Monday, February 28, 2005

But Of Course

I guess there's only so many times your children can sneeze directly in your face without your getting sick. I'm so sick even my elbows hurt.

Be back soon.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Society of Mutual Blog Love

After my not-so-great week (small sickies, Satan, Simpson sisters, so on), you cannot imagine the unfettered joy I felt at receiving an e-mail from Patrick "Go-Ahead-And-Walk-Out-On-My-Reading" Rosal wherein he disclosed that he'd just sat down to a meal in Fredonia (okay, I'm sorry, but I have very little idea where that is, exactly) with the absurdly lovely Peacock Princess, Aimee Nezhukumatathil and that they both—and I quote!—love my blog. To this, I quickly responded in explicit, fawning detail that the love is, indeed, mutual.

And so it is with great pride that I appoint the absurdly lovely (I know I already called her that; it bears repeating) Aimee Nez and her Gila Monster to the exalted position of Third Base Outfield on my blog kickball team.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

What Just Happened?

I just swallowed two episodes of Newlyweds, followed by a chaser of the Ashlee Simpson Show. It only amounted to 90 minutes, but it felt like two days in some sort of sensory deprivation device. One of the following activities will round out the experience, but I can't decide which. Should I:

1) burp?
2) take a shower?
3) put on lots and lots of sparkly make-up?

I have to go figure this out.


Update. I just now received some spam with the subject line, "Hooters Secret Recipes Revealed." I'm having some sort of a theme night here. The only logical thing to do is run to 7-11 for a bag of Cheetos.

Satan Drives a Lexus

Looking to release some of the tension built up over two housebound days tending to small ill people, I headed to the gym this morning. I parked my car, walked twenty paces away and thought, "Eh, I'm parked kinda close to the car next to mine. They might have trouble opening their door." The spaces, after all, were not angled—sometimes that's tricky with larger vehicles. So I got back in my car, set about adjusting my parking job, and...BUMP. Just a small bump. No big deal. I pulled back into my space and the woman (heretofore known as "Satan") with whom I co-bumped, pulled back into hers.

"My car's fine," I said, walking towards her. "Everything okay with yours?"

"I honked twice!" said Satan. "Twice."

"Well, we're under the highway overpass here. It's pretty loud. I didn't hear you. Or see you, for that matter—sorry."

"What's wrong with you? I honked twice." Apparently, Satan has attention deficit disorder.

"That would indicate that you saw me. So why didn't you stop? Like I said, I didn't even see you. I mean we're both in the wrong here...oh, never mind," I said, seeing my workout time slipping away from me. "Can you just check your car please?"

At this point, a man walked over to us. "A little bump, huh? I saw."

"I honked twice," Satan said. Again.

"We're under the freeway, though," said the very intelligent man. He took a look at both cars. "You're both in good shape."

Satan then proceeded to wipe all the dirt off the rear of her small, white Lexus. She decided that a 3-inch scratch underneath the bumper was caused by me.

I drive a Suburban, for chrissakes. My bumper was the same height as her trunk. "Um, I don't think so," I said.

"My car is less than a year old!"

"What does that have to do with anything?" I said.

"How would you like it if your car was less than a year old and you had a scratch that you had to pay for?"

Apparently, Satan is also illogical. But this did not deter me from stating the obvious. "My car is black. If I scratched yours, there would be white paint somewhere on the back of my car. As you can see, there's no white paint on the back of my car."

Satan squatted down to inspect the back of my car. She saw no paint. Nevertheless she screeched, "How can you just ignore the scratch?"

"Look, I'm sorry your car has a scratch, but it's not from my car."

"I want your information."

"That's fine."

The highly intelligent man spoke again. To Satan he said, "Lady, I'm not picking sides, but no way did her car give you that scratch. You just need a car wash."

For no apparent reason, she again announced that her car was less than a year old. She then bore her Satanic eyes right through me. "What, you don't you have insurance?"

"Excuse me?!"

The highly intelligent man and I looked at each other in resignation. He gave me his phone number, and I thanked him. I gave Satan my information, called her an idiot under my breath, and have been trying—with mixed results—to have a good day ever since.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


I like quiet. People are often surprised at how little I talk in person, but for me there's no contest between comfortable silence and chatter for chattering's sake. Also, I'm generally inarticulate; it's hopeless.

So, yes, I mostly prefer quiet, but I also like when the house is buzzing. The domestic excitement stirred up by the possibility of blowing a fuse cannot be underestimated (okay, maybe it can). Right now, the dryer is drying; the washer is washing; the dishwasher is scrubbing; the iPod is...podding; and the noisemaker is keeping a sleeping, still feverish Vida protected from Lea and Risa's cacophonous construction of a large and not entirely successful marble run.

This is my life today.

Ironically, my biggest frustration is not trying to appease ill and whiny children, but the fact that I cannot persuade Windows Media Player to run what is supposedly the world's most hysterical Saturday Night Live Will Farrell skit ever. So you do it, and tell me what I'm missing.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Two Girls Down

Lea was up from about 3 am 'til 7, hot to the touch from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. She was also hallucinating, which is scary but also—strangely—kinda funny. She would sleep for five minutes and awake shaking. "Help me, Mama! Help me!" I'd hold her while she told me all about the crocodiles in the room and how she wanted me to drive, but I wasn't doing anything. It went like this for a long, long time. At 6, I realized there was no point in my trying to get any sleep. I gave her a dose of Motrin, cooled her head off with a washcloth, and watched her finally find some peaceful sleep an hour later. Got up to assess the rest of my household situation and was met with a red-eyed Vida who reported that when she woke up it felt like her bed was tilting. "I slept and slept, but I'm so tired" she said. A few spoons of oatmeal and some Motrin for her, too. Meanwhile, Risa—who started this whole barrel of fun off last week with her own fever—is literally bouncing off the walls, so healthy she can't even sit still. "Wanna play? Wanna play?" she yells. But nobody wants to play.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Okay, So... cousuncle—or should it be "pritito?" Pritito is good—Paqui informed me via a morning IM session that I should change my profile pic because it's "suggestive." And I said, "Wha?!!" And then I realized that taken out of its "Weekend in Vegas By Myself" context, perchance he was correct. Unfortunately, pictures of myself are in short supply and my only option was to choose the other one from that weekend. The one where I'm not, um, laying on a bed.

Deftly changing the subject...

How many times can George Michael announce his departure from the entertainment world? Go already!

Making a sharp left turn...

Look! The Paris Review is in the process of archiving every author interview ever right here at The DNA of Literature.

And bringing it back home...


My baby is all groweds up.

Happy Friday, all.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Back In the Swing

I sent out a story today. Not that amazing in and of itself, but considering that I've been a bit gun-shy lo these past months, it is a small deal to me. I know it's wimpy, but I like to leave a little time for the "L" on my forehead to fade before putting myself out there again. All of which reminds me...

...of that one guy at high school garage parties. You know that guy? The one who would ask a girl to dance, be rejected, turn to her best friend, be rejected, turn to the next girl, be rejected, and continue to work his way down the line of girls sitting in the folding chairs, all of whom inevitably rejected him? Every once in awhile—like at one party out of eight—he'd luck out and the first girl's best friend would take pity and say, "Okay," and he wouldn't have to endure the endless smackdown.

I always secretly admired that guy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Clement St. Field Trip

After our PPQ lunch feast last Friday, I left the kids with my parents for a bit and headed to upper Clement to...

...browse at Green Apple Books. Best find: this Art Spiegelman-edited beauty for a trifling $5.98. things I don't really need at Kamei Restaurant Supply. Best find: glass and stainless-steel syrup dispenser, $2.99

...scavenge at the slightly frightening Bargain Bank. Best find: Tazo Wiild Sweet Orange Tea, $1.99.

Other delightful moments included...

...finding a legal parking spot immediately and without incident. Ah, small miracles.

...enjoying my walk and the crowd while realizing that there are probably few places in the world where the scent of Irish coffee mingles (often disastrously) with dim sum, Russian pierogi, and pho. Where you can spend an afternoon at a great bookstore, eat a Vietnamese sandwich (you know the secret ingredient is Maggi, right? Oh, how I love Maggi...), buy some chocolate-filled Hello Kitty cookies, and pick up a prescription at Walgreen's. All within a five-block radius.

Most annoying moment occurred in Kamei when...

...a canned-tan, musclehead guy in a too-tight shirt with a push-face dog was informed that animals were not allowed in the store. "Well, I'm not gonna leave a $3,000 dog outside in fucking Chinatown," he yelled. Unfortunately, there was nobody around to enforce the rule, and he went ahead and shopped. Real charmer, that guy.

And that is all.

Monday, February 14, 2005

One Thumb Up

Loved Hero. Liked House of Flying Daggers. And so what could be better than a Honk Kong cop movie starring two of the leads from those two movies? Not much, baby! So what if there were a few holes in the storyline? So what if cell phones were so central to the plot that they were—no kidding—the third star of the film? And so what if the music was so very bad? It was still well worth the rental.

Just make sure to check it out before—no kidding again—the Leonardo DiCaprio/Matt Damon remake. Also, don't get your hopes up when you see the leggy, mini-skirted, gun-toting girl on the cover of the DVD. There is no such silliness in the film (in fact, it was refreshingly free of stereotypical hot chickness); I guess it was just someone's way of seeing if they could lure unsuspecting men into renting it. I can just imagine some guy getting it home, watching the whole thing, and then looking at his friend and saying, "Dang, man, where was that girl?"

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Diet Pepsi Ponderings

Just poured a beyoootyful can of D.P. into a frosty, icy glass and am prepared to ponder.

1) Prince Charles is going to marry Camilla Whatever Whatever. When he becomes King, she will not become Queen (this in a nod to public opinion). Instead, she will be the Princess Consort. Why does this title amuse me?

2) Why do I derive such enjoyment from eating a small bowl of Peaches & Cream oatmeal at midnight?

3) Why can't everyone think this way?

4) Is writing a "sacred art?" Why do some people call it that? Nothing brings on writer's block faster than believing I'm engaging in a "sacred art." Why must I light candles before I write? Why must I wave sage? If you must bathe in lavendar water and then dance naked in front of a roaring fire before sitting down to write, something is wildly amiss. Y'all are crazy.

5) Can I write a story to order? I've been asked to submit to an anthology, but it's one with a specific theme for which I have no corresponding story. Yet. (This is the part where you tell me to light some candles, wave some sage, and get nekkid.)

6) I am having lunch with family at the exalted PPQ on Clement tomorrow. I'm so sorry you won't be joining us, but perhaps I will take pictures for you. And here's the pondering part: how much roasted crab and garlic noodles can I eat before happily falling off my chair?

**takes a final sip from the frosty, icy glass**

Small Comfort

Last night I put the wrong toothpaste on Vida's toothbrush, a mistake for which I was soundly rebuked. I told her she was not allowed to rebuke her mother. She harumphed and went to sleep. Then this morning, she came to my bedside and roused me from a reasonable slumber with the four words you don't want to hear at 7 am: "Mom. Mom. Mom! MOM!"

"What is it, Vi? Sheesh."

"I'm sorry about the toothpaste."

"What? Oh. It's okay."

"I just wanted the other kind."

"I know."

"Mom's forget that kind of thing."

"Yup. I forgot."

"Don't worry. Sometimes when you get old, you lose your mind."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Making Up For The Lost Morning

I've been a veritable whirling dervish of productivity since losing my morning to the likes of Brad Pitt and his late 90s bazillion dollar Edwin jeans endorsement deal.

Just mailed off a writing assignment (two weeks early even!), mailed my manuscript-in-progress to my writer's group, started a project I've been putting off for months, took the girls to one of those places where you paint pottery and they fire it for you, took them all to the grocery store, made lunch, put Lea down for a nap, ensconced R & V upstairs for quiet playtime after reading to them about bones and muscles (not sure why I chose the topic, but they were riveted), and am here before you now.

I'd stay for awhile, but since I'm on a roll, I better fold the laundry and balance the checkbook...

The Lost Morning

Have you ever wondered which part of his own anatomy Brad Pitt most appreciates? Neither have I. And yet I was entertained out of my sleepy mind by this.

Have you ever wondered if Brad Pitt can dance? Neither have I. And yet I somehow feel better knowing the unequivocal answer.

Have you ever wondered if Brad Pitt sometimes takes a surfboard and uses it to surf down the stairs? Neither have I. And I'll spare you the link.

My morning is so lost.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Snow Reading

If a mishap had not occurred with our camera you would, at this very moment, be subject to pictures of people frolicking in the pristine snow of vehemently un-swanky Strawberry, California. So consider yourselves lucky. As for Paqui, who mocked me for not purchasing a visor beanie, I have but this to say: pfffft. The only people wearing visor beanies were 14-year-old boys with slumping shoulders, stringy hair, and unfortunate cases of acne.

The logical thing for someone like me to do when at the snow And yes, okay, I did a few lightweight—as in, geez, what a lightweight—sled runs. I was also pelted viciously and far too gleefully with snowballs. Strangely, my reaction was to strike the Heisman Trophy pose each time I was hit. Some sort of temporary high altitude illness, I s'pose.

Where the hell was I? Oh, yes: snow reading is first cousin to beach reading. You need something light, but not too light. And it must be short enough to finish during your holiday. And it must not be The Da Vinci Code. I ended up choosing The Confessions of Max Tivoli despite its slightly embarassing and incredibly corny "Today's Book Club" emblem. I picked it because the opening goes like this:

We are each the love of someone's life.

I wanted to put that down in case I am discovered and unable to complete these pages, in case you become so disturbed by the facts of my confession that you throw it into the fire before I get to tell you of great love and murder. I would not blame you. So many things stand in the way of anyone ever hearing my story. There is a dead body to explain. A woman three times loved. A friend betrayed. And a boy long sought for. So I will get to the end first and tell you we are each the love of someone's life.

Call me easy, but I was hooked. In fact, if you happened to be looking for me at midnight Saturday, I was locked in the bathroom reading (the five of us shared one room, so I couldn't turn on a light anywhere else) while everyone else slept. Max's narration was overwrought, but in a gorgeous way. And the story was wildly imaginative, tender without being corny, and—at least for me—devoid of even one dull moment. All of which adds up to...good snow reading.

**strikes the Heisman Trophy pose**

Friday, February 04, 2005

Unoriginal Programming

It is with much dismay that I have blog is in re-runs.

My intense sense of déja (there's supposed to be an accent on the "a," but my keyboard is not cooperating) vu led me to this old post, where I marveled at how little I have evolved—at least in regards to snow, hats, and being highly suspicious about nature—in the past year.

Perhaps predictability is part of my, um, charm. But if not, do forgive me...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I Somehow Missed...

...her post and didn't realize that wise and wonderful Leny was strategizing resistance for me. I'm grateful, as my confusion persists. In my/our case, though, there isn't even the option of checking "Other" (except for "Other Asian," which I guess kinda works); "Other" isn't one of the choices.

So Leny points me towards Howard Winant. Off I go...


Did you notice how I'm not saying anything about the State of Our Dis-Union? Did you notice? (Aside to A.D.: he saw his shadow; he just wasn't sure what it was)

I have other things to obsess about today, for tonight is the second Latino Outreach Night at R & V's future school. I have catering to oversee! On-site babysitting to organize (20 or 30 kids of varying ages)! Flowers to purchase! Drinks to ice! Last-minute phone calls to make!

At the request of the parents (I wish I could actually speak Spanish; I could probably be more effective at this), I found an excellent group to come talk to them—en Español, natch—about healthcare issues, with an emphasis on child psychology. At our first night, one mother said her daughter comes home from school crying because nobody will be her friend. When her mom asked why nobody wanted to be her friend, the child said it's because she has the wrong clothes. This little girl is in kindergarten. (And I wondered: when did kindergarten become high school?) The mother then went on to say that she has no idea how to help her daughter. This one comment unleashed a torrent of questions from the rest of the parents. They asked about self-esteem issues and peer pressure and discipline and health insurance and high school, college, citizenship. These are the people, mind you, who had been ridiculously, idiotically, maddeningly labeled by certain people as parents who don't care about their children.

I have never felt so useful as when I helped to prove those certain people very, very, very wrong.

And, um, I'm also still obsessing over my lack of snow headgear. I guess I'm gonna have to go with my Jollibee baseball cap...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A Quick Confession...

...before I run out for what I've decided to call "Freedom Wednesday":

I saw Troy.


And I liked it.

Both times.

You can stop laughing now.


Okay. Now you confess.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Little Bits

My Dad has been smoke-free for two weeks. "You must feel so much better," I said.

"No. I don't feel any different; it's all bullshit. I'm going crazy. And I am so hungry."

"You're gonna get fat!" I said. "That's cute."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah."

I antagonized him further by reminding him to watch his salt intake, at which point he yelled that he was going to Ongpin for some kare-kare. Then he hung up on me.


Earlier today, Risa and Vida dictated a story, which I dutifully recorded on about 6 sheets of blank paper so that they can draw pictures to go along later.

Sadly, their story is better than anything I've written recently.


Did you know (I certainly didn't) that a provision of No Child Left Behind requires school districts to give the Department of Defense the names and addresses of dropouts? If our grossly underfunded school districts fail to comply, they lose money they cannot afford to lose. None of this applies to private schools, of course.

So wrong, and in so many ways.


We're leaving for a ski trip with the rest of the neighborhood on Friday, and I am fretting over keeping my head warm. Every hat I've come across looks like this one which, needless to say, ought to be named "The Anti-Ver Hat." I got some cool gloves, though.


One Jason Notte has a complaint to register on the subject of "Errors in Rejection Letters," and he does so over at The Black Table:

A hint to all editors out there: If you're going to have brass ones big enough to turn down someone's work, you'd best bring the skills to back it up. For example: If you're sending out form emails with sentences like this: "we wish you the best of luck in place it elsewhere" (from the text of an actual letter), you're just daring the recipient to send a snide, condescending response or obscenity-laden tirade. While your approach may do wonders in restoring the recipient's confidence in his/her writing abilities and reassuring them that submitting to your publication was a bad idea in the first place, failure to do simple things like, oh, conjugate verbs does little for your stature as vanguard of the English language. Do yourself a favor—shut off the SpellCheck, reread your own writing, crack a dictionary every so often and DO SOME ACTUAL EDITING. And while you've got the Webster's handy, look up "fucktard" and see if it adequately describes you. Wouldn't want to get another letter.

If you see Jason on the street, either steer clear or give him a hug.


I think I'll leave it at that, as I'm having a little trouble getting focused today. In case you didn't notice.