Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mom's GayS

I forget -- unless I happen to be at her Church -- that my Mom has her very own set of Gays. For her peer group, her age, and deeply, deeply Southern sensibilities, it's  sort of adorable. Her Power Pocket Gay looks and talks a lot like the character actor Leslie Jordan.

As we were hanging up tonight, she said, "guess where he is going?" (I couldn't imagine; the guy retired with more money than God, and has been everywhere since.) "Antarctica!" Why? "On vacation! He's taking his...'Friend.'"

She attributes all this wanderlust to his new Sweet Young Thang. She said, "Oh yes. They have been to New York City and London and Paris and he has bought this boy braces so I think it is gettin' prittty serious."

This was all sandwiched in among her instructions for making the black-eyed-peas for New Year's Day, which included a to-do list of advice that she honestly doesn't mean to sound insulting, "light some candles for God's sake; turn the heat on; it is so STARK in there. It is not one bit homey. What else are you making? People can't just eat peas. They'll starve to death. Are you at least giving them some bread? Something? Did you check the date on that stock, because I swear, you are going to keep on until you poison us all."

It is just too bad my brother is straight, because somewhere, my Mom is missing a gay son. 


I don't typically make New Year's Resolutions. Well, one year I did resolve to drink more Water, and that was the year I discovered Voss, so I guess that worked out ok. But otherwise, no.

What I do instead is assign a word to the Year. It isn't usually a word that describes me, or anything to do with me, it's more what I have in mind. For a couple years, the word was "incognito." For those years, I was a little turtle who just hid inside my shell. The first years I really poked my head out were 2008 and 2009.

And the word for 2009 was "impervious." I got the idea to use it when my friends would torture themselves over what they were going to wear to something or other. Because when it comes to fashion (if nowhere else), I can completely live up to the word "impervious." I don't care what's in-style. I don't care what's out. If I like it, and it feels good, and it fits, I will probably buy one in every color.  I don't feel compelled to put on pants to go to the Bakery on Saturday mornings and will frequently wonder out loud why anyone would (prompting my friend Greg to observe at Christmas Eve dinner, "gosh, where do I start? How bout cause it's the Law, for one thing?" -- there was some confusion before I clarified that I had worn pajamas to the Donut Store; I didn't just throw on a tank top and flip flops and call it a day).

This is not to suggest that I don't care about what I wear. I do. I just don't care much what other people think about what I wear.  Of course I have some regard for what's appropriate and what isn't -- for example, if I wear red to a funeral, it is admittedly because I am making a point. But if I want to wear something fabulous to dinner and everyone else is in jeans (don't even get me started on what I think of jeans), it would never occur to me that I am overdressed -- my heartfelt belief is just that everyone else is underdressed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to wear white after Labor Day -- I respect the laws of the Universe; I'm not an animal -- but I am not somebody who will probably never own more than one bra. (There were two, but that's another story.)

So, right or wrong, I wanted to extend that impenetrable sensibility to other areas of my life. Have I succeeded? No way. I should probably repeat it. Instead of that, I'm bequeathing it to a few of my friends who could use a dash of imperviousness.

This year, my word is "Ready."

In an unusual turn, my friend JD picked it out. I had been working on some variation of "Peace," but it never came out right. No matter what I used, it sounded either granola-y or political -- and both are fine of course, but not at all what I had in mind, and not what I intended.

"Ready" is a lot to live up to.
It will be much more challenging than "impervious."
But Cheers to JD for finding the right word. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tiger's Wild Ambien Sex

My girl Kimmy called last night and asked me with a great deal of righteous indignation if I'd heard about Tiger's Wild Ambien Sex.

The truth is, I saw one joke about it on Twitter, and meant to follow the link, but just never got around to it. But I think I get the gist. Tiger likes to have sex on Ambien? Wild sex?

Kimmy's objection --- and the one I hear from other fellow Ambien devotees --- is, GREAT! Now Tiger's gonna ruin it for the rest of us. Right now, it's thoroughly readily available, but as soon as its image goes "recreational," somebody will step in and regulate it, and that'll mean the end of sleep for those of us who are lucky to get three or four hours a night as it is.

My (well-documented) Ambien experiences mostly surround Food. When it involves boys, it's usually boys bringing me food. But what everybody wants to know about now (thanks to Tiger) is the Wild Ambien Sex.

Maybe there is, and maybe there isn't. The thing is: I wouldn't remember either way. Sure, I've been known to wear some pretty ... wild... get-ups post-Ambien (turtlenecks... snowflake pajamas... that kinda thing).

The only recent conversational memory I have of a post-Ambien interlude is hearing the question, "ummm, are you... awake?" Which, I think, does not exactly constitute a Rave Review. The tone more than suggested that this was a moment for which I should've been conscious, and further implied that perhaps I was not doing my share of the heavy lifting.

So I asked him later if we'd been having any of that wild Ambien sex... and he answered, "Well, I don't know about youuuuuuu...."

Monday, December 28, 2009

If Mama Ain't Happy

Somebody once told me that I come with a lotta policies, rules, regulations, specifications -- that kinda thing -- probably like pledging a fraternity, or maybe joining the Army (which is just silly, cause I run, at best, a paramilitary-style outfit). As any Intern who's ever worked with me will tell you, all I really want to hear is "ma'am, yes ma'am!" My guess is this does not make me the least bit unique.

I was only engaged once and I didn't much care for it. Except for one thing... I won more arguments. Because as soon as I realized how much he wanted to get married (vs how much I coulda cared less if I ever got married, to him, or anybody else), I started using it. Every argument ended with "if you honestly think I could be married to a man who would...." [insert any variety of ridiculous statements here, up to and including "a man who would wear that to a summer wedding."] I remember the last one, because it started out with me wanting to eat at Ramsey's, and he wanted to eat ... I don't know... somewhere else. Not Ramsey's. And my answer was, "well I am certainly not getting married to some guy who..." I was half-joking (only half, probably, because I was really in the mood for pie), but that is where I finally lost the argument, because that is when he started crying. I didn't really hear anything he said after that, because my ears were just ringing too loudly with rage. I hate it when people cry. Which of course he knew, which is (I'm sure) why he did it. I still don't know what the correct response is when people cry, but I now know it is not: "Baby!"  In the end, we (obviously) didn't end up getting married -- surprising precisely no one. There never was a fight that ended that relationship. He did one thing, and I certainly wasn't going to marry a man who did THAT. If it had happened a little later, we would've lost deposits, and that might've made me cry, but nothing else would've.

One thing I will say he mastered though was the Art of the Apology (the whole: Randy Pausch I was wrong/I'm sorry/how can I make this up to you? thing. When he was wrong, he said he was wrong, he apologized, and he fixed it.

And what he learned from me was what happened when he didn't apologize and atone in the manner, and time frame, that was previously agreed on and dictated by policy. Every infraction gave me a certain number of points to spend, as I saw fit.

For example, the first thing I would do was: break or otherwise destroy something he really liked -- not in a big, dramatic, dish-throwing kind of way. I would just take something he cared about and put it down the trash chute. Usually when he wasn't looking. (He lived in a Buckhead high-rise, and anything that went down those chutes was definitely irretrievable.)

The second thing I would do was break or destroy something he had given to me -- the more sentimental the better. That was usually when he was looking, but again, nothing dramatic -- I just dropped a lot of stuff. I am notoriously clumsy, and it coulda gone either way.

The third thing I would do was take a piece of information he really didn't like people knowing and tell all my girlfriends. No deep, dark secrets, but there was this funny birthmark.... well, here, it's just easier if I just show you the pictures. (Just kidding. That was long before I had a blackberry. And facebook.)

There was a fourth thing. Let's just say I'm not proud of it, and I'd even go so far as to say it was probably... wrong.
But he'll have to get his own blog if anybody wants to know about that.

Weed Dragon!

Every year around this time, I think of my friend Walter (y'all know Walt) and how he used to torch his yard in Santa Fe with this giant flamethrower, once a year or so I think.

I don't remember all the particulars, I just remember that the general idea is that scorched earth is where you get new growth. Or maybe it's just a really good way to kill weeds. I'm not sure. I just smile when I think of Walt hossing those flames around his yard in New Mexico, while his fearless dog Ace looked on approvingly.

I feel a little bad that most of my annual physical, mental, and emotional housekeeping purge usually just involves the delete key (or a plain old ordinary, literal broom) -- so unsatisfying -- when what I clearly need is one of these. I am trying to find a site where I can register for munitions for my next birthday. It's a ways off, but ya gotta plan ahead.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Meanest Thing I Heard at Christmas

"Grievances in my family are like underground coal fires: hard to detect, and nearly impossible to extinguish."
--Tad Friend, Cheerful Money

I realllly missed my baby brother at Christmas Dinner.

For one thing, he usually cooks it. And it's spectacular. And although the food was delicious this year, it was definitely different.

The atmosphere was off too. My brother is Sparkly. He lights up every room he's in. At the last cookout we had at Dr. Nick's, I remember him sidling up to an otherwise-kinda-shy lady and complimenting her on her wonderful dessert. She blushed with pride and told him she only wished her husband was around to hear all these compliments. My brother responded by inviting her to just run off with him, advising her "I'd make a lousy wife, but I'd be a wonderful girlfriend." Then he just laughed and winked, and she blushed some more.

He's charming in a way that makes everyone feel good about themselves, without ever making anyone feel less-than. While I would maybe be more likely to be considered the golden girl in the family, by the Family, that's mostly just the result of me being the only girl in my generation. Everybody prizes scarcity. But for anyone who pays attention, he and I have a far more Sun/Moon relationship. He beams, while I reflect back. As high strung as I am, that's how calming and laid back he is.

He would've known just the right thing to say yesterday when I heard the meanest thing I ever heard at Christmas dinner (so far). One of my relatives (not a close one), had recently been laid off. And he was telling a cousin about a trip he'd won at work -- and how he wished he'd win another one of those. There was a lively discussion about how great this vacation was, until his dad interrupted with... "well you're sure as hell not gonna win anything where you're working now, Mister."

And I'd like to say that's where the room stopped dead. I'd like to say that, but it wouldn't be true. Because it didn't. Everyone more or less just went on like that was a perfectly routine, acceptable thing to say to somebody who'd just lost their job.

It made me want to do two things I never do: cry, and hug the poor kid.

My brother would've known just what to say to defuse the situation and get everything back on track -- simultaneously scorching the Dad, and comforting the son. I just served up more pie.

Friday, December 25, 2009


At Christmas Eve dinner last night, we were all (as usual) giving Ian a hard time for not having a cell phone. It's so inconvenient for the rest of us. What if Sandy gets stranded with a flat tire? What if we all get separated at a game or a movie or downtown bar and need to text each other? It's infuriating.

Then I told Sandy while he was out on a smoke break, Y'knoooowwww, maybe we should stop giving him such a hard time, cause if there's ONE thing we all know about Ian: he would never cheat on Sandy..... because he would NEVER be able to pull it off without a cellphone. She laughed and said, "wait, I thought that's how everybody got caught cheating..." And I said, No, I had just read Cleaving for Book Club, and that's the one thing Julie Powell says -- that she would've never had her now-notorious affair had it not been for her BlackBerry -- not because she had such a faithful nature, or a great marriage, but just because the technology enabled it logistically in ways that wouldn't have been possible ten years ago. (Personally, I have had a BlackBerry for years, and if there's an App for that, I don't know what it is --- at least not beyond the standard Booty-Call-Waiting, which I only use for single people -- for Good and Not Evil.)

Of course -- we all know all about this -- because of my big "affair" with Ian a couple years ago.  Being the Model Husband he is (the Husband by whom all other Husbands should be measured if you ask me), he was planning a Surprise Dinner Party for Sandy -- a Surprise Party that required intense cooperation and secrecy among six of her closest girlfriends. He coordinated the entire Menu; assigned each of us a course; and got us all out to the middle of the country on a Tuesday night.

But I can't believe she didn't know.... because he kept borrowing her cell phone: first, to find our numbers... and then to call us with food details and logistics (the final details were all ironed out with one big email the day before). Since he doesn't own a cellphone, it obviously never occurred to him to do anything like clear out the call log or anything like that.

And I think it's a testament to their marriage that instead of getting remotely suspicious, she would just innocently wonder aloud, "huh... I didn't think I called Megan today... Oh well. I guess maybe I did." If that had been me, I imagine I would've thought he was trying to gaslight me. I'm not in the actual habit of always thinking anybody's cheating on me (most guys wanna live) -- but that much sketchy phone behavior would've at least made me arch an eyebrow.

By the time we got to dinner that night (where he quietly faded into the kitchen and served and cleaned and poured drinks and basically was our Bitch for an all-girls' evening), I had been on pins and needles for a week about spoiling the surprise. When Sandy laughed about how we'd kept it all such a big secret, I told her flat-out if she had quizzed me one bit about all those mystery phone calls, I was thoroughly prepared to blurt out that I was having an affair with Ian. And so was Megan. And so were all the other women there that night. I had a pretty good story prepped about his "harem," in fact.

Because birthdays are sacred. And surprise birthday parties, even moreso.

I do still kinda wish he'd get a damn phone already and take a little of the pressure off the rest of us though.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Secret Santa

"Gift Giving is the purest expression of friendship. I'm going to think about what I know and like about you and that will lead me to the perfect gift, and you do the same....."
"Soooo...bath salts in a coffee mug... would be... not it?"
"Do you really think you belong on Mr. Donaghy's personal gift list? He's the Best Gift Giver in the World. I tried once. I bought him a $95 dollar bottle of olive oil. In return, he got my sister out of a North Korean jail. You will never match him."
--30 Rock

Gift Giving is a blood sport in my family. I shop all year long and the two biggest risks you face if you're on my gift list is: 1. I will hide the presents so well, I won't be able to find them when Christmas or your birthday comes around; and 2. I will get so excited about what I find that you'll end up with it long before Christmas or birthdays.... and there may not be anything cool left when the big day comes. It's mostly about the Stockings -- that's the big tradition in my family -- small items, nothing too expensive, just excruciatingly thoughtful.

This is how I ended up at the Poor People Wal-Mart today. Christmas Eve. At 2 in the afternoon. Where I would normally not be caught dead any day of the year, much less holiday shopping. (Though when I've been in for office supplies, I've been tirelessly impressed at the way poor people buy food there -- with carts full of cilantro and avocados -- instead of the HoHos and Diet Cokes you find in the carts over in my white trash Wal-Marts.) There was no parking for a 100 miles, so I crossed the road and found a parking lot adjacent to a bank that's owned by a friend of mine. They kinda know me there, so I pecked on the glass and told them if they towed me, I'd have them fired. Then we all laughed and I wished them a Merry Christmas. (He lives within walking distance of my Mom, so if I had gotten towed, I would go over to his house Christmas Day and steal one of his cars in retribution.)

It was all a giant cluster-F of futility anyway. Because Wal-Mart didn't have the Acer netbook that my Mom wants. Or more specifically, they didn't have the Acer she wants, at the price she wants. That's key. Otherwise, I could've had this wrapped up months ago. I wanted to have my geek-husband order one of his high-end netbooks for me (at cost), and trick it out, state-of-the-art. But no. She started seeing the Acers in all those Thanksgiving ads for $199. And this struck her as a fair price. More accurately, anything one penny over $199 now qualifies as highway robbery. Put another way: if I paid more than $199. for a netbook for her, what I would endure is endless recriminations (and possibly tears) about the Economy, and more than one story about her mythical friend who has a daughter who lives in the Rupp Arena parking lot, and warms herself over their heating vents, and bathes at the YMCA.... Because isn't the true meaning of Christmas predicated on the twin values of guilt and fear?

Wal-Mart had plenty of Acers -- all theoretically marked down for Christmas Eve -- to about $349. Which is not even close. I was pretty sure I could wrangle a gift receipt out of them that would leave the price blank, but here's what would happen. She would go to exchange it for another color or something....and they would somehow tell her she had a leftover credit or something, divulging the actual price. (No, it would not bother me to lie to my Mother in the spirit of Christmas, but it would bother me for her to find out about it.)

So I left emptyhanded, mad in the first place that I couldn't just get her what she needed, and mad in the second case that the boys didn't already have this taken care of because technology and gadgets is THEIR job --- my job is keeping all four parents alive while coordinating cardiologists, oncologists, immunologists, surgeons, and nurses for them all year round, along with up to the minute psychopharmaceutical research, augmented by an occasional assist from my own tribe of friends in law and medicine -- depending on how bad any given crisis has gotten.

So yeah, I think they coulda managed a trip to Best Buy.

And that blood coming out of my ears? "It's definitely not a rage stroke."

Favorite Christmas Card Ever

I don't send Christmas Cards -- at least partially in the hope that I don't get them either, and mostly I've been successful. I'm down to a few diehard relatives and the president of my alma mater -- who just hopes I'll name the college on my life insurance policy since I don't have kids. (I say let him hope away if it means I get better seats at concerts.)

But this is the best Christmas card I ever got. And since I know I can't top it, why bother?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

R.I.M. Job

About the time I quit Twitter and expressed a little faith in electronic simplification, the BlackBerry gave out. For those counting, I think this is the third Bold (replacing the three Pearls that came before it).

Roughly around the same time the new one arrived via Fed Ex, BlackBerry itself experienced some sort of international outage. So I had to wait til this morning to take it to the store, and hope either Lucas or Russell was working (the two lone BlackBerry holdouts in an iPhone world). Theoretically, it's a matter of taking the SIM card out of the old one and popping it into the new one -- but I would no more try that at home than I would perform brain surgery on myself or color my own hair.

Right after they opened, I took my seat on the floor (none of these places have fainting couches) and waited. Patiently. I could've just put my name in and gone shopping til they called me, but the only two options in that shopping center were the Hooker store (you can't buy actual hookers there -- just stuff they'd wear), and a bakery I shouldn't really be allowed in when I'm all weak and vulnerable. Pal Bluebelle pictured me quietly weaving a corn broom in the corner while singing Shaker hymns ("tis a gift to be simple" and all), and yeah, it was pretty much just like that. My much more technologically advanced BFF is probably a little sick of the endless cycle of codependence between me and RIM (Research In Motion? uh huh. Exactly) and suggested I just join the BlackBerry of the month club. (She also asked if it was possible -- possible -- that trackballs, like vibrators, could simply be worn out? Not that either of us had any experience of the latter -- but I figure a trackball oughtta at least have the equivalent lifespan of my computer's mouse, and I haven't exhausted one of those yet.)

Mostly I was just trying to retrieve a few photos despite the crippled trackball and email them to my gmail for preservation -- which is why poor Lucas was greeted by the above pic of Rick Springfield when he  disassembled the handset. I started to explain (I had planned to write a funny column about Californication "destroy me Rick Springfield!" and just hadn't gotten around to it)... but six BlackBerries later, Lucas has seen it all... my porn bookmarks, my Tiger Texts, and the idiosyncrasies of my rolodex (filled with names like "Asshole" and "Don't Answer"). He just gave me a reassuring look that managed to say "shhh baby, just leave it all to me."

He showed me the next-generation Bold, which I promptly hated -- as he predicted I would -- instead of fixing the trackball design flaw, they've just replaced it with a 19th century trackpad that clearly came over on the Ark.

Could they work any harder to try to convert me to  iPhone?