Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas shopping

I thought I might try to find a baseball-charm necklace for my eight-year-old niece (who is a slugger). A Google search results in this among other things: "Very cool necklace that shows off your passion for baseball and faith in Christ at the same time."

There may never have been a more hardworking piece of jewelry.


As it turns out, rather than trotting my fresh hair cut out to have turkey with my parents and cousins, I will be lying on the sofa in dismayingly hair-flatting fashion, wearing sweatpants, and drinking fluids. Later, I may dine exclusively on goat cheese costini, which, though not popular among the Pilgrims, I have in ridiculous abundance, as I was relied upon to bring hors d'oeuvres this evening.

Why I should be so ridiculously susceptible to illness, I could not say: I enjoy sleeping; I take many vitamins; and did I not, just this very week, eat Brussels sprouts? Yet, nevertheless, I am sick nearly every holiday. Last New Year's Eve, I was lying on this very same couch with a fever. Sigh. Here's hoping the Thanksgiving indisposition means I will be robust for Christmas.

Meanwhile, I am still very grateful. I lead a blessed life, a thing I try to keep in some small corner of my consciousness even on my complainiest days. When you try to call them all to mind at your table this evening, may you too discover that you have too many blessings to count.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Seven things

Let it be known that just because I have been a blog slacker does not mean that I have failed to be mighty. Last week featured (in chronological order): total exhaustion, Italian class, dinner with a stranger (including a delicious sidecar), The Civil Wars at the Fillmore with a woman I'd only met once before (Dear Fillmore, I don't think it would be so very terrible if you let us sit down. Still, thanks for the poster. Dear Civil Wars, Damn. Is it reasonable to be so talented and so good looking at the same time?), catching a cold and failing to go to Caught in Motion's CD release concert, and my much beloved Nice Guy Trio at Viracocha. Ta da!

Nevertheless, I know I owe you Lessons from Camp. I've not forgotten. Domani e un altro giorno.

For now though, lessons from today.
1) The key to not watching TV all night is to not turn it on. I know this sounds elementary, but it I am having a small lightbulb moment. Once I turn on the streaming what have you, I am unlikely to turn it off, but having not turned it on upon entering the house, I have instead done some dishes, made a proper meal featuring Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes (a previously unimaginable extravaganza of healthfulness for which I am feeling rather pleased with myself), and I'm here--not leaving you all lonely and abandoned in the dreaded blogosphere.

2) Knowing the temperature that baked chicken is done has changed my life. Gone are the days of guesswork and exploratory slicing. For your records, the magic number is 165 degrees Farenheit. The thermometer makes dainty holes compared to the knife.

3) Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes needn't be disgusting. I know. It surprised me too.

4) While it is profoundly dispiriting to be able to hear one's new neighbors talking through the walls (perhaps the former neighbors never spoke to each other? Perhaps they had softer voices?) I find it less upsetting because they are speaking French. I am officially ridiculous. Ou, si vous voulez, je suis officialement ridicule.

4b) While it is profoundly dispiriting to be informed that one of one's new neighbors is pregnant, I find it less upsetting because she is French. Je continue d'etre officialement ridicule.

5) Yesterday, I said, "I can say almost nothing; I'm in Italian Two" in Italian to an Italian. He seemed favorably impressed. Upon reflection, that doesn't really count as a lesson so much as showing off. Sorry about that.

6) If you sleep through your alarm, you will be late to work, but rested.

7) My back hurts rather a lot. Also not a lesson, just something that is becoming increasingly clear as I sit here. Or perhaps it is a lesson after all. Now hear this: do not be twisty in your sleep. You will regret it, even if you do have the benefit of accidentally sleeping an extra hour.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Forward looking

I just happened upon this interview with REM on NPR. It's worth looking at just to see the picture of them. Were any of us ever so very, very young?

In discussing the strangeness of a new life as seen from the audience rather than the stage, Mike Mills says to Michael Stipe that that is not likely to be their future. That surely they will continue to make music, just not together. "It won't be what we had," he says, "but it will be what we have."

Ah. I struggle with that particular life lesson (as we shall discover in further dispatches from camp), but it always helps to have things so nicely said.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I'm back! Did you miss me (as requested)?

I am very aware that it is difficult to make a case for the fact that I am mightier in the face of all the silence. I'll be honest; I've been tired. It turns out that meeting hmmm...let's say meeting 127 new people (There were 125 of us; I knew 2 before I got there; but I also chatted with several members of the hotel staff and the lead singer of the Ton Tons, so yeah. 127.), dancing, swimming, drinking, trying to make a plan for a shiny new life, and driving for many, many hours takes a lot out of a girl.

It was good. I wish you had been there.

I think I'm going to have to take it in pieces, so there will be further camp dispatches to come, but we'll start small. It's less overwhelming that way.

1. A salute to Joanne Harris whose book Gentlemen and Players--in CD form--I listened to alll the way there and allllllll the way home.

2. I stayed the night at the Crescent Hotel in Beverley Hills before I went to camp. When I pulled up to the [compulsory] valet (p.s. I never use valet parking because I resent paying for parking and I have tipping anxiety) I was all sweaty and t-shirt clad and shaky from the scary LA freeways and the disinclination of the populous to let anyone change lanes under any circumstances. I told the valet that I felt like I was one of the Beverly Hillbillies. I'm pretty sure that saying that made me even more one of the Beverley Hillbillies. I'm also pretty sure that he was from another country and had never encountered the Beverly Hillbillies. So that went well.

3. I bathed and changed and later looked totally like I belonged in the swanky lobby. In case you worried.

4. Marja came to see me, which is always a good thing.

5. The bartender gave me better directions to Palm Springs than Google did.

6. The Crescent has perhaps the most comfortable bed in the world. I also found the sheets to smell very faintly, and yet not unpleasantly, of grape soda.

7. I got out of LA without dying in a fiery crash, but I very much felt that it could have gone either way.

8. The Ace Hotel is a charmer. The rooms, though in the middle of the desert, have a nautical theme. Go figure. The shampoo, conditioner and body wash have rather masculine scents and there are many channels of gay porn available. I'm pretty sure these are serious indications that the Ace has been given the gay seal of approval. This means, of course, that its cool status is now official.

9. The Crescent has better beds, but the Ace has that warm, warm open-late-at-night swimming pool. Even. Oh! The Ace also has these lights over the bed that on one end is a bright, normal reading light or, on the other end, a red bulb with a dim glow. These made me sad to be alone as it would have been entertaining to have some witty fellow to make "Roxanne" jokes with and then share, you know, hotel bed shenanigans. Alas. 'Twas not to be. Someday I'm going to meet that guy, though, and then I'm going back.

10. The singer for the Ton Tons is almost too fantastic to be real. We pretty much all wanted to be her and use our hands in big dramatic gestures.

11. The chili at the hotel restaurant was too spicy for me to eat. I felt I had failed.

12. The tea at the restaurant was $4.85. I am still trying to get over it.

13. Many people you've never met before prove to be delightful. That was a pretty pervasive theme.

14. A lady admired my bathing suit. That's always nice.

15. There is a fig cocktail available, but I can't whole-heartedly recommend it. Get the one with gin and mint instead.

16. We were given small camp care packages: s'mores kits wrapped in bandanas. There was a chocolate bar, some graham crackers, and a little box of marshmallow peeps. That was jolly.

17. It turns out that a Space Camp themed costume party is way more fun that I imagined it would be. People from the wedding on the other side of the property showed up to do some dancing. Also, my large astronaut helmet (which, when on one's head, is like listening to a seashell in surround sound) was a huge hit both with other campers and with random hotel guests. Some of the latter group seemed to find it life altering. They were also sorry to have missed the hotel's monthly full-moon drum circle the night before. You may draw your own conclusions.

18. Previously, I had only been to camp once: Girl Scout Camp. It was not altogether a success. I was very shy, for one thing, and for another, they tried but ultimately failed to wake me up for the midnight fairy party and I still harbor some bitterness. Still, I'll bet we sang this Girl Scout hit "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." They don't specify which is which, but I don't suppose it matters. We will further discuss the real life enactment of this ditty another day when we address Things I Learned. To spare you the suspense I'll just tell you now that there was some crying. It wasn't all coming from me, though, which made for a pleasant change.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


So. It's upon us. In the morning I get in the car and drive to LA. I am taking too many clothes, but that is the joy of driving rather than flying. It takes much, much longer, but you can overpack to your heart's content.

Unless I become suddenly both sufficiently technologically advanced and patient to update this from my iPod (a thing that strikes me as actually hilarious; therefore, unlikely), I will tell you all about camp when I get home.

Meanwhile, please behave yourselves and if you miss me a little bit, that would be nice too.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Go see it

I'll be honest, I'm all excited about camp and I think it might be keeping me from having amusing things to say. Is that possible? Probably not. Nevertheless, my brain is mostly doing this: "should I take those shoes? Those shoes are really pretty, but they make me miserable to walk in for five seconds. or the other shoes that are less impressive, but also less crippling? I think it's going to be colder during the day that we thought. I have to rethink the sundresses. Should I take snacks in the car or should I plan to look for an In&Out Burger like the rest of America? blahblahblahblahblah." Like that. It's not entertaining.

Instead, I will tell you that Race, by David Mamet, is a hell of a good play. An uncomfortable, surprising, great play. In fact, the only down side was that the blog bully, who came along, somehow lost his hat at the theatre. It is a small hat and a large theatre, but still. It's gotta be in there somewhere. And yet...where? We were sad. But that was not the play's fault. Really, I think you should go see it. If you live here, that is. It's in its last week at ACT, so hurry.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Bad news: Bob Marley is no longer with us

This morning, a woman called into the radio station with an urgent question.

Woman: I might have dreamed this because I dream a lot of things, but my friend told me that Bob Marley died. Is this true?

DJ: Um...well, Bob Marley...

Woman: (laughs) Oh! No! Not Bob Marley. But a man with a son.

DJ: A man with a son died....?

Woman: A reggae guy.

DJ: A reggae guy. Um...I'm going to have to go with: you dreamed it.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Now I don't have to stop in order to smell them

Remember this? So do I.

Aside from a sense of bitter disappointment, I walked out of that doctor's appointment with a prescription for a nasal spray. Never having used a nasal spray, I think I lack panache in administering it, but I do try. The most notable quality of this product (aside from mitigating the headaches) is that it smells like roses. I don't know if it is actually "rose scented" or if it just seems that way to me. The result of squirting rose-scented liquid up your nose is somewhat confusing-- olfactorily speaking--as you thereafter encounter various things that never previously smelled of roses, but it is not entirely unpleasant.

Still, as a concept, it lacks the romance of "looking at the world though rose-colored glasses." Squirting stuff up your nose is just not all that poetic, no matter what the result.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Last night, I had a dream that a hot Australian guy moved into the garage of my building. He'd put tile down on the floor which apparently made it legal for habitation. Upon waking, this amused me mostly because "hot Australian guy" is not a big ideal of mine. I'm more for "lanky, attractively be-spectacled, tie-wearing, literary guy." I think the buff dream Australian was also a surfer, which, if you're me, is even funnier. However, dream me was all flustered around him. Understandably, that type of guy is not particularly drawn to me, but I was very taken with dream Australian and desperately wanted him to like me. He kindly helped be re-set the level on my water heater (which was located in his "apartment") and then... invited me to have pizza! Sadly, I was already late for my birthday picnic and wasn't able to stay. But, for the record, I was very torn.