Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For the Love of Technology

Tonight I would like to devote the blog to my friend Technology. It's kind of fitting, being that it is technology that brings you the blog, and after all, if you didn't have this blog to read, what would you be doing with your time? Don't answer that.

But I know what you're thinking..."You said you were a hobbit! You don't even know how to turn on your TV." Well, things change sometimes. Through methodical trial and error, I did learn how to turn on the TV. And I can even get the DVD player to work, as long as I have a little time, and no one is looking at me.

This afternoon, Rob and I got in the car to drop some gifts off at the post office. But we didn't know where the post office was. So I Googled it on my phone and came up with several options--Google immediately returned them in the order of their proximity to my house. On the way, I realized I needed to drop my keys off with our catsitter, but I didn't know her address. So I searched for her business (again on Google, but this blog is not about Google, so I'm done mentioning them now), found her phone number and called her for the address. We put the coordinates into our car GPS and went there from UPS (we ended up at UPS because the post office lines were long and, according to Rob, the post office smelled like "ass.")

The catsitter lives in a neighborhood we don't know very well, and we remembered that we needed to get cat food. So I searched for pet supplies in the neighborhood and found a store a few blocks away. After that, we were hungry, so I logged into Zagat.com to find the best pizza places in the city. The winner was Little Star Pizza, which ended up being close to our house. I called to place the order, we drove there, and left with our dinner.

This is notably different from the last time I lived in San Francisco, when one late night in a cab, my friend Krista called 411 and asked the operator to "find a pizza place near my house." The operator hung up and Krista ate Spaghettios.

Thank you, Technology. I'm sorry for all the things I said about you.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Brittany Murphy Dies

I just read that Brittany Murphy died yesterday. I don't enjoy hearing about 32-year-old people going into full cardiac arrest. I promise to post something positive tomorrow, but for now let me just admit that when the movie Clueless came out, I saw it three times in the theater. It changed the way I dressed and spoke, at least for a little while (yep, that's embarrassing), and as recently as Thanksgiving, I did quote the line about "Marky Mark's busy pants dropping schedule."

Anyway, I was sorry to read this news.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


So far throughout my pregnancy, I've been feeling really good. Not one day of morning sickness, for which I feel so insanely lucky that part of me is sure this baby is going to be a devil of a toddler just to make up for it. It's a foregone conclusion that she'll be a terrible teenager--karma I no doubt deserve.

I've stayed pretty active, walking and doing yoga, and I'm eating well, if you don't count the occasional Trader Joe's corn dog that somehow finds its way into the microwave. Food on a stick--hard to resist.

But I do have one complaint and that is a chronic pain in my back. Every day by the afternoon there is a sharp, uncomfortable ache that becomes unbearable by the evening and only feels better when I finally lie down with my new best friend--a 5 foot bed pillow.

I should really get a massage and I know this is obvious, but I somehow have not yet scheduled that. Instead, I just fling myself to the ground and moan in pain while performing normal functions like preparing dinner or checking email.

Tonight, when Rob came home from work, he rubbed my back while I took a break from cooking.

"How does it feel?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said.

"Like, does it feel tight and bumpy?" I was sure there were knots like rocks up and down my shoulder blades.

"It feels whiny," he said.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


My mom and my uncle Frank were in town this weekend, which was wonderful for many reasons, including getting to hear the story of how I was born with hair on my shoulders. "We're going to have a gorilla baby," Rob said. "She was more like a bear," my uncle said.

We went to a holiday party at a neighbor's house on Saturday night. My mother--the semi-retired kindergarten teacher--immediately found the playroom where all the kids were hanging out, and fell upon them and their toys. "This is Gideon," she told me when I peeked in. "And this is Max. We don't know this little girl's name, but I think she speaks French. Bonjour!" She handed me her wine, so that she could help Max figure out how to work the little electronic guitar he had presented her with. He lost interest in it soon after that and tried on the other kids' shoes instead.

Later, as we all sat on the couch in front of trays of shrimp and cocktail sausages, a three-year-old wandered up and started to bite little pieces of sausage and put them back in the tray. He then buried a shrimp in the cocktail sauce and proceeded to smear ketchup all over the crackers he was licking and placing back in their dish. He walked up to me with a little sausage in his hand and put it in my mouth. I was too surprised to protest, so I delicately removed it, thanked him, and wadded it up in a napkin. "I can't believe you let him do that," said my mother, who earlier that day had put a stevia leaf from Golden Gate Park into her own mouth. "Please don't eat the plants," I said at the time.

It seems that although there were plenty of adults present, and it was quite a nice party, I am preoccupied with thoughts of children these days, and it's their antics that stayed with me. "Our daughter will never be allowed to behave that way at a party," Rob said later of the sausage prince.

It was fun to have company in the house, and people to cook with. Frank and my mom made tilapia with peppers, onions and lime one evening, and we made squash soup and pizza for another meal. We went out for an Italian dinner in North Beach and a Vietnamese dinner at one of our favorite restaurants on the water, overlooking the Bay Bridge, so bright and accessible it looked like a Christmas decoration.

They brought gifts for the baby: a pair of overalls from Mom, a tie-dyed onesie from my Aunt Cathy, a set of 5--yes 5--colorful socks from Frank. And in thanks, the baby kicked for them. My mom sat next to me on the couch, her hand on my stomach before her cab arrived. "She's in there right now," she said. "Working on growing her shoulder hair."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What a Dick

I will be pretty disturbed if our daughter ever does anything like this. But since it's not my kid and not my mansion, I am instead pretty amused.

Monday, December 7, 2009

24 Weeks

Brooke took this picture on Saturday night. I can't decide which is bigger, my stomach or Rob's head.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Deepish Thursday

We are still adjusting to life in San Francisco: the neighborhood, the time zone, Rob's new job, my work from home, having a car and therefore being able to go to Trader Joe's whenever we want...standard things. I spend a lot of time inside during the day, which I guess is what anyone who works in an office does, whether that office is a train ride away or just down the hall from the bedroom. I often report to colleagues over the phone that the weather "looks" nice, but I wouldn't really know that from a first-hand perspective.

The baby kicks all the time now. Or maybe she's punching me, I'm not sure. It basically feels like a Taekwando class in there, and I imagine her taking aim and delivering a swift scissor kick as she rolls right to avoid contact with today's chosen nemesis, the umbilical cord. But look out--it's attached to her! So she just has to keep rolling around and kicking. We call her "Little Baby" because we are not feeling more creative than that. I spend my time working out what her actual name will be when she arrives, but that, too, might just be "Little Baby" based on my progress. I recall the skier Picabo Street whose name for something like the first 3 years of her life was "Little Girl." I might be making that up, though, because I see no reference to it on Wikipedia.

I'm taking prenatal yoga classes at a nearby studio, where we start each session by going around the room and sharing things about our pregnancy, so that I know I'm not the only one with insane leg cramps in the middle of the night, occasional crankiness, and a suddenly constant desire to curl into a ball and go to sleep (which I did two days ago on the exam table in my doctor's office, but that's only because they kept me waiting so long.)

I feel very lucky that we're here, that the baby is so far healthy, that all of the unpacked boxes are currently hidden in a room I don't go into very often, that Rob and I have found good Italian, Thai and Indian restaurants in the neighborhood. And that when the baby is born, she'll likely be able to protect me from any adversaries with some well-timed jabs.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ways in which being nearly 6 months pregnant is oddly similar to being a hobbit

1. I now indulge unapologetically in second breakfast (and sometimes third.)

2. I am becoming remarkably stout for my height.

3. I seldom wear shoes.

4. My understanding of technology is limited (as evidenced by my attempts to set up the printer last week, and the fact that I am not completely sure how to turn on our television.)

5. My ring is starting to get uncomfortable.

In good news, I have so far not seen any hair growing on my feet.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Me: The baby is kicking! Here, put your hand on my stomach so you can feel it.

Rob: Stop bossing me around.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crazy Pregnant Woman Wears Pants Inside Out

I made it to the vet and the grocery store before going home and looking down.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dear Community

I don't ever ask for comments on this blog because it makes me kind of nervous to put that kind of post out there and then--the horror--not get any responses. But I am stepping out on a limb today because the time has come for me to register for baby stuff and I have no freaking clue what I'm doing.

I know there are a few people reading this and I know some of you have babies, have had babies, or know people who know babies. Maybe some of you are babies. If so, I especially need your help.

What are some of the things you registered for (or didn't register for) that you feel you could not do without? Anything that can be skipped? Are there specific brands that are on the top of your list when it comes to strollers, car seats, those comfy spa-like pens that I have seen babies lounging in?

My thanks in advance, as I feel that without your help, it's possible I will be pushing my child around town in a cardboard box on a skateboard and letting her play with cat toys.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Deepish Tuesday

Two things:

1. I made an appointment to get the H1N1 shot this Friday. I thank you all for your concern for my well-being. My plan is not to breathe or touch anything until Friday.

2. I got a manicure yesterday at a salon in the Castro called Hand Job. So perfect for the Castro. When I walked in, the owner was getting a pedicure. He introduced himself to me and shared that he came from a family of 6 brothers. "All boys?" I asked. "Are there any girls?" "Just me," he chuckled.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nine Lives

I want you to know how I now start and end my day: by chasing both cats around the house and forcing them to drink terrible, vile medication from a little squeeze tube. They gag, grit their teeth, and scream and I have to sit on them and fight to get the antibiotics down their throats. It is so, so not awesome.

Why are we doing this, you may wonder. It's not enough to say that the cats are just old or that we wanted them to see a vet as soon as we got to the west coast to make sure all was well. Those things are true, and eventually we would have taken them to get checked out. Smokey, however, forced our hand by taking it upon himself to jump out of an open window last week on moving day. Rob found him screeching on a ledge outside the 1st floor neighbor's kitchen window. At first, we were more confused than worried. Why would he jump? Does he hate life so much? Should we stop feeding him the same boring food every day so he has more to look forward to? Should we have short therapy sessions before bed each night to reinforce his worth as a cat and family member?

Then we realized that he had a huge fat, infected lip. So not only did he jump, but it was clearly not so graceful. Oh, the shame.

Anyway. I took both cats to the vet last week and it turned out that while Smokey just needed some meds, Emma had to go back in the next day for THE MOST EXPENSIVE DENTAL SURGERY THAT HAS EVER BEEN PERFORMED ON A CAT. She had 5 teeth removed and was with the doctor all day. Hence, the drugs for Smokey's lip and Emma's teeth.

Between his fluids for kidney disease, pills for thyroid disease, and antibiotics for the fat lip, I'm not so sure what will keep Smokey from making another attempt to jump. For now, the windows are all closed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Keeping it Clean

I still have not gotten the H1N1 vaccine, despite the encouragement from my smarter, more prepared friends. It seems to have gone missing from San Francisco; every site I search says that is is not currently available. I don't feel overwhelmingly worried about it, since I spend much of my day working at home, but I would like to get it taken care of soon. Ellie gave me some good advice recently, which included the line "leave your house as little as possible and try not to touch anything."

I found these to be wise words, and decided to follow them. But I really had to get out of the house, and thought a walk would be harmless. On my walk, I passed the DMV and realized I needed to get my license renewed. So I entered the DMV. This was like spitting on the swine flu gods. The DMV must be the perfect place for the flu to breed. Everyone touches pens and papers, counters and chairs. They sit around just breathing on each other. I waited in a little chair for about an hour, studying the Rules of the Road booklet, because I have basically not driven a car in about 4 years, and I couldn't remember which one was the gas pedal, let alone how far back one's car has to be when stopping at train tracks (15 feet.)

Oh, and I had to take the test because my California license expired on my birthday last week. If you charted my life solely using my driver's license, it would actually appear that I never left California to go to New York.

When my number was finally called, the guy behind the counter looked at my paperwork, which included a voter registration sheet. "Democrat," he said. "Aw yeah, Barack Obama."

"Ok." I said, because the only other appropriate option seemed to be a high five, and that didn't strike me as the greatest idea, flu-wise. I am not above high-fiving DMV employees, though, especially this one, because after talking at length about why Kim Jong Il wanted Bill Clinton to come to North Korea recently "Because of the WEED!", he let me get my license without having to take the test.

I walked to the line to get my picture taken, secure in my newfound knowledge on the best light for driving in fog (low beams), the appropriate speed limit when near a school (25 mph), and the DMV guy's thoughts on Obama's cigarette smoking habits, "He's not quitting now!"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Dispatch from the Home Front

We officially live in San Francisco, although I think both Rob and I still feel like we're on some sort of extended vacation. He went on a long bike ride yesterday, through the park and across Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands, where the view from the cliffs is city and ocean. It's hard to believe you're allowed to live somewhere so beautiful.

I stayed home and got my own exercise unpacking boxes, and we are very slowly making progress. We have now met the two other families who live in the building. We've been entertained by the observant 4-year-old Jackson, who called out from the back seat of his car yesterday to Rob, "You have two shirts on!"

"Three!" Rob said proudly, unzipping his fleece vest to display a t-shirt. Jackson was blown away. It's so easy to thrill kids; I myself was probably not suitably impressed when Rob dressed himself that morning.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back to the East Coast

Let's see...what was I supposed to do today?

Get into a cab at 4:30am with Tom Waits's long-lost drunk and crazy cab driver brother? Check.

Fly back to New York at the crack of dawn? Check. (It was a first class ticket--thank you, Rob! All other flights will now pale in comparison.)

Eat a bagel that was quite possibly made of rubber? Check.

Get in a fight with another cab driver over the ridiculous fare to Jersey City, and then end the fight by trying unsuccessfully to bribe him? Check.

Take myself shoe shopping in Soho because I packed every pair of black shoes I own and they are now all traveling together across the country with a big, red-nosed man named Dave? Check. As an aside, before I realized that Dave was going to be driving the truck with all of our belongings in it (I thought he was just the Leader of the Moving Guys), I gave him a full and unopened bottle of rum, which Rob and I were never planning on drinking. "I'm no rummy dummy," said Dave, pocketing the bottle in his giant pants. Later, I reconsidered the intelligence of this particular gift, and I really hope Dave and our stuff make it to San Francisco unscathed.

Dine solo at the bar in an Italian restaurant in Tribeca? Check. Do NOT feel sorry for me. I don't mind eating alone and the risotto was really good.

Sit through the hotel fire alarm for 15 minutes, while a voice intermittently told us to "stand by" for further instruction? And finally become so frustrated, that I called the front desk to demand that they decide whether or not there was a fire, and, if not, to stop tormenting the guests? Check.

Get tons of calls, emails and texts from all of my wonderful friends and family wishing me a happy birthday? Check. Thanks guys. I love you. I am letting the cab rides, alarms, and moving stress go. I'm too old for that.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Room with a View

We are in our hotel room in Burlingame. Smokey and Emma have spent much of their time out on the balcony, watching birds fly over the bay. I think they like it here, now that the sedatives have worn off and Emma has sort of stopped freaking out over the fact that Smokey smells weird. She tried to attack him repeatedly for about 2 days, but now it's just random hissing here and there.

The drugs we gave them didn't work exactly the way I had expected. We slipped them into tiny, ingenious snacks called Pill Pockets. Smokey, being Smokey, ate his right away. We could have put it on a chip, a piece of salami, or a garbanzo bean and he would have eaten it. Emma was not fooled, though. Rob had to hold her down and force her to swallow the pill. Not pretty.

Anyway, I thought the cats would pass out. But instead they just started yelling, and yelled all the way to the airport.

"Ahhhhhhhh!" yelled Emma.

"Ahhhhhhhh!" yelled Smokey.

Over and over. Then Smokey started bashing himself into the sides of his soft carrier. I was reminded of the warning from the vet. "Definitely test out the sedatives before you leave on your trip," she said wisely. "Sometimes they have the effect of making the cats more hyper."

So I confess that we did not test out the drugs. Obviously. But the bumpy cab ride seemed to be the worst of it. Once we got into the plane and put blankets over their carriers, they seemed to calm down. Or maybe it was just that we couldn't hear them.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's a Baby!

More specifically, it's a baby girl! We went to the hospital for our anatomy scan today, and because the baby is basically see-through, we got a look at her vertebrae, the inside of her brain, and her heart. The technician aimed the camera between the baby's legs and said "Can you tell what you're looking at?" I wanted to tell her that everything we had seen so far suggested I was carrying not a baby, but a plate of calamari. But I just shook my head and she told us it was a girl.

"Are you 100% sure?" Rob asked. It's not that he didn't want a girl, but neither of us wanted to leave until we knew that the hospital was sure of what they were telling us.

"I'm sure," she said. Another technician and a doctor backed her up, so yes, we're pretty sure. Girl baby! And she's really cute, except if you look directly at her face, in which case she looks like something out of a ghost story. Perfect for Halloween. My feeling is that once she has fattened up a bit and is no longer translucent, she'll be totally adorable.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's like Christmas Eve

I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow. It is basically freakish how excited I now get by doctor's appointments. I love them like nothing else, and wish that I was going more often than once a month. I always feel like I'm visiting the baby. Today someone emailed to ask when my next appointment was and I wrote back:

Tomorrow! I can't wait!

I might as well have dotted the I's with hearts and drawn little unicorns all over the page. But you can't do that in email.

The best thing is that I actually have two appointments tomorrow: one with my doctor and one at the hospital to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl. Dear Middlesex, I hope it is not both.

Tomorrow is also my last day in the office, plus the movers are coming to get us packed. We like to keep it lively, people. And I would just like to announce that if the baby is a boy, you are all being recruited to help name him, because after several conversations about this (including the one where Rob very seriously suggested the name Achilles), I do not think we are qualified to name a boy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Final Days

Things that are getting me through our last week in New York, as we are forced to say goodbye to friends and family, and I contemplate the reality of working from home starting next week:

• Rob’s best friend Spero and his wife Johanna came to town this weekend. We had delicious dinners at Peasant and Babbo. This morning, I feel like I’ve gained 10 pounds from the Babbo meal alone, but I’m blaming it all on the baby being abnormally fat.

• We saw In the Heights on Broadway. Incredible and highly recommended.

• Rob walked into the bathroom to get ready and started singing “What a Man” as he gazed into the mirror. “What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty fine man,” are words that actually came out of his mouth.

• And the main thing that has gotten me through so far is that we are so busy there is no time to think. Perhaps this (plus the singing) is the secret to a seamless move?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New York Meal

Rob and I just got home from cooking class. Our new friend Daniel invited us. He also brought his mom. Prior to class, we were emailed the following menu and told to bring a bottle of wine.

Fresh fig, Arugula, Chevre, Pine Nuts, and Fennel with Balsamic Shallot Vinaigrette

Chez Allard's Roast Chicken with Lentils and Bacon

Chocolate Rum Praline Fané

Class was at a fabulous apartment with a huge chef's kitchen, complete with enormous square slate cooking counter that easily sat the 12 people in the class. We piled the wine on the counter and ingredients started flying around. The teacher was hilarious: slightly absentminded and extremely casual, she dropped things, forgot what she was saying, ran around the kitchen multi-tasking, and repeatedly licked food off of her fingers while preparing it. She was perfect.

At one point, we had all become so distracted talking to each other that she had to ring her little kitchen bell and call out "Is ANYBODY interested in the lentils?!"

We were. The evening was basically run as a demonstration, though we were all given odd jobs to help the meal come together. Rob sliced figs for the salad, and it's a small miracle that any of them actually ended up on our plates, considering how many I saw him eating. "She said we had too many!" he claimed. I chopped onions for the lentil sauce. That was literally my entire contribution to the meal. It was almost more of a dinner party than an actual class. But we did learn. "Oh!" the teacher would say. "I didn't put this in the recipe, but you really should use a metal bowl for the fané. What? I did put it in the recipe? Oh. Then it's there." or "To make pralines, you should use about 1/2 cup of sugar to 2 tablespoons of water...or...it doesn't really matter. You can use any amount."

She chatted, she taught, and she very calmly ran a pretty complicated meal, telling us "You have to accept mess."

And it got messy. But when the food was done, it was amazing. We all ate too much, while the teacher continued to bustle around the kitchen finishing up the decadent dessert. When it, too, was done, she sat down with us and everyone told stories as we mutually overdosed on sugar. This class happens every Wednesday, and is suddenly another thing I will miss about New York.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Big Baby

I don't want to be overly dramatic or anything, but getting dressed has now made me break down into tears twice. The first time was the night before Tash and Steve's wedding. I had tried on my dress 5 nights earlier (not even a whole week!) and it fit. Not only did it fit, but it somehow managed to kind of squeeze my belly into an if-not-flattish-than-maybe-only-a-little-hilly state wherein I probably still looked pregnant, but kind of svelte at the same time. I was Kentucky! I should have known it was too good to last.

When I tried it on again as I was packing, I couldn't even zip it up. Not at all. Dismayed, I walked into the living room and asked Rob to try, as though it was some hard to open can of pickles that he could wrestle into submission. He tried to be tactful. "I can't get it to go any further without ruining the dress."

So I started pulling dresses out of my closet one after the other, including a few that I haven't worn in 6 years for good reason. Nothing fit. Even the dresses that were at one point too big for me now strained around handfuls of my chubby back. On the plus side, my cleavage was distracting. Still, nothing was quite right and I suddenly remembered the dress I had bought in LA when I was with Liz. It was $5 at a store called Veronica M, and had apparently been waiting in the back of my closet for its chance to rescue me. You may not see it and immediately think "wedding dress" (I didn't), but once again, my sister is my hero.

It's not that I'm concerned about getting larger. I realize I'm pregnant and that this is what happens, which is what Rob told me as he hugged me and I cried, surrounded by a pile of useless fabric. I just wasn't prepared. My stomach popped out in a matter of days, and I suddenly find myself standing at the closet in the morning, totally panicking about what to put on my expanding body.

The day of the wedding, we went maternity clothes shopping, which was a whole new exercise in frustration. It should have been a 30-minute trip, but every store we headed for had somehow closed--not for the day, but forever. Were there not pregnant women in Denver? Where did they shop? We finally found a Gap maternity store that was so small and sad that I sat down in a chair and cried again. "This looks cute!" Rob said, looking at a row of sweatpants and cotton dresses. "What's the matter?"

But I couldn't speak the words to tell him that this all looked like schlubby maternity loungewear, and if I wasn't going to be able to go outside in my new purchases, then what was the point of buying them? He took my hand and dragged me to the nearest restaurant, where I was distracted by chicken salad and a bunch of people fawning over John Elway as he left the building. Fueled by the food, we tried one more stop (our quick trip having now turned into a 3-hour tour.) At Pea in the Pod, I found out that I am still not big enough for maternity pants and that all the maternity tops just had the effect of making me look even bigger than I am. I bought some clothes I will probably be able to wear in the next month or so. Until then, I am just going to get used to adding an extra 30 minutes every morning to tear apart my closet in hopes that I can find something suitable to be seen in.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shades of Gray

It's cold and rainy in New York, one of those nights where I can very easily get excited about the upcoming move to San Francisco, where it will be hmmm...maybe cold and rainy for a few months, too. But not AS cold. This is important.

I rode the elevator with 2 guys and one of them shook water from his hair and jacket and said, "Man, I'm soaked!"

"No umbrella?" I asked.

"I don't like em," he answered.

I heard myself say, "Well, it's a personal choice."

Seriously? It's a personal choice? Only if you want to personally defy all logic and find yourself shivering in an elevator, but whatever. See how politically correct I am? So ready for San Francisco.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An Evening at Home

Rob and I cleaned our apartment tonight because we had a potential renter coming over and we wanted her to think that we are clean people. Actually, I just wanted her not to kill us, because I have this strong reaction to people who respond to my Craigslist postings, which is that I assume they all want to come over and kill me.* So far, this has not happened.

We also moved a bunch of extraneous containers of clothing and dishes (and cat litter) into our neighbor Eric's apartment, and that really made the place look (and smell) extra clean. Almost like no one really lived in it and it was just a show home. I've never seen Rob happier. "I'm so bummed that it doesn't always look like this!" he exclaimed after she left. I don't think he enjoys that whole "lived in" feel.

After we brought all our stuff back in from Eric's, we sat down to have dinner and were interrupted by a knock at the door. No one ever knocks on our door, so we were confused. I got a little freaked out that the renter was coming back and would see that our cats actually do have a litter box. But it was Michael from down the hall. "You have a cat, right?" he asked. We confirmed. He then gestured to the hallway, where Smokey was having a little field trip, inviting himself into other people's homes. When we caught him, he was in 5A clawing up JD, the guy who lives there, in an attempt to escape. We brought him home, his little heart hammering away, and he is now passed out in bed. I hope this isn't an indication of how he's going to handle leaving the state and flying to California in a cat carrier. I mean, it was brave of him to attempt the adventure, but I think he lost his confidence somewhere near the elevators. We're going to have to get him some good drugs for the ride.

*This is not a new development brought on by that guy who actually was killing people he met on Craigslist. This particular affliction has been going on for years.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wedding Weekend in Pictures

My feeling is that when true love, pig roasts, and chair surfing are involved, there's really no need for words.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Deepish Friday

Rob and I are off to a wedding in Denver this weekend. Tash, of bachelorette party fame, is marrying Steve, of great calves fame.

I was telling a guy at work about my weekend plans, and he expressed disbelief (I guess we've been to a lot of weddings this year), asking, "Do people have to be married to be friends with you?"

At the time, I just laughed, but later I thought about it more. And the conclusion I came to is thus: Friends, I don't care if you're married. I'm really more interested in what you can do for me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happily Ever After

This weekend Rob and I were in Berkeley for the wedding of our dear friends Brooke and Krista. The ceremony was in their backyard and was lovely and very memorable--they were married by the community of 40 friends and family. Krista's mom read a poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, which you can see here. I think one of my favorite things about it was that her mom was really not very into Oriah's name, and told Krista that if she had to say who the poem was written by, she was going to say it was a poem by "Oriah M. Dreamer", presumably to make it sound less, um, insanely hippie-ish. But the poem and her reading were quite perfect. She did not say the author's name at all.

Krista and Brooke looked like tall, elegant princesses. [I'm sorry, but really, what kind of blog post would it be if I didn't insert my height insecurities?] I will post more pics as soon as possible, but for now, I just wanted to post a big congratulations to my beautiful friends. And I wanted you to see the cake, which was a lemon affair with fresh raspberries and blackberries.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Whole Nother State

There are lots of things the jury duty official could have asked. He could have asked "Who here has served on a Grand Jury before?" or "Who here has been convicted of a crime?" or "Who here is having digestion issues and simply can't sit on these wooden benches for one minute longer?" I am guessing there are countless ways he could have shrunk the pool of potential jurors, and none of the aforementioned ones would have helped me out much. I've never been on a jury, or convicted of a crime (unless you count that one party in college when I was 20 years old and got hauled off to jail in a paddy wagon with 35 of my closest friends and acquaintances. But you don't count that.) Plus, I'd eaten bran cereal that morning and was feeling fine.

What the important guy in the suit did ask was this, "Is there anyone here who does not live in Manhattan? Please line up in the center of the room." I thought about this for approximately 3 seconds and then stood up. Rob, you see, has been transferred to work in the San Francisco office of [censored!]. And, because he is bringing me along with him, it would be very hard for me to serve on a 6-month case in New York. In fact, when I told the official my news, he even said "Wow. That's a whole nother state." Yes, it is.

Then I said to him, "Plus, I'm pregnant and would probably be having a baby before the case was over."

"Congratulations," he said, waving me away because I had obviously become an extremely unattractive prospective juror.

So there you have it. I'm pregnant (due in March) and moving to San Francisco in November (we're in the city today looking for places to live. This activity toggles between being exciting/fun and exhausting/a remarkably quick way to get in an argument.) In other good news, my company has been kind enough to allow me to transfer as well, and I will do my job out of whatever spectacular apartment we do eventually find. Which is good, because otherwise I would probably just lie down in the middle of the city, thinking about how much I love it, while my weight balloons out of control.

The other nice thing about having a baby is that it affords Rob the opportunity to fake punch me while we're getting ready for work in the morning, all because "the baby told me to do it." Rob and the baby already have a very special bond.

We'll miss New York a lot, but I am truly ready to move back to my favorite city in the world, made that much better by its proximity to wine country...which I will be enjoying again at some point in 2010.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slow Day

I had grand jury duty this morning. I was on the subway headed to the courthouse when I realized I had forgotten my Kindle. "Oh no!" I said out loud on the train, because I have no inner voice. Seriously, it was a devastating moment. I had heard that jury duty was just a bunch of sitting and reading. And I was actually looking forward to that. I'm reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson's first in a series. I've already read the second book, which kind of ruined some things about the first, so my advice to you is Go In Order.

But the first book is still really good and very gripping and when I got to the courthouse without it, I tried to be calm and wait patiently with the million other prospective jurors in the hallway. We were all called into a large, official looking room with wooden benches and raised letters reading In God We Trust on the front wall. So much for separation of church and state.

A man in a suit informed us lucky folks that this grand jury summons was for a 6-month case. "But it's only Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm," he reassured us. The groans from the crowd probably signified to him that no one felt reassured. Luckily, I was quickly dismissed because I am a very smooth talker. And because I had a compelling reason for being unable to serve, which will become clear to you in future blogs.

So I went back to the office and wandered around in the hallway, looking for our publicity director. She wasn't in her office and I found myself inexplicably doing The Robot as I turned around and headed back to my desk. This did not go unnoticed by the COO, who was walking down the hall. "Are you doing The Robot?" he asked. "Uh...yes," I replied, feeling not unlike Beavis or Butthead. The COO then did The Robot, too. So I did it again. Because not only do I have no inner voice. I also have no inner dancer.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What do you know?

Courtesy of Joe, here's a fun quiz that will show you just how bad you are at identifying countries in the Middle East and Africa. Or maybe you're good at it. Whatever. I only want to hear from you if you sucked at it like I did.

I was way better the second time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Drama on a Plane

I take my seat on the aisle of the exit row and stretch out my legs. Tall men walking to the back of the plane glare at me. It can't be fun to see a 5'4" person taking up the seat with all the leg room. I smile and swing my legs back and forth like the childish brat that I am. I stop smiling when the man in the middle seat arrives. He has terrible body odor.

The flight attendant shows up to make sure that we all understand we're sitting in an exit row. "I'll need a verbal from each of you," she says. "Are you willing and able to help in case of an emergency?"

"Yes," 5 people say. Body Odor Man grins happily, but says nothing.

"Sir?" she asks him. "Can you assist in an emergency? I need you to say yes."

"I don't speak English," he says with a heavy accent that I can't place because I'm not good at that.

"Uh oh," she says. "I'm going to have to reseat you."

Of course, he doesn't understand what she's saying. He's still smiling like she's teasing him, and meanwhile, she's really looking around for someone who wants to move to an exit row. One of the tall guys raises his hand. Body Odor Man starts to look confused. "Why?" he keeps asking, as she gestures for him to get up. The man in the window seat and I try to explain. "You must speak English to sit in this seat," we say several times. He still doesn't understand. Finally, he gets up and walks sadly away. He looks at me one more time and says, "Why?"

"Because of English!" I say too loudly. I really want him to understand, but I basically end up sounding like a terrible, short xenophobe in a desirable plane seat.

Which is when karma decides to bite me in the ass.

Several hours into the plane ride, I have to go to the bathroom and I need Pringles. I head to the back of the plane. After I flush the toilet, I notice the toilet seat cover has not made it all the way down. I decide I don't care and walk out the door. A spectacled bald man is waiting to go next, and I have the slight feeling of embarrassment that I did not double flush the toilet.

I get my Pringles from the flight attendant and when I turn around to head back to my seat, I come face to face with what can only be described as the German Bathroom Police (this accent I did recognize.) The spectacled man is standing in the aisle, a line forming behind him, waiting to get my attention.

"I sink you forgot somesing!" he yells. I look into the bathroom and sure enough, the toilet seat liner is peeking over the edge of the toilet. This man thinks I did not flush the toilet at all, and he wants the entire plane to know.

"No," I say firmly. "I didn't forget to flush. That's just some tissue that didn't get flushed down." I mean seriously, this is the worst conversation I have ever had on a plane. I would rather go sit on Body Odor Man's lap for the rest of the flight than have this crazy German guy yelling at me anymore. He makes a huge show of walking into the bathroom with the door still open and flushing the toilet himself with a sigh of utter disgust. I walk back and take my seat, and for the rest of the flight I fight with that guy in my head, thinking of all the things I should have said. And really also thinking that I probably should have just flushed the toilet. I swing my legs, but it's just not the same. Then I eat my Pringles and feel better.

Friday, September 18, 2009

One Year Later

In San Francisco to celebrate our first anniversary:

Me: Do you ever just stop and think about how much you love me?

Rob: No.


Me: Oh! Let's go down the curvy part of Lombard Street!

Rob: No.

Me: Why?

Rob: That's for tourists. And anuses.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The couch is my new personal trainer

Tonight, I quit the gym. I went back and forth on the decision, but ultimately, I knew it was the right thing to do when I realized that I would have to go out of my way to deliver my membership cancel form. I never go to the gym. It was very inconvenient, this quitting. But I walked over and delivered the news, complete with a total lie about why I was quitting, because I was afraid they would pressure me if I told them that the real reason I'm leaving is because I am a lazy, unmotivated couch potato. On my way to the gym, I bought a pint of chocolate ice cream so that I could eat it when I got home.

In case you are in my family and suddenly feeling a bit worried about me, please don't. I will continue to do yoga and walk at least 3 miles a day (to and from work). I will probably not eat ice cream every night. Plus, if I told you what my gym membership cost (not to mention what it cost me per infrequent visit), you'd probably want to be here celebrating with me. This does not mean failure, people. It means new shoes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Carson's Thunder

In 2002, my dear friend Michele gave birth to her first boy. She named him Carson Thunder (Thunder is also his dad's middle name.) Carson was a darling boy right away. Sweet, smart, and happy, he also managed to learn the chorus to songs like Snoop Dogg's Drop It Like It's Hot almost as soon as he learned to talk. All G-rated, I assure you.

Carson was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 2. Though it was a tough and scary adjustment, he always handled it like a pro, even at such a young age. A couple of years ago, Carson came to my parents' house for breakfast. He saw that my mom had made her famous "sticky buns" and told Michele he thought he might need an extra bit of insulin that morning, since he intended to enjoy these treats with the rest of us. I couldn't believe his maturity and intelligence, even though I see examples of them over and over again.

Carson, Age 2, with his brother, Seamus

He is also a sharp dresser.

I saw Carson in August, again at my parents' house (they love to host brunch when I'm in town.) He walked up the steps to the porch carrying a little bag.

"What's in your bag?" my Aunt Cathy asked, no doubt assuming that the answer would be toys or allowance money or something equally innocent.

"My pokes," Carson said conversationally.

"Oh" Cathy said. "What are your pokes?"

"I have diabetes," Carson explained, telling her that he has to take three shots of insulin every day. He has since he was two years old.

Carson is so matter-of-fact about having diabetes. He understands exactly what it is and what needs to be done about it. He can tell you his story without ever getting sad or feeling sorry for himself. Still, the reality is that there are bad days as well as good days.

Every year his family and friends participate in a fundraising walk as a team called "Carson's Thunder" to find a cure for our boy's disease. This year's walk along the Chicago Lakefront is October 4. We here at Deepish Thoughts don't ask for much, except your eyes and maybe your forgiveness for some of our more questionable posts. Oh yeah, and also your understanding when we stop posting for lengthy periods. OK! So we ask you for things. But today, we (that's the royal "we", I guess) are asking you to help out our wonderful friend Carson and all the kids who would benefit so much from your donation. There will be a cure for diabetes. Let's find it soon and make Carson's life easier. DONATE HERE.

Carson, his family, and Deepish Thoughts thank you.

Happy Birthday, Liz!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Justin, I need to meet your Dad

Liz posted a hilarious link on Facebook today. It's a link to Twitter. I'm not sure why, but I have a pretty major dislike for both Facebook and Twitter. So I was prepared not to like this link she posted. Too bad for me, it was so funny that I cried.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Deepish Thoughts on Cultural Experience

Rob and I recently decided that sitting on the couch watching episode after episode of The Wire may not be the best way to get our weekly dose of culture. Of course, it is a great way to get your weekly dose of West-Baltimore-on-TV culture, so I'm pretty covered on any information I was lacking when it comes to drug corners and the cops who split time between hunting the dealers and becoming extraordinarily inebriated at the local bars. I have increased my vocabulary and can now confidently use words like "mope", "hopper", and "stash" in a sentence. I have yet to work this knowledge into a prospective client presentation.

Now that everyone keeps saying summer is ending (it's not, by the way), we have decided to get up off the couch and spend some time getting really cultured in our willing city. And in other cities. We went to Pittsburgh for a wedding last weekend. Having never been there, I wasn't sure what to expect from the Steel City. Here are some things I learned:

1. Everyone in Pittsburgh owns a Steelers jersey.

2. Everyone in Pittsburgh is wearing their Steelers jersey right now.

3. Pittsburgh has a 7-story Andy Warhol museum with The Factory re-imagined on the top floor. Velvet Underground music, flashing lights, close-up video of Lou Reed sucking on a cigarette, couches.

4. The cab situation in Pittsburgh is different than that of New York. On Saturday after the wedding reception, we called several cab companies, only to learn that the wait was 2 hours long. (Steelers game. Obviously.) We took a bus and learned about Pittsburgh bus culture.

I really enjoyed the city. The wedding was on the Carnegie Mellon campus and the reception was at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. It was the end of August and absolutely gorgeous out. I told Rob I thought we should spend more weekends simply traveling to an American city and exploring it. He looked at me like I was wearing a Steeler's jersey and said "Right. With all our free time?"

It's true, we do tend to spend our time traveling for work, weddings, holidays to see family, etc. We don't have a ton of free weekends. So for Labor Day, we decided to stay in New York. We both had Friday off and we spent it having lunch at Otto, going to the Whitney Museum, and walking through Central Park. We met John for dinner at a tapas bar ("I thought you said topless," he complained when we arrived.)

We took our cultural expedition to Brooklyn on Saturday, to see Jay, Cameron, and Roan. We grilled out, watched Roan splash in his baby pool, and went to a block party. Okkkk, we walked past a block party. Cultural.

Sunday we cultured our way onto a train and went to Long Island to see my sister-in-law and her three kids. We had a small bonfire in the backyard and ate homemade apple pie.

Now we are exhausted by all of our activity, so we're going to curl up on the couch and watch The Wire. I missed the little hoppers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Good Dog

When I was growing up, a variety of smallish pets came in and out of our lives with some regularity. We had goldfish, a gerbil, parakeets, and eventually a cat, Emily. My youngest brother Paul always wanted a dog and, swayed heavily by ubiquitous Taco Bell commercials, his obsession was chihuahuas. He really, really wanted one of those small, ratty dogs; I imagine he thought it would speak to him in a Spanish accent.

My mom had always had a dog growing up, something my grandpa made sure of. He is the kind of man who can still rattle off the names of every dog he's ever owned and tell you details about them, who will feed a dog ice cubes directly from his mouth, and who is just generally happier when accompanied by a canine companion (I'm assuming this, because I've never really known my grandpa without a dog. He's been between dogs, but that's not the same thing.)

When I left for college, my family was still dogless, though Paul's campaign continued. It was shortly after I graduated that my parents got Casey. Originally they named her K.C., an abbreviation of my mom's maiden name and our last name. But after my brother hooked a Grateful Dead collar around her neck, it was an easy evolution down the path to Casey Jones. Or Casey Lou, as she was later known. Casey was not a chihuahua. She was nothing close to a chihuahua. At first, she was a very cute ball of reddish brown fur, and she grew to be a lean, athletic medium-sized dog with a ridge. She could run like a greyhound, but she never spoke Spanish.

Casey was a quirky and, it must be said, neurotic dog. She did not like loud noises, and might slam her entire body into doors when she heard thunder. When I came home for holidays, she would be there to greet me, tongue first. I would sit at the kitchen table and she would lick my legs, my hands, my arms, until I complained loudly that someone should remove her tongue, The World According to Garp-style. One morning I woke up in the guest bedroom that had been my sister's. Someone was licking me directly on the mouth. I leaped out of bed, disgusted, but definitely wide awake.

There was also some confusion (Casey's) as to whether she was a dog or a person. The best evidence of this was when we all sat on the couch to watch TV. Casey would insert herself between two people, sitting upright on her butt, watching along with us. When asked to go to her box (the bed on the floor near the TV), she often acted like we must be speaking to someone else. She would stare straight ahead, as if to say, "What? I can't hear you. I'm trying to watch a program here."

Casey was a fierce champion of smaller, younger dogs, which was abundantly clear during our recent trip to Wisconsin when Liz's dog, Rigby, tried to eat my grandparent's dog, Lucy. Rigby was just a tad confused about whose house it was, since she had been the first to arrive. Also Lucy is small and might be delicious. Whenever Rigby advanced on Lucy, Casey was close behind, with distraction tactics or general threats. Still, Casey and Rigby remained friends, and Lucy left the trip in one piece, if just a bit nibbled on. Casey couldn't be everywhere at once, after all. Unless it came to my mom. The two of them seemed to have an unspoken bond and Casey always wanted to be near her.

They were together when Casey passed away on Sept 5, at home. She was nine years old and she died quickly and gracefully. She was buried in the backyard in her bed. I can't believe she's gone. We'll miss her very much, not in spite of her quirks, but because of them.

Here are some photos of Casey and her friends.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

He sees me more like 4 times a year

This weekend, my nephew Grant pitched for Arizona in the Junior League World Series Championship. His team played Aruba, who, in an odd turn of events, was the “home” team at the final game taking place in Michigan. Grant was a total rockstar. How do I know this? Because the entire game was broadcast on ESPN and it was seriously one of the coolest things ever. I saw several members of Rob’s family in the stands and watched Grant pitch an awesome game while the announcers talked about him. ON ESPN. I was so proud, and I have absolutely nothing to do with the success of this kid. I certainly have nothing to do with how tall he is.

Rob called Grant after the game and talked to him briefly while I yelled from the couch how awesome he was. When Rob hung up, he said, “Grant said to tell you he loves you.”

I nodded. “I’m very lovable.”

“Well yeah,” Rob said. “Because he only sees you twice a year.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Cats

I went to yoga twice last week, which is notable since I haven't attended a class in something like 8 months. What have I been doing? Mostly walking, I guess, but that feels somewhat pathetic as a form of exercise considering my primary path is between the office and my apartment. It's not a short distance, but I'm wearing my work clothes, so there's not really a lot of perspiring and elevated heart rate action going on.

So I made myself go to yoga on Wednesday and I was really happy I did. The teacher, P., gave me a big hug and there was a live 3-piece band in the corner of the room: two guitars and a bass playing festive Spanish rhythms. As light and fun as the music was, it didn't quite take my attention away from the pain of moving my now inflexible body into previously simple yoga poses. I was so sore the next day that I forced myself to attend class once again on Friday.

As usual, P. een-a-haled and giggled his way through class. During triangle pose, he wandered over to my mat, sat down, and touched my engagement ring. "There's my friend!" he announced, laughing. "Yes, I like it, too," I said from my sideways position. He sat there, looking at me and giggling for a few more seconds and then trotted away to observe things about other people.

It's so hard to go to yoga, and the gym in general, sometimes. It feels like such a commitment to set aside 90 minutes after work for a class. Who am I kidding, it feels like a commitment to do anything other than collapse on the couch and figure out what episode of True Blood I have recorded. With this in mind, I also ordered two yoga videos online to do at home. I set myself up on Saturday, mat on the floor in front of the TV. Smokey immediately placed himself on the mat, too, either because he is a zen master or because he simply cannot let me perform any function without his assistance. Each time I tried to place my hand on the mat, I had to remove Smokey from underneath it. My sitting poses were accompanied by his constant circling of my entire body, punctuated by head butts into each knee as he passed it. As he sidled up to me while I was in triangle pose, I pictured him exclaiming, "There's my friend!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I think I need a vacation

I was walking to lunch with a coworker who was also out on vacation last week. He told me that his boss asked him yesterday if he was feeling “refreshed” from the time off. He just laughed in response, because NO. No matter how nice or fun or far away your vacation was, the feeling you get upon returning to the office does not remotely resemble refreshment. It’s more like panic, resentment, and/or a general sense of being at the bottom of a hole trying to dig your way out.

“If anyone had asked me that question yesterday,” I told him, “I would have punched them in the face.”

I am not nice in the early days after vacation.

Of course, the vacation itself was refreshing. Unbelievably so. I spent days alternating between the lake, the bonfire, and my bed. I took long walks in the woods with my mom, my sister, and the various dogs that accompanied us on the trip. On these walks, I was in charge of my grandparents’ dog, Lucy (also known as Lucifer), who had a charming habit of zigzagging into the woods until her leash was hopelessly wound around several small trees and I had to stumble in after her. Lucy, by the way, is the beagle dachshund mix who was about to make out with Rob in yesterday's post. They had a connection.

Every night in Wisconsin around 4 or 5pm, we headed out on a cocktail cruise on the pontoon boat. We circled the lake with our drinks and snacks like havarti with jalapenos on crackers, spicy olives and smoked trout, black bean dip and tortilla chips. On each trip, someone spilled the olives. This sounds like some kind of euphemism, but really, the olives just ended up on the floor of the boat. It's not meaningful, I don't think.

Among our wildlife sightings were a bald eagle eating a dead muskie (a two-fer!), loons, geese, more fish, and turtles. Also one weird bird that everyone took turns looking at through the binoculars, but no one could figure out. It certainly wasn’t going to be me…I was proud I could recognize a turtle considering what my average animal encounters in New York consist of (dogs, pigeons, the occasional rat in a subway.)

Spending the week with my grandparents was one of the very best parts of the trip, because I love them a lot and because everything out of my grandpa’s mouth is hilarious.

One evening, Liz’s boyfriend Rob mixed up a batch of margaritas and offered one to Papa.

“No thanks,” said Papa. “I don’t drink sissy drinks.” He then went back to his brandy manhattan garnished with totally manly cherries.

And Nana celebrated her 83rd birthday while we were there, so Liz and I made her a carrot cake to celebrate.

Liz decorated it.

A requirement on any family trip, of course, is silly games. And we played them. Joe actually created a Jeopardy game (I'm talking construction paper, markers, tape, and wholly original questions like "What is the significance of The New Collossus?" which is really hard to answer in the form of a question. This didn't turn out to be a problem though, since none of us actually knew what he was talking about.)

On our last evening, we played a particularly comical game of Guesstures. Highlights included Rob frisking himself and Liz's Rob trying to get us to guess "hydrant" though we were all screaming "machine gun."

Tomorrow at work, if anyone asks me if I feel refreshed, I'm going to close my eyes for a moment, think about the lake, my family, utter ridiculousness, good food and dogs. And maybe nobody will get punched.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday Thought

I’m not ever going to be one of those people who leaves the petsitter a note “from the cats.” If you’re that type of person, that’s ok. I’m cool with that. It's a personal decision.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Adventures in the Heartland

Rob and I are leaving town on Friday for 10 days. I'm told we travel a lot, and though I guess this is true, I always think of "travelers" as people who go to far-flung, exotic places. Like Vietnam, South Africa, Schenectady. Rob and I have been on more of a domestic tour: Denver for me, San Francisco for him, Los Angeles for me, Pittsburgh for him. Which brings me to another point: in addition to traveling a lot, we travel solo a lot.

But here we are, 2 days and counting until our next trip together to the enchanting land that is known to its inhabitants and fans as...The Midwest. I think I'd like to call it The Wild Midwest, just to give it that sense of allure and romance that one normally associates with times past. And by times past, I'm not referring to the night my friends and I had a party at my house, took Ecstasy, and then drove all my little sister's friends home before heading to the beach. Just kidding. We did not go to the beach.

I love where I grew up. That doesn't mean I'm clamoring to move back there anytime soon, but there's just something so refreshing and NORMAL about that place. I guess I have to say that since I was formed there and everything. But I think it's no mistake that many of my best friends to this day are people I met growing up. Anyway, whether or not I'm biased, if you haven't been to Oak Park, Illinois, I recommend a visit. Famous for Frank Lloyd Wright, Ernest Hemingway, Kathy Griffin, and several top Deepish Thought commenters. Stop by my grandpa's house--he'll make you a brandy Manhattan.

Our upcoming trip actually starts in Indiana, at the home of Rob's brother John, where we will barbecue, hot tub, and heckle John's pet swans Frederick and Jewell. We then head to Oak Park for about a day and a half, and then up to Wisconsin to a house my grandparents bought many years ago with one of my uncles. The house is on Lake Archibald...Archibald would be a good name for a kid. Or an eagle...I digress. The lake is the center of all activity. We will either be lying on the pier, me looking at all of my brown relatives and trying to figure out how I ended up with the legs of Casper the Friendly Ghost, or on the pontoon boat with cocktails and cheese crackers--because we are elegant. Or maybe we'll be making s'mores at the bonfire, or making loon calls from a canoe.

All I know is that I could not be more excited about this trip. I will always love exploring new places, but sometimes it's really fun to just go home.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Slow Day

Some smart blogger friends of mine have told me that if you just sit down to write, you can usually find something to write about. Though I think this is theoretically true, I'm just not sure how entertained you would be by my current stream of consciousness. So instead, look at this crazy elephant.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Poetic Justice

On Tuesday night I went out for drinks with a friend. Over chips and guacamole, he told me that he thinks it is unbelievably stupid that people wear flip flops when they know it's supposed to rain. Though I am sometimes one of those people, I just nodded and the conversation moved on to other important topics, such as how spicy we like our guacamole and how old our cats are. Wow. It is sentences like that one that make it clear I will never be a rock star.

I thought about his footwear comment this morning, as I got ready to go to work. The forecast was 86 degrees with thunderstorms, so I threw on a skirt and my flip flops (also I put a shirt on), grabbed my umbrella, and headed out. My logic was thus: it was hot; I didn't want to wear rain boots. Also, I don't have any rain boots.

No rain on the way to work. No rain most of the way home from work. I made a quick stop at Whole Foods and left with a paper bag full of food, since I had forgotten the handy reusable plastic bags I am so fond of. No rain.

I was three blocks from home when it started, just a drizzle at first. By the time I was two blocks away, I swear what I was walking through could have been classified as a small tornado. The wind was whipping the rain so hard down 23rd street that I had to hold my umbrella directly in front of me like a shield. I was struggling with my three dripping wet bags, one of them full of groceries and starting to tear, another insufficiently protecting my lap top, when my shoe broke. The flip pretty much flopped right out of it. I tried to make my way to the side of the street to look at it, but there was nothing I could do. I had no free hands and the sidewalk was quickly becoming a river. People walked by without umbrellas, and though I know they were worse off than I was, all I could think was: I have to walk down 23rd Street wearing only one shoe. There are so, so many things wrong with that. 23rd Street is just ok when you're wearing shoes. If you're barefoot, it's a toilet.

The paper bag ripped more. I clutched it to my chest and kicked my shoe into a gutter. I hobbled home, every inch of me soaking wet and finally made it to my door, where I was greeted by Manny, the doorman. "I lost my shoe," I told him. "Did it break?" he asked. "You shouldn't wear flip flops when it's raining."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm Still Here. Mostly.

So…when we last left off I was slacking on my blog duties and therefore, I don’t even know if anyone is there anymore, save my four lovely followers who probably get some kind of alert when I decide to put words on this page. Hi guys.

First up on the list of things to report on: my trip to LA. Awesome, as always. Liz took me back to the fabulous clothing stores that I love so much, and I stocked up. My mom bought us each a piece of clothing and declared how proud she was of us for shopping in a store where the average price of a sweater is $24. “I’m finally rubbing off on you,” she said, handing over her credit card. Debatable.

It was the kind of long, relaxing weekend that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to blog stories, so suffice it to say we had fun at the beach, by the pool, eating tapas, eating Italian, and making art (my sister taught me how to decoupage.) When I brought my artwork home, Rob looked at it and said, “Huh. Is that for your office?” I rolled my eyes and placed both pieces in our second bedroom, where he routinely ignores them.

More later. I don’t want to exhaust all my illuminating updates on one post. Next up: this past weekend spent with my 15- and 16-year old nephews from Long Island.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Deepish Thoughts on Traveling

The alarm goes off at 6:30am. I hit snooze. I must be up by 7:00 in order to make it to the airport. At 7:30 I open my eyes and then sit straight up in panic. Shit. I didn't hit snooze; I turned the alarm off. I frantically run around shoving things into my suitcase. I manage to put on a bra but no makeup. I quickly shower but there is no time to do anything with my hair other than put it in a low librarian bun, the kind I favor when I am in need of a haircut but not desperate enough to actually make an appointment. I refuse to look at the clock as the cab inches through city traffic. By some miracle I make it to the airport in time.

I wait for 25 minutes in line for coffee, feeling vaguely threatened by the constant announcements that it is my last chance to get on the plane. I contemplate the possibility that I have rushed to the airport only to prioritize coffee ahead of an actual plane ride.

I drink all the coffee and curse the seatbelt sign. When it is ok to get up and move about the cabin, I hightail it to the bathroom. A quick look in the mirror confirms that without makeup and with my hair back I look exactly like my brother. Who is, as you may have guessed, a boy, and therefore not someone I strive to be mistaken for. I vow not to look in the mirror for the rest of the flight.

I read one entire book on my Kindle and then watch Sunshine Cleaning. It's a long flight to LA. But I never said it was an interesting one.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Look at it this way

My friend John L (not to be confused with Johnny Vac) sent me this very interesting piece by Eugene Robinson on the Sotomayor confirmation hearings.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Two exciting things

Thing 1: Joe makes an appearance in the new Johnny Depp movie Public Enemies! Some of you may know that Joe, in his retirement, has turned to the silver screen as an extra in a variety of films filmed in Chicago. He has now been on-set for Flags of our Fathers, Fred Claus, and The Dark Knight. Though he claims to do it for the free lunch, the haircuts, and the groupies, we all know he has just been waiting for his big moment. And now, 1 hour and several minutes into Public Enemies, he can be seen multiple times in a scene where Johnny Depp and some other guy go into a cigar shop that is a front for a bookie operation. See Joe be a bookie! I haven't yet, but I can't wait.

Thing 2: My phenomenal husband, who does take much abuse on this here blog, has bought me a Kindle. Ellie blogged recently about her experience with Kindle and I must say I am excited to try mine out. As soon as I finish the stack of books on the floor next to my bed. Or sooner, because I think if I don't download a book by tomorrow, I may discover that my new Kindle has been sent to Ellie for better use. If nothing else, I am flying to Los Angeles on Thursday to spend the week with Liz and my mom, and I think this will be the perfect solution to my "I can't decide what book to take on the plane so I'll just bring these five" problem.

It's nice to have exciting things happen.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Saying hello to the seventh month

So far, I have spent the majority of July pretending it is not, in fact, July. I have nothing against the month itself, I just cannot believe it’s already here. It feels like summer is half over and I haven’t even wrapped my head around the fact that it arrived at all. This is likely due to the rainy month of June, both uncommon and unwelcome. My denial of this month has made blogging rather difficult. I wake up each day, pretending it is still June, much the way my friend John wakes up each day pretending he is still 29.

But the month has actually been a fun one, now that I’ve decided to acknowledge it. Rob and I flew to Fort Myers, FL last Thursday, to see his parents. They picked us up at the airport and we drove down to Miami, where our niece Jade was in a national volleyball tournament, representing the state of Arizona. I already feel like a shrimp kabob when I’m around Rob’s family, because even the 14-year-olds are over 6 feet. But now I was at a high school volleyball tournament: it was a whole new dimension of inadequacy. I craned my neck to talk to everyone, and then I ran around, looking for all of the players who were 5’4” like me so that I could stand next to them. The problem with that is that none of them were on Jade’s team, so they were probably wondering who I was and why I was standing so close to them with a huge smile of victory on my face.

Jade’s team won both games we saw, and after spending a couple of days in Miami with the family, we drove back to Rob’s parents place for 2 very relaxing days of going to bed early, lounging in their pool, reading, and watching the Federer/Roddick tennis match that I seriously thought might go on all night. However, I must add that if Rob’s mom told me ONE more time how tired I looked, I was going to throw her in the pool.

So now that I’m back in the swing of things at work, and I’ve admitted that the year is more than half over, I guess I might do some more blogging at some point. Maybe.

Monday, June 29, 2009

General Gaiety

George and Donna came down from Boston this weekend with their two girls, Lael and Avery. I always feel like a very important person when Lael and Avery are around because they like to sit as close to me as possible--which sometimes means directly on me, they want to hold my hand everywhere we go, and they want to change their clothes based on what I'm wearing. Which backfired for me slightly when George told Lael that she couldn't wear flip flops on Saturday afternoon because we were doing a lot of walking and it would be bad for her feet. As an aside, when I was little, I don't remember anyone worrying about my arches. If I had wanted to walk to school in my Bert and Ernie slippers, I probably would have been allowed, as long as I didn't punch anyone at the breakfast table.

So she wanted to wear flip flops because I was wearing them. After George's decree, Rob gave me a very meaningful look, glanced at my flip flops, and I grudgingly changed into flats.

We spent the weekend walking around Chelsea, which included a trip to the new High Line park, on the elevated train tracks overlooking the west side of Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, and the Hudson River. It is a beautiful and very cool new addition to the neighborhood, and is also apparently a new tourist haunt, because we had to wait in line and get our hands stamped just to get into the park. Luckily, this seems to only be an issue on Saturdays.

Sunday was the Gay Pride parade and we took the girls to 8th Avenue--the heart of Chelsea--for lunch. Their eyes were wide as they observed all the action, rainbows, and creative store fronts. "Would any boy really want to wear pink underwear?" they wondered.

They asked several questions about what everyone was doing, and Donna explained to them that people were celebrating because they were proud of who they were. The girls nodded. We walked past a group of guys in teeny tiny shorts standing on their balcony, toasting the street and dancing around in boas.

"Happy Pride!" one shouted, raising his glass to us.

We raised our water bottles to salute him.

"Those guys are weird," Lael said, looking back at them curiously. I thought about what to say to her and "sometimes weird just means drunk" didn't seem appropriate.

"I think they're just happy," I said instead.

Then we got frozen yogurt.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson died today, and I am writing this down because I think it's important to keep track of where we are when big cultural events happen. And this, to me and clearly many other people--like that guy in LA who was interviewed on CNN tonight wearing one glove--is a big cultural event.

So, to make it official, I was at work today when the New York Times Breaking News Alert came in to say that Michael Jackson had been rushed unconscious to the hospital. And then TMZ announced that he was dead and everyone in my office forgot that we are not actually there to talk about and Google Michael Jackson. At 6pm, 4 people were in my office, one of them screaming "REFRESH!" every 7 seconds because (despite the early call from TMZ) CNN, the NYT, and the AP were not yet showing an official death. "Get out of my office!" I finally yelled.

Michael Jackson has become a tragic, controversial, frightening, and even comical figure. And I never, ever knew him, which is fine with me. But just like I'll always remember that I was about to pack up and leave the office when the LA Times finally refreshed, I also remember where I was when I first became a fan at age 7. My friend Beth and I used to put her Thriller record on and dance like crazy people in the living room. And that may have been one of the first experiences I had branching out from my parent's music and finding some of my own. Not a unique experience, I'm sure. Just something I'm thinking about today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ranger Danger

As I sit down to deliver a Deepish update, I am having a little trouble figuring out how to describe the Colorado Mountains Bachelorette Camping Trip that I experienced this weekend. My friend Tash lives near Denver and is getting married in October. She and Steve have been together for something like 10 years—we all met in college. Because I bartended at the bar where Steve worked, Tash spent the first 5-6 years of their relationship thanking me every time we talked for introducing the two of them. She also spent the first year+ of their relationship commenting on his calves and saying things like “Oh my god, he’s so hot,” when he was sitting right there with us. On slow Sunday nights, we would sometimes go into the bar and study at one of the high top tables. I’d look up and Tash would be staring at Steve, sighing deeply and saying “Have you seen his calves?” Yes. Yes, I have.

I love this girl.

So I flew out on Friday and after the requisite trips to the liquor store, the grocery store, Tash’s house to load the car, someone else’s house to reload the car, and back to the grocery store, we were on our way. There were about 14 girls with us, and it is necessary to report that a fairly substantial number of them were lesbians and the rest were not. I mention this because Tash felt the need to make sure everyone knew exactly who was who. “This group of people,” she said on Friday, gesturing to 5 of us, “likes boys.” Which is funny, because Jess and Linda, her good friends who “like girls” were the ones who brought the penis straws and the penis water bottle that Tash had to drink out of all weekend. They also brought a rockin piñata that was filled with candy and tiny bottles of liquor. Sweet.

I have debated whether or not to introduce the subject of illicit materials onto Deepish Thoughts, but ultimately feel I must do it, because otherwise the following story makes no sense.

Friday night we were sitting around the campfire, some of us drinking, some of us smoking…things, and some of us doing both. I am not lying when I say I only drink. I told the girls when I got there that I would be happy to smoke “things” with them if they wanted me to spend the rest of the weekend in the tent not talking to anyone. Because that’s exactly what would happen.

It got dark. We were bundled in sweatshirts because it was getting chilly, but the fire was warm and comfortable and all of the stars that you can never see in New York City were up in the sky where they belong. Suddenly a white car with flashing yellow lights pulled up near the campsite. I recalled something Linda had said earlier that day: “If you see a white car with flashing yellow lights, let us know. That’s the park rangers.”

“The park rangers seem to be here,” I offered.

Profanity, giggling, and proclamations of disbelief arose. “It’s true!” someone else said. “There’s two of them and they’re getting out of the car.”

Our friend Jamie stood up and walked towards the rangers, who had official looking vests, walkie talkies, and a clipboard. They talked quietly for a minute, but she couldn’t keep them from approaching the campfire.

“Good evening, ladies,” said a woman with close cropped hair and a t-shirt that showed off muscular arms. “We’ve had some noise complaints. Do we have any underage drinking going on here?”

Pretty much everyone started talking at the same time, explaining that we were not even remotely underage, and that we would try to curtail any noise.

She seemed unimpressed. She pointed to one of the girls across the campfire. “You look pretty young, can I see some ID?”

The chosen one got up and walked over and the ranger led her a few steps away from the fire. She then came back to the rest of us and said, “Look, it really smells like [“things”] over here. I think I can see what’s going on.” She got on her walkie talkie, “We’ve got a 420. I’m going to need backup.”

I am now only slightly exaggerating when I say at least two people had heart attacks. 5 burst out laughing, and the ranger said “Are you ladies sufficiently freaked out? You’re on candid camera!”

Yes, this was Jess and Linda’s gag on the group (they had purchased the vests and walkie talkies solely for this purpose), and I must say it was hilarious after everyone’s heart rates returned to normal. The “ranger” then hung out for a drink and went back to her campsite next door.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

As my friend Matt said LAST WEEK, "If I wanted to live in Seattle, I would move to Seattle."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who Ran?

This seemed relevant today.

If it doesn't work, the relevance shall remain a mystery. And let that be a lesson to you. We don't always have the answers. Or the necessary technical skills to run a blog. Or our lives. Wait, who are we talking about?

*A Note: I don't mean to make light of the post-election events in Iran. I just really like it when Adam Levine pops up in the middle of that song. But it's scary and disheartening that people are being beaten in the streets and could potentially be executed under Islamic law for protesting the alleged victory of Ahmadinejad. My small act of subversion is a Deepish homage to them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Trump Card

It's Saturday afternoon and I'm waiting for a phone call. The caller will be Gary, the guy who runs the IT Help Desk for my company, and he's based in Boulder, Colorado. I'm not really in the habit of talking to IT on the weekends, but I've made an exception.

Gary is going to read my tarot cards. At some point during a particularly rough week in the life of my laptop, Gary and I were on the phone a lot. So I asked him what his weekend plans were and learned that he occasionally reads tarot (which he pronounces "tuh-ROW") at a local bookstore. Of course I jumped at the chance to have the IT guy do a reading for me, even though there are several psychics and readers within spitting distance of my apartment (if you’re an Olympic Spitter.) But have those people ever brought my entire email inbox back from certain death when I accidentally deleted it? No, they have not.

At 5 minutes to 2pm, I am pacing around the living room in anticipation. “You’re going to do this in another room, right?” asks Rob.

Gary calls 5 minutes late.

“Sorry,” he says. “I was getting a massage and the masseuse was real chatty.”

Gary asks me how many times I would cut the deck if I was there, and we jump into the reading. I won’t give you all the details here, because let’s be honest. You don’t care. Suffice it to say that I am apparently trying to decide between two things and I am NOT to make the decision just yet. However, when the universe delivers a message to me about the decision, I must be ready to go or I will miss my chance. I need to stay on my toes, says Gary.

He emails me a recording of the conversation, which is made better by the fact that you can only hear Gary and not my stupid “uh huh”s and “um, yeah, that makes sense”s. I take notes on the whole experience and read them to Rob afterward. His eyes are closed, but I think he is listening.

I tell him that I got the Death card. His eyes open.

"It doesn't really mean physical death," I say quickly. "It could mean rebirth of some sort, or..." I consult my notes, "change or transition."

"No," Rob says. "I think it means Death. Good luck with that."