November 30, 2006

-image-oh, I’m so proud

I feel this neat little sense of accomplishment because I’ve started to actually categorize my posts. I’m going back through my archives and — slowly — making categories and assigning posts to them. I’ve never done this on my blog before, really. I had the capacity for only about two categories on Worship Naked. So this is new! I feel so organized! And in control! So, for anyone who’s interested, scroll down in the sidebar and check out the categories so far. They’re all fairly self-explanatory.

Well, the one titled, “If you can’t act, behave!” contains some of my drama camp posts.

So WOO-HOO for categories!

(Although this post is uncategorized, I see …. oh, well.)

-image-I love paper!

I don’t know if it’s just my mood or if this means I’m at risk of succumbing to the boozy canine charms of the whole “Dogs Playing Poker” genre, but, well, I like this Christmas paper, from Kate’s Paperie, a place I absolutely MUST go to when I visit NYC. Someday.

Anyway, I like this. S’fun. S’silly. (I’m partial to the wolfhoundy looking dog running away with the garland. I am not drunk. I swear.)

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It’s weird. This next wrapping paper seems soft and mod to me at the same time. Cool. It’s 3.75 for a 19 x 28″sheet and there’s a 3-sheet minimum order, but still, you’ll only be spending, oh, 11.25 (plus shipping) to buy this for me.

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Seriously, peeps. This is some nice stuff. NOT to be used to wrap schlocky presents for musty ol’ Aunt Duddy.

November 29, 2006

-image-the drawer of embarrassing photos

We proceed. With My Beloved’s permission, because this one’s about him, not me.

Here he is, the tall, dark, and, uhm, HOT one. Keyboard player for their bitchen high school rock combo. I am not allowed to post the name of said bitchen high school rock combo. There are limits, people, to his love. Whenever I look at this picture, I gaze upon MB with a swoony high school girl’s eyes and then shudder when I realize that, had we known each other back then, we would not have known each other back then. I was a drama geek; he was a super hero of hotness, apparently. I would have been the girl just praying he’d say hi to me in the hall, busily over-analyzing any time he even blinked his eyes in my direction. And he would have been the guy who came to my show, hiding in the back row, because he had to write a report about it for English. (I just read that part to MB and got The Eye Roll.)

Oh, and during rigorous cross-examination regarding the matchy white pants, MB steadfastly claimed there were no “dude, what are you gonna wear” phone calls prior to this seriously rockin’ photo session, no deliberate snub of backwards cap guy. All righty.

But may I say that words cannot express how much the dude in front disturbs me. Please PLEASE cut your taco salad hair bowl. I cannot deal with you. You mar the experience of this photo. And stop looking at us with that look that presumes that we are all enraptured by your taco salad hair bowl.

I have to say I am in love, though, with the TOTALLY EXTREME EARNESTNESS of this bitchen rock combo. Look at them!
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November 28, 2006

-image-walking home

It is Thanksgiving Eve. I’m walking the short distance home from The Beanhouse in the dark. I wear an old army jacket because I don’t have a real jacket, a ladylike jacket, a grown-up jacket. This is Southern California, after all. I mean, what’s a jacket? And I like this jacket. It suits me, somehow. It’s khaki and too big and I like the way it holds me. My kind of face looks out of place in this kind of jacket and maybe I like that, too. I feel safe in this jacket. Comforted. I am someone else. Instinctively, I reach for this ragged thing when my life feels upside down. It never fails me, this jacket. It is faithful and warm and ugly.

Underneath the right-hand sleeve, there is a growing rip at the seam. I could mend it, I suppose, if I had khaki thread, but who has khaki thread? And I don’t really sew, anyway. I’ve looked in my sewing kit, halfheartedly: red, blue, pink, green, yellow, brown, black, white. No khaki. Guess you’re not supposed to have clothes this color; the sewing syndicate does not approve. Fine. I take some safety pins — I have a lot of those because I don’t sew — and thread them through, gently, barely grabbing fabric, building a line of little silver soldiers, quietly doing their job. On the outside of the sleeve you can see only the tiniest dots of pin. It’s not enough to bother me. I just let it be. Sometimes I turn the sleeve inside out and I look at that neat line of pins I made. Straighter, more solid than any stitches I could have sewn. I like how staunch they are. How they don’t question what they’re doing. How sometimes, when the jacket is on, I can feel one of them brushing up against my arm, a quick salute, then flattening against the fabric, at ease again.

So I wear this walking home, Thanksgiving Eve. The khaki droops nearly to my knees. But the little silver soldiers are there, holding me in, and the droop is generous. It covers things. The smear of whipped cream on the side of my pants. The cloud of cocoa powder on the sleeve of my shirt. The smell of old espresso and steamed milk mingling with sweaty tired skin.

The crisp air flickers at my cheeks, my hair, the leaves on the trees. I hear the pad-pad-pad of my ugly black shoes on the road. Horrible non-skid monsters that mock my dainty feet and I am vain about my dainty feet. The shoes are dutifully non-skid, it’s true, but they’re also painful, cruelly carving into the smooth curve of my arches. On top of it all there’s nothing interesting about their ugliness. No odd feature. No queer detail. Just run-of-the-mill lurching ugliness. They pad-pad-pad at me in the darkness and it sounds like disdain. My jacket, though, keeps its opinions to itself.

As I walk, I think about tomorrow, Thanksgiving. My parents’ house. My siblings with their kids and their successes and their new cars. I watch my feet, notice the stray splotch of dried whipped cream on one ugly non-skid shoe … there it is … there it is … there it is. I think of all the stories they’ll tell at the dinner table — who’s doing what, how well they’re doing it, how well everyone else thinks they’re doing it. I remember the hot shame on my cheeks when that lady said, “My! What a rich life you lead,” as I shuffled off to clean The Beanhouse bathroom …there it is … there it is …. there it is. I feel my heart burning — aching — with too much love for those kids. With that simmering sometime jealousy of my siblings …there it is … there it is … there it is. I cross the street and feel the familiar stabbing cramps that mean I’ll need a Midol when I get home.

Pad-pad-pad. Pad-pad-pad. I shove my hands deep into the pockets of my quiet jacket, relieved, I guess, that tomorrow, no one will ask me about this person I’ve become.

November 27, 2006

-image-beanhouse lost and found

Found in a Ralphs grocery bag the other day out on the rainy patio:

Item 1.

Uhm …

Item 2.

Do they go together … er, something? Are they Christmas gifts for a friend? For grandpa? For little Stevie’s teacher? So far, no one has come forward to claim his creepy lost items, because let’s face it, what would he say?? WHAT??

And now, sometimes, one of my coworkers squeezes the bag under the counter to make Rummy talk and the whole thing is, uhm, truly disturbing. Tis the season to be jolly, dudes, not to imagine your private personal activities involving talking dolls of the executive branch.

I am ooged out.

November 25, 2006

-image-later that same thanksgiving night …

… back at home, just the two of us.

— We had a spirited debate. Topic: what to do about that pompous Trembles McGee.

— Later, I performed a spontaneous imitation of the Severed Head in the Jar found in The Silence of the Lambs. Upon request, I performed it repeatedly to great acclaim. Hilarity ensued.

I had no idea I had so many rotting layers of greatness.

-image-what I learned at the table

— Piper told us about Squanto, who helped the pilgrims grow corn. She called him Squash. “Squash did this” and “Squash did that.” I think Squash is an excellent name.

— I also learned that she will wave hello to you from across the table. That wave thing she does. I love that.

— My sister accidentally spilled milk all over Piper’s turkey dinner and I said something silly like, “Piper, are you having turkey soup?” She just laughed it off, not the least bit bothered or upset. She smiled as her plate was taken, smiled as it was brought back, and smiled and waved to me while she ate the rest of her dinner. A picture of perfect contentment. I could not take my eyes off her glowing, happy face.

November 23, 2006

-image-exchange of the day

Pop Pop (to The Banshee — uhm, 2 1/2 — who has her thumb and blanket corner in her mouth): Come onnn. Lemme see your thumb.

The Banshee (exasperated): Well, it’s jus’ a thumb and I need it there so I can suck on my blanket.

DUH, Pop Pop.

November 22, 2006

-image-the pie god

I wrote this two years ago, right before Thanksgiving. (And The Wretched Obli.) You know, it’s funny; this year I only have to bring rolls.

So, this is a rerun, but a holiday rerun.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!!

So my mom called a few weeks ago to ask me to bring dessert for Thanksgiving:

Mom: Bring that thing you made a few years ago.

Me: What thing?

Mom: Hmm … well, it was good.

Me: Okaaay. What was it?

Mom: Well, I thought YOU’D remember.

Me: Hmm. Well, Mom, I just have no idea …… how do you remember it but you don’t remember what it WAS?

Mom: Well, how could you make something you don’t remember?

Which one of us was Costello in this roundy-round conversation??

Mom: Just bring the thing. You’ll figure it out. Bye.

Right.

What the heck was “THE THING”?

I ruminated. I asked my siblings. I scoured my cookbooks. Pointless. Nothing jumped out as “THE THING.” (And, let’s face it, how good could it have been if no one even remembered it?) I was definitely becoming stressed. Finally, My Beloved spoke the soul-stirring, freedom-giving words, “Why are you trying to remember something that no one else remembers? Just make a new ‘thing.'”

As I looked at MB, glowing like that angel from that stupid angel show, the dessert-darkened clouds in my mind lifted and the spirit of Betty Crocker spoke to me, echoing MB’s words of liberty: “Make a new ‘thing.'”

I was, indeed, “Touched by an Angel.”

So … onto the new “thing.” What to make? I ruminated. I asked my siblings. I scoured my cookbooks. Nothing. The angel glow faded and MB looked eerily human again. Finally, yesterday afternoon, I resorted to searching online for something … anything. I soon discovered blessed salvation in the form of a recipe for “Black-Bottom Chocolate Cream Pie.” It all seemed so simple. Chocolate cookie crust. Chocolate cream filling. And topping. Creamy, homemade, chocolate deliciousness. Anyone could do it.

So last night was a quaint scene of cheery holiday baking. Everything was going fine. Frankly, I thought I was doing an excellent job. Chocolate cream filling completed, I began the traditional taste tests. Hmmm …. it seemed just …. okay-ish.

I thought the cream filling was not living up to its creamy potential.

I thought the cream filling could be richer.

I thought the cream filling could taste better.

And, clearly, I thought I was the one to fix it. My heart swelled. My mission was clear.

Certain that my baking prowess could save this pie, I began adding a little of this, a pinch of that, too much of something else. I was mad with power and high on chocolate. I glanced at my reflection in the window and startled at the chocolate-covered person staring back at me. Undeterred, I kept creating. I had become …. the pie god.

And you know, even after I knew I had killed it, I kept going, like a doctor trying to revive a long-gone patient until someone finally takes the paddles away. Beholding this trauma scene, My Beloved surveyed the damage, approached me, and gently but firmly took away my spoons. “Let it go,” he urged. I looked down at my dead pie. It was jiggly, pathetic, and pale in death, the sickly color of a MacDonald’s chocolate milkshake. No death with dignity for this confection. It suddenly dawned on me that I had spent that extra 45 minutes, fiddling, fiddling, all to create …. Jello. Jello, which takes 5 minutes to make. Jello, which comes in convenient Snak-Paks in the grocery store aisle and tastes much better than my homemade pie of death. Right now, my poor pie sits in the fridge, mournfully awaiting proper burial. Somewhere, Bill Cosby is laughing, scooping his damn JELL-O in dainty spoonfuls.

Shaddup, Bill. Your sweaters suck.

And in my oven as I write this post is Dessert No. 2: “Caramel Apple Spice Cake.”

My NEW new thing. Hope I don’t kill it, too.

(Anyway …. have a Happy Thanksgiving, all!)

-image-the box of embarrassing doodles

I just keep finding the worst stuff in our house. We have GOT to move!

Okay. From about 10 years ago. I doodle to soothe myself, which is better than my previous self-soothing method of sucking my thumb with my sock monkey Funny Baby’s tail wrapped around it.

Damn. I miss that Funny Baby.

Oh, so anyway, yeah, from about, oh, 10 years ago.

Oh, I remember these guys The hapless couple, Lester and Ida. They are married. They are miserable. Ida has a bad perm and 17 guinea pigs that she sews little clothes for. Lester has sunken smoker’s cheeks — you put that cigarette OUT around the pigs, Lester! — and a crush on a sassy waitress who drives through his tollbooth every day.

Their house smells. The smoke. The pigs. The musty bitterness.

Poor Lester.

Poor Ida.

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