Thursday, December 19, 2013

Well, get on with it, motherf*****!


Another thing is, you are generally way past the years of infatuation with what my Analysis of Film Language professor James Schamus once called the "piece-of-chicken teenage hunk" -- although of course as a Grown-Ass Woman you will forever own your right to ogle inappropriately-aged youthful beauty, it's just that the really young ones look like unformed little baby proto-human otters or something, and furthermore unlike what I gather 40-year-old men get out of ogling very very young women, a 40-year-old woman ogling a very very young man would probably just ... feel old by comparison. Anyway, that's my reaction -- you go right ahead being you, as ever, dig?

And but so, my point: You've moved on, crushwise, and you can have all of the feelings about Idris Elba, instead.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's nodda too-muh!


Y'all, I just spent the entire school day, 8:50 - 3:00, volunteering at my kid's school (a one-time only gig, I can assure you all). I am sofa king dead, and wiped, and utterly out of can. No more can. All the can was poured out along with three-quarters of those gormless space cases' chocolate milk after lunch.

How in the everShatnering FUCK do teachers do this?

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tried to take a hand-selfie, but couldn't hold the iPhone steadily enough, ha!


I have my grandmother E's hands -- knobby knuckles, long fingers, a certain amount of vein action starting to become apparent on the back -- with the breadth of the palm of the other side of the fan (more like my mom's). I've notice this fairly recently, and it's one of the things I am most OK with about my aging-ass body, because it's a tie to the past: My Grammy, to whom I was very close, lives on -- not just in my thoughts, but physically, in a way I see every day.

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They've found me! I don't know how, but they've found me! Run for it, Marty!

My Compadre, alias Twelve, Is the Greatest Person in the History of Ever: Another Reason Why
Twelve managed to find online the un-googleably-named freshman-year roommate to whom I refer on this here blogge from time to time. And you guys, this shit is GOLD. 
I can't share much -- mostly because I have to maintain my distance from her, and she's the type who probably chases down hits from all unfamiliar URLs just to see what's doing. But oh my heck, y'all. If ever a person were able to remain completely unchanged by life, to only sharpen and strengthen all the elements of their own personality, to charge through the years the same as they were at eighteen but ever more so -- this woman has managed it. 
Here's what I blathered in an email to Twelve: 
OMFG, lookit that husband of hers -- he is EXACTLY EXAAAAACTLY who I thought would marry her (I've even assigned his last name an umlaut for old time's sake). You think he ever gets a single word in? You think she tells everyone she knows, all the details of their extremely personal marital life? DO YOU SEE THAT SHE STILL SAYS SHE'S A [PRACTITIONER OF OBSCURE RICH-PERSON SPORT]???
As self-aggrandizing and needlessly abrupt as always, she's got Glamour Shots, she's allegedly the CEO of something (her own thing, not like General Mills, a legitimate business), she's married with three young kids ... on the one hand, huzzah to her -- to anyone, really -- who looks to have gotten exactly what he or she hoped to get out of life. She does look genuinely happy, her kids are cute, I don't begrudge her any of that -- it's just, she is still so HER that it is fascinating/dreadful/astonishing. If you had asked me to make up out of whole cloth the story of what she is now, based on the college freshman I once knew, I might have come up with precisely this, whereas with nearly everyone else I've known in my whole life, there've been some unexpected detours, some discoveries, some chances taken, some wins, some misses, a few edges sharpened and a few more blunted or softened ... but not with this gal. She is indomitably, indubitably she. Amazing. 

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

And then the whores come in


Lost the Docs (some fool paid nearly $160 in the end -- christ, isn't the joke over by that point?), but won a pair of hi-waisted cutoff denim shorts of the type I happily tossed away fifteen years ago for just eight bucks, so ...

Wait, did I just say I "won" those? Might as well get shitfaced on Bartles & Jaymes now, make the experience complete.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Irony? It's when ... something's like, ironic.


And then you find yourself in the somewhat humiliating position of trying (virtually) to cut the (online) throats of all the other bitches who are trying to win this goddamned pair of vintage 90s Docs on the goddamned eBay ... HANDS OFF, YOU WHORES, THESE'RE MINE!

I need them for a reason, and it's a hilarious one, and but also there's the fact that I never had Doc Martens money back in the day and always wore knockoffs so it's basically like I'm buying my kollege self the shoes she really wanted and was not badass enough to get. 

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Friday, December 13, 2013

White History


A little filler item I am 90 percent sure I wrote, from the February 8, 1983 edition of What's Up Elementary?, produced by me and my posse in Miss B.'s 3rd grade class,* a class-time-eating project I'm certain we badgered the kindly Miss B. into:
George WashingtonGeorge Washington is the Father of our country. From the time he was 20 to the time of his death, Washington was a great man. If Washington had not had the courage he showed, we would not be here today.
Now, it's not the writing I'm annoyed with -- I've seen worse by college-degree-holding adults who are paid to produce content for a living, right? (Although it does kind of make you wonder, hilariously, what kind of lesser-man shenanigans GW was up to before the age of 20.) No, it's the one-sided, whitewashed version of history it presents. Kids, then and now, are/were taught such white-hero-worshipping bullshit, completely lacking in nuance and perspective. And I don't know how to resolve this, even as it's becoming an issue with my own kids. 

For instance: The other day, Kid Gleemonex asks me on the way to swim practice, "How do you get to be Native American?"** I say it's not something you do; it's a matter of being a descendant of the peoples who lived on this continent before European "discovery" (yes I used air quotes) and colonization. "So they're still around today?" Yes, but in much smaller numbers than they would have been otherwise. "Because the Europeans killed them?" Yes ... "On purpose?" Well, yeah -- "But WHYYY?" [Ten-minute monologue on how the Europeans decided they liked this land and wanted it for themselves, and it didn't matter that there were already people living on it, and they said to get out and if the native people refused, they would fight and kill the native people, and they won most of the battles because they had guns and the natives didn't. Also smallpox, which may or may not have been on purpose.] Kid Gleemonex ruminates on this in silence. 

Then she has to go join her class in the pool, and I think I've just had a brilliant idea: A series of Real History books for kids. We don't have to go deep on the genocides, it doesn't have to be gory, but I'm deeply uncomfortable now with e.g. the "story of Thanksgiving" that they are taught, as if that's the whole story and everything was jake forever afterward between the colonists and the native peoples, la la la. I hate the lauding of Christopher Columbus (eeesh), the uncritical presentation of Manifest Destiny, the entirety of the way that the Civil War is taught. Gaah. These are the kinds of things I felt like such a fool, such a dupe, such a naive chucklehead about when I got to college, and lots of people never are forced to confront other ideas and narratives, so they keep going through life all "Christopher Columbus was a brave explorer! Wheee!"

Annnnnd ... I'm done writing but have made no point. Go fetch Gramma some more bourbon. 

*Incidentally, in several ways revealing a lifelong tendency to put me and my posse front and center in whatever journalistic enterprise I undertook, from this slim news volume to the high school yearbook to this very blog.

**At least now they're teaching them the term Native American, instead of Indians like back in my day.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Listen all y'all, it's a sabotage


One of the sobering things about turning 40 is that it has become a not extremely crazily unusual thing for your contemporaries to die of things besides car crashes and drug overdoses. It's out of the ordinary, unexpected -- but not a comet out of the blue sky like it was when you were 25.

I was on my way home from Safeway this morning (the in-laws are coming, I needed to stock up on Stoli, Ritz crackers and ham), and "Sabotage" came on the radio so I cranked it waaaay up. Danger Toddler seemed to really dig it, hooting along and waving his hands -- it was fun as hell. And then I was just hit with this wave of sadness about MCA dying. Just -- fuuuuuuuuuuuck, why him? He was only 47. GodDAMMIT.

Speaking only for myself, of course, at almost-40 you don't really feel old most of the time, but things like this can make you look around and see that yes, time is marching on, whether you want it to or not.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"I like to have people over." Yes, for weeks at a time. OMFG.


Gosh, this was nearly twenty-two years ago ... makes me feel old to think of that much time gone by!

Presented Without Comment: A Few Cherce Lines From the Letter My Randomly-Selected Roommate-to-Be Sent Me the Summer Before Kollege

I feel guilty after stagnating all senior year.

I'm Chinese, although I prefer to pass myself off as Hawaiin since people think I'm Filipino.

I like to train, & plan to install lots of sports equipment & a pullup bar in our room.

And don't worry, I've taken the trains for 6 years & only been mugged once.

I'm a pretty intense person.

I'm bringing rollerblades, a softball glove, sewing machine, ice skates, tennis racquet ... I think that's it.

But I can sleep thru anything.

Since I hate beer, I like to keep a bottle of blush wine around.

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Monday, December 09, 2013

I'm pretty sure that out of all of these, Grohl is the only one who would think it was funny.


What Happens When You Leave Me Alone With the Blank Shrinky-Dink Pages, a Computer, a Sharpie and Some Colored Pencils When I Am Feeling Far Too Clever and Pleased With Myself

This is my homemade ornament set for the tree this year. Variations on a theme:

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Sunday, December 08, 2013

I think that, a) you have an act, and that, b) not having an act is your act.


And then a couple days ago, I'm in a store trying to return some stuff and I stumble upon these really cute flannel shirts while I'm waiting for someone, anyone to show up at the register to accept my frickin patronage,* and seriously, these flannels are SO cute. So I get one. And then somebody materializes at the register, this 25-year-old gal, and she says I'm lucky I found this one because they've been "really super-popular lately." I'm like, score!, and I start to tell her how I wore flannels in high school & college, only they didn't fit like this (which was kind of the point, for us) because they were men's, mostly from thrift stores, and the patterns weren't cute colors like this either because ... and then I notice the vacant look in her 25-year-old eyes and I trail off lamely, " ... ehhh, anyway, these're cute."

*It was like the apocalypse had happened and I'd missed it but though all the humans had disappeared it was recently enough that the lights were still on and this store was eerily undisturbed. 

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Friday, December 06, 2013

The Luckiest Girl


My great-grandmother, whom we always called by her name ("Jenny Mae" for purposes of this blog), was a big part of my life. I'm writing about her now because I just realized she was a grandmother by the time she was my age -- 40 is different now than it was in her day. 

Jenny Mae was a vivacious, willful, eternally youthful and romantic soul with a grudge-holding streak almost as wide as her stubborn-mule one. Standing about 5'2" in very tall heels, she had a ton of costume jewelry and wore wigs as a matter of course; there was a famous tale in the family of me being shocked to see her "without her hair on!" when I was about four. In her late 70s, she apparently decided to hell with the wigs, and grew her own hair out long; it was gorgeous, salt-and-pepper, and it emphasized her Native American genes -- amazing cheekbones, dark deep-set eyes, a nose and forehead that in profile you'd recognize from a mile away.

When I was little, before she retired, she had a beauty shop up on the town square; she did what she thought best for all of her customers' hair, and too damn bad if they thought otherwise. I'd hang out there sometimes, and she'd buy me Dr. Peppers in those little 8-ounce glass bottles from the giant old-fashioned cooler in the front of the shop. They cost a dime, and she insisted on payment before she'd let me take one by the pressed metal top, slide it along the tracks and lift it to freedom at the little gate.

I spent a lot of time at her house, too, which was just a few blocks from ours; my great-grandfather, about whom she had concocted many romantical and adventurous tales, mostly sat in his recliner smoking menthols and wheezing out a few words every five years or so. Jenny Mae talked enough for any ten people, so although according to older cousins he was a real cuss back in the day, I guess he'd quit fighting the verbal tide a long time ago, especially with his emphysema. Anyway, Jenny Mae would make us crustless sandwiches, cut to custom sizes; she'd freeze homemade ice-cream in ice trays (for custom serving amounts); she thriftily got "government cheese" and other no-frills sundries; when we slept over, which we did a lot, she'd make bacon and pancakes in a cast-iron skillet for breakfast; a Felix the Cat clock -- the kind with the switching tail and the eyes that ticked back and forth -- would watch us as we sat at the kitchen island of her little 1930s bungalow to eat.

Jenny Mae always believed the best in us kids, her only child's only grandkids; she just knew we were all destined for fame, fortune and wildly successful love. She thought my husband (when he was still only the boyfriend) was the absolute bee's knees and wanted us to get married immediately (we were 19 at the time). She herself had "run off" with my great-grandfather at 15 -- although the details of this have still never been explained to me, because my family does not talk of things, and had my grandmother at some murky indeterminate age no one will pin down for me. And but so that meant, among other things, that I had the benefit of growing up with her, a third grandmother basically, who was still young and spry enough to take me out to lunch on my 21st birthday and buy me my first legal margarita.

She died when I was in grad school, a hurricane of energy and excitement till the very end, and I miss her still.

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Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Main Reason I Am On Facebook


The total randomness of the potpourri of people from all parts of your life ...

A List of People Who Liked and/or Commented on My Recent Throwback Thursday Pic (a Back-to-School Pic From 1990)

-My mom
-My sister
-My elementary-school gym teacher
-Thirteen co-workers from four different jobs
-My high-school boyfriend
-My high-school crushariffic crush
-Six high-school classmates with whom I was not particularly close
-Five of my sister's high-school classmates
-My husband's high-school girlfriend
-A person I became friends with when we both rode the same commuter bus
-My sister's college classmate whom I've met once
-My high-school BFF/Lab Partner's husband
-One of my new "mom friends" (whose kid and my kid are BFFs)
-A blogger I've never met IRL but feel like we were BFFs in a parallel universe
-My late father's best friend
-My husband's high-school friend
-My sister-in-law
-My other sister-in-law
-A best friend and bandmate who now lives in flyover country
-My college roommate & eventual bridesmaid
-A bowling buddy from back when we used to toss stones every Wednesday ($1 beers!)
-My mom's grade-school best friend
-Three college friends
-The waitress from our favorite Mexican restaurant y cantina, whom we got to know pretty well in seven years of spending mostly every Sunday afternoon getting trashed there
-My mother-in-law
-My junior-high best friend who moved away to Kansas in 8th grade
-My husband's best friend from all through school, who was his best man at our wedding
-My first cousin (15 years older than me) whom I never knew all that well as a kid, but whom I am really enjoying getting to know now
-A new friend I met through our daughters' being in the same dance class, but whom I consider friend friend instead of just mom-friend

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The Winona Resonance: Dig Its Continued Effex


You Might Have Been Born in 1974 If This Was Your Absolute Fucking Favorite Outfit (and Best Hair) Of Your Entire Life Up Til This Point

I remember the occasion -- on the way to Fort Worth for a listening party for a record my dad and his writing partner (an actual musician) had made. I managed to cadge two (2) wine coolers during the course of the party and it was enough at that tender stage to make me loooooopy. Haha!

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

It took me awhile to get this many items; it was a happy decade, but fraught with a certain kind of angst and agita that I am glad to be over with.


Things I Miss About My Twenties: The Complete List

--Oh, to have that kind of recovery from The Drinkening ... the quicker metabolism, the ability to sleep till like TEN A.M. holy fuckballs

--FOX "news" not even being a thing

--Letters. Like, paper mail. From one person to another person.

--Having all four grandparents and a set of greats still up and kickin'.

--Weed. That shit was fun.

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You don't eat or sleep or mow the lawn

Post 1 of 40 in my 40/40 Vision series -- shit that is related to me turning 40 this January. Some of the linkages are gonna be a real stretch, and some of the posts are gonna be real small ... 

So I'm volunteering at my kid's school this morning, and I'm going around to the desks distributing photocopied items to be used in a Hanukkah collage* while the kids are sitting on the carpet listening to the teacher reading a book on the history and significance of the holiday; at the end of each page, the kids are joining in as he sings another of the many verses of the Dreidel Song.

And I am fucking DYING INSIDE, trying not to sing the South Park version of the song out loud. DYING. I'm like Roger Rabbit when the bad guy is trying to draw him out of hiding by knocking on the wall with "shave and a haircut ..." and RR eventually bursts out with "Six biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiits!" In my head I'm doing each of the parts (Cartman: "Jews ... play stupid games ... Jews ... that's why they're lame!"; Gerald: "Court-ney Cox, I love you, you're so hot, on that show," etc.) I can't make eye contact with anyone, especially not this earnest, pop-culture-illiterate guy who most certainly would not be amused by my shenanigans. But I am a goddamn grown-up, addressed universally in this context as RoomMom, and so. I. don't. sing it out loud.

Maturity. Even when it almost bursts my spleen.

*Pause to note, with pride, that there is a lesson on Hanukkah at this school, a public elementary; in my day, not one single one of us small-town mainstream-Protestant Texass Kindergartners had ever even heard the word. California/2013 FTW!

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