Friday, June 30, 2006

We're Off To See the Wizard...

...if s/he lives in Gold Country, that is. It may not be paradise (darn it, Bino, why can't I link to a specific post?), but sometimes it feels pretty close.

Anyways, with any luck, I'll be able to avoid ending the lives of various medium-size animals. If not, I'll do my penance here at Nesting Ground, where I can always count on a sympathetic ear or two.

Bonus fun link: This takes absolutely nothing away from the maternal hotness that is Heidi (that's what I call her; I call her "Heidi") Klum, mind you. It just goes to show you that nothing is what it seems.

*strikes the thumbs-in-the-ears-fingers-wiggling pose*

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

MySpace For, Well, Grown-Ups

Bookslut calls Library Thing "the MySpace for people who are over 16 and can spell." Hahahahaha! I would add, "...and who experience a feeling of extreme repugnance when faced with the excessive graphic use of poorly illustrated hearts, flowers, teddy bears, affectionate animals, and sparkly...things."


Is that mean? Am I being mean?

But...let's get back to Library Thing. How could you possibly decided which books to catalog? How would you?

Monday, June 26, 2006


Much to my surprise, I am done spit-shining and tenderly curling the baby hair of the stories in the second half of my collection. The agent requested them just ten days ago, so I'm very, very pleased to be done. The problem now is that I've spent this entire evening trying to figure out how, exactly, to order them. The only thing I know for sure is that the shortest one should go second. Or maybe third (so as to throw in some variation amongst what are more or less 12-page pieces). And that the one I don't feel completely great about should go last. Or second to the last (so as not to end on a weak note). And that the two that have a similar ending in terms of tone should be at opposite ends. Or not.

This is the type of conundrum over which I could conceivably obsess for weeks and weeks. Too much mind.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Birds

We found this empty little bird's nest tucked into one of the topiaries on our front porch. As you know, Nature generally makes me...what's a good word?...uncomfortable, and I have a hard time even imagining how an animal without hands or thumbs could create such an intricately constructed home. Look how the straw and animal hair winds round so perfectly. Anyways, it's been a few days now, so I think it's safe to assume the nest has been abandoned; I think I'll just leave it where it is, buy one of these singing birds designed by Tsutomu Suzuki, and think of it as the Official Nesting Ground Mascot.

This is bringing to mind a disturbing memory, most of which is probably just my imagination (it may also be a Nesting Ground Re-Run. If so, I apologize in advance and will use the oppresive heat as an excuse). So Delfinos, if you remember this at all, do comment with your recollections.

Here's what I recall: a curious-looking Filipino man wearing a khaki leisure suit and driving a white VW Bug arrived at my Lolo and Lola's house one day circa 1973. He asked to store a number of boxes in their garage, and they agreed. He was not a stranger to my grandparents, but I have never understood the actual point of intersection between the three of them. We kids spent a fair amount of time in that garage. There was a bedroom down there, several storage cubbies and, if I remember correctly, the only entrance to the garden. The thought of the curious man returning to discover that we'd rummaged through his boxes kept us away from them at first, but after several months it became clear that he wasn't returning at all.

We opened one of the boxes.

It was filled with birds. They were piled neatly on top of each other, their beady black eyes staring up at us. Much screaming ensued. After we had calmed down, we came to the conclusion that they were, of course, fake birds. To be used for what, we couldn't imagine. A play? A store window? But closer inspection by an adult revealed that the birds were real. Stuffed, but real. Every box—how many?—contained the same thing.

The man never came back, and I believe the boxes remained in the garage when the house was sold after Lola died. I wonder what the new inhabitants thought?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

(Side)Swept Away

When my babysitter called in sick last Tuesday, I had no choice but to bring the girls with me to have my hair cut. Of course I called ahead to make sure the salon wouldn't be too busy. "Bring 'em in," the woman said. "It's fine!" And it was. Really. It's very simple to keep an eye on your children when you're in a completely mirrored environment, even when you're sitting in a chair from which you cannot move. The weird part was that I was so busy watching them in the mirrors and occasionally issuing a stern, "I see you. I see you..." that the entire haircutting portion of the experience was over before I had even truly registered that it was happening. I checked my own reflection as a sort of afterthought.

And then I screamed.

Well, inside. Inside, I screamed. Would you like to know what I screamed? I screamed, "Sideswept bangs? WTF?" And then I thought Eh, never mind. I'll fix it later.

So the next day I washed my hair and dried it only to discover...sideswept bangs. Okay, I thought, this is kind of weird. But I didn't worry because there's almost nothing that me and my metal-barreled round brush can't fix.

Except, it turns out, sideswept bangs.

Now, it's not that I have anything against sideswept bangs. They're perfect when I'm in an, I don't know, sideswept mood. They are of no help, however, when I'm in an I-don't-want-to-feel-any-hair-on-my-forehead mood. So, the problem I have with sideswept bangs is when they won't go away.

If anyone has any advice on this matter, you are obligated to share. Meanwhile, I'll be the woman sitting at a local cafe fixing her stories, reading her books, and fretting over all things sideswept.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Some Summer Reading and Whatnot

Let's get right to it. Like many others, I'm eagerly awaiting June 27, when Harold Augenbraum's translation of Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere will appear (it's a Penguin Classics!). I can already imagine cracking the spine, I tell you. I mentioned this translation earlier in the year, but Mr. Augenbraum just left a comment thanking me (how crazy is that?!), and this inspired me to repeat the good news.

I'm currently reading Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam. It's rich as heavy cream, this novel. And who doesn't appreciate a tragic love story? In this case, our doomed protagonists are Pakistani immigrants living in England and barely breathing under the weight of their culture and religion. I read that it took Mr. Aslam eleven years to write this book, and it's no wonder. It is often achingly beautiful. This description of a female moth in its copper cage as she lures her suitors, for example:

The female was motionless except when it swished its wings gently to disperse the odour that had gradually flooded the two houses with the faint electricity of a yearning inexpressible in any other way, undetected by the humans but pulling the nineteen males towards its source slowly at first and then hand over hand a yard at a time as they learned to distinguish truth from lie and arrived to drape the entire cage in reverberating velvet.

I always like to read a classic—one I haven't read yet—during the Summer, and even though the following reveals me as possibly the biggest loser ever, I will tell you that this year it is Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. I've started it already and am surprised at how fresh it sounds. As everyone but me already knows, the narrator's voice is worth the price of admission. And isn't this a handsome edition?

On the writing front, I just received a most welcome call from an agent who has asked to see the other half of my short story collection. Not surprisingly, I have some polishing to do. Okay, make that a lot of polishing to do. But that will have to wait until later because it is, after all, the girls' first official day of summer vacation, and I've promised to pack a picnic and take them to the park.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Saving the World, One Panty at a Time

There is so much rushing to and fro required of parents during the final week of Kindergarten, so much errand-running, crafting, planning, driving, cutting of fruit, collecting of money for parties and teacher's gifts, and whatnot that my entire family is completely out of clean underwear. This is something I must attend to immediately, as I believe it is one of the handful of situations—burnt garlic bread, improper use of liquid eyeliner, and the mispronunciation of the word "aesthetician" being some of the others—that signifies the coming of the Apocolypse.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Apropos of Nothing

I'm sure Gwen's (that's what I call her; I call her "Gwen") baby is already doing plenty of hollaback-ing, but for some reason, I'm really looking forward to when he hits that "I want to mess up Mom's hair!" stage and just plunges his little hands into her pompadour and musses it all around. Also fun will be the inevitable "I want to smear Mom's lipstick all over her face!" stage...

Monday, June 12, 2006


I feel like the unfortunate protagonist in a horror movie, the premise of which is that the Holy Terror of Illness grabs hold 'round the neck of hapless mothers who are simply trying to go about their hapless mother duties. One moment I am sweating through my clothing, the next I am shivering in bed and mumbling incoherently. My moments of unrestful slumber are filled with delirious dreams where the faces of my fellow victims—all of whom I know—morph into horned monsters with bumpy chicken skin and terribly dirty fingernails. There is some sort of mushroom blooming in my throat, preventing me from proper breathing. My children, testy from maternal neglect, are waging war against one another. How, you may wonder, can I blog in such a state? I don't know; I just can.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to My Blog

So my Dad decided that because he had a bad cold, he should take cold medicine.

But he was faced with a dilemma: his daily dose of high blood pressure medication does not play nicely with over-the-counter cold pills.

And so...this man, this man from whom at moments like this I can hardly believe I am descended, opted to stop taking his blood pressure medication.

Could anything but madness ensue?

And here we are one 911 call, one stroke, one heart attack, and one angiogram later. With more fun to come, I'm sure!

Sweet bejesus on rye. With a pickle.

I am thankful for Kuya, whose 300 pairs of shoes only make him seem crazy. He is, in fact, quite sane and guiding us ably through the minefield of my father's health issues.

I'll end with some simple advice: don't smoke.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bino's West Coast Swing

With my camera battery threatening to give out at any second, I only managed to take a few pix at Bino's little book fete. We were toasting his award-winning The Gods We Worship Live Next Door, of course, and—thanks to his sister—were quite well-fed in the process. I'm taking off for my regular round of Monday morning errands, so I will add captions to these photos later. For now, witness if you please:

Thursday, June 01, 2006


1. Will I ever have to pay as much as I did last week to fill my car up with gas? It was $81.64.

2. Did Al Gore really refer to the Bush Assministration as a bunch of renegade "right-wing extremists?" Cuz that's kinda sexy.

3. Where do you stand on using your own children as personal assistants? As fetchers of mail and ice water, for example?

4. Can someone explain this to me? And then, when you're done, stick bamboo skewers through my eyeballs. Thanks.

5. I lost my iPod. Do you know where it is?

6. Did anyone else see Elizabethtown and think it wasn't so bad, really?

I'm just asking.