Bellyaching about the impossibility of getting something done, I found, was a very good way to get around doing something I didn't particularly want to do.

Then I changed jobs. Suddenly, I have all kinds of free time. As a matter of fact, I now have so little to do that I can't get anything done.

I haven't cleaned house or straightened out the closets. I haven't had the oil changed on the car, or crawled into the backseat to dig out the empty Diet Coke cans that are rolling around in the floorboard. I haven't plucked the extra hairs from my browbone, had the callouses shaved from my heels, or washed all the red items in the bottom of the laundry hamper. I haven't blogged.

But I've been smiling. A lot.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Be fearless.

I wrote that on the board 4 times this past week--one for each of my Composition I classes.

Having just finished reading 96 student essays, I'm wishing now that I had chosen something more traditional with which to send them off to their computers.

You know--something like, "Remember to punctuate."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dear Ms. Steinem.

I wish I had your email address, so I could send you a personal note and thank you for your column in Thursday's LA Times.

In it, you said just exactly the things I've been struggling to put into words to my friend who is so disappointed that Senator Clinton won't be on the ballot this year, and to those women I know who believe that any woman in office--as long as she is a woman--would be good enough.

If I had your mailing address, I might send a small arrangement of flowers--or at least, a lovely little card imprinted with tasteful blossoms--on which I would write how sorry I was to see that so many people still have not learned to respectfully disagree, and how I wish now that I had signed in and commented in defense of your article.

If I had your phone number, I would call and invite you to lunch, and if you had the time to join me, I would pick up the check as a small measure of my esteem. It might very well be the only time in my life in which I sat quietly and happily listened--for just as long as you would like to talk to me.

Reading the readers' comments section to Thursday's LA Times opinion piece about Sarah Palin by Gloria Steinem very nearly broke my heart, and has done great damage to the hope I've been guardedly cultivating for our future.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Squid in love.

How serendipitous. We were just watching squid on the Disgusting Underwater Creatures Channel the other evening, and then today I found this.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

¡Feliz día de maíz perro.

My friend Cyndi is another year older today.

She's not a haiku fan--which is probably a good thing, since I seem to have lost the haiku magic.

She's pretty keen on elephants, though. So I went out and shopped for this, just for her.

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