Saturday, May 31, 2008

In a Funny Place

I checked into my room here in Virginia, Minnesota yesterday and oh how I wish I had the cord to upload pictures to my laptop. We're staying in the "nice" hotel in town, yet my bed was constructed of two box springs and a mattress—stacked on the floor. There were stains on my carpet, mismatched plastic hangers in the closet and random furniture that looked like it was straight from the Goodwill. I immediately called my friends on the lower floor and said, "Is your room pretty ghetto?" They told me it wasn't so great, but not terrible. Hmmm...

When I called the front desk to ask for an iron, the concierge (a twenty-something with too much eyeliner) said, "Oh right, we don't have irons on that side. Let me see if I can find one somewhere for you." Odd, right?

I went downstairs to use my friends' steamer and upon seeing their room, I wanted to cry. It was nice! Ritzy, even, compared to my youth-hostel-down-the-creepy-closed-off-hallway! They had a hairdryer and wooden hangers and a mini-fridge! And real furniture!

I immediately rang the front desk again and asked if I could change my room. Nope. All booked. Sorry. Check back in the morning.

I told myself it would be like camping. And after two glasses of wine and a beer, it was fine. But first thing this morning I changed my room to the only other spot they had available...a smoking room. I didn't even know they made those anymore. I have the fan going and the window open, but it's still pretty smelly in here. However, there are real hangers and wallpaper and even a Guest Directory, so I'm not going to complain anymore.

On top of all the room nonsense, I'm feeling a little funny being here. Mr. Wonderful is at home, so I'm flying solo among many happy couples—which is fine—but I can't help but wonder if people are feeling sorry for me. Like, "Oh there's the ex-girlfriend. Poor thing, I bet she's heartbroken because she's still alone and he's getting married." It's totally not like that—I couldn't be happier for the bride and groom, and I wouldn't have missed the wedding for anything—but it does feel kinda weird to be all by myself.

It's also sort of sad to think about how much distance there is between The Boss and me now. I've experienced the same thing with other friends. That moment when you realize just how much you've drifted. And that the person you used to share secrets and dreams and laughter with just isn't very close to you anymore.

I know it's not possible to keep every friendship intact perfectly for eternity, but it always makes me a little blue when I see how different things have become. This is probably a byproduct of living near my hometown forever, hanging so easily onto the past. And maybe there are times when my friends feel it about me...while they're sitting in a smoke-infused room...wondering if the clouds are going to roll in off the lake again...looking forward to getting back home to the normalcy and security of their lives...with their own Mr. Wonderfuls.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In the Humidity, Frampton Comes Alive

Greetings from Dallas! I'm here for a couple of days before heading to the wedding (said Dr. Seuss) in Minnesota. It's beautiful here—so lush and green...and humid.

I could never live here.

After 10 minutes outside, my hair started to twang out and yes, you guessed it, I looked like I was ready to take the stage with the Bee Gees and George Burns and bust into a rousing rendition of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Wonderful Wedding of Ex

I met The Boss (no, not Bruce Springsteen) when I was a 22-year-old intern. After graduation, when the company hired me as a junior copywriter, The Boss became my supervisor, checking every bit of work I did, mentoring me, making me laugh, becoming the kind of teacher a schoolgirl couldn’t help but crush on.

At 25, when my college boyfriend and I broke up, The Boss seemed the next natural choice for me to pursue. Especially because I’d built a towering, gilded pedestal for him to reside upon. It didn’t matter that he was 7 years my senior, or that what we had was really just a convenient friendship in his eyes, I was bent on making him mine.

So I did. Kinda.

We had a half-hearted on again off again relationship for over two years. I thought the sun rose and set in his image. He thought I was a really nice gal. By the fall of 2003, I realized the error of my ways (read: he broke up with me yet again) and I finally let go. But we stayed friends.

We’d been friends for so long, I couldn’t imagine being anything else. We ended up traveling together to Cape Cod for another friend’s wedding; we went camping in the sierras; we still met up for dinner and movies. But this time it was better because it was a completely platonic relationship—the way it should’ve been all along.

Now, nearly 5 years later, my dear friend The Boss is getting married to an incredible girl. I could not be happier for him…so I am embarking on a trip to Minnesota to attend his wedding. Some people think I’m crazy for going to watch an ex get married. But now, he’s just a former colleague and great person who helped me learn to write. (And the thought of kissing him gives me the willies and mild dry heaves). So I can’t imagine not seeing him walk down that aisle.

What do you all think? Have you stayed friends with any exes?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

And Now: A Little Ode to Public Urination

I love peeing outdoors. It's so freeing. The breeze tickles your bum, you feel at one with nature. Back in September when I climbed Half Dome, I drank so much water that when I reached the top I was ready to wet my pants. It wasn't my top choice as far as outdoor bathrooms go, but I had to go. I had no choice. As you can see from the picture, there are no trees, so I had to have my two girlfriends stand sentry. At one point, I heard Alysha say, "Please don't come over here, my friend is using the restroom." As though there was an actual toilet there. Gotta love it.

Anyway, today a friend told me that she was on the road for far more time than anticipated over the weekend and, when confronted with a pee-in-her-seat or pull-over (read: live or die) situation, she chose to crouch curbside on a major street in LA.

"Was it the middle of the night?!" I asked her.

"No it was 3 p.m. And there was a security camera nearby."

Awesome. This story brought much joy to my day. Hope it casts a warm yellow haze over yours too.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I Think It Was the Socks

A friend recently told me she read somewhere that the “honeymoon phase” only lasts for 2 years. After that, the flaws start to set in, the infatuation diminishes. This was news to me. Prior to my current relationship, I usually waved goodbye to the honeymoon around
month 3.

But Mr. Wonderful is a different story. It’s now been 6 ½ months and I’m as giddy as I was back in November.

For the past couple of weeks, his roommate has been out of town on business. This has given me the unique opportunity to help Mr. Wonderful clean his house, prune his trees, re-landscape his front yard. Some of you may be saying, “Eww,” but to me, these activities are heavenly. They feel like home. They’re the sort of things I want to be doing 10 years from now—after the honeymoon really is over. And the best part is that even when I’m covered in dirt, with ratty hair and no makeup (okay fine, maybe a little mascara), he treats me like a queen. He kisses me, smiles at me, rubs my shoulders.

Yesterday, it just became too much. Maybe it was the latte he made me at breakfast. Or the socks he loaned me because I forgot mine at home. Or the fun we had the night before at Gyu-Kaku. Or just the plain and simple fact that my mouth is the size of that whale ride at Disneyland.

It was probably a combination of all those and more. But when he walked me out to my car and wrapped his arms around me, kissing me, telling me how great I was for helping him pull ivy roots and plant delphiniums, I had to (couldn’t hold it in any longer) respond with, “I only do it because I’m head over heels in love with you.”

I didn’t expect to hear it back. I just needed to say it. It was like a piece of gum I’d been chewing way too long. I had to spit it out. So I did. And I’m sure he was a little taken aback. He squeezed me tighter and said, “awwwe.” That was good enough for me. Especially if I get to have another 17 ½ months of this delightful moon with my honey.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Public Typing: Yes, Public Talking: No

One of the tasks of our company meeting over the last two days was to answer important departmental questions such as "How can we work smarter and faster?", "What does it mean to win?" and my group's question, "How can we leverage our assets to become the partner of choice?"

I'm a copywriter, not a corporate strategist. Yet, I was chosen to lead a team of 6 other people, brainstorm an answer to that pesky business conundrum, and then present our group's recommendation to a room of about 60 people. Without having 3 glasses of wine beforehand.

I started out on a high note. We presented right after one of the "smarter/faster" teams who insisted we stand up so they were forced to speak smarter and faster to keep our attention. Cute tactic. When I got behind the mic, I said, "Public speaking makes me nervous, so instead of having you stand I'd like all of you to turn your chairs around and face the back wall." Everyone laughed. And then the Hetherington Hindenburg began its fiery decent back to the earth.

I had written out the points we needed to cover, but my chicken scratch was difficult to read in some parts and I really didn't want to look up from my paper, but I had to make sure I was keeping time with the Powerpoint presentation and making occasional eye contact with the audience, which always makes me blush, and the red face distracted me so I lost my place on the paper a few times and probably choked on several words here and there but I really can't remember what happened after my opening joke because I was so bored with everything I was saying that I (and my audience) fell into a temporary coma.

When it was over, my group embarrassed me even more by sweetly saying, "Good job, Mel!" like I was the special ed. kid who just spelled Mississippi for the first time.

But as I watched all the other presenters, I knew I hadn't done a good job—because I was so dang nervous. What is the secret to public speaking??? So many people got up and spoke like they were standing in front of their families at the dinner table. No big deal. How the heck do they do that???

I'm a very outgoing person and never shut up when I'm with family, friends and close coworkers. I did okay giving a speech at my grandma's memorial service...and I spoke at my friend Lara's engagement dinner...but you put me in a room full of extended acquaintances or strangers and I'm a wreck!

Do any of you have advice or tricks I can employ next time I have to do something like this? (Don't say Toastmasters, please.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What About That One?

Hi blog readers (I'm waving at the computer right now). I decided to throw up (not actually throw up, but if you don't like it you can tell me it looks like puke) another option for the header. Whatdya think? Did ya like the greenery one better? Or this one? I'd create a completely different option for you to look at but I have to pack for an offsite work meeting in Berkeley tomorrow... Joy... I'll be missing reading what you all write! Damn that day job...

Bird Redemption

As many of you read, last week I ran over a pigeon and thus, secured a spot in bird hell. However, after my race on Saturday I think I may have participated in a rescue mission that has reprieved me from sinking into the fiery, feathery depths.

We were about to get into Christina’s car when the woman in the car next to us popped out and said, “Oh girls, please wait! I have an injured bird that is lost under here somewhere and I have to catch it. I don’t want it to get run over.”

There was a bird hospital about 20 yards from where we were parked, and the crazy bird lady (her hair was even a tad nesty, which was perfect) had caged an injured blue jay and was bringing it to birdie ER for help. Upon trying to transfer it into a cardboard box, the bird had scuttled away from her.

I’m not sure any of us was thrilled about helping, but how could we not? So with aching muscles and dried sweat streaking our faces, we began to crouch around, looking under nearby cars. I peeked beneath an SUV, and there he was. All big-eyed and limp winged. “I found him,” I shouted to CBL (crazy bird lady). No sooner did the words leave my mouth than the little jay hopped up into the undercarriage and disappeared. We were in for a long day…

Christina shimmied under the SUV in her tank top and running pants and was able to spot him. Of course, he was just out of reach. CBL retrieved some sort of stick that looked like a golf club sans the foot and we tried poking at the bird through the wheel well…but he wouldn’t budge. She tried calling him, “Birdie, birdie, birdie,” but contrary to popular belief, not all birds are named “Birdie,” so he refused to come when called.

This went on for about 10 or 15 minutes before we told CBL to go try to get some help from the bird hospital people. While she dashed inside, Christina slid further under the SUV. “I think I can reach him! Get me a glove!” CBL had the gloves inside, so we had to wait. But when she returned, we tossed a glove to Christina and she reached up inside and grabbed the little jay. Her arms and chest were streaked with parking lot dirt when she army crawled back out, but she was a hero.

As the bird hospital worker examined the injured jay, she told CBL that he didn’t have a broken wing, he was probably just a fledgling who didn’t fly well yet. Ah yes, the old fledgling/broken wing mix-up. Happens all the time.

Although the half marathon was our greatest accomplishment of the day, saving—and photographing the rescue of—this bird ranked a very close second. Thank you to Alysha for taking such amazing pictures!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yes, I Changed My Look

I've been meaning to play around with some new headers since I turned 32...just seemed like the right thing to do. Let me know if you like the one I have up now or you think it sucks. :)

Something I Never Thought I'd Do

I used to hate running. I would've rather had a mole excised than run. It just was not for me. Then about 5 years ago, I started doing little sprints during my walks. Those led to me joining my friend Christina for an occasional around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I remember being shocked the first time I ran the full 3 miles around without having to walk in between.

Christina and my other friend Alysha ran often and each had a few 1/2 marathons (Alysha has a few fulls) under their belts. When we were training together to climb Half Dome last summer, they talked me in to doing 2 laps around the Bowl. 6 miles. I never thought I'd do that and live to tell the tale.

After we climbed Half Dome—17 miles of hiking up and back—I realized that I, too, could probably run a 1/2 marathon. And so began the commitment to making it happen.

Saturday, I completed the Palos Verdes race.

We were at the race village around 6:30 a.m., stretching in a park that overlooked the ocean. The view was breathtaking—a 180° view of water. By the time we got our numbers, stood in line for the bathrooms, downed some water, and crowded behind the starting line with the other runners, the temperature was already starting to rise. I'm guessing we ran in 75-80° temps the whole time.

I felt like I was in a slow-moving cattle stampede when we began. The runners were thick until about mile 2, when we hit the first hill. It was a doosey. But thankfully there was a water station at the top of it. We stopped there—and at every water stop along the way as a preemptive measure to stave off heat stroke.

By mile 4, we were face-to-face with the fasties who had already looped back. We cheered for them as we passed, trying to keep our pace and conserve our energy. Only 9.1 miles to go...

I think I hit my stride around mile 5. There was a live band playing Foxy Lady on the side of the road, and I think it energized me. Or maybe it was the incredible mansions and perfectly manicured, beach-side golf course. There was plenty of beauty to distract me (and plenty of hills to climb). Before I knew it, we were at 6.5, our turn-around point. The race seemed like cake after that. We did walk some, and we continued to stop for water and Gatorade. But we did okay—about 10.5-minute miles. We came across the finish line at 10:02—2 hours and 32 minutes after we started.

I was grinning ear to ear when we crossed. What an awesome accomplishment. Despite the heat, staying up until midnight the night before, thinking I was going to die on our last long training run—and previously hating running(!)—I had finished.

And ya know what? I'm going to do another one in the fall.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Drudging Up the Past

I have a huge stack of books to get through right now. My sister bought me 4 new ones for my birthday and, prior to that, I purchased a couple on Amazon. Oh how I wish there were more hours in the day…

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been reading Stephanie Klein’s Straight Up and Dirty. It is fantastic. It’s a raw and comical memoir of engagement, marriage, divorce and getting back on the dating scene all before the age of 30. The first two-thirds of the book completely cracked me up. She is certainly straight up and definitely dirty. But now that I’m approaching the end—where she chronicles the discovery of her husband’s affair—I keep having flashbacks of my own cheating bombshell last summer. And it kind of stinks. So of course, I feel compelled to write about it.

We had problems. There were plenty of warning signs. Probably 60% of the time, I knew he wasn’t right for me, but somehow that other 40% overpowered my logical side. He moved into my apartment in November. Then moved out—back to Orange County—in February. He cried and cried when he told me he was moving. “I just want to be a good person,” he repeated like a skipping record. “You are a good person,” I assured him over and over again.

We struggled to stay afloat living apart. We fought. He accused me of not trusting him. I went to counseling. I couldn’t even keep track of all that was wrong; there were so many emotional non sequiturs. Then, after a vacation to attend his cousin's wedding in July, he told me he needed a break. He didn’t want to talk to me or see me for an indefinite amount of time.

Nothing was clear. I had so many questions. And unfortunately I also had his email password. I hate to admit it, but I began to snoop. It was July 13 when I found what I was looking for. An email to his girlfriend from college, discussing paternity testing for the baby she had just given birth to. He professed his undying love for her, but insisted that he could never be the kind of father her husband could. He talked about the day they met 12 years ago and how he’d never felt like that with anyone. He mentioned how many lives would be shaken if their affair was discovered.

He slept with her weeks before moving in with me.

I called one of my best girlfriends and she tried to coach me through the shock. This sort of thing didn’t happen in real life. Not my real life. It happened in movies—or books like Stephanie Klein’s. I could have never fathomed it could happen to me.

But through the unimaginable hurt and betrayal and disgust that were spin-cycling inside me, came an unexpected sense of relief.

Because, Finally. I Was Free.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reserving My Place in Bird Hell

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love animals. I grew up with cats, a dog, rabbits, parakeets, fish and even an occasional rodent. If I could open my windows each morning and have sparrows, squirrels and raccoons dress me, I totally would. I even run a Spider Rescue and Relocation Program for the arachnids that accidentally end up in my apartment.

Knowing all of this now, you’ll understand why last night’s commute was probably the most traumatic one in drive-home history.

I was coming down Glenoaks, like I always do, and when I saw the light at Vinedale was red, I turned into the corner strip mall’s parking lot to avoid sitting at the intersection. Like I always do. The car in front of me was pulling this same shortcut tactic, and I’ll admit it, I was following them rather closely. So close, in fact, that I didn’t see what was happening on the ground in front of my car.

And then I felt a slight bump. I figured I had run over a can or a takeout box (there’s a restaurant in the complex).

But when I looked in my side mirror, I saw feathers. Dear Lord. I looked in my rearview and saw a pigeon flopping on the ground. Immediately, I burst into tears. I didn’t know what to do—should I have put it in the car and taken it to the vet? Run over it again to put it out of its misery? All I could do was hold my hand over my open mouth and try to see the road through my tears. I just kept driving. What if it was a mommy bird with a nest? More tears.

It was an accident. I didn’t mean to run over the bird. I tried to calm myself with this rationalization. Then I started thinking about A New Earth and how Eckhart Tolle says we are all just energy—so even if the pigeon died, its energy would still be here and maybe go on to inhabit the body of another pigeon still in the egg.

This didn’t solve the issue of my uncertainty over whether the bird was actually dead or suffering in that parking lot. Should I have flipped a U-turn and snapped its neck or something? I’d seen people do that on TV when they were going to cook a chicken…and then it hit me…I was planning to have teryaki chicken for dinner…and for a second I laughed because here I was all worried about one bird when I was just going to go home and eat another one…and then I felt even more like a terrible person. I am a mass bird murderer. And there is a place reserved for me in bird killer’s hell.

Mr. Wonderful assured me that he’s seen pigeons act like they’re dying and then just fly away…I’m not so sure I believe him.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Perhaps a Parasol Would Help

I’m finding it a little hard to balance critical pieces of my life right now. Work and working out. Communicating with old friends and blog friends. Taking care of my apartment and taking care of my yearning to spend hours with Mr. Wonderful.

That last one seems to be the trickiest. Last weekend I was with him Friday night, Saturday night, all day Sunday and Sunday night. This meant hours upon hours of getting to gaze into those sleepy brown eyes, kiss him whenever I wanted, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with him. But it also meant coming home to a house in desperate need of a good vacuuming, bills that had to be paid pronto, a stack of magazines begging me to read them, attention-starved cats, quite a bit of laundry and a shriveled Gerbera daisy in the latter stages of dehydration on my front steps.

It made me want…a helicopter.

I like to think I’m an expert at spinning a dozen plates at once. I try to squeeze in family time between visits with friends, my To Do lists piling up and spilling out of every purse on my coat rack. But something always gets neglected—sleep, exercise, bank statements, the linoleum in my kitchen. And it’s tricky because as much as I really truly want to keep all of those other things in check, I can’t help but succumb to the pull of his allergen-free (yes, he’s allergic to Monty and Zoë) house in the hills. Maybe it’s my escape shoot. Maybe devoting so much time to him is my way of running away from all the chores and other life demands.

He and I always joke around about how we’re going to buy a vineyard in Italy and just move away…and sometimes I think I’d really like to do that! Not that I don’t love my family and friends and job and comforts of living minutes from my hometown. But here, I’m so…accessible. There I could live in a world of continuous new experiences and endless free time. I could get caught up on scrapbooks, jewelry-making, cupboards I want to organize, stories I want to write.

I know, I know. I shouldn’t complain. These are the burdens of a rich, fulfilling life. But sometimes I think it might be nice, just for a little while, to go live in an igloo in the middle of Alaska. With a helicopter, of course.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Big Weepy Sap

I don't even watch The Bachelor. Okay fine, I've watched a couple of episodes here and there...and I got way into some of the past seasons. But it's not one of those TV shows that I look forward to all week.

So tonight, when I tuned in (somewhat accidentally) for the season finale, I wasn't at all prepared to end up sniffling and writing this post. I don't even care for the girl British Matt chose. She seems kind of phony. But when he got down on one knee and opened that ring box in front of her, the chord inside me that's tuned for engagements and weddings twanged. And the next thing I knew, the waterworks were in full effect.

There is just something about that moment. When a man kneels before you and tells you that out of every other woman he has ever met, he wants to be with you. He wants to wake up to you each morning. Kiss you goodnight as he falls asleep. Share secrets and sandwiches and a bank account. He wants to give you his last name; take you on as his family. He wants to be your husband.

Almost every girl dreams about that moment from the time she is little. I've played it out again and again—changing the face of the fiancé, or sometimes giving him no face at all. Just imagining that feeling is it. I've waited a long time for it. I'm one of the last of my surviving single friends. And as much as I'm anxious for the moment to arrive, I'm willing to wait for it. Because I know when it does, it'll be better than I ever could have dreamed.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bad in the Goodest Way

This morning on the way to work, I heard Carl Carlton’s “She’s a Bad Mamma Jamma.” Go ahead, click the link. Crank up the sound. Delight in the disco wonder that is this song. Enjoy the gold hotpants. I’m not sure youtube videos get any better than that. Needless to say, it was the perfect song to start off my Friday.

I also thing it might be the perfect song to dedicate to my mom for Mother’s Day.

Why is my mom a bad mamma jamma? I’ll tell you.

First of all, she says things no one else would think to say. There was a time when she thought she might have a bone spur in her neck and she actually shouted at us kids when we were being obnoxious, “Stop it! You’re making the sperm in my neck hurt!” Another time, we were camping and when she noticed a swan out on the lake, she pointed and exclaimed, “Look! A delicate!” I’m guessing she was trying for something between duck and pelican.

She’s a master at the sewing machine. She made several of my dance dresses in high school—and even performed emergency surgery when she burned the inner lining of my prom dress while ironing it the day before the dance.

She has the largest collection of “vintage” Good Housekeeping and Sunset magazines known to man.

She is the only person I know with such effortless physical precision that she is capable of falling into a swimming pool filter hole on the grounds of an Indian casino. Seriously, it takes impeccable aim to get one foot into a hole that small.

She can knit baby sweaters and hats with her eyes closed, and has earned the nickname “The Curtinator” because she has sewn drapes and valences for almost everyone in the family.

She makes a mean potatoes au gratin and is the inventor of the black olive and mayonnaise sandwich.

But most importantly, she has a PhD in motherhood. The woman could teach classes. And if she could wrap the world in a blanket, feed it a bottle and rock it to sleep, she totally would.

Happy Mother’s Day! Love you Mom! You bad mamma jamma....

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Le Pew

When I was little, I had this Strawberry Shortcake horse named Maple Stirrup that stunk like nobody’s business. I think I may have gotten high from brushing her smelly mane once, she was so aromatic.

Normally, I was a huge fan of the stench of those dolls. I got in trouble once when I brought Mint Tulip to school because I kept sniffing her pet duck all day. Lime Chiffon, Apple Dumpling, Strawberry herself—all joys to the nose. But that damn horse…

I’m just not a fan of the smell of maple. I don’t even enjoy syrup on my pancakes or my French toast. So when I realized I had accidentally purchased maple instant oatmeal instead of cinnamon at my beloved Trader Joe’s, I thought, “Ahhhh!" followed by, "I can handle this. I can expand my horizons after all these years.” I put blueberries on my oatmeal anyway, so I was sort of hoping their flavor would drown out the mapleness.


This morning I had the brilliant idea of trying to filter the sugar/maple dust from the packet as I sprinkled it into my bowl…and now my hands have smelled like freaking maple all day. No joke, I’ve washed them like 4 times and my right one still smells like Mrs. Butterworth.

Tonight I will go home and soak my hand in turpentine.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Some Things Just Fit

So we all already know about peanut butter and jelly. Siegfreid and Roy. Aloe and sunburns. But today, I’d like to recognize some lesser-known twosomes that make life a little brighter.

Salami and Parmesan cheese—Yes, some of you may have read my Thanksgiving post wherein I confessed by deep appreciation for salami. But paired with Parmesan and eaten like a little taco…that is truly the way the gods must’ve eaten it on Mt. Italy.

Popcorn and M&Ms—My high school boyfriend taught me this one. It’s the perfect PMS meal. Salty, sweet, crunchy enough to chew out a little frustration.

Breakups and Mandy Moore’s last album—Stop laughing. Seriously. It was really good. And after my ex-boyfriend slept with his married college girlfriend and pseudo-got her pregnant, it made a really nice sad soundtrack for me to listen to while poking holes in his pictures.

Bono and The Edge—Enough said.

Disco and rollerskates—I would have to do some research to properly pay tribute to the origin of this coupling, but its birthplace should be turned into a national landmark. My childhood wouldn’t have been the same without Xanadu.

Cats and haikus—I would never have thought to put these things together, but when I read my friend Anita’s post today, I was like DUH! What could really go together better than cats and haikus?!

I had to write one…

Drunk on our snuggles
Zoë puffs her tail and falls
Off the bathroom sink

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Proper Ladies Drink Beer After All

When I was a little girl, I remember thinking it was very strange that my Grandma Mary drank beer. She was the only woman I’d ever seen pop open a cold one on a hot day. Maybe it was because she was old or because she had some German blood in her—I didn’t know, but I was aware that she was different from other women in my life. If the beer drinking wasn’t odd enough to my innocent 7-year old self, there was the issue of her snoring. She’d doze off on the couch and start naso-choking like nobody’s business—something, at the time, I thought only men could do.

Despite her sometimes masculine-seeming behavior, she was a Lady to the nth degree. Always with the matching earrings, necklace, shoes and bag, she sported carefully crafted ensembles every day of the week. When she had to go into a nursing home, she still insisted on wearing lipstick, even if she was spending the day in her jammies.

Grandma always had something to say. About everything. She loved American Idol. She even watched the first season or two of LOST, and always wanted to dish about the characters when I saw her. She enjoyed weighing in on her grandkids’ fashion and hairstyle choices. Giving her two cents about who we were dating. Commending us on our growth spurts with complements like, “Melissa, you’re getting such a nice round bottom on you.”

She was feisty, opinionated and a complete crack up.

Grandma Mary died a year ago today. Sometimes when I’m cruising around in the Prius, I pretend that she and Grandma Bette are sitting in the backseat, chattering away like they used to, making dirty jokes and talking about common friends in the area.

Although my mailbox no longer receives her letters and “little ditties,” as she liked to call her poems, I feel like her love of writing is still with me. My family thinks I inherited some of my passion from her. So today I use it to punch out a post in her honor. I’m sure she’s helping me tap the keys right now, and she just might have a cold beer in her hand.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cinco de Malo

I should’ve known when I got off the elevator on the 4th floor instead of the 5th that it was going to be one of those days. I actually wandered almost all the way to the location of my cubicle—thinking, “did they paint over the weekend?” before realizing I was on the wrong floor of my building.

Hmm now that I’m thinking about it, I guess maybe the fact that my bangs were totally retarded this morning was my first clue. They were trying to warn me that the entire day was going to be out of whack. But instead of heeding their twanginess, climbing into bed and calling in sick, I drowned their cries in leave-in conditioner and hairspray…

Once I made it up to the correct floor, I proceeded to spend approximately 6 hours locked up in meetings. This meant no blog reading, no fun writing, no IMing with Mr. Wonderful and no getting any other work done because I was too busy discussing and kicking off other projects. We had a department lunch and, in the grand tradition of our lunches, everyone assumed I would drive…which I then felt I had to do…so I led some coworkers downstairs to my car…and then suddenly realized I’d parked two levels up…

When I was finally free of the confines of our conference room, I got a message from my mom telling me my brother’s golden retriever and miniature fox terrier had been bitten by a rattlesnake in the backyard and were both in serious condition at the animal hospital. I almost burst into tears. What the heck was in the air today?!

But then it was time to go home. And as I wound along La Tuna Canyon, I noticed that all of the flowers are in bloom. Yellow and orange are patchworking the hills. The yuccas are exploding like popcorn-covered flagpoles. It smells like spring.

I opened a beer and read some of my favorite blogs (see list to the right) to unwind.

Then my brother called to let me listen to his 6-month old baby laughing hysterically on the other end of the line. She doesn’t know her puppies are hurt and I think right now, she’s helping her parents forget, too.

I think seis de Mayo is going to be a better day…

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sweaty, Naked Yoga Guy

I used to go to yoga all the time at this delectable little sanctuary of a studio near my old office. I’d meet up with my girlfriend, Christina, and after an hour and a half of chaturangas, downward dogs and a few pigeons, I’d feel like a new person. Like my chi had been drycleaned and all my charkas had been wiggled back into place. I loved yoga. Except when it came to partner work.

When Christina was there with me, it was fine. We’d spot each other for handstands, press one another into position, crack jokes back and forth. But I was certain that if I ever had to partner with a stranger, something catastrophic would happen. I’d drop them when they were kicking up into a handstand. I’d break wind in their face when they were spotting me. Or I’d accidentally make contact with a yucky mole when I was helping them into a deeper pose.

One night, Christina couldn’t go to class with me and, because my tranquilometer was all the way to zero, I decided to suck it up and go alone.

The studio was packed. One of the most popular teachers was there and I could only find one empty space on the floor for my mat. I sat down and began to stretch out my hammies, when a pair of long, white hairy legs caught my eye. I traced my gaze up them to find very short black nylon shorts cupping their bottom. And no shirt on the chest above.

Please don’t be on the mat next to me, I thought. But of course, the skinny short-shorts boy sat down immediately to my left. Employing my best deep breathing techniques, I reminded myself that I’d been to classes with that night’s teacher and he hadn’t done any partner work, so maybejustmaybe I’d be safe.

But I was in a zen den, and the whole law of attraction thing was vibrating in full force. Because I was afraid of the naked boy at my side, our teacher prompted the class to team up and help each other with backbends.

Oliver (Mr. Shortshorts) told me I could go first. I pressed my hands and heels into the mat and lifted up my torso, tickling the ground with my ponytail. I felt Oliver’s hands on my upper back, pulling me up further from the floor and when I looked forward at him, I came face to face with his nylon-clad crotch. I’m going to see the squirrel and his nuts, I thought for certain. But the shorts must’ve had built-in underwear because even at such close range, nothing so much as minimally peeked out at me to say hello. Thank. God.

When it was Oliver’s turn to do bridge pose, I glanced around and noticed that every other male in the class was wearing a t-shirt. Ah, my impeccable luck. I reached under his naked back, placing my hands on his shoulder blades and felt the moist residue of sweat coat my palms. How I wished for a bottle of Purrell.

The rest of the class was relatively uneventful. As usual, corpse pose almost put me to sleep and I felt completely rejuvenated when I rolled up my mat and gulped a shot of green tea on my way out the door. I would like to say that an evening of immersion therapy completely cured me of my fear of unfamiliar yoga partners, but it did not…and it may just be coincidence and the fact that Christina started going to another place across town, but I haven’t been back to class since.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Introducing: My Sexretary

Last night, Mr. Wonderful and I went to this new tapas and wine bar near my house. (Quite tasty.) When we sat down at our table, I noticed an acquaintance sitting across the room. Having never actually called him “boyfriend” (to his face at least) I wondered how I should introduce Mr. W if the woman walked over. So, I decided to ask…and he just smiled and said, “You can call me whatever you want.”

This wasn’t exactly the response I had dreamed of. I sort of thought he’d give me a nice, “Duh! Introduce me as your boyfriend!” But I guess his reply was better than, “Just tell her I’m your friend.” Or, “Don’t call me anything at all.”

Anyway, having the slightly warped mind that I do, I’ve been coming up with things to call him all day now. Thought I’d share my list. Oh but I’ll include an opening line so it’s like I’m really introducing him to you.

“Hi reader! Nice to see you. This is my…”

• Personal Chef
• Kissing Apprentice
• Libido Chauffeur (He does drive me wild…)
• Hoohaa King
• Snuggle Monkey
• Contractor (I just threw this in because he’s good at fixing stuff)
• Sommelier
• Orgasm Coordinator (Shhh…just close your eyes and it’ll go away, Mom.)
• Food Taster
• Booty Guard (Like body guard but...yeah...)
• And my favorite, Sexretary. (I’m sure he’d be great at taking dictation…)