Sep 30, 2008

The Much-Improved Fruits of Our Labor

Photo: I love my home.

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I know it's only the living room and entryway (although our hallway doubles as a dining room), but no one cares about the bathroom--which is filled to the brim with my loose hair since I shed like a yeti--and the bedroom isn't blog-worthy because it's next on the overhauling list. You'll never see the kitchen, unless you physically come over, because it's my office and I don't like messing with my creative space. You have to be pretty creative to make your kitchen into an office, believe me; it takes a lot of love, imagination, and painkillers to make your kitchen a workspace. Yes, indeedy-doo.

I wish the photos were better, but I had to make do with my camera phone, the same camera phone that has no flash, very slow shutter speed, and a knack for making everything look fuzzy. Thank you to Palm who did a minimal amount of work in the maximum amount of time so they could make my phone a reality; I cannot wait for a fourth-generation Google phone, or whenever a good one is coming out. I shake my fist at you, IPhone (mostly because I don't have one).

Mork & Mindy & John & Sarah

Dear Man I'm Living With,

Whenever I use the mustard, I always lick the top clean before putting it back in the fridge; I even thank myself while I'm 'cleaning' it, as though I'm being helpful to you in some way. I used to do this with the milk, but the cartons got too soggy and the plastic jugs had dried milk flakes around the top, so now I'm all about the condiments. I don't even really like mustard, but I guess this is my thing now. Just thought you'd want to know; maybe you should buy your own and label it, because there is no way I am ever going to change this behavior. Love me, love my lack of refrigerator boundaries.


Dear Women Who Continue to "Rock" the Tired Look of Oversized Metallic Handbags,

White denim. Chunky heels. Rhinestone-encrusted Razrs. Pleated pants. Sarah Palin. All of these things seemed fresh and exciting at the time, but now they should be put to rest, just like your metallic handbag. Look around you: the only other women sporting those metallic handbags are Kim Kardashian fans and 11-year old girls who are just pretending to be women. If you want to emulate Mork & Mindy with your accessories and be all LOOK AT MY DOPE HANDBAG NA-NU NA-NU, then FINE. I'm just saying, you look like shazbot.


Dear Every Man I've Ever Met Who Thinks That Thinking Sarah Palin Is Hot Is Hilarious,

Wow, that was a mouthful. That is also what Sarah Palin she said, but I digress. I understand that men check out women (and vice versa--or if you're gay, same-sex checking out--or if you're Morrissey, staring into the ocean and then crying out in anguish); it's just something guys do. So of course you're going to check out the first semi-attractive governor in the nation, I wouldn't deny you that. But how can you continue to stand by and ogle her after knowing ANYTHING about her?! DID YOU NOT SEE THE KATIE COURIC INTERVIEW WHERE SHE BASICALLY SAT THERE AND SUCKED HER THUMB FOR TWO DAYS?! ARE YOU LIVING UNDER A MOTHERFUCKING ROCK?!

If Hitler was resurrected tomorrow, he would choose Sarah Palin as either his runningmate or his mistress... now I'm not comparing you men to Hitler, but I'm not NOT comparing you to him, either.

Get your head on straight, for fuck's sake.

**EVERYONE! The last day you can register to vote in Washington (or change your address, whatever) is OCTOBER 4TH...otherwise you can't vote for Obama! If you were planning on voting for The McPalin Plutocracy, then 1) why are you reading my Obama-loving blog, and 2) the last day YOU can register to vote in Washington is OCTOBER 5TH. But if you really want to vote, awesome--I'm a fan of anyone who exercises their rights and does their civic duty. Sort of.

And for the Cafferty fans out there (of which I am one), watch him sink his teeth into Sarah, without getting bleeped:


Sep 28, 2008

The Vinyl Solution

Photo: I own this. You're jealous.

We've been making a big push towards Homeland Security in our apartment this week, and when I say 'we", I actually mean ME. To be fair, the Esq has been very helpful in transporting stuff and thrift shopping with me but, like all men, his tolerance for obligatory shopping and transportation only goes so far before he's all STAB STAB STAB. 'Homeland Security' is not just a failed national color-coded system that ultimately went nowhere; it's also the feeling of becoming more secure and comfortable in my home. We have acquired a kitchen table and chairs circa 1973 (octagon-shaped and lemon-flavored), a 1950's Danish dresser (or as I like to call it, "the 8-drawer refinishing project that may or may not ever happen"), two vintage chairs for our living room (late 1960's, I believe), a slew of new vinyl, and a bad ass poster from Manon Lescaut (c/o the Seattle Opera). Because when you think 'bad ass', I know you think of the Seattle Opera.

I finally went in to J and S Phonograph (on 65th, for those of you in the Seattle area), and it was the most amazing vinyl experience I've ever had. The owner, Jim, is so nice and knowledgeable, and the record selection--while small--was everything a girl could hope for. 99% of his stock is new, which is crazy shit, I tell you; to be looking at a Beatles' record or more importantly, the George Michael album that I bought (Faith!), and know that you're the first person to ever play it? CRAZY SHIT. I also bought the soundtrack to Clash of the Titans, which had also never been used, I can't imagine why. There were a couple of Hitler albums that I'll need to go inspect further, too; if I could get HIM on vinyl, I would die happy. Think of how entertaining it would be to play that shit right next to your open window in a very busy city. Then I would scream OH MY GOD HE'S BACK HE'S BACK! And then I would eat lunch and have a nap.

Other vinyl I purchased over the weekend to round out my weird collection:

Back to the Future soundtrack
Carol Channing in Hello Dolly! (Original cast recording)
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue; The London Symphony Orchestra
Terence Trent D'Arby (a blast from the past)
Mahalia Jackson, The Power and the Glory
Mahler's Symphonies 5 & 10, Unfinished; Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
Military, Fanfares, Marches & Choruses--from the time of Napoleon!
The Spirit of Christmas--Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Let's All Go To the Circus!
Earth Wind & Fire Best Of Vol 1
Midnight Cowboy soundtrack
Lady Sings the Blues soundtrack
Actual speeches of FDR and JFK (JFK's inaugural speech!)

I know, I'm a nerd. But I really love strange-sounding or funny-looking things; I'm very proud of my Mad Max soundtrack, which is quite possibly the most pointless album I've ever heard or owned. I might regret the circus music, but everything else I'm excited about, even the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; no one does Christmas music like they do. I also love soundtracks, but never thought I could get very many on vinyl; J and S Phonograph has HUNDREDS of them...I couldn't stop looking. Finally the Esq pried the records out of my cold, dead-like hands, and led me out of the store and into the sunlight; I nearly died from browsing.

My apartment used to remind me of sad crap and felt really claustrophobic; now our hallways are echoing--NO I'M NOT KIDDING, ECHOING!--from the lack of junky piles and excess furniture we never really needed. I might do a Snotty photo tour, just to show it off, but feel like the battery to my camera must be found first before taking any pictures. Sometimes you can over-organize... but I feel confident it will be found, because I put it in a really obvious place that I would totally remember... not the USUAL obvious place, but a SUPER obvious spot that I would NEVER EVER FORGET. This might take a while.

Sep 27, 2008


Photo: Jan 26, 1925- Sept 26, 2008

You were the first older man I fell for; I felt equally
giddy about your Homestyle popcorn, and maybe even your salad dressing.

You made me want to eat 50 eggs and go on the lam. You made me want blue-eyed babies. You made old movies watchable.

I loved how devoted you were to your wife--when you were asked about infidelity, I laughed when you said, "Why go out for a hamburger when you have steak at home?" I knew you weren't saying your wife was a slab of dead meat, but that she was the best slab of dead meat you ever could have married. I thought that was terribly romantic.

I will never forget Brick Pollitt, Eddie Felson, Chance Wayne, Luke Jackson, Hud Bannon, or Butch Cassidy; good, bad, and great men who were brought to life by your immeasurable talents. You were a class act, something rare in Hollywood. You were the very definition of 'cool'.

"I picture my epitaph: 'Here lies Paul Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown'."--Paul Newman

Sep 25, 2008

Survey Says....

I borrowed this survey from Bangs McGee, who finally got engaged this week! Congratulations, and thanks for being too blissfully engaged to care that I'm stealing straight off of your Myspace page.

I haven't done one of these in a while, but I liked the questions (and more importantly, Bangs McGee's answers), so I thought WHY NOT. Enjoy!


You're trapped in a room for 3 days with your worst enemy--what do you do?

You're stuck on an elevator with the person you've fallen the hardest for--what to you do?
Club my boyfriend over the head and drag him to my lair. Maybe cut somebody's face off and wear it, so we can re-create the elevator scene in Silence of the Lambs.

The celebrity you love the most offers to marry you, as long as you don't talk to any of your current friends or family members anymore--do you marry them?
Sadly, yes--but I'm being realistic. I'm not going to NEED any of you people when Johnny Depp is my husband.

You weigh 700 pounds, do you get liposuction or lose the weight manually?
Manually, but only if that means something dirty.

Your best friend of the opposite sex likes you, what do you do?
Move in and duke it out, like all good couples.

Your boyfriend/girlfriend finds out they have AIDS, do you get yourself tested?
Only after I send out letterpress announcements.

You wake up and you're the only person left alive, what do you do?
Find something to procreate with, if I know me.

Do you want a life style like Britney Spears?
Financially and pharmaceutically, but nothing else. I stand on principles.

You have to dye your hair a different color for the rest of your life, what color do you choose?
Brown. Yawn.

Someone asks you on a date, where do you wanna go? Browse a record store, get a hot dog, peruse the Goodwill, play skeeball, get lost in a bookstore, ride on the Ferris Wheel, visit the flamingos at the zoo, march in a parade, bake cupcakes, catch a silent film, throw the first pitch out at a Major League baseball game, and a photobooth. In short, everything. (This was a lot like my first 'hang-out' with the Esq, minus the parade.)

You have to get a facial piercing, what do you get?
Nose, because I've done it before.

You have to get a tattoo, where and what do you get?
The alphabet, in varying sizes, colors and fonts, all over my body.

When is the last time you were in a photo booth taking pictures with friends?
The last time was with the Esq on his 25th birthday, back when I was 50,000 years old.

Are you mad about anything?
Just the small stuff, like how LESS THAN FIVE BUSINESSES IN AMERICA can control our entire economy and the federal budget. No biggie.

Your good friend is getting beat up in a fight. Do you help out?

Do you like your first name?
Snotty is an adjective, and I like adjectives.

Are you listening to music?
Santogold, Cut Copy, Stevie Wonder, Rachmaninoff.

When is the last time you went to a birthday party?
Scott Rosen's at Moe, last Saturday.

You planning on going to college?
My mom is.

Could you go a month without cursing?
It would be easier for me to go a month without breathing.

Ever been on a horse?
I've been to horse camp. Make all the jokes you want.

What's the funniest movie you've ever seen?
Showgirls, as brought to you by David Schmader.

What are you wearing?
A turban and a smirk.

Behold, the Power of Corn

Photo: The harsher side of corn.

On Yelp, there's a Conversation feature where you can introduce an asinine topic and then a gang of imbeciles will reply; I haven't ever used it, but feel certain that I will. And that certainty feels more like a deep, eye-rolling sigh of resignation, because it will not turn out well; I don't represent well on forums. People always think I'm a giant asshole *ahem*. Until then, I am content to lurk in the shadows, snickering at the topics, comments, and member nicknames as fast as they're churned out: literally every second.

Today I logged in, and the first topic was: I FEEL LIKE A WITCH TODAY. Upon further investigation, the question posed was this:

What do you do to tame the bitch-o-meter?

Chris "Viva la Vegas" says: 'drink, preferably not tequila.', it's 7:23 in the morning. You're really living up to your nickname. I also love how it's the first comment, and that Chris is a DUDE. Thank you, Chris, for your penile opinion and misguided interest, but I think this question is for girls who have actual vaginas. Or, as my little one used to say: buhginas. You have neither.

Lore "I really need a boyfriend" says: 'sex. anything with, pasta, mex. food. chocolate ice cream. jogging. morphine.' She comments again, because apparently that list wasn't long enough: 'hot bath with candles bath salts bubbles and a good book. chick flick and buttered popcorn.' The only thing missing from this list are six cats and a vibrator. I think it's fairly evident that Lore needs a boyfriend, and not just because that's her nickname; it just seems a nickname like that is going to put people off... namely the people who might date you. Otherwise, she'd be a great catch; I'm down with girls who are into Mexican food and morphine.

Jasmine "Disco Infiltrator" says: 'Bong hit.' Well, now it's 7:37 in the morning. Seems like the right time for a bong hit--oh look, it's also Miller Time. In Australia.

Kat "Bubble" says: 'Maybe you need a cat massage. I hear he can do wonderful wonderful things for you.' ...WHAT? Am I on mushrooms? I swear that Kat just said 'cat massage'.

Miss Mary Ann "eats tomato soup year round" says: 'nothing.' I tend to eat tomato soup when I'm feeling cold or depressed; imagine how Miss Mary Ann must feel, eating it all year round. Miss Mary Ann has a case of the Mondays.

So you get the gist. Someone introduces a topic--much like on any forum--and then a bunch of yahoos make helpful (bong hit, pizza) or unhelpful (cat massage, tequila) suggestions. Other topics, in the Humor & Offbeat section, include: Do these pants make my butt look big? Dammit, I have the flu. Don Cheadle's amazing coffee shop purchase. *Blank* makes me want to *blank*! And, Dude Where's My Car? (Just kidding.)

Anyways, this whole post has been to prepare you for the ultimate Yelp conversation. I randomly found it after Googling the word 'corn'. I can't remember why we were talking about it, only that we were--Whoreleen, the Esq, and myself--and then we lost it, because... well, it was about corn. We couldn't help ourselves.

'10,000 names of corn' thread--Yelp New York

Norm "brave": any corn fanatics out there? i just got back from vermont. corn is god. i've had so many varieties over the years i've lost count. i've been trying to remember the names. they're like poetry in a way, sort of mini-metaphors. silver queen, silver king, providence, honey select, that's all i can come up with. help me out?
**I love how this begins: CORN IS GOD. Also, he's had so many varieties of corn over the years! Like...four. It's like the frat guy who's all 'DUDE I BANGED EVERY GIRL ON CAMPUS--but I only remember Jill, Lauren, Suki, and Dan....' Suuure you did, man. Sure you did.

Steve "the definition of ignorant": We call it "maize". **HOW LOW does your self-esteem have to be, I wonder, in order for your Yelp nickname to be "THE DEFINITION OF IGNORANT"? Quite frankly, if I look up 'ignorant' in the dictionary, I doubt Steve's picture is going to be there.

Jimmy J: I've got some on my feet. **Ha. Hrmf.

Bill K: Not too many one-syllable names for vegetables. I imagine you'd have to get creative to jazz it up. Same deal with squash. **Yes, squash is indeed one-syllable. How might one get creative with squash naming?

Jessica "pundit buzz": I called the ear I had last week "Darren". **Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Jessica, meet Jimmy J. You two are soul mates.

Franco "Gris-Gris": Corn--comes out the same way it went in. **Comes OUT...the same way it went IN.... so I understand what this lovely fellow is trying to convey, but all I really see is: I EAT CORN WITH MY ASSHOLE.

Norm "brave": you're all just a buncha cityslickers. you don't know what you're missing.

Nina C: I don't know the names for the different varieties of corn, but I love sweet corn. I'm always excited when the first corn shipments arrive to the supermarkets in the summer. Then I know that soon the greenmarkets will be stocked with the yellow and white ears of sweet, starchy goodness. I love corn in my salads, salsa, burritos, in my soup, on the cob, any way! I may be a cityslicker, but my heart belongs to corn. **THANK YOU, NINA! Thank you for not answering the question, but giving us an arbitrary glimpse into your giddy relationship with corn, in a description worthy of Oprah and Martha Stewart's undying gratitude.

Liiisa "Winner, Winner--Chicken Dinner!": Had to throw out 6 ears tonight because they went bad during my extended trip to NH/VT. **1) This is really how Lisa spelled her name. 2) This is really her nickname. 3) This was her actual comment on this thread. Now you can sleep better at night, knowing that Liiisa's trip to NH/VT was extended and that, unfortunately, her 6 ears of corn were spoiled because of it. Selfish Liiisa.

Mike "The-Boss": Call it what you like, but Corn is Corn! Now you may have some different varieties of Corn, but when all is done and the sun goes down, Corn is Corn. Now if I was one of those overpaid, politically correct, culturally sensitive, environmentally aware, grief counseled, corny professors, I might disagree, as that would be a part of my job. But in my heart, I would know that Corn is, in fact, Corn! **Being an overpaid, politically correct, culturally sensitive, environmentally aware, grief counseled professor, of corn or otherwise, in THIS economy? I'd be pretty fucking happy. Even though I know in my heart, that Corn is, in fact, something that makes my car go VROOM. If only it did the same for my body.

Allison "Allie G": Mexicorn! **I assume she means a Mexican unicorn. Which everybody knows is el chupacabra.

So what's worse... the conversation, or an entire blog dissecting it? I'd say I'm worse off, but still--the whole thing was a LOLocaust. Anyways, real writing later; I got up at 6AM and couldn't go back to sleep. Now I'm sleepy and craving bacon. I'm going back to bed.

Sep 24, 2008

King Cousin's Kiddos

Photo: OOOH! EEEE! A butterfly!

I spent yesterday afternoon at the Seattle Science Center with my mother and two nephins; the nephins are named that because they're sort-of nephews and sort-of cousins. I don't mean to imply that my siblings are some kind of backwater Okie's who bred half-human babies together--I just mean their dad, Brock, is my sort-of brother and sort-of cousin, therefore the nephins are, too. Brock is in between brother and cousin; he's like a King Cousin or a muted brother, something like that. His dad and my mom are sibs, but he lived with us in high school and was always my favorite friend before that. Brock and I have been invisibly joined at the hip since birth (or slightly thereafter), even though age and life and family and Lake Washington divides us these days; it's easier to stay in touch over Facebook. It seems my family is always in catch-up mode, constantly in motion; Brock's family is no different. And these children are his fault.

His kids, Braxton and Bennett, make an interesting pair; they're like the modern day equivalent of Goofus & Gallant. I don't see them very much, but when I get the chance, they're a lot of fun. Rambunctious, scream-y, fear-in-your-heart type fun. Braxton is the oldest--I think he's, like, three or four?--or maybe six, I can't remember--and he is cautious, intellectual, sweet; he's inquisitive and deliberate. Bennett, on the other hand, is... two? Man, I'm a bad aunt. He's NO MORE than two, I know that much. Bennett is like a pocket-sized Chris Farley, minus the booze and cocaine. He's all about the laughs and the screaming. He's sturdy, bullish, independent, and loud. That kid is made out of concrete.
Where Braxton is sensitive, Bennett is brutish; when Braxton is deep in thought, Bennett is throwing himself off a chair five feet high. I think the wee one will be an adventure junkie, and the other one will worry. I also think Bennett looks like his dad, whereas Braxton resembles his mom, but they both look like members of the Aryan race (adorable Children of the Corn!), so it's a lot like comparing Nazis to Neo-Nazis.

We did all of the Science Center things you're supposed to do--the shadow wall, the bubbles, the anemone pool, the Planetarium, the Insect area. At the bubble pool, Bennett did a face plant into it (A POOL FILLED WITH BUBBLE MIX), and came up super excited... until he realized there was something on his face. Now the 'something' was just a big cluster of bubbles, but for some reason, he couldn't divine that--he stood there, frozen, his little hands moving towards his mouth where the cursed bubbles lay dying. Nothing on his body moved except for his slow-moving, chubby little hands, and his big round eyes--they kept flitting back and forth, rolling around, trying to find the source of this madness. Finally I wiped the bubbles off of his face, and he ran off, freed from the bubbly chains that once bound him. I couldn't figure out what that was about; he acted like ten scorpions were laying eggs into his wide open mouth. Kids are so weird.

We ended up in the bug section. This cannot be overstated in any way: I DO NOT LIKE BUGS. Another bold statement: I would rather eat Mad Cow than have a butterfly land on my finger. I'm already an angry heffer six days out of the month (the Esq would claim 16 days, but hello--the alternative to NOT having a girlfriend is HAVING ONE, and all of the trappings that come with it); I can handle tainted beef. I cannot handle the fluttering loveliness of a hand-sized insect, I just cannot. But bugs in general... horrifying. The last time I saw a spider on the floor, the Esq asked me, "Would you like me to get that?" but I couldn't answer him because I was already on a one-way flight to Mexico. Because everyone knows that Mexico is spider-free.

Something people don't seem to understand about me is that I'm not down with ANY bugs. You guys are all EWW SPIDERS EWW and then in the same breath OOOOOH A LADYBUG, EEEEE A BUTTERFLY! I'm sorry, what? The NAME of the BUG is LADY...BUG. Ladybug. If the word BUG wasn't your first clue, maybe the pronotum and antennae tipped you off. Maybe the fact that it's a part of the beetle family will change your mind--EWW BEETLES EWWW, yeah, now you see what I'm talking about. Also, the butterfly is the craziest bug of all; just because it has brightly-colored wings does not mean it isn't going to attack you. Or rather, mistakenly fly into you with its buggy little body, but WHATEVER. GROSS.

We took the kids into the Butterfly exhibit at the Science Center, which is pretty cool for people who enjoy having large flying bugs twittering about in the air and underfoot. Some of the butterflies were beautiful, but for the most part, I was trying to keep Bennett from stomping on and/or eating them. I forget how strange it must be to not have a voice. He can say certain words, but for the most part, he was pointing and screaming. And when you're excited by butterflies, but have no words, that's a lot of pointing and screaming. I believe the word "Baaaaaaa-BAAAAAAAH" was actually 'butterfly'; the distinction between that and 'bubbles' (Ba-baaaaaa-ba-BAAAAH!) was hard to discern, but I soldiered through it. He could have been saying LET ME DOWN BITCH, but I guess we'll never know.

Inside of the exhibit, I randomly remembered something about my (ex) mother-in-law. She came to visit once, and we had to work during the day, so our neighbor, James (everyone from that building will FOR SURE remember JAMES), took her to the Butterfly Exhibit. He paid for it, but because she thought it was so BORING--I think she used the word 'pointless', I also remember the phrase 'serious waste of money'--she reimbursed him for the ticket. I don't really have any judgment attached to the story, I just find it extremely funny that she rejected the Butterfly Exhibit outright; no niceties to grease the wheel, no polite nodding of the head, just a firm and final THIS SHIT IS RETARDED.

The kids tired us out as much as the Science Center did them; it just confirmed my semi-childlessness. I'm good with the one. I don't know how people do it. My mom kept saying, "I'm so glad you came!" because she would have been way outnumbered if she'd gone on her own. We went on the Monorail and walked around Westlake Center, we rode the carousel with the boys, we had lunch at the Center House. Lunch was strange: Bennett was eating yogurt with one hand and a pickle with the other. He's like a little human garbage can. I tried engaging both boys in a lunch conversation, while waiting in line at Subway, but it ultimately went nowhere.

Me: So...what do you people eat?
Braxton: What people?
Me: You. Little people. Kids and such.
Braxton: LITTLE PEOPLE? You think I'm LITTLE?
Me: No, not like--NO. You're the perfect size. I mean, what do you want to EAT? Here at Subway? Right now? In this very moment?
Braxton: I like spaghetti.
Me: How about a sandwich that tastes nothing like spaghetti? Like tuna!
Braxton: Okay!
Me (holding Bennett): So!
Bennett: -squirming-
Me: What would YOU like to eat?
Me: Sounds like another tuna sandwich to me.
Braxton: He can't talk.
Me: You don't think that sounded like "tuna sandwich"?
Braxton: Maybe he said 'spaghetti'.

After buying tuna sandwiches ("...AND Cheetos...AND apple juice...AND a cookie!" said Braxton, who clearly hoped they were spaghetti-flavored), my mom came back from the loo and we sat down for lunch. Braxton surveyed his delicious bounty and nodded sharply to me (although I like to think of it as 'bowing' or 'genuflecting'). "This is the most awesomest lunch EVER, Auntie Marika!" Technically, I think that dipping an oversized pickle into fruit-flavored yogurt is probably the most awesomest lunch ever, but I didn't say so. Bennett's stomach must be like Highlander's, although I think there can only be one.

Upon leaving, we strapped the boys in (I also equate this phrase with putting on a bra), and my mom gave Braxton a piece of gum. He was happily chewing away on it when a big "HMPH" came from the backseat; I turned around, and there was a very sad face sporting a very stuck-out lip. My mom asked him what was wrong; apparently he'd swallowed his gum: "MY MOUTH JUST SWALLOWED IT!" he cried. He said the word 'swallowed' in the same manner you might say HORNSWAGGLED or GENITAL WARTS. I thought the image of his mouth being a totally separate entity--a totally separate, TRAITOROUS entity--was very visual. My mom offered to drive me to 826 Seattle, and before we left, Braxton struggled to understand volunteerism.

Braxton: What's a volunteer?
Me: It's someone who works for free.
Braxton: But why?
Me: Why, indeed.

I also did that thing that my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have done to me over the ages: "HEY YOU GUYS, LOOK OVER HERE, THERE'S THE COOLEST BRIDGE ON THE LEFT..." and I started in on the bridge's information and possible history--then realized OH MY GOD I'M EVEN BORING MYSELF. My family members always wanted us to look out the window at something, learn something new, check out some crazy wonderful thing in nature, and I was all YAAAAAAAAWN. I wondered why they felt we needed to learn anything while riding in the car--wasn't I learning enough from my Sweet Valley High book? Now that the tables have turned, I am no closer to understanding why people do this, or why I am quickly falling into the category of Teacher to Unwilling Participants. At least Braxton was interested, but Bennett was sleeping like the dead; luckily, I have the rest of his life to teach him stuff that he won't give a shit about.

The day ended with tutoring at my favorite space travel supply company, and eating at Pies & Pints with Whoreleen and the Esq. Their chicken pot pies are TO DIE FOR, NOM NOM NOM.

A good day, overall.

Sep 23, 2008

Meet the Viola

Photo: Tomayto, tomahto.

I received the most disturbing call ever. There I was, minding my own business, when my son's father called. The conversation made no sense to me then, and makes less sense to me now.

SS: Did Oren call you? (lots of background noise)
Me: No. What's up? ...hello?
SS: He didn't call you and tell you about the *muffled noise*?
Me: What? I can't hear you.
SS: Did he tell -- about -- th -- stra?
Me: You're breaking up, what?
Me: What?
Me: ....
SS: He wanted to play the violin, but they were out of those, so we got a viola.
Me: ....a WHAT?! I'm sorry, WHO?
SS: Here, talk to him.
Oren: Hey, Mom.
Me: Hi buddy. So... the ORCHESTRA? And... the VIOLA? ...really?
Oren: Yeah.
Me: So you've always wanted to play the viola? I didn't even realize you were aware of the viola. The only thing Mom is sure of is that the viola is NOT a violin, but it walks and talks like one.
Oren: Pretty much.
Me: You really want to play that?
Oren: I don't know, but I've always wanted to be in orchestra.

To which I wanted to reply, HAVE WE MET?

It's like I woke up today and realized I have an overachieving Asian child. To me, children who play the viola (THE VIOLA) should also be doing calculus for fun and making me breakfast. Thanks to Wikipedia, I have found out that the viola is basically the middle note of the string section; it's used to round out the harmony, and add richness and depth to the music. I think that's a lovely description--and if an adorable, 9-year old Chinese girl was playing it for me, I might actually weep from joy. But when I think about my goofy, brown, 10-year old halfbreed playing the viola, it just makes me weep. From unbelievable laughter. And the strange pride that comes from discovering your child is a person for the very first time.

If I had to assign an instrument to Oren, the viola would make the bottom of the list, right next to the flute, piccolo, and ALL string instruments; Oren seems like more of a--I hate to say it--tuba kid, or even percussion of some sort. Maybe the keyboard, but I don't think the $38 Casio I have in mind gets a lot of stage time in the orchestra. So the viola threw me off--WAY off. I was kind of in shock. I called my mother four times. I thought the sky was falling.

Of course I think it's amazing--that HE'S amazing for even coming up with this shit! the fucking VIOLA!--but I was just so surprised. Oren could have called up and said MOM I'M GAY AND ADDICTED TO INHALANTS, and I would have been all DUDE I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF BLOGGING, CAN I CALL YOU BACK and then I would have forgotten. But THIS? The ORCHESTRA? Around this time last year he was playing football, albeit begrudgingly. (Favorite football convo I had with him: "Hey Oren, how's football?" Answer: "Daddy likes it!") Maybe he's finally jumping into the Nerd category with both feet; I hope so. I mean, he is a little computer geek who looks up to the ultimate computer geek (the Esq). I'd much rather that than some fey, Abercrombie-wearing, Jeep-driving, backwards cap-sporting douchebag football player. Not to be too specific.

In other sky-falling news, Snotty has a new hairdo. It's kind of like Katie Holmes' old haircut (old=3 months ago), the one she had before she and Tom Cruise started looking like creepy twins. LIKE THEY WEREN'T CREEPING US OUT ALREADY. The Esq's sister (KJ) and I got our hair done yesterday at the Bellevue Gene Juarez (something I said I would never do, which is a testament to how accurate this sentence is: everything I say I will never do is done within six minutes after public declaration), and then had dinner at Joey's (another something I said I would never do--I rest my case) which was pretty good; I will be going back for the gorgonzola toast, for sure. When it arrived, the toast was the shape of a cake-slice and the size of a Buick; I felt like we were at Claim Jumper's. After the first tentative bite, however, I was inclined to take that toast to the ladies' room and rub it all over my body--I just couldn't find a little Mexican spectator to stand by the door.

The last time I was in Bellevue, LIKE FOR REALS, was when my viola-loving offspring was still chillaxing in utero. There's no need to go there, really. Unless you want to spend a ton of money and feel shiny for a few hours; now I understand why Bellevue exists. I had a lot of fun with KJ, though, and if you're looking for a killer haircut, JAKE at Bellevue Gene Juarez was the NIT to my SHIZ.

Anyways, I have bangs. BANGS (Me 3-months ago: I WILL NEVER EVER GET BANGS). I'll need to become a Flat Iron Warrior in order to keep this haircut viable. Will upload pics later on, but right now, I have a date with my mother, my two nephews, and the Seattle Science Center. Viva la science!

Sep 22, 2008

Good Stories Lead to Good Band Names

I think it was Juliana who said to me, "You always have the best poop stories." She was right; my poop stories are generally thoughtful, visual, and filled with random details that other poop storytellers might leave out. Not me. I spin my poop stories like an old woman spins yarn in a fairytale: forever, and for no reason. But the poop story I am about to tell you has a twist this time, and the name of that twist is The Esquire.

Snotty begins:

We were at U-Village, shopping for a gift, when I suddenly needed to use the little girls' room. Normally I stay away from public restrooms, but the U-Village pit stops had already been vetted by Yours Truly nine months earlier; we left the candy shoppe and headed toward the bathroom next to Pallino's.

I handed the Esq my bags, because I thought he was going to wait in the hallway, but he decided he needed to go, so we split the bags up. I walked into the Ladies' room and saw that my preferred stall was taken (the handicrapper--what, I always use that one... it's not like I physically PUSH a wheelchair-bound person out of my way to use it) and that the stall was littered with shopping bags and a giant green purse riddled with large gold grommets. I entered my stall, sat down, and then... nothing. Not a drop. Total silence. I realized I was holding my breath, and I wondered why the bathroom was completely absent of sound. How I wish that silence had gone on forever.

Suddenly, out of the next stall comes the sound of someone dying; it was like that scene in Ghostbusters where the jerk releases all of the ghosts into the city, and the city goes batshit crazy--evil beings, tortured souls, and anthropomorphic marshmallow men unleashed their creepy agendas upon the people of New York, and a portal to the Other World was opened. The dying woman in the handicapped stall? Her asshole was that portal. It was that scene in Dumb and Dumber, only worse, because I was trapped there by my own performance-wary bladder. Trapped and holding onto my roll of toilet paper, trying not to cry from laughter and sympathy. Edging my shoes away from her stall, so she wouldn't see them and therefore be able to identify me around U-Village. As though that was her first concern.

If there was ever a scenario where monkeys might fly out of one's butt, this was it, this was the one. The poor woman must have had Habanero peppers, lutefisk, head cheese, steel wool, and anti-freeze for lunch; that's how bad it sounded. I finally willed myself to pee--through a stern pep talk and a little shaking (hey, guys do it!)--and thought, I should just leave and wash my hands somewhere else. This woman has enough to deal with right now, she doesn't need more of an audience. But my own germy phobia got the best of me, and so I washed my hands as quickly as possible. The sound of her ass-tastic performance followed me out the door and into the hallway; I was mortified, for her and for me.

I looked around for the Esq, who was standing in the corner, smirking; I thought he, too, had heard the unmistakable sound of her defeated a-hole, but he just shook his head and we went outside. As always, I started telling him my story on the sidewalk, and he just nodded and laughed; I was animated as ever, but it wasn't making much of a dent. That's when the Esq began his own bathroom tale of drama and woe.

The Esq continues our story:

I didn't actually use my bathroom, because there were people fucking in it. Of course I have an intellectual awareness that this goes on, but never had I witnessed it firsthand. And I've been in plenty of sketchy bathrooms -- believe you me. This was a quite public and well-maintained bathroom in a very busy shopping center, and seemingly an odd choice of venue.

Nonetheless, immediately upon entry I noted with some confusion that there were two pairs of shoes (facing the same direction) in the nearest stall, which was a-rockin'. It seemed odd not to use the aforementioned (much more spacious) handicrapper for such a purpose. I briefly considered if someone choking on the pot was in fact being rescued via Heimlich manuever, or if someone was just making an incredible commotion trying to change into another pair of shoes. Discarding all of these as supremely unlikely, I found myself too distracted to pee. I made a tight circle, said "Pardon me" to the little Mexican spectator lurking by the door, and beat a hasty retreat.

Snotty finishes:

Well, he wins. Obviously. I just love how there were two dudes a-rockin' in a stall not some ten feet from the children's play area, and that some little Mexican dude was standing in as a witness. How thoughtful of him. When the Esq repeated his tale to me, my shrieking "WHAT?!" was probably heard throughout the entire Village of U.

When I got home, I unloaded my purchases; in the bottom of one bag was the toilet paper roll I had been clutching in the bathroom stall. Somehow, in all of the diarrhea madness, I had managed to steal the roll; in my mad dash from bathroom to sink to hallway, I forgot to put the roll down, and instead chose to steal it as a papery reminder of how close I came to death that day. A souvenir, if you will.

Also, if I ever start a band, it's totally going to be called Defeated A-Hole.

Sep 21, 2008

Supersize Me

Photo: King Kong rules the free(way) world.

We were driving home from a birthday meet-up last night when this Monster Truck roared past us on the freeway. It was the size of King Kong and the color of anger, no joke. I was in the middle of a sentence when it sped by, and promptly forgot what we were talking about.

Esq: That's a pretty big truck.
Me: And a very small penis.
Esq: But look at all of the room the truck has instead!
Me: What does that have to do with the price of eggs?
Esq: What if you needed to transport a grand piano? I couldn't do that with my penis.

Sep 20, 2008

The Business We Are Attending To

Photo: I seeeeee yooou.

Business first:

I need a graphic designer/web page rehabilitator (is this a word?)/Jack or Jill-of-all-things-HTML to help me with my website. Obama screamed CHANGE and I am taking that to heart quite literally; I want to change the blog. Not the content--of which there is none, I've just tricked you people into loyalty on the merits of my finely-crafted bullshit--but EVERYTHING ELSE. I know exactly what I want, but do not possess the programming talents to make it a reality (I'm all about the basic HTML and NO FLASH; Flash-animated webpages are to Snotty as strobe lights are to PTSD). I would prefer someone who can at least give me an overview of what they're doing, so if they die the day after completing the webpage, I can at least hold my own until finding a suitable replacement. It's time to take this website for a spin. If you know someone--or you are that someone--email me ( so we can talk branding and compensation. I hope you like being paid in cupcakes--or if you've always wanted to sleep with an adorable lawyer under the age of 30, I might be able to work something out.

Pleasure last:

More importantly, if you haven't tried out the Sarah Palin Name Generator, I suggest you go right now. Just type in your first name, and you will get YOUR Palin family name (or, the weird name she might have picked for you, had you been unfortunately born into her family). My name was Block Lionel Palin. Justin was Stag Tonnage Palin. My son, Oren, was Goalie Sanka Palin. Sarah's children have names like Trig, Track, Bristol, Willow, and Piper; it's like the shows Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer met up with Northern Exposure and had a Wiccan baby. I entered the name 'Track' into the name generator, and what I got was: Meat Notgay Palin. Bristol was Strangle Thicket Palin. And Sarah herself was Claw Washout Palin. That would be a good nickname for her: The Claw. In related and yet totally unrelated news, I saw that some of my Facebook friends joined the 'I have more foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin' group, and that made me LOL. And then I joined.

And an extra added bonus:

And thanks to Manthony for somehow finding my new favorite page on the dubya-dubya-dubya: FUCKED-UP BARBIE JEWELRY, YES YES YESSSSS. I told the Esq I would accept a creepy Ken doll ring as an engagement ring someday, only because 1) THEY ROCK, and 2) it would certainly be original. With a capital 'O', as in OH MY GOD THAT RING FUCKING RULES, YOU WEIRDO.

Sep 18, 2008

God Answers Your Questions (Edited)

Photo: Here we go.

Today we're going to reach into the ol' mailbag and answer some fan mail... I thought you guys might appreciate such an offering. All names have been changed to protect the somewhat-innocent. And yes, these are real letters--I've been getting a lot lately (that's not said in a Snotty tone, that's said in an unbelievable one--WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!). So without further ado, bring on the adoring fans!

(Sent to me through Gmail)

Dear Snotty,

I am a writer, mother and Christian. I read your blog because I think it is funny beyond words and has a fresh perspective. I am conflicted, however, due to what I think are your anti-Christian views. Not all Christians will try to convert you, not all Christians are hypocrites. Most of the Christians I know are fun-loving people who have problems just like everyone else. We are just people. We're even people who love Obama and your blog! So before I write you off forever (just kidding), can you shed more light on your views, especially now that you have a spiritual perspective (from your retreat, which I thought sounded lovely). I am a big fan but hope, deep down, that your anti-Christian rants are just another product of your imaginative writing. Has there ever been a religion that spoke to you? I'm just wondering, and I know it's a personal question.


Kris Kristofferson


Dear Kris Kristofferson,

1. You knew it was a personal question, and yet you asked it anyways. You're right, Christians aren't hypocritical.
2. "Funny beyond words"? But... those are words.... did you say you were a writer?
3. Out of the 134 words you wrote, the word 'Christian' appeared SIX TIMES.
4. Non-Christians don't describe other non-Christians as 'fun-loving', like, ever. I'd never noticed until now.
5. I'm not anti-Christian, I'm anti-dogma. The Christians are just easier to pick on because there are more of you, and they get enraged when I'm all JESUS WAS A ZOMBIE and then they send me sweet fanmail imploring me to declare myself spiritually so that they can feel better about reading a blog where the word FUCK appears 189 times a day.

I think you hope, deep down, that I'm a Christian, or at the very least, a supporter of Christian people or Christian values. Hey, people can do whatever they want. But for me to be a Christian supporter or be excited about Christian values? That's called 'wishful thinking' in my world; it's the kind of thinking that 2,000 wishes couldn't make true, not for love or money or bacon. I'm not a Christian. But I can have goodwill towards men and all that, even though that's more of a Christmas thing.

Thank you for your mail, though. But this blog isn't about my spiritual views or your Christian insecurities, although HOW I WISH IT WERE. However, when I find a religion that isn't attached to some fucked-up bullshit story passed down through the ages to keep people fearful and compliant--when I find a religion that isn't based around my open heart and equally open wallet--WHEN I FIND A RELIGION THAT ISN'T RUN LIKE A BUSINESS BY MEN, FOR MEN, AND IN DEFERENCE TO MEN--then I will join up and rejoice in the Lord, who I'm hoping is the perfect balance between the sacred male and sacred feminine: you know, a transsexual.

It would be pretty boss if I turned out to be God, though, and I just never knew it. I'd be smiting the shit out of people. Yes, even you. I'm just giving you a hard time, really, but please know that I appreciate your letter, and just for shits and giggles, Buddhism is the only religion that ever spoke to me--the best part about Buddhism being: no one has ever tried to convert me into it. Well, that and the whole Nirvana thing.

Anyways, I implore you to check out for spiritual declarations and teachings; come back here for the fart jokes.

And truly, thank you for your letter; I'm sorry I can't be more... Christianly. Vote Obama!


(Sent to me on Myspace):


I can't tell if you are naughty or nice, and I would really like to know. Also, I love your eyes, well just the one in your blog photo lol



Dear Santa,

Living off the fat of my milk and cookies has made you soft, at least when it comes to punctuation. You love my eyes, 'well just the one in my blog photo'? And then you laughed out loud? Are you drunk?

I'm one of those girls who walks and talks dirty, but who is actually pretty nice (read: pushover) in real life. People think I wear the pants in this family. I thought I did, too. But I was so. very. wrong.

You brought me a computer last year--this year I want world peace Miley Cyrus to perish in a horrifying accident. Then I want world peace.



(Sent to me on Yelp, this is just email excerpts, but it is definitely my favorite):

Ok, so fine. I'm admitting it. I lurk. I'm a lurker. And I lurk you.

Anyway, I became addicted to your writing. Reading your blog is part of my daily doings. So much so, I had some quick explaining to do to my husband the other day when I saw your "Esq" walking up the street (as we were driving by) - I reacted like you do when you see someone famous - and my husband asked "do you know that guy?". Well - no - but yeah, kinda.

So now - you show up on Yelp - where I used to live. I think - is this a sign? -do I come out of lurking and say "Hi Marika, I think you're a really amazing writer and your kid is a gem, and yeah, I feel just like you do on (insert topic)."

I've been reading your blog for quite some time now and am thrilled to see you writing on Yelp. I enjoy your POV on life and look forward to reading more from you!


Crazy Yelp Lady


Dear Crazy Yelp Lady,

THAT is how you write a fan letter, the kind that doesn't get a Snotty response. I am glad that we are Yelp friends now, and hope you will be equally entertained by me on Yelp as I push for my goal of being crowned Elite within the next six months. Everyone else should be reading my reviews, too. *stares at everyone else*

Thank you for the nice letter--you will always get published here if you mention my sweetheart or how awesome I am at any given moment. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you. Viva la fanmail!


Sep 17, 2008

You're a Tall Glass of Water

Photo: Will the real Ben Bernanke please stand up?

Burn After Reading: go see this movie so we can talk about it and I can figure out if I really liked it. I didn't NOT like it, which is probably the worst way to describe something ever; if the Esq ever says "Well I don't NOT like you", I will say "Well I'm not going to NOT kick you in the weiner"--then I will proceed to NOT-NOT set our house on fire.

I can count on one hand the Brad Pitt films I've enjoyed: Fight Club, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Ocean's Eleven, Snatch, and Se7en. Had I seen Babel or The Mexican, I'm sure I would have liked them, too, but I'm over it now. Burn After Reading might not have been the best Coen brothers film, but it certainly was the funniest character Brad Pitt has ever played. I always wondered if he could play really, really dumb, without being retarded. Turns out he can; I felt he stole the show, even thought his part was somewhat minor. I laughed out loud every time he was onscreen, and not just because he looked like a giant douche-y douchebag.

I never got that whole BRAD PITT IS THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE thing... yeah, I guess he's all right, but a tad bit on the Ken doll side. Truthfully, I think Angelina makes him look more interesting, physically. I also think he's getting better looking with age, lucky bastard. I always wondered... if women across the country are fantasizing about Brad Pitt while having sex with their partners, who is Angelina Jolie fantasizing about? I would hope it would be someone like Boris Yeltsin or Roseanne Barr, just to make the world more balanced, but she probably just looks into a mirror.

I totally stole this video from Heather over at, but since she ganked it from Metafilter, it's really just a pyramid scheme of blog theft (although I prefer to think of it as the Circle of Life--Elton John's circle, if you were wondering). This is the type of video that makes you wonder, 'Am I on acid?' After you've figured out that you're not--it's only Wednesday, after all, and acid is more of a 3-day weekend type of thing--you'll have to watch it again. As Heather pointed out, you will either love it or hate it, but she introduced it more eloquently than me. Than I. Than me. Than I. Basically, hers was better.

The actor reminds me of my little brother, Sam, for some reason, which is awesome and unfortunate at the very same time. Not physically, mind you--my little brother doesn't hail from Fraggle Rock like this strangefellow--but the turn of phrase (charming!) and the over-acting (delightful!) reminded me of Sammywhammy. And so I have to post it, and then laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh... even though sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don't. But I DO keep repeating the phrases I NEED YOUR TEETH FOR MY LONELY HEARTS' CLUB BAND, SPENCER and YOU RAMBUNCTIOUS LITTLE INFANT. I wish I had written this deplorable and fantastical "screenplay". It's brilliant. A tall drink of water, if you will. Enjoy, or not.

Sep 16, 2008

It's Potty Time!

Photo: Why?

Thank God I took pictures of this unnatural occurrence before it left the park yesterday. Robin and I went for a walk around Ravenna Park, and ended up across the street from our place at Cowen Park, wondering what the hell was going on. Port-A-Potties get sleepy, just like you and me, but apparently they sleep in the park, just like the homeless.

Also, some of my retreat photos are posted there, too.

Sep 15, 2008


These are the letters I wrote the Esq while I was on a Vipassana meditation retreat in Oregon.



Dear J,

I've only been gone 8 hours, and already I've cheated on you; I've fallen in love with Breitenbush, and I will not be coming back. Today I heard my mother say the F-word and the P-word; normally I would write those words out completely, but ladies don't say words like that, and my mother is a lady. That being said, she DID say them out loud, and this place fucking rocks.

It's hard for me to describe Breitenbush. Words that come to mind are: liberating, comfy, bizarre, open, happy, challenging, natural, raw, and cocooned. Other words might be HIPPIE COMMUNE and WHAT AM I DOING HERE. But I like it--I felt grounded the minute I saw the place. You know how I was rambling on the other day about how I needed a change? This feels like a good jumpstart.

The group is being led by Julie, who is, for all intended purposes, our spiritual guide. She's like a hybrid between Glenda the Good Witch and Yoda, but she looks a bit like Merriweather, one of Sleeping Beauty's fairy godmothers; I expect her to start levitating tomorrow. It only took 49 minutes before she implored us to TREASURE OURSELVES, but everything else she talked about was very useful, without being cheesy or disingenuous. Not that treasuring myself isn't genuine, it just sounded kind of masturbatory. Maybe I'll treasure myself later.

I'm really enjoying hanging out with my extended family. It's easy to find things to talk about since I'm generally trying to avoid talking about how naked we are. YES, I DID IT. Luckily, we hit the spiral tubs after the evening meditation, so my first foray into public nudity was only witnessed by those in the dark. It was really nice to be naked, staring up at the stars, and not really caring. I also quite fancied how buoyant my hooters are in water; I wish they resided closer to my chin all of the time.

As for the meditation, nothing brings on Restless Leg Syndrome like sitting still in the middle of the woods. My mind is like a cross between a pinball machine and four Pomeranians: in constant motion and totally annoying. The spinning mind never ends.

Dinner was not disappointing: the spanakopita hit the spot, although I thought it might have been better with a bong hit and 28 slices of bacon. I'm tired from the drive and everyone else has passed out. I'm sleeping in a bunk bed with Mom, and so excited for my massage tomorrow; even though I'm sleeping in a tiny twin bed, it still feels empty without you. I hope you're lonely and miserable without me; by the time I get back, there'd better be a Widow's Walk built in to the outside of our apartment building, and you'd better be walking it. In a black Victorian dress. SOBBING.



Dear J,

Today during morning meditation, I couldn't stop thinking about you. Learning how to be quiet and still is hard; it would be easier for me to grow my own penis, simply with the powers of my mind. But I've had brief flashes of stillness--minutes, really--where I've felt... calm, like being in the eye of a storm. See, this place really IS transforming; I'm using crappy metaphors already.

After meditating, I felt like hugging my mom, and we just sat like that for a long time. The last time that happened was right before heading off to rehab; I guess when I'm ready to surrender to something, my mom acts as a gateway. A weeping, loved-up, emotional, 61-year old gateway. Your favorite kind. And can I just say, with the conviction of a thousand white, middle-to-upper class hippies: FUCK WRITING MANUALLY. I feel like I'm 13 again: writing furiously in my journal, feeling very confused, and resisting everything. Which is great, because 13 was so much fun the first time around.

Women use a lot of Oprah Jargon here--LIBERALLY--but this is the right setting for it. Although one woman said she was dropping a plum line down from her third eye, and I spent the next 30 minutes feeling around for my own third eye. I finally found it in my handbag, along with that pair of socks you've been looking for; everything gets lost in there.

I've braved the tubs twice already today (IN BROAD, CELLULITE-LOVING DAYLIGHT), once before my massage and once after. The spiral tubs are pretty cool; there are 4 hot springs tubs of varying degrees--Warm, Hot, Really Hot, and Oh My God Are You Fucking Kidding Me Hot--and one cold tub that rips your nipples off the minute you get in. Being naked isn't an issue anymore; there's a brief psychological breath I take right before stripping, but everyone is naked--BIRTHDAY SUITS GALORE. And WOW, what suits! Big, small, young, old, and nary a Heidi Klum in sight. It helps that there are no supermodels here. I say that like there IS a silent meditation retreat where supermodels gather to wander around naked together; if Hell exists, surely that must be mine.

My massage was 90 minutes long and totally boss. This itty-bitty, teeny-weeny thing walks up to me and talk-whispers to me in a voice like Tinkerbell; I thought, how in God's name is this 12-year old going to work me over? She looks about as powerful as a half-stick of Nag Champa. We went upstairs to her room, which was AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME, and she proceeded to prove me wrong. Much like Nag Champa, the massage was overpowering and long-lasting; in other words, perfect (even though I hate that incense more than anything on Earth). The big rushing river outside was our soundtrack, and my body felt very present and awake. Speaking of 'present', I will continue to talk like a vegan self-help brochure for the next two weeks. Happy Early Birthday.

I daresay my massage therapist--whose name I can't remember, but it was probably something like Falling Rain or Wisdom--opened up my elusive third eye, and probably my third nipple, too. I feel unbroken again.

Breitenbush is run by the river people, or that's what I call them. They live across the river, off the grid, and they help keep the retreat running, in the real spirit of community. I saw a chalkboard where the river people signed up for duties; the few names I saw were Mark, Treya, and Amber Jade. I seriously can't imagine being named something like that. I mean, who would name their kid Mark?

Tonight, after dinner, we did another 45-minute meditation, and I was a MEDITATING CHAMPION. I was all NEENER NEENER to the other newbies, which just shows how far I've come in the goodwill department. It only felt like 15 minutes had passed, probably because I fell asleep. (Not really! I was just in the zone.) I've noticed that I hate being silent--or maybe the better word is 'quiet'--because it's harder to avoid the things I've been desperately trying to avoid. With all of the things that I am "supposed" to be worrying about right now, it's very hard to clear my mind of them when I'm just sitting still. Definitely a learning experience.

I'm off to bed, so I can keep reading this book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter; it's the true account of Sue Monk Kidd's journey into spirituality (from her Southern Baptist roots)--it's the spiritual equivalent of YOU GO, GIRL. Mom loaned it to me and I was all EWW SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS EWW, but then Julie mentioned it in her dharma talk tonight and I thought, what the hell. It's just like in high school, when my mom would say, take a coat outside, it's cold! And I was like, whatever biatch. And then my boyfriend would say, it really is cold outside, you might want to wear one. And I'd be all, Oh really? Well if you say so! Everyone ignores their parents; I majored in it.

Since it's an all-women retreat, the men's bathrooms/showers are open to everyone. Mom and I went to take a shower, and while washing my hair I said, "This is a blog." Mom asked, what is? Me: "So I was in the Men's restroom at a silent meditation retreat, showering with my mother...." She agreed.

I was on the bottom bunk last night, but tonight I moved to the top; if you've made it to 62-years old, you deserve the bottom bunk. Also, I was freezing last night and Mom was too warm, so the switch seemed like a win/win. That being said, bunk beds are not for plus-size people, thank you very much.

I'm laughing a lot here. That's good. I miss you!


Dear J,

Today I dipped into the cold pool five times! The cold one is called The Awakening Pool (isn't that lovely?), but I call it The Holy Fucking Shit Pool. What, this place is pretty holy. My old friend, Sara (and daughter of India, who you've met), showed up with her six-week old baby, Reese, and AWWWWWWW OOOOOOOH EEEEEEEEEE. It made me want five just like her! She looked so...edible. Baby love is a wonderful thing. I was amazed at how instinctual it was for all of the women in our group to lose their shit over a wee bebe, and I was no different. Don't worry, though, I'm still on the life-long No More Babies Ever track; I'd rather have herpes, or a dog. Maybe just the dog.

The Holy Fucking Shit Pool works only if you do the other tubs first--even the Oh My God Are You Fucking Kidding Me Pool--because you have to raise your internal temperature high enough for your brain to melt. After it melts the first time, you have to dial it back a little bit so you have something left to think with. I haven't been able to grow that penis yet, but when I do, I can quit thinking with my brain and switch to thinking with my penis, just like you--then I can melt my brain all I want. Once in the cold pool, you have to sit very still, so that you can watch your heart beat out of your chest. Literally. I was all, GAH I NEED THAT! and pushed it back in. The space around me--about an inch off of my skin--became a strangely warm cocoon, so if I didn't move, it was delightful. When I did move, it felt like ten thousand little people stabbing me with ice picks. Wait, do they want to be called 'little people', or do they want to be called 'midgets'? I can never remember.

At one point, I wrapped myself in a towel, and walked out into the field that fell in between the tubs and the river; there were flowers and river rocks and tall grass in the field. I sat on a platform in the sun and thought, never in my life did I think I would be doing this. Never in my life did I think I could be comfortable in my body in front of other people. Never in my life have I felt so free! India and my mom brought everybody these neat dragonflies back from Southeast Asia, made out of some kind of hard material, acrylic maybe; they brought them to us because of how spiritual dragonflies can be. I remembered a dragonfly story told to me by a Native American dude, and I'm going to try and remember it in order to illustrate a point:

Dragonfly used to be Dragon, covered in beautiful shimmering scales, and possessing a deep inner strength. He could change form at will, and lit the darkness with his fiery breath. One day, Coyote tricked the Dragon into changing form forever, and into believing he was actually tiny Dragonfly. Dragon got caught in the illusion of his own making and caught up in someone else's influence, just as we can find ourselves forever mistaking our facades for who we really are; we forget that we, too, can change form at will, and wield great inner powers.

I was sitting in the sun, reflecting upon this story, and feeling really good. I decided the dragonflies hovering around me were a good sign, that they were supporting the New Me. Then I stood up, and realized I had somehow SAT ON A FUCKING DRAGONFLY, killing it in the process--those dragonflies were probably getting ready to attack me, so they could save their fallen soldier. I'm sure I have amazing inner strength, but it's nothing compared to the power of my ass.

I've been having a great time kicking it with Lista, another 'cousin', who is like my soul twin or something. I don't know if it's because we have the same fucked-up issues or what, but most likely. Her mother, however, brought Diet Coke to the retreat, and every time she's imbibing, I want to French kiss her just to get a small taste of that which I have forsaken. If I had to choose between a cold Diet Coke and amazing sex, I would probably choose amazing sex with a Diet Coke. My relationship with Diet Coke started way before you and me, so don't be jealous.

Tonight after meditation, we had a Kali fire, and made an offering to Kali, goddess of death, destruction, and transformation. We asked her to help us transform something--each person got up in front of 50+ people and talked a little bit about their offering--and then threw it in the fire. It was pretty weird (though very cool).

Kali liked my offering, which was a small house I made out of paper. After talking this afternoon with Mom and Emily, I realized that I've never felt like I deserved a home. Not, like, OWNING a home (although if Kali would like to send me a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house, fine by me)--but a home, and everything good that can come with it. I have never moved anywhere and actually unpacked everything, EVER, because my relationships have always been so chaotic and impermanent. I have never cleaned and organized and made my home MY HOME, because I felt it would be pulled out from under me
. It also doesn't help that I've been essentially homeless (I say this with much gratitude to Kim and Autumn, who let me couchsurf for 3452389472 years), making the term 'home' feel like something alien, something that other people deserved. When we started talking about whipping our apartment into shape, I was excited because I thought--finally, I can feel like I live somewhere. And so I began the process, and it was very therapeutic. Then I started thinking about it as OUR HOME in CAPITAL LETTERS, and I stopped. Because I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop with you. I keep waiting for you to be someone that you're not. Namely my ex-husband.

I made my offering; I asked for transformation, and threw our house in the fire--so that we could build a new one, together, and so that I could have a space for me to be ME. And I've cried and cried and cried and cried (and cried and cried and cried and cried), hoping that I can get past this shit, so that I can quit being uncomfortable with how happy we are. Leave it to me to say Fuck You to happiness. It's the same old story.

Anyways, this letter is much longer, but filled with more purpose, methinks. My brain is going a million miles a minute. I'm exhausted from all of the stuff we're doing here, even though we're also doing nothing. Doing nothing is a lot of work. I hope I can sleep tonight, but if I can't, I will just think of you and hope that you're having fun with Joshy.

I meatloaf you!


Dear J,

I get to see you today! I got exactly one hour and 45 minutes of sleep last night; that melted brain was spinning all night long, thankfully about good things. I've almost forgotten what you look like, but my memory tells me you look like Johnny Depp. If, when I see you, that isn't a reality, don't be disappointed when I'm all WHAT THE FUCK, MAN. It's difficult when a fantasy dies. Just bear with me.

I'm wondering what you've been a-blogging about. If I know you, I'll bet you only blogged for 1-2 days and made it really cerebral, but I'm betting I'll love it, even if no one else does. Today is the final day, and I feel so different. I really like meditation, which didn't ever appeal to me before (is this a sign of maturity?--doubtful), and revealing myself to whoever, whenever (physically, emotionally, what-have-you) was easy once I asked myself, WHO FUCKING CARES?! My one and only pep talk--the one I had with myself--consisted of: MARIKA, TAKE THE GIANT STICK OUT OF YOUR ASS AND GET THE FUCK OVER IT. And so I did. It was easier to show up and participate. Do I feel transformed? Yep. Do I feel a little silly for it? A little, because HELLO--I never saw a Vipassana retreat in my future, especially a semi-silent naked one. But the main point is: I feel better. I feel like the best version of myself. And I also feel like my relationship with Mom is 900 billion times greater, something my old friends will consider very interesting (and a long time coming).

I talked to my roommates (wonderful women, all--Mom, Emily, and Pat) about how I've never identified myself as a woman before. I heard a lot of talk here about "The Sacred Feminine" and was like, ENOUGH WITH THE HIPPIE BUZZ WORDS ALREADY, but I find I'm in agreement. It's not a common practice to teach your daughters what it means to be a woman, how powerful it can be, or how to harness your female energy into something that's fucking epic--and Mom said, "Well of course you don't identify with being a woman, because I never did, either." How could she teach me something that wasn't taught to her? I only identify with being an employee, a parent, a girlfriend, a daughter--and if I was being really honest, I would probably say I identify with being a bad employee, an absent parent, a shitty girlfriend, and a screw-up daughter. I've lived with these labels all of my life, but never once thought about being a woman. That is so odd to me. Maybe I should stop trying to grow a penis with my mind. Just a thought.

As I said to Julie, this has been the best weekend of my life, because I feel freed from pain I've been carrying around for years upon years upon years. That doesn't mean there's no work to do, only that I can finally work on something else, and then move on to the next thing.

The only thing I hated about this weekend was being attacked by these tiny little mosquitos that my mom calls Noscia's (*this is spelled wrong, but I can't find them on Google*), but I call them Asshole Motherfuckers. I was eaten alive by them--I counted how many little bites I have, and I'm into the mid-twenties, and still finding more. I've been branded by Breitenbush in more ways than one. I'm free, and I'm itchy. I'll bet that's a turn-on.

Of all the labels I enjoy the most, I love being your shitty girlfriend. :) And I can't wait to see you, so I can tell you this heartwarming tale of love and acceptance, all the while ripping your clothes off.




Sep 13, 2008

An Open Letter to Snotty

Dear M,

Blogging is not nearly as easy as you make it seem. You seemed to snicker inwardly when you asked if I was just going to wing it -- and rightly so. I see you taking notes on your cell phone, like an eccentric scientist dictating ideas. You must have a good two or three dozen saved up in case of writer's block. The ones that see the light of day are inevitably hilarious, and never fail to connect with the reader.

But I do not habitually record my questionable flashes of brilliance; and as described earlier am in a constant state of blogger's block. My persuasive writing style stands in unfortunately stark contrast to your hysterical vignettes, which are evocative, amusing, and always make me look like I had something to say. In short, I miss your blog almost as much as I miss you. I am sure I also speak for your legions of fans who are stuck with me for another day. I should apologize to them too; I've been an altogether lackluster substitute so far. Instead I'll just have to dazzle them with the most amazing entry ever tomorrow, after I return from a family thing. If only I had those notes from your cell phone.


Sep 11, 2008

An Open Letter to The Esquire

Photo: The meatloafing couple.

Dear J,

Over the next four days, I leave my blog in your ninja-like hands. I have a thousand instructions a la Monica Geller that I am not going to bother you with, because you don't need the added pressure and I know you can figure out the blogsphere on your own. The kinds of instructions I am not going to leave you include unhelpful things like 'Make sure your blog posts are longer than a sentence' and 'Redesign the entire blog'. I am also not going to remind you to do the dishes or drop off your dry cleaning, because you are always on top of it. If, during your leisurely weekend alone, you find yourself cleaning, organizing, and painting the inside of our home, I would not be okay with that, unless Adrian helped pick out the paint and then yeah, sure, go ahead.

I will be writing you letters--to be posted when I get back--the entire time I am on this retreat which, as I hear more about it, sounds like a silent meditation retreat complete with our own spiritual leader. I look forward to meeting this woman since she's a friend of my mom's, and was hoping she would have some crazy ass shaman name that means 'triumphant' in Sanskrit, but apparently her Earthly name is "Julie". I'm excited to see all the girls, and for my massage tomorrow (as you know I need one badly, with my 80-year old hips), but I'm also still wary. I hate the unknown.

As I battle my demons, physical and spiritual, I hope you have lots of fun without me. Sorry I made such a mess before I left; I'm not very good at packing. Also, I forgot that bag of toiletries, so when you see me next, I will be a stinky, unwashed, frizzy-haired pile of morning breath... sexypants! (Mom and I are going to stop at the store, don't worry--also, how did I forget the toiletries but manage to bring the MAKEUP? Who am I trying to impress in the middle of fucking NOWHERE? Maybe my new spirit guide.) I cannot believe that I will have no internet access and no cell phone coverage; to me, that's like living in a fucking cult. In Utah. On Mars.

I miss you already, but with me being home all the time, I know it will be nice to have some Boy Time (sounds gay--but Man Time didn't sound any better...Dude Time?). Two requests: No skanky hookers in the apartment (how many times do we need to have this conversation?), and say at least once today, "NEVER FORGET". You know, for 9/11. Or so you don't forget all of the things that I did not remind you of in this letter. Either way.

You have permission to tell stories about me that make me look bad, but since there aren't any, I guess you'll just have to stick with the truth. Sometimes I wish I could eat you, just to retain your awesome powers, but feel like I might regret something like that later on. Thank you for taking care of the blog, which is my next favorite thing after you.

I meatloaf you!


Sep 10, 2008

Massacres Are So Five Years Ago

Photo: They're not running for fun.

I just saw an article that began with: "Thousands of people gathered Tuesday to remember a Skagit Valley sheriff's deputy who was killed in last week's shooting rampage." I basically yawned and moved on. Remember when a 'shooting rampage' was cause for alarm? Remember when it shocked you to the core, leading you to say things like, "How could this have happened?" and "What is this world coming to?" Like everyone else, I was glued to the telly when Columbine went down; I was also checking online reports during that whole Virginia Tech nightmare. But I didn't get the feeling I cared about those kids, I just got an adrenaline rush from the sensational journalistic reporting; much like 9/11, I had to finally turn off all media, because it was taking over my life. I wasn't getting new information, I was just re-living the adrenaline rush over and over again, and finding new things to cry about, until it finally meant nothing. Until tragedy was actually meaningless to me. So now, kids with guns are... meh. Old news. You shot up your high school and killed 4 people? Well enjoy your two minutes in the spotlight, because that six-year old over there is going to bring an Uzi to his kindergarten next week and fuck. shit. up. Tragic and unthinkable...but also becoming quite predictable in the news cycle.

So if the gun-wielding, classmate-killing children can't cause a blip on the radar, how can a 'shooting rampage' make any impact? Remember when the phrase SHOOTING RAMPAGE would have made front-page news? Now it's like, oh honey look, there was a shooting rampage last week, please pass me the Real Estate section and stop reading Marmaduke. The fact that it said "last week"--as in, last week's shooting rampage--meant more to me than the rampage itself; it should have said HORRIFYING TRAGEDY BEFALLS DEPUTY IN THE LINE OF DUTY DURING SHOOTING RAMPAGE. But no, it just said "last week's shooting rampage", because it looked just like the one from the week before, and then the week before that. It meant that this is a common occurrence, no big deal.
This shit happens all the time, so I don't even bother being surprised anymore. Yeah, it sucks--lives lost and all that--but welcome to our world today. I know that people care, and I know that I am one of those people. It's just getting harder to drum up emotions for crimes and tragedies and accidents that seem to be stuck on the Repeat button. It saddens me, how de-sensitized I've become to the ugliest side of humanity.