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Monday, December 29, 2008

Geek Swap

I was thinking the other day that I am very far behind most humans because I have never seen:
1. Dancing With The Stars
2. American Idol
3. Any of the Bachelor or Bachelorette things


I love:
1. Loggins and Messina
2. Phantom of the Opera
3. The soundtrack to About Last Night with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore

So everything should work out evenly, right?

Yours Truly,
Mrs. Where Have All The Legwarmers Gone?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December Inventions

Invention #1: Game show where people compete by telling the audience about their worst childhood experiences and whoever has the most hideous interlude to share wins. Too much of a downer?

Invention #2: Find a way to use all the food the chefs on the Food Network throw away. Is there a reason no one else has thought of this? I'd happily eat Ina Garten's leftovers and Paula Deen could probably supply a small nation with uneaten butter balls and lard filled southern crumpettes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rudders, Sort Of

Here are some of the things written on the pages of my little notebook that I keep in my purse for when I start to careen into the shoreline or another schooner, perhaps. I wish I could tattoo them into the air in front of me and breath them into my nostrils:

Keep your eyes open
Keep your ears open
Stay awake

Nothing Special
No Big Deal

Things are always changing, so nothing can be yours.

(The way to dissolve our resistance to life is to meet it face to face.)

Wholeheartedly train in keeping your heart and mind open to everyone.

Don't try to fix others.

Let go of the outcome and be kind.


Let everything happen to you
Just keep moving forward

What is it about these little tidbits? They give me hope. They help me. Some of them are written by people that were living forever ago (it encourages me that there were worriers back then too) and others are newer. Some of the genius nice wise people:
Pema Chodron
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Joseph Campbell

Have a bitchen summer,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Things I Don't Understand, cont.

4. Gerrymandering
5. The size of Nancy Reagan's head in proportion to the rest of her body
6. Mutton

Monday, December 15, 2008

Things I Don't Understand, Items 1 thru 3

1. The traffic on Lincoln
2. Goldie Hawn's demeanor
3. Duties, salary and uniform of an Ombudsman

Sunday, December 14, 2008


You know that creepy Big Brother narrator of every move that everyone makes on Facebook? This is what mine said when I looked last:

Amy used the word "bejeezus" today at 7:13 p.m. even though she hates this word. She's such a faker
Amy started to get a pit in her stomach at 9:43 p.m. thinking about something scary
Amy has "one friend" on Facebook because she is technologically challenged and has never actually used iTunes but no one knows this
Amy sometimes acts friendly to people she wishes would leave her alone and we think this is disengenuous
Amy felt completely and totally gleeful when she noticed that there were two chocolate covered graham crackers left
Amy is very fearful of getting constipated and she thought about this from 8:12 to approximately 8:14 a.m.

Just kidding.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Exit Strategy

The other day my niece asked me if anyone had ever farted during an important meeting at my company and I said, come to think of it, in all the years I've been sitting in meetings that is the one excruciating thing that hasn't happened.

This got me to thinking. I'm sure an unwelcomed passer gasser HAS happened in some meeting somewhere. The Marketing VP is rattling off the 124th amazing project she's spearheading and suddenly the Director of Finance farts. What the hell happens next? I'd like to think that if this happened to me I would either run screaming out of the room and run directly to my car and out of the parking lot, never to return or I would simply pretend it didn't happen and casually change the subject by asking if anyone else has had problems with their key cards after returning from lunch. I think these are the only two choices, right?

I'm turning into Eartha Kitt.
Nicole Kidman

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jury Doodie

I got called for jury duty and today, during the jury selection process, there was a woman who kept interrupting the judge when he was "interviewing" her. I thought this was in very bad form and I also thought she was lucky she wasn't the defendant because it would be impossible to find a jury of her peers that would not convict her for her severely feathered hair.

First thing on my agenda when we move back home? Chippendales.
Laura Bush

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You're the Only Stuffed Flamingo For Me

I can't wait 'til someone hurls you across the room so I can plunge my teeth into your furry neck.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dead People Dementia = Odd

I can never remember if the following people are dead:

Richard Harris
Peter O'Toole
Richard Burton
Oliver Reed
Dick Van Dyke
Omar Sharif
Bonnie Franklin (oops wrong list, thought this was People I Wish Were Dead list)
John Tesh (oops wrong list, thought this was People I Have Tried To Make Dead list)

Don't Turn Me In,
MC Hammer

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gratitude and Thanks, Various

If Cooper could talk he'd for sure thank us for letting him lick his butt so close to our faces when we're snuggling in bed.

If Christina Aguillera could talk she'd say thanks for not noticing that her lipstick is the color of your worst nightmare.

If the person who designed the parking lot at Trader Joe's could talk he'd say thanks for not coming to his house and stuffing him into his dishwasher.

If that lady next to me in line at Ross could talk she'd say thank you for not pointing out to everyone else in line that she farted regardless of the fact that it was obvious only to me that it was her but to others, not so much.

If that morbidly obese guy that sits on the bus stop all day every day at the corner could talk he'd say thanks to me and Cooper and Eric for not running, screaming in terror because we (okay, I) think he's a serial killer but instead letting Cooper be all puppy lovey and jump on him, therefore making him smile (and take his mind off wanting to murder us.)

If my husband could talk he'd say thanks for letting him be the one who gets to check that the front door is, indeed, locked when I don't think it is as we're just about to fall asleep.

If poodles could talk they'd say (obviously) thank you for NOTHING. You are all unworthy and we spit on your feet.

If the guys at the car wash could talk they'd say thanks for letting us smear AmourAll over the dirt and sand and dust in your car so that now it's filth but with an oily sheen.

If the Channel 4 weather lady's gigantic boobs could talk they'd say thanks for allowing us into your home every morning even though there is not enough space for us.

Until next time,
Mother Gratitude

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Helen, Phillip, Jamie, Bill = Odd

Have you ever really taken a moment to look at the performances in the movie Twister? If you haven't I suggest that you do. And then after you do, I suggest that you go stand in front of the mirror and stare at yourself for several minutes and when you find yourself grounded enough I recommend that you utter these words:
1. "WHY?"

Then, if you're trousers are still fresh, drive to your nearest Rite-Aid, walk straight to the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for the medicine that will wash the images of Helen Hunt and Jamie Gertz out of your mind.

If you want to rid your psyche of Bill Paxton's corny expression that lasts into all eternity and Cary Elwes menacing giant fleet of black Suburbans or if you're desiring to rationalize Phillip Seymour Hoffman's presence in the movie as you say your prayers at night you will have to pack your bags and head south of the border.

Good luck with that then,
Professor of It Doesn't Look So Good

And Furthermore, Things I'm Terrified Of = True

6. Home invasion robbery
7. Female Pattern Balding
8. Not pooping in the morning before I go to work
9. Catching a gang banger tagging our house or the house next to us in the middle of the night when I take Cooper out for his 3:00 AM pee.
10. That my dad didn't know we were there when he was dying
11. Mom jeans
12. Flesh eating bacteria
13. Being trapped in the bathroom when an ex-employee goes postal
14. Bears
15. Getting old
16. Nuclear war
17. Russell Crowe's paunch
18. Bears that Brangelina might adopt
19. Scary little men who drive souped up Nissan Sentras that are 2 inches off the ground and sound like revved up chihuahuas with music blasting so loud that my husband screams from the living room, "Did you say something, lovey?" when they drive by
20. Being homeless
21. Overly friendly waiters and waitresses who say "Hi, my name is Tiffany and I'll be taking care of you this afternoon." (describing Arctic Char = extra terrifyscary)
22. Splinters, hangnails, paper cuts, ear wax build-up
23. Axl Rose
24. 3rd Street Promenade: insane kamikazi birds, weirdo giant silver men who don't move, aggressive hungover pseudo homeless surfers who smile one minute and act like Crazy Killer punching persons the next, jean size at American Eagle.
24. Standard Poodles, obviously

All For Now,
Grumpy Grumperson

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today Show Questions

1. Since leaving, do you think Katie Couric has become a closet alcoholic or a closet binge eater?
2. When they planned that thing called Four Corners Of The World or whatever, do you think they decided that Al would have to go to Iceland because he is too fat to wear a bathing suit in Mexico and would probably have had a heart attack trying to climb Kilimanjaro? And how come Anne Curry doesn't get to go to the Olympics or something. She is unbelieveable.
3. Why does Meredith INSIST on trying to create that We're-A-Cute-Old-Bickering-Married-Couple thing with Matt? She will NOT leave him alone with the inane teasing. Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the banter and the back and forth jabs every once in a while but it's like she stays up nights thinking of teasy things to say. Matt will say, "And now we're going to Natalie who is covering the snowstorm in Butte, Montana." and Meredith will blurt out, "BUTT! You said BUTT!! HA HA HA!! I'll tell ya one thing Matt. You're BUTT IS BIG!! HA!" And everyone just stares.
4. Will someone tell Willard Scott to shut-up? The whole insane "It's Fun To Be 900 Years Old" is very bad marketing and I see a lawsuit coming.

Thank you,
Mrs. What Is A Crawfish?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pretzel Moments = True

My 9 year old niece just called me to get some advice on something she was writing. She said the assignment was called "Small Moments" and what sprang to her mind was the time my father (her grandfather)got angry at my sister (her mother) because she (my niece) was watching cartoons in his room.

"I'm thinking I'll write about the time that Grandpa said 'Can't they watch that crap somewhere else?'" she said, and then added, "But that wasn't my small moment, that was my mom's small moment."

I remember hearing about this moment when it happened. It was a huge moment because my dad always made way for the Cartoon Network when my niece and nephew visited. I don't care WHAT was on CNN (my dad's favorite channel and lifeline) when my niece and nephew came over it was straight to Sponge Bob. It was also the only time my father had ever lost his temper in any way when it came to my niece and nephew. It was about three days before he died although we all thought he would make a full recovery. The reality was he was suffering so severely. It was hard for him to eat and sleep and sit and he had to go to the bathroom in a commode next to his bed. I don't know which was worse. Watching the horror on his face when he realized that he actually couldn't make it to the bathroom on his own or hearing him apologize for putting us through anything that made us uncomfortable.

As I talk on the phone with my niece I drift back two years to that time, leading up to my dad's death, when our small family became smaller. "There's one less of us." I remember thinking over and over.

I tell my niece that I remember hearing about that moment when her Grandpa snapped at her mom and I remember that it was so out of character for him and my sister and I had realized, that day, that he was so sick he might not make it. He had never ever said a cross word to my niece and nephew but as he neared his last days when he couldn't breathe or walk or eat, well, he became cranky. My sister told me that he apologized instantly after he realized what he said. I think the main reason this moment stuck with my niece is because she had never known my father to be anything other than totally kind. It confused her. She barely remembered it. She knows her mom told her about it and on the phone we talked about the clear vague feeling she had about it. It has definitely stuck with her and, I told her, that's important---the things that stick with you are worthy of reflection.

My niece and I agreed that the point is that sometimes someone else's small moment can become your own and that there are moments, big and small, that stick with us forever. And talking about them and remembering them and figuring out how to put them on paper even though you might not exactly remember---that's what it's about. Because reading about someone else's description of their small moment leads to that moment of recognition "Hey---I've felt the exact same way" and that is the whole point.

Take tonight's phone call. Have you ever been having an evening of relative non-eventfulness and then gotten a phone call and heard the sweetest voice on the other end go "Auntie? It's me, Chloe. Do you have a moment to talk?"

Primary Ambassador of Small Moments

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Great Day = Good

What a good thing to have a nice day. Nothing special or out of the ordinary, really but just smooth sailing inside and out.

I love the days that seem to move forward in a way that doesn't require any significant notice or push or tending to in any way that makes me lose my hair or further develop my degree in Co-Dependency.

I'm trying to think about what happens during these types of good days and I think one of the common threads is that when I start the day without Road Ragers that's really nice. It sets the day for niceness when I can get to work and still have faith in people I don't know. People that don't honk at older drivers going slow or people that hold the elevator for complete strangers. If I start the day out noticing goodness, it's a pretty good start. From there, I just think "things are gonna be smooth today." and I anticipate more niceness.

I have, however, noticed that if I simply focus on making my spine and heart and ears and knees turn to jelly when I'm tempted to judge or loathe or take someone else's Freakness personally, it makes things a whole hell of a lot better. But that's the Oprah-Gayle King part of me and that part isn't 100% set in place yet. But I'm working on it and in 2009 I have made a promise to myself that no matter what surly is coming my way I will deflect it with kindness and rubbery letting go. I promise to remind myself that I know nothing and nothing knows me, in a good way.

Wish me luck.

Yours Truly,
Public Relations Manager For Tom Cruise's Creepy Grin

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Winner = Good

Barack Obama is on 60 Minutes right now. He's the President Elect. On January 20th he'll be sworn in as 44th President of the United States.

I have never ever felt so connected to a political figure in my life. I don't even think of him as a political figure REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT HE IS GOING TO BE PRESIDENT. Usually I just hate our presidents. With every press conference, or Rose Garden whatever, I just want to barf. Hissing at the radio or sneering at the T.V. I've spent the last 8 years going "THEY'RE ALL SUCH FUCKERS!"

Now, I swoon and grin and think about how I can help when I see Michelle and Barack and I don't have a thought about how much more screwed up it's going to get. I just think it's all going to get better.

It's bizarre.

Mrs. I Can't Wait To See What Happens

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Can Happen = Odd

I'm minding my own business. Then I read this:

Photos Show Planets Outside Our Solar System
posted: 7 HOURS 32 MINUTES AGO
Earth seems to have its first fuzzy photos of alien planets (HELP ME.)outside our solar system, images captured by two teams of astronomers. The pictures show four likely planets that appear as specks of white, nearly indecipherable except to the most eagle-eyed experts. All are trillions of miles away — three of them orbiting the same star, and the fourth circling a different star.
None of the four giant gaseous planets (ARE YOU SURE YOU'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT ME, COOPER, ERIC AND OUR CROCK POT?) are remotely habitable (LIKE SAUGUS?)or remotely like Earth. But they raise the possibility of others more hospitable.

Then my head explodes.

Take Care,
Professor What The Hell Is Going On

Friday, November 14, 2008

10 Things = Good

1. Proseco
2. The smell of Nag Champa
3. The turn on General's Highway when you officialy enter the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park and everything gets about 8 million times quieter
4. Jeff Tweedy
5. Couples Therapy
6. When people in line at Von's aren't mean to the people at checkout trying to use coupons
7. Tone soap
8. Barack Obama
9. Carmelized red onions
10. A good pair of slippers

VP of the Question:
Why Is That Guy In Every Commercial?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stomach Ache Thoughts, 1 thru 5 = Odd, True

1. Feeling it is awful. Reading it is magical, cool.
2. I go looking, searching for those sentences that are similar to what I have thought and when I find them, I sink into weird angst
3. Half the time, I can't tell the difference between crystal clarity and jagged confusion
4. I try too hard to not try
5. When I die I want all of you to come with me and have us be exactly like we are now

Mrs. Nervous

Stop Sign, The Musical = True

There are times when I'm sitting at a stop sign and it seems like there might be a chance for World Peace. For example, tonight, I came swooping down the hill at 4th and Rose and came to a screeching halt at the stop sign at the bottom of the incline. Very dramatic. All at once, three other cars appeared to the right, left and in front of me. Without thinking, the two cars on my right and left shot across the intersection in front of me like Lippazon stallions in all their glory and right on cue my partner across the way and I stepped on it and screeched through our respective crosswalks.

No injuries. No arguments. Just quick grace and cooperation. This happens all day long everywhere in the city, just like Bob Fosse choreographed it, so don't tell me we don't know how to get along.

The Grumbler

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

5 Things I'm Terrifed Of = True

1. Tapeworms
2. Tidal Waves
3. Flesh Eating Bacteria
4. Water on the brain
5. People who like Danielle Steel novels

Connie Confused

Sunday, November 9, 2008

B.O. Is Watching = True

This evening when I took Cooper the Wonder Dog for a walk he exhibited his usual insane person behavior---frantically scouring the neighborhood for other dog's poop and having a heart attack every time a paper bag blew by. Very hard for him to concentrate on making his evening doodie.

He's pretty regular with his poop scheudule, so if the evening rolls around and he hasn't pooped my husband and I get nervous because we live in mortal fear that he'll take a big stinky crap in our living room. He has done this once, when people were over, so we chalked it up to him being excited (because we always poop when we get excited) but the thing about Cooper's poop is that it is THE STINKIEST poop on the planet so the Sudden Poop Incident left us traumatized.

I think we say "Did he poop?" or "When's the last time he pooped?" about 67 times a day. That, or "He pooped!" and then the other one grins from ear to ear. YAY! HE POOPED! THAT MUCH LESS CHANCE FOR POOP IN OUR HOUSE!

So, this evening, when it seemed that all hope was lost and Cooper would never do his business I was gleeful when he finally did. And when I couldn't find the poop because it was so dark and I almost didn't pick it up I thought, "If Barack Obama were here he'd pick up the poop. Do the right thing." And I picked up the poop.

Don't think that global change is not afoot.

Very truly yours,
Brad, The Poodle

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sky's Bluer = True

Okay so I woke up this morning feeling bleary eyed and in those first moments when I was laying in bed in that in between time of drool and coffee I thought, THE WORLD IS PERFECT AND THOSE ASSHOLE WHITE MEN FINALLY LOST, and then I turned the T.V. on to make sure that what I thought happened last night really happened. And it did. Matt Laurer said it happened.

And the sun shining in the window seemed just that much crisper. It was not my imagination.

So, now we move forward into this new tunnel of hopefulness where we will discover (or remember) who we truly are, unencumbered by the false reflection of all those bastards who tried to squash our spirit. It's like the entire planet took flight last night and we're floating above ourselves, just for a moment, looking down in amazement. WE DID IT. I CAN'T BELIEVE WE DID IT. I'M SO HAPPY WE DID IT. FINALLY. AT LAST. That's what I heard today.

But mostly, I felt it on the most miniscule, personal level. Like when I was about to turn left at a stop sign and I had to slam on my brakes because a woman rushed her stop sign and as she whooshed by me we caught each other's eyes --- right in the eyes and I swear to you we spoke to each other and what we said was: The petty stuff at the stop signs? Not so much. The visionary who raised us up above hate and toward all that we were meant to be? Ummm, YEAH.

All I know is I am filled with a "HOW CAN I HELP?" feeling. A sense of confused satisfaction has girded my loins, if you will. I'm just not used to feeling like EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY. Right? You know the feeling. Being at a dinner party and realizing you're the only person who doesn't think MediCal is pure evil and you have to pretend to go along with the freaks who think we spend more on Public Housing than THE WAR. It's embarrasing how many times I have held my tongue. But, after last night I don't feel like I need to. I don't even know why. I just know that everything feels different and filled with hope and on the road toward right.

Yours In Weepy Wonder,
Voter #80 Billion

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Love B.O. = True, Good

It looks like it's going to happen. I don't know who I love more. Everyone or all of them. Could it be that there is going to be a sea change of such monumental proportions that I'll finally wake up the morning after the election and feel PROUD and HAPPY? I think so.

I've lived my whole life voting for losers, mostly. Losers with values I admire. Losers who want to look out for others and who want to prevent malice and greed and oppresion.

It rained last night. This morning the sky was sparkle big blue and I swear it seemed like the clouds were trying to tell me something. And that something was good. By good I mean, trajectory changing good. B.O. good. Barack Obama good.

You know what? It's all gonna be ok. It's all gonna start to change. And we did it. That's good.

Councilwoman Hope

Saturday, November 1, 2008

His Grandfather's Pup = True

When my dad was dying, during what turned out to be his last hospital stay, he started to exhibit very weird behavior every night as late afternoon turned into evening. He'd have a pretty lucid, alert day; acting like himself but as soon as the 5 o'clock news came he'd start acting like a loon.

Often times, he'd start by muttering to himself and leering out of the corner of his eye, looking past me. I remember thinking he looked like Snagglepuss as his personality morphed. But in a really un-fun way.

It turns out that my dad was what is called A Sundowner. A sundowner is an old person who starts to go bonkers when the sun goes down. Just when you thought it couldn't get worse. I don't even remember how we learned this. Either my sister found out from one of the 25 doctors and two nurses at the hospital or I read it online. All I know is I've never felt the same about dusk since then.

Until Cooper.

Cooper is our new puppy who is the friendliest, most well-behaved ambassador of goodwill you could possibly imagine. Until the sun goes down. When it starts getting dark and shadows look like over sized retrievers Cooper gets jittery and crazed.

"Looks like we got a sundowner on our hands," my husband and I say to each other, remembering those long, challenging nights sleeping in the 2 foot wide bed next to my dear dad.

But we're learning how to cope. Why, just tonight, when Cooper was able to concentrate enough to take a poop after the sun had set, I thought, MY DAD WOULD BE SO PROUD.

Be good,
Private So and So

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Other People's Words = Good

I just picked up a great anthology of incredible quotes, called Breathing On Your Own, Quotations For Independent Thinkers that was compiled by Richard Kehl. I knew I was going to take it home the moment I picked it up. Although I'm a champion reader, I must admit, I've discovered some amazing books (and authors) just rambling through a book store. This title will catch my eye or that cover will stop me in my tracks. I discovered one of my favorite books of all time, Unless by Carol Shields, this way. I remember I went in for a different reason (I think I was looking for a calender for my dad--WITH BIG PRINT) but of course I wandered around and something about the title or the cover called out to me and I read the first sentence and took it home and finished it within 48 hours.

Today when I was at a favorite haunt on Mission Street, in my old haunt: Pasadena, I wandered past Breathing On Your Own and it was so appealing to me. I picked it up and as I type it is sitting next to me, waiting to be devoured and soon I will be calling my sister or reading aloud to my husband from it. It's that kind of book.

What luck I have with little discoveries like this. It's an anthology of quotes divided into a Table of Contents:
No Problem
Save From A Fire
and about 150 more.

Doesn't that sound interesting and different and similar to how you think? Very satisfying. Here are three to eat:

I unlearned to draw. The point was to forget with my hand. ---Marcel Duchamp

I work from awkwardness. By that I mean I don't like to arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself. ---Diane Arbus

Life must go on. I forget just why. ---Edna St. Vincent Millay

Did I say just THREE? Here's your bonus quote. Filed under "Loss":

Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stiched with its color. ---W.S. Merwin

I think I'll be content for at least a week.

Ambassador of Unlimited Wonder

p.s. Be obscure clearly --- E.B. White

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Three Things = Good

Here are three things I used to completely hate but now totally love and I'm thrilled because they are things I've always wanted to love:

1. Vanilla Ice Cream --- Pure hate my entire life but about 3 years ago?---*poof* I love Vanilla. Can't get enough of it.
2. Cranberry Sauce --- Mild envy of everyone at Thanksgiving while they enjoyed a "complete" meal with the turkey and their cranberry sauce while I sat there getting the dry heaves. But about 6 years ago?---*poof* I'm like a crazed hyena grappling for the C-Sauce.
3. Lentils--- Greyish little pill-ish gas-inducing beans? NO THANK YOU. 2 years ago?---*poof* This is me: "GIMME THOSE LENTILS!" "I'M MAKING LENTIL SOUP!" Pulling into a gas station---"YES. CAN YOU GIVE ME DIRECTIONS TO WHERE THE LENTILS ARE?"

Sergeant Happy

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wisp Brain = Odd

I just realized what it is. When Sarah Palin talks it's like when you are talking on the phone WHILE you are sitting at your computer and reading your email.

Regional Anger Manager

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obituaries 101 = True

I read the obituaries every day. Such good information and informative details about people's lives---the ones that have "left us." BUT WHERE'D THEY GO? If you get the answer to this question, please let me know because I'd like to go visit. One of many reasons that I'm riveted by the obituaries is that I like picturing the person chosen to write the obituary. The person with the task of writing The Last Paragraph About The Person Never To Be Seen Again.

I wrote my father's obituary. I am 100% certain it thrilled him that it was in The Sunday Times and it was right after the guy who invented the Dodger Dog. My dad was/is (you see? confusing when the forever disappearance happens--was? is? crap, I don't know) dad was my favorite human. He was in that teensy group of people who I believe truly know me and still really like me and want me around all the time. He died (left? took the train to Everville? departed?) a bit over two years ago and since then my obituary reading has been more serious. Oh, I love it there---rolling around in the sentences of other confused, stunned, grieving people. Often times I admire what they've written. "Ohhhhh, that's goooooood...lover of life, believer in humanity...I should have included THAT." But there are always always always, in every group of obituaries, several standard reliables that people tend to use. Maybe it's because when you're writing an obituary the surreal ghastlyness is overwhelming.

Uh, hmmm, let's see. Uhhhhh...Right. You liked the color blue!! Maybe I'll write that. Or maybe I'll tell the world that you were KIND and you TRIED VERY HARD. Right, right. I know! I'll call you and ask you what you think I should write. Oh wait. You're dead.

You see? It just gets confusing. So I think people lean toward the familiar Obitspeak. Here are the most familiar:

1. Surrounded by her loved ones...
I understand this overused and sturdy standby cliche. There's something about proclaiming, "LISTEN UP ALL ASSHOLES: HE WAS NOT ALONE AND WE WERE WITH HIM SO IF YOU DIDN'T THINK HE WAS GREAT THEN GO SCREW YOURSELF!" Maybe I'm the only defensive one but isn't it safe to say that, when someone dies, there's a good chance that there are naysayers lurking out there and you just have to send a message in the departed one's honor.
2. His family by his side...
Pretty much the same thing as #1 but a little different. This is what I went with. We were by his side. Holding his hand. Crying. Telling him how much we loved him. You know the story, right? Is there anyone that does not know or has not heard about those last gut wrenching moments of whispering into someone's ear "It's ok to go." In an obituary, when you read "His family was by his side" chances are the family was telling the person "It's ok, you can go now." Even though they didn't mean it. Because, in reality, when that moment of permanent departure is pending---it REALLY doesn't feel like it's ok and what you want to say is, "It is NOT ok, so please DON'T go." The subtle difference between "surrounded by" and "by his side" is the amount of suffering taking place. "Surrounded by" means: WE KNOW YOU ARE GOING AND SO DO YOU AND WE ARE HERE TO WITNESS YOUR LEAVING AND SEND YOU OUT WITH LOVE and "By his side" is more: OH MY GOD, I KNEW YOU WERE SO SICK BUT THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING AND IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN YOU CAN HANDLE MORE SUFFERING, RIGHT?
3. Private Joke...
This is something that the Reeling Grievers write, TOTALLY BELIEVING that the dead loved one is LAUGHING HIS ASS OFF after reading the clever one liner. I used this one too. Worked like a charm.
This can be eerily short like, "Irv is survived by his poodle Sue" and you're thinking: well who the hell wrote the obituary?! SPEAK UP MAN! Or it can be nauseatingly long, listing thousands of nieces and cousins and nephews and mailmen and children and colleagues and foundations and dry cleaners and students. I know it's my blackheart but when I read one of these I think "This person was not truly liked."
This is where things go awry and people start to seem scary, sad or emotionally unavailable. If the list of achievements is too long you think, "When did Dr. PhD, MBA Successful Man get to hug?" And if it's too short or cryptic you think, "Uh-oh I'm sensing a vague bag lady-ish thing going on."

If I had to do it over again it's safe to say I'd probably write the same thing about my father. Or not. If I could have I would have asked the lady at the obituary desk who I spoke to briefly, "Can I use the entire California section?" But I didn't. I just wrote what I thought encapsulated him. And that was impossible and will forever feel unfinished.

So, in the spirit of The Obituary Fan Club, here are some excerpts from my recent favorite obituaries:

1. "Three years into their marriage, Cantrell died afer being thrown from a mule that had been frightened by a hog."
2. "He is survived by his wife Joanne, his daughter Joanne Jr.,..."
3. "We will miss his great intellect, wisdom and love of smoked delicacies."

These are all REAL. It's hard not to melt when I read them. It's hard not to want to use the obituaries as a kind of message board to the great beyond. IN MEMORIAM. Little notes to that Beloved Person, Gone. "We still miss you." I wish I could write my dad's obituary every day. On certain days, every hour. But I had my moment. My one email to write to that nice lady at the Times. FOR GOD SAKE DON'T MAKE A TYPO!!, I thought NINE MILLION times,when I was writing about my dear father.

And all the others---their sentences are INTRIGUING, funny, SAD, alarming, mysterious, profound, just right. It's all there in the obituaries. The next to the last page of the California Section on the flip side of the weather. I'd live there if I could.

Dutifully Yours,
Mrs. Don't Hate Me Because I Think Too Much

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baby Got Jowl = True

Is it wrong that it makes me nauseous that three quarters of the Who Will Be Next To Run The Free World Contest was spent talking about someone called "Joe The Plumber"?

Not only did I have to deal with those moronic little pie charts framing the T.V. screen showing the emotional whimsy of various commentators, I had to unsuccessfully tolerate the lonely and apparently confused Ohio voters who just CANNOT decide who they should vote for. But for some reason they get to track the debate, live, much like concert goers at a Springsteen concert screaming "BORN TO RUN". We all know we're freaking sick of Born To Run. Nothing against The Boss. WE JUST WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

Here. I'll help you decide. I know it's not about jobs for you. Who cares about jobs, right? And it certainly is not about healthcare or climate change or dependance on oil or corporate rape of every day workers---who cares about that drivel? Forget about all that crap and LOOK AT JOHN McCAIN'S JOWLS. They are pasty and paper mache-ish and they don't belong in The White House.

Unjustifiably Yours,
Director of Resentment

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Where's MLK When I Need Him? = True

My husband has this annoyingly broad minded practice of watching shows (that, quite frankly, give me diarrhea) that he feels will help us "Know Thy Enemy" and we are putting this into practice this evening by watching Freak Show Bill O'Reilly and he's saying "if Obama is an unrepentant terrorist..." blah blah blah and I'm thinking BILL O'REILLY HAS AN UNREPENTANT BUTT HOLE.

I would not have been a good civil disobedient person.

Asst. Furious Ombudsman

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Am Blackheart = True

When people say "natch" instead of "natural" I instantly hate that person. That makes me a judgemental ass, right? Natch? Es natuuurawl that I am un assa for thinking morons that say "natch" are revolting.

Me, Trying To Not Be Negative

When Winter Comes = True

It's fall now and the Santa Ana's are blowing. When this happens I feel a cozy, fireplacey, The Way We Were kind of melancholy. I'm a native Los Angeles-ian and as much as I love the mountains twenty feet to the left and the ocean thirty feet to the right and an unusually wealthy person every 36 yards or so, I must say I miss the change of seasons---as I imagine them in my mind. So when the Santa Ana winds kick up around this time every year I feel like they are the closest thing to The Leaves Turning I will ever have. The way the light has a sparkle diamond shine. Like clean niceness.

I walk out of my house in the morning and I see the manhandled palm fronds strewn all over the street and I think "this is the equivalent of the first frost" and I get all happy inside when I realize: Good God---Yams or Mashed? MUST START PLANNING CHRISTMAS DINNER.

Yours In Wonder,
Un Scrooge-ish

Saturday, October 11, 2008

3 Things = Odd

1. When I walk past a poodle---I can feel it judging me
2. If I glance at a clock and the time is 2:22 or 1:23 or 4:44 or 5:55 I think "Clocks can be quite interesting, I hope they never go by way of the 8 track."
3. Trees look like people, doing handstands

Analytically Yours,
Mrs. I Hope You Like Me

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lovey, Can You Mapquest Canada Now? = True

It would not be an understatement to say that I want to either run through the streets naked, brandishing a sharp, scary weapon OR I will drive straight to Canada should McCan't and Palin win. I swear to god I'll barf barbed wire if they win and, more than feeling angry and nauseous, I'll be confused and bewildered.

But I have to stay positive! MUST REMEMBER THE SECRET. THE POWER OF MY TWERPY MIDDLE MANAGEMENT THOUGHT. I Attract Honest, Nice Politicians Into My Life Who Do Not Remotely Resemble Any Kind Of Oppressive Regime Like Regimes That Destroy Innocent Citizens Of Well Meaning Countries.

Actually, you know what The Secret is? I'll tell you. This is what you do. You get a bunch of Q-Tips and you stick several hundred in your ears and up your nose. Then you gather up all your stuffed animals and you embrace them close to your chest and you nuzzle their little stuffed animal noses with your nose and you find a colorful, beaded hat and you secure it to your buttocks (reminding yourself how WONDERFUL it feels to Think Outside Of The BOX!) and you strut to your nearest grocery store and stand in the entrance and proclaim "THE BEST IS YET TO COME! MAY I HAVE SOME CORN FOR FREE NOW?"

Because that is what a Maverick would do.

Best Regards,
Hate Liason

Friday, October 3, 2008

Divide and Conquer = True

I realized last night, that the furor I feel toward Sarah Palin, far outshines the anger I have toward McCain...or Bush...or Cheney...or Satan.

As I was SCREAMING "ASSHOLE!!!" at the television last night I turned inward for a moment, then admitted to my husband---"I hate her so much more than I hate all of them." Them with their saggy, old man white butts.

And then I thought---isn't that sad. Isn't it odd that there have been so many more of Them who have been so much worse and controlled so many more aspects of my body and mind and actions. But HER. I Hate Her.

I even called her a bitch. Of course I called her that.

And when I did, I took it in that I feel way more hideous toward her than Them. And I noticed that this is...just... the way it is. It actually IS the way it is. If you admit it. If you are honest you realize that the girls never really like the other girls. Because the girls you're supposed to like are the ones that are least like you and more like Them. So, when a NIMROD like Sarah Palin comes along, you think the planets just implode and your brain is, like, HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM. HOUSTON THAT BITCH IS ACTING LIKE SHE'S MY REPRESENTATIVE. HOUSTON TELL THEM SHE IS NOT MY REPRESENTATIVE.

But you don't say that. You just think "what a stupid bitch."

Luv Ya,
Dean of Why Is It This Way?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Yoda Within = Odd

Several weeks ago I woke up with a sentence repeating over and over in my head. I have no idea where it came from and I still think of it several times a day:


I guess this is my new mantra. I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad.

Yours In Unpredictable Self-Esteem,
President & CEO
National Doubters Association

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Drainage = Good

I love garbage disposals. They are sleek, unobtrusive and---THEY EAT ALL YOUR TRASH.

I just made dinner and there was a lot of chopping involved. As I cooked, I put all of my trash (things I don't want, won't use and that will go rotten if they aren't destroyed) into a bowl, dumped the bowl into my sink, flicked a switch and IT WAS GONE. Just like that---*poof*. As I watched all my unwanted trash shoot down the sink I thought "Garbage Disposal: I love you." (I also thought "loser. why don't you have a compost heap? just because you don't get what they are ---that's no excuse not to have one" but that's another story)

Who invented this miraculous piece of machinery? It makes me proud to be a human. Garbage. Disposal. What a great idea.

Keep In Touch,
The Thinker

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Drive Home = Good

When I leave the office on Friday, I swear to god---in my mind, I am planning on curing cancer by the time Monday morning rolls around. Monday---when I go back to work and drink someone else's choice of coffee and scramble to take a bowel movement, in privacy, like a fugitive from justice.

But Friday through Saturday afternoon---when it's still fresh---there is this ten hour span of time that is pure bliss. I know that the next 48 hours spreads out in front of me like a road trip to heaven. The laundry I will do. The dusting. The organizing. The sorting of the paperwork and the collaging I've always wanted to do. The ridding of clutter. The resting and thinking. And finally: the gardening. Before the Sunday Weirds creep in and it all starts to feel vaguely unsettling.

Mostly, though, I'll be relaxed. So relaxed, that by the time the weekend is over I won't be able to speak. I won't even speak in meetings! I'll just drool and people will intuit what I am saying. Or I will be so loosey-goosey that when I do speak I'll put people in a trance and they'll sense what I am saying through their "Choose Your Attitude!" notepads.

Respectfully Yours,
Vice President
Department of Go Away

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No Stink = Good

I bought gladiolas for, like, a dollar fifty at Trader Joes on Thursday and they are as vibrant as ever and the water they are in doesn't stink like a dead animal corpse poopy cess pool.

I love when this happens. When I splurge on flowers and I bring them home and I pray that they won't TURN TO TERROR STINK within fifteen minutes where they have me wondering if I should call the ASPCA to investigate what I believe to be a decomposing buffalo under my floorboards. When this doesn't happen and they last. I love that and I realize that the Green Beret type manuevering I underwent to secure a parking spot to get the gladiolas at Trader Joe's---it was totally worth it.

Mrs. Random Acts Of Corduroy

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bad Ventriloquist = Odd, True

I'm listening to Larry King interview Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Larry asks him a question and Mahmoud answers in a kind of Mumbly Presidential Iranian I'm Not Fond Of Jews At All kind of way and the voice that speaks that is supposed to represent him starts talking after he's rattled off a couple of sentences and she sounds like my elementary school teacher in 4th grade. Her voice is very: I Bake Cookies. Or I Like To Wear Negligees To Spice Things Up In The BooooooDoir.

And I'm wondering if maybe she was the only person available. Because her voice is the least matching voice of ANYONE I could possibly think of for Mahmoud. It sounds like she's arguing with him or she's doing this instead of selling Mary Kay. Was Clint Eastwood not available today?

This happens a lot on NPR. I'll be listening to some interview of some dignitary from Paraguay and the interpreter will come on sounding like an insurance salesman from Yonkers and I'll think "what the hell is going on?" Or Bob Simon will be interviewing the head of the Korean Mafia and the person's voice translating will sound like she just woke up after a girl's night and her favorite movie is Prince Of Tides.

Because The Voice of The Person is so non-chalant and I'm All Drowsy Eating Cookies, after the interview is over, I'm thinking---WHATEVER--the Korean Mafia. All we need to combat that are Appletinis and really good moisturizer."

Mayor of Shut-Up

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Your Hair Is Against The Law = True

Every time I see Sarah Palin on T.V. I picture her standing on the corner of 6th and Brooks at 7:00 A.M. and I think for sure she'd get arrested for that updo.

Don't you need a permit for that thing?

Hope To Talk Soon,
Mrs. Don't Call Me Ma'am

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mindspring = True

Sometimes, when I get an email I look to see where I am in the address list order and I feel oddly confident when I find that I'm early on in the list.

"When Gert was trying to decide where to relocate the vending machine, she for sure needed my input." I think, proudly.

Like, if I'm in between a "V" and a "B" and I'm an "A"--- It's clear that the address order was not alphabetical. And I am a winner--because I've sprung to mind quickly and you must admit that there are worse things than springing to mind...quickly.

Yours In Paranoid Defensiveness,
Harshy Harsherson
Harshtown, USA

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Change of Season = True

I live in Venice and lately, I've noticed that those long, flowy, polyesterish moo-moo things that were all the rage during summer are going by the wayside.

And I can't remember the last time I saw a pair of gladiator sandals or those little cabana boy hats that Brad Pitt wears that serve no purpose.

Soon the jeans will be tucked into the boots and there will be many, many, many elaborately knotted scarves worn. Even in the shower.

Judgementally Yours,
Shirley The Communist

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

There Are No Snickers Bars At Whole Foods = True

Within the parish that I abide, in Venice the Whole Foods finally opened at Rose and Lincoln and there has been an alarming amount of rejoicing.

At last. A food temple, within walking distance, where I can buy a yoga mat, apricot beer, soy candles, organic paper towels infused with lavender, anything "stone ground", $47.00 whole wheat pasta and really powerful tampons. I cannot think of anything else anyone would ever want. Ever.

Last night my husband and I walked from our house to The Temple and picked up some broccoli and tomatoes. I need to tell you that the tomatoes were not heirloom. Heirloom tomatoes are Very Venice. Not heirloom is Very Un-Venice.

"These aren't heirloom." I said to my husband.

He looked at me like when he looks at me when I try to explain how to use the Turbo toilet cleaner. Can't picturing him thinking. No! We can't just be! We must buy heirloom. Tomatoes. With antique gold chains.

We opted for the normal toms and brought them proudly to check-out. I think they let us buy the regular, sub-par tomatoes because my husband surfs and surfing is Ultimate Venice, therefore cancelling out anything remotely resembling Un-Veniceness-ous-nesh-ocity.

On the way out, we pranced past the throngs of happy people eating cous-cous (apparently happy for having scored a FREAKING PARKING SPOT) and noticed a big pile of crap on the sidewalk (the kind of crap that looked like it was dropped, SUDDENLY by a small family that had been attacked by a murderous tribe of Pawnee Indians) ---dirty plastic bags, a book with shredded pages, a shampoo bottle that looked like it'd been run over by a Prius and, of course, the usual crumpled, poopy underwear.

In the split second I strolled past, I flashed on who might be missing their undies and felt a moment of horror. What the hell is going on with someone that their soiled underwear ends up 20 feet from gleeful screenwriters overpaying for unsalted butter?

Mrs. Mildy Organic