Monday, December 26, 2011

as promised: the attempt to muzzle the Drunken Housewife

In September 2010, a few days after I returned from Burning Man and just at the beginning of the school year, my phone rang. It was someone calling from Iris and Lola's school, asking me to meet with the head of school. As any mother would, my first assumption was that something had happened to either Iris or Lola, but no. The head of school wanted to meet with me about my blog, along with another administrator. The tone was definitely negative.

That very day I had written on my blog about an argument I'd had with Iris uber Alles. Iris was slightly sick but wanted to go to school anyway, and I had forced her to stay home because there was a new girl in her grade, a girl recovering from bone cancer who still had a very low immune system. All the parents from that grade had been severely cautioned not to send their children to school with even mild symptoms. I looked at what I'd written. From my point of view, it was clear that I'd had an excess of care and concern for this other little girl, but I had written in my usual sarcastic style, and I could see how it could conceivably offend someone. I deleted it. I'm not usually one to back away from causing offense, but a child who'd had cancer was a sensitive subject.

Before this meeting, I stewed. I was sleep-deprived and cranky to begin with, having left Burning Man before I was ready. I longed to be back padding through the dust with a bottle of prosecco in my hand, gazing upon crazed art and making cocktails for my campmates. For a while, I determined to bring an attorney with me. As a former attorney, of course I know plenty of them. I felt I was not being taken seriously in this situation and that having an attorney with me would add gravitas. The Sober Husband strongly disagreed with that and said simply, "I will go with you." He, unlike me, has always been quite popular with the school's administration.

My falling out had come earlier. At the annual fall festival, Iris and I had been horrified to see toy kittens being sold... covered in real cat fur. The grotesquerie of cats being murdered to make cheap toys, which were then sold to benefit our school, was greatly disgusting and upsetting to Iris and to me. (Note: whenever you buy something from China containing fur, take a good, long, hard look at the fur. It is usually labeled as "rabbit" but normally is either cat or dog fur. As a certified crazy cat lady, I can tell rabbit fur from cat fur, and it wasn't particularly hard, given that plenty of the fur was orange tabby. Rabbits do not come in orange tabby). I had never seen fur things sold before at our festival, and I thought it was a terrible idea. I wrote the head of school a letter, asking that the school adapt a rule forbidding the sale of fur. I noted that fur is controversial in our society and that surely we would not want to upset those students who are huge animal lovers. I received a very short reply saying that the school had no control over what vendors sold and which ignored every point I'd made. This made me furious, because the "vendor" in question who sold the fur toys was a group of parent volunteers, and surely the school had immense control over this vendor. Acting as if it were some remote entity with no real ties to the school seemed ridiculous. I wrote another letter, which was not answered. Subsequently I wrote about the fur foofaraw here on this blog.

After that, there was no love lost between the head of school and me. I had had no problems whatsoever with the prior head of school, whom I admired, but this one had no use for me and my delicate feelings about fur.

When the day of the meeting came about, the head of school and the director of communications gushed over the handsome Sober Husband and gave me cold looks. My dignity was compromised by the fact that I was still wearing my Burning Man extensions and had bright green braids all the way down to my waist. After the initial greetings were done, the head cleared her throat and said, "Many would consider this meeting long overdue" in a self-pleased voice. The Sober Husband laid a calming hand upon my knee.

The major points made by the head were "Many people here consider it unethical that you keep a blog" and "You may not realize that your ability to form relationships is harmed by your blog."

The major points made by the Drunken Housewife were "any institution threatened by one person's blog which is mostly cat stories appears weak" and "is the school going to institute a new screening policy for potential parents? Add the line 'no mommy bloggers allowed' to the application form?" and "I am completely confident that in this day and age, I am not the only blogger here in this parent population", as well as "I've been told by more than one teacher here that they wished there were more parents like me at this school."

Getting down to specific instances, the Head was rather superior in discussing the post I'd made about the new student with a shaky immune system. "Yes, after I reread that, I saw it could be taken the wrong way," I said, "so I took it down. I would hope anyone who read it would see that it was motivated throughout by my concern for that girl's health, but I took it down anyway." This visibly took the wind out of the head's sails. "You took it down?"

The other example brandished about was the time I wrote about a fourth grader who wore a micro-micro miniskirt and fishnet stockings to a school event. Here I contended that as a feminist who was deeply concerned about the premature sexualization of girls, I was going to write about that kind of thing if I saw it. I viewed this as part of an important moral issue of our day.

Eventually the meeting ended, with nothing concluded. The head expressed some bitterness that I'd written on my blog about the fur issue, and I made the point that my blog is normally a silly, personal one but that animal welfare is my hot button item and that the school could have handled the issue differently. I refused to stop keeping my blog. I pointed out that I'd had severe problems with one of the girl's teachers the year before, culminating in my unsuccessfully asking to have my daughter transferred to a different classroom, and "I never wrote about that on my blog, because it wouldn't have helped any of us." This point was not taken, but rather the head portrayed the staff as quivering in fear that they would be victimized by me on my blog. I said that anyone who had an issue with me was welcome to talk to me, but evidently they were afraid of me. I thought that was a bit silly, given that there are truly intimidating parents lurking about the place, as opposed to a mommy blogger who calls herself tongue-in-cheek a "drunken housewife" and who volunteered in the playground, lunchroom, library, and art room.

The next week, my phone rang again. It was another staff member at the girls' school. At this time and the year before, one of my daughters was having a very big problem at school (it was her prior teacher's failure to do anything about this huge issue which was the source of our problems with her the year before, which we had brought up with the head). She cried desperately each morning not to have to go to school, and the Sober Husband and I were feuding about homeschooling. I was in touch with homeschooling groups and had set a deadline with the poor Sober Husband by which, if things were not improved, I was pulling this child out of the school, with my husband's agreement or not. This new caller told me that she "had an idea on how to help" my daughter.

Excited, the Sober Husband and I raced over to the school to hear this new idea about how to solve our child's problem. The staff member, smiling, explained to me that the staff wanted to help my daughter but were paralyzed by fear of me because of my blog. She had been nominated by the staff to approach me and share an idea. This exciting new idea was for me to quit keeping a blog! Then the staff would have the confidence they needed to try to help my child.


The staff member's jaw dropped open and she stared at me in shock. We quickly put the pieces together. She had no idea that I'd been called on the carpet just the week before and leaned on about the blog. She felt she'd been made a patsy under the circumstances. We parted with hugs and remonstrations of mutual admiration. (The Sober Husband's head was spinning by how fast this reconciliation came about).

By this point, I was feeling distinctly alienated at the school and not wanting to deal with anyone there. The child in question had a birthday, and I asked the Sober Husband to be the parent who brought celebratory snacks for the classroom. I knew I needed to calm down before I was in a position to speak to anyone there. I was red hot mad over the idea that my child's problems were not going to be addressed because I keep a blog (never mind the over $20,000 paid per year for her tuition). The Sober Husband came home smiling. He told me that another high level administrator had attended our child's birthday celebration (which is extremely unusual) and taken him aside to tell him that I was always welcome to come to her with any problems whatsoever. And then, laughing, he told me that, as I'd requested, he asked our daughter's main teacher if she had any problems with my blog, and this sweet woman looked at him blankly and said, "Blog? I don't even know it." We laughed.

We ended up meeting with the teacher, who formed a thorough plan to deal with our child's problem. This woman, who is indeed one of the finest teachers I have ever met, did such a skillful and caring job working with our child that by the time the deadline came about I'd set for homeschooling, it was obvious that there was no longer any need. And around that same deadline, the head of school gave notice, as she was returning to the Deep South to become the head of a larger school.

In retrospect, it all made sense to me then. The hassling and pressuring of me to take down my blog --- was it all so I wouldn't write anything that might embarrass her while she was under scrutiny for this new and better job? My dear friend Melissa (known here as the repeated winner of the Drunken Housewife Semiannual Photo Contest), who is a teacher in the Southern state in question, opined that the head should have been glad to have my blog, as what would give her more credibility in the Deep South than having pissed off a San Francisco animal rights loon?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

the migraine that nearly stole Christmas (and did steal your promised story)

On Monday the 12th, I drank a little port after dinner. After the children went to bed, I worked out on my rowing machine but quit a little early because I had a pounding headache. The Sober Husband sniffed at me judgmentally. "I would expect you to have a headache if you were drinking port and then exercising. Just seems like the kind of thing that would give you a headache." We squabbled for a bit over the wisdom of consuming port before exercise and then went to bed.

Most of the night I lay awake, tormented by a truly hellish migraine. In the morning I was a wreck. Iris uber Alles also reported feeling ill and stayed home from school. In the afternoon I drove to get Lola, but otherwise I did nothing all day except swallow huge handfuls of ibuprofen.

Again in the night I hardly slept, my head hurt so much. In the morning there was no question of me driving the children to school-- obviously I wasn't fit to drive. I stayed in bed. Later in the day, using all my willpower, I did get myself up out of bed and drove a couple of miles to the home of an artist who had suggested painting my portrait. I had already had to cancel sitting for my portrait once, and I had the distinct feeling that if I cancelled again, the portrait wasn't going to happen. I figured that I could sit still with a headache just as well as I could lie in my bed with a headache. I got myself over there, swallowing ibuprofen all through the sitting, and then picked up the children. I told poor Lola that I didn't feel well enough to take her to the cafe we frequent, and she was a good sport.

Once again it was a hellish night. Just rolling over made my poor brain reverberate with agony. The next day the Sober Husband said repeatedly, "You know I can take you to the hospital whenever you say, right? Just say if you want me to take you to the hospital." We decided to try going to a doctor. The doctor I had previously seen at my practice group had left, so we went downtown to a different office to try a different doctor. Each step made my brain ricochet around in my skull, and I couldn't face eating or drinking coffee. Indeed I was pretty dehydrated by this point.

The doctor, whom I liked, made the point that once a migraine gets to this point, it's pretty hard to break it. It would have been easier if I'd come in the first day. Of course I never go to a doctor the first day I have a migraine, because I have no reason to believe that I am starting a multiple day-migraine (it's much more normal for me to have a single day headache). He prescribed me a tryptan, a drug which will for some patients end a migraine, and advised me to take it with benedryl and ibuprofen and try to spend as much time sleeping as possible for the next few days. This thoughtful doctor firmly addressed the Sober Husband and told him I wouldn't be capable of doing anything for the next few days.

At home the Sober Husband was a treasure. He forcibly rehydrated me by periodically bringing a glass of water with a long, bent straw. Putting the straw in my mouth, he would not relent until I'd taken a few swallows of water. The tryptan worked slightly; about an hour after I took it, I was able to sit up and check my email and desultorily talk. I even managed to eat much of a salad (which turned out to be the only meal I ate in three days). But soon the tryptan would fade, and it was back to lying in bed with a damp washcloth on my forehead, trying not to move. The pain grew worse, and I considered going to the hospital and begging for some fentanyl. The Sober Husband called the doctor I'd seen. I didn't feel well enough to go back to the doctor, who called in a prescription for a different tryptan for me to try. Over the weekend I tried both tryptans, as well as enough ibuprofen to sedate an ox.

Meanwhile I had missed several holiday parties I had very much wanted to attend, as well as the Christmas concert at Lola's school. "Give me lots and lots and lots of latkes," little Lola sang as she came home, and I moaned and adjusted my cold washcloth on my forehead.

The poor Sober Husband left his new job early again, and we went back to the doctor. This time he took some bold moves, proposing an eight-drug cocktail (some over-the-counter, most prescription). He assured me that he could see me again on Friday, the day before Christmas Eve, if need be, to try another mix. During the consultation, at some point this daring man of medicine's nerves quailed a bit, and he said, "We haven't done any workups." We both looked at the list of medications we were proposing I take and at the large syringe where he was mixing me up a shot. "I"m a little worried about your kidneys," he said. I assured him that I'd had a lot of bloodwork done the year before when I had surgery, and my kidneys and liver had been in topnotch form. He gave me the shot.

This bold new regime began to take effect. My headache faded to a lower but still bothersome level. I started moving around the house (whereas previously I had spent five days without coming downstairs except to be taken to the doctor). I resumed eating and drinking coffee (but not alcohol. I went two weeks without a drink). I fretted about loss of muscle tone. Here on the blog, readers wondered why the hell I offered them the choice of a topic if I weren't going to bother myself to write anything. I hired an unemployed friend to drive Iris to a party down the Peninsula (now that Iris goes to school in Hillsborough, she has social engagements all up and down the Peninsula).

The day before Christmas Eve, I still didn't have the energy to go to the party in the East Bay I'd planned to attend. But on Christmas Eve itself, I was able to get up, walk into the kitchen, and make our traditional Christmas Eve meal. Let us all praise brave men of medicine, who fear not the prescription of drugs but deliver us from our twelve day migraine. Merry Christmas to all of you, darlings, with love from the newly recovered DH

Sunday, December 11, 2011

yer choice

Darlings, I know I've been neglecting you, and I am deeply apologetic. It's been a weird year for me, with dramatic ups and downs, and I haven't always been up for my customary blend of cat and child anecdotes sprinkled with TMI and swear words. I do have stories, plenty of them, but I've not been writing them.

For the patient readers, who come back even when yer old DH is not entertaining, I'd like to offer amends. Pick a topic and I'll write it at your command. Serving suggestions:

-my ex-cat, Bob Marley got lost this fall, and everyone blamed me, even though he's had a new owner now for half his friggin' lifespan;

- I went out carousing with hundreds of people dressed as Santa and captured a pair of strikingly handsome European academics;

- the head of Lola's school strongly suggested I stop blogging;

- Iris uber Alles is now an officially gifted child and the impact this has on the rest of us;

-you tell me.

xxoo, yer neglectful old DH

Monday, November 28, 2011

where have all the children (and leftovers) gone?

I'm having Thanksgiving withdrawal. The leftovers have pretty much all been eaten; there's one slice of pie left and some homemade cranberry sauce, but nothing else. I'm craving lantulaatikko, the Scandinavian rutabaga Christmas dish, and drunken beans (the way we do it, the green beans are cooked in Ketel One with lots of salt and pepper and an onion). These are things we eat only on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I want them NOW. Would it destroy their specialness if I made them for dinner tonight?

The children are back at their respective schools. Lola was shocked last night to hear of her imminent return to school; evidently she imagined she was off until Christmas. It's lonely with only my weird little African grey parrot, who mixed up her normal cawing like crows, meowing like cats, and constant shouting of "Step up!" (her one tried-and-true English phrase) with a perfectly-enunciated "Whatever!" this morning. Her "whatever!" was delightfully dismissive, obviously modeled after cynical tween Iris uber Alles, and I wished Iris and Lola had been here to hear it.

This fall I've been on a health kick, eating lightly and exercising heavily. The heavy exercise fell by the wayside the week before Thanksgiving, which was the second week I had the flu. The first week of the flu, I insisted on working out every single time I felt halfway decent, but I noticed that the next day I'd be feverish and miserable again. The second week, I decided to try rest. It's not clear whether either of those strategies helped, keeping fit or resting, but eventually the flu faded away, leaving me free to return to my rigorous exercise schedule, but my healthy eating regime was felled by the Thanksgiving fabulosity and a round of parties.

So how healthy was my Thanksgiving?

Slices of pie eaten: only 2, but each with lots of fresh whipped cream

Exercise over Thanksgiving weekend: strong, hard workouts on 3 days; milder exercise one other day (we took the children on a hike up Mt. Davidson. Iris complained strenuously all the way. "This is unfair!" she shouted, while I thought to myself, "What is unfair is that I am trying to drag my hangover up this steep hill and I have to listen to yer friggin' whining all the way"). One day of absolutely no exercise (Thanksgiving itself).

Cocktail parties attended: two

Hangovers: two (but one was so mild as to be barely noticeable)

Black Friday shopping done: NONE! YES! I hate crowds and crazed commercialism!

Number of pomegranate margaritas drunk on Thanksgiving Day itself: unclear, but definitely more than my share of the pitcher.

Days of overeating: two, but it could have been a lot worse.

I'm afraid to weigh myself. I lost thirty pounds this fall, and it's going to devastate me if much of it sneaked back on. Sigh. It's good for my healthy regime to have Thanksgiving over, but there's no denying that it was delightful and no one really wanted it to end. Even the children got along for the most part, except for one terrible evening when a convenience store owner gave Lola a free Toblerone because she is so damn cute. Sibling rivalry caused horrible, heartfelt tears to flow as some children never get Toblerones from strangers due to cuteness, and the tears weren't even eased by the kindness of the cute child generously turning over a full half of the Toblerone to the unchocolated sibling.

Onward, towards Christmas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

our Thanksgiving

This was the best Thanksgiving meal I've ever cooked. It wasn't the most elaborate. That will probably always be the year I made curried risotto in little pumpkins. That required using a power drill to hack open the stubborn little pumpkins (thus I learned that jack-o'lantern pumpkins are very different from pumpkins sold for eating), which we cleaned and rubbed with butter and garlic and then baked in stages, as we couldn't fit many in our oven at once. That same Thanksgiving I made celebrity chef Hubert Keller's vegetarian faux caviar, served in eggshells, which meant, before even starting to make the faux caviar, painstakingly blowing out and cleaning eggs. I served those caviar eggs in an egg carton I'd spray-painted chrome. There were also multiple desserts and side dishes, but primarily what I remember is those damn pumpkins.

So why was this one the best? Because it was a wonderful festive meal, but it was effortless to make. Of course, my darling Aga was a big part of it: I used all three ovens. The Aga was the key to the success of the one fussy thing I made, a mustard-onion monkey bread which tends to burn on the top before the bottom is done even if you put tinfoil over the top. Now that I have a fancy European range, I can cook monkey bread in an oven heated only from below, and the result is perfection.

Our menu:

Lantulaatikko (rutabaga pudding)
Tofurky (haters gotta hate, but we love it) with roasted vegetables
Garlic mashed potatoes
Green beans cooked in Ketel One
Monkey bread
Homemade cranberry sauce

Pomegranate margaritas and Martinelli sparkling cider

Cranberry-raisin pie with fresh whipped cream

My only regret? I went to the trouble last year of saving my Tofurky feast box all damn year long and taking it to Burning Man and having it photographed by the Man in all his neon-lit glory. Why did I do that? Because the Tofurky box always has pictures of people who took the box on their vacation, and those pictures are always lame. I thought a Burning Man photo would be sure to make it on the box. AND MY FRIENDS WHO TOOK THE PICTURE NEVER SENT IT TO ME. I love all my Burning Man friends with a passion, adore them, but you cannot rely upon them to send you yer photo of the Tofurky box in front of the Man. And thus we had a bitter moment, the children and I, looking at the dull and annoying pictures of other people taking their Tofurky boxes on their vacations when it should have displayed OUR tofurky box which went to Burning Man. I bitterly drank my pomegranate margarita and turned back to tend the monkey bread as the children ridiculed the pictures which did get on the box.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

well, we got that over

I hate my birthday, and this year I had a new, proactive approach to my annual funk: hold a cocktail party which would force me to spend days preparing, rather than lying around sobbing in the throes of a deep depression. Out of my birthday phobia, I didn't tell anyone I invited it was my birthday.

This actually worked, for the most part. I slaved over my beloved Aga and made a huge mountain of food, expecting to have days of leftovers, but a swarm of friends and neighbors descended upon us and ate everything, except for the last of the homemade caramelized onion dip and homemade salsa, only because both the potato chips and tortilla chips ran out. The children joined in very kindly, calling themselves "Chubby's Catering Service" and making two kinds of cookies. I objected to the name, saying everyone would assume that it was a slam on my weight, but the children asserted that it referred only to the generous size of their cookies and gratuitously flattered me with compliments to my size and shape.

The poor Sober Husband, still recovering from the debacle of giving me soup bowls for our anniversary, gave me an AC/DC cd (win!), necklace shaped like a caffeine molecule (also a win! but I still want the LSD molecule necklace), and ... a pair of slippers which turned out to be lined with real fur. From real dead lambs. This was a difficult moment, as I truly did not want to return to the awkwardness of us fighting over a well-intentioned gift. I tried to make nice facial expressions while the poor mortified Sober Husband swept the slippers away and vowed to return them.

At our cocktail party, I had so much fun I did that horribly obnoxious thing I haven't done since I was in college, making people prod my gym-toned muscles. "Look! Feel my quads!" I commanded. "What is a 'quad'?" asked an old Burning Man friend.

Finally the birthday was over. Next year I may need to deploy this same strategy again.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

annual funk

I really, really hate my birthday. It triggers an annual depression, stemming from a lot of things in my early life.

This year I've been largely successful at minimizing the depression by distracting myself as much as possible, but here the day is, and all I want to do is curl up in a dark corner and cry. Can't wait until the day is over.

Friday, November 11, 2011

the anniversary debacle

This week the Sober Husband and I reached another milestone, our 13th wedding anniversary. I like the number 13 and it felt auspicious. Additionally, we've been getting along like gangbusters lately. My solo trip to Burning Man really sparked up our already-lively marriage, and overall the fall has been well-nigh unbearable for nearby onlookers, with the two of us likely to break out in a display of public affection at any moment. So you would expect this anniversary to have been pretty damn delightful.

The first problem came when I took Iris for a flu shot at the flu clinic so conveniently held at her school. I needed to drive down the peninsula and pick her up early that same day to take her to the upscale girl-boy dance classes she wanted to take and now bitches bitterly about, so nipping in for a flu shot was a no-brainer since I'd be on campus already. By bedtime, I was feverish, with an aching head and aching joints. By the next morning, I was miserably ill. A week later, I'm still feverish and achy and miserable.

The Sober Husband is handsome, brilliant, funny, brave, resourceful, industrious, and generous. However, he completely sucks as a caretaker for a grown-up (or at least for me). If I'm sick, he'll dote on the children, making them dinner every night (their choice: Ramen or spaghetti with Ragu sauce), but it does not occur to him that I might want a meal as well. Similarly it does not occur to him to buy anything for me to eat, although he will nip out to the store to get supplies for chocolate milk, Ramen, and spaghetti for the children. While I've had this miserable flu, I've survived off popcorn and lost five pounds.

As one can imagine, being hungry and tired of eating popcorn makes a sick person crabby. By the time our anniversary rolled around, I was in a foul mood. Meanwhile the Sober Husband had a crisis: he keeps a folder of gift ideas for me, and he left it on Caltrain. So, at the very last minute, without any ideas (and without asking me for any), he picked up some beige soup bowls at Pottery Barn as my anniversary present. Meanwhile I'd gotten him something way back in September, which I'd kept hidden.

The bowls irked me. They seemed to be sending me a message: "get in the kitchen and make me some soup." That wasn't a stretch, because I'd made a big pot of a very fussy, pain-in-the-ass-to-make soup a couple of times recently, and the Sober Husband wasn't shy about complaining that there hadn't been enough of it. The first batch I made for a friend who was conducting a deathbed vigil for a dying parent, and I kept out just a bowl's worth for my husband. He complained plentifully about not getting enough of this magical soup, and my response was, "You want me to go down there and take it back from the death vigil house? No way!" The second batch I made after hearing plenty of complaining that there hadn't been enough of the first batch. When I looked at the gift bowls, they seemed to be screaming, "Get outta yer sickbed and start roasting those four different kinds of peppers", and they annoyed me.

My reaction, which I tried to mute, pissed even me off. It led me into a spiral of shame and guilt. "What kind of a horrible person can't accept a gift gracefully?" I pondered. "God, I suck." I apologized to the Sober Husband for not being a more gracious recipient, but he was still upset that I hadn't liked his gift.

He ran out and got me a small bouquet of flowers as an afterthought, to compensate for those bowls, but the drama wasn't over. We scheduled a date night to celebrate, a couple's massage at the Nob Hill Spa, and I cancelled. I was running a fever, and I felt really horrible. On top of feeling awful, I felt it was inappropriate to expose a massage therapist to my germs. The Sober Husband was disappointed and leaned on me to go anyway, which made me feel guilty. We had to pay even though we didn't go due to the Nob Hill Spa's strict cancellation policy. This waste of money made me feel extra terrible.

Then, on top of that, a new level of hell broke out: I asked the Sober Husband if he had another gift for me, because I wanted to know whether to give him the second gift I had for him or not. He got quite angry, because of course he didn't have a damn thing and was still secretly pissed I hadn't liked the bowls. At this point, he said I'd done "emotional violence" to him over the bowls (I really tried to accept them nicely, and I apologized for being unenthusiastic). To make a point to me, he left work early, returned the bowls, and gave me a $600 handcrafted necklace I'd admired before, even though I'd said on the phone, "Don't spend that much. We can't afford it right now."

Of course I can't keep the $600 necklace; it's not in our budget this month (especially since we're paying for those expensive massages we didn't get), and I would never enjoy wearing it. It would forever remind me of my selfishness, inability to accept those stupid soup bowls, and profligacy. And, as Lola and Iris said, "It looks a lot like that other necklace you have." It's not that different from other pieces I already own. So it's turned into a pesky, unpleasant errand, returning the duplicative necklace.

Meanwhile the Sober Husband LOVED one of the presents I gave him (although he rejected the other one as "too scary"). "It's perfect!" he exclaimed, and he wasn't exaggerating. I knew months ago what to get him. "But you ended up without a gift," he said, "and your birthday is coming up. I can't get you a gift for your birthday. I can't." My displeasure with the damn bowls (which I explained weren't a present for me, they were a present for the people who'd be using them to eat soup they wanted me to make them) has given him a present-giving block.

It's a wonder two people, who are still very much in love after thirteen years of marriage, two children, and several mortgages can have such a horrible anniversary. Given that my birthday is traditionally a day of great unhappiness and depression, I can hardly wait for it, especially now I know that my husband plans on getting nothing for me.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

you may find this hard to believe

I quit playing Warcraft, and I've been exercising like a fiend.

No, really. Not joking. I may even change the ancient description at the top of this blog, where it says I don't get enough exercise.

What happened? First, my raid team, which had seemed like a solid group of mature players with good sense of humor, fell apart in a sudden onset of drama. Without a raid team, there didn't seem much point in grinding away on my main character, making money and running the daily dungeons. After all, I'd been playing Warcraft for something like four years, usually for several hours a day. At some point, it's time to take a break.

Sadly I miss it. I've come close to logging back in many times. And I don't have a replacement hobby or game. So what have I been doing to fill my time? Working out and talking to my husband, who says, "You're much more interactive as a wife now that you don't play Warcraft."

Iris, nosily reading over my shoulder as I write, says "Put in there that EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED. Because I have a new school, and I'm learning the trombone." She's also learning Japanese now and has taken a very superior attitude to her little sister, once shaming her by saying, "You don't even know how to label the axes on a linear graph! You can't graph!"

Meanwhile the Sober Husband and little Lola continue the same as ever, except that Lola's school has adopted a new practice of "mindfulness." The children must meditate and write in a "mindfulness journal", drawing pictures of themselves "being mindful", and Iris views it all with suspicion. "She's being taken into a cult!" Lola hates mindfulness, hates it with a passion, but Iris still worries.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

the guilt trip

Tonight, barring acts of God, the Sober Husband and I will leave the children at a friend's house and drop by a party for a while. This troubled the children, even though they love the friend in question.

"I just want to get out of the house sometimes," I said. Turning to the Sober Husband, I said, "You spend all day in Mountain View. So when you come home, you like to stay home, because you're not there as much."

The Sober Husband made a face. "I think you are romanticizing my day." Putting on a fake voice, he ridiculed me extensively: "Oh, look, here I am in glamorous Mountain View! It's a magical land, called Mountain View!"

"What I mean is you get out of the house!"

Lola pointed out, "You can get out of the house. Just take us!" The children agreed that this was the optimal way for me to proceed, to never go anywhere without them.

Iris took it further: "By wanting to go out without us, YOU ARE REJECTING US. You are saying you don't enjoy our company!" Building up a head of steam, she continued in that vein for some time.

"We are rejects!" mourned little Lola.

"God, what a guilt trip!" I said. "I have been a stay-at-home parent for OVER TWELVE YEARS, and I have spent more time with you little freaks than any other child has had with its parent!"

Lola took the point. "I apologize for any trips, guilts, tripping guilts, or guilting trips I have given you at any time."

We drove home with relative parent-child peace, until conflict broke out over a certain child reaching across the center of the backseat into the other child's territory. "And you wonder why I want to go out without you!" I said sharply.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

oh! wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursel's as ithers see us

I went out for drinks the other night with Michele, my longest-term friend in San Francisco. We've known each other since the mid-eighties, when we were both hot young punkish things. As we made our way through a number of drinks down at the Rite Spot, the poet Burns' wish to learn how others perceive us came true for me, with the added bonus of seeing how others perceive my chosen mate, the Sober Husband.

Part I.
Michele and I were holding forth in fine fettle, and a man drinking near us remarked to me, with great emphasis, "I like you. You say what people think but are too polite to say."

I was rather nonplussed at that. I always think of myself as polite. But Michele roared. "That's Carole! She's always so brash!"

Part II. Whenever I get intoxicated and get into a long, drawn-out conversation with a hitherto-unknown man, I always talk about the Sober Husband a lot. It's a reflex. It's largely not needed (it's not as if people hit upon me nowadays with the frequency they did a decade ago), but it's a habit I can't get out of.

Somehow this reflex of mine led to Michele describing the Sober Husband to our new found drinking companion. "He's very generous, makes a lot of money, is socially awkward, and has good hair," she said.

"Good hair?" asked our new friend. "French hair or Italian hair?"

"Jewish hair!"

"But in a Jewfro?" Our friend made a face of disgust.

"No, he cuts it really short."

I was silent during this lively exchange about my life companion's hair, due to a bit of shock over "socially awkward." Is that really one of the first things that comes to mind when one thinks about my husband? I usually start with "tall" or "brilliant."

I couldn't deny that there was some truth to it, though. The Sober Husband himself is quick to admit that he often misses the social nuances in any setting. Sometimes that's handy, as often he completely doesn't notice that someone is hitting on him. For example, at a recent dinner party, a single mother was coming onto him strong, having dismissed me entirely as a featherweight loser based upon my stay-at-home-mother status. I however came roaring back, arguing her into submission in a strong debate about the subject she devotes her life and career to, ending with her trying to save face, murmuring "I should talk to you about this more some other time" while the Sober Husband himself, the subject of this little cerebral pissing match, wandered off obliviously into another room. In the car on the way home I explained the nuances to him: "It was like when guys are trying to see who has the biggest dick, but it was women trying to see who has the biggest brain. I have the biggest brain! I have the biggest brain!"

But yet sometimes the man has James Bond-like savoir faire. I will never forget the time when we stumbled into a very nice restaurant on a cold, rainy night, to be confronted with other cold, wet, hungry couples waiting crankily by the maitre d's station. The Sober Husband, with amazing presence, made his way to the maitre d and understatedly said, "My wife and I would like a table," shaking the maitre d's hand in a manly way. To my surprise, within two minutes the maitre d said, "I've found your reservation" and whisked us off to a very good table, leaving behind all the cold, wet people who'd been there for God knows how long. Laughing, my loved one admitted that he'd secretly passed a folded up twenty to the maitre d' when they shook hands.

I've seen that trick play out on other occasions, the suave passing of the hidden twenty, and it never fails to achieve its goal. "Did they teach that to you, growing up in Chicago?" I've asked. It always leaves me weak at the knees.

And then again he has flashes of brilliance in the field of romance. There was the time he wanted to get me a $1,000 gift certificate at my favorite clothing store, but he instead got it for $1,072.50 to account for sales tax. (Everyone who worked at that store wanted to see who the femme fatale was who had inspired a man to get the single biggest gift certificate ever known there, and every one of them looked at me with disbelief when she found out who it was. I suppose they were expecting Angelina Jolie). And again there was the recent time when I was angry and sulking in the shower, and he climbed into the shower, fully dressed, to embrace me. No other suitor has ever equalled these moments of romantic excellence.

So is the man "socially awkward"? I suppose so, but with areas of surprising genius. And am I rude? Perhaps so, perhaps so.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

the eternal mystery surrounding my friend N.

Right before I went to Burning Man with my friend N., the Sober Husband was puzzling over childcare options for my absence. In general I was not helping him figure things out. Besides the fact that I was pretty damn busy with my last-minute Burning Man preparations, my philosophy was that I have covered 99.9% of the childcare to date, and so he's due. Also, I bore a grudge for a couple of years after I had to find childcare for my own hospitalizations and surgeries when I was seriously, severely, on-the-brink-of-death ill. Finally, I felt that he'd appreciate my regular, everyday presence more if he had to scramble to make up for it. However, I did throw him a bone. I suggested that he ask my friend N. if her new au pair would be available while the two of us were off at Burning Man.

The Sober Husband went off to telephone N. I noticed he was speaking loudly and repeating himself frequently. Eventually he came into the room and reported with disgust, "She isn't going to remember a word of that tomorrow. She was high."

When we said our fond farewells the morning I was leaving, the Sober Husband carefully instructed me, "Don't let N. drive if she is high." He looked me sternly in the eye to emphasize this. "If she's smoking, don't let her drive!"

During our long drive to the desert, N. mentioned, "[Sober Husband] was really strange on the phone the other night. He kept repeating himself."

I burst out laughing. "He said you were 'high as a kite'!"

N. was chagrined. "I was sober!"

It turns out this is a recurrent problem for N. The other day we had lunch together, and N. recounted more incidents of people, like the Sober Husband, mistakenly assuming she was high. "Make sure [Sober Husband] doesn't think I'm always high," she instructed me. "I don't know why everyone thinks I"m such a stoner," she mourned. "Is it because I'm so mellow?"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

having a very hard time

I took in a litter of very small foster kittens, just barely three weeks old, and two of them have died. I sat up from two a.m. 'til six a.m. last night, being with the one named "Yertle" as she passed away. I gave her our last-chance-Lazarus kitten treatment, which consists of subcutaneous fluids, a hotpad, and some Karo syrup on her gums (and which really does work at times to pull a little kitten back from the brink of death), but I knew there really was no hope. I stayed by her side until it was all over, in case having me there was comforting. She had loved me, after all.

Lately it seems I can't get along with anyone and I can't keep my kittens alive. I'm having a very hard time focusing on the positive side in life.

I did drag the rest of the family down to the Occupy San Francisco march, as part of the 99% "National Day of Action", but the children, as always, wore their favorite and completely inappropriate footwear (Oprah flipflops for one and tiny, battered shoes long outgrown and replaced but repeatedly fished out of the trash for the other child), leading to multiple complaints of foot pain. The Sober Husband and I squabbled tiresomely about what the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement are and whether anything was likely to be accomplished, and life seemed so dreary, full of hurting feet and little arguments.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

a rough day, a lousy date

For a variety of reasons, I'm as crabby as all get out today. Last night the Sober Husband and I had one of our semi-occasional date nights. I'd actually planned our favorite date evening-- dinner and a play at one of our favorite small local theatres -- so spirits were running high. However, during the play the Sober Husband got a text message from our babysitter saying that a bug got into the house and that Lola was in hysterics. A later text message said that quite a few bugs were coming into the house, crawling under the door jamb from the backyard.

Up until now this had been a lovely date. The day itself had been dreadful for me (I was stuck at home with Iris, who was running a fever and crabby), and I needed an outing. We'd been revisiting an old plan, to ditch the poor children with some chump and fly off together to Barcelona for a much-needed romantic vacation. We even have enough frequent flier miles for one free ticket to Europe. We'd had a lovely dinner at a place with a lot of romantic significance from our earliest dating days, before the play. But after the text, the Sober Husband immediately became cold, withdrawn, preoccupied, and judgmental. While he was texting during intermission, I bought myself a beer, and he then accused me of drinking too much. "Two and a half beers over four hours?" I said incredulously. "That's too much?" He wanted to get back home to Lola, and I was irked. "It's just a bug. I want to see the end of the play."

Noticing our conflict, a snoopy usher said, in a failure at sotto voce, "She sure is high-strung." I dumped the undrunk beer into the recycling container and stalked off. "Leave me alone!" I hissed at the Sober Husband. "I guess we aren't going to Barcelona, since we can't even get through a three-act Edward Albee play."

At home, I tried to just go to sleep and, as Shakespeare so wisely noted, let sleep knit up the ravell'd sleeve of care, but then the independently wealthy fellow who bought that horrible modern house on our block started up his giant Tesla coil. Evidently the man has hired some Burning Man type to build him a massive Tesla coil, and, being a man of independent means who can sleep whenever he wants, he only enjoys playing with it very late at night, in front of his house (and I happen to know he has a small backyard he could use). On a prior occasion I sent the Sober Husband out to find out the cause of the hellacious racket, only to get the report, "That guy has a giant Tesla coil. It's really cool. We talked about Tesla coils. I told him how I used to build them in college." Last night around midnight I freaked and ran out, in my sushi print pajamas and bare feet, and told my very rich neighbor that "MY ALARM IS GOING OFF IN SIX HOURS" and "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH NOISE YOU ARE MAKING??" He, defensively, said, "[Sober Husband] said it was cool] and "[Sober Husband] didn't say it was too noisy." I wanted to say, "FUCK [SOBER HUSBAND]", but refrained. Instead, in the delicate tones which years of law school and litigation taught me, I informed my rich neighbor that it was far too late to be making such a hellish racket when the rest of us have early-morning obligations, and then I stalked off with as much dignity as possible for a middle-aged, barefoot woman wearing flannel pajamas with little pictures of sushi all over them.

And now today, for no reason, events are conspiring to remind me nonstop of my first marriage. At my gym, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by the Swans was playing, the song which, stupidly enough, my ex said was "our song." Then in the car the Bryan Ferry song played which my ex said was the only thing which could comfort him the first time we broke up. These are both fairly obscure old songs which a person could spend a decade without running across, so the coincidence seemed odd. Then yet another old song with particular sentimental significance from that failed marriage came on the radio. I changed the channel with vehemence, while my own current Tesla-coil loving spouse sat, aloof and unnoticing in the passenger's seat.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

urban life and how it is enhanced by a certain semi-suicidal outlook

Episode I: Not too long ago the Sober Husband, the children and I were walking home from the Castro, when we passed some homeless people on the benches at Harvey Milk plaza. That's a completely normal experience, but what happened next wasn't. One of the street people -- a very unclean and unhappy looking man in his twenties -- got up off the bench and came up to me, pleading. "I really need a hug," he said, fixing me with a really crazed look and ignoring the Sober Husband at my side. I hesitated briefly, and the thought that this guy was going to stab me entered my mind. Ignoring that thought, I opened my arms and let the homeless person hug me. He clung to me gratefully, tearing up and burying his filthy head in my shoulder. After what felt like a very long time I disentangled myself from him. The man said sincerely, 'Thank you! I needed that so much!" and kept calling out his gratitude as we walked away.

"I thought that guy was going to stab you," said the Sober Husband as we walked out of earshot.

"I kinda thought that, too," I said, "but I decided to give him a a chance. After all, I was probably the only maternal figure available to him."

"You're very brave," said the Sober Husband approvingly.

Episode II: Recently I was walking home from working out at the gym, walking up a hilly, quiet, dark residential street. A cab began to follow me, driving slowly up ahead of me, waiting until I got close again, and then jumping ahead a bit. This went on. Obviously the cab wasn't looking for my business, or it would have pulled up next to me and asked if I wanted a cab. It was equally obvious that I was the object of its attention, because there were no other pedestrians on the street. And obviously it wasn't just trolling for business, because just a block over lay a street chock full of restaurants, bars, and cafes which would be full of cab-craving drunks. Clearly something creepy was going on. The prior weekend I'd taken several cabs, and I thought back to that time. I didn't think I'd undertipped or insulted the cabbies or left anything behind (indeed I'd bonded with a Filipino cabby, professing my deep and unswerving love of the Philippines).

During one of the cab's odd leapfrogs of me, a car honked irritably as the cab suddenly stopped to wait for me, without putting on its blinkers. I assessed the situation. I was carrying a largeish, heavy bag, which contained, among other things, a sturdy metal drinking bottle full of water and a large hardback book. I decided that if I swung that bag as hard as I could at either the cab or its driver, the odds were pretty good I could break a side window or a nose, depending. I continued up the hill, holding my bag in a ready position. At the crest of the 17th Street hill, at the big complicated and well-lit intersection, the cab was lying again in wait for me, but as I caught up, heavy bag at the ready, suddenly the cab changed its mind and cut across three lanes of traffic illegally, racing in the opposite direction from me and causing many, many cars to honk crazily in protest. "Huh," I thought. "Changed his mind." I walked down the hill without seeing the cab again.

At home, the Sober Husband was alarmed by this story. "Did you get the cab's number? Let's call the cab company." I hadn't bothered to pay attention to the cab's license plate number; I'd only prepared myself mentally for potential pedestrian-cab violence. The Sober Husband was a little nonplussed at my outlook. I confided, "Urban life is actually easier when you're still just a little bit suicidal."

Sunday, October 02, 2011

just like in the movies

I was upset with the Sober Husband over something he'd said, something rather amazing in its oblivious insensitivity, and I was sulking in the shower. The Sober Husband came in to talk to me around the shower curtain but then realized how upset I was. "I'm coming in," he said, but I refused. "There's not much hot water left, anyhow," I said. "It'll run out by the time you're ready to get in."

He paid no attention to that and, after setting down his iPhone on the sink, climbed into the shower fully dressed and put his arms around me. Of course I couldn't stay upset as he got drenched in his button-down shirt and Levi's.

"It's like something from a rom-com," I said as the shower poured over us and we kissed.

who is the grown-up?

Twelve year-old Iris peered superciliously over my shoulder as I was downloading "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People. "That's a song about shootings at a mall," said Iris judgmentally.

"Actually, it's about school shootings, and I still like it," I said crankily.

Iris sneered.

"I like the song, Iris," I protested, but her disgust was unmoving.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

International Day of the Lola

Unbelievable as it may sound, Lola turns nine today. As the Sober Husband said mournfully, "She's halfway to eighteen."

All praise the Queen of the Passive-Aggressives (as beloved commenter Silliyak once dubbed her)!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

security husbands and impulse ink

I'm just back again, from another solo trip. Even though only a few weeks had gone by since I'd just abandoned my poor husband and children to run away to Burning Man, my first true solo vacation since meeting the Sober Husband, I once again callously left the poor things alone to fly up to Seattle (neglecting the poor old readers as well). This trip was poorly timed, given that poor Lola hadn't even recovered from her mother's Burning Man absence, but I felt obligated to make it. My mother (traveling from Texas), beloved aunt (traveling from Maine), and a friend from high school (flying up from LA) were all going to be in the Seattle area at the same time.

This trip was harder than Burning Man, paradoxically. I found myself missing the temperate influence of the Sober Husband, who truly does keep me on an even keel. I know it seems to so many people that the two of us are a pair of misfits, completely ill-suited to each other and constantly squabbling, but he truly is my security husband. There's a small, odd thing we do, where I put my hand on his bare stomach under his shirt, which calms us both down completely, even if we're so angry either of us could happily sever the other's carotid artery with our own teeth. We've been together now for about fifteen years, squabbling and stomach-touching and rolling our eyes at each other all the way, and for a mouthy independent feminist, I have certainly become pretty damn dependent upon him.

On the bright side, a trip away from my security blanket of a husband gave me a great opportunity to get an impulse tattoo. The man hates tattoos in general and mine in particular, but I really wanted one to cover up some scars. I browsed the art of an adorable young woman in a trendy tattoo shop in the U-district, but it was my mother who got a recommendation for a great old-school tattoo artist from someone in the International District. Luckily this fabulous artist had an open slot on a weekday, and soon I was under the needle.

I learned something which should have been blindingly obvious: I have a much higher pain threshold if I'm being tattooed by a dangerously attractive man, especially one who whispers in my ear while he's working that he's going to tear up the flash art for my tattoo so no one else can ever get that same tattoo again. Usually two-three hours under the needle is more than enough for me, but I spent nearly six hours, getting the new tattoo and also two old ones touched up, and I could have easily done more. "You thought I couldn't get this all done," I smugly bragged, and my artist sweetly said, "Sometimes you're surprised that a soldier walks in the door."

Back home again, the Sober Husband was a good sport about the extra art. "I can tell it makes you happy," he said gallantly. That was a far cry from his reaction several years ago when I got a piece on my right arm, when he was spitting mad. Absence must make the tattoo-hating heart grow fonder.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

quote du jour

Eight year-old Lola says, "I feel like a person in a Guatemala prison right now... but less unhappy."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

the slow, sad re-acclimation

I'm not transitioning into Real Life easily after my sojourn at Burning Man. It's a common problem amongst Burners, a real cliche, but that doesn't make it easier for me.

And could you blame me? Here's a little snapshot of my vacation at Burning Man: I'm sitting in my shade shelter with my friend N., who accompanied me to Burning Man, as well as some new friends we made out on the playa. One of our new friends is massaging my poor, dust-tortured feet with lotion. We're drinking chilled cava. Someone actually asks me to explain the differences between cava, sparkling wine, and champagne (virtually never does anyone want to hear me prattle on about this sort of academic alcohol knowledge). Two good-looking men get into a debate over which one of them should get to fix my bike. One wins by informing the other firmly, "I will fix her bike. You rub her feet." My friend N. laughs and says, "Is there anything else you need, Mistress?" A new acquaintance of ours, a family physician from the Deep South who is at Burning Man for the first time, is speechless and stares, jaw visibly dropping open, as my friends trade places and one goes off to fix my bike while the other spends about forty-five minutes thoroughly massaging my feet. I just take another sip of my cava and lean back more deeply in my chair.

And here's a little snapshot of me back at home: I loaned the Sober Husband my car for the day, so he could attend an important, transit-unfriendly meeting after work, and I'm trying to get between little Lola's school and the pick-up point for the bus from Iris's new school by mass transit. The bus I was counting on vanished from the schedule (I later learned this was due to another one of those horrible Anonymous protests downtown). I call the Sober Husband on my cellphone and vent. "I can't get Iris on time! Muni's fucking me over, and there are no cabs anywhere!" If I don't get there in time, Iris will be driven back down the peninsula to her fancy new school, and I will be assessed a fancy new fee.

A poor, beleaguered middle-aged person can't help but pine for the dusty playa.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

not a cat whisperer

The other day I was standing on the sidewalk and crankily shouting at the children as we arrived home after school (why won't they get out of the car when we come home, without being told one million times to get out of the friggin' car, and why won't they pick up their thousands of tiny possessions? Mysteries of life, mysteries of life). As the children in their snail-like way slowly, slowly, slowly opened their car doors and slowly, slowly, slowly unbuckled their seatbelts and slowly, slowly, slowly picked up their school things, I wandered over to chat to my neighbor, B., who had the air of one who wanted a word with me.

"Are you missing a cat?" he asked.

"No, I saw all three today."

An incredulous pause followed. It is difficult for my neighbor, B., to believe that I have only three cats. True, I have had as many as five permanent cats, and with foster cats, the number has sometimes slipped up into double digits. But these days there are only three cats who live here.

B. gathered his thoughts and took a deep breath. "I think there's a cat breaking into my house again. I sense there's a cat in the attic."

"Well, if it were one of mine, he'd come back out again."

"It won't let me look at it, but I sense it's up there."

A discussion ensued of all of the known neighborhood cats and which one might torment B. by going into his house (my own Henry has been known to spend quality time in B.'s garage). Finally the children were lurching up the steps to the house, squabbling amongst themselves as they went. I reassured B. "Let me know if you want me to come over and look up there for you. If there is a cat there, Iris and I can catch it."

B. shook his head sadly. The children and I went into our own house, where our cats frolicked about our feet.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

wait, wait, wait

Tonight one of my favorite dads from Lola's school said to me, nervously, "If you don't mind, Carole, I'm going to wait to call you until Burning Man wears off. You're kind of scaring me right now."

laughter is not so medicinal around here

After the children finally went to bed, I was sipping a glass of red wine in bed and talking to the Sober Husband. He made an ill-timed witticism which made me guffaw exactly as I was swallowing a big mouthful of wine. A large amount of very tannic red wine went down the wrong way (why couldn't this have happened while I was having an innocuous glass of water?? Or even my usual friggin' sparkling wine?)

I spent the next forty-five minutes hacking, retching, and gasping for air while the Sober Husband reassured the disturbed children. Hours later my throat still burns. It was a really full-bodied red, alas (and funnily enough the label touts this particular wine as "a ballbuster").

After I was able to breathe somewhat normally again, I remembered how Iris uber Alles once read in one of those weird fact compendiums children love so much about how many people die laughing. "I want to die laughing! How do people die laughing?" she'd say, over and over again. The next time she brings that up, I'm going to say, with new insight, "Oh no, you do not. Drowning is so much nicer."

Monday, September 05, 2011

Burning Man

It. Was. Frigging. Amazing.

More later, my dears.

Friday, August 26, 2011

did you ever want to do an interactive art piece at Burning Man without having to go there?

Once again I'm heading out to Burning Man, to pad around barefoot in the dust and marvel at world-class works of art, to make champagne cocktails for my campmates, and hopefully to keep my tent and shade structure erect no matter what storms come. (Meanwhile the Sober Husband, who will be holding down the fort at home, vows that he will turn the house into a model of cleanliness and order. Poor Pigwidgeon the dimwitted parrot will be restricted to her cage, and the children will be performing much more housework than normal. The children quailed at this pronouncement).

I have an offer to make the readers: send me interesting mail at Burning Man, and I will do something artistic with it and document it here, giving you due credit. It's your chance to join the premier interactive performance art festival without having to drive all the way out to the middle of the Nevada Desert, get dirt on your clothes, or risk seeing hippies in person (incidentally despite what "South Park" says, Burning Man isn't a hippie event. It's no Grateful Dead concert; it draws more of a Wired magazine type. It's not surprising to me that Jeff Bezos held a staff retreat there).

Many of you are devoted readers indeed, and how do I reward you? Aside from the occasional "Comment of the Week", I don't. Here's yer chance!

How to play: mail your thing to

Hass (Carole)
c/o BRCPO 2.0 in the 9:00 Plaza
5:30 & D
Black Rock City, NV 89412

The sooner, the better, as Burning Man ends on Labor Day.

love, the DH

p.s. Do not send me anything which would get me arrested. That is all I ask.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

the Apocalypse is here, plus quotes from Iris and Lola

Yesterday the Sober Husband came to me with a grave, drawn expression. "Steve Jobs just resigned," he said in tragic tones.

I understood his angst. The man is a diehard Apple enthusiast, an early adapter to each new fabulous iProduct to come along. "Who will make our next thing?" I said sadly to him. "We had iPod, iPad, and iPhone, but will we ever get a new iThing to love?" We took a moment to honor Steve Jobs's contributions to the world.

At roughly the same time the Sober Husband came in with his somber news, a number of friends of mine had turned to Facebook to express their feelings about Steve Jobs. But that was nothing compared to the newspaper this morning. The Chronicle treated Jobs's retirement as though it were Armageddon. Virtually the entire front page was given over to it, with huge headlines and giant fonts that reminded me a lot of the Pearl Harbor Chronicle front page which hangs on the wall down at my favorite bar. "Look," I said to the Sober Husband. "It's World War III! It's the apocalypse! It's a zombie war! Steve Jobs is stepping down!"

People, how will we survive??

Iris and Lola's bright spirits remain undaunted (although they are so devoted to their iPad, which is known in the household as "Mr. Pad", that they should be mourning). Yesterday we went to the Santa Cruz boardwalk in honor of Iris's birthday, and they rode together in harmony on a variety of nausea-inducing rides. Only the Ferris wheel broke up what was, until then, a day of unprecedented sibling harmony. Iris was upset that Lola had rocked their car. "I didn't mind being stuck up high," she said, "Until Lola was rocking it! She kept rocking it, which is forbidden, and she said, 'I am a bachelor and this is my pad!'"

She got little parental support. "Iris," I said, "What part of, 'Lola is a bachelor, and that is her pad' do you not understand?"

Iris took the point well. She did see the humor in Lola's phrasing. Or maybe she was just in a good mood from getting presents and being taken to Santa Cruz. The day before she'd been quite impatient with little Lola. I give you, without comment, a verbatim partial transcript of a conversation that went on for what felt like to me, the only grownup in the house at the time, many long hours:

Eight year-old Lola: "That is so demented!"

Iris: "Stop using the word 'demented'! You keep saying everything is demented! It gets old!"

'That is a perfectly good word! The government uses it all the time!"

"The government does not call things demented!"

"Yes, it does! All the time!" Lola then listed a variety of things which allegedly the U.S. government has denounced as "demented."

A short silence followed, broken by Lola saying to herself, "No way! No fucking way!"

Iris: "Stop saying that! You're not supposed to say that! Momdude, did you hear what Lola said?"

Lola (with especial relish): "No fucking way! No fucking way!"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

decisions, decisions

As lifetime members of Burning Man, the Sober Husband and I get two tickets every year. This year I'm giving his ticket to our friend N., who was on the fence about going to Burning Man until the event sold out. Then she realized she did want to run away from her responsibilities to pad around in the dust but she thought it was too late, and I was happy to be able to inform her that I still had the extra ticket.

However, people are getting more and more creative in their attempts to wheedle tickets out of those of us who have them. A very special offer has been passed along to me, for my consideration:
In exchange for your Burning Man ticket, I offer you the extraordinary experience of having your DNA activated to its full energetic potential, up to 24 strands, your youth and vitality chromosomes activated, your abundance gene activated, your death gene de-activated and reimprinted with the pattern of immortality, your enchantment gene activated (creates harmonious relationships with anyone and everyone you wish), and your manifestation gene activated (enhances ability to create instantaneously by the power of intention). I can also deactivate and repattern any limiting belief system that is keeping you from experiencing all of the love, joy, success, and goodness you desire. This will take 2 to 3 hours, and will be permanent.

I am not fooling around. Since I've learned to do these things and practiced them on myself, my life has accelerated like a rocketship. My perception of reality has deepened, broadened, and intensified for the better, and I have more energy and stamina than I ever imagined. The activation of our DNA is a scientifically proven thing, and is happening gradually planetwide, but with the consciously focused techniques that I practice, you can put yourself on the leading edge of human evolution.

I am happy to share my gifts with you in exchange for the extraordinary opportunity to experience the magical mystical field of manifestation on the playa. I think that's a pretty good trade, don't you?
Ah, decisions, decisions. Burning Man or DNA activated to its full energetic potential and death gene de-activated?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

it is a poor workman who blames her tools

On Saturday the Sober Husband decided to take my knives to be sharpened. It had been a very long time since I'd had them professionally sharpened, and they needed it. The complication was that I was cooking for a dinner party that night, but for whatever reasons of his own, the Sober Husband was hellbound on sharpening the knives that very day.

I put off making the dishes that required chopping and instead made the cake while he and the knives were gone. After he came back, I moved on to the chopping. Right away I got little cuts on three fingertips. I had never touched a knife so sharp before. The professional sharpening service I'd used before didn't do anything like this. I moved on to mincing an onion. It's my habit when chopping up something fine to rest my left hand along the top of my big chef's knife, to work as a counterbalance to the heavy handle. I've never before, in decades of cooking and mincing a variety of things, hurt my left hand chopping, but then again I'd never worked with a knife fresh from Saucy Joe's mobile knifesharpening service. As I minced, the tip of the knife, sharp as a barb, went straight into my left hand, very deep into the palm. I shouted in pain. I pulled the knife out, and I shouted again.

I ran over to the sink. It hurt like hell washing my hand, the soap and water going into the inside of my hand where nothing should ever enter. I shouted, this time out of drama-queenness, until my husband finally got tired of listening to the hellish racket and came down. "I stabbed myself!" I said. "Knives should never be this sharp." I showed him my wound. It was not very long, but it was very deep. It was bleeding very heavily.

After wrapping the poor hand in a clean dishcloth, I sat on the couch and rested at the Sober Husband's insistence. "But I have to keep cooking," I said plaintively. "The guests will understand," he said firmly. "We can call for takeout or something." I took an ibuprofen. It took a very long time for the bleeding to stop. Lola ostentatiously brought me a glass of ice water, and after the bleeding finally stopped, I used the glass of ice water to ice my hand.

At this point, I looked at my hand somewhat objectively. The wound wasn't long enough for more than one or two stitches, really. There wasn't much point in going to have it sewn up. The question was more about what had happened inside the hand. I didn't think the flesh inside the hand was supposed to have knives slipping into it, and the flesh of my palm was swelling up. But what would any doctor do I could see on a Sunday afternoon do? Probably nothing, after I'd sat around waiting for hours. And I knew from reading chefs' memoirs that real, true cooks mutilate themselves all the time and don't even step out of the kitchen. I went back to work and finished all the food for the dinner party.

Monday, August 08, 2011

different perspectives

The leader from my Warcraft raid wrote a description of the members of our team. I was surprised to see myself described as "the maternal figure of the team. She is quiet, for the most part, good natured, willing to help and encourage people, and someone you can go to with issues and will offer a listening ear." I'm much more accustomed to hearing myself described as "bitchy" than "quiet and good-natured." In my litigator days, I was often called "a pitbull."

Later I asked eleven year-old Iris uber Alles, "How would you describe me?"

She thought. "I'd say, 'Interested in cats, cooks a lot, plays a lot of Warcraft, good at sewing...'"

I cut her off. "That describes my interests, but not me! My personality. Like, you could say 'bitchy' or 'sweet.' It's okay to say something that's not too nice; I'm asking for it! Or something nice, like 'caring and shy.'" We took a moment to laugh about the time her little sister described the two of them as "caring and shy" and I, their hellbound mother, laughed so hard I nearly choked.

Iris thought again. "I'd say, 'Weird but surprisingly awesome.'"

"Well, the leader of my raid group described me as 'the maternal figure of the group.'"

Iris laughed uproariously. "You're the mother of the group?" Laughing harder and harder, she choked out, "YOU'RE the mother of the group? You? You? You're the MOTHER?"

My own child does not view me as a maternal figure.

sleeping with the fishes

On Saturday we did something I've been wanting to do for years: we slept with the fishes as part of the Aquarium of the Bay's Shark Week. Iris and Lola and I love the Aquarium of the Bay very, very much. When Lola was a little toddler, she became besotted with the leopard sharks and sevengill sharks there, which she called respectively "Giraffey" and "Biggy." Over and over again she'd beg me to take her and on each visit, she'd cry ecstatically "Biggy! Giraffey!" at each and every sevengill and leopard shark which passed by.

The best part of the A. of the B. is the tunnel: you are surrounded by fish-filled water on three sides, as you glide through on a moving walkway. The fish have so much room to move around, and there are so many of them in this huge tank designed to replicate the San Francisco Bay. I knew that you could rent out the aquarium for the night for a largeish sum, and I had toyed with the idea of trying to organize parents to do it with me, but I'd never made a stab at gathering the funds. Then this year I was lucky enough to score us spots at the Aquarium's Shark Week sleepover.

As usual, the Sober Husband was game but reserved and not particularly enthusiastic. We started the evening with him slightly pissed off at me, as I was busy playing the World of Warcraft when he wanted me to help sort out the bedding. I defended myself. "It's a big moment in my guild, give me a minute! People have been working on this for months!" Two of the players from my guild got married in Stormwind Cathedral, which was pretty tricky given that we are Horde and Stormwind is the human capital. Hundreds of players worked together to secure the cathedral and to hold it, while others in tuxedos and party dresses listened to the solemn vows at the altar. As I tried to listen to the ceremony and the warnings over our live chat that the alliance players were getting closer to breaking through, the Sober Husband got sarcastic over my lack of caring about our shortage of sleeping bags. "Just two minutes!" I hissed.

I closed up my computer as soon as the bridal party started to file out of the cathedral, and I volunteered to go without a sleeping bag myself. "I'll wear my cat," I said, referring to my thick, heavy cat costume pajamas complete with long tail and hood with ears. "I won't need a sleeping bag." We gathered up some blankets, the two air mattresses (dating from that pre-child era where the Sober Husband and I used to go camping together), and pillows.

My one concern had been that the event might be overcrowded and noisy. I was really happy to see that there was a small, reasonable number of families. Evidently the A. of the B. knows what it is doing with these events. Even more happily, all of the children were charming and well-behaved.

Down at the A. of the B., things got off to a slowish start. We spent much of the evening in a conference room, being educated about sharks by a pair of lively naturalists and eating cheese pizza. While I was examining a display of shark teeth, a small child confided in me that he had once discovered a piece of poop in a swimming pool. Things picked up around 9:00, and we spent two hours going around the aquarium when it was virtually empty and so quiet. This was amazing for us. I love that place so much, and normally the crowds get you rushing along. With no pressure, you could really stand and gaze at the moon jellies (I'd never noticed before that there are a few mutant moon jellies, with six stomaches instead of the regulation four). Iris uber Alles most enjoyed a lot of time with the chinchillas, who were highly lively at night, as opposed to during the day, when they generally just gaze out blearily at the visitors.

Around eleven we changed into our pajamas. A sweet little girl was taken with awe and amazement by my cat outfit, and I waved my tail at her. One of the other adults was less charmed and ostentatiously whispered about me. Then we went down to the tunnel, carrying only our bedding, and settled in for the night. Virtually everyone wanted to sleep in the part where the sharks live, which was literally packed solid with no room to spare. Meanwhile we had the entire first half of the fish tunnel to ourselves entirely. The Sober Husband was particularly taken by the huge deep sea bass, while Iris and I loved the schools of anchovies (so perfect, so beautiful. It was seeing these lovely fish at the A. of the B. years ago which got me to swear off eating seafood once again).

Self-sacrificing parents as always, we gave the children the inflatable camping mattresses, and the Sober Husband and I bunked down on the hard ground. Needless to say sleep was scanty. However, lying awake in the night, gazing up at the shadows of passing fish is really charming. I felt like I was in a nature documentary.

The next morning as we went up to get dressed and have breakfast, a naturalist asked little Lola what she had learned, no doubt expecting some nugget about sharks. Instead Lola said, "I learned to always carry the pillows." She demonstrated how she was able to loll her head onto the pile of pillows in her arms.

Upstairs I skipped the bagels and muffins and gathered up my clothes. Somehow while walking from the conference room through the gift shop to the bathroom, I dropped my clean underpants. I immediately retraced my steps, but the underwear was gone. I asked a janitor if he'd found any clothes, but no. "Someone picked them up!" I said to the Sober Husband. "I retraced my steps within two minutes!"

He looked at me like I were crazy. "Of course they would throw them away, like any normal person would."

"I think any normal person, knowing people were spending the night here, would pick up a piece of clean clothing and ask if anyone dropped it!" I hissed.

I asked him to see if they'd been turned in while I retraced my steps again. He didn't, but he did check around our luggage and confirmed that I had indeed lost my underwear, which I already knew. I asked a naturalist if anyone had turned in any clothing. "What kind of clothing?" Swallowing my embarrassment, I said, "A pair of black underpants with skulls all over them." Diplomatically she visibly choked back her laughter. Later she reported that none of the staff had had anything turned in.

A friendly fellow could see I'd lost something and asked. I explained what had happened, and he said sympathetically, "Someone must have picked them up and kept them. That's sick." He shook his head sadly. Meanwhile my own husband had no sympathy. "I don't see why you're reacting this way."

"I think any normal person who dropped something and immediately retraced their steps would be annoyed," I said. "Plus, they're my favorites."

I gave up and went along to the morning's activity, feeding the animals in the touch pool. The bat rays were so charismatic, raising their heads high out of the water to peer at us. We oohed and ahhed. One looked like it was going to jump out at me, and my friendly acquaintance said, "He's going to kiss you!" The naturalist in charge of feeding that room of animals distributed an assortment of weird thawed things for us to feed the skates and rays. I got a little squid to drop in; the children got bits of frozen fish. I forgot my missing underpants in the happiness of the moment.

Later we waited until everyone else took their luggage, in case those panties (which the Sober Husband was sick and tired of hearing about) and Lola's little flashlight, which had also gone missing, turned up. Another mother said to me, slightly condescendingly, "I'll bet someone just thought they were theirs." She looked me up and down. "After all, a lot of people have black cotton underwear. I have a lot myself." I could see where her guess came from, as I was wearing a black cotton dress over black cotton leggings with a black cotton hoodie, but she was wrong, and I pointed it out. "Actually, they weren't just black. They had Day of the Dead skulls all over them." She was visibly deflated. "Yeah, I guess that is different."

Afterwards we dragged our things over to the end of Pier 39 to watch the sea lions before going home. It was cold and foggy, the best weather for massive sea lions, and they were cavorting and snapping at each other and diving around. It was enchanting... until a very large sea lion, poised right at the closed dock to Pier 39, enjoyed a voluminous flow of liquid excrement. All the tourists recoiled and fled. Iris in particular was disgusted and disturbed. "I really wish I hadn't seen that," she said, shuddering. "And it smelled so bad. Why couldn't he do that underwater?"

Final judgment by all: if you ever have the chance to spend the night at the Aquarium of the Bay take it. But don't bring your favorite underpants.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

what they talk about when I'm not there

The other day the children and I were at a cafe, and eleven year-old Iris left the table for a while. When she returned, she asked her little sister and I what we talked about while she was gone. The truth was that we hadn't said anything of any substance, but Iris wasn't sure she was was getting the full truth. "I want to know what you people said when I'm not there," she said crankily. "I always want to know what people talk about when I'm not around."

"Usually we talk about Lola," said Lola modestly. I agreed.

Turning the tables, I asked the children, "You two talk a lot, and then you get real quiet when I come around. What do you guys talk about when I'm not there?"

Lola was happy to answer that. "Usually we talk about doughnuts and pizza and how they are basically the same thing." Nonplussed I looked at Iris. "It's true, we really do talk a lot about that," she confirmed.

Lola merrily continued. "They really are the same thing, but sometimes people confuse it. Like when someone who usually gets pizza goes to Dunkin Donuts. That confuses the issue of pizza and doughnuts being the same in ways that words can't explain, that you would need a graph to show."

Monday, August 01, 2011

breaking parrot news

Pigwidgeon, our irritatingly stupid and slow-to-talk African grey parrot, has learned to make the sound the microwave uses to tell you that your food is done. So now I can have the experience of having a little microwave on my shoulder, next to my ear.

Miley Cyrus's new tattoo

Miley Cyrus had an equals sign tattooed on her ring finger, as a sign of support for the gay marriage movement.

I strongly believe that gay people should have all the same rights and obligations that hets do, including marriage, and I'm fairly heavily tattooed, but this leaves me nonplussed. It's not the tattoo itself; it's the quality and the fact that she already has another crappy little black tattoo on the same hand. The girl's not even legal drinking age yet, and she's already covering herself in poorly done little tattoos. With all the money and fame she enjoys, can't she get a decent tattoo? She should be able to have Ed Hardy himself (and no matter what you think of his clothing line, the man was rightfully worshipped as a tattoo artist back in the Modern Primitives day) fly out to her home to make her a really nice piece of art, instead of this jailhouse-looking thing. Do Miley and Tish sit around giving each other tattoos in the evenings, like a pair of cellmates?

Friday, July 29, 2011

win a trip to Burning Man

My theme camp is raffling off a ticket to Burning Man. Ten dollars enters you into this raffle... which is a pretty damn good deal as the tickets are sold out and are currently selling at well over a thousand dollars a piece. This online raffle will shut down in one week, and there are other fabulous prizes as well.

Help the poor old Drunken Housewife's cohorts. We're trying to raise money to add on to our bar, transport our camp to the desert, and improve what was already last year a lovely oasis. Our camp is based in part on the World of Warcraft, and we'll be giving out quests again this year. Earn fabulous rewards, drink intoxicating cocktails... it's all so damn magical and gives yer Drunken Housewife a rare opportunity to abandon her children, husband, parrots, and cats for a moment of irresponsibility and joy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

yet another parroting fail

I read recently that a good way of disciplining a parrot is to flick the parrot on the beak with a finger. The rationale is that in the wild, the alpha parrots bite the other parrots on the beak to express disapproval of their behavior. I was happy to read this tip, as disciplining parrots is very difficult. The sorts of disapproval so potent to the children (particularly forceful stares, pointed remarks, threatening the withdrawal of video privileges) are meaningless to a parrot. Shouting at a parrot is stupid, as parrots love nothing more than noise. Swearing at a parrot is a terrible idea, as parrots who learn to swear are unpopular and often cannot find new homes if need be.

The only real parrot-discipline tactic we have is time-outs in the cage, and that only works if you and the parrot are both near the cage at the moment of parrot naughtiness. If you're upstairs when the parrot misbehaves, plenty of time elapses before you get the poorly behaved bird downstairs and into the time-out, and with a less-intelligent parrot like Piggle, it's dubious she understood what caused the confinement.

Another technique for getting parrots to submit to a person's authority is to physically tower over the bird. Like flicking the beak, this is also based upon the psychology of the species, as parrots perch according to pecking order, with the alpha bird always up top. But again success is dependent upon where the parrot misbehaved. While I have been known to climb on top of a chair or even a table to make a point to our green parrot, there isn't always a suitable piece of furniture nearby.

So while I would never strike a pet (and I've never spanked either Iris or Lola), a flick on the hard shell of the beak struck me as potentially a good idea, and I resolved to try it. This morning Piggle flew from her tree over onto the bed before I'd gotten up. She was rowdy and unpleasant, being a bit rough, and I flicked her on the beak with my finger. She immediately pecked me on my nose. I flicked her on the beak again. She pecked me harder on my nose. There was then an unpleasant standoff, both of us glaring at each other.

Evidently parrots do indeed naturally bite each other on the beak to express disapproval, and evidently Piggle thinks I'm in need of some beak-biting discipline. This all reminded me of a bad parenting cliche, spanking a child to punish them for having hit another child, all the while shouting, "I don't know where you picked up that behavior!"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

a conversation with Lola is like being on drugs

"My breath smells like Izze," said little Lola pensively as she finished her Izze mandarin soda. She blew out her breath in a gust. Her thoughts continuing on this track, Lola babbled happily: "You know what? Izze smells like Izze!"

Lola's older sister and mother were happy to humiliate poor little Lola for this rather obvious remark, and Lola defended herself. "It's the perkiness! I'm suffering from perkiness! It's making me say things like that!"

a day of British culture

Here in San Francisco, everyone but us regularly flocks to Stern Grove for free entertainment on summer Sundays: concerts or dance performances. In particular the annual ballet and symphony performances are insanely popular. In the past I'd brought up going to Stern Grove shows, and the Sober Husband was always dismissive. "Save those seats for people who can't pay to go," he said. But on Sunday it was one of my favorite bands from the eighties, the English Beat.

There was a considerable lack of enthusiasm in the air when I suggested a trip to Stern Grove. "Who is this again?" and "I wanted to go to Harry Potter today" were the main responses. Lola had a better offer, to spend the day with her best friend from preschool.

Rallying the troops, I bullied them into getting dressed and packing up a blanket, some books, drinks, fresh bread, and some nice Havarti. Poor Iris was discovered moping in front of a computer, sadly reading online reviews of the new Harry Potter film, and I energized her only by going on Fandango and buying some tickets for an evening show.

We got to Stern Grove long after much of it had been occupied by the more industrious. We climbed up the hill behind the performance lawn and scrabbled for a bit of dirt to call our own. Feeling optimistic, I called a steeply slanted spot with a nice view, but the more realistic Sober Husband refused. "It's too angled. We can't sit there." We found a surprisingly flat spot no one else had taken, right behind a huge tree. What no one else had realized is that if you just leaned a bit, you had a fabulous view of the stage. We were happy.

The hours went by, with more people streaming in. Iris was deeply envious of a man down the hill who'd brought a hammock and tied it to some trees. Soon we were packed in solid. Finally the English Beat took the stage. They had a set which refreshingly included each and every one of their hits, unlike other bands who refuse to play their most beloved songs on the grounds that they're sick of playing those same damn songs over and over again, year after year. But the man on my right, who'd been drinking wine all afternoon, was crazy-making. He sat, silent and perfectly behaved, between each and every song, but inevitably during each and every song, he'd start lifting a nearby toddler up repeatedly, shouting to the toddler every time he swung him up crazily overhead. So every time a song started, I would recognize it and be filled with joy, relax and smile and relish the music... until this annoying man started shouting to his toddler. Then I would grind my teeth together in silent rage.

"This is why we don't come to this," I hissed at the Sober Husband. "Here we are sitting in the dirt, with this drunken guy making a hellish racket during all the songs!"

"That doesn't happen at the ballet," he agreed.

"Yes, and there, you get a seat all to yourself, and a little piece of paper proving it's yours in case someone else tries to sit there. And a little zone of space."

"And you don't have to go hours early."

During my very favorite songs I hopped up to dance, and oddly enough my getting up caused my annoying neighbor to hop up to dance, along with a friend of his (while meanwhile their wives sat, talking, sometimes quite loudly, to each other and ignoring the show for the most part). Of course the Sober Husband and Iris stood up as well to humor me, so this meant every time I was moved to jump to my feet, a big clot of us in that section were dancing on the slanted hillside. "Look," I hissed at the Sober Husband. "I control them! They don't get up and dance unless I do."

He pointed out another phenomenon. "Look over there. It's other middle-aged mommies making their tweens enjoy the music!" He was right. There were a sizable number of women in their forties, who had obviously loved the Beat back in the day, and many of them were actually forcing their own reluctant daughters to dance. Somehow it was a female-only phenomenon: there weren't any middle-aged ska dads or male tweens partaking in this odd parent-child ritual. We watched one gray-haired mother, who was obviously extremely happy, forcibly waving her miserable tween's arms to the music. "I don't insist Iris like this," I said in my own defense. "As long as she's not actively complaining, that's all I ask."

"You bribed me with Harry Potter tickets! That's all I needed," said Iris smugly.

Later I mused, "It's our day of British culture. First the British music of the eighties, and now some current British cinema. Maybe we can watch some 'Dr. Who' later to top it all off."

"Yes! And we need some British candy!" agreed Iris, who is an aficionado of European sweets. "I've been very good, I need chocolate!"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wow! what a great haiku man! (by Iris)

So I'm going to this really awesome art camp, which is two weeks long and on Friday we go on a field trip to some destination in Golden Gate Park, and this Friday my group went to the Japanese tea garden, and we sketched different stuff we saw. I wanted to sketch the koi pond (duh) and it doesn't have any benches around it so I went to the top of the moon bridge to get the best view. The moon bridge is one of the biggest tourist attractions in San Francisco, so there are always tourists climbing it. In case you have not heard of it; here is a picture.

As you can see, it is "quite tall." (English accent deployed)

While I was sitting there, three English guys who must have been in their early 20's who must have been high on something were "inspired" by the beauty of the park. So inspired, in fact, that one decided to write a haiku--

Weird English guy #1: I am on a quite tall bridge. It is cold outside. The End.
Weird English guy #2: Whoa, dude, that's awesome. What a great haiku, man!
Weird English guy #3: Wow, you should be a poet, man, wow!

You'll notice it isn't even the right number of syllables. More proof they must have been high on something.


Passive agressive notes is arguably the funniest website of all time. The funniest thing on there must logically be the arguably funniest thing on the internet. So look at this!!!!!
Ted's goddamn fucking rice! Stay the fuck away from my goddamn fucking rice! HAHAHAHA