This week is just hellishly busy so I am failing at he whole daily writing thing. But here are two photos from a visit to Heather Champ’s house that warm my heart a wee bit. I’m told that red shoes are too easy a statement to make. I am bidding on a pair of green Fluevogs on Bay at the moment, so if I win them we’ll see just what kind of heroic stuff I’m made of.
The winner of last week’s raffle is: Kelly! An e-mail to you is on its way. Thanks to everybody who entered, your money is going to a great charity.
Well, here we are again, Day One of National Blog Posting Month. You will be seeing me here daily for the rest of the month, should you choose to stop by. I have to leave for work in fifteen minutes but I still have something for you! Which are:
- A link to a funny story I told on the first day of NaBlo five years ago, just to give you something more substantial to read, entitled, “Day One, Or Snatching My Child’s Nuts From the Jaws of Defeat,” and
- An addition to the raffle I started on Sunday:
It’s a little calligraphy case with ink and brushes and a brush stand and, well, you can see all that. It’s nice. Here’s that raffle link again! It’s running until Friday.
First of all, every time I get into my car I have to hook up my iPhone to the car’s cassette adapter so I can listen to music or podcasts or whatever, and every time I do that I think, “Why can’t my car just be a giant iPod?” I mentioned this to Jackson the other day when I was driving him to school and he immediately flipped open the glove compartment.
“The keyboard could be here,” he said, miming typing on the flipped down glove compartment door.
“No, but then how am I going to control it from over here while I’m driving?” I said. “Maybe there could be buttons on the steering wheel.”
“No. Voice control,” he said. “Duh.”
“Oh, duh,” I said.
“DON’T! PLAY! NICKELBACK!”
Jackson delighted at the thought of us screaming at the car not to play what the other person in the car wanted to hear. Clearly the iCarPod would have to be wired to respond only to the voice of the person who made the last car payment.
Whip that up for me, would you Apple? Because with iCloud I can’t imagine why this wouldn’t be possible. I would dump my Volvo in a heartbeat for one that was basically a giant speaker on wheels.
Secondly, don’t forget that NaBloPoMo starts Tuesday! Oh, no! Even though I sold it to BlogHer last spring, I’m still going to post every day in November because what kind of a blogger would I be if I abandoned the very thing that once gave my life meaning, and also gave me an excuse to post pictures of all of my shoes?
Lastly, I’m going to Camp Mighty in a couple of weeks, not because I am ready to plow through my life list (I have fourteen things on it so far, none of which I particularly want to show anyone at the moment) but because Maggie is always creating something interesting and I like being a part of how it all plays out.
When I signed up there was an option to get a discount on the weekend if you raised $200 for a group called Charity: Water. So, I signed up for that, because saving money is always a thrill. And how hard could it be to raise $200?
It turns out that it’s sort of hard.
I have raised $50 so far by selling shoes on eBay, but I need to come up with another $150, so I’m following the lead of a few other Mighty Campers* and I’m trying a raffle.
Here is what you could win:
- A $50 Amazon gift certificate
- This necklace that I made out of random beads in my bead box:
3. An Instax Mini 25 instant camera and one roll of film:
All you have to do to enter is buy a $2.00 raffle ticket. You can buy as many as you want, and every dime of ticket money will go to Charity: Water. And yes, technically, by buying a raffle ticket you are helping my weekend in Palm Springs cost $200 less, and I completely understand if that rubs you the wrong way. But your $2.00 is going to an amazing cause, so I hope that knowledge rubs your fur back in the right direction.
The raffle will be open until midnight Friday, November 4, 2011. Thank you! Good luck!
THE RAFFLE IS OVER, THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED!
*As mentioned on Boston Mamas, some of our fellow and sister campers are fundraising creatively if you want to support them:
First of all, if you’re actually visiting fussy.org and not reading this through a feed reader, you’ll have noticed two new badges up in the sidebar. One is for The Popcorn Whisperer, the weekly movies-and-TV column I’m doing for Babble, where so far I have covered such pertinent subjects as The Smurfs Movie, Midnight in Paris, The Silence of the Lambs, Jaws, and a round-up of TV dads illustrated with hand-drawn Venn diagrams. The other badge in my sidebar leads you to Faking It With Mrs. Kennedy, the weekly current events column I’m doing for The Stir. So far I’ve written two things there: “Which world leader is the angriest THIS week?” and a thing about Andy Rooney retiring, and it seems I’m trying to become the next Gail Collins. The learning curve is steep, but I may finally have learned to balance serious news and irony by around 2013. If they don’t fire me before then, I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
You may also notice that my hair is two different lengths in my two sidebar masthead badges. This is because one photo is newer than the other, and reflects the fact that my hair, like the times, it is a-changin’. Yes, I am once again taking daily photos of my hair’s progress but I’m doing it secretly, using an app called Everyday, which means that eventually I’ll be able to post one of those movies of my head where the background keeps changing and I’m slowly growing a beard. Although as hard as I have tried, beard growth still eludes me, I’ve had some success with head growth. I’m finding it’s easier to do without the daily scrutiny of the Internet, however.
Crazily and on short notice, I flew to New York last week to shoot a video with Alice, M.J. Tam (who I kept calling DJ Tam, like she was toting a crate full of vinyl to the club), and one other secret special person sitting in a hot room with three cameras on us while we had a series of occasionally disturbing and amusing conversations sponsored by Clorox. Clorox scared up a nice lunch for us, too, and put me up in a decent hotel that happened to be a block-and-a-half away from the Carnegie Deli. (Did you know that the Carnegie Deli is open from 6:30 a.m. until 4:00 a.m. every day? I don’t know what they do with their 90 minutes of down time. Maybe they have a Bleach Break™.)
So I flew into New York on Sunday, we did the shoot on Monday, and on Tuesday morning I was flying back to California but I didn’t hear my alarm go off because I’d been up too late the night before*, but I magically awoke at 7:11 a.m. Since my ride to the airport was leaving at 7:45, I threw on some clothes and ran to Seventh Avenue.
*Jackson, who was home with a babysitter because Jack has an ongoing gig Monday nights in L.A., was having trouble going to sleep, so he sent me a series of sad text messages without really thinking through the whole three-time-zones-away thing. And really, when you’re ten years old and you miss your mom, you don’t care that she has to get up in less than six hours to catch a plane to come back to you.
Jack is the only person I know who would actually entertain the idea of a pickle-scented candle. But instead, while they were digging for a shirt in Jack’s size, I asked the hostess if she thought I could get through airport security with a cheesecake.
“Oh, sure, people do it all the time,” she said. “They’re frozen.” She had a Jamaican accent. She pointed to the deli counter behind me. “Ask him, he’ll get one for you.”
They had three sizes of cheesecake. The large was the size of my entire carry-on bag; the medium was the size of my laptop bag; but the small was just right.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my husband as happy as he was when I pulled a cheesecake out of my purse.
For Jackson I brought back something fuzzy and green from the J. Crew sale rack:
Hello, nerd boyfriend.
If you’re new here, one of the first things you need to see is Peewee:
We call that “the look.” You see it most often when he’s been sitting at the top of the stairs for a long time waiting for someone to take him out. It means, “Seriously? My bladder is so full it’s pushed all my organs into my throat. You’ve stepped over me three times. I know you know I’m here.” (That face is also a dead giveaway that he’s been watching Taxi Driver again.)
See those two whitish spots just below his shoulder blades? I love those spots. Sometimes I scratch him there and whisper, “That’s where your wings used to be.” Then I imagine Peewee, not as an angel, but bumping around the living room and knocking shit over like a giant bumblebee.
My husband is kind, generous, flexible, hard-working, honest, deeply loyal, and a steadfast protector of everyone he cares about, and every day he works to become a better human being, husband, and father. But sometimes the way he expresses himself makes me want to poke him with a spork.
(Before we continue I would like to acknowledge that, given the motivation, Jack could make a long list of unfathomable things I say and do every day, but it appears that he has better things to do with his time.)
Here’s an example. The other night he was cooking dinner.
Me: “Fish and green beans just doesn’t seem like enough. Is it too late for me to make some sweet potato fries? . . . Oh, never mind, it would take a half hour and it’s already 7:00.”
Jack: “What the fuck do I care? You gotta be someplace?”
Now, this is Jack’s way of saying, Sweetheart, I’m not in any hurry, you go ahead and make whatever your heart desires and I’ll have a beer and wait until you’re ready before I start cooking the fish. But then I remembered I was living with the bastard child of W. C. Fields and Sam Peckinpah.
So I made the sweet potato fries, and when they were just about done, Jack put the fish on.
Jack (admiring his work): “That looks pretty fucking good.”
Me: (shouting) “I HOPE IT STAYS DOWN!”
I’ve learned, over time, that instead of being offended by Jack’s — let’s call it aggressive solicitude — I’ve found that countering it with brutal honesty, spoken with comically elevated intensity and volume, lets me avoid feeling like I’ve been run over by a Brooklyn-bound F train. (Note: it doesn’t work if I’m actually upset, because then I just sound mean and it turns into a fight, so if my feelings have been hurt I say, “Thanks a lot, Sarcasmo,” and he says, “What? I was joking!” and I say, “Oh, I see, it was a joke that didn’t contain any actual humor,” and he says, “I think you need something to eat,” and I say, “THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.”) So there’s no eye rolling involved, nor is there smarminess. Think less Tim Gunn and more Lee Van Cleef.
What was I talking about?
(And yes, those are 8-ounce filets of escolar wrapped in bacon and being fried in butter, because we win at eating paleo. This was easily a week’s worth of fat and protein for the average adult. But even with some green beans and slivered almonds on the side, it just didn’t seem like enough to me. Thirty minutes later, when I developed gout and burst out of my jeans, I remembered that I don’t actually have to eat everything on my plate and that leftovers are a wonderful thing.)
Anyway, Jack and I often get oddly pleased with ourselves when we have these exchanges, maybe because, as two people who grew up with a fair amount of domestic conflict, it feels great to have (weird but) honest confrontations that wind up with civilized outcomes. But I can’t imagine what we’re teaching Jackson when we talk to each other this way. Maybe we’re teaching him to listen for the subtle shifts between giving someone shit / speaking the truth / slipping into conjugal despair? In the past, when Jack and I have actually argued with each other, Jackson has yelled from his room, “Stop bickering, you two!” The boy can make us laugh out loud with his shrewd observations on our weaknesses, so best case scenario he’s learning to tell it like it is. (Worst case, he’s going to need a really, really tough girlfriend.)
Oh yeah, you need some mushrooms on that.
Paul was released on DVD last week, which was a cause for celebration at the Kennedy Compound. Our DVD came in the mail and was quickly watched twice in succession. It’s funny and it’s clever and it’s rude and it’s hardly sexy at all, so maybe the R rating comes from Kristen Wiig, who plays woman who never learned to curse properly, saying things like, “Well, ain’t that a bag of tits.” (Also, have you seen this? I don’t want to over-Wiig you, but SO CUTE.)
Paul starts out at ComicCon, which takes place every summer at the San Diego Convention Center, and of course since I’d just been to the San Diego Convention Center for the lady blogger conference, I was all, HEY, LOOK! I KNOW THAT PLACE! WAIT! THE FLUORESCENT LIGHTS! HEY! THAT CARPET IS TOTALLY THE SAME CARPET! and other fascinating observations that enthralled my family.
A few weeks ago on Twitter I was all . . .
. . . and an hour later . . .
. . . until several days later . . .
(Note: BlogHer will be in NYC next year. Unskippable.)
And oh, the chore list I’m going to build for Jackson to earn his trip to ComicCon, it’s going to be twenty feet long. I’m going to have to buy a roll of butcher paper to list all the strange little tasks I’m going to make up for him to do.
So, do you want to hear about the BlogHer conference that I went to in San Diego? Then read on about how my trunk was full of Fussy t-shirts, and yet never once did it seem appropriate to haul them into the lobby of the Marriott and start laying them out on the floor to sell (one for $15, two for $20, special conference discount). I’d done it at BlogHer ’05 and BlogHer ’06 and driven home both times with a smile on my face and a pocket full of twenties. And my hand to God I wish I’d done it this time, too, but my plate was way too full (of eggs) (paleo joke!) to find the time.
It’s funny to go over my old BlogHer recaps, because slowly, after yearly exposure to masses of lanyard-wearing women, I am becoming one of those grownups who has learned to talk to strangers and socialize with something that looks like ease. But only because I’ve had some first-class conference buddies.
Here we see Alice. She is clearly not using her phone to send pleading text messages to God so that her family would arrive at the airport safely so they could limbo off to Legoland the next day. No, she’s not doing that at all. She’s just being adorable. Alice was my roommate the first night and my breakfast buddy and also my partner in luncheon comedy and book signing at the Bill My Parents booth. The BMP people bought 400 copies of Let’s Panic! and set us up with Sharpies and let us sign copies and talk to bloggers and give books away to them for free.
Here we see Erin. Erin is, historically, one of the most dependably funny and incisive bloggers on the Internet, and once Alice took off for Legoland, Erin totally anchored my roster. We talked and talked and talked and then we ate and drank and talked some more. And then we went off and ate and talked to other people, and then we came back together and ate and talked about what we talked to those other people about. I am so happy and grateful and lucky that Erin decided to come. And not only because she gave me a sock zombie.
This year’s Community Keynote was possibly the rawest and most unrelentingly emotional keynote we’ve ever had. (Transcript is here. Individual videos of readers should be posted soon, and they’ll be worth watching.) You can read a post online and find it touching, but when the person who wrote it breaks down in tears while telling you about her fifteenth year sober, or sneaking art onto the walls of a cancer ward, or realizing her children were all going to grow up and leave someday? It took me crumbling through four introductions with a runny nose before Sarah leaned over and whispered to me to open one of the little zipper pouch giveaway bags on the table–oh, we had a tissue sponsor this year! Brilliant. I also have to hand it to the humor bloggers, they had some heavy lifting, bringing the crowd up from that deep, heart-softened place over and over again. But they did it.
Friday ended with Erin, Doug and Georgia watching me shovel hors d’oeuvres into my face with the sad understanding that chicken skewers and zucchini niblets would no doubt be my dinner, and then finally pouring myself into bed at 1:00 a.m. I’ll have plenty of time to prepare for my panel about how to retain your sanity while running an online community, I remember thinking before I dropped into a black, dreamless, dehydrated sleep. But as soon as the first question came from the audience at 3:00 p.m. the next day, a couple of things came into stark relief before my eyes. One, my throat was sore from yelling over party music for two nights in a row; two, my sister panelists were still actively engaged in running their online communities, whereas in the time between accepting the invitation to speak on this panel (October 2010) and actually being on the panel (August 2011), I had so thoroughly scrubbed NaBloPoMo from my mind that I barely remembered what it was I used to do every day, five times a day, 365 days a year to keep it chugging along; and three, judging by that and all subsequent questions from the audience, a good deal of the women looking to us for advice had far more professional experience on the subject than I did. Also, the room was cavernous, and I still haven’t gotten the knack of speaking conversationally to someone whose face is 100 feet away from me. However, I did, possibly, manage to say a couple of useful things, and make at least one person laugh, and not cock up the entire event by falling asleep at the table. [Transcript is here.]
I honestly can’t believe anyone but the masochists are still reading, so let’s wind things up on a cuddly note. I will not enable your pain another moment, no matter how satisfying you find it!