Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Mystical Divinity of Unashamed Felinity

Conclusion I have reached after several heart-stopping moments recently:

Cat toys which become favored by cats and therefore spread throughout the house take two forms. They look exactly like something once living and now dead, if spotted out of the corner of your eyes. Or, if you get up to go to the bathroom and the room is dark and you aren't terribly clear-minded, they feel exactly like something once living and now dead under your instep.

I'm off to drink chamomile tea now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Want You to Show Me

Someone smallish asked me recently to define "Love."

I stalled, "You mean what a parent feels for a child?" thinking Please don't be something we can't cover here in Rubio's Mexican restaurant.

"Love in general," she responded, "what does it mean to love someone?"

I chewed and I thought. Do I mention that I would die for my daughter without a second's hesitation? No, because that's the kind of dramatic definition of love which, given to a girl at a formative age, will cause her to swoon over Edward Cullen, then Heathcliff and then date moody jerks. Do I allude to common interests and background being a strong basis for love? Not unless I work for J-Date. Is Consort's humor, intelligence and kindness why I love him, or should I just be grateful I happened to fall in love with someone funny, smart and kind? Is love nothing more than a pleasing body odor which indicates the other person is in good health and gentically dissimilar to you? If so, why am I never heard shouting "Huzzah! Consort's dirty laundry!"

Eventually, I came up with "Loving someone means you can absolutely trust that person," all the while my head shrieked up about fifteen examples of friends who swore they were in love with people who couldn't be trusted with a ficus. I suggested my head shut up and refile those under "Drama, mid-twenties." My dithering became uninteresting to my lunch companion who asked for her book to read. I took it out of my purse and she settled in to read and I dithered further. Days have passed without a great answer. So, series of tubes I call the Internet, I offer this up to you:

What does it mean to love someone?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bell Bottom Blues, You Made Me Cry

I’ve been meaning to do a Q-Tea video for weeks now but life has had other plans. So, because I can do it myself and don’t need someone to hold the camera, I humbly present Q-Tea in the written form.

Or, as it is also known: a blog.

Last month, InStyle magazine had a huge fashion article entitled Denim A to Z. I’ll give them their due, they did use every letter, even the pesky Q and the “What do you use if you don’t use X-ray?” X. This doesn’t mean I won’t make fun of them...

B is for Baggy. You know why those baggy jeans look so adorable and gamine on Keri Russell, InStyle magazine? Because Keri Russell has bones the size of pipe cleaners and weighs less than the bag of dog food I hauled in this morning. Anyone over 103 pounds isn’t going to look gamine in baggy jeans, they’re going to look as if they won the deep-fried Oreo eating contest at the county fair.

C is for Cropped. “...Hems that stop 1 to 3 inches above the ankles are also universally flattering...” Well, perhaps on Planet InStyle. Here on Earth, a cropped pant shortens your leg which makes your hips look wider. I’m no misogynist, decrying anything which makes women look like, well, women. But if someone came up to me and said “Quinn, those pants make you look as if you lashed a pair of end-tables to your hips,” my first words wouldn’t be “Oh, thank God.”

E is for Embellished. There’s a pair of cropped "embellished" pants for $365, because the end-tables needed fancying up. And another pair with studs on the pockets for $216. Come on, everyone sing along with me now, “Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame. Honey you give love a bad name...” What, it’s not 1986?

F is for Frayed. Frayed mid-thigh shorts in a sickly shade of light blue denim for $167. Remember that guy in high school who was kind of creepy but also kind of weirdly cute? The one your mother said was going nowhere and eventually got into trouble with that middle-school girl and her mother? These are his shorts.

H is for High-Waist. If the cropped pant gives you end-table hips, High-waist pants give you unrisen-dough butt.

J is for Jeggings. They’re jeans! They’re leggings! They’re...Jeggings! I guess Crappants was already taken.

Q is for Quilted. As someone who has done battle with the fractious Q her entire life, I give them polite golf claps for trying but honestly, QUILTED? AROUND THE THIGH? I get it. It’s supposed to honor biker’s leathers but when you’re riding that hog you need extra padding in case you fall off. Also, if you’re wearing biking leathers, you’re probably somewhere near a motorcycle which already makes your thighs look thinner. And if it doesn’t, you might have a large, threatening-looking friend who can cut anyone who goofs on your padded thighs. In these $115 quilted jeans, it’s just you and your added bulk. Also, I think you’d make a noise when you walked.

O is for Overalls. For all but the rare few, O is also for “Oh, no.”

S is for Shredded. ...I’m a cowboy. On the steel horse I ride. And I’m wanted (wanted) dead or alive...” Who knew Bon Jovi was a fashion muse?

T is for Tapered. See concerns about cropped. Now add concerns about baggy. Cube it. You have my feelings about tapered pants. What woman has been crying in the wilderness for pleats across her hips and width added to her thighs and then a shortened pant leg ending (the editor would have us believe) in a cage-heel coming to within an inch of the cuff? Are there populations of women whose biggest body complaint is that they are too tall, too skinny and their legs are almost frighteningly long? Oh wait, there are. Netherlands, I believe I have some pants for you.

V is for Vest. Denim vests. Remember the guy in the frayed shorts? This is what he wore to marry the ninth-grader he knocked up.

X is for X-Treme Shorts; either extremely short or extremely long (read: knee-length). Either way, I find them unattractive but I also want to chide InStyle for cheating. Whatever the ads for power drinks would have us believe, "x-treme", like jeggings, is not a word.

Y is for Yes to Double Denim! They even used an exclamation point. We’re not only supposed to wear a denim shirt with jeans, we’re supposed to be excited about it! We’re supposed to wear contrasting proportions and colors! If it’s still too much, they suggest layering a printed blouse under an unbuttoned shirt! InStyle, can I tell you something? This is like people who keep telling me their secrets for how to choke down beets; if you have to work this hard, it’s not worth it.

Z is for Zippers. Of course it’s for zippers. It’d be weird to have zygotes printed on denim and most people don’t know what Zambia is shaped like. These particular zippers go up the calf on a pair of light-blue denim jeans. The designer suggests unzipping the jeans three to four inches to show off your favorite heels, saying “It elongates and is so sexy.” I’d make fun of her, but the economy is in the tank, the pants are $212, and she’s obviously subscribing to the Bigger Fool theory: someone was dumb enough to make them but someone even dumber will buy them.

* * * * *

And that’s what I finally feel for everyone involved with this: pity. The boring reality is that a couple pair of plain, not-too-high, not-too-low, certainly-not-pleated-over-your-hips jeans are the most flattering. But that doesn’t sell magazines and it doesn’t keep clothing companies in the black. So InStyle, I salute you. Keep doing that incoherent magic you do so well. As for me, I’m going to slip into my denim workshirt, pop on a pair of embellished overalls and find someone to impress with my InStyle.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Take These Broken Wings and Learn to Fly

Sometimes I think that if there’s an intelligent life force at the helm of the universe, it knows I’m very stupid. It’s the only explanation for how sometimes things ARE SPELLED OUT FOR ME. SLOWLY.

When I was in my early twenties, I dated someone who was slender and intelligent and didn’t care for me a whit. He wasn’t mean, he certainly wasn’t abusive, but whenever he looked at me he had the pleasant and slightly distracted air of someone who, at the wedding, got stuck talking to the bride’s great-aunt from Iowa. I had never dated anyone who didn’t at least find me moderately entertaining before. Therefore, I found him fascinating.

(Oh, early twenties, how little I miss you.)

During the six months we dated I had two hobbies: try to make him like me and find Neosporin. I had to find Neosporin because I was never not getting injured. This wasn’t something I was cultivating -- I certainly wasn’t cutting myself or seeking out suffering -- but if there was a shard of glass in a five-mile radius I’d find it with my foot. Or I was getting a weird spider bite which went septic. Or I just happened to be right behind someone as they gesticulated wildly with a lit cigarette. One night, as I was lying in bed questioning whether I should have gotten a stitch or two in the most recent wound while also obsessing over whether the boy would like me better as a redhead, a voice in my head spoke up.
Quinn, it said. The universe is going to keep hurting you until you decide you’re better than this. Can we please cut the crap and get over the novelty of being treated badly before you’re in a medically-induced coma?

I broke up with him the next day. The puzzled expression on his face leads me to believe he had forgotten we were dating.

Which leads to me the bird in my backyard. No really, it does. As I noted, we had a bird in our backyard which was obviously not long for this world. I toyed with taking it to the vet, doing the right thing, except that being touched by a human, even a well-meaning one, put in a container and driven to a vet would have caused it more stress than it was feeling right now. Consort tucked it in the crook of a tree that night; we assumed it would go to sleep and not wake up and that would be that. Next morning, she was hopping along the ground and eating seed pods which dropped from the tree.

We decided it was a she because she was very brown and unremarkable in the female bird way.

She wouldn’t accept the powdered baby-bird food we had left over from Stink-Eye but appeared to drink a little water from a cup and she ate seeds enthusiastically if awkwardly. She didn’t appear to be miserable but she certainly couldn’t be long for the world with her head bent way over to the side like that. Since she could fly no more than two feet up and a foot across before dropping, it was safe to say she couldn’t leave the yard. We decided as a family to create a little bird sanctuary in the walled-in area of the yard and let the bird live out her life. I monitored the dog when he went out, turned off the sprinklers and freshened the water daily. She hopped around, seemingly unaware her head was practically tucked under her wing.

As you might remember, my dear friend Mary died in February. Her breast cancer had metastasized to her liver which usually kills the patient in two to three years. Mary made it nearly nine. This week, a dear relative decided to stop unproductive treatment for an illness and decided to enter hospice care. He’d fought like a lion and he’s dying like a warrior.

As I watched my l-shaped avian from the kitchen window, a voice in my head -- the same voice that suggested I dump that jerk so long ago, -- explained to me how that generic small brown bird is the great truth. Life is incredibly brief and fragile, but the life force doesn’t leave graciously. Living things like being alive and will work harder at staying that way than you might imagine. There’s no point in not enjoying every single seed or a road trip with a friend or a sunny afternoon. I know you’re a bit of an Eeyore, Quinn, but for a few seconds every day try not to take being alive for granted.

I woke up this morning and let the dog outside. For the first time in days, I didn’t hear peeping. Daughter, following me out, found the little bird dead under the woodpile. We buried her in the yard and wished her well in the next adventure. I watched the funeral and promised her I wouldn’t forget what she taught me.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Make A Circuit With Me

A confession: when Consort explains what he does for a living, it all sounds like this to me. Just add the phrase "Net Present Value," and I'll tell you, it's another evening around Quinn and Consort's house.

NOTE: Consort just saw that someone asked if he worked in mortgages. He got ashen. While I'm allowed to tease him no end, we might have reached a limit. He wants everyone to know he works in the tech sector and not in mortgages.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Left Its Vision While I Was Sleeping

Yesterday while Swiffering (AGAIN), a line came to me as if in a dander-infused dream. Quickly, I Tweeted it because I was alone in the house and the cats weren't sufficiently impressed-

(Sung to the tune of "Sounds of Silence")

Hello Swiffer my old friend/Will shedding season ever end

So @Emilydesjardins wrote back a couple of clever lines. I challenged anyone to finish the song in fur-format. Emily did. In my pursuit of bringing things to you which are nearly always light and fun, go over here.

Oh, and for those people sad about the bird? There's more. I'm hoping to have it up tomorrow. Don't worry; it's a better and stranger story than it first appeared.