Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Questions of the Rhetorical Persuasion

1. To state the uninteresting and super-obvious, it's cold. And yet, my tomato plants continue to yield perfectly good tomatoes. Global warming? Enchanted garden? You tell me.

2. And while you're at it, can you please tell me how to turn off my rear window wiper? Because it hasn't rained in several days, and still the wiper swipes every 30 seconds or so. It's embarrassing already. Don't advise me to look it up in the manual; just tell me.

3. Patrick says his editor refers to My American Kundiman, as "MAK." For no reason at all (other than the fact that I just...I just...well, I make shit up) I have developed a theory about this. I think his editor feels self-conscious about pronouncing the word "kundiman," in much the same way I feel self-conscious pronouncing "Montmartre." Agree or disagree?

4. I showed Lea a picture of me and the spousal unit taken about seven years ago, long before the former commenced with his weekly shaving of the head ritual (performed, quite handily, by me). I pointed to me and said, "Who's that?" She said, "That's you." I pointed to the SU and said, "Who's that?" She said, "That's Freddy." So my question to you is...who is Freddy?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Everyone knows at least one intrepid soul who is currently writing his/her seated butt off and drinking eighteen cups of coffee a day in a valiant attempt to join the list of triumphant NaNoWriMo winners.

Still others have aimed for the more manageable feat of one blog post a day—NaBloPoMo. (This acronym sounds like a complex pommel horse move made famous by, I don't know, the head coach of the men's Latvian gymnastics team, but never mind)

SMITH has it just about right for us less-prolific types, though: a 6-word memoir contest. The winner pockets a (PRODUCT) RED iPod Nano.

I think mine would be...

She couldn't quite get it going.

And yours?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Strawberry Shortcake Underwear & Chuck Norris

Is it corny to enjoy the annual Best American Nonrequired Reading books? Okay then, I'm corny.

[Pause for gratuitously embarrassing aside about my youngest daughter: because of the weather, I will not currently allow her to wear any of her vast number of skirts. She went to preschool today in pants. She hates pants. When we got home, she asked if she could please put on a skirt. For no particular reason, I said, "No." So just now I looked over into the den, where she is putting together a puzzle, and she's just wearing her Strawberry Shortcake underwear. Hahahahahahaha! She's all No skirt, huh? Well, I'll just hang out in my underwear, then.]

But back to Nonrequired. Where else can you find a list of "Best American Things to Know About Chuck Norris," culled, of course, from Nowhere, that's where. Here are my favorites:

•Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
•Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.
•Chuck Norris counted to infinity—twice.
•There is no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist.
•Chuck Norris grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils the water with his rage.
•Chuck Norris destroyed the Periodic Table because Chuck Norris only recognizes the element of surprise.
•When Chuck Norris does division, there are no remainders.

Oh my God. I've read these ten times already, and they are still cracking me up.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I just remembered that it's my 3-year blogging anniversary! Absurd to think how many words I've spewn into cyberspace...

Anyways, these paper scrap turkeys (the real free-range one is busy in the oven, slathered with sage and bacon butter) and I would like to wish you a happy holiday.

If I don't get too flustered, I may post a picture of the whole gosh durn feast.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I would love these "Livingstones." But I think they should be called "Beanbags 2.0."

via Design Milk

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

That's Enough Shopping for You, Young Lady.

I don't know what's gotten into me, but I've been doing more than my fair share of aiding the American economy. None of this damage would have occurred, by the way, were it not for the blasted Internet and its blasted ease-of-use and blasted debit cards and my blasted inability to sleep while the spousal unit is on a blasted business trip. Okay, but I couldn't help it. Because look at the purty bracelet: And check out my first-ever pair of Frye boots (technically, of course, this is just a picture of one humungous boot). Wow, V! Are those black? Why no, imaginary Nesting Ground reader. They're slate blue! But I didn't just purchase adornments, because life is all about balance. Which, in this particular circumstance, means...books! Always books. Here's Growing Up Brown: Memoirs of a Filipino-American by Peter Jamero:

One immediately thinks of Bulosan and America is in the Heart, of course, with the difference being that Jamero is second-generation. Ms. BJ makes the point that this territory has been covered and that as writers we need to move on, and though I agree with her on one level, on another I am continually drawn to these stories, both fiction and non-. Anyways, this looks to be a fine addition, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

And this is Typecasting: On the Arts & Sciences of Human Equality by Ewen & Ewen:
I have no hope in hell of describing it any better than the blurb at Seven Stories Press, which says, "Typecasting chronicles the emergence of the 'science of first impression' and reveals how the work of its creators—early social scientists—continues to shape how we see the world and to inform our most fundamental and unconscious judgments of beauty, humanity, and degeneracy. In this groundbreaking exploration of the growth of stereotyping amidst the rise of modern society, authors Ewen & Ewen demonstrate 'typecasting' as a persistent cultural practice. Drawing on fields as diverse as history, pop culture, racial science, and film, and including over one hundred images, many published here for the first time, the authors present a vivid portrait of stereotyping as it was forged by colonialism, industrialization, mass media, urban life, and the global economy." I've already started this one, and it's amazing. That's all.

My shopping binge ended with Patrick's My American Kundiman:

First of all, this cover is gasp-worthy. Second, I know that Patrick is a poet, but I can't help but think of him as a storyteller. And an extraordinary one, at that.

This ends the first installment of "That's Enough Shopping for You, Young Lady." Please join us for Installment 2, when Ver carefully chronicles her purchase of five pairs of plain white crew socks, fourteen paper clips, and two ponytail holders. Thank you, and good night.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Coming Up Empty... the blog department, of late. Is there such a thing as "blog block?" The good news is that I'm writing elsewhere. And while "elsewhere," I found this writing exercise I did with my online group. I have no memory of writing it, but it cracked me up. Which isn't saying much, since I usually have no problem at all amusing myself. And so, since I have nothing else to blog, I will share it with you. The writing prompt was, "The last time I saw...":

The last time I saw Virginia, she was kissing my boyfriend and running her long, lovely fingers through his thinning hair. The last time I saw my boyfriend was right after that. He was on his knees crying and clutching me around the waist and gasping for air. "Don't you believe in second chances?" he said. And I said, "Not really."

Virginia and my boyfriend are married now, and I am alone. Lately I have begun to think of Virginia and my boyfriend as characters in a film I saw long ago. Because I feel that this is progress, I share the good news with my friend. "I think I'm over it," I say. It might be my imagination, but she seems angry, this friend.

"Over it?" she says. Her eyes widen until they are preternaturally large like a cartoon character's eyes. "You just called him your boyfriend. AGAIN. You are so NOT over it. You are so right smack in the middle of it."

Does this sound angry to you?


Another friend pats my head. "You're like a wounded child."

I nod because I don't want to appear rude, but her assessment is not accurate. I'm not a child. Would a child want to spend the evening parked in front of Virginia and Tino's apartment scrunched down in the driver's seat? I don’t think so. I think a child would rather sit in front of the television eating popcorn that she has lovingly bathed in pure, salted butter.

"How long did you stay there?" my friend asks.

"Just a few hours."

"Did you see them?"

"I saw shadows," I say. "I heard music."


My mother is not helpful. "I dated a boy in college," she says, "and I ended up having to break things off with him. It was very difficult. He called me all the time afterwards to tell me how beautiful he thought I was."

I tell my mother that I haven’t heard from Tino since the day he asked me about second chances. She says, “Well, honey, do you think maybe you should have given him one?”

“One what?”

“One second chance.”

Do you see how that is not helpful?


As often happens, I have nothing to do. So I run an internet search and find a Web address that will, if I wish, take me directly to Virginia and Tino's "Online Wedding Album."

Do I wish to do this?

“Why the hell not?” says my angry friend. “Look at the pictures and get it out of your system.”

I tell her I will, but I won’t.

“Why not?” says my gentle, head-patting friend. “It might help.”

I tell her I will, but I won’t.

Because I don't want to see Virginia resplendent in a white gown, a satin-tipped veil floating about her shoulders. And I don't want to see Tino in a tuxedo getting married to someone else. I'd rather remember him on his knees in front of me, begging.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ya Give Me Fever

Perhaps the prescription for Yellow Fever should be...more cowbell. Except the person with yellow fever should be the cowbell and we should be the sticks. Not that I'm advocating violence. Really.

Thanks to ms. bj for the link.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Knockin' On Your Door Just a Little

Oh my goodness, "Save Room" (go ahead, take 3 minutes and enjoy the show; it's the second video down) is all kinds of sexiness. I've listened to it like fifty times in a row.

You know what else is all kinds of sexiness? Having your first book published (um, not that I would personally know anything about that). Congratulations Gura!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday Grab Bag

Lea doesn't care how much I roll my eyes, she still wants to walk through the vaguely creepy (no, I do not want to purchase a life-size plaster penguin, thanks) holiday ornament place that Macy's has stuffed into an old Victoria's Secret storefront. I believe it's called "Holiday Lane." And of course it's been there since early October. But they do have brown angels, and for this I'm sort of happy:


In A Scream Goes Through the House, author Arnold Weinstein discusses the artist as colonizer. "The territory the artist colonizes, the vineyard he toils in, is you." Which, if I'm not mistaken, is pretty much the same as saying "you are what you read." Or maybe "you are what you make of your reading." Or maybe just "stop reading crappy stuff." All of which I'm totally okay with.


Speaking of reading, I continue to find amazing children's books that nurture my growing fascination with fairytales. A recent favorite is Babushka Baba Yaga, written by Patricia Polacco. It starts like this:

She was the last of her kind. A creature of legends. A being of the forest. She ruled her woods alone.

I love that. It reads like a promise to the lucky reader.


Also speaking of reading, I finished Zadie Smith's On Beauty a few weeks back. Judging from the way I ripped through it, I think it qualifies as a "page-turner." It's a fascinating exploration of the intellectual vs. the...what's the opposite...the physical? I don't know. My online thesaurus says the antonym is "stupid," but if that's the true opposite of intellectual, then I'm in a world of trouble, folks. Leave your suggestions in the comments, please. Anyways, Ms. Smith undergoes this exploration via the 30-some-odd year marriage of a white ivy league art professor and an African-American nurse. It is at turns smart, relevant, heartbreaking, and hilarious. As in White Teeth, the author displays an uncanny knack for capturing the voice of almost anyone, but there was one noticeable and frequent mistake. I point it out only because I think it's weird that her editor didn't catch it. Or maybe I'm wrong? Regardless, the African-American characters say, "Am I meant to be grateful?" or "Am I meant to be happy about that?" etc., etc. I'm nitpicking, but it did boot me right out of the fictional dream a few times.


Speaking of air hockey...oh, wait. We were not speaking of air hockey. But now we are! At yet another Safari Run birthday party on Sunday, my very best childhood friend and I went head-to-head in a spirited game of air hockey. And by spirited I mean we squealed like baby pigs, transformed into unrecognizably cutthroat competitors, and performed odd-for-us physical mannerisms such as fist-pumping and hands-over-head victory signs followed by distinctly Mick Jagger strutting.

And because I care so very deeply for you, I'll go ahead and leave you with that visual.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Am I Blue?

Hell yes.

House and Senate?

Nancy Pelosi?

Now I just hope my not-so-secret wish for 2008 comes to pass.

*simultaneously screaming, dancing, and grinning*

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why I Am Not a Teacher

Yesterday, I helped Risa's class in the science lab. Today, I helped Vida's. It was the second time that each class had been to this new and rightfully exalted campus hotspot.

Each class was broken down into teams of four to work on the same task. A task, I was informed, that would take three sessions (this being the second) to complete. I was all Three sessions? What're they doing—cloning a bevy of small animals? In fact, no. All they had to do was inventory large storage boxes filled with various building pieces: axles, wheels, tubes, etc. Each team had a Recorder, Retriever, Sorter, and Counter.

I was directed to shrug my shoulders in the exaggerated manner of a circus clown any time a child asked me a question. The Head Science Lady explained, "We want them to figure everything out themselves."

Well, the whole "figuring everything out themselves" was the problem right there, folks. Because, really, how long could I be expected to watch these little kids completely butcher their assignment without screaming, "What are you? CRAZY? Why are the four of you just sticking your heads in the box? Sit up, take that shit out, sort it, count it, and write it down. For the love of honeybees and dovetail swallows, get your heads out of the box."

So, yeah. That's why I'm not a teacher. And why I'm sometimes a very bad mom (although never with the potty mouth, I swear).

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dirty Bastard & Dancing Queens

Could this be true? Everyone knows he's capable of much worse, so I certainly wouldn't put this juvenile bullshit past him:

Karl Rove has been bragging for weeks about his "72-hour program" to swing the elections, which predict a Democratic takeover of Congress.

Now we know what it is: a dirty trick campaign using robocalls.

The calls are made to Democrats and swing voters at all times of day or night to make them angry. And they pretend to be from the Democrat ("Hello, I'm calling with information about Lois Murphy"). If you hang up, they call back 7-8 times, and each time you hear the Democrat's name, to get you angry at him or her. If you stay on, you get to hear a scathing attack on the Democrat.


Whatever. Just make sure to vote tomorrow so we can start cleaning up this ridiculous mess.

Now onto the Dancing Queens portion of this post:

Had I known that so much fun could be had while clad entirely in non-breathing fabric, I would have made vastly different wardrobe choices during my life. And if I had known the deep level of satisfaction that could be attained while spinning around singing "Dancing Queen" as colored lights flashed all about, I would have made vastly different leisure choices. And another thing? Fondue is really good.

One of my friends was wearing a red jumpsuit and a gold "SuperFox" necklace. I was so jealous.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Is It Just Me...

...or does everyone want to crawl into bed—right this minute! At 2:09 in the afternoon!—with a book, read for an hour, fall asleep, and not wake up until someone knocks on your door bearing a breakfast tray?

Not gonna happen.

But never mind. I may not be hitting the flannel sheets anytime soon, but at least writing has re-entered my little life. When, Ver? When did this small miracle occur? Well, since you asked, I will tell you that it happened this morning as I waited in the car for Lea's art class to finish up. I usually take that time to run a few quick errands or return phone calls or make appointments, but today I decided to bring my laptop and just sit in the car. I purposely (purposefully?) did not bring any reading material, my headphones, or my moleskine. Amazing what can be accomplished when you only give yourself one option. Okay, maybe two: stare out the window at the rain or write. I was in the thick of it in no time, and then—in what seemed like ten minutes, tops—it was over. Mom duties rule the rest of the day, but I just checked my schedule and eleven to midnight is wide open...