Monday, March 30, 2009

Saturday in Omaha: Part Deux

The evening part of Saturday was in itself of two parts. Three, actually, when I think about it. And no, I'm not trying to extend the blog fodder. But really, Saturday in Omaha was a very rich day. Because first, of course, we had the day part. Then, after the 'rents left, we had to start thinking about the evening. Except I was very tired all a sudden. So while JP went to the market for a few last minute things, I laid down on one of the extremely comfy couches and closed my eyes. My soundtrack was playing and even though I heard every song that played ("Solisbury Hill" was the first one), I nonetheless napped very sweetly. When JP came back into the apartment I sat up and felt fresh as a daisy.

So here was the plan for the evening. First, we were hosting a party for a friend of JP's. THEN we were going to go to a place called Joseph's that once upon a time had been a place called Joy, which once upon had been the place, his place. That particular night was going to be a for-one-night-only reincarnation event and we had to go.

So first, the party. Now, as you know, I am not the sorta gal who excels at the small talk in the room-full-o'-strangers scenario. The only thing that made me cool about the first part of the evening was that my hair looked fantastic and I had JP. The fact was, he didn't know most of the people coming to the party either. He was doing this as a favor to the boyfriend of the friend who was having a birthday. Capice?

We made some snacks
and JP did his Chef JP impersonation,

which delighted me mightily and then we got sorta dolled up within the protocols of "dolling up" in Omaha, which is a pretty casual place

and btw, I was probably technically overdressed but I also had this whole "I'm from Seattle and must represent" thing going on, which is, of course, to anyone from Seattle completely hysterical because very often people in Seattle go to the opera in frakking Birkenstocks and jeans but What.Ev. My hair was superfantastic.

JP created ambiance which is pretty easy when you have a superfantastic downtown loft apartment.

Then the birthday boy and his beau arrived and then other people arrived and they all seemed very nice. Here's JP with John the birthday boy.

As I said, the guests were very nice and some are even now my Facebook friends but let me tell you that the one who really mattered, not to put too fine a point on it, was JP's friend Smay. Now, Smay, to readers of JP's old blog, is best known to you as Miss Smay, because he does drag. Only he wasn't this particular night. So he just showed up in normal guy clothes but the thing is, I have known of Smay for quite sometime and he has known of me and meeting him was pretty cool. Because he's cute and funny and smart (like I like my gays) and we pretty much hit it off right away. And it was nice because aside from the birthday boy and his beau, JP didn't know any of the party guests and of course the birthday boy and his beau were focused on the guests while JP and I and Smay pretty much had each other. Which was more than fine.

As we got ready to hit the club there was a tussle over my superfantastic spring bag:
I should mention at this juncture that while I have had gays in my life for quite a long time now, I have never in all my born days been to a drag show. So I was intrigued. And I had Smay to sorta give me the inside scoop on the whole drag scene. Which was tres interesting, btw.

I got carded at the door which, seriously, was pretty much happening to everyone but still, getting carded when you are 51 is très magnifique. And did I mention that my hair was fantastic?

Smay paid my way in and then he bought me a cocktail and I'm thinking, "Dammit, I just love Omaha". We found tables and JP and Smay told me all the ways that the club wasn't like the club they used to love but still and then the show started. And it was ok. Not great. Frankly, watching Smay do what everyone on stage shoulda been doing was more entertaining most of the time. But still. There were moments of brilliance plus I got to meet the infamous Erica Joy, who was very sweet.
Plus, every time I had to leave the table to go potty or whatever I'd put Smay in charge of my drink. Which was funny because, seriously, what are the odds of a 51 year old straight lady getting ruffied in a gay club?

There were a couple highlights during the evening. One was a routine that involved the "Hindi Sad Diamonds" bit from "Moulin Rouge" which then morphed into the Pussycat Dolls version of "Jai Ho" and it was superfantastic. And there was also a moment outside with JP when we were hugging on each other and he was telling me how glad he was that I was there on that particular weekend so I could be in that place that had meant a lot to him even though it was forever gone and forever changed.

Now, most of the party left the drag show way early and went to Max, where JP and I had shot pool the night before, and around midnight he and Smay and I started home and said, 'Oh what the hey hey, we'll go to Max'. 'Cept there was a frakking line out the door waiting to get in and we were all, "oh, no'. So we went back to JP's. Which was a good choice anyway because I wanted to eat the remnants of my lunch in a steak sandwich and we had a mystery to solve.

The Mystery

In brief: on Friday night Smay had gone to an after party that involved very few people. Guests were, as they are wont to do, taking turns going into the bathroom. Smay got his turn. And he had to immediately exit the bathroom and go to the host and say something on the order of "What the hell happened to your toilet?" As it turns out, when he entered the bathroom there was some sort of heavy object in what remained of the bowl, while a good half of the bowl lay upon the floor.

There were, he told us, speculations and accusations and incriminations and then some sort of exchange of cash for reparations.

But it was, as you can imagine, a very curious tale. What was the object and how had it found its way into the bowl and more to the point, how does someone obliterate another person's toilet and not cop to it, like, immediately?

Certainly, it is embarrassing to do damage to the property of another. But we've all been there. Ok, not, perhaps with the destruction of a toilet but certainly other property. And what do we do? If we were raised at all properly, as JP, Smay and I certainly were, we would own that. Humiliating? Perhaps...nay, certainly. But still. It is what you do. But apparently even in the midst of admitting ownership the "culprit" didn't so much own up as do what was required to get people to shut up. Which of course led to all sorts of additional speculation.

Now, I will freely admit that we have reached the point where the phrase "you had to be there" would be entirely appropriate. But I ask you this: imagine the notions that would spring up from such a scenario. Come up with a phrase to describe the most scatological of those scenarios, say, "stone baby". Think of the implications of that phrase. Then put 3 literate, rather amusing and high spirited folks, tanked up, admittedly on beer and/or Cape Cods and put them in a room together. Think police tapes, re-enactments and "Law and Order". You might get a glimpse into the next couple of hours I spent with JP and Smay. Yeah. You had to be there but seriously people, who among you has ever broken a toilet? And if you did, what in the world did you think people were saying behind you back?

The possibilities for amusement are nigh unto endless. Trust me.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday in Omaha, Part 1

My Saturday in Omaha, which was now over a week ago but still doesn't seem like it, was of 2 parts. There was the day part and then there was the evening part. We'll start with the day part.

Have I mentioned that I slept like a baby in Omaha? That's important because it's been so frakking long since I slept through the night and there I was, in a bed not my own, in a place not my own, in a time zone not my own and I. Slept. Like. A. Baby. Every demmed night. It was awe.some.

We hadn't stayed up quite as late on Friday night so I believe we got up a little earlier in the morning. We took our time, drinking coffee and giggling and listening to music. I forgot to mention that we had a soundtrack for the weekend, a play list JP put together just pour moi, a list comprised of some 200 songs that he either knew I liked or knew I would like. Girls, this is the sort of thoughtfulness you look for in a man. And if it turns out he's gay, well, you keep him anyway...for those weekends when you need to get away. Trust me.

So we had our morning and then we went out because I had to get presents for everyone. Snob that I am, I joked to the home folks that I'd bring them back "something made of steak". Ha ha, very funny. 'Cept my big slap-o-the-side-o-the-head was that Omaha is, in fact, the ONLY city I've ever been in which actually doesn't do much in the way of tourism. Oh, I'm sure they'd like to..."come see our fantastic zoo!"...."wrestle wild animals in front of the Mutual of Omaha building while I stand here and talk about it"...."eat a steak!"....but it hit me, out there on the lovely streets of the Old Market, that the paucity of key rings made of steak owes to the fact that Omaha is the only major city I've ever been to that seems to exist only for the people who actually live there and not the tourists who may come to visit. That's a unique thing. They could market that.

'K. So we're shopping and I'm not buying things made of steak and it is, btw, absolutely gorgeous out. Like, 70 degrees. And how crazy is that, I'm thinking, that I had to go to Omaha to get anything remotely resembling spring?

We walked around and I took lots of pictures and then we hooked up with his mom and dad for a little lunch.

JP's folks are terrific. Mom Judy is a bubbly, talkative hugger. Dad Skip...well, let's just say that now I know the origins of JP's smartassery. They were delightful, telling us about their recent trip to Hawaii and admiring phone photos of my family. We went out for steak and it was quite delicious and beefy, although Skip kept telling me that he woulda done it better so next time he's grilling.
It was a big steak. I took half of it home. The brew pub in which the steak was got had playing cards stuck to the ceiling. That amused me.After a fine lunch, and the last of my souvenir purchases, we sauntered back to the apartment to look at video of the 'rents riding zip lines through lush Hawaiian valleys and then went up to the roof to chat in the sunshine.

Iowa, it turns out, is very close to the Omaha part of Nebraska. That's it in the background.But we didn't go there because I needed a nap and JP needed to go to the store, both in preparation for the evening part of our Saturday.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

The Best Thing About A Trip is All the Blog Fodder. Betcha I Have Material to Last Another Week.

Funny thing about this song. I had never heard of it or the artist. Because I'm out of touch that way. My first awareness of this song came last Thursday night, when JP and Minogue engaged in a knowledgable and passionate debate about the tune. Basically, he loved it and she hated it.

Then Saturday night I heard it for the first time. Under circumstances which will be described to you in due course. Point is, he turned to me and said, "Now do you know why I like this?" And I did.

The video is kinda ridiculous and overwrought but considering that I came this close to playing "Sneakernight", someone out there in Omaha owes me.

Lady Gaga "Pokerface"

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Odds & Ends from the Album

I forgot what freaks you people are about hair. Let's get this out of the way.

There'll be more later. That's just going to have to hold you.

I will tell you something quite truthfully. I'm feeling a little homesick.

I miss Omaha.

I miss my Poodle.

Let's look at this objectively. Let's say I just went to Omaha on an average weekend and let's say there was no "Battlestar", no Minogue (because she was busy), no haircut, no shopping, no dining out, no any of the other going out stuff that happened. Let's say I just went for the weekend and we didn't do anything but hang out in the apartment.

(puts index finger on chin and gets dreamy look on face, considering)

Yep. I'd still be feeling this way. I get this way about other places as well. When someone gets into your heart the place where they are takes on its own kind of magic. The mere mention of, oh, say Chicago or Otown and I suddenly want to be on the Balcony of Terror with Buck or the front porch with Sling. Because these people are my dear friends and even though we are in touch through various means all the time, sometimes you just miss being with a person.

So there.

Here are some random shots left from last Friday night. After the bar JP took me up to the roof of his building to look at the lights. This, btw, is as cosmopolitan as Omaha is ever going to look.

My handsome boy:
My handsome boy getting tired of posing for me:

I was fascinated by JP's apartment building, which in its first life had been a macaroni factory. I adore macaroni.

Since Omaha was close to the duram wheat supply, the Skinner macaroni plant was one of the leading producers of macaroni and cereal products. During WWI they conserved wheat by making something called "Kornroni", a hybrid corn-wheat product. In 1927 the company introduced "Cheesroni", one of the first efforts at mac & cheese in a box. I'll bet you didn't know that.
But she did:

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For two people who'd been up drinking sipping wine and talking until the wee hours, you'd think JP and I would have been slow to start. You'd be wrong. We dusted off his coffee maker and had some restorative brew. I also have a vague recollection of toast. Then we were out the door because we had things to do.

We had to go to Italy

and visit a shrine to the 12 lords of Kobol and pay homage to the hybrid.

(And those last 2 things won't matter to you because you don't watch "Battlestar Galactica" but we do. Or did).

We had a very tasty quiche at Delice, one of JP's favorite haunts and found a beautiful dress, for me, at Nouvelle Eve. They seem to get a little French in Omaha, actually.

I posed in front of the great blue orb of Omaha and then we had to scamper because JP had arranged for me to get a hair cut, which -as you can see- I badly needed. This also gave me occasion to take some photographs of the lobby of the Paxton Hotel, which used to be a grand place of hostelry and now is mostly business on the ground and apartments above.

A girl can get a very good haircut in Omaha for only $35, btw. Almost reason enough to live there.

I have not mentioned it but there was an undercurrent all day of excitement that teetered between fear and joy. The whole point of my visit, you'll remember, was to watch the series finale of "Battlestar Galactica" and this was the day. So even as we scampered about and joked and talked and shopped and all that, we were mostly doing things like counting down the time and talking about "what"...."what if it breaks our hearts"...."what if it's the best 2 hours on television ever"...."what do you think will happen with..." So many questions remaining and so little time to answer them.

Back at the flat we alternately admired my new do and prepared dinner while watching the "Behind the Scenes" special for BSG. Then the champagn-ya was popped and the moment we'd been simultaneously anticipating and dreading arrived.

There will not be a review because we realize we are the only ones in our neck of Blogtopia who would care and we've already reviewed it for ourselves. Suffice to say we were entertained, surprised and fundamentally satisfied. Except about Kara. What the H?

Moving on.

We were somewhat excitable after the finale so JP decided to show me his "bar", which was not the "bar" I'd always imagined but far more of a "club". Still, there were cosmos and lights in the trees and pool tables. We played 3 games, I think. JP was far superior to me, actually managing to sink intended balls and do so with the sort of skill one associates with Cool Hand Luke some iconic pool hustler. (He claims that I actually used the 1 ball as the cue ball but I deny it. I also, alternatively, suggest to you that yellow can easily read white in night club lighting).

Then something happened. You know how you have those occasional moments of clarity? The times when you realize you are fully present in the moment? Well, I had one there at the Max, over the pool tables while, ironically, listening to Vanessa Hudgens' "Sneakernight". In some way I can barely explain, I plugged back into myself. I had been so stressed and anxious about so much in the last weeks leading up to this trip. Everything was focused on my various roles and the ways in which I was (or deemed myself not to be) fulfilling them. But there I was, bopping to music and shooting pool and drinking cosmos and laughing with one of my best friends ever after watching the end of the greatest show ever on television on a crisp and beautiful night in a place not my home but familiar and suddenly I felt truly myself again. And if nothing else happened for the rest of the weekend that was going to be enough.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Very Good Place to Start

Last Thursday it was cold and rainy in Seattle. It seems like it's been cold and rainy (or cold and snowy) for 12 months now. The rain on the windows of the plane was doing that streaky G-force thing where even the rain seems stretched out of proportion by take-off. Freaks me out, frankly, but nothing a Screwdriver won't fix. The first leg of the flight was already a success upon boarding. I was assigned a middle seat and was worried because I was one of the last to board. It was with great relief that I discovered myself seated between 2 women who were both contained within the province of their own seats, if you know what I mean.

Then I couldn't help but notice that my window-side seatmate had a Kindle, so I asked her about it and then we started chatting and then in a thing pretty rare in my plane travel experience, we chatted all the way to Denver. She's my new BFF.

There was just enough time in Denver to get to my gate, make some calls and board the plane again. This time I was next to a quiet teenager boy-type, which was fine because Mommy doesn't typically befriend people on flights and Mommy was still pretty anxious and just wanted to drink some wine in peace.

I gotta say, except for enduring the boarding-take-off-deplaning-reboarding-landing thing twice, flying through Denver to Omaha is a very civilized route. You don't spend too much time in the air on either leg so time passes quickly AND your legs don't start feeling like they're going to throw a clot and your going to die there. So needless to say, I felt very civilized and almost cosmopolitan when I took my things and started down the jetway in search of my Poodle. Who was right where he said he would be and who looked oh so cute and ready for some hugs and kisses.

He whisked me off in Rhonda the Honda to his superfantastic loft apartment in twinkly, bustling downtown Omaha.

OK. The first part is true. Downtown Omaha neither particularly twinkles nor bustles. If you consider, as I do, the downtown of a city to be the place where they keep all the skyscrapers, Omaha doesn't even have a downtown. What passes for a "skyline" there is, frankly, laughable. BUT the downtown in Omaha isn't that.

Downtown in this case refers to the Old Market, the area which was Omaha's heart from the beginning, where farmers sold their wares and where warehouses and factories grew up. It was an area which, according to the brochure I read, actually thrived into the 1950s, only beginning to die off then with the advent of the supermarket. The area was relatively quickly reclaimed, with all the old brick buildings being renovated into apartments, condos, shops and restaurants...keeping the structural integrity of the old brick intact. It stands as a model of the sort of "sustainable community" people always talk about in terms of all the amenities being within walking distance. Granted JP (and others) still have to drive to work so they haven't got it 100% yet but it is a wonderful, charming district that is both historic and functioning. You must love that. I command you.

JP showed me to my room, we had wine. He called Minogue.She came over. I didn't take her picture. Dammit. Because she was very cute and because when I saw her I hugged her like we'd been friends forever even though I only knew her virtually and through JP.
The 3 of us went to dinner, which was delicious. Then went back to the apartment where we talked until 11pm, at which point Minogue had to leave and then JP and I sat up and talked until 3am. (It was only 1am by my clock so it was hardly late at all). And then we went to bed and even though I was in a new place and a new bed, I fell asleep and slept the sleep of the just and exhausted.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

If You Need Links Please Refer to the Sidebar. Thank you.

I'm so glad you could all make it here today (gives Mouse an air kiss)'s been a long time since we were all....what Sling? know where the brown liquor is kept. And Sage, stop bogarting the peanut butter.

Right, I wanted to bring you all together because...Rosie! There's apple sauce cake on the table. (gestures carefully so as to not poke Sfoof in the head)....over there, to Anne who, it appears, has already started in on the pie. No matter, Buck brought some Frito pie and it's, you're right...not fruity and delicious but delicious all the same. Plus MHP made a salad. What? (whispers: Well, sure, it's gonna be a challenge to get this crowd excited about salad right now but it's OK; Iwanski brought ribs).

(returns voice to normal volume) As I was saying, I know you're all eager to hear about my madcap Omahan weekend and see the photos. We'll get to that shortly...Danny, dahling (takes wine from Danny and puts it on the table) Dora, can you scoot down on the couch a little, please? Skootchy skootch...thanks, doll. And could someone please help Bad Alice with that crockpot? Thanks.

Where was I? Right, Omaha. I was in Omaha and it was superfantastic. Beyond superfantastic, actually. It was restorative, rejuvenating and relaxing. It was all good things that start with R and with some other letters, too. But before we get to the regaling portion of our event (peers out window and smiles) we just have to wait for the beer.

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A Good Time Was Had By All

I had hoped for a little decompression time when I got home. (Flying is anything but decompressing for a woman who has issues with the whole proceeding)....time to unpack, shower maybe (even though that meant that the superfantastic haircut I got would be forever altered because I can never style my hair the way the stylist did it)....maybe even blog a little or catch up on my email or, possibly, just sit quietly...drinking in the silence of the house and rubbing the belly of a very excited and happy puppy.

I had a very wonderful weekend in Omaha. It surprised me on so many levels and there is so much to think about and write about. I was more or less ready to come home (although I did start spontaneously weeping as the plane started to taxi to the runway at Eppley) but things were such an anxious whirl right before I left and then I go have this completely carefree weekend only to have it be over and have to return to normal right away and I think you can appreciate that a little transition time was a good idea.

I got home to a quiet house (The Spouse and Child were out making a movie all day). The Dog was very, very happy to see me. And precisely 3 minutes later The Family returned and my Seattle life was kick-started. There's probably a metaphor for something in all that. But I have to get dressed for work so I'll have to dig it out later.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Dateline: Omaha, Nebraska

If you're going to fly to the heartland for no other reason than to watch "Battlestar Galactica" with your Poodle, you could do worse than to end up in Omaha. JP lives downtown in the most superfantastic lofty type apartment that you will ever see and within crawling distance are all sorts of shops and eateries and alcohol. The streets are wide and every building downtown is repurposed, old brick and beautiful. Last night we went out to dinner with his friend (and my new Facebook bestie Minogue) and it was downright civilized and European, walking to the restaurant and being out on the street. Everyone was out in the street. It was not exactly vibrant in the way being on the streets of say, New York or London, but it was surprisingly sophisticated.

That probably reads real snotty.

Because let's face it: you think of Nebraska and you think of beef and corn. Beefy corn. Beefy corn-fed boys and girls. But there is, actually, more to Omaha than that and we're just fixin' to go out now and experience a little more of it. So the first lesson is, never ever ever presume. Open yourself to the possibilities. Don't pre-judge. Forget about corn and beef or even corned beef because every place has more to it than what you think. Even Omaha.

Also, not to be all smug and stuff but, hello, I'm with JP and you're not. Gotta run. Must get provisions for our big "BSG" finale tonight.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Few Little Things off a Very Short List

Yesterday I did faithfully execute my duties (teee...I said "duties") so that it won't be total chaos when I get back to my desk on Monday. Poor MAB, though...we have 4 check-ins today. She hates doing check-ins. (I kinda do, too, just because you are always in the middle of something else when people show up (even though we try to keep check-in to a prescribed period)) and have to drop everything and unless the person has been at The House before it takes 30 minutes at least, no matter what you do and then you have to try and remember where you were and what you were doing before the bell rang). But it's always good for her to remember how truly valuable I am. (Which she not only recognizes but generally mentions nearly every day but still).

I also finally got around to emailing some faculty at High School about whether or not there is any future for The Child. Turns out there is. Once again, the biggest culprit in her academic failures is....say it with me...turning in her work. OY! But the point is, she has time to turn things around and the teachers stepped up right away (I forget that teachers appreciate parents who give a damn) and I'm hopeful. It's like I told her this morning, I've given her thousands upon thousands of dollars to take to and turn in at school. She's never lost a check or failed to turn in the money when it's due. If she can understand the value and importance in that instance she is certainly capable of doing the same with her homework. Don'tcha think?

Funny thing, though. When report cards came out 3 weeks ago I emailed her counselor for an appointment. He told me he'd "try to call" but that his schedule wouldn't allow for an appointment for a few weeks. Then I heard nothing. I was a little annoyed but a) I know he's the only counselor for the Freshman class so that's probably a pretty heavy work load and 2) I was too busy to noodge him anyway.

Well, yesterday I decided to skip over him and go to the Dean of Academics, partly because she's one of the two faculty members I've even ever talked to (man, how things have changed) and partly because it was the old "may I speak with your supervisor" strategy. Can't get anything done on the lower levels, ratchet it up, right? I send my emails and went to get some lunch. Came back to my desk and 2 of the 3 people had already responded plus there was a message on my phone. From the counselor. Who apologized for not getting back to me sooner and was free to meet with me any time next week.

Then I read the email from the Dean, which began "I spoke to Mr. W and he will be calling you immediately". I suspect he may have done so with his tail between his legs.

Point is, that was all something I really needed to do before it was too late and it was a relief to do so.

I now just have some household puttering to do, one or two bits left to fling into my carry-on and soon I'll be winging my way to beautiful downtown Omaha. I talked to JP last night while I was packing (we had to discuss some of my fashion choices since it turns out that he and I are now throwing a party for a friend of his on Saturday night and that suggested some alterations to my original plan). He's excited. So am I. I always miss the fam when I go away from them but it's a good thing for Mommy to go away on her little Mommy-only jaunts every now and again. It's good for everyone.

Next blog posts will be from Omaha. I'll try and do a "video blob" (thanks, Sage) with JP. You'd all like that.

TTFN! (flutters lace hankie out taxi window as it pulls away from the house)

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


It saddened me so much to hear of the passing of Natasha Richardson.
Much will be written and discussed in the next few days: there will be an outpouring of sympathy for her husband Liam (hubba hubba) and her children. There will be retrospectives of her work and the legacy of her acting family. We will learn lots and lots about traumatic brain injury and how seriously we must take what appears to be a mere bump on the head and then all the information and sadness and elegiac whatsahosit will fade as the next story pushes it's way into our collective consciousness. And then, because it's what we collectively do, just a little less than a year from now, we'll see her lovely face during the "In Memoriam" bit at the Oscars and we'll go "Oh, that's right...she did die last year, didn't she?" and some of us may even feel a little tug of sadness about it all again.

But I would like to say that when I read this morning that she was seriously injured and in hospital I was very concerned. When The Spouse called me this afternoon to say she'd passed the news went through me like a shard of glass. It wasn't quite like the whole Princess Di thing (which I should probably tell you about sometime) but it was a very visceral and painful response.

"Really? " says you..."she was that big a deal to you?"

"Yep," says me. "Pretty much". You see, I once met Natasha Richardson. (Actually, I think I've told you this story before but under the circumstances, you're going to politely indulge me). It was the summer of 1991, when The Spouse and I were engaged. He'd picked up some work on a film that was being shot in Seattle (back when they shot movies in Seattle) starring Rutger Hauer and Natasha Richardson. It was called "Past Midnight", it was shown on the telly and I think The Spouse and I were the only folks who ever watched it. Not the point. There was a cast and crew party aboard a boat and we went. We sat at a table with other folks from the crew (because sometimes cast and crew are chummy and sometimes they are not but usually crew hangs with crew and cast with cast and it is, ya know, kind of a caste system), drinking and enjoying the beautiful summer evening and generally, at least for me, thinking "dig this...there are famous people on this boat".

Then, one of those famous people came down the middle of the room. It was Ms. Richardson and she looked exactly as she appears on screen. She wasn't bigger or smaller or somehow altered...because, let's face it, there is a big fat difference between what someone looks like when they are on screen and made up and costumed and coiffed and lit. But she was just as lithe and beautiful and real and so very reminiscent-of-her-mum as she looks on screen.
And I dared.
I was sitting at the outside of the table and she was walking through the room greeting everyone...EVERY one...not just the Hollywood air kiss thing reserved for the "in crowd" you might expect. She came by our table and said 'hello' and I stood up and quietly said, "Ms. Richardson...I loved you in 'A Handmaid's Tale," and she took my hand and looked into my eyes and said, "Thank you...then it was worth the pain".

I realize on paper that might seem very swanning and pretentious. Except when that movie was released and she was junketing, she talked about how very difficult a film it was to make and how hard it was for her personally to approach some of the themes etc. etc. etc. It may not sound like a real moment on paper but it was. She was sincere and lovely and gracious and I have always liked her. I liked her before that (it started in 1987 with "A Year in the Country") and I've liked her since (including her lovely work in the remake of "Parent Trap"...which I realize will not be one of the things for which she is majorly remembered but I liked it so there) and I am just plain sad that such a silly thing could snuff such a lovely light entirely in advance of any reasonable expectation.

Rest in peace, Natasha.

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The Full Moon was Last Week

So someone needs to explain why this week has been so off kilter. Work has been unusually stressful and while there have been situations that would account for some of it, most of it is just ambient weirdness that makes MAB and I look at each other with a "What the H?" sort of expression. Yesterday I was in an elevator going to pick up The Child from her orthodontist appointment and I heard two people talking about how crazy and long this week has been, "And it's only Tuesday". I shared this with the receptionist and doc and they agreed. So it's not just me.

Last night, however, we had a fun, relaxing family time. Dinner was ok...the corned beef was perfect but the cabbage was over-cooked, owing to an incident with the soda bread. But it didn't dampen our festivities. And last night I sleep comparatively well so this morning I woke up feeling more chipper than I have had. Perhaps there was just some sort of lunar remnant dorking up neural pathways and maybe it's dissipated so we can get back to normal.

Either way, tomorrow I take off for my madcap Omahan weekend and let me tell you, I'm ready. 3 days of sleeping in and not having to work or fuss with laundry or remind The Child -again- to get her homework done and hanging out with one of my besties doing silly grown-up besties things...bring it on. Mama is way, way ready.

I just have to remember to go on-line at 11am to get my boarding pass.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Erin Go Get My Bra

Yesterday was a day. One of those days when even before it starts to go off the rails you look at your boss and she looks at you and she says, "Something is weird today". And it was. Even though stressful and weird for us still doesn't rival what it has looked like in other incarnations of my life. But still. By the time I got home I was in the mood for a cocktail and maybe some zombie slayin'.

The Spouse, who has started dinner, asked me how my day had been. "Oh, it's been such a day," I said, with inflection in all the right places so he knew that it had not been the greatest of days. "Well, let me pour you a glass of wine and you can tell me all about it".

Then we sat in the living room and he let me vent. And not in the way he usually does where he's nodding like he's interested until I realize he's urging me to fast forward so he can get on to something else (and I do tend to get into a thicket when telling a tale). But this time he was just letting me talk, thicket and all, and was responding appropriately at the appropriate places (proving he really was listening) and then, THEN, when I was all unvented and there was still wine in the glass he asked my opinion of a new television show we started watching ("Kings") and we had this very grown-up conversation about character arcs and story story structure and the Old Testament and the character of King David (both the Bible one and the one in the show).

Then we finished making dinner together, sat down with The Child to a pleasant meal, watch our Monday shows and then, after finishing the Vogue article about Michelle Obama, I slept the sleep of the unvented. (At least, I did until I woke up in the middle of the night and started thinking about all the things I have to do at work and home before I leave for Omaha and then, not so much on the sleeping but still).

Now I'm going to put some corned beef and beer in the crockpot and wait on the day. And think about what to pack for my trip.

May the luck o' the Irish be with you today.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Poor Baby

I have a very tiny violin on which I'm playing a very mournful tune for the poor lads at AIG.

After all, we all get bonuses for screwing up.



No we don't.



Friday, March 13, 2009

What If Leonard Nimoy was Your Dad?

I've played this before. But it's a delightful little tune and a delightful little video and I feel delightful today.

This week I've been getting up earlier and it's really changing my outlook on things. It's amazing the difference that extra half hour can make. I'm getting done more of the home related things, which allows me to fully focus on work because I'm not feeling as guilty and overwhelmed and it's making the evenings more mellow because I don't feel like I'm scrambling around until bedtime. You can't have it all and it's true that working wives/moms are often caught in a place between guilt and frustration. But each person has to figure out what's going to work for her and I think I'm onto a strategy for myself. Even if it means falling asleep before "30 Rock" is over.

I'm looking forward to a delightful weekend, possibly doin' nothing. Hope yours is the same.

The Bangels "Goin' Down to Liverpool"

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Thursday, March 12, 2009


I called to reschedule The Child's orthodondist appointment for next week.

"You're going out of town?" politely inquires The Receptionist.

"Yes. I'm flying to Omaha to watch the series finale of 'Battlestar Galactica' with a gay guy".

There was a split-second of silence.

"Delores," I said, "You can't make this stuff up".

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just to Recap

He doesn't say anything about it at home. He goes weeks, nay, months without leaving a comment. But man...bungle the opening line to a joke and he is all OVER me.


But for the record: "A three legged dog rides into town. The streets are deserted as townspeople run in terror to their houses. The sheriff locks himself in side the jail house. The dog slams open the doors of the saloon and swaggers up to the bar. The bartender, one hand surripticiously on the rifle he keeps under the bar stutters, "Kin I help you, stranger?" The dog glances around the saloon, fixes the bartender with a look and growls, "I'm lookin' for the man who shot my paw".

See? "Paw" sounds like "pa" so if you're hearing the joke and not reading it it sounds like the dog (a talking dog, mind you, which is pretty funny to begin with) is looking for the man who shot his pa, unless you remember that he's a three legged dog so he's looking...forget it. This is why I never tell jokes.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Slow But Steady Wins the Race

One of the things we do every night at dinner is "The Test". "The Test" appears on the comics/word search/crossword page of the Seattle Times. There are 3 levels, 3 questions in each level, with subjects that vary each day from geography to science to literature to pop get the drift. The Spouse reads the questions, The Child and I compete to answer them. There's a whole liturgical rigamarole around this which we need not get into. Suffice to say, if the questions regard Henry VIII and his six wives, mama be a'slam dunkin'.

So last night we finished the quiz and then, sneaky clever parentals that we are, we invited The Child to quiz us (short hand for "go over some of the stuff you need to review for school so that you freaking end up graduating and setting yourself on a life path isn't summed up in the phrase, 'Welcome to Walmart').

She warmed up with some riddles. One of them began with "A cowboy rides into town"... which inspired The Spouse to interrupt with a drawled, "A dawg rides into town"... The Child looked confused and I start to giggle because this is the old "I'm lookin' for the man who shot my pa" joke but then, in lighting flash with no prompting from any other quarter I go, "OH!" and start laughing hysterically.

Because for the first time in 51 years...51 freaking years, people!...I actually got the joke.

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Ho Hum

I always envied people who grew up in wintery climes. It seemed to me that I was missing out on some fundamental life experiences: sledding, daring someone to lick a metal pole, snow men. My deprivation came to me every single time I heard Bing Crosby sing "White Christmas". I mean, who gets to count on a white Christmas? The only white Christmas I ever had was when I was 6 and we had to drive all the way to Flagstaff, Arizona to get it.

Snow always has been an event in the northwest. I do remember one year, somewhere around when I was 10 or so, that we got a lot of snow; enough that school was cancelled for several days and we built things in the snow and ate snow ice cream and I'm pretty sure we even had a taffy pull. (Taffy is a huge project, which is why, I'm sure, Dame Judi declared it a special treat for those elusive "snow days"). I still remember those few days as a "long winter", it was such a departure from the norm. Good lord, it snowed so little during my childhood that we didn't even own things like snow boots or gloves.

And I've regalled you before with the few big snows we've had here, big being relative, of course, because I know that in snowy climes they do not shut down the city for 3 inches. I suppose the rarity of it makes its own sort of magic. Actually, I know it does. I think of the flurries we got the Christmas of 07 that led The Child to declare that "the best Christmas ever"; until '08, of course, when we had snow, real snow, for over a week at Christmas time.

Take that snow, plus the fact that we also got snow in January and February and one might begin to make the case that perhaps, just perhaps, all those CO2 emissions are rewriting the winter experience of this region. Maybe, just maybe, we are going to start being a place where a white Christmas is less rare; where parents will tell their children of walking through the snow to school (3 miles, uphill, both ways) and they won't be making it up. (At least, not the snow part).

Maybe winter=snow will be our new equation and with it will come a different attitude. Children will no longer stand with little noses smashed against windowpanes at the first sight of a flurry, praying that it sticks. Grownups will not longer freak out about how to get into work. We'll use language like "the first snowfall of the year", blithely assuming it won't be the last or only. People will own warm clothes and snow tires and snow shovels and will, when it snows, go about their business as usual.

I can tell you this, when it started snowing yesterday The Child was all, "Oh, man, I'm sick of this" and it never even occurred to me to call my collegue with all-wheel drive. "So it's snowing again", I thought, "It does that in the winter".

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Things I Know For Absolutely Certain Sure: #82

Every evil genius requires a minon.

You don't have to read more than a couple comic books to figure that out.


Monday, March 02, 2009

Questions I Ask Myself

Spring schedule started today, which means The Child has to be at school at 8am (rather than 8:30am), which means she has to catch the bus at 7:15am instead of 7:45am. Which means that she has to leave the house before I do. Which means she's on her way down to the bus and I'm still in my jammies drinking coffee. Why does this seem so completely delightful to me?


I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy

The Child had to take a naturalization test in Social Studies. She administered it to me. I am happy to report that I only got one question wrong*. I was very proud of myself. I guess this means I can stay in the country.

*How many representatives are there in Congress? I said 345. It's really 435. At least I had all the correct numbers.