Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants.

I must be getting really old, because apparently, since I was in first grade, 2 new planets have appeared. Ceres and Eris. Named after the most boring Greek goddess (of that most exciting item, wheat), and the most moody goddess (the one that ruins everything). I can't believe that they skipped over Juno/Hera, Athena, and Artemis and went straight to Ceres and Eris. I just don't think those girls can compete with powerhouses like Mars and Jupiter and Pluto. I mean...

(At a party in LA)
Mars (dressed all in red leather and wearing Men in Black sunglasses): Hey, babe. I'm Mars, the God of War. You might have seen me in Jackass 3, and i'm starring in The Rock's next movie. I haven't seen you around...

Ceres (dressed in a flowing robe of doodoo brown): Oh, um, hi. I'm Ceres. Big C-little E-R-E-S, but it's pronounced like a television "series". Like Alf or Who's the Boss. Ha ha ha snort!

Eris (walking up in a black babydoll dress with fishnets and a nose ring): OMG, this party totally sucks. I just poured Draino in the punch and threw a glass of wine in some guy's face. He actually had a lightning bolt on his t-shirt! So lame.

Mars: Who's your, uh, friend?

Ceres: Oh, she's the goddess of chaos. And I'm actually the goddess of the harvest. You haven't heard of us?

Mars: (spitting his drink all over her teased hair) The harvest? Like where they make cabbage in Mexico? That's gotta be a rough life. "Oh, Ceres, please help our genetically modified, chemical-laden iceberg lettuce be white, crunchy and plasticky in time for the delivery to McDonald's next Thursday. In your honor, we burn this banana peel. HA HA HA HA HA! (walks off laughing)

Ceres: Oh. Um. Well. People need iceberg lettuce. I guess it's not as important as war... but i'm up for a Valtrex commercial next week.... my agent thinks i've got a chance....

Eris: Screw this pig. Let's go key his Lamborghini!


Anyway, the new mnemonic for remembering the planets, all the old and exciting ones and the two new boring "mini" planets, is
My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants. So we won't be forgetting that any time soon, eh? Applicable, useful, short, easy to remember. I do enjoy how we used to talk about an educated mother, and now we discuss magical carpets and enslaved elephants.

Ah, Science. You elusive and enigmatic ho.

I can only hope the next two ice hunks given formal names in space include Cloacina, the goddess of Roman sewers and Nodutus, the god who tied knots in stalks of wheat. Because we need a Screech in the celestial White House.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

clouds taste like gray

When i'm bored, I don't read CNN or send out forwards about toilet spiders-- I browse I love to see what's on the front page, check out the Treasury, and see what my "favorites" are up to.

For example, I totally love this artist:, but I can't afford a darned bit of his work. Even his prints are out of my price range. But just seeing his work makes me happy. I totally wish I could paint like that. The ferris wheel blows my mind, and I don't even like ferris wheels!

On the other hand, this artist: doesn't offer prints because all her art is affordable. I bought a little still life, and I can't wait for it to arrive.

Lasty, this artist: totally cracks me up every day. I love these birds, and many of them speak for me. For example, the title of today's blog entry: Clouds taste like gray. That just kills me.

Buy handmade, baby!

thank goodness it's not Tim Allen

For the first time in our home ownership experience, we are conducting home improvements. We are total babes in the woods, so we're very thankful that my buddy Heidi gave us a great recommendation for a handyman, or we'd be paying Lowe's $80 to install a light bulb. His prices are great; he's prompt, quick, and articulate; he lets Cleo play in his tool bag, excepting wire nippers; and he doesn't have plumber butt. And our house is emerging, bright and shiny, from the 80's.

So far, we have replaced the dining room chandelier, previously a charming white ceramic with gold accents, with a more fashion-forward black iron/torture device model.

Our laundry hall light now looks like an elegant copper and glass breast.

Our downstairs bathroom has neither toilet nor floor, but the new light fixture and faucet in brushed nickel are gorgeous. Soon, the porcelain tile (and returned toilet) will make the room lovely, and i'll probably paint the vanity as well. The giraffe watches the improvements with his usual benevolent eye.

The disposal in the kitchen works for the first time since last May, although it smelled like the inside of an old man's mouth last night. To whoever stuck a fork into the disposal at Craig's birthday party, a special circle of smelly hell awaits you for not telling us!

The hideous cut-glass fan from the living room has been replaced with a beautifully sleek one in brushed nickel and maple that reminds me of a wooden rocket ship.

Still on the bill: new upstairs light, new foyer light, new tile for the downstairs bath, new fan in the master bedroom, new fan in the spare bedroom, new carpet in the living room, and a complete rehaul of the master bath: tile, new shower door, new faucets, new hardware, a coat of paint.

All in all, a very exciting week, although I had to buy a regrettable amount of light bulbs.

Monday, February 25, 2008

it's on the SAT, for pete's sake!

I hate people/companies who insist on trying to force their customers into outmoded ways of doing business. For example, I want to have some carpet installed, so I found someone online and emailed them my details, requesting a quote or more information. So they emailed me back requesting that I call them on the phone.

Okay, see, if I wanted to CALL someone, I would use the phone book and a phone.

But I used my computer because I hate talking to people I don't know on the phone. See how that works? PHONE is to CALL as COMPUTER is to EMAIL. Basic SAT fodder.

So guess who didn't get my business? That guy. Capitalism works again.

it came from the black lagoon!

"It" being me and "the black lagoon" being a horrific and sleepless night of screaming toddler.


Is it two-year molars? Is it the onset of the Terrible Two's? Is it karmic backlash for trying to wean? Did I run over a squirrel or something?

She is now systematically debooking my bookshelf, and i'm letting her, because my tea isn't ready yet, and i'm exhausted, and I feel dessicated, and I want coffee, and I want to cry but have been sucked dry. My poor little dude. She must feel horrid to act like such a monster. She has cried more in the last two days than in the previous two months combined.

Thank goodness for sunshine. And chai tea. And my sexy new ceiling fan. And the painting of a bee I did last night. And that lovely lotion I got on sale at Target that smells like eucalyptus.

I'm going to win this day back.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Assuming that I myself am not a paragon of virtue in the lifestyle department, I still firmly believe that the secret to a long, happy life is a combination of eating right, getting exercise, knowing love, and having passion. I've always had my art, and I had some horrible poetry when I was younger, but I know that lots of people do not naturally have something about which they are passionate. And I think lots of people don't put in the work to find that elusive passion, either, but I love the idea of people actively working to bring passion into their lives-- outside of passion for daytime TV and nachos, of course.

So one thing that really makes me happy and makes me laugh at the same time is watching older women join our bellydance class for the first time. These are your typical middle-aged women, lik 45, and most of them are either overweight or skeletal (ie, not curvy), and they do not appear to be very in touch with their femininity in the way that young women are. By which I mean that their exercise clothes are poorly fitting or not flattering, they have unisex/utilitarian hairstyles, they don't wear makeup or baubles. One even routinely wears a tennis visor and big, bulky shoes to enjoy this sensual and passionate dance.

And it's great that they're all encouraging eachother to try bellydance, but... it's so funny. They couldn't find their hips with two hands and an anatomy textbook. They do the side-to-side white person dance when they should be doing shoulder shimmies. They can't shimmy their hips, so they just sort of vibrate in place. When the instructor does hip drops, they look like they're kicking the cat out of the way or trying out for the Rockettes. And heaven help them when they try to do stomach drops or camel walks, because the parts that drop and undulate are not, in fact, the ones that should be dropping and undulating. There is no grace or sensuality whatsoever; they just don't "get it".

But they love it. They all have ridiculous smiles on their faces and twitter like schoolgirls between songs and grab other women by the arm in the locker room and squeal, "You have to try it!!" And they come back the next week with their friends beside them and with garish, fluorescent hip scarves tied tightly around their bellybuttons, like the mom jeans of the bellydance world. And it's wonderful.

So chickaboom to all the bellydance girls out there trying to find their hips. It takes guts to get out there and shake your thang. I salute you!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

my newest hero
This chick makes jewelry out of octopus tentacles cast in silver.

My day is brighter just knowing that such things exist in the world.

What? You think that's cruel? Don't worry-- their little leggies grow back!

Sigh. Cephalopods are so dreamy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

it's nothing but muscles and balls around here!

My husband complained that tonight's blog entry didn't make him laugh.

I hereby apologize to everyone who wasn't amused. I live to amuse. To be amusing. Yup, plenty of time around here to be amusing.

So... um... i'll tell my favorite joke.

What's brown and sticky?

A stick.

That's all i've got. It's been a long day.

hide n' seek

I love a good hunt. I hate to admit it, because it makes me feel like some pathetic 50's housewife at a church rummage sale, but I seriously love a good bargain.

Like tonight, for instance, I snagged a really killer little painting on for $22, as shown above. It's going to look awesome in my bathroom, once I get the room painted and pimped out. Just an energetic little still-life, but it totally captures my imagination and makes me happy. There's just nothing better than supporting talented artists at a reasonable price, and then getting t
o look at a unique piece of artwork every day that just makes you smile. My most recent favorite, a portrait hanging in the upstairs hallway, has become like a family member, such that we call her "Amy", and Cleo says goodnight to her as part of her bedtime ritual.

Night, night, painting lady!

And then, my favorite hobby twice a year: the consignment sales. Like basket-bearing locusts, we bargain-shopping mamas show up at churches, civic centers, and fairgrounds to paw through thousands of tidbits of used baby paraphernalia and then enjoy "1/2 off Saturdays". (Unfamiliar? Check out That way, when Cleo smears avocado and berries all over herself with a butter knife, I can smile smugly, knowing I only paid $1 for her shirt. If you had told me when I was 15 that I would one day respond to "Cute outfit!" with "$The whole thing cost $3.50, can you believe it?!?", I would have written much more depressing poetry.

But it's the little victories, and I am fortunate to have a lot of them.

Oh, and I posted more paintings. Go, Bad Duck, Go!

(Yes, I had the wrong etsy address. D'oh. Thanks, Emile!)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

little girls, little girls

I'm unfortunately not one of those folks who was trained to keep an immaculate house. When I was a kid, there were glasses under my dad's side of the bed that contained entire complex and scientifically advanced cities of fungus. But I am completely dumbfounded by the ability of small children to muck up a clean house. In expectancy of our neighborhood playgroup this morning, I spent an hour last night tidying up, washing handprints off kitchen appliances, scraping raisins off the floor, sweeping, etc.

And she's only been awake an hour, but they are all mysteriously back! Seriously! Little ghostly handprints everywhere, and new raisins stuck to the floor, and she didn't even have raisins for breakfast. So I have to go clean again.

I believe I speak for mothers everywhere when I say,
a) WTF?!?
b) those chicks in the Chlorox commercial who erase fingerprints with one wryly smiling aesthetic swipe of a bleached white hand towel are a cruel hoax.

One swipe, my ass. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Oh, these dishpan hands!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

smells like teen spirit

I was enjoying my morning tea (Celestial Seasonings decaf Green Tea with Mint), and I couldn't help but think of how wildly different my morning is now than when I was in high school. The American media mindset tends to rate high school as the apex of one's life, for some ungodly reason, but i'm happy to learn that it's a ridiculous farce. I was definitely not at my healthiest, happiest, smartest, and prettiest when I was in my teens.

High school morning: Wake up at 6:22 with a rousing 6 hours of sleep; eat a breakfast of sugary cereal and coffee while frantically and stressfully finishing my math homework, pack a lunchbox of Coke, Pixie Stix, white bread, Gobstoppers, and Hostess pies; pick up my friend, devouring 4-5 chewable vitamins while she's trying on hats in her bedroom; drive too fast to school in my Chevy Cavalier with my wet hair drying out the window while yodeling songs by The Cure; sit outside and frantically and stressfully finish French homework; enjoy a lunch of chocolate chip cookies, french fries, and whatever was leftover in my lunchbox from snacking all morning.

I had horrible skin, did no exercise, drank absolutely no water, got 6 hours or less of sleep a night, drank tons of Coke, took too many of the wrong sort of vitamin, was horribly stressed, ate nasty food with no nutritional value, ate loads of candy and sugar, spent all of my time indoors, watched loads of TV, never read the ingredients of food or beauty products, and never wore sunscreen. For years, I thought I had permanent stomach problems... then I learned that the body needs at least 64 ounces of fluid a day to run smoothly, whereas I had been banking on 2 Cokes a day. Why did no one tell me this?

And now? I wake up around 8 with my daughter, having enjoyed about 8-9 hours of sleep; have a leisurely breakfast of whole wheat toast, sunflower butter, banana, and cocoa made with skim milk, stevia, and real cocoa; take a multivitamin, flaxseed, fish oil, and calcium; drink loads of water and 2 big cups of green tea a day; go to the gym at least 3 days a week and get exercise chasing my toddler every day; have very little stress; eat very little sugar; watch no TV; spend lots of time outdoors; wear sunscreen; and read every ingredient on everything I buy.

And you know what? I'm in better shape, have better skin, have better digestion, have more energy, have less stress, and generally feel happier, healthier, and more relaxed than ever before.

I wish I had read Self magazine in my teen years, or that my parents had been healthier people to guide me through example or force. To think of all the years I wasted feeling horrible!

It just goes to show you-- it may smell like teen spirit, but teen spirit smells pretty bad and probably has cavities from eating too many Gobstoppers.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

who do? voodoo!

Who do I want to smack today?

* people who don't use turn signals
* people who get in the left lane and go exactly 5mph over the speed limit
* artists who are too full of themselves and/or have no sense of humor
* parents who talk on their cyborg implant devices on the playground while ignoring their children
* magazines with wildly contrasting messages regarding weight and natural beauty
* Terra Chips, for making such delicious Sweets and Beets
* the movie Juno, for not being available on DVD yet
* Lush, for discontinuing my two favorite products, Potion Lotion and Skinny Dip shower gel
* the chick who cut my hair too short

To whom do I want to give a cookie today?

* my husband, who totally cracks me up and makes me laugh so loud in public that people look at me disapprovingly, and who also takes me out for tasty food
* my daughter, for being a jolly little dude most of the time (but a healthy, non-sugary cookie)
* my friends, for being cool, especially the day after I barfed, when folks called to make sure I was still alive
* Paulie Bleeker
* that really cool boxer (dog, not pugilist) I saw at the park today
* the school bus driver, for taking a chance on an unknown kid
* Terra Chips, for making such delicious Sweets and Beets
* iTunes, for allowing me to craft a rockin' CD of lots of songs for which I would never, ever buy the albums, and Adrienne and Evan for setting me up with iPod and iTunes-- w00t!
* Rite Aid, for marking down some fun mineral makeup today that makes me feel pretty
* LA Fitness, for having the good sense to offer a bellydance class and for finding a great instructor
* me. I am the bat! And I like coookies!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Geek Stories 1: The Worst Valentine's Day Ever

If you didn't know me before about 1994, you may not know that I was a pudgy, bespectacled, poorly dressed, dorky, friendless little know-it-all. My childhood was either a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy in those days, mostly through my own invention. Now, my parents have never been into holidays-- if I wanted the house decorated for Christmas, I had to by God do it myself. But for some reason, my dad always thought Valentine's Day was a nice day to give small presents to my mom and me. One year, he gave me a camera, which I mainly used to capture our dog in all her smushed-face Boston Terrier glory, because I had no friends Another year, he gave us a countertop stereo, which he later used to torture us with Pink Floyd. But that's another story for another time.

One year, possibly the most terribly pathetic year of them all, I was caught in that puberty limbo, where hair sprouts in all the wrong places and you can't decide to wear a bra and have it snapped during Social Studies, or not wear a bra and be the butt of pithy itty-bitty-titty jokes. I hadn't quite figured out how to dress yet, and I was growing out a horrific haircut called a "wedge". The thought was that if it was good enough for gold medalist Dorothy Hamill, it was good enough for 13-year old fat kids who refused to take showers and wash their greasy hair. I was mostly wearing clothes from Target before Target was cool, and I had hairy legs and wore stupid fake Keds. I still thought shirts with zebras on them were cool, whereas the actual cool kids shopped at The Gap, which I thought had something to do with teeth.

I came home from the usual torturous day of 7th grade to find that my father had a big surprise for me: he had gone to K-Mart and bought me $80 worth of clothes as a Valentine's Day present. And if you thought I, myself, was unstylish, I can't begin to describe to you the clothes that my father had chosen for me from the K-Mart Misses section. Old Lady Central. There was a teal and white poofy shirt and long, shapeless skirt set with diagonal striping, white piping, and small triangular designs that made me look like a vacuum cleaner. There was also something mauve that even my grandmother wouldn't wear, kinda like a short-sleeved sweatshirt with a waistband, and I seem to remember jeans with stirrups. Even with my limited fashion sense, I was horrified.

If I wore these monstrosities to school, I was totally and 100% going to get my ass kicked.

The true issue became clear: did I wear these clothes to school against my best judgment and allow myself to become the butt of the painful jokes I was finally outgrowing, or did I ante up and break my dad's heart by telling him that the clothes sucked and I wanted to return them, thereby shedding my childhood and becoming an adult?

I had to compromise. And lie. I thanked him, hugged him, told him how great the clothes were, and chose the least harmful ensemble to go out to eat that night, and then I let him know that everything else was the wrong size and would have to be returned. I took my stylish best friend with me for the grand return and had a great time choosing the acid-washed jean shorts, glittery t-shirts, and shapeless gunny-sack dresses that were then in style. My hair grew out, I quit wearing blue eyeshadow, I got some decent razors, and I eventually grew out of my painfully hideous stage, like a large, ungainly caterpillar turning into a slightly less abrasive moth.

The next year, he gave me a clock radio for Valentine's, and the past faded into a haze of Nirvana (the band), Lemonheads (the candy), Pixie Stick sandwiches, miniskirts, and an ongoing string of geek stories that, I admit, continue to this day.

And that was my worst Valentine's Day ever.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

unsexual sexy

There is currently a discussion on one of my forums about how a tiny laptop can be "sexy". Some people do not seem to get the concept of "sexy" as it applies to things that are not actually sexual. I've always had a definite divider between the two, and apparently i'm not the only one who enjoys the dichotomy. Therefore, allow me to expand on my list of things that are "unsexual sexy". Ahem.

- the big, feathery feet of draft horses such as Clydesdales, Friesians, and Gypsy Vanners
- Christine's orange stroller
- wet black sand
- lush summer grass on bare feet
- certain kitchen gadgets, such as expensive mixers in candy hues or enameled cast iron
- Lush shampoo bars in tins
- big, drippy, medium-rare hamburgers
- bright silver or crystal drawer pulls on white enameled wood
- our new, dark wood baby gate
- pit bulls, especially blue or brown ones
- the smell of oil paint and/or linseed oil
- Amy Butler's Nigella fabrics
- finishing your taxes
- fancy walking canes
- new car smell
- acoustic guitars with metal strings
- hand-knitted wrist warmers
- brand new hardcover books, and the lovely crack they make the first time you open them
- a freshly cleaned aquarium

Etc. Now, any one of those things I could call "sexy", but not Daniel-Day-Lewis-in-Last-of-the-Mohicans sexy. Get it? Got it? Good.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

al dente

God, I hate the dentist.

I mean, not personally. I don't hate the dentist, herself, as a person. I just hate that trips to the dentist are always... ALWAYS... a horrible, uncomfortable, worrisome affair. Today I had x-rays, a cleaning, 3.2 very negative seconds of the dentist's time, and some great religious one-liners from my hygienist. It went like this:

Her: You need to relax! God says there's no reason to worry!
Me: God doesn't have my horrible teeth!
Her: No, but he died on the cross.
Me: At least there were no drills involved.

Etcetera. Despite my religious (har har) flossing and 2-minute brushing, I still have the same old cavities. Now I get to wait for the insurance company to send me a big, long list of how much they'll cover. Won't that be the best mail ever? "Dear Captain Cavity: Not only do you require a lot of dental work, but here's the enormous price tag. P.S. Nitrous isn't free. Signed, Guardian."

Thus far, my lifelong tally of dental catastrophes includes: knocking 6 teeth loose at the age of 6 and getting slapped by the pediatric dentist who reset them; waking up from a nitrous fog to the cruel laughter of two racist dental students taking cracks at me while I was knocked out; and cracking a tooth to the nerve while 6 months pregnant and requiring a root canal without anesthetic.

Genetics, thou art a cruel mistress. Although i'm sure the Coke and Lemonheads of my youth didn't help.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I'm a cat person with a dog brain

A long time ago, an old friend loved to tell a little joke about how when you look at a cat, it could be thinking anything from, "Yessss, yessss, eat the poisoned potato chips," to "I think I just invented an air-powered car," to "Meow?" Yet when you look at a dog, with his happy, slavering, smiling face, it's pretty obvious that he's thinking, "Tomorrow, I get to poop again!!"

When I was younger, I wanted to be the cat, full of mystery. Now, i'm pretty happy to think like the dog.

Aside from my contentment, however, parts of me are still constantly searching. I have little niches that never seem filled, including:
- the perfect mug
- the perfect skin routine that will eliminate acne, halt aging, and provide world peace
- the perfect recipe for the most healthy and delicious snack ever, which seems to get less delicious the more healthy it gets, oddly

Some niches have been filled. I now have the perfect blanket, stolen from my child, who hates blankets. It's ugly and pink and seersucker (I know, totally gross!!), but sleeping under it is utter bliss. I've found the perfect art table, for $35 at Goodwill. I adore my perfect husband, car, sewing machine, and home. After buying and reselling for a year, I have my perfect stash of baby carriers for all occasions. I even found a yogurt I like, which is nothing short of a miracle, and I have the perfect mirror-covered llama sculpture, which was really hard to find.

But I am utterly haunted by not being able to find the right piece of artwork to go to the right of the sofa. It needs to have deep teal, light turquoise, gold, and tan, or just be made of wood. I'd like it to be about doors. It should be around 16x20, vertical, including framing. You'd think that would be easy to find, or that I would just do it myself, but I am obsessed with finding juuuuust the right piece. My friend Serena has a gorgeous Lamu door from Kenya, but hours of Googling, ebaying, and etsying have produced nothing similar.

I suppose veryone has that little thought that tickles them when they wake up at 3am. Regrets, hopes, dreams, fears, needs, worries. I keep dreaming that i've lost something (yes, often the baby), and have to go looking for it. But in everyday life, I have everything I need, and these little itches just serve to remind me of how little I actually want and don't have.

So, in conclusion, if I could take a time machine trip to visit myself in my maudlin high school days, I would make a funny space-suit, cover myself in fake boils made out of latex, and warn myself cryptically to hoard cans of ravioli and be ready for "the zombie apocalypse to come". Then i'd zap myself with silly string, laugh, and say, "don't worry-- it all turns out okay".

Friday, February 8, 2008

buy my stuff!

If you're not in love with etsy, prepare to swoon. It's like crack. is a website where artisans and craftsmen of all levels and sentiments can sell their homemade stuff for very reasonable fees. It's not an auction site, like eBay, just straight-up supporting the artist. I buy lots of art, soap, findings, jewelry, etc. there, and you should, too!

My shop is located at, and I just put up some little watercolor sketches of pregnant historical-type ladies. I've got several things on the table to post, including a collection of Defenestrated Duchesses, some lively little mixed media pieces about pollywogs, and some random oils from my already abandoned "painting a day".

Seriously, in a world full of Wal-Mart and fake paintings at Starbucks, indulging in real art by real people will do your heart good.

Or, if you're slightly evil, you can find some absolutely hideous art there and laugh your face off. I once saw a charcoal drawing of a hand with 5 penises for fingers going for $69. No buyers, as yet, but there's hope.

I dreamed of Jeannie.

This girl named Jeannie who went to Clemson with Craig, actually.

She invited me to speak at her art class, which was actually for red-headed lesbians only. And it wasn't to speak, it was to help at fish fry night. So there I was, sitting at the paint-splattered table in front of a fry-daddy, covered in oil and frying up lots of fish and hush-puppies for a bunch of female artists working on a project that used 27 envelopes to create a giant vagina each. They gave me some envelopes, but my envelopes were all cut into silhouettes of famous presidents, so I couldn't make my vagina look good, which was extremely embarrassing.

Man, I should not eat fish sticks and sweet potato fries for supper again. But it was so good.... so good.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I have no culture.

Today, in the parking lot of a grocery store, I passed a woman in a beautiful black burqa covered in amazingly intricate and artistic stitchery. I could not see a single inch of skin; even her eyes were covered. Just a tall black burqa and the pointy tips of black leather shoes. And it was totally gorgeous, and part of me was jealous. Not that her oppressive religion requires women to cover every atom of skin in public, but that she has a culture and religion that are important enough to her that she'll go to such lengths to uphold them.

As your basic melting pot American, my ancestry spans all the boring European countries, and my religion is "maybe". My ancestral dress is jeans and a t-shirt, and our family traditions have more to do with eating boiled and fried things than with religion or culture. And it's depressing! There is nothing rich in my history, no distinct eye color or colorful headdress, no family heirlooms. We're just boring Americans. We don't even dress up when we *do* go to church, and when we go, we rarely feel anything. There is nothing exotic about us. Simply put, we have no culture.

Many would argue that the world is headed towards homogeneity, that one day everyone will be caramel-colored with brown eyes and slightly wavy hair, but I find that thought depressing. I love interesting noses and funny mustaches and a rainbow of hair shades and eye colors. I love to see Chinese babies in their silks for New Years and mocha-skinned babies with jingling silver anklets. I truly wish I had a fascinating and colorful culture to care about, that I had a "people".

But it's just never going to happen. As much as I spent my entire life trying to be special and unique, I'm still just a suburban white chick who married a suburban white dude, and as gorgeous and amazing as our daughter is, we have very little to pass down to her from her ancestors. Like all Americans, she has to make her way in the melting pot where everyone is special, just like everyone else. Sometimes we think we should go to church just so Cleo will have something against which to rebel.

We're so fortunate to have our freedoms, but at the same time, I kinda think of it like a fox gnawing its leg off to get out of a trap. You're free, but you left something behind that you'll never regain. I wouldn't want to wear a burqa, but I would like to pull a burqa out of a trunk one day and explain to my daughter what it meant, what it was like to wear it, and what it was like to take it off and feel the sunlight on my skin.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Innocent Eye Test

I titled this post after one of my favorite paintings, The Innocent Eye Test by Mark Tansey.

Here it is:

And that's because i'm going to direct you to my friend Christine's blog,
where she has a link to my blog and an awesome photo of me holding her most endearing and smiley baby, Emily, who has the most expressive and humorous face i've ever seen on a newborn. Seriously, I have conversations with this baby.

So, get meta with me! You are looking at a painting of scientists looking at a cow looking at a painting of a cow. You are reading a blog linking to a blog that links to my blog. Do you grok? Living rooms of America, do you catch my drift? Do you dig my ditch?

Man, I miss The Tick.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

a hideous, hideous confession

I hunger for chicken skin.

Like, all the time. Even more so when i'm pregnant, which I don't think I currently am.

Seriously, tonight I roasted a whole (antibiotic-free, hormone-free, etc.) chicken and promptly ripped the skin off it, still piping hot, and stuffed it in my gob.

Omigod, that chicken skin was so good. I haven't tasted the chicken yet, but the skin was just SO GOOD.

And that's why I totally disgust myself. Because it's the SKIN of an ANIMAL. And I CRAVE it. I am totally freakin' COMPELLED. I know how bad it is for me, and I see the fat dripping off it, and I notice those nasty little leftover feather sticks, and I am aware of the little puckery skin dimples where feathers used to be, and I still HAVE TO EAT IT. I kicked my own butt at the gym today for an hour and probably still didn't cancel out that nasty mouthful of delicious, buttery chicken skin with little to no nutritional value.

So there's my confession. I eat chicken skin.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

I'm freakin' out, man!

Just for kicks, I googled my childhood name (Missy Southard), and found some hilarious things, including:

1. "The New Missy", a blog about one woman's quest to lose weight by using Weight Watchers and giving up soda, fast food, and blizzards. She also details her dramatic ex-roommate and ex-boyfriend issues.

2. My 2005 art exhibit proudly mentioned on the website of my elementary school alma mater.

3. Results for various races and marathons that I definitely did not run.

4. Church crap. Lots and lots of church crap.


(the bloody )pinky and the brain

So last night, Craig went to bed early because he felt sick, and I stayed up to paint with my first burst of energy since vomitville. But first, I had to take my nightly android pill. I put water in my glass, took the pill, set down the glass, and BOOM! The glass exploded. I suppose the past 7 years of water drinking was just too much for its fragile matrix, or possibly my enormous arms (thank you, L.A. Fitness) are simply too powerful to lift small breakables. And, in breaking, it sliced open my right pinky on the inside of the middle joint. A very bloody place, as I learned. Ve-heh-heh-heh-ery bloody.

So I started bleeding. And bled, and bled, and bled. Since i've never had a cutting injury before (I was a bone breaker as a child), I couldn't remember whether I was supposed to keep it under cold water, apply pressure, stop, drop, or roll, so I just stood at the sink for 10 minutes letting freezing water wash the blood down the sink. I NEEDED THAT BLOOD! And since I was bleeding, I couldn't very well go Google "need stitches?" and get blood all over the computer and studio. So I stood at the sink until I was shivering with cold. And still bleeding.

At that point, I wrapped the wound in a pile of paper towels and headed to the computer, where I was informed that I might need stitches if:
a) the wound was jagged,
b) the wound was deep, and
c) the wound wouldn't stop bleeding.

So I was 3 for 3. Okay, fine. I then had 2 choices:
a) wake up vomity husband and cranky, sleeping child, drive to emergency room, wait 4 hours, and pay $500 to get 3 stitches, or
b) apply pressure until the stupid wound quit bleeding and go to sleep.

I went for compromise. I went upstairs, shivering and covered in cold, wet, bloody paper towels, to wake up my vomity husband and tell him that I *might* need to go to the ER. When he saw the wound, he promptly vomited. Really loudly, for a long time. Yay. Then we laughed really hard, because it was very silly, him barfing and me shivering and bleeding at midnight.

And then I was able to stick it closed with a very tight band-aid and go to sleep, waking up periodically to make sure that my pinky had not turned black and fallen off due to the tourniquet effect of the band-aid. And today, it's got that clammy "zombie skin" look about it, but overall seems to be healing effectively, although the accidental application of lemon this evening almost made me drop an F-bomb in front of my toddler in a crowded restaurant.

So, let that be a lesson to you. If you ever have what you may suspect is a horrible wound, make my husband vomit, and you'll totally be healed.*

* Note: May not work for decapitations.