Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where's the pimento cheese?

Post DMV truama, Randa's Fans and I took a tour of historic Georgetown homes; we mostly did it so we could covet and/or ridicule of the decor of the wealthy. Note: money and taste are not necessarily intimates.

We also did it for the afternoon tea served by the ladies of St. John's Episcopal Church, an event that reminded me of how Southern a city DC actually is. A thousand strands of pearls, several pounds of lipstick, a small mountain of Xanax, four gallons of peroxide, and the entire Vera Bradley spring collection sure can make a big old platter of crustless chicken salad sandwiches.

The day was gorgeous, and DC was in full bloom with some of my favorite Southern flora.

Wisteria:

And pink dogwood:

Now, Saturday was hot, nigh on ninety, but I was nonetheless offended by this:

Seven, count 'em, SEVEN air conditioners atop one of the larger historic homes. Is this sort of conspicuous consumption still done? I mean, it just seems like an inordinate amount of hubris - The Vanderbilts WILL be comfortable! - something punishable by the gods. Maybe this is actually a very green move or maybe their palace is full of neato micro-climates (Delancey wants her bedroom to be like St. Barts; Chauncey wants his bedroom to be like Vail), but I have a hard time believing that these folks are doing the environment a solid.

In other news, I learned a new word yesterday: flossy. As in fancy or snazzy. "I'm all ginned up to visit that flossy new bar on Madison and Charles." Feel free to add it to your repertoire.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Golden

As I was mourning Bea Arthur, I got to thinking about the woman who introduced me to her - my Grammy, a quick-tongued Mainer who does not suffer fools lightly. Below, I offer you a list of reasons why my Grammy is cooler than yours.

1) She let me watch The Golden Girls, even though it was verboten. She also let me watch Dallas, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, Guiding Light, Britcoms, Murder, She Wrote, and The Lawrence Welk Show (hence my penchant for feathered evening wear and tiny bubbles).

2) Canasta.

3) Though I don't remember it, Grammy taught me my first expletive. And you see where that's gotten us.

4) Grammy likes lobster and Boone's Farm. She was also her senior class valedictorian and voted the prettiest girl. She has great range.

5) In an effort to ensure a life of domestic bliss, Grammy counseled me thus: "Don't hang around with poor people. You might fall in love with one." Just because I didn't listen to that particular piece of advice doesn't mean that I don't see its wisdom.

6) Scrabble. She knows all the two-letter words.

7) Grammy has superpowers. Once the cat was behaving oddly, so Grammy said, "Maybe she's dying,"and the cat died an hour later. Do not cross this woman.

8) Grammy often wears driving gloves. When a raccoon darted in front of her car one evening, Grammy did not slow down. Grammy aimed.

9) Grammy carries cheese and crackers in her purse. Not of the prepackaged, meant-to-carry-in-your-purse variety, but of the whole-block-of-monterey-jack-and-a-sleeve-of-ritz variety. You never know when you'll be hungry.

10) Grammy is a diet coke chauvinist. I have heard her say the following: "Pepsi?! Well, then I'll just have a margarita."

So, there you have it. Just a few of the many reasons why Grammy is a bad*ss.

In other news, n.o.c. is flying to Dallas for a conference, where he'll be staying with more of my very enviable grandparents. I'll be busy trying to remember how to spend an evening alone. Perhaps I'll pass some time trying to perfect this facial expression:

Speaks volumes, no?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

DMVed

Well, children, today is my birthday. My last year of twenty. When I turned 23, someone gave me a card that read "Goodbye, early twenties. Hello, early mid-twenties." It seemed ominous at the time, but I clearly didn't know my ass from my elbow.

In addition to heralding the approach of old age, this birthday also marks the expiration of my driver's license. So, yesterday morning I went to the DMV, proofs of residence and identification in hand. And there I sat, for THREE HOURS. I try not to be a snoot (or a liar), but the crowd at the DMV is decidedly unsavory. Unkempt men redolent of old food, women with tattooed images of loved ones, and screaming, sour-smelling babies with lazy eyes. I'm pretty sure that I caught some sort of std just from sitting on the wildly uncomfortable DMV chairs for such an extended period of time. Anyhoo, G100 was finally called and I made my way through the hoi polloi to station 15.

First, the clerk had a problem with my address.

She: "That is not a residential address"
Me: "Yes it is. I live there."
She: "Ma'am, the computer says that is a business address."
Me: "It is not. I live there."
She: "That is not what the computer says, ma'am."

We finally untangled that Gordian Knot, and I was just beginning to imagine a life beyond the walls of the DMV, when we hit another snafu. One that was entirely my fault. My passport had expired on April 1st and had thus been an invalid form of identification for 24 days.

She: "Ma'am, this passport is expired."
Me: "F********ck."
She: "Don't you have a birth certificate or a social security card?"
Me: "If I had either of those on me, then I would probably not be banging my head on your germy desk."
She: "Ma'am you need to realize that you need a valid form of identification. You need to realize what counts for valid. You need to read the list of what counts for valid."
Me: "Obviously, I didn't realize that my passport was expired or I wouldn't have brought it."
She: "You need to read that list and realize what is valid. Don't you have your social security card? You need to realize what is on that list."

So, there you have it - three hours and no license. A year older, and clearly none the wiser.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Things I'm thinking about...

1) A bourbon smash, but I'm out of mint. Do we think that I can muddle altoids to good effect?

2) The f*cking bistro around the corner. If you don't stop washing your f*cking trash into a disgusting stream of sh*t right in front of my steps, things will get ugly. You don't fool me - I don't think you're doing as well as your snotty unconcern might suggest. Happy hour is happening for a reason.

3) Four. More. Weeks. No. More. Children.

4) My last twenty-something birthday.

5) I do not like Keurig coffee. Like licking a public handrail.

6) My stack of grading is so high that when it falls over it creates a massive avalanche of papers and tests all saying things like, "Traditionalists state that the tenant (sic) of resurrection is integral to the faith and can be proven in a theological logic."

7) Tonight, n.o.c. is going to a fancy party at a fancy club. I do not get to go; it's just for the gents. I get to stay home and drink bourbon soaked altoids and grade papers.

8) Bill's very funny blog

9) 85 degrees on Saturday! Our first summer with central air hath begun!

10) Spray tan. What do we think? A viable alternative to pastiness or an inevitable shade of oompa loompa?

11) Why do they not put new articles on nytimes.com every minute? Refresh. Refresh! Refresh!!

12) The use of the pronoun we as a mode of address to blog readers. A bit too too, no?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bombs away!

Today I made these:

So tomorrow I can do this.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Under the covers

Me: I'm cold. I think I'm coming down with something.
n.o.c.: No you're not. You just want to use up your sick days.
Me: Nuh-uh.
n.o.c.: That's shady.
Me: Oh, stuff and nonsense. I'm really cold. Definitely getting sick.
n.o.c.'s *ss: Pbbbbbbbbbfffffffffffffffffftttttttttttttbbbbbbb
Me: Arrrrrrrrgh! Dear Lord! (retch, retch) I'm dying! (retch, retch, retch) Why would you do such a thing?
n.o.c.: I was warming you up.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The post in which I subject you to a rambling theory that is neither clever nor particularly cogent

So the week has begun with a cup of Keurig hot chocolate, a beverage that I'd dearly hoped was past its season. If I wanted to be wet and cold in April, I would have stayed in Boston, thank you very much.

With the lingering winter and the never-ending school year, I'm spending a fair amount of time waiting. For consistently warm weather. For good tomatoes. For the constant press of work to abate. For so many things.

While I wait, I find myself thinking along obscure and not-terribly-intellectually-rigorous lines. For instance, this weekend I pondered the difference between modes of argumentation above and below the Mason-Dixon. I wouldn't share this nascent theory with just anyone, dear readers, though I can't for the life of me decide what you've done to deserve this.

First, let's talk about the weather. When you think about the North, you think about winter; it is cold-as-f*ck and unrelenting. One uses such a season to contemplate neuronal function and read Proust. The South's most Southern season is Summer, which is a long, humid, sapping affair. When n.o.c. spent two weeks in Georgia before our wedding, his prevailing impression of a Southern August was one of being slowly steamed to death. "How do you people get anything done?" he would wail, futilely wiping his brow as the air dripped on him. It's a valid question.

During a Northern winter, the sun shines for approximately 2.5 hours per day. This gives even the most apathetic Northerner an abundance of time to sit, pale and hunched, wondering how best to articulate his or her unique perspective on any number of abstruse topics. Since the winter is nearly interminable, people feel compelled to scurry madly through the month of summer, aware that at any moment the first snow could fall and the ground could freeze. You might have from the lilacs to Labor Day, but you might not.

The four-month Southern summer, on the other hand, generally thwarts all efforts, both mental and physical. You could mix a cocktail, yes, or lie profitably in the shade for several hours, but it is not the time to engage in strenuous activities, such as thinking or laying brick. (Summer-time brick laying, by the by, was the pound of flesh The Rog demanded from n.o.c. for the hand of his only daughter. You may think it sounds like I came cheap, but I believe n.o.c. would beg to differ. The poor dear was also required to slaughter a goat, but that's a different story for another, hopefully better, post.)

If I have a disagreement with someone in the North, we might go several blistering rounds before one of us (me, naturally) is declared the victor. Raised voices and gesticulation will no doubt ensue, and even when it seems the skirmish is passed, it's actually just waiting below the surface, ready to bubble up should either party have need or occasion to become incensed and create some body heat. Have an argument with a Southerner, and you might witness one of three responses:
  1. Your Southerner, let's call her Savannah, may sip thoughtfully from her icy beverage, straighten her pearls, and simply walk away. That the authorities will never find your body on her family's kudzu-covered 80 acres may never cross your mind, but you can bet that it does hers.
  2. You may not realize that Savannah disagrees with you, so kind and polite are her responses to your every notion. Let's be clear: Savannah does not agree with you. She is simply saving her energy until the weather cools (Savannah is a patient woman by necessity).
  3. If Savannah is feeling decidedly frisky, she may actually engage you in debate and return your parries. However, unless you are Southern, you will not understand that Savannah reamed you a new *sshole until hours later. That's what folks are doing while they're sipping iced beverages and lying profitably in the shade; they're practicing withering, languorous, rigorously polite insults.
Note: Southerners often incorporate aspects of all three response types. Keep your wits akimbo and avoid kudzu.

So, according to my exceedingly in-depth and clearly indisputable analysis, the weather is largely responsible. What happens in odd, middling states like Maryland has yet to be determined.

In other news, I made some pepita granola, which is so good I can hardly stand it. I omitted the coconut and used 2 cups of excellent dried figs and a raisin medley. Der-lish-us on greek yogurt in the morning. Or in the afternoon.

Before baking:

After:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"music"

Last night, n.o.c. and I chaperoned a high school dance. The pitifulness of myself.

Anyway, in addition to walking around with a flashlight and interrupting the enthusiastic grindings of many a teenage couple, I also had the opportunity to hear what the kids are listening to these days. As a pottery-loving, scrabble-playing, scotch-drinking old fart, I'm not ashamed to admit that most of it sounded like someone having a seizure on a beat box; however, I was thrilled when I managed to pick out what I thought to be very clever lyrics - Booty Stinky Leg. Though I have since been informed that the actual title of the piece is Do the Skanky Leg, I'm nonetheless excited to be hip and in the know.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Morning, Glory!

So, yesterday, as n.o.c. drove us to work and I waxed eloquent over a particularly fine magnolia, we caught sight of a woman in a very short skirt. Though I was not wearing my glasses, I was able to discern a thin strip of denim perched precariously atop veritable miles of flesh. Chalking it up to the ebullience of spring, I gave the skirt wearer a little vernal fist pump, congratulating her on having the chutzpah to bare so much skin so early in the season. But as we drew nearer, n.o.c. squinted into the distance and asked, "Is that a man?"

Now, let's review the setting. It's 7:10 am. People are heading to work, drinking coffee, brushing their teeth, reading the paper. The morning is positively glorious. Cherry blossoms are being carried aloft on a light breeze. The sky is practically periwinkle. Bluebirds are cavorting. All is bathed in golden light. And on the corner of Calvert and 22nd, two transvestite hookers are plying their wares. You know, like hot cross buns.

Admittedly, I don't know all that much about the tranny prostitute scene, but I imagine that these ladies were not at the beginning of their shift. If that's the case, then I think that we could all learn a thing or two from this sort of entrepreneurial optimism. Believing in the possibility of further employment, these businesswomen worked into the daylight hours, hoping to increase their earnings by convincing some, oh, I don't know, investment banker, let's say,that things aren't so glum as they might seem. He need not begin his day with a lonely, bleary-eyed drive to a dismal and financially ruined office. Instead, he could begin his day by having a date with Destinee.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

sea pork

It turns out that I'm a remarkably simple creature; in fact, I'm practically a tunicate - but more on that later. Next time I'm in the hips, just remind me to follow a bout of joyous weeping with homemade wild mushroom pizza:

A cribbage victory - nay, drubbing! (Which included a very odd hand):

And a bouquet of spray roses:

Then give me a sunny day, and I won't even mind that our ambergris fortune turned out to be a rotting bucket of sea pork.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Conditions Improve

So, I've been a turd for several days now, and I'd actually started to revel a bit in my funkatude. But, now, sweet readers, I'll have you know that I'm a changed woman - at least for the rest of the afternoon.

I first saw this link on What Possessed Me. I passed it by, since I am generally opposed to all things moving and/or cheesy. Then Megan posted it on her fabulous blog - just for me! So then I had to watch it. You may think less of me from here on out, but I shit you not, I had tears dripping off my very stubborn chin. My shirt is wet from crying. You must watch it immediately. And why stop there? Go ahead and give this or this a gander. Come on, have a good cry. You know you want to. You might not want to do it at the office, though. There's no racy content, but if these clips can have me weeping, then you may want to use caution.

april showers

As you may have noticed from yesterday's entry, I'm feeling a trifle out of sorts. While this is clearly related to post-vacation malaise, the weather is also to blame. It's forty degrees and raining, and I have been forced to relinquish the comfort of my bed. I am wearing soggy shoes and woolen pants with wet hems. I must spend the day balancing on a ridiculous ball chair - which I'm starting to loathe - in a grey cubicle surrounded by absolute landslides of sh*t that I cannot force myself to tame. My hair looks like a mousy skullcap, and my raincoat smells of last night's fajitas - a smell that was good last night but is less so in the damp 7am-ishness of early morning. To add insult to injury, I am now pretending to supervise a facilitated group discussion on respect. Retching noises in my head.

Anyway, in an effort to avoid continued whining, a list of things that could potentially cause happy. I'm a little milquetoast this morning, so suggestions are most welcome.

1) The Beach


2) Twenty-two more days of actual classes

3) Twelve consecutive weeks of vacation

4) A Norwegian Forest Cat named Snorri

5) Getting my hair did. I swear it will be done.

6) Spicy Gazpacho

7) Willie Nelson

8) Fried chicken

9) Biscuits

10) Growing two inches

11) Invisibility

12) A Vespa. CiĆ o.

13) A pet chinchilla

14) Dogs named Bo

15) Inflatable pool toys. Whales, in particular.

16) Artichokes

17) Sausages! Sausages!

18) Monkey

19) Omnipotence

20) Figs

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

She doesn't know her ass from a hole in the ground.

Since I just returned from a halcyon week in the South with a whole slew of fabulous people, one might think that I'd be peaceful and nourished and rejuvenated - but perhaps one would only think that if one didn't know me.

Here's the thing. Most of the fabulous people I spent the week with are really into their occupations - their grad programs, their careers, etc. I am not. Now, don't misunderstand me - I love what I do outside of work, and I'm very excited about what I will be doing, but currently, I'm just showing up for a paycheck. I keep my eyes open, I bare my teeth in what I hope looks like a smile, I do a day's work in 2.5 hours, and then I try to pass the time without getting fired. I have done this with every job I've had since leaving grad school.

I know that what I'm about to admit is whiny and mealy-mouthed and privileged and probably indicative of a weak mind. In fact, I'm sure that some of you will tell me to go put on my big girl panties and buck the f*ck up. I take your point; my life is really nice. Nonetheless, the simple truth is that I am my primary interest. When anything other than n.o.c., or my family, or my friends takes me away from that, then I become bored and murderous and a little hysterical. I know that millions of good folks spend their lives toiling away at sh*ttier jobs than I can imagine, and I know that many of them make the best of it, but I am simply not that admirable a person. And I bet you thought this post would be about the beach.

Anyway, we think we may have found some ambergris. It's either that, or some really disgusting, stinky sea funk with a booger-like consistency. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Huzzah! Huzzah!

Only four measly classes stand between me and a little vacation with my favorite New Englanders. I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait!

And then, dear readers, only five full weeks of classes remain! No more teachers, no more textbooks, no more children to whom I am forced to give dirty looks!

Monday, April 6, 2009

hooked on phonics

"Funkshawed"

I believe the little dear was trying to spell feng shui, which we don't even discuss.

customer service

On Saturday, we made a quick trip to another local liquor store. Though their selection is a little spotty, they're much less annoying than the folks at this shop. Also, their advertising methods seem to speak to a range of consumers:

The high-brow:

And the not-so-much:

They also get points for employing humor effectively:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Daffodilled

This is what you shall do: Make wonderful friends. Give these friends a set of keys to your house. Come home to find these:
Grown in our friends' back yard, these beauties were. I tell you, there is no better way to end a hard week than to find a bunch of daffodils waiting for you on your dining room table. I wish I'd paid for the olfactory blog upgrade - smells just like spring up in here.

And, lo and behold, the sun is shining. All things considered, this morning - with its blue skies and surprise daffodils - is nearly enough to make me a goose of an optimist, waxing on about beauty and light and possibility. Nearly enough, dear reader. Fear not.

AND THE NEIGHBORS ARE GETTING IT ON RIGHT THIS MINUTE - 9:24!!!! The day is indeed perfect!!! The ceiling shakes and the sun shines and the flowers flower!! F*ck it - people are fundamentally good! Children are our precious future! The universe is unfolding as it should! Free-range, organic meats are cruelty free and should be eaten with abandon! Bacon does not clog the arteries! Most people age gracefully! I look better ten pounds heavier! I enjoy listening to the insights of over-privileged children! I don't mind that you didn't use your turn signal! It is sort of fun to be a little bit poor!

Friday, April 3, 2009

rain, rain

Here we are, well into Spring, and nary a sunbeam to show for it. Sucks. In fact, it's been such a long, dreary week, that I've begun to do things I generally avoid. Falling asleep during class, for one. Few things are more jarring than waking to the whine of, "Ms. C---, is it only Judaisms who have a foreskin?"

Have you ever thought about what life would be like if you said exactly what you thought every moment of the day? I would be jobless. And friendless. And single.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

a half dozen

1) Limiting our alcohol intake has contributed neither to the great reducing nor to our mood in general. We're done with that shit.

2) P90Xing will give you calves the size of footballs. You won't be able to wear boots or skinny jeans, but you will be able to lift the car with the strength of your calves should the need arise.

3) Being a spectator at a middle and high school poetry recitation is a mixed bag. If you can get past the pain, you can find some funny.

4) My mother witnessed our very loud upstairs neighbors. After staring at the ceiling for a while, she cocked an eyebrow and quipped, "You know, your father and I wouldn't take that sort of thing lying down. We're far too competitive."

5) Saturday night's dinner was a tasty affair - local smoked trout and dry-aged pork.

Before:




After:


6) My cactus celebrates all the major holidays. What can I say? This fool succulent has stamina.