Sunday, April 30, 2006

Who’s that bird?
Deeps and I were outside practicing our miter cuts (no that is not a euphemism) when the annoying bird flew onto the pine tree and started squawking.

We kept cutting – but after a few minutes Deeps finally looked up.

Deeps: Is something wrong with that bird?
Me: Him?
Deeps: Yeah, that big bird.
Me: He’s a blue jay. This is why they are unpopular.
Deeps: Unpopular?
Me: Yeah - he’s loud and obnoxious and the other birds don’t like him – he’s pushy. Sometimes I squirt water at him.
Deeps: That’s probably why he’s squawking – he doesn’t like you.
Me: He squawks at me a lot – he’s giving me the eye. It’s only a matter of time before he comes after me.
Deeps: Oh yeah?
Me: Yeah – I think he’s got a gun. He’s gonnna go Lifetime movie of the week on me.
Deeps: I’m going inside.

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Say it with a funny t-shirt
Cuddles is doing a big fundraiser run for Mother’s Day. She’ll be running to raise money for the Y-Me foundation that supports breast cancer treatment and services for people struggling with the disease.

She’s still a little shy of her target, so if you’d like to make a donation you still can do so by visiting her page.

In addition to making a donation, I tried to think of other ways to offer my support. While perusing Amalah's site a while back I hit upon the perfect solution: hilarious breast cancer awareness t-shirt.

I can only hope that Cuddles is able to find some shoes that don’t clash with the t-shirt. She promised me that she’d wear it for the run.

That’s all I could ask for – that and that the Internets help her reach her goal.


The mean blog
The phone rang and the first thing that popped into my head was, “That is probably Deeps’ parents.”

How do I know that? Well – first, they call almost daily. And second, most important, they have a knack of calling at the most inconvenient time like when we are a) sleeping (Italy) b) otherwise occupied (hello romance!) or c) when we’re settling in to watch our favorite television show.

I warned you – I’m mean.


Saturday, April 29, 2006

The politics of green grass
I’ve alluded to my lawn a lot. Living in New England, I don’t deal with the same issues my friends in California deal with: a never-ending growing season and a real lack of water.

Just yesterday I was chatting with Em and she mentioned that the sprinklers were out in force in her neighborhood. Em and I both have conflicted feelings about water and drought and growing stuff – we both grew up in areas where farming was a big deal and I guess that makes us a little more aware of the risks involved with growing stuff in the world.

The biggest risk, I think, is lack of water. (Too much is certainly a problem as well – but I’m not focusing on that.)

I’m looking at my tri-colored back yard, about 3000 square feet. It’s not huge, but it is big enough for us. And it is big enough to get me thinking about what to do with it – I didn’t do enough thinking before I threw down some grass seed a couple of months ago. I know grass needs a decent amount of water to keep going – about 1 inch a week for an existing lawn, even more if you are starting a lawn.

Supplemental watering is important if you want to maintain it – but if you’re not inclined to spend the money (we have to pay a pretty penny for our water) you can come up with some creative options: rain barrels parked under the downspout, alternative landscaping or drought tolerant grass or even clover.

I did a tiny bit of research this week about what I could plant along with my grass – I just ordered some white clover seed. According to some of the information I’ve read it should do okay in dry weather and will help the soil by providing nitrogen. I think that also means I won’t have to do so much fertilizing to keep the grass fed.

In the front of the house where we once had a tiny lawn I’ve taken out all of the grass and put down lots and lots of pebbles and small, drought tolerant plants like coreopsis. I water them when I remember and they do okay from early summer through the fall.

I’m not sure I’ll ever take out all off the grass, but I think I could see having a small field of short clover going happily in the back. You can cut it, it stays green and it is easier to maintain. Even crabgrass looks a little more appealing – last year it lived lush and green despite no rain or watering from me. Again, I just kept it short and it didn’t look that bad.

Being a new homeowner is hard, I make plenty of bad decisions (like no backsplash behind the kitchen sink!) and now I work to try to fix them. I didn’t give my lawn a lot of thought, but upon further consideration I think I can do something that won’t disgrace the neighborhood, break my budget or make anyone in the household unhappy.

By the way, if you think all this angst is crazy - we're just talking about grass - you should hear the discussions about what kind of lawnmower we should have. You'd think we were talking about putting the Poopus to sleep or something. Clearly it is angst season.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Two Tone
My grass is finally growing and has mostly filled in – except for a few bare patches. I’ll be dealing with them on Saturday. However, the lawn has now come in three different colors: OG (original grass), quick growing seed (which didn’t actually grow in that quick because it was freakily cold) and regular sun/shade seed.

Some of the grass is going to require mowing this weekend – but not all of it. I think Big Al and Slim are going to visit this June and we’ve got to get the yard in order. Or suffer further yard shame. I was so focused on keeping the grass going that I might have neglected to water some of the little flowers I planted in the new side bed. Whoops.

I’m not used to keep stuff alive on such a large scale! My stupid hydrangeas are still alive. And the ugly shrub in front of the house is finally starting to look like more than a twig collection.

This weekend I’m going to buy a lawnmower. Do not get too excited, Internets.

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Bee Season
I’m trying to get Deeps to tell me why he loves spelling bees.

His answer: You don’t want to know. You are doing it for your blog. I don’t work for your blog!


He does love spelling bees and we will have hours of it on the Ti’Faux. It’s like the new curling around our house.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Do not sprain your eyeballs
I gave that tip to my husband when he opened the email I sent him with an article from the New York Times. The piece was about the kids covered in the MTV show My SuperSweet 16.

I wanted him to read the second page of the article because it was about an Indian family in Texas. There will be serious eye rolling.

When he was done reading, I turned to him and asked, “Where is our Bentley and the two houses in India?”

He asked, “If this is what happens for high school graduation, can you imagine what will happen for the wedding?”

It’ll be a horror show.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Happy 100 to a show I watched three times
Tonight marks the 100th episode of Alias. Considering it will end at episode 104 – you may be too late to join the fun.

That said, sometimes I like to watch the last episode of a series I never watched because I feel like it is one of those shared collective things. Like knowing where you were when Reagan was shot. Or finding out if JAG ever got it on with that hot chick.

Just in case you want to start watching the show – I figure this will give you a good summary of what is what. At a minimum, you will probably laugh out loud and force your partner/spouse/pet to listen to you read passages to them while giggling because you drank an espresso after dinner.



What I think about TomKitten or It’s either this or plagiarism
Baker and I commuted home together yesterday.

We were chatting about his exciting new job and I was sharing the story about how I made an ass of myself at Yoga.

Then he turned to me, in a moment of faux seriousness.

Baker: So what do you think about this whole Tom and Katie and Suri thing?
Me: What don’t I think about it?
Baker: You know – I am getting married in a few months to a woman I love more than anyone. I love Mimi more than I could possibly put into words. But I do not climb on furniture or run around declaring my love to her, loudly and often to strangers.
Me: You know how we show our love? We do things for each other. Like maybe we grow our hair longer because the other one likes it.
Baker: I don’t put as much seasoning in my tacos because Mimi doesn’t like them too spicy.
Me: Yeah, and my hair was like – short. I learned the hard way.
Baker: I thought you were talking about Deeps’ hair.
Me: No – I cut my hair short and he didn’t like it.
Baker: How short.
Me: Like your length.
Baker: That’s short.
Me: I know. It looked good in person but didn’t photograph well.
Baker: Oh.
Me: He DVRs shows that he thinks I will like.
Baker: Why did you cut your hair?
Me: I had this dream that I was on Oprah and she gave me a makeover with short hair and that it was very cute. Then when I woke up in the morning I went to a walk-in hair place and got it cut.
Baker: Wow.
Me: Yeah, that’s what Deeps said.
Baker: Suri’s going to have a weird life.
Me: Yeah – I think maybe Tom just doesn’t know how to express himself in a social situation. I think he’s too rich and he just doesn’t know how to do normal things for people.
Baker: Like cut his hair.
Me: Or make tacos just so.
Baker: That’s love.
Me: So true. No jumping or sweating or mussing up the sofa is required.


My rage hasn’t found an out
People are really, really, really cheesed off about gas prices.

My husband and I are not. I’m not sure why – I mean, it is expensive and we just had a talk about how to adjust our budget to deal with the increase costs for heating oil, gas and electricity. Plus we expect food prices to rise as the costs of distributing said food will go up a lot. Eventually those costs will get passed on to the consumer.

I guess my righteous indignation isn’t up because I absolutely knew this would happen. You’ve got the swirling mix of people using a lot of gas, the gas mix changing, the supply is short because of hurricane damage and international instability. This is a big problem for everyone; it is especially bad for those Americans who are always teetering on the verge of not having enough to make ends meet.

And worse, I suspect $3.00 a gallon is the least of our worries. I won’t be surprised if in a few months $3.00 seems like a bargain.

My righteous indignation is up about “alternative fuels” – let’s not talk about it. Let’s get on it. It is going to take a while. We won’t be able to reap the rewards for a while – maybe half a generation. But that’s no reason not to get started. It’s like when you turn 35 and realize you haven’t saved for retirement. You are behind – yes – but so what? Get moving – there’s still time!

And while we’re at it, let’s do something about fuel efficiency for new cars and let’s do something about our public transportation. I grew up in Indianapolis – not the greatest place for public transport. I don’t think I was even conscious of the option (strictly buses) until I was well into high school.

I don’t have any answers – I just have questions. Are we going to freak out and assume it is too late and do nothing? Or do too little?

To pick up my weird metaphor - I think we’ve just turned 35 and we still have time to get scared straight. But it means we have to take more dramatic actions than just paying lip service – people are really struggling and short-term fixes aren’t going to bring them long-term relief. I’d hate for us to realize we’ve just turned 40 and we still don’t have any money for retirement.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An open letter to me
What’s your damage?

That lady at the gym yesterday – the one who came over and changed the channel of the TV you were watching? Yeah, she didn’t ask you. Or even acknowledge you. She changed it to the Food Network too. And then she sat in front of the TV reading a magazine.

You should have said something. Seriously.

Do it next time.

Also – don’t forget to breathe.

Your friend,


Monday, April 24, 2006

Yoga Hangover
Saturday we went to the yoga class near our house.

I like the idea of walking to yoga – it seems more normal than driving. Like when I have to drive to the gym on weekends. The irony is not lost.

The class was full – the demographic skewed older. I was surprised by how many 50-something men I saw there. There was a lot of gray in that room and I was okay with that. I figure we’re in as good of shape as your average 70-year-old man who maybe has had one good heart attack.

I’d changed up my training schedule for the week and had done a more intense strength and conditioning training on Friday – so I was already sore and stiff on Saturday morning.

We found spots near the back, parked and got ready. The class starts slowly; it eases you in to the poses and allows some flexibility for any strain, pain, or existing injuries. Again, all things that I thought were good.

Sometime about 3/4s of the way through the class the teacher came by to help me with some pose I wasn’t doing right. I was splayed on the mat with my leg stretched in front and my other leg stretched behind like I was in some kind of lame split. I wasn’t doing it right.

He made some suggestions. I was already pretty tired and sore, I might have exhaled an “Oh great,” that sounded less than sincere.

“I detect some sarcasm in your response,” he said laughingly. I sighed and noted the look from my husband.

Later Deeps suggested that I try to be less sarcastic to the yoga teacher. He likes the class and wants to go back. I do too.

I clearly have my default exercise settings on sarcasm.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Questions from a marriage #198
Deeps: Did you tape some stuff last night on the DVR?
Me: Uh, maybe.
Deeps: Are you responsible for “Grow it and Mow it!”?
Me: Hmm.
Deeps: You taped something about growing grass?
Me: Possibly.
Deeps: You have a problem.

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An open letter to the lame café on Newbury St.
Dear Café Manager:
Yesterday I visited your establishment with two of my colleagues. Both colleagues are about seven months pregnant. If you have never been pregnant, I can assure you that is “quite pregnant.”

Your sidewalk café seating was full, so we went inside to try to get seated. We were informed that the actual inside was closed and that you’d only be serving on the sidewalk.

I suggested that this was a bad idea because I needed to feed some pregnant ladies. No one cared (aside from the pregnant ladies).

We went back outside and waited in hopes we’d get quick seating. As we waited, we realized it was a little chilly – as the sidewalk café gets no sun and the wind was starting to blow.

I’m no meteorologist, but I do know how to operate a calendar. It is April in Boston – one day it could be seventy one day it could be fifty (like yesterday). Any wind or shade makes it feel colder.

We sat shivering. Why didn’t we go somewhere else? I’ll refer you to my first paragraph – the pregnant ladies needed to eat.

We were not the only cold customers – a few elderly women sat shivering near us and the couple at the table next to us also commented on how cold it was. Anyone within earshot mentioned the chill. We started strategizing methods for building some kind of napkin-based blanket. Sadly, we had nowhere near enough napkins.

Your “sidewalk-only” policy seems ill-conceived, especially at a time of year when the weather changes wildly and your customers become popsicles.

I won’t be back. I hear Wendy’s lets you eat INSIDE.



Thursday, April 20, 2006

The hunt for gelato
We’ve been talking about taking a vacation later this year. We’ve talked about Europe and then I start talking about food which takes us to gelato.

We ate so much gelato in Italy in the four short days we were there last Spring, I like to think I’ve become an expert on what it should be like.

Above all else, it must be incredibly dense (like mousse) and very, very smooth. In America it is hard to find, at least – stuff that tastes as good as what we had in Florence.

Just this week I’ve been to two different gelato places. Earlier this week I hit the little coffee shop near my office that held the promise of gelato. It was gritty – gritty! – and didn’t taste very good and the density was all wrong.

I was disappointed.

Then last night, a gorgeous and warm spring night, we called our friends to see if they wanted to go get frogurt.

They countered that we should go to the fancy new Whole Foods in Woburn (just 9 minutes away) and hit the gelato bar. Of course, we were on board.

We waited in line near the bar – people were milling about taking in the 18 flavor options (so many!) – and we finally ordered. Deeps got chocolate hazelnut and I got a deep dark chocolate. Our friends got hazelnut, green tea and caramel.

I took a bite – it was dense and smooth and rich. So rich in fact, I declared it was as good as the stuff we had in Italy.

Everyone started swapping tastes – the chocolate was voted as the best.

“It is so good, you can see the future when you eat it,” I said.
“So what do you see?” my husband asked.
“More trips to the gelato bar,” I replied.
He snorted. “I just set them up and you knock them down.”
“It was in the marriage vows, baby.”


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What goes on in that pretty little head of yours?
Deeps and I watch Veronica Mars every week (well – as long as there is a new episode). For the past couple of weeks we’ve had conversations like this.

Last week:
Me: Did this episode start like four pages into the script? I’ve missed something.
Deeps: No – the “Previously on” opener just ended.
Me: How long was it?
Deeps: Like seven minutes. That’s what happens when you keep introducing plot without answering any questions.
Me: This isn’t a problem on LOST.
Deeps: That is because they neither give you anything new nor do they answer any questions.
Me: But they have a high shirtless, hot guy ratio.

Me: What is up with that kid?
Deeps: I think someone has been touching him.
Me: Oh no – forbidden touching. Do you think it is his brother?
Deeps: I hope not.
Me: I hope no one is touching him. This is more plot – and sometimes they think plot is character development.
Deeps: How many more episodes do they have left?
Me: Not many. But nobody told Rob Thomas. He thinks he has like 19 episodes left to wrap it up.

This week:
Me: There’s a glare on the TV.
Deeps: So?
Me: What was in the glove compartment? I couldn’t see.
Deeps: It was plot, baby.
Me: Ah.

Me: You know, I’ve watched every episode of this show – but even I don’t know what the hell is going on.
Deeps: We are too old for this show.
Me: Entirely possible. Maybe the kids can keep up.
Deeps: Oh god, she knows where he is.
Me: Of course she does. Doesn’t she see the anvils falling from the sky?
Deeps: Veronica, duck! Anvils are everywhere!
Me: Plot. Plot. Plot.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Behind the 8 ball
I think HBO is kind of doing too little, too late on the whole digital media front. You know, I’m an expert about these things.

But it seems to me that showing scenes on a specific cell phone vs. making your show downloadable via iTunes (for a fee) is pretty lame. I can buy an episode of LOST for $1.99 or I can watch “scenes” from The Sopranos on my cell phone?

HBO isn’t as necessary as before – television has gotten a LOT better. I know – Yes, Dear was on for far too many seasons. And 2 ½ Men is still in like the top 10. But we have other, better options: The Office, My Name is Earl, even the dark-horse How I Met Your Mother is a solid entry in the realm of the traditional sitcom.

I know – this isn’t really the most interesting thing I’ve written. It’s just that every time that Cingular ad comes on TV touting “scenes” from HBO shows… I just think, how lame.

Isn’t the blog a good place to get stuff off my chest? Just remember, the blog is free and sometimes you get what you pay for.


Monday, April 17, 2006

The bush that ate Easter

You can see the edge of the flower bed - that's what is left of the bush after I did serious damage to it last summer and then again this spring. It took three of us about an hour to cut it down and pull out the stump. Hard work, but in the end we have a lot more space.  Posted by Picasa


Clean slate - or rather a giant collection of cedar chips

So there used to be a flag pole, a giant bush, a smaller bush, and a hydrangea that I might have killed last year in my zeal to trim back the ugly bush. In a few weeks I'll plant some petunias and call it a summer. Posted by Picasa


Fashion flowers

I thought these hydrangeas might be hardy - turns out they are like fashion hydrangeas and won't do well if I plant them in the ground. Babies. Posted by Picasa


Mysterious Mysteries

So I found this mysterious Easter basket on my front porch on Sunday morning. It wasn't there when we came home sometime around midnight on Saturday. The bunny is mysterious. I asked my neighbor about it, but she denied any knowledge. I'm convinced she called the bunny, so I have eaten the jelly beans. I didn't die, so the peanut butter eggs are next. Posted by Picasa


The day you probably don’t have off
Today is Patriot’s Day! That means no work for Deeps and I took the day off – it’s a local holiday wherein people run the Boston Marathon, work in their yard, or go watch parades with re-enactors doing stuff like shooting at each other while wearing heavy woolen garments.

It is super fun, people!

I made like 319 updates yesterday, but you probably want more – am I right? Well I will regale you stories about cutting down the world’s ugliest bush (it was once the size of a VW bug – I’m not kidding); pulling out the stump of said bush and then planting a new flower bed.

Oh and we uncovered a small concrete slab where we can put the grill.

And then we cut down the old gross flagpole. Now don’t get upset – it was made from PVC pipe, so it wasn’t especially nice or even safe. I was very concerned it would do damage to our house or the neighbor’s – either way, it had to go. Thanks to the handy sawzall it came down in a jiffy.

Now we have a pretty new flower bed – it just needs some flowers.

I opted for the cedar play chips as opposed to the regular cedar mulch. I did this because we’re going to place a chair here and the grill is close by so I wanted something that you could walk on easily and comfortably. (pictures to come later - not to worry)

All that we have left is to plant the veg patch and put a second coat of paint on the shed. One of these days the grass will grow in and then I’ve got to buy a lawn mower. I figure I’ve got at least another month before that happens.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Work in Progress

The newel post of the damned - this is after the first round of paint removal on the main body of the post. Deeps has since started work on the top of the post (with the carved detail). Now he's struggling with that detail work as the paint is hard to get out. Luckily, we remembered that we bought a Dremel at Christmas. I love it when a plan comes together. Posted by Picasa



On Commonwealth Avenue you'll find a large and spectacular collection of old magnolia trees. They are blooming and raining petals on the sidewalk. Posted by Picasa


Hue with a view

Entering the Boston Public Garden from Charles Street. I like to walk through here in the morning before work. The plants are just starting to bud - everything should be lush in the next few weeks. Posted by Picasa


April in the Park

A morning view of the Boston Public Garden - taken a couple of days ago. The transformation from Winter to Spring has been quick and impressive. Just a few weeks ago these trees were bare. Posted by Picasa


Runaway Pride

This is a better angle of the image I posted last week. The Boston Marathon is tomorrow and clearly someone has gotten into the spirit by decorating their Beacon St. flowerboxes with sneakers and primroses. Posted by Picasa


What are you doing for Easter?
I think this is a very funny question.

Easter was important in my family when we were kids – there were baskets and we all went to grandma’s to go to church and eat lots of food.

Then as we became surly teens, we didn’t go for it so much. And now I don’t have any kids, so I never know when it is Easter until I get pictures of the brood, freaked out, standing with a big rabbit.

Today is Easter and how will the lapsed not-quite-a-Catholic and the lapsed Hindu celebrate? There will be no lamb. The Hindus don't really celebrate Easter, but if I had to guess - Deeps probably got a basket as a kid. His parents thought it was part of the American experience for some stuff like that - I know they had a Christmas tree when he was little.

We’ll be dismantling the world’s must hideous bush. I figure it’s not all the holy, but everyone respects the importance of hard, physical labor, right? I’m not going to lounge around eat Peeps.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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I have the weirdest earworm
Earlier in the week I was struck dumb with an earworm of “It’s the girls’ night out” – which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Then last night I had some complicated and intricate dream that involved some bloggers (I think), Dolly Parton, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The best part is that there was music – oh yes – and I awoke with a new earworm. It is "Hard Candy Christmas" as performed by the Monarch, the arch-nemesis of the Venture Brothers (anyone ever watch Adult Swim)?

If you’d like to hear the horror, it is both awful and hilarious, please enjoy this MP3 link.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Today I became a Masshole
I had a late morning dentist appointment. I was gathering my stuff, flustered because I couldn’t find my wallet and worried I’d be late. Why worry? Because that’s what I do. I hate being late.

I got out of the house and drove away, but realized I should have taken a different route because I was going to try to make a difficult left turn onto a busy street. Then a funeral procession came by and I had pulled out too far, so I tried to back up.

I’m not sure I glanced in the rearview mirror, I just assumed I’d be clear on this quiet little side street. That’s when I became a Masshole.

The car behind me honked, I heard the crashing sound and I immediately threw the car into park and hopped out to assess the damage. I started to silently berate myself – what an idiot! I know better.

The woman in the car behind me said she was fine – it took me a moment to process that she was my incredibly friendly neighbor. We hugged and laughed and looked at our bumpers. We checked the bumpers – no damage. We hadn’t even swapped paint. I was relieved and horrified – I’d become a Masshole.

I apologized profusely, she told me not to worry, and we drove our separate ways. I got home from my horrible dentist appointment (seriously – when did a teeth cleaning hurt so damn much) and marched across the driveway with a large flower arrangement to make my apologies again. We laughed, chatted with her family, and swapped horror stories about fender benders on our tiny, winding street.

I was really lucky: nobody got hurt, no property was damaged, and I got an opportunity to move from just being a neighbor to being a friend.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to nip this Masshole thing in the bud.


Friday, April 14, 2006

What if I promise to update this weekend?
I'm tapped out right now. But I've got a dentist appointment tomorrow - and God knows that's always a source of hilarity. Oh and we're going to pull out the world's ugliest shrub. Plus I'm going to break out my new hot-pink tool belt.

I should get some good material with that, right?

Meanwhile - check out Mike Pope's blog entries from China. They are fantastic!


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Everybody stinks
Baker and I had a walk home after work date. We hike from our offices near Copley Square up to Charles St. T stop. It is a very pleasant walk through the Public Garden and some of the tawny streets of Beacon Hill.

We chatted about his upcoming wedding (he’s trying to get in shape for it) and our maybe baby project (I’m getting in shape for it) and then despaired about our yuppieness by talking about our training schedules.

When we got to Charles St. we climbed the stairs and I parked on a bench.

Baker: You’re sitting?
Me: Yeah. I did this horrible squat thing on an unstable surface, on an incline.
Baker: Wow.
Me: Yeah, women are all about the core – so you do stuff on wonky surfaces so that you’ll strengthen your core. Do you know about that?
Baker: No. But men blast stuff – like we blast our quads.
Me: Excellent.

The train pulled up and was pretty crowded. We made our way on board.

Baker: Wow, it’s pretty full.
Me: Oh and it’s hot too. That’s a nice bonus.
Baker: It smells a little bit like a locker room.
Me: That might be me.
Baker: What?
Me: I worry that I still smell from the gym.
Baker: But they have showers, right?
Me: Yeah – of course. That’s where all the ladies stand around soaping each other up in softly lit, steamy community showers. Just like in your favorite porn. But seriously, I sweat a lot.
Baker: At least you admit it.
Me: I’m the first to admit when I stink. And I sweat – I don’t glisten.
Baker: Good to know.
Me: I might have accidentally blasted today. That might be the difference. I think I blasted my core.
Baker: You might want to talk to your doctor about it.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Deciphering codes
I hop on the Internets every morning as I listen to the news and eat my sad breakfast.

This is when I blog, for those who care.

Sometimes Deeps has been on the computer late the night before and hasn’t turned it off (shame!). I find a browser open with lots of tabs and I like to try to decipher what he was doing.

Usually I find a bunch of articles from the Washington Post as he catches up on his daily news.

A few weeks ago he was looking up stuff about an old Barbara Stanwyk film that was restored after being discovered in the archives at the Library of Congress. Turns out that movie was going to be shown at the Brattle Theater, we saw it on Saturday.

And this morning I found a bunch of links to sites about paint removal and wood restoration. Looks like the mister has hit a block in the newel post project. He’s gotten almost all of the paint off, but I think he’s struggling with the detailed carvings (the rosettes).

That means we aren’t any closer to getting the paint stripper, the mineral spirits, the rags, drop cloths, and heat guns out of my living room. I may have to stage an intervention.

He told me yesterday that he wasn’t sure how to proceed and that whenever I was ready to pull the trigger he’d repaint the post.

I told him that I wouldn’t rain down on his project until it is time to sell the house, then if the newel post still looks like a dog has been chewing on it – I’m pulling out my sander and getting my paint brush ready.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Two conversations about one thing
I got an email from a colleague earlier this week. I was expecting a message from her about a file delivery. The message was something totally different. I called her.

Me: Hi
Person: Hey, did you write something about a drunk guy and a garden gnome?
Me: Uhm.
Person: I was reading the paper this weekend and I saw something with your name.
Me: In the paper?
Person: Yeah – I figured it was you; it’s not a very common name.
Me: True. And yes, it was me.
Person: Cool. Oh – and I’ve totally seen that guy.
Me: Really?
Person: Yep. Wow. So I’ll look for you in the paper more often.
Me: Okay.

My friend, Baker, called to catch up with me after his trip to the final four.
Baker: I did a few spins through the ol’ Big Red Blog – sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of house stuff.
Me: Yeah, that’s true.
Baker: You know how I feel about the house stuff.
Me: I know, it’s dull – but that’s what our life is like. We’re not down with the drama.
Baker: Yeah.
Me: God, we should just have a baby so I have something new to blog about.
Baker: That’d be a start.


The best thing I’ve seen on the Interweb this week... so far
This little piece, courtesy of Gawker, is long (it includes a complete email thread) but worth reading.

I enjoyed it because I too belong to a community email listserv. I joined it after we bid on our townhouse – I wonder if I would have placed the bid knowing then what I know now (thanks to the list). Anyway, just when you think the Internets can’t get more ridiculous – it does.

Please to enjoy.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

The projects that ate my weekend
We need to buckle down and finish some of our projects then clean them up. I realized this as I was looking longingly at the Apartment Therapy Smallest, Coolest Apartment contest to remember what it is like to have a cool space that is clean.

Remember clean? I can’t seem to find it under all of this crap.


Best feet forward

Next week is the Boston Marathon. On my way to work on Friday I passed a lovely townhouse on Beacon Street and saw they'd decorated their flower boxes for the event - complete with local company sneakers (New Balance). Posted by Picasa


Are you handy?

For those who are more handy than I am - how does one deal with crown molding on a little slanty ceiling like this? The rest of the room is as you'd expect a room - rectangle box. Should I just avoid putting up trim along the ceiling in this room? I think it could look weird. Experts? I ask for your help, Internets!  Posted by Picasa


It stinks like yoga down here

Deeps announced he wanted to start doing yoga several weeks ago. I helped him do a little research, he found some place near our house and I picked up yoga mats. We even went to the trouble (seriously –more trouble than I’d have expected) to find him some gym pants that were soft and didn’t make too much noise.

This morning we got up bright and early to prepare for the 8:30 yoga class. We cleaned up, changed, ate breakfast and started talking about what we might do after yoga. I pulled the yoga mats from the family room in the basement and dragged them upstairs. They were still shrink wrapped.

I probably should have aired them out.

We unwrapped and unrolled them.

Me: These mats really stink.
Deeps: Wow. It’s really bad.
Me: We can’t take these to yoga. They smell too bad.
Deeps: I don’t know what to do.

We decided to leave the mats in the living room and drive over to the yoga studio. We waited and waited – nobody showed up. I suggested we go home to do yoga with our DVD and try a different class later in the week.

We came home and the house reeked. It smells like old chemicals and formaldehyde – it smells worse than when I was using deadly, toxic chemicals to strip the dining table. And the whole house smells.

We opened windows, dragged the mats to the basement and did yoga while trying to breathe through our mouths (frowned upon by the yogis). We’ve doused the mats with white vinegar, we’ve left windows open all day and we left the mats unrolled in the basement to air out.

Hours have passed and the house has aired out a lot. Deeps just headed to the basement to do some laundry. As soon as he opened the door, the smell hit us in the face.

“Man, it stinks like yoga down here.”

I hope the mats are less stinky for next Saturday’s class.


The incident with the dead squirrel on the roof
This morning, list in hand, we headed off to buy some mulch and a fancy miter saw. As we moved climbed into the car I looked over at the shed. On top of it was a squirrel – it was very, very still.

“Is that a squirrel?” I asked my husband. He looked over at the shed.

“Could be,” he replied.

“It seems like…. It’s not moving very much,” I said. “What if it is dead?”

“You think a squirrel died on the roof of the shed?”

“What are we going to do? Do we have to have a squirrel funeral? Look, I deal with gross leaves and garbage stuck in the shrubs out front. But I don’t do dead stuff.”

“I don’t want to touch it,” Deeps replied anxiously. “Can’t we just throw it in the yard somewhere and let some bigger animal drag it off?”

“We live in the suburbs, not the jungle.”

“You’re on it,” he said.

“You’re leaving this to me? Oh God. I hope that squirrel is alive. Maybe it’s just taking a nap.”

“So no other animal will eat it? What about the neighborhood cats?”

“I’m going to have to get a ladder and some gloves and a shovel,” I said. I hoped my neighbor wouldn’t see us dealing with a dead squirrel.

“I’m still holding out hope it isn’t dead and that it just ran away,” I said. “I wonder what it died from. It didn’t seem sick. Maybe it died of natural causes.”

“A squirrel died from natural causes? On our shed roof,” Deeps said. Just as the last word escaped his mouth the squirrel moved and scampered away.

“See!” he exclaimed. “I told you.”

“What an idiot,” I muttered.

“You or the squirrel?”


Friday, April 07, 2006

Just a phase
Deeps has been monitoring my wardrobe lately because I’ve been experimenting.

Deeps: Are you going to wear that to work?
Me: It is casual Friday.
Deeps: But your shirt – is that what you want to wear?
Me: Yes. I think people will like it.
Deeps: Is this the image you want to project?
Me: This from a man who thought it was perfectly okay to wear teal, purple and brown together.
Deeps: I was in grad school then, I was broke.
Me: No excuse for combinations like that.
Deeps: So you’re going through your funny t-shirt phase.
Me: Well, funny or ironic.
Deeps: Like something your mother would wear.
Me: My mother would wear a t-shirt that says “life is bowl of cherries” or something like that. I wear my Butterstick t-shirt. Let's remember you started this. You bought the shirt.
Deeps: I guess that's true. So you're going with the “Who loves burritos?” shirt.
Me: It’s kind of funny – see all the motorcycles? I have no idea what that has to do with burritos. But I find it hilarious.
Deeps: This is a phase a lot of people go through in their early twenties. You’re about 10 years late.
Me: I’ve always been young at heart.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Asked and Answered 2

I spotted this on the T two days ago while I waited at Alewife. I think the Boston Globe will continue to provide me with the best train graffiti - they pose questions that just beg to be answered. At least two people agree. Posted by Picasa


Hot times in Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhlington
I live in a little New England town that was probably not so much a suburb of Boston (a zillion years ago) at some point, but is now what I’d call a “bedroom community.” This is some people who work in Boston sleep. I count myself among them.

It doesn’t seem so small town, at least compared to what I was used to in Indiana where things could get small and isolated but only be a couple of miles apart. Anyway, last night we played Grocery Store Roulette – there’s no food and someone has to go – and we both lost. Deeps picked me up at the train station and with list in hand we hit the store.

It was pretty quick and as I got into line I heard the cashiers and bagger chatting excitedly.

Usually I get something like “paper or plastic” or maybe “would you like to donate something to blah blah?” or the occasional cooking tip “if you drop this into your pan drippings you can make some gravy.”

Today they were buzzing about Dane Cook (warning: audio) and Jessica Simpson.

Cashier 1: You know I think they look good together.
Cashier 2: He went to Arlington High School you know.
Cashier 1: My cousin went to school with him.
Bagger 1: He’s wicked funny. Did you see him on SNL?
Cashier 2: What if they get married?
Cashier 1: Did you read the US Weekly story? It’s right there on the cover. They say he’s from Arlington.

Deeps missed their excitement at the possibility of someone from the Arlington gene pool intermixing with someone as “talented” as Jessica Simpson. I giggled quietly to myself. I could relate. Even now I can name all of the famous people from Indiana. It’s a little sad really. But what else is new?

Finally the cashier turned to me as he rang up my package of ground turkey. I expected him to invite me into the conversation.

Instead he said, “Did you know this turkey is buy one get one free?”


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fancy Pants
Despite being a pretty horrible person, I am lucky to have a nice husband and several friends.

One of our friends, I’ll call him Peaches, has been experimenting with his fashion lately. Apparently his subscribing to the “dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” theory which I applaud. It’s just that, well, he’s gone from flip flops to Brooks Brothers (seriously) and it makes for an abrupt change.

Peaches stopped by with his wife, a lovely woman I’ll call Peggy. Peggy, so dubbed for her Mad Bowling Skilz, is incredibly dry and funny and she is one of the few people I know who will take shots at me. This only makes me like her more.

Anyway, Peaches and Peggy are a delightful pair and when they came by I noticed Peaches’ new pants.

I complimented his pants, Peggy said she thought they might be a little big (Peaches is a tall, skinny man) and I thought she might be right. Peaches pointed out that the guy at BB had measured him and these were the pants he said to buy.

He then opened his jacket a bit to reveal that the pants have pleats.

Me: The guy sold you pleated pants?
Peaches: Yeah.
Peggy: I know.
Me: Wow.
Peggy: Pleats.
Peaches: What is wrong with pleats?

What isn’t wrong with pleats? Well – let’s be fair – pleats can be okay. They give you a little extra room if you need it (say for a little stomach paunch or love handles) but usually they just look weird and can make you look unnecessarily bulky. And for the record, Peaches and Peggy have a combined body fat ratio of like 4%. I should really hate them.

Peaches would hear none of it. He likes his pleated pants and he’s very proud of them. I tried to tell him what the French Connection thinks about pleated pants (she won’t allow her husband, a junior high teacher to wear them). But it loses something in the retelling. He likes his fancy pants and that’s good enough for them.

Plus, apparently, they were on sale. And that’s when Peggy and I solved the mystery of the pleated pants.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sleep Attack
I got home before Deeps last night (pretty rare) and I was standing in the kitchen trying to figure out what to make for dinner when he rolled in.

Deeps: I’m sleepy.
Me: I know.
Deeps: It really crept up on me today.
Me: Like a silent attack?
Deeps: Yeah. But I think I might have fallen asleep.
Me: Really?
Deeps: Yeah. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep for a while.
Me: How long?
Deeps: You tell me – yesterday it was spring and today it is winter again.


Yard envy
We worked all weekend in the yard. Well, almost all weekend. We built the veg patch, we pulled together all the old grass piles and tossed them into lawn bags, I whacked on that ugly bush a bit more. And we planted some new myrtle. Oh myrtle, you remind me of my Nana’s friends, but we like you anyway.

I also dumped tons of dirt on the ground (okay – more like 200 pounds of dirt) and put down even more grass seed. Because grass will grow or else. Our neighbor Fred made many encouraging noises, of course he has a lush patch of green and I have a pile of dirt and dead grass.

Later, we did manage to pull ourselves together and go to a party at the French Connection’s house.

The French Connection has a lot of interesting friends – she’s international, you know – and we mingled all night. But, clearly, I’m not as interesting because she kept introducing me as a “famous blogger.”

I’m not sure how to feel about that. I don’t deny blogging, but I think most people don’t understand the variations of blogger – I clearly fall into the self-delusional, narcissistic, personal blogger category. I have not changed any regimes and didn't bring down Dan Rather or anything. And I’m most certainly not famous.

In addition to not being famous I’m incredibly boring (see above). My best material probably shows up here. So that sad fact is that if you are a friend or acquaintance that I see on a regular basis, you’re going to be disappointed. I vet all my stories in the blog first before I trot them out at the water cooler or at a cocktail party. Be warned.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Did you Spring Forward?
Indiana (most of it) never went for the Daylight Savings thing. So it’s a big deal that they’ve sprung forward for the first time.

I figure I’ll call home sometime later this week to see if anyone is ready to start complaining yet. At least I won’t be late for Christmas this year – I never know what time it is there.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

An Open Letter to the Cat, part 33 in a series
Dear Poopus:

Last night we had to “spring forward” and I would appreciate it if you would stop yowling at the earliest possible hour of the morning. Please go enjoy the basement, the ottoman you like to drool on or watch those weird birds out in the backyard.

Under no circumstances are you to continue to stand on my sternum and bellow. This “new trick” is neither appreciated nor enjoyed.

Shut it.

The food bringer and poop taker


Family Newsletter
I joke about my family a lot. They are all weird and complicated and always landing in some trouble. Or hijinks. If they were rich we’d call them eccentric.

They are horrible at keeping me in the loop. When I went back to Indiana a few weeks ago I can’t tell you the number of conversations that went something like this:

Family member: Yeah, well after that cancer scare you’d think she’d know better.
Me: What? Cancer Scare? Huh?
Family member: You didn’t know about that?
Me: No.
Family member: Oh.
Me: Clearly I’m not getting the newsletter!

Then a kid would come screaming into the room and the conversation was steered elsewhere.

Slim is the matriarch of our family and it is her job to keep me informed. In fact, I explicitly told her this – if she doesn’t tell me stuff, I will never know. Ever. Unless Cuddles calls to give me a brief update but I can’t rely on those. Any day now one of her kids will probably figure out how to chew through the phone cord and totally cut her off from the world.

So it’s up to Slim. Since I “honored” her with this serious task I’ve been getting forwarded emails on a regular basis. They are emails from my sisters or other family members sending information to Slim. After reading these emails all I can say is, that woman is a saint. She cleans and cooks and picks up kids and takes them to doctor’s appointments and provides on-the-fly care for Spring Break. She’s her own cottage industry – Grandma Camp. My sisters have no damn idea how good they have it.

A lot of our friends in Boston are around our age – we’re married and everyone is sort of thinking about taking the baby plunge. But no one wants to go first: we don’t have the built-in community that we’d have if we were geographically closer to our families. Grandma lives four hours away – by airplane. And we’ve all shuddered, collectively, at the cost of child care that clocks in here around $15-20K per year.

Slim gives my sisters free childcare, in addition to be an excellent and attentive grandmother. She volunteers at school, comes by for special lunches, and takes care of all of us (near and far) the best way she can. I was reminded of that when I started reading the emails with the list of requests and demands. You’d think she was a lotto winner or something.

In the future I’ll complain less to Slim about being out of the loop and spend a little more time asking questions to find out how the heck she copes. That could be my cottage industry – Kicka** Grandma in a bottle.