Thursday, September 28, 2006

Shifting gears

I'm generally not a late-night blogger. I likey me sleep. But I'm restless this evening. My dog attacked my sister's dog last night and ripped a good-sized hole in her leg. Stitches were required, as was general anesthesia and precautionary X-rays; she's okay now, but I'm left with a mountainload of guilt and many worries as to how to train our own dog out of this behavior.

Other things. I realized tonight that the career tweak I have in mind for myself will actually take a lot more schooling (and money) than I'd thought/hoped. I'm off to an event this weekend that requires me to see a few people I haven't seen in a while, which means fretting, unnecessarily or no, about how I look and how I present. Most notably, a friend's friend (young, my age) is currently dealing with a cancer diagnosis, which has me thinking and worrying a lot about a person I've never met, and about the eventual fragility of everyone I care about.

Which has gotten me to thinking. I like blogging and I like it when people tell me I'm funny, but I don't always like having to blog funny. Slate was all over this a week or two ago: feels like the whole world has gone funny lately, and the ancillary result of that is that, societally, we end up sacrificing sincerity and vulnerability. Creativity, too.

So, so I think I'll be mixing it up a little bit on the ol' blog for the next little while. Nothing severe, but a little bit more honesty mixed in with the other stuff.
You've been warned.

And now, a word about pastrami

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Also inevitable

My sister sent me a website this morning that features shelter dogs who are going to be put down in the next 24 hours unless they are adopted or sponsored.

By 11 am, I had yet to do a lick of work. I had, however, spent a little chunk of money to rescue, from afar, a cute little hound mix named Daisy Duke from a high-kill Georgia shelter.

I feel more accomplished than I have in a while.

It was inevitable

This morning I walked the dog in my pajamas.
Friday, September 22, 2006

Extra cheese, extra Mayer

I guess I'm confused. I thought John Mayer was adult contemporary garbage. I thought the 18-to-30 set roundly understood John Mayer to be a dorky, talentless schmoo. I thought John Mayer wept into his cocoa each night because he wasn't hip enough to record the soundtrack for Curious George. I thought John Mayer was a hero to carpool moms all over the land, women who shoved "Daughters" cassingles into their tape decks when they picked up their own daughters after school, and then told their daughters that the song made them sad for the relationship they used to have but didn't anymore, as said daughters curled their toes and silently wished for a magic martian to appear out of thin air and grant them minor emancipation.

But apparently John Mayer is cool. Cool enough to be hanging with the homosocial McConaughey-Gyllenhaal-Armstrong triumvirate. Cool enough that he can sport a Jack-White-but-fatter aesthetic and still be considered handsome. Cool enough that he was falsely linked with Jessica Simpson in an effort to improve HER street cred. Cool enough that he can talk nonchalantly about his porn predilections in Rolling Stone when, just a month prior, he talked nonchalantly about his popsicle predilections in In Style. Cool enough that he can write an unconscionably stupid song about disaffected youth and political alienation and then perform that song on "Today" while a bunch of carpool moms AND their daughters scream and bounce and sing along, and still be branded cool.

Like I said, I guess I'm just confused.
Thursday, September 21, 2006

Shy too shy

A reader asked me to explain how I got over my adolescent shyness. Okay, here goes:

About a third of the way through my senior year of high school, I was asked to make a speech in front of the entire school (maybe 600 people total, including teachers and administrators). I was the president of some made-up club that I think I helped to make up in an effort to pad my college application, the International Alliance or something like that, and we were hosting the Thanksgiving assembly that year (the theme of which I'm guessing was internationalism). It wasn't even supposed to be a real speech; more like an introductory mini-speech at the beginning of the assembly, then a few quick segues in between the other speakers' presentations.

The idea made me retch, and instinctively I almost said no. But then I thought, "Hey, this is a great chance for me to begin conquering my social retardation, to prove to myself that speaking in public won't result in pain and death and to prove to my peers, in the waning days of our high school careers, that I'm not the weird mute I sometimes appear to be." So I agreed to do it.

And bombed. Had I farted so audibly that the sound system picked it up, I could not have humiliated myself more. I began speaking when the microphone was off, then bumped into the microphone when I turned it on. I stuttered so badly over the first few lines of my speech that I had to start over. I told one weak joke that was greeted by cricket chirps (and nervous laughter from myself). I introduced the president of the senior class as "the senior of the president class." You get the idea. Afterwards, even my two best friends couldn't pretend the performance was salvageable; they just shook their heads and said they were really sorry.

But here's the thing. Having suffered extreme humiliation and survived, I felt overwhelming relief. I figured that the chances of embarrassing myself again so completely were nil; the worst was over. And so slowly, over time, I began to relax and put less stake into social interactions until eventually I could function socially without overthinking my every move or comment. It's not to say that I don't still make a regular fool of myself in public. But if I find myself at a social engagement babbling nervously to a stranger about Jessica Simpson or Nazism or soft cheeses or what have you, I'll remind myself that nothing can be as bad as that Black Wednesday so long ago, and I'll calm down.

Also? When I delivered the speech, I wore this red backless dress that caused a bit of a scandal and managed to distract attention away from my pathetic performance. It even figured into my "Most Likely" designation a few months later, long after people had forgotten about my oratory idiocy (I think).

So there you go. There's my secret recipe. If you're looking to conquer your shyness, make a pathetic fool of yourself in a large public setting and try to look hot while doing it.

Alcohol's good too.

When Martha Stewart Living and a pina colada collide

After the dog knocked over a bag of frozen pineapple chunks and tossed them all over the floor, the hubby picked up the mess but forgot to rinse off the pineapple juice that had dried onto the dog's ears.

Now I kind of want to eat the floors AND the dog.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

When Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart Living collide

After the dog knocked over a box of sugar and spread its contents all over the kitchen and dining room floors, I cleaned up a lot of the mess with an almond wood polish.

Now I kind of want to eat the floors. They smell really delicious.
Friday, September 15, 2006


I am genuinely busier these days than I have been in a long time. Two classes a week and dog walks and second-round job interviews and futile attempts to get in better shape three weeks before I see a bunch of people I haven't seen in a while -- all on top of 50-hour work weeks for the next few weeks. So I may not be posting much for a while.

Or I may relaunch this thing with a minor redesign sometime this weekend! You never know....
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dog beach as social microcosm

Up until about the age of 18, I struggled with crippling shyness. Blushing, stage fright, fear of boys, the whole nine yards. I got over it for the most part, but I'm still left with overwhelming empathy for anyone who struggles in social situations.

So watching the dog attempt to ingratiate himself to the canine quarterbacks and cheerleaders of this world has been tough. When he sees our local dog group in the mornings, I can see him go through his mental checklist:

“Tail wagging in welcoming yet nonchalant manner? Check. Insolent gait suggesting I choose to let my owner walk me on a leash? Check. Milk stain atop my head from the bowl of cereal I knocked over yesterday morning? Still there. Jesus, do my owners/minions NEVER plan on bathing me?”

Alas, amongst his peers, Watson ranks somewhere between “jock” and “basketcase” on the Breakfast Club social scale. He’ll start out all gruff, growling and nipping and attempting to engage the smaller breeds in a little this-SO-doesn’t-make-us-gay tussling. But then a dog will call him out with a bark or a lunge, and Watson'll leap away and run in circles, forcing me to perform several counteractive pirouettes. By the time we've both recovered, the cluster of popular dogs has moved down the beach, trailing their human hangers-on, and Watson is left to affect a "I didn't want to hang outs with you ANYHOW" facial expression. Which is pretty hard to do when you're a weepy-eyed hound dog.

At least I feel incredibly shy around the other dog owners.