Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Star I See Tonight

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's the Circle of Life and it Moves Us All

About a half hour ago, a baby bird made its maiden voyage out of its nest in our back yard. I didn't see it land but it must have been a doozy because the bird is now hopping around with its head tilted way over to the side; I'm guessing it's a broken neck.

I have no idea what I'm supposed to do; can it live shaped like the number 7? Doubtful. Is the death going to be protracted and involve starvation? Probable. Is this just Nature doing her bit? Yes.

Right now, I miss Lupac. I can't say I'm missing the weekly offerings which required a shovel and a weak gag-reflex, but give the cat her due; this situation would be long over by now.

I've Paid My Dues, Time After Time

Just a quick thought. After reading all the comments which came in after Not Screaming Day, I've decided each year there will be a Queen and King of Quiet, a person who will be noted far and wide for the not-screaming they are doing. There might be a hat involved.

We don't have a King yet, but without hesitation I declare Jakarta Rocks as our Queen of Quiet. Please go read her comment under "Make me wanna holler" and see why she's getting the fancy hat.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Someone To Watch Over Me

I hate summer colds. I hate them because they are stupid and because they are unnatural. We aren’t supposed to have summer colds. You want evidence? They’re called summer colds. We don’t call the others winter colds, or fall colds, or spring colds. A summer cold is like coming into someone’s living room in July and finding a fully decorated Christmas tree. It’s wrong and it’s weird and it makes people think less than charitably about the owner.

Yes, I just got over one. I only talk about something once I get over it because I am so heartily bored of getting sick. Illness is dull and I’m dull so often. I was a bronchial child. My room had to be repainted twice before I turned three because the humidifier ran so often it caused the paint to fall off the walls in strips. I have to moderate my distaste for the modern age and whatever horror I feel about what we’re doing to the planet because, the simple fact is, in Colonial times I would have been a tiny tombstone and a wee little coffin. But now we have potent antibiotics and I’m here, well enough to type and complain.

What’s so annoying about my immune system is how dumb it is. I caught this most recent cold from someone with whom I stood in the same yard. Outdoors. At most, a germ or two found its way into my system. All the bouncer at the gate of my respiratory system had to do was frown threateningly and lower the red rope and I’d have saved myself a box of Kleenex. I imagine, however, it went more like this:


A bouncer sits outside. A man walks up. He’s bald with tattoos everywhere including his neck and eyelids. He is carrying a gun. He is a cold virus.

BOUNCER: Can I help you?

COLD VIRUS: Yes, I want to go in and take Quinn’s immune system hostage and cause her to create lava-streams of mucus for about six days. I also have a dry cough I’d like to test out on her. Something new I’ve been tinkering with.

BOUNCER: Um, I’m not sure I can let you in.

COLD VIRUS: Sorry. I meant to say I’m your Aunt Barbara.

BOUNCER: Of course you are! Please, go right in.

COLD VIRUS: Can I have your ATM card?

BOUNCER: Sure. (He pulls it out of his wallet, hands it to the cold virus) The code is 0000. Nice to see you, Aunt Barbara. Give my regards to Uncle Ed.

Moron. And a day later I’m sleeping on an incline so I can breathe and everything tastes like shirt cardboard. If you think you have some natural or homeopathic solution to my immune system, assume I’ve already tried it. I could own a pair of Louboutin shoes with what I’ve spent on immune-strengtheners but I still catch a cold if I watch a “House" rerun.

No, it’s my path and Consort loves me anyway becaues it could be worse: I could have made a daughter exactly like myself and I didn’t. Daughter’s immune system could kick my immune system in “Jeopardy” any day of the week. That thought allows me to sleep at night.

Well, that and the Ny-Quil.

Monday, June 21, 2010

But They're Cousins, Identical Cousins All the Way

The ingénue-cats have earned a new nickname; they are the causins. Yes, I can spell; I’m still pretty certain they were littermates. They are the causins because there is no better answer for anything they do besides “Cause."

Why is Diana eating the side of the bed? Cause.

Why did Anne spend fifteen minutes wedging herself between a closed window and the window-screen, which sent her into a claustrophobic panic requiring two adults and ten minutes to disengage her? Cause.

Why did Diana jump up and down in an empty corner for a while this morning and then rush into Daughter’s room, grab a sock and trot around with it for a while? Cause.

Why did one of them eat a Band-Aid and then discover Band-Aids aren’t food? And why did the cat learn this on my only suede purse? You guessed it; cause.

Lupac came to us as an adult cat. Had she been human, she would have been a humorless workaholic, her rare non-work hours spent flipping through the feline trade magazines like Killing Small Things Monthly and Professional Dog Sneerer. Her fun—the fun of playing with things until they exsanguinated -- was the feline version of single-malt Scotch, a totally adult kind of fun.

I had forgotten that before they are adults and sit dozing in the sun dreaming of a chewy mouse liver, they are half-grown cats. Anne and Diana march to the beat of their own drummer, only it’s less a march than a dash and it’s not so much a drum as a kazoo. And because they are indoor cats and will remain so forever, I am haunted by the premonition that they will be doing inexplicable things for years. I can put Bitter Apple on the bedposts to keep them from chewing, but that just means they'll take a can of black olives from the cabinet and sneeze on it.

But they are attractive and sweet and I forgive them for being young and exuberant; they are my trophy wives, endlessly off to change their hair color or get to yoga class or shove all their toys under the bureau and I am their sugar-daddy, fondly admiring their good looks and taking whatever chances I get to rest when they aren’t around.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Whiter Shade of Pale

I was applying my usual spackle of SPF 70 when Consort came in the bathroom. Silently, he observed the process which is not unlike watching someone ice a wedding cake. Finally he said,
"Watch out, I can see some of your natural skin around the crook of your elbow."

The olive-skinned ones are attractive but mean.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Make Me Wanna Holler

I'm not going to get specific about my morning but it's already been very long and very filled with activities shaped from the womb to be incredibly annoying and soul-abrading.

Okay, one hint: No fewer than two separate organizations developed computer glitches which didn't show my last payment. Only after much sitting on hold (and being disconnected twice from one) was I able to prove that I was in fact not a scofflaw. There were other beatings to my dignity and my patience. It's only eleven o'clock in the morning. I am haunted by the idea that this day has up to twelve more hours of puckishness ahead of it.

The miraculous thing is how equable I was. If I didn't know better, I'd assume Consort doctored my tea with Diazepam. I didn't scream at either company who lost my payments. I didn't scream at every single person this morning who said something stupid -- and let me assure you, apparently today is Say Something Stupid Day because there is no other reason for the abyss of witlessness I've traversed. I kept my counsel. I bit my tongue. I endeavored to see the big picture. My reward is that I've now gotten credit for bills I already paid --which doesn't actually qualify as growth -- and talked to stupid people who still don't know they're stupid (and whom I was more than willing to inform of this fact had I been given the opportunity.)

So here's what I want. I want credit for not screaming. No, better yet, I want a create a holiday for honoring those people who make a slurry of their stomach lining rather than saying what achingly needs to be said. I want people to send me greeting cards that feature pictures of red-faced women methodically pulling the leaves off daisies with comforting captions like If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy float by. I want a sheetcake iced with the words "Congratulations on not killing any member of a large and indifferent bureaucracy". And then I want to eat the sheetcake while watching a The Golden Girls marathon and not have to share the frosting rosettes with anyone.

If you too haven't been given enough credit for the verbal beatings you haven't doled out in this life, please join me in celebrating. Let's declare June 15th National Not Screaming Day. Or better yet, International Not Screaming Day. Why not? They make greeting cards all over the place. If you want, you can leave an email about some recent event where you heartily deserved a good scream but nobly resisted the impulse. We'll all pat your hand and make room on the couch to watch Dorothy and the girls.

But the rosettes are mine.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

In a Land Called Fantasy

It's come to this. Whatever rich inner fantasy life I once had, I just spent many happy minutes reading my friend Danny Miller's blog and putting myself in the story. Was I basking in the glory of his son who fought so hard to be here and is rewarding his parents with the best disposition ever? Well, sure. Go over there and tell me Charlie Miller isn't the exemplar of joy, the avatar of bliss.

But that isn't the fantasy.

The fantasy is how Danny, a mortal just like the rest of us, has now been given a new Buick to drive around for a week. TWICE. I'm sure the arrangement with GM is "We'll loan it to you and if you like it, it would be ever so nice if you could write about how you liked it." Danny is honorable and has shown no interest in writing fiction so I suspect his raves about both cars are heartfelt. Then again, he drives a 1994 Honda when the clock strikes midnight, so his standards are probably, shall we say, as realistic as mine. But those cars do look sweet. Both cars look as if they don't make a weird ticking noise when you turn off the a/c, or a poultry-throttling rattle when you try to unlock the doors, like a certain car I could name. And without even seeing them in real life, I know they smell better than my car. And aren't sticky. My car is sticky all the time now, even immediately after leaving the car wash. I think it's exuding rubber cement.

So I read about Danny, Charlie and Kendall's adventure and I cooed and restrained myself from petting the computer screen. General Motors might not be the shoo-in for Company of the Decade but this loaner of theirs was simple act of pure genius. I'm now thinking something I assure you I have never considered in my life: I could see myself in a Buick.

My fantasy life may have entered a suburban cul-de-sac, but I've put the car in idle and I'm not backing out.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

You Are the Only Animal Who Can Think, Who Can Reason, Who Can Read

A replay of an earlier Q-Tea because my lovely friend Sara's book is now available for pre-order.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Someone's in the Kitchen, I Know

I am Woman, Hear Me Roar

I'm not pleased to admit this, but Consort and I watched the season of "The Real Housewives of New York." I dislike these women heartily and plunge into an existential crisis every time I finish watching an episode. And yet I never miss a week of bad behavior and liberal lashings of Pinot Grigio.

Last night we were watching the final feces-throwing contest- I mean, episode, and I wondered aloud how much money it would take to get me to be the OED definition of narcissist in public. Consort squinted at me.

"If we're talking about these women, you're asking the wrong question. The question isn't how much money did the Real Housewives get, but how little would it have taken?"

Hands off, girls. He's mine.