Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Holidays are for the brave

Just returned from a four-day mountain getaway. Four-day, you say? Indeed, FOUR-DAY. 

Yes, indeed, that is one of those "adjectives of dyspeptic unrest" that you heard so much about in Latin class.

Disclaimer: if I were once again to spend four days in a chalet with 17 other people--including 7 teenagers and with the addition of three large dogs--then these would be the 17 I would pick. 

Fun things we did:

Hot tub, aka "leprotic oatmeal of despair" (see page 45 of the latest Journal of Tropical and Infectious Diseases).

Sleeping triple in a double bed: tiny fists! tiny feet! bony knees! 3 am! 

Beer for breakfast! Being hungover at 10.45am is a new one, even for me.

Where's Elvis? Front door? Back door? Locked in one of the 8 bedrooms? Garage? Deck? Other deck? Oh, he jumped in someone else's truck and went for a ride to town? 

From a pile of roughly 65 (note the odd number) of black ski gloves of various sizes, pick those that belong to you, your son, your husband, and perhaps the kid down the street whose mom thinks maybe he left his mitts at your place.

Enter a communal living room at 9am feeling more or less okay about yourself, leave 20 seconds later feeling old and wrinkly as 7 teens with flawless skin, shiny hair and expensive shorty pajamas do the rhumba in front of the fire. "It's the dance of love!" they say. 

Ah, but wait, my lithe little friends with the shiny hair and the trust funds, watch this: it's the samba of approaching decrepitude. One day when you're feeling like you used to be groovy but a long time ago, that the turkey neck is new and not welcome in your village, that everyone around you seems to speak a dialect of English oddly parallel but not ever really contiguous with your own, one day when every corpuscle of your being is crying out for a caffeinated milky beverage but you've left your lactose-intolerance medicine at the end of a long long hallway at the top of a tall tall flight of stairs--on that day, as your one good knee bends a little and your stiff back muscles give you the appearance of standing straight and tall, and your bent and twisty old feet start to shuffle a few inches at a time, then I hope you remember this sparkling winter morning in your long-haired youth and the fire and the grey-haired person whose name you never can remember and marvel at how quickly this life bounces in and out of the dance hall.

Well, that went south in a hurry, didn't it? Next year, I do believe I shall do the same. One of those single-family beach shanties of which you hear so much.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mommy meltdown

The Huffington Post's comedy writers just hit one out of Sarcasm Field: "Mommy Meltdowns: Has It Happened To You?"

Gee, not since about 8:45 this morning, around the same time that I last saw my child.

Things we have argued about in the last 48 hours:
  • How you spell "pretty" 
  • Milk: just white pee or reputedly nutritious fluid coming from quite another body part?
  • Whether "LEGO" stands for "Let Everything Get Out"
  • Whether it's necessary to make sure your "boy bits" are still hanging there by squeezing them every 25 seconds
  • That fart song is hilarious: yes or no?
  • Daddy is smarter than Mommy: yes or no?
  • Nazi? Nasty? Indiana Jones says "Nasty." So Mommy is probably wrong.
  • Whether there are two "r"s in "February"--or Febooary, depending on which side you take
I've been reading books on the adolescent brain as part of the homework for a writing class I'm taking through UCLA Extension, and I'm more frightened now than I've ever been in my whole life. If dealing with a 7yo is this frustrating, what on earth will I do when, 10 years from now when I am approaching 60, I have to cope with a big hairy bad-ass 17yo?

At which point, the Baroness Schraeder appears like a silk-swaddled Great Gazoo and purrs:

"Darling, haven't you ever heard of a delightful little thing called boarding school?"

Indeed I have, Baroness, my pet. Indeed I have. Sometimes, at around 9.45pm, when Kid has finally lost his long and vocal battle with sleep, I lie quietly on the couch and chant: Ashbury, Shawnigan, St Andrews College, over and over again, whilst flipping the pages of the dog-eared brochures. That, and the gin fizz, sustains me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I was thinking that
maybe I'd get a maid
Find a place nearby
for her to stay.
Just someone
to keep my house clean,
Fix my meals and go away.
--"A Man Needs a Man," Neil Young

It's not just "a man," pal.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Anyone else ever mistaken for . . . ?

I need to be clear: I am thrilled to accept a Stylish Blogger award from Ironic Mom, (who got hers from Clay Morgan of the highly diverting EduClaytion), but:
1.    I accept it while wearing what I wore yesterday. And that was no screaming hell, let me tell you.
2.    I find it ironic indeed that she would pass along any award having to do with style to someone whose blog is called “Worn Ragged.” It describes way more than my nerves, is all. 
3.    I believe she is speaking primarily of my syntax, as I can haul out an elegant sentence every once in a while. These sentences tend to be about such inelegant things as phlegm, tuna casserole, and horrifying tomatoes, but that is between me and my shrink.
4.    I gave Ironic Mom a picture of a $1.50 pin, and she gave me an award. That’s style.  
The rules of the game are this: First, I tell you 7 things about me. (I will understand if you just want to go and look at that tomato instead).
Here we go: 7 Things You Won’t Hear from Others

1.    I was once mistaken by the LAPD for a transvestite hooker on a Hollywood street corner.
2.    In college, I signed up for an entire year of medieval Welsh literature solely to escape a boy who didn’t have the pre-requisites to get into that class. I would later leave him at the altar (or “allor” in Welsh).
3.  I often wear a tiara while conducting (non-video) conference calls.I feel it gives me a certain gravitas that I otherwise lack. Being, you know, in my pajamas most of the time.
4.    Beluga whales fill me with horror. I wish them well but I cannot look at them.
5.    All the headshots I use in my business life are taken with me wearing my pajamas. You are the first to know.
6.    Ever since “What Not to Wear” first came on, I have lived in terror because I know my friend Annie would totally turn me in for a hatpin and a kitten.
7.    After tapeworms, I regard Play-Do as the single most disgusting thing on earth. (PS: Under no circumstances ever, EVER Google “Tapeworm.”)
Now I get to nominate 6 other bloggers for The Stylish Blogger Award. These are 6 funny, smart and admirable people from whom you'll get a laff (mostly), a cry (once in a while, but--hey--that's life), and a little bit of you-need-to-hear-this. Here’s my list:
Alpha Monkey: The only person with whom I have exchanged several hours’ worth of IMs about badger taxidermy. Sends presents in the mail from America. Advises about lipstick. Understands about hips. Favorite person.

Unknown Mami: Rocks a paper bag. Her "Sundays in my City" is one of my favorite Web habits.

Copenhagen Follies: Jennie is smart, funny and can be counted on to travel to exotic locations—and post photos. Finland! Marrakesh! Also: nice hair.

Baking Vintage: Smart, pretty, fun—and now also a professional baker. You want to be friends with Katie.

Saturday Jane:  Not only, but partly, because she appreciates scrub jays.

BrainyJane/BrandyIsMagic Because of this sentence, if because of nothing else (but not because of nothing else): “I will never understand: why people wear full linen jumpsuits. All that ironing? Why do that to yourself?”

In order to accept The Stylish Blogger Award, these nominees must do the following:
  1. Write seven things about yourself.
  2. Present the award to six bloggers.
  3. Contact those people.
  4. Create a link back to the person who did this for (or to) you.
If these nominees do not wish to accept the nomination, they can donate money to Kiva or totally ignore this post. I will continue to love them no matter what.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Click if you dare

I just saw the most awful thing. I'm warning you. Not awful, awful--like bleeding people or animals treated cruelly. Just. Awful.

Seriously, have you ever seen anything so disturbing in your whole life? The thing that upsets me the most is that seed. I want to floss it.

I need to floss it.

This is where my life's choices have taken me.