Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Get outta my dreams. Get into my car.

Okay, I wasn't going to tell you guys this because I didn't want you to be all, "Hey - take me for a ride on your buttery soft heated seats, baby," but then Kimmie Haha showed her new badass Land Rover on her blog and since I am fiercely competitive cannot compete with her artistic endeavors which include painting bulldogs AND belonging to art guilds for Pete's sake, I decided to post a gratuitous photograph of my own bitchin' new hooptie, which was likely the only Toyota sold in the United States in the month of February. You're very welcome, Toyota employees.

Lean, mean, grocery-gettin' machine.
(With friend Jane in passenger seat.)
(We were not really parked on Make-out Hill, 
it just looks that way. Clean it up, people.)

You may recall that my previous vehicle was consumed, in its entirety* by squirrels. Therefore, upon parking the new ride, I took out a full page ad in the Nutty Bucktooth Gazette to let them know that my children have firearms and are not only trained to use them, but are compensated richly for bringing they Mama squirrel carcass.

And so far? All's good. Except for the one wiseass squirrel that apparently stole a rhubarb pie while it cooled in Aunt Bea's window and then hung in the tree above said new car with a Sports Illustrated for a couple of hours.

I can't have anything nice.

*That thing about them eating my old car in it's entirety? Not completely true. The bastards only ate the electrical system. Because they're from the devil. And also I am prone to exaggeration.

Monday, February 22, 2010

J. Crew's email copywriter is evil and must be stopped. Still.

Never content to just let me be (see here) the J. Crew email copywriter has just blasted me and the eleventybillion other people in their database to let us all know that this is "the statement piece OF. THE. SEASON." (Mid-winter? Early Spring? Hockey?)

Apparently, the "statement" is that you've
been playing in your grandmother's costume
jewelry and somehow managed to tangle it all up.

In all fairness, I am not known for my fashion sense and my fine jewelry collection consists of a wedding ring, a Ducks Unlimited watch and a pair of diamond stud earrings I've had in since 1999. Maybe I'm not the right person to consult since my version of accessorizing is wearing chapstick with sparkles instead of the black label kind.

But I'm just thinking the above gnarled macramed twist of materials is not really worth $150. How much of a statement is it, really, if we're all wearing it?  Eventually, it won't be "Have you met my interesting friend Anastasia-Marie? You know, the one with the clever statement necklace?"  But rather, "Oh, her. That's just Joan, that sad woman with the rhinestone-starburst-ribbon-bead-gold chain like everyone else."

My father used to call Ford Mustangs "belly button cars" because "everyone has one."  We can only hope this doesn't become the belly button necklace of 2010. But if it does, I've got a shoebox of "vintage" beads and chains that I'm happy to stir up and sell you for $150.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flashback Friday. If they'd had Facebook in 1922, this would totally be my Great Grandmother's profile picture.

I had the very awesome fortune to have the coolest great grandmother that ever walked the planet. I could go on for days and days with stories about her overall wonderfulness.

Like how she lived for 99-1/2 years flirting innocently with any male I'd seen her around for 90 of them, including my dad and husband. How she memorized sports statistics and the children's names of celebrities and newscasters. How she was a baseball fan and if she wasn't at a Denver Bears game, she was listening to it on the radio, how she played dominoes and Yahtzee to "keep her mind sharp" and it worked because she lived on her own in her own house until a few months before she died. How she was the stepmother to my grandmother, but accepted her as daughter - even though they were just 15 years apart. Never mind that she divorced my grandmother's father, she kept my grandmother as her daughter for the rest of her life. My mother held her so dear that I have her first name as my middle name, and if I'd had a female child, I would have named that child after her.  My parents were married at her house. The first New Year's Eve I stayed up until midnight was at her house and I wore her bathrobe the whole night. I was six. The robe was way too big.

In short, she rocked. And I know that she wasn't just a cool old lady, because I have this.

"To nightgowns!"

You'll notice she's the only one stylish enough for a floral nightgown. Look at all the losers in their boring white. And she's the only one laughing. She was always laughing. This was in a young ladies boarding house she lived in with what appears to be her sister and a bunch of lame girls who are apparently worried about Prohibition. Party on, Great Grandma!

Here she is at age 98, with her great-great-grandson, my oldest little dude.
Still laughing. And cracking up a 4 month old.

The day I took this picture, she told me, "Don't have any more kids. It'll kill ya." She meant it, but I didn't take her seriously, because when I was 15, she told me, "Never learn to drive!"  When I said, "but I want to, Great Grandma!"  She said slyly, "But if you don't learn to drive...the men will HAVE to take you with them..."

Interesting ploy. If only she'd said, "If you don't learn to drive, you'll never have to go to the grocery store."  Now that would've been some helpful advice.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A public service announcement, because I'm greener than thou. Also I care about the earth. You are very welcome, Ma Nature.

If you ever had the considerable honor to talk to me in person for longer than 38 minutes, I have no doubt mentioned to you the utter disdain I have for printed phone books. If you've never had that distinct pleasure, then you may have read about it here.

Even before Al Gore invented the Internet and put all the phone numbers you could ever want on the worldwide web (thanks Al!),  phone books bugged the living crap outta me. It's probably because I grew up in a community where seven towns fit in one tidy 1/2 inch book, yellow and white pages, and there was no need to print a new one every year because no one moved in or out. If someone died, you simply got out a Magic Marker and drew a line through their name. And it was a Magic Marker, because no one used Sharpies yet. Because Sharpies can't make you high. It was all we had, because cable TV hadn't been invented yet either.

When I moved away from the idyllic land of little phone books, I was amazed and dismayed by the stack of slippery yellow and white tomes that graced my steps. At first, I put them on the shelf, carefully folding the pages over for Pizza Delivery, Video Rentals, Drive-Up Liquors, Tanning Salons and University Note Taking Services. But a few months later, more books arrived. Wanting to be a responsible adult, I scribbled the numbers I used often on the cover and stuck the old phone books under the bed in case I needed to reference them. By the time a couple of semesters were over, I had enough phone books to prop up the entire Lollipop Guild at Thanksgiving Dinner.

Every apartment I rented, phone books appeared on the steps and more were hidden under the kitchen sink. I had an address book I wrote down the good stuff in, and threw the big books in the dumpster, effectively ridding half of the Oregon coast of old growth timber in the process. Later, I joined the ranks of the real world in advertising sales and learned that they have to print 80 billion phone books just to sell the ads, and they don't really care if you open them or not, just as long as some guy in a Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon sends his 8 kids out on every city block to deliver them, then they've done their part to get your ad in the hands of the people.

Still. Don't. Care.

Every 4 months, I get a plastic bag of unusable paper on my front porch and it just plain pisses me off. But the pain ends today. Because today, I found this:

And I clicked on some stuff and gave them our address and opted out of getting phone books. Forever.

It's because I'm all green and eco-awesome and I'm wearing vegan fair-trade shoes and weaving a baby wearing device out of hemp right now as I type on my solar-powered laptop made from recycled goat hair, grass clippings and soy.

Meh, not really. I'm just easily annoyed.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Flashback Friday. Also Valentine's Day. And Presidents' Day. And I am not exactly sure why we have to try and stuff everything into one weekend. Gah.

In recognition of 13.6 years of him putting up with me for my boobs and lasagna wedded bliss, I present you here today with a photo of Big Dude and me on our wedding day. By the looks of things, we were surveying the plot of Oklahoma land we planned to homestead. (My! Such optimism! We had no idea the Dust Bowl would totally crush our dreams as well as our sod-roofed shack. Fortunately, love and our ability to surf real estate ads online have carried us through such dire hardships.)

You'll notice my bouquet made of piece of crap flowers that I did not pick out because the florist didn't realize I was serious when I placed my order for a ball of half-opened dark pink roses.  Apparently my deposit check still didn't convince her.  However, my phone call the night before the wedding...that made her wonder. "Oh - you still want them? Wul, I dun't have no dark pank roses."  So she gave us dead white roses and some friggin' carnations. Because that is what every bride dreams of.  Dead Stuff and Carnations. (Possibly the name of my band.)

What you won't notice is that I'm wearing my friend Harvard Barbie's wedding ring, because my betrothed's brother forgot to bring my ring to the wedding. No biggie. It was safe back in the unlocked motel room.

You also cannot tell that the judge that was to marry us called two days prior and said he decided to marry someone else that day instead. Or that my future-father-in-law went to the wrong place, causing him to be 45 minutes late. Or that as I came down the aisle, my father's mother said loudly, "Y'know she's pregnant, doncha?" ...meaning my barely pregnant sister / bridesmaid, but of course everyone thought she meant me. Or that our garage door was hanging off one hinge after an incident with several groomsmen and an electric golf cart with "LambRover" painted on the front of it.

Also, for some damned reason, one week before the wedding, after years of long, single-length hair, I went to a brand new hair-dresser and requested layers. Short layers.

I was completely sober, so I didn't even have an excuse.


Enjoy your hallmark-holiday o'love. Also President's Day, or as I like to call it, "Another damned day that teachers and bankers get to stay home but I have to drag my children to work day." I plan on making stovepipe hats and wooden teeth in celebration.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fully deserving of a space on your bookmarks toolbar.

In addition to all the funny peeps I read, thought I'd share with you some of my favorite little diversions.  In case you're interested, and even if you're not, here's what I'm looking at instead of doing whatever it is I told you I was going to be doing.

Missed Connections - painfully adorable illustrations of actual personal ads. Funny, charming, heart-warming and heart-breaking all at once. The artist is Sophie Blackall - and she has an etsy site, too. Go buy her stuff.

Dinosaurs and Robots - They had me at dinosaurs. This one is about all kinds of cool in actual stuff. Like Roald Dahl's writing hut or a vacation home made from shipping containers, Ipod amplifiers, vintage advertising or Guinness posters. It's always different, unexpected and cool. As far as I'm concerned, it's why the internet exists.

Sketch for the Day - Artist Ira Robbins gives the whole world little glimpses into his everyday life and they're awesome. I love his people on the subway, and there's a dude in a hat that reminds me simultaneously of Walter Mattheau and my bulldog.

Forgotten Bookmarks - A guy who works in a used bookstore finds photos, notes, cards, and all matter of flat stuff in the books - and very kindly shares it online. Sometimes it's multi-page letters, others just a photo, but it is always interesting and voyeuristic. And makes you go through your own bookshelves to make sure you haven't stashed anything wacky in there. Recently, there's been a bunch of contests, which aren't all that interesting, but it's worth checking a couple times of week anyway.


Happy surfing.

Friday, February 5, 2010

By the back door.

Dammity damn damn.

On the bright side, I'm wearing his jeans today.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm not high quality enough to read Elle Decor. And by "high quality" I mean, I'm not a gay guy. Apparently.

I really have nothing against Woman's Day magazine. I bet, in fact, that loads and loads of perfectly lovely Women read it and it makes their Day.

But I don't. I don't buy it. I don't want to buy it. I've accidentally picked it up when I'm stuck in a waiting room and I have purposely put it back down and read old emails on my iPhone instead because I am very NOT interested in anything about it.

And dude, my homey Bobby Brown will back me up on this...that is my perogative.

However. A bunch of wise-asses at a giant media conglomerate called HFMUS have decided that I do want Woman's Day magazine. So much so, in fact, that they'll send me 17 of them a year instead of the magazine I paid for, Metropolitan Home.

It seems that Metropolitan Home (that I paid for, did I mention that?) has gone the way of so many other print publications. Even the 100-year-old newspaper in Denver is dead, so I can't really expect that Met Home is going to make it. I'm cool with that. I only bought it because someone was standing on my doorstep looking sideways at my bulldog.

So, a little postcard with a note that says, "Hey, we ran outta money, better go read your Kindle" would have sufficed.

But nope, the marketing geniuses at HFMUS sent me a little postcard that says, "Lucky You, Woman! We're sending you 17 issues of Woman's Stupid Day Magazine even though you only had 3 issues remaining on the subscription to the magazine you really liked! Yay!"

No big deal, right? I'll just call and tell them No Thanks and it will all be over before the mailman has time to wonder why I'm suddenly reading hastily published crockpot recipes on cheap paper crap.

But I couldn't let it go. Mainly because, every time I got Metropolitan Home Magazine in the mail, I thought, "Oh! I bet me and 150,000 gay guys are all settling in right now on our divans and just looooving this tile!"

Are 150,000 gay guys going to also going to get Woman's Day Magazine? I'm no gay guy, but if I was I am pretty sure that'd piss me off. Did they just sign me up for WD because I have a female name?  Being the Encyclopedia Brown Internet Detective that I am, I looked it up.

Seems that the rat bastards at HFMUS are not sending everyone WD. In fact, they are sending their "HIGHEST QUALITY SUBSCRIBERS" Elle Decor magazine.

Mother effers. Where do they get off deciding who is and who is not "highest quality?" What are the determining factors?  I downloaded the advertising sales media kits to read the demographics of WD and Elle Decor. I won't go into details, but apparently, the asshats at HFMUS have decided I am ten years older than I really am, my home is worth a tenth of what it actually is worth, and my hobbies include playing harmonica with my uncle daddy while he taste tests moonshine. Really. It said that. Maybe.

And who is to say that people in that demographic don't still really really like to look at pretty tile? Seems to me, the less my house was worth, the more I'd want to see fancy ones. I'm not saying it's just because the parent company of HFMUS is a bunch of snotty French guys, but I'm not saying it's not, if you know what I'm saying.

I feel like the cool kids won't let me sit at their lunch table.  Somewhere, 150,000 gay guys are saying, "Finally! I was sooo tired of hanging out with her."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Why it's best just to hold your breath in middle school hallways.

As I left yesterday for the grocery store for the 342,452nd time this week, I hollered behind me, "Anybody want anything?" and then, under my breath, "Besides, of course, the damned FOOD you all insist on eating? Every day? Like several times a day?"

The giant linebacker of a middle school child yelled back, "Yeah. Chocolate Axe."

Oh, that boy. So clever and witty. I smiled, proud of my caustic offspring, and said, "Dude! You're a genius! Smelling like chocolate would certainly get the attention of middle school girls! Ha ha ha!"

Then, walking down the aisle of aerosol smelly shit, I came across this.

Holy ozone layer.  He was serious.

Yeah, I bought it. But frankly, I'm a little worried that he'll become not a target for the affections of pubescent girls, but possibly middle-aged teachers. On diets. Right before lunch. I really would like to have been in the Axe marketing meeting where they came up with this one. 

"Hmmm. What smell do chicks dig?"

"Um. Chocolate?"

"Hey! Good one! Let's do it!"

It certainly makes more sense than the scent of choice when I was 12 years old.

Nothing hotter than the scent of...a baby?
Really. Baby powder is sexy. It is. Don't believe me? Read the ad.

"An irrestible clean baby smell, grown-up enough to be sexy."
Apparently, sex-offender work-release programs used to include copywriting gigs. Years after abandoning Love's Baby Soft, I sat in a media class at college, where the professor spoke for at least an hour on phallic symbols and using them in advertising. Guess what his primo, number one example was?

Good thing I was mature and wearing Coty Wild Musk by then. In case you're wondering, "musk" is defined as a "odorous glandular secretion." 

Chocolate might have been a better choice.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Six degrees of separation. Or more like four. Possibly, three.

There is, in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, a lady who blogs under the name The Pioneer Woman. About eleventy-bazillion people visit her website every day. She is cute, charming and funny. Besides running a website with a whole lot of pages that she updates like, gah, every day, she home schools her four kids, helps out on a huge cattle/horse ranch, experiments with photography and remodels a guest lodge. Without cursing in public. And because she was apparently bored last year, she wrote and photographed a cookbook.

That went to the top of the best seller lists.

Obviously then, we have a lot in common.

If you follow PW, you know that she went on a book tour recently. She traveled all over the country, letting us see her hotel rooms and the throngs of readers that showed up to meet her and get their cookbooks signed. Her second or third stop was in Denver - and while I'm not usually a stand-in-line for anything type of gal, I thought, "Hey, I should support a fellow blogger with whom I have so very much in common!"  Then I thought, "Eh, it's on a school night, and it's sort of cold out. Maybe next time."

Then I got an email from my friend Claudia asking if I wanted to go with her to the booksigning.

All the sudden, I was interested again. Not only because Claudia is a sh'load of fun, but also because Claudia is from Pawhuska, Oklahoma. You heard me. Pawhuska. Home of P-Dub. Try to follow along.

Several months prior, Claudia had sent me an email saying,  "Hey check out this blog - it's by a lady from my hometown and today she wrote about my brother's feed store."  To which I answered something to the affect of, "Wha?"

I determined that in all the eleventy-bazillion PW readers in the world, it was likely that only Claudia and I would know about the Denver book signing, and even if a couple other people showed up, we'd totally be in the front of the line and PW's new best friends, because, A) Claudia's from Pawhuska, and B) I was wearing my favorite shoes, which The Pioneer Woman would surely be so enamored with that we'd instantly be new best friends and she'd feature me on her website under the tab "up and coming bloggers:

Patent leather aqua Ferragamo driving moccasins.
I know, right?

Well, I could go on and on about how we waited patiently in line with a bunch of other people, and then we heard her speak and she was funny and sweet and then we had her sign our books and then took our pictures with her and went home.

But that would be a big fat lie.

Because what we did was each buy several cookbooks, head down to the basement where she was signing and go, "Dude, it's hot in here. We should go get a beer."

Now, lucky for us, the swell independent bookstore in Denver just happens to have a swell independent bar in it. Besides 362 days of sunshine a year, that's one of the main things they put in the Chamber of Commerce brochures. Claudia and I decided we'd just run up real quick for one cool frosty beverage and then head back to the basement for the signing.

I may not have mentioned before, but Claudia and I used to be in advertising together. And not like Mad Men advertising where we wore pencil skirts and thought up clever slogans. Advertising Sales. Which means, among other things, that we are capable of drinking and cursing like sailors. While selling you a thirteen week ad run on The Weather Channel.

Being a classy dame, I ordered me up a Lone Star. They were outta PBR cans, apparently.

Did you know Lone Star beer has little puzzles on the insides of the caps?

That first one says "Who-Ray!"  The second one says, "Owl Be Clammin this O!" Or something. I'm not sure. I never actually figured that one out.

Being the excellent parent that I am, I recognized right away that these beer caps could be educational but that I couldn't take home just two puzzles to my children. That wouldn't be fair. In order to properly intellectually stimulate them, they'd need several. I sacrificed and ordered another Lone Star. For the lid.

Right about now is when bartender asked us for the third or fourth time, "So you're really here to have a cookbook signed?" And we assured him that maybe we were, maybe we weren't, maybe we needed an appetizer first.

Claudia, looking innocent. 
Me, posing perfectly for an ENT specialist.

This is when two things happened: 1) People began filling up the bar because there was no more room in the basement, and 2) I realized I had an odd number of caps and an even number of children so I'd need to order another Lone Star. For the children.

Other folks who like Pioneer Woman but don't like lines.
Also, Claudia.

Those people are totally nice, and one of them might be named Jill, and she might've had to borrow a car to get there from her home 80 miles away. That guy at the end just came to keep his girlfriend or possibly his wife company in line. Aren't those lovely chandeliers?

Since Claudia and I had no ads to sell, we drank more beer. I let everyone in the bar know that she was from Pawhuska, which made me sorta famous. Then Claudia admitted that not only has her brother been featured on the blog, you can very often see her other relatives' heads when PW posts shots of church, and...back in high school...Claudia babysat Marlboro Man.

This means absolutely NOTHING to you if you've never read The Pioneer Woman.

But if you have, well, you're kind of impressed right now. The nice people at the bar certainly were. Eventually, one of us, probably Claudia, realized that instead of us making our way through the crowds in the basement, we could send the books to Pawhuska...I mean, we're talking about Marlboro Man's babysitter, here. Because we had that kind of clout.

Claudia calls in a favor from Pawhuska.

The next day, PW posted about the lovely quiet dinner she had at a restaurant 4 blocks from my house. A half-empty, nobody in it, I coulda walked, restaurant FOUR blocks from my house. Meaning I could've put on my bitchin' shoes and swung by on my way to the liquor store to purchase beer that did not have puzzles in the lids and would not have left me with a ginormous head ache the next morning.

But alas. I would not have gotten to hang out with Marlboro Man's babysitter and drink beer on a school night. And I would not have this.

Monday, February 1, 2010

There's just no easy way to do this.

You know how when you ditch school for like three weeks it is super hard to just show up in class again? You don't?  Yeah, well, Quentin Tarantino does, so I'm not alone. Anyway - not posting on your blog for a few months is kind of like that. Only I probably won't turn into a famous movie director.  Also, it's highly unlikely Playboy will ever interview me. But a girl can dream.

So I suppose I'll just start typing. Today and then tomorrow, and the next day. And then, all the fives of you who are nice and kind and tell me they enjoy reading my drivel will eventually forget the Great Dry Spell of Winter '09-'10. Sound good?

In the spirit of transparency, you should know that while I was away, I almost met a famous blogger, one of my children outgrew me and I made $75 writing about sandwiches.

Whew. That was easier than I thought it would be.


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