Mar 31, 2008

Flower Pot Theatre

Our new downstairs neighbor t
ook the initiative we were all lacking and planted flowers in the building's window boxes. They're sitting on the shared balcony we all infrequently smoke on (one of us is always in 'quit' mode when the other two aren't), and they're actually quite pretty. Cory and I figured since we failed in our gardening duties, the least we could do was name them and figure out their histories.

And now, Flower Pot Theatre!

Somehow, all of these amazing ladies arrived at the same society gala, gathering at the same three tables. With so many different personalities, who knows what will happen?

[cue cheesy soap opera music]

Table One:

-Mrs. Basil Belvedere of Cotswolds, England, is a large, salmon-pink flower with a stern, matriarchal stance. Mrs. Belvedere, 'Bettina' to her friends, is terribly old-fashioned and sounds like Julia Child. She secretly loves her dog, Mr. Pigglesworth, more than her daughter, Beatrice, who continues to insist that she is a lesbian. Mrs. Belvedere is a lady and considers her greatest achievement as having met the Queen of England.

-Mrs. Heathrow Hoot of New Haven, Connecticut, is a dark flower with white markings and a kind, owlish face. Mary Helen Hoot is very small, and always speaks with a smile. She is new to society and feels homesick quite often, but her husband is a kind man whom she feels lucky to have married. She still hasn't told him that she's unable to have children yet, but she's praying about it every single night, and hopes that God sends her a miracle.

-Mrs. Mao-bai Ling of Manhattan, New York, is a small, yellow flower with delicate, light-green leaves. She is the new wife of The Chairman, and she hates him with every molecule of her being; she is currently having an affair with a rich white doctor named Hoot. Why does every Asian storyline consist of an Asian princess, a poor-but-driven village boy, an asshole father-in-law, and an outdated honor system that usually ends in death? It's practically Shakespearean. {End of tangent} ....and so the Asian princess is beautiful but always lonely, and the village boy never feels good enough in the eyes of her dictatorial father, so he kills himself to save face, which is quite possibly the dumbest concept I have ever heard of. The End.

Table Two:

-The Husky Sisters, Rayn and Ryver of Laurelhurst, Washington; these twin flowers feature vibrant, purple and gold features and strong, youthful bodies. Athletic and competitive, these natural beauties prefer hiking in the mountains to debutante society balls. With Rayn in medical school and Ryver in law school, their success seems written in the stars. Will their love for the same married man tear them apart? And will Rayn finally come clean about the baby?

-Mrs. Wilkins White of Wellesley, Massachusetts is a prim, white flower who is more unbalanced than she seems. Wilhemina White believes that men are merely stepping stones to the final, ultimate goal: being rich enough so she can live without them. Mrs. White and her husband live in a Bostonian palace with more staff than the governor, but her secret shame is that she's a kleptomaniac. Her burgeoning alcoholism and tumultuous affair with Mr. Mao-bai Ling of Manhattan might be her undoing, but she just can't help herself. When she finds out her husband has been murdered, leaving her a vast fortune and a lot of land, she whispers, "Mrs. White, in the library, with the candlestick." Will anyone find out?

-Mrs. Archibald Arbuthnot and Mrs. Ashton Arbuthnot of Wisteria Island in the Florida Keys are large, dark purple, and nosy; originally from Martha's Vineyard, these sisters-in-law moved with their husbands to Florida three years ago for rest and relaxation. As pillars of the community, these blue-blooded women are deeply respected, and looked at as shining, Papist examples in a world without values. Unfortunately, Mrs. Archibald Arbuthnot has longed to be Mrs. Ashton Arbuthnot since the beginning of time, and Mrs. Ashton Arbuthnot is a barely-functioning pothead thanks to her husband's numerous wanderings. Will Mrs. Archibald finally confront the woman who has stood in front of her happiness for so long? And will Mrs. Ashton reveal she's Mrs. Archibald's long-lost sister?

Table Three:

-The Tudor Sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, of London, England and Paris, France; always rivals, always unhappy with the other, these two half-sisters have battled each other to the bitter end. Elizabeth, with her intellect and wit, and Mary, with her cunning and focus, are formidable teenage enemies. When the time comes for Mary to throw Elizabeth under the bus, she won't even hesitate for a second; but will Elizabeth find a way to dodge the bullet and reclaim the throne that was rightfully hers?

-Mrs. Ivan Ivanovitch of St. Petersburg, Russia; this maroon-velvet flower has an dark, Russian temperament and a detached personality. Zoya Anastacia Ivanovitch is the survivor of many things, including war, the death of a child, a stock market crash, and cancer; she's your typical Russian royal. She hates coming to America because her husband expects her to entertain his clients, but enjoys spending all of his money on shopping trips and extra curricular activities. Her biggest downfalls are young black men and Manolo Blahniks, and she never wants children. Will her husband beat her again if she owns up to poisoning his overbearing mother? It's not like she died.

Stay tuned.


Photo: Danielle Steel and I are currently wearing the same serious writing outfit, but my sleeves are bigger and my bulimic dog is real.

It's safe to say that I'm going to stop trying to write with integrity, and start writing romance novels instead. It's like I'm drinking directly from the Fountain of Fabio; I'm like Danielle fucking Steel. I should be executed.

Unforgivable Combinations

Do I love kids and fitness? DO. I. EVER. Take children, for example: they are truly God's great miracle. And exercise--why, exercise is what gets our blood pumping every day! Yep, kids and fitness are right up there on my list of Top Five Things To Ignore I Love Unconditionally.

The truth: I love the opposite of kids and fitness, which I suppose would be no kids and no fitness; I'd rather be barren and obese. The first time I saw the post, I mistook the title to say, 'DO YOU LOVE KIDS AND FINANCE?' It really made me take a step back and think about my answer, and my answer was this: no, I really don't. I don't love kids and finance. Or rather, I love kids and finance about as much as I love kids and fitness. Quite frankly, I don't believe kids and anything should be paired together, unless it's Aqua Dots.

And just for the record, I don't enjoy fitness or finance, either. There's only one F-word in my life, and I'm sticking with it. It's been my companion through thick and thin, so I can't just set it free. We need each other. We're like family.

Story Time:

I had a client today, someone I would consider a VIP. She was a freelance writer and had written for one of my favorite magazines, The New Yorker, for a long stretch in the eighties. Even though it had been years ago, I was still impressed. We talked about writing and my Bread Loaf application; she gave me some really good advice on submitting things, and a few book recommendations. All in all, it was an awesome meeting. It would have been the perfect meeting had these three humiliating things not happened:

1. In response to her talking about rejection as a writer:

*uncomfortable laugh*

"Um, I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles, heh."

2. In response to her talking about death in her family:


"It is what it is."

3. In response to her inquiring about my favorite authors:


What. Have. I. Done. Any fear I've had over how cool I could stay under pressure has been completely realized. And I call myself a writer? My nine-year old could come up with better cliches than that while engaging in wittier repartee. It was embarrassing. I totally lost my shit. It was like I had never met a human before. She was most likely unimpressed and I was mortified; I wondered if I had lost all of my creative abilities at once, or if I had just conveniently arrested the ones that were most important to me in that exact fucking moment. And what writers can't remember which BOOKS they like to read?! I must have looked like an illiterate, NASCAR-loving hillbilly! 'Brav-O,' I thought to myself. 'Next time, I'll just drool all over my shirt and eat a dictionary with plastic utensils in the corner, like an undiscovered idiot savant. If that doesn't convince her that I'm a good writer, nothing will.' Note to self: QUIT SAYING YOUR THOUGHTS OUT LOUD, FULL STOP.

Mar 29, 2008

Hangin' Tough

Photo: Yep--I saw them in concert, too.

I found some old concert tickets stuck inside a book. The book: Boy's Life, written to perfection by Robert R. McCammon; as a self-proclaimed book critic, I am inconsistent in my findings--one day I'm praising Anna Karenina to the high heavens (and its' often-quoted, flawless first line: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."), the next day I'm swearing by Danielle Steel and her *cough* novels books. But Boy's Life--not to be confused with This Boy's Life, also a good book (although seriously depressing)--is not just a great book, it's a great overall experience. The only word for Boy's Life: magical.

Inside of this book filled with magical things were concert ticket stubs, preserved in various shades of "faded". I never throw concert tickets away, because I always forget that I've gone to them. Finding them in books and bags and pockets and crevices is the fun part, anyhow.

Ticket: Capitol Hill Block Party from last July; Spoon and Aesop Rock were my favorites. Seeing my little brother drunk for the first time, and telling a willowy, patchouli-smelling hippie to get bent tied for second. Principled, dirty hippies who live off of wheat germ and healthy doses of integrity shouldn't make snide comments about the origins of my Old Navy t-shirt when they're carrying around an IPhone and a Prada backpack.

Ticket: Bette Midler, Experience the Divine Tour, 1994. My parents bought tickets for the whole family (I was 18, my little brother was 9), and we sat in the front row of the balcony at The Paramount. We got there super early so that we could, as my mother said, "see the real show". The real show turned out to be Bette Midler's biggest fans: drag queens. I sat there with a "who cares?", bored look on my face, but my nonchalance was totally faux. In real life, I'd never seen a drag queen that close up or quite that decorated. It was illuminating. My little brother, on the other hand, was the very definition of "tactless". He sat there slack-jawed, wide-eyed, and bright red through the entire show. Every time she cursed (a lot), made a lewd, locker room joke (a lot), or shook her fabulous, aging ta-tas in our direction (non-stop), he sunk further down into his seat. It was a really wonderful family outing, and the concert was CRAZY.

Ticket: Kelly Clarkson, The Paramount, 2005. Yeah, I went. I didn't go proudly, but I went. Kyle had gotten last-minute tickets the day-of, and I thought--why not? I knew she could sing on key, which is usually half the battle. I worried that it would be unbearable fluffy pop, but I was pleasantly surprised--she did a lot of blues-inspired music, some R&B, a little bit of jazz. She took that horrific American Idol song (A Moment Like This) and did the electronic dance party version, which was gay and refreshing.
Also, we were in the second row of the VIP section, so I could have reached out and touched her; I didn't, but I could have. She had really bad skin, I remember that sadly. I had a blast, I will admit. But I would never see Clay Aiken. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Ticket: Arlo Guthrie, The Britt Festival; Ashland, Oregon--1994. Went for my senior trip to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival with two girlfriends who were too Jesuccentric for me. We bought tickets on a whim to The Britt Festival, an outdoor music weekend festival, and it was really interesting. What I remember is that everyone was stoned but us, everyone was older, and the ground was hard. I saw Arlo Guthrie, and sang along to Alice's Restaurant, and then the motherfucking Smothers Brothers came onstage. I thought that was just the coolest thing ever, because I used to watch their specials on TV with my parents; I didn't always understand the humor, but I thought the two brothers were realistically lovable. We hauled ass backstage afterwards and spoke to them; the blond, ditzy one kept saying, "So do you ladies need a ride back to your hotel?" The dark-haired, serious one kept replying, "No, they do not need a ride back to their place from an old fart like you." The two brothers laughed without mirth and then held out their wrinkly hands for autograph pens. I got their autographs for my dad, because he thought they were funny. I always thought my dad was goofy like the Smothers Brothers, but after meeting them, I decided that my dad is cooler than both of them combined. He's also not some lecherous old dude with an orange make-up line, either; that makes a difference, too.

My dad took the autographed program and carefully placed it inside of a treasured book, so that someday he might find it again; or maybe he did it like me, absentmindedly, but I know it's in a book somewhere. Great minds, thinking alike.

One-Up Seven-Up

Photo: The scene of the verbal crime(s).

I was remembering a one-upper from my past tonight. As one-uppers go, she was the worst. Her name was Jillian, and she worked as a manager for a bar and restaurant; I was a line cook. She reminded me of a washed-out Pomeranian from the eighties. She was short and stocky, Italian-born, from the looks of it. Her uniform consisted of high-waisted, pleated, acid washed shorts; a crisp white t-shirt, tucked in; a brown woven belt; bright, white socks and tennis shoes to match; a gold cross with a tiny flint of diamond in the middle; and a large barrette, which held half of her hair away from her face and enormous mall bangs. She was a brassy, unnatural blond, and wore Barbie-pink blush. She considered herself 'just one of the guys', and spoke in an urgent, raspy voice. Her frenetic energy made up for her lack of height; her tough-talking, no-nonsense way of speaking made her seem rushed, but important in a small town way. She always clapped people on the back too hard, and laughed louder than anyone, as if she were in a competition. She worked hard and partied harder. She was the one I was standing next to when I found out Princess Diana had died; she was the only one who cried real tears, wiping them away with acrylic nails studded with rhinestones. I hated her.

I hated her because she was a self-important, underwhelming one-upper. If you'd been to Egypt, she had been there twice; if you had bought a boat, she had grown up on a schooner the size of a football field. If you had your Bachelor's degree, she had her doctorate--if you mentioned how Italian you were, SHE was practically related to the Godfather. She reminded me of New Jersey. Every time I tried to talk to her, she turned it into a competition. After having my son, she wanted to know the birthing details. I said it was about 15 hours, which is average, and that I had done it naturally. She told me she had her two sons naturally, while planning Thanksgiving dinner and signing Christmas cards--ha ha, she chortled condescendingly--I guess you could accuse me of being Supermom! I guess I could accuse you of being a desperate, one-upping bitch, I thought to myself. She used anything to compare herself to people. You had a fight with your boyfriend and he sent you flowers? She and her husband had been happily married for 11 years and had only been in three arguments--but they settled their differences by speaking to each other like adults, and had never raised their voices in anger. Imagine, being so happy that you never raise your voice at all; they were probably so happy, they never even spoke to each other. If you had worked a ten-hour day, she had worked 25 hours; if your parents had died in a plane crash, her parents had been set on fire in front of her and there was nothing she could do about it. Her children were better than yours, her hairstylist was better than yours (her hairstylist was the best deaf and blind hairstylist around), her resume was better than yours, the hairs in her chin were better than yours. I'm amazed I lived to tell this tale--anyone this omnipotent should have made a peon like me feel unworthy of all that life has to offer. But I prevailed.

I used to think she was insecure and just needed a little validation now and then--we are all guilty of that from time to time. But when I searched deep and wide, through the hidden depths of my soul, I recognized that, no--she was just a bitch.

I hate one-uppers. I hate them more than you, or anyone you know, or anyone I know, plus infinity.

Mar 28, 2008

Free Your Vocabulary!

Instead of feeding the poor with food or medical supplies, feed them with your vocabulary! Finally, a way for people like me to make a difference (and by 'people like me', I mean people who don't have food or medical supplies or love to give, but have a large vocabulary).

Adrian and I both scored a 46. 'Caaaaause we're smurt smart.

Off to work--today I am a model.

Mar 27, 2008

A Leg Up on Legolas

Photo: No, I wouldn't kick Rainn Wilson out of bed, although my boyfriend would.

I was talking about Orlando Bloom with a client today, and she was commenting on his uber-hotness. I prefer Orlando Bloom as he was in Pirates of the Caribbean: young, brunette, and constantly wet. Sounds like a porno I once starred in heard about. He's a little too--pretty--for me (never date a man prettier than you, especially if you are me and lacking in the esteem department--you'll just end up with a lot of whiskey shots and heartbreak), although I did enjoy His Royal Faerie-ness as Legolas in Lord of the Rings. Men who can wield a bow and arrow, while sporting the most flat-ironed, Hollywood faerie hair, are numero uno in my little black book.

My client could not stop talking about him. She even used the most boring phrase in history to describe her affections for him:

"I wouldn't kick him out of bed!" *canned laughter*

Why this phrase is totally over:

1. It is the direct equivalent to "all that and a bag of chips"; hot, anorexic moms from Madison Park use this outdated lingo, along with "that's fabulous!" and "oh no, you di'int!" Apparently they didn't get the memo: it's 2008 and we don't live in Puyallup.

2. It is factually incorrect. "I wouldn't kick HIM out of bed!" implies that Orlando Bloom was a contender for your bedroom shenanigans, and that just simply isn't true. The way she said it (and the grrrl-you-so-craaazy! reaction she got from her girlfriends) made it seem like Orlando Bloom was already in her bed, waiting for her to get home, and she was just making the obvious choice to keep him there.

3. It's dumb.

Mar 26, 2008

The Gourmet Writer Within

Photo: I'm a toddler.

Three Random Thoughts:

I woke up this morning and thought, why do I feel so German? I felt like a lumpy house frau. I even thought like a house frau today--I couldn't stop thinking about proper mopping techniques. Now I'm wandering around without pants, like a toddler. Fuzzy socks, check; undies, t-shirt...check-check. And yet I'm still cold. Quite the mystery. Once I find some big-girl pull-up pants, I'll be ready to go out into the world and make a difference.

It also occurred to me that to maintain a sunny disposition in a state like Washington, one must have sunny weather to act as a catalyst. What's the point in having a positive attitude if the weather never reflects it? That's why I've decided to adopt a morose disposition; the carpet should always match the curtains (and the hand towels in the bathroom). The color themes that best describe my life this week are nice, when modeled on 80-year old librarians and accounting interns from Nebraska. I need more color in my life, and it will begin with the hair and the handbags. Then, in this order: shoes, lip color, jewelery, undergarments, bedding, clothing, wall color, and boyfriend. I don't know where I'm going to find a colored boyfriend, though. It's not like we live in Chicago.

Last but not least: Whenever we go to Whole Foods (aka: Snotty's Official Happy Place), I order this kickass sandwich called The Alki; it's made of grilled chicken-and-brie on focaccia, and it's amazing. Like any upscale natural foods grocer, Whole Foods has other delectable "stations", too, that sell made-to-order food you could have made at home for half the cost. I usually buy from those sweet-smelling, visually stunning stations, as I am the exact consumer those heavenly high-end food stalls are targeting. What I find embarrassing is when the other grocery stores--namely the QFC we go to in Ravenna--try their hands at being gourmet and upscale, too. I was perusing the case of pre-made "fancy" food and realized that from far away, this food looks normal and almost appetizing; but up close, it's downright frightening. The strangely named "Cranberry Walnut Celebration" was sitting right next to the "Gourmet Tuna Pecan Wrap", but I could tell they weren't really friends. If adding the words 'celebration' or 'gourmet' enhances a recipe or gets you ahead in the world, then I am a gourmet writer and a celebratory lay. Hire me immediately.

Besides, I always preferred the word 'surprise' in my recipes; it's like setting people up on a blind date with your food.

Sickeningly Stylish

Photo: The best Western medicine has to offer.

A Medical Bacon Emergency

After allegedly knifing myself in the foot with a newly-sharpened Henckel and spending the night in agony, we decided to go to the doctor. Like most people, I am not a big fan of doctors or hospitals or needles or dying--especially needles (followed closely by dying). A heroin overdose is not in my future, since I can't stand needles and I don't know where one would find heroin. How do you even inquire about heroin casually? "I love your new haircut, and speaking of words that start with the letter 'H'...." Seems awkward. When I talked to the consulting nurse on the phone, she assured me that I would not need a tetanus shot; I had one in '05, the last time I ripped my foot open. I limped to the car and we headed to Group Health on Capital Hill.

Once I was installed in the patient room, the nurse tried her hand at comedy and made fun of my needle phobia; she insisted that I get the "new" tetanus shot. I turned into a poopy six-year old. I don't think she knew what hit her. When I make my mind up about something, there is literally nothing you can do about it, especially when it comes to medicine. Our 10-minute argument consisted of her detailing the benefits of having the shot, and me saying "NO". She finally shrugged and said, "Well, it's up for the Doctor to decide, anyways!" I said, "NO, it's NOT." My doctor, who is made of the awesome, came in and said, "Sounds like someone doesn't want to have her shots." I said, "Well, someone was being an asshole and threatening another someone with a tetanus shot, which this someone is most certainly not getting. I will only get the shot if you think I will die in the next two days without it; otherwise, if she comes near me with a needle, I will release my attorney upon her. Luckily, he's just out in the waiting room." Dr. Waarvick said, "The shot is bullshit, you don't need it, I'll just say you declined. Now if I waive the tetanus shot, will you do what I ask of you?" I was so relieved, I said yes without asking what my other option was. "Okay!" he said. "So what we're going to do is give your foot FIVE DIFFERENT SHOTS, with one right into the wound. That way, I can numb the whole thing and then poke around inside the laceration. Sound good?" *SIGH* The very definition of 'ironic'.

I got a little hysterical. And by a little, I mean a lot. Tears, whining, arguing, pleading. The nice thing about my doctor is that he listens to me. I told him that I'd rather be drawn and quartered, and came up with a thousand horrible things I would rather do, and he came up with a different solution. So I'm on these crazy antibiotics (again) for the next 24 hours, and if there's no change, I have to come in and get the procedure done. I think that's fair.

That being said, I never want to go back there again. I'd rather cut my own foot off. My doctor also challenged me to a Bacon-Off, to see who could eat more glorious bacon, right before he told me I was fat. Nice timing. So he said: Bacon-Off first, Weight Watchers second. I'm glad he has his priorities straight.

*teeters off to get some bacon*

Mar 25, 2008

Numero Uno

I consider Blogger to be a "grown-up" blogsphere, which is probably why I never felt it was relevant for me to blog here. Now that I'm nearing 32 and have pretty good health insurance, the realities of adulthood are undeniably upon me and I figured my first concession would be to sign up and get the damned thing over with. That being said, it is called The Vomitorium, which isn't really all that mature; I'll have to change it at some point, probably when the blog changes. I'm not exactly Peter Pan in my arrested development; I'm more of a modern-day Christopher Robin, who knows he will grow up eventually, but takes as long as humanly possible to do so. The growing pains I face, as a writer and a half-human, will be painfully detailed on this blog until I am dead or find something better to do. Good health and Godspeed to anyone who wades into this swamp of emotional bile; you're gonna need it.