Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This and that

I'm totally overloaded with things to write about here, so you'll forgive a hodgepodge of updates, won't you?

First, the back yard is all better. Within two hours of my post on the broken tree limb, a very nice old gentleman who owns a tree service business arrived. He let out a long whistle when he came into the yard and said we have one of the biggest peppercorn trees he has ever seen. Then he walked up to one of the fallen branches and lifted it high. Leans over to me and makes a joke that seemed to give him immense joy, despite being told hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of times: "Do you know what this is?" he says, peering at me closely. "Um ... a peppercorn tree?" I ask. He grins and says cheerfully, "It's nature's way of pruning your tree!"

Oh! Ha! Hahaha! OK, now cut the crap and go get your chainsaw.

He really was terrific, though, and the very next morning he came out and tidied things up. He even chopped up a bunch of the wood and stacked it up for us to use in our fireplace.

Sal and I also went on vacation. Now that seems like a million years ago. And every time I went to write about it, something would happen, generally something at work, and generally something unpleasant. But I'm determined to tell you, though, about how our John Williams concert was nearly ruined by a disgusting, smelly cow of a woman who reeked like she hasn't showered in a month. Mere moments after Sal and I cracked open a bottle of cold chardonnay and unwrapped our hot dogs for a quick dinner before the show, this gal plops herself down in the seat in front of me and pulls out of her backpack a tub of hummus the size of her head. The moment Sal smelled her, his eyes darted in my direction, because he KNEW I was gonna freak.

You see, there are many objectionable things in this world, but at the very tippy-top of my list are people who stink. I'm not saying that a little extra B.O. at the end of a long day (such as my nasty 12-hour shift yesterday) means you were born in a barnyard. I'm saying that folks who do not hose off their big, smelly bodies at least once a week or so really do need their own section at the Hollywood Bowl. MY GOD, I cannot stand the smell of B.O. And, I mean, we were outside! There was a breeze! And it was still so bad that I had to turn my head all the way around and take quick teeny gulps of air before facing forward again.

As the minutes passed, my temper boiled at the fact that this stench was going to ruin a concert we had looked forward to for months. So after about 15 minutes I marched over to one of the ushers and told him the problem. The show was sold out, so he didn't know how to help me. But he sent me over to his boss, who seemed to take pity on the crazy lady sputtering about showers and homeless people and garlic-flavored hummus. And in five minutes he had us moved to great seats that were even a little closer to the stage.

Oh! But the stench does not end there, my friend! Because just days after this concert, I was eating lunch with Sal, my aunt and my cousin at a pizza restaurant in Cambria when a disgusting unshowered individual sat right behind me. And when the stench wafted into my nose, I almost hurled. Again, I had to move. So you see, America, please just take a bath. I do not know what sort of nasal dysfunction keeps you from passing out when you smell your very own self, but perhaps you could try using your eyes: If you actually see folks RUN AWAY WHEN YOU GET NEAR THEM, it could be time to hop in the tub.

OK, let me post a couple of vacation photos, and then I gotta jet. These are from the Santa Barbara zoo:

This is Janine, a crooked-necked giraffe. Don't be afraid! She was born that way and the zookeeper says she is a happy giraffe, and that her neck doesn't hurt her at all.

When Sal walked up to this bald eagle, he solemnly sang the first verse of "America the Beautiful" in its entirety.

I was watching the toucans when I heard Sal hissing at me to come look at something. He's waving his finger and pointing wildly at two turtles who are MADLY going at it. I mean, you can actually hear the top turtle grunting repeatedly as he bumps and grinds with his girl below. Look close, you can even see his open mouth! And so before I know it, this little girl runs up to the tank and begins laughing hysterically. "MOMMY!" she whirls around, laughing. "Lookieeeee! They're playing leapfrog!"


Pick-up lines we made up for Chickenbone, as he was violently humping my husband's arm in bed last night. It works best if you grunt and moan and thrust your hips back and forth while you say them:

"Baby, I AM the other white meat."

"There's no fuel in the tank, but the engine still runs."

"No boneless chicken here!"

(This last one you have to say in that REEEEALLY slow sexual drawl)
"Chick-en mar-SAL-a!"

That's just the kind of parents we are.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kind of exciting, in a way

Dude, I had so many great plans for the post I was going to write today, all these neat vacation stories and photographs and witty updates on life in general. But now I don't have time to write! I gotta go home! WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY, MAN!!!!! So, you know that big, huge, beautiful peppercorn tree in our back yard? Well, giant piece snapped off the top! And it made a loud snapping noise! And .... and ... now everything looks like this!

I mean, remember how the yard looked back when I wrote this? Yeah, that gigantic green thing covering half the house? NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THERE. Worst part is, that huge crazy broken part is resting on two other limbs. And me? I'm thinking that those other limbs probably ain't all that stable, since BRANCHES WITH NOTHING RESTING ON THEM WHATSOEVER apparently can't hold it together. So now we are frantically calling around to find an emergency tree guy to come over and, I don't know, do whatever the tree guys do in these situations. And if tree guy is smart, he'll charge me lots and lots of money because at this point I would pretty much pay any amount to make my beautiful yard stop looking like that.

Friday, July 13, 2007

No longer newly wed

Let's see, one year ago today I was running around town like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to finish umpteen-million last-minute wedding preparations. Meanwhile, Sal was at home, tasked with typing in and printing out place cards for our 162 guests. Therefore I was surprised when I walked in the front door and saw that, in fact, this had not happened. And by "surprised" I mean "ready to skin someone alive with my bare, but beautifully manicured, hands." The computer was dark, a bunch of ink-smeared, crunched-up labels were strewn about the room, and in the middle of the mess sat Sal looking slightly fearful of his wild-eyed bride.

But before I could go all waah-ooh-waaaah-don't-you-care-about-our-wedding on him, I realized what was going on: Evidently our printer hated the place cards I bought at Target. Chewed them up and spit them out. So realizing how likely I was to explode into full-on bridezilla mode if I came home to no place cards, Sal ditched the printer idea and began to write them out individually.

By hand.


That, friends, is the kind of man I married. The kind of man who, two weeks after he proposed, bought a calligraphy kit at Barnes and Noble and spent hours at our kitchen table teaching himself the craft. I lost track of how many days it took for him to hand-address all our invitations. They were exquisite. And because he had ALL that practice, it was no trouble for him to crank out the place cards, too.

I married a man who saves the day, all the time, sometimes even saving the day multiple times in the exact same day.

So off we go to Southern California to celebrate one year of matrimonial good times. We're headed first to Los Angeles, where we'll see John Williams and the L.A. Philharmonic perform movie music at the Hollywood Bowl. And the Dodgers. Then we'll enjoy a few sunny days in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo before heading home. When we return, I'm sure I'll have many fine vacation tales to tell, and hopefully this time they won't end with a syringe in my spine. See ya!

P.S. Thanks, Gamy, for the hilarious anniversary card!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Breakfast with dad

He'd very much enjoy a refill, please.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


A major topic of conversation around our house lately: How do you buy a whole bunch of new furniture with, oh, hmm, let's say, zero dollars?

Evidently we have a tough time picking our priorities. But priorities aren't easy when you ABSOLUTELYFRICKINGNEED four dozen things. For example, the guest bedroom and dining room are empty, except for one desk. So we need a bed, plus a dining table and chair set. We also need a dresser for the master bedroom, since our closet is so small. Oh, and we're also going on vacation next week for our one-year wedding anniversary, so, you know, the ol' money tree ain't exactly in full bloom.

One plan we thought could save money is to buy a new master bedroom set. We could put our current bed in the guest room, and also solve the dresser problem, all at once. Problem is, buying a new master bedroom set? Turns out there's not a whole lot of "saving money" going on there. Everything is so just so ridiculously overpriced, and gigantic, and ... I don't know ... EXPENSIVE! AND HUGE! Those, too! And I don't like 17-piece matching sets. And stuff that looks like it belongs to someone's parents. OK, Macy's furniture gallery? OK, crappy furniture stores with those creepy hose-monsters billowing out in front? (Seriously, how does anybody think those scary-assed things will make me want to buy something?!)

So, we turn to the used-furniture market. The guest bed is goal No. 1, as we have visitors coming this summer, and nothing is more worthless than having a house but not having a proper place for folks to sleep. So I go to Craigslist and find a full bed that is described as having "some minor damage on corners from regular use." Um, ew. Then I e-mailed about another and inquired how old the mattress set is. Guy says he doesn't know, which I'm thinking is not a good sign. I quickly realize that getting a new bed is really the only way to go, so on Sunday night with exactly 16 minutes remaining in the 4TH! OF JULY! ANNUAL! BLOWOUT! SALE! we bought a brand-new bed. Now you are free visit without the fear of catching a disease from all the "regular use."

Buying this bed unclogged the whole process, as now we were free to just buy one dresser, as opposed to an entire set. So I kept my eyes peeled on Craigslist, and yesterday morning I made the most wonderful find -- an antique dresser for $225. I headed over to this warehouse last night to see it, and it really is beautiful. It's beat-up, and in desperate need of a paint job, but it's solid, roomy, and best of all, it's interesting. NO! Strike that! Best of all, I wheeled and dealed my way to getting it for $200, PLUS the woman delivered it right to my house! Dude. That means all our immediate problems were solved for $750, which is far less than what we would have paid for a new set of anything. So, let's hear it for used shit!

Here are a couple photos of the new dresser. (Not pictured: Me doing backflips because now we can stop living out of cardboard boxes and garbage bags.)

Monday, July 9, 2007


Excerpt from a Yelp review:

The day I accept New York style audacity from a Los Angeles restaurant is the day I am run over by an MTA train, halved from the balls below, and am forced to dine exclusively at places that excuse my leaking colostomy bag because I pay them exorbitant sums derived from my insurance settlement.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Yep, still cranky!

First of all, it's hot. And I'm wearing one of those shirts that, when you pull it out of the clean laundry, appears to be a perfectly fine shirt. But if you are like me and you sweat like a goddamn sow when it's really hot, it just takes a couple hours for the previously invisible deodorant stains on the armpits to get yellow and crisp. THIS PISSES ME RIGHT OFF. If it didn't mean I would have to sit at my desk wearing just my bra, I would throw this asshole shirt in the trash right now.

OK, so also, last night I ordered a poached salmon salad for dinner. But the salmon was mealy, and the slices of avocado were crisp, like carrots. That is just wrong. So I only ate half. Then I went to see a play, and I had to sit next to a woman who smelled like hamsters. So I sat with my head turned toward Sal, who always smells nice, and then just craned my eyes sideways toward the stage so as to not hurl in my own lap. This morning, I broke a beautiful globe wine glass. (Doing dishes, not drinking, though now I wish that wasn't so.) And today for lunch I tried another salad, but the mushrooms were dark, stinky and gross. Remembering what happened last time I had a fight with bad mushrooms, I threw half of it away.

And another thing: POOCH, YOU ARE KILLIN' ME.

I'm certain my dark mood is partly due to sleep deprivation, since every morning for a week now, I wake up because Chickenbone's tongue is poking into my mouth bright and early at 7 a.m. Now, 7 is not an approved household wake-up time. A good rule of thumb is 8 or later. And not only is Chickens generally a strict follower of this rule, he's usually the LAST one out of bed, at 9, or even 10. So I don't know if it's the heat or the sunlight or what, but every morning this week has gone like this: Chickens frenches me, I sputter awake and briefly consider cracking him upside his wee hairy head, and then he does something so cherubic and adorable that I melt. Like, he'll drag over his stringy rope and lay it on my chest. Or he'll bury his little face in the crook of my neck, tail wagging under the covers. So we lay there cuddling for a few minutes, and I keep drifting back to sleep, but every time I doze off I get the tongue again. Or, worse, the deliberate paw scratch across the cheek. So after about 15 minutes of this, I give up. I put on my slippers and stumble to the kitchen to make coffee.

The best part is, this is when the little beast curls up and goes back to sleep. Next to my husband. In my spot.

Head. on. my. pillow.

That dog, he's no dumbass.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A little gloomy around here

Well, I'm not going to lie to you, things could be better. A whole bunch of people at my office were laid off yesterday. Last week I went to a funeral. And with the exception of two rooms -- the kitchen and bathroom, obviously the most important rooms ever invented -- most of my house is still an avalanche of boxes, bags, piles and many other varieties of mess. If you know me at all, you know what a very special brand of torture this is. Fortunately our house is big enough that I can still create tiny pieces of pretty and organized outside of the moving wreckage. For instance, see the lovely roses I picked from my front yard on Sunday night:

Then again, there are other parts of the yard that aren't looking quite so vibrant. One plant in particular is ailing something awful, and every time I go out there it looks worse. I don't know what to do. I'm not even sure what kind of plant it is, and I have no idea how to find out. What am I going to do, google "Big leaves, crispy, brown edges"? So I took a picture of my dying plant, and maybe you can tell me what it is. Perhaps this clue will help: When I inspected it closely, I saw some old black sticks that had little crunchy, dead blossoms on the end. Please, save my crunchy blossoms!