Archive for November, 2008

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100th Post!

November 28, 2008

As I was coming back today from running errands in the neighborhood, I saw a sleek black sedan parked around the corner.  It had a blingy chrome license-plate frame in the shape of several naked ladies (not “naked women”; there’s a big difference).  The plate itself read:  AY MAMI

Éste es mi barrio.

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Turkeys: no. Dogs: someday. Cats: always.

November 27, 2008

I don’t know why I bother watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.  It’s basically three hours of cornily-phrased advertisements for lowest-common-denominator entertainments.  And I say that as a lover/scholar of popular culture. 

What I do love watching is the National Dog Show.    I luuuuuuuuuuurrrrv dogs, and wish I had a yard and the resources to have a pack of them.  Fortunately, I live in New York, which is a very doggy city, and I have friends with great dogs that I occasionally get to hang out with.

RB wants a dachshund;  I want a big monster dog, like a Bernese Mountain Dog, or an American Staffordshire Terrier, or a Boxer.  We will probably end up, at some point, with a sweet-faced shelter mutt, which is even better.  Aaaand that’s why I have a problem with the National Dog Show:  its insane obsession with blood lines, phenotypic purity, and canine eugenics.  That’s not what dogs are for.  Dogs are for drooling, and running, and chasing things, and snuggling, and being adorable. 

When I was a kid, my family always had pure-bred Siamese cats, although we weren’t breeders or showers.  Although I love Siamese (and puh-lease, anyone saying that Siamese are “mean” or “standoffish” are straight-up ignorant), I love my rescued street cats just as much.  Cats are for pretending to be dignified while really being goofballs, and stealing food, and climbing, and snuggling, and being adorable.  To wit: 

i can has skritches?

That big white blobby thing is me.  RB took this picture when I was sick in bed a month or more back. 

While I’m not terribly good with people in general, and pretty much no good at all with children, pets bring out my best.  I am sillier, gentler, and far more patient when dealing with animals.  I can tolerate their noise  mess, and bad behavior far better than that of humans, and I enjoy providing them with everything they need.  Old Cat slept with me last night, Little Cat just ate a significant portion of my lunch, and Orange Cat is in my lap right now.  On this very a-typical Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for my dear fur-babies.

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Not waiting for tomorrow to feast.

November 26, 2008

Holy shit, have you tried Fage (pronounce it “fa-yeh”) Yogurt? 

It’s seriously amazing:  the 2% version has the texture and mouth-feel of clotted cream, with a slight hint of sweetness,  but with the yummy tang of yogurt.  I had to run a bunch of errands today and picked up a small, 200 g serving to enjoy on my own.  I threw in some fresh blueberries, and damn.  I’m going to drizzle a little honey on what’s left.  And then I’m going to rub it all over my body.  It’s that good.

No, I’m gonna eat it.  This makes the Trader Joe’s stuff we usually buy taste like water.  Damn.  Where’s my “consumer whore” image?

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I am why gift cards are popular.

November 24, 2008

I’m staying here for Thanksgiving, and, currently, I’m thinking a blitzkrieg of work, fueled by pizza and Cocoa Puffs,  is the way to go.  And, of course, if I don’t do a proper Thanksgiving Thursday, then doing a proper Black Friday of shopping is also out.  Although this is not really a big deal, as fighting crowds for “Hecho en Chine” consumer goods ranks somewhere around getting a dental cleaning.  Except that I need a dental cleaning, and I don’t need to be jostled by stangers and blasted w/ “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” ever again.

RB’s family has once again asked me to compose a list, which I’ve been trying to do.  It includes exciting things like “a jar of yeast,” since we bake most of our own bread, and the jars are much easier and cost-effective to use, but are hard to find in New York.

The two “nice” things that would like are a Le Creuset dutch oven and a black cashmere sweater, but both of those are a little pricey, and so I really don’t expect them.  Inbetween “jar of yeast” and “fancy french cookware,” I’m having to pad the list with books I’d like to read but don’t have time for, and useful but highly un-fun things like insoles and a kitchen timer that works (ours has been dropped one too many times).

I’m not in the holiday mood.  And this is just thinking about stuff for me; I haven’t even gotten lists from family yet.

In comments, please remind me why Christmas doesn’t suck (oh, right:  cookies!), and/or what you want in your stocking.

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Shocking news! (now, with yelling!)

November 22, 2008

1)  I just emailed Martha Plimpton, on whom  I have a ridiculous girl-crush.  Do I want to hang out with her?  YES.  Do I want to be her?  MMMMMAYBE.

2)  I was asked today, in all seriousness, to co-author a boook about a project I’ve been working on for more than a year now.  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

3)  I’ve only gotten one response to my Thanksgiving poll (thanks, Dawn).  ONE!  WHY DO YOU HATE ME?

OMGWTFBBQ!

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Wherein I Canvas My Readers.

November 18, 2008

I am faced with another dilemma.  This one, about Thanksgiving plans.

Robot Boy is going back to his family for the food-fest, since we have elected NOT to go home for Xmas this year, and he has eldery grandparents and a large extended family that he’d like to see.  I will be staying here in New York and, according to a recent, ill-conceived plan, doing a a crappy job “finishing” a crappy version of the crappy chapter that I need to give to my chair, in whatever crappy form, at some point in this crappy, crappy semester.  The idea is that with him gone from Wednesday to Monday, I can go into super-mega-lockdown mode and knock it out with minimal distractions.

The question then becomes:  what do I do, if anything, for Thanksgiving?  I’ve been casually invited to 2 or 3 “Orphan Thanksgiving” celebrations that friends, or friends-of-friends, are having, but I haven’t heard anything more recently.    I’ve also considered having my own feast, by making a few of my favorites (whether they’re Thanksgiving “classics” or not) and setting a pretty table and cracking open a bottle of wine for one.  Lastly, there is a part of my that really wants to go to the wall with the super-mega-lockdown thing, totally ignore No-Turkey Day (I’m vegetarian, if I hadn’t already made that clear at some point) and just order take-out when hungry and eat out of boxes and cartons all weekend.  So…

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Hanging up?

November 17, 2008

I have a friend who is hard to be a friend to.  I have known this friend, who I shall call N, because that is not his name, since the late ’90s.  He is smart and funny and kind and well-read and really quite talented.  He is also kind of fussy, and flighty, and not terribly responsible with anything having to do with money.  He dreams huge, lovely dreams, and his reality is pretty crappy.  He does not have much in the way of family (dead or estranged), and has not had a romantic relationship in I-don’t-know-how-long.  He starts businesses and they crash, leaving him in ever deepening debt.  He likes nice things, living beyond his means, and he makes bad decision after bad decision regarding his finances and career path.

He has been ABD for, I would guess, 10 years, and keeps resuscitating the idea that he will finish.  I have been through many cycles of encouraging him to “get on it, you can do it!  one day at at time!  write first!” etc.,  but he bottoms out more often and more quickly than I ever have.  He is a living example of the kind of person I fear becoming:  the one who repeatedly sets himself up for failure, and, even seeing it, is unable to change his behavior.

We haven’t lived in the same place for many years now, so our relationship carries on through technology.   He used to be closer to RB, but after too many interminable cross-country phone calls where N would list his many problems and RB would offer comfort, support, and suggestions that would be gobbled up with appreciation, only to be totally ignored later when it was time for N to make different decisions, RB pretty much cut him off.

I’m getting to that point now.  How can I stay friends with someone who is a bottomless pit of need?  How can I respect someone who treats himself so shabbily, and medicates himself with crappy food and obscure DVDs he can’t afford?  How many times do I have to say “I’m so sorry” about the latest fiasco with eviction, the unemployment office, or whatever, and yet bite my tongue when he then goes on to say how he went out for some retail therapy on his X-teenth credit card?

It’s no doubt true that I’m not getting the whole story, and I haven’t walked a mile in his shoes, and  I should have a little empathy, etc.  I have a lot of empathy.  Or had.   There but for the grace of maude go I, maybe, but I hope I know enough that the answer to debt isn’t “spend more money.”  And that the answer to a tough job market isn’t “watch more Slings & Arrows.”

I hate feeling judgmental, but I can’t NOT SEE how he’s self-sabotaging.  When I’ve gently tried to mention that maybe he ought to make some big changes (downsize to a smaller, less-elaborate apartment, get credit counseling, get regular counseling, etc.), he says “yeah, I need to do that.”  And then the next message?  Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse.