Thursday, October 30, 2008

Did you know ...

that it is possible to hiccup while you sleep?

Sam was sleepy. Very sleepy.

Sam had hiccups. The mean, painful sort.

I gave him water. Salty crackers.

Nothing helped.

Sam fell asleep.

Sam snored.

Sam snored, then hiccuped loud like a seal, then snored some more. Repeat.

Ultimately, the man slept, snored, and hiccuped on the couch.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


This morning I was trying to convince myself to get up for church. Sometimes (Okay, all the time.) it's sort of hard to get up because it's so early and Sam is still sleeping and he's wrapped up in our yellow blanket so he looks like a big human-banana and I just want to stay next to him and be a banana, too.

But anyway, so I was trying to convince myself to get up, and found myself listening to the sound of my eyelids opening and closing. (Do your eyelids make a little sound when they open/close?) I was half asleep, so the sound sent me back to the first time I found out they made a sound: in an old boyfriend's car, after a movie, in the parking lot where we sat for several hours because his car wouldn't start. We were sort of snuggling, but not really, but close enough for him to say, "What's that noise?" When we figured out it was my eyelids, I think it really freaked him out. I mean, in my memory, I think he made me sit on the other side of the car because the sound was so irritating/distracting.

So that memory was so weird that I started remembering other things about dating this man. It was in Denver, my junior year of high school. For various reasons, I was very depressed in Denver. So depressed that I slept most of the time and barely ate. I mean, barely. I lost 30 pounds in 3 months. (If only I could manage to have that brand of depression again. Now I have stuff-my-face depression. I'm so lucky.) And somewhere in there, I started dating this odd man, with an odd name, which we will pretend is Buddy, for the sake of a little anonymity.

Here are things I remembered this morning about dating Buddy, in no particular order: Buddy whispering in my ear "You sing like an angel." Buddy picking me up from school in a pair of bright maroon-ish pants and wrinkly yellow shirt with a huge chocolate ice cream stain down the front. Buddy leaving messages on my answering machine while I was at school so I got to listen to them all when I got home. Buddy kissing me with slobbering kisses all over my face, removing my makeup. Feeling, after hanging out with Buddy, that if anyone ever touched me again--held my hand, put their arm around me, slobbered me with kisses--I would die, or at least vomit. Taking romantic pictures of Buddy and his ex-girlfriend in the snow. (Yes, we were dating at the time. Yes, it was her idea that the pictures be taken, his idea that I be the one to take them.) Reading the lyrics of a sappy Alanis Morrisette song to Buddy over the phone, most sincerely ("You held your breath, and the door for meeee...."). Buddy's glittery T-shirt, the way he drank an entire pitcher of juice in three minutes whenever I made one, the way he didn't cut his finger nails often enough, the way his voice sounded when he told me over the phone that he had kissed the ex-girlfriend and didn't feel bad about it, so, well, sorry.

All of this, and three supremely embarrassing things that still embarrass me to think of:

a. Buddy once insisted that I had a spot of spaghetti sauce on my chin. Insisted and insisted. It was, of course, a zit.

b. Once, when Buddy was at our house, my mother made me drink this super healthy green grassy drink. She was worried because I never ate anything and was trying to insist on some nutrients. This stuff wasn't even wheat grass, which she's made me drink on other occasions. It was worse: imagine mowing your lawn, blending the grass clippings up in a blender with some twigs and leaves mixed in, and drinking that. So, Buddy was over, I had to drink this generous portion of the green drink. I took a swig, and proceeded to spew it all over the kitchen table. With a horrible retching sound escaping my throat, and the green nastiness dripping elegantly off the sides of the table.

c. Buddy was over once, and hungry for lunch. I made him an avocado sandwich, cut it like butterfly wings, and presented it to him. He found eight (count them: EIGHT) of the long hairs of my head in that sandwich. Not eating much makes your hair fall out, apparently.

Wow. They all involve food. No wonder I didn't have an appetite.

But I just did an experiment. Sam's eyelids don't make sounds. And, he says, he can't hear mine. What a relief.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

His, Mine, Ours.

Here's Sam and yours truly in front of the Bunker Hill Monument.
Here are pretty trees above a cemetery in the North End.

And here is Tadzio, Sam's kitty. He did not like the new young kitties showing up. He could tell as SOON as they walked through the door, and he started up the hiss-fest. But, actually, now, he's pretty chill. Meatsock hisses and hisses him, and he just waits for him to shut up so he can get by and get the cat food. Also, and here's the real bonus: he likes me more now. I must be the least of all the recently-added evils, but suddenly he lets me pet him and he'll sit on the bed when I'm in it and just generally doesn't give me evil eyes like he's always done. This is a miracle.

These are my kitties. They did not like the airport. Meatsock peed on himself, which made the ride home in the car REALLY fragrant and fun. And he pretty much cried from the time my parents left the house until Sam got done scrubbing him down with a hot and soapy washcloth. All of the cats slunk around that first night: terrified, angry, hissing, growling deep in their throats. Meaty couldn't even stop growling long enough to eat food, the poor little man. Sprouty, on the other hand, was dignified for the most part. Ever the lady, she just found a little corner to crouch down in and waited out the night. The next day she felt comfortable, and she's pretty much been curled like this ever since, in a perfect circle on my parents' suitcase. Tadzio's been spending the night in our room, and my cats have been spending the night in my parents' bed in the guest room. How my parents became people that would allow cats in their bed can only be explained by my cats' remarkable charm.

Overall, I'd say our cat-family is adjusting ridiculously well. We bought this special stuff that's a chemical simulation of facial pheremones, and we've been spraying that all around. It's supposed to make them comfortable in a new environment. If that's working as good as it seems to work, I'm planning on using it as perfume every time I go to a scary social gathering. Anyway, I'm glad they're here. I can't tell you how nice it is to come home and see my babies and wake them up and pet them and rub their bellies and snuggle them. I am much happier with my cats in the world.

And my parents. It's been wonderful having them in town. Mostly we've done our favorite things to do: take walks, eat yummy healthy food, and read books. We took them out for macrobiotic food in Waltham, for pho at a vietnamese place, and Sam made white bean soup one night and flounder another. I made a big batch of the healthy cookies. We went on the Freedom Trail around downtown Boston. I took them out to see the school I teach at. And all of the time in between that stuff, we've been reading and reading and talking about books and politics and podcasts.

I love these people. I wish I could keep them here like my kitties. I would put their food in a purple bowl and give them a place to sleep. If only that was enough.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Poor Kitties. My Poor Parents.

My parents are currently in New York at JFK airport. They've been there for six hours, and counting.

Worse still, they have my cats.

Because we wanted Sam's kitty to have a chance to stake out his territory before my cats arrived, Sprouty and Meatsock stayed with my parents. They're happy there, showered with attention: my dad lets them attack his feet while he reads, my mom feeds them seaweed (which they LOVE, oddly enough), and they get to play in the backyard and catch birds. (Then they bring the birds inside to show my parents, and get even MORE attention.) So the plan was for my parents to come out and visit and deliver the creatures.

This morning they flew from Salt Lake to New York fine, but the flight they were booked on from there to here was cancelled. They were standby for a 7pm flight, but that didn't work out. So they are stuck there until 10:30.

My parents are frazzled and bored enough. Imagine my cats. They're stuck in these little bags; they haven't eaten since 6pm yesterday (as a precaution against accidents); they're high as kites on tranquilizers, and they're not happy. They're frantic, actually. Sprout, the mama, is a dignified soul. She's been sitting quietly in her little black bag. The baby, on the other hand, is not as dignified. He's been crying, downright moaning, my mother says. They're drawing all sorts of attention from passersby.

They tried to feed them a tuna sandwich, by they're both so high that they can't figure out how to chew. And still Meatsock cries. My mom said at one point he was on my dad's lap, on his back like a baby, with his mouth hanging open while my dad scratched his belly. Did I mention this was in the middle of JFK airport? Check out the cat people.

I'll just be glad when they're all here, safe in my little house. I will give my kitties some cat food and show them their litter box (which we've set up with a room divider so it's like their own little bathroom) and scratch they're necks and give them kisses and introduce them to their new brother Tadzio. (They won't like the Tadzio part any more than he will.) And I will give my parents clean towels and show them the bathtub and the warm bed with clean sheets and in the morning I will feed them blueberry yogurt and apples.

I don't like airplanes or airlines or airports. I like kitties and parents and here with me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We Walked, New Winglandly.

Sam and I took a wee walk today, around a reservoir near our house. I've gone there a few times, and for some reason, that place feels more New Englandy than any other place I've been. So I always end up walking around, chanting in my head, "New Englandy, New Englandy, New Englandy." Which inevietably leads to remembering a principle of linguisitics that Sam told me about, which is that it's nigh unto impossible to actually say New England, with a real E. Our tongues blend the words together so that, despite our best intentions, we say New Wingland. Try it. Bet you can't say Eng.

So this time I took some pictures, because the fall colors are really starting to pop. Pretty, no? We're liking this place more and more. Especially since this week has shown us temperatures that hovered around 70. Didn't Utah get SNOW today? Bless your frosted hearts.

My favorite building on the path--an old waterworks building, which is now a museum.
It was sunny, so Sam protected his head.
Then, he got silly, as he's wont to do.
Then, we posed with the creeping blood-red vines.
Handsome bloke, no?

You can see downtown Boston from this side of the water. Here it's covered by the blushing botanicals.
There's a little yellow house that I'm dying to live in. Can you spot it? Sam says he'll buy me one just like it some day as long as I'll let him board up the windows against zombie attacks. He worries a lot about zombie attacks.

A fuller view of the bleeding vines.
A shot that's attempting to be arty, but is not so arty because my camera's not a diva and I don't have skillz. Still, you get the idea.

Cookies? No Sugar, Flour, Butter? Ummm.

Found a recipe for "healthy" cookies on 101 Cookbooks. No sugar, flour, butter. It calls for coconut oil, so it's not 100% healthy, per se. But apparently coconut oil is all the rage, now? It's supposed to be good for you in all these significant ways, which is different than I'd heard before. But it's pleasant and ever so slightly nutty and actually doesn't really taste coconutty, so I plan on trying it in other stuff, too.

It took me about two weeks to find all the ingredients. We went to Whole Foods for them. That place happens to be the closest grocery store to our house, and also happens to be this uber-snoody, pricey, gorgeously wonderful place. And it was shaping up to cost me about $30 bucks for the ingredients. When we were at Whole Snoods for the cookies, it had only been a week since I'd run in to just get a few things, and came out with a FEW things and a fat, horrifying amount at the bottom of my receipt. I can't even mention that number because it hurts me. I ended up putting all the ingredients back and leaving in a huff. Anyway, this stuff (especially the coconut oil and almonds for almond meal) is more reasonable at regular grocery stores that have a fancy section.

Most importantly, I made them today, and, mmmmmmm is my verdict. I took some out on a plate to Sam, and he was back in the kitchen in about thirty seconds, saying only, "More cookies," and heading for the heaping plate by the oven. He likes, me thinks. I like. Your turn.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mr Sam and the Fiasco of the Slacks

In news that has nothing to do with the slacks, I can hear a big flock of geese out my window, honking, announcing their flight South. And yesterday, the Sam and I went to the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plains. Pretty pretty. Some pictures. The first one represents our best attempts to take a picture of ourselves. Notice all the trees we managed to include ...

Now, the fiasco: This morning Sam tried to wear a pair of black pants to work. He prefers jeans, but a while back I bought him a nice shiny new pair from Kohl's and I've been whining a little that he hadn't worn them much, especially since they've caused a fair bit of hassle. (No, they aren't actually shiny.)

What happened was, I bought the pants. And they were on clearance, so I got the NICER pair, because my bargain hunting sometimes frightens Sam. I brought them home and presented them triumphantly, like a caveman presenting his woolly mammoth kill.

Now. When I get new clothes, even when I'm the one who bought them and tried them on in the store, I try them on again with the clothes I have at home, check out my butt in the mirror, make sure everything's a-okay. If the clothes suddenly seem less then perfect, if my butt feels unflattered, no problem. I simply return the clothes. Returning clothes is almost more fun than buying them in the first place, when you're a deja. I get to take them back and get DIFFERENT clothes, with money that feels free because I spent it yesterday. This is how I shop: returning about 50-75% of what I get on the first run. It pleases me.

I'm learning this is not Sam's way, and perhaps it's not the way of the husband, in general. His pretty black slacks sat on top of his dresser for days until I straightened the room and hung them up in the closet. Then one morning, he put them on, conducted his odd maneuver of holding up his pants while holding down his underwear and tucking in his shirt, and went to find his shoes. To my dismay, his pretty black pants were too short. He thought nothing of it, changed slacks, and put those ones back on top of the dresser. Aside from the fact I did a bad job at buying the man clothes, I didn't mind the thought of returning them. Except for one glitch: he'd tossed the tags.

Another element of me as shopper: I'm fastidious about tags. I don't take them off until it's actually time to leave the house and I'm really REALLY sure I want the item. Sam cuts them all off and chucks them before he's even tried the clothes on. This is very strange business.

I looked for the tags, hunted in every wastebasket, examined every counter top. No sign of them. I was devastated. Here was forty bucks, essentially, just sitting on the dresser, nonredeemable. I'm embarrassed to say how much it distressed me. I mean, I think I lost sleep over those pants. Sam, on the other hand, remained unfazed. He said he'd give me the forty bucks if it would make me feel better. But now that we're married, that doesn't help much.

So I decided to try to take them back to Kohl's anyway, throw myself on their mercy, plead clueless husband. And for the record, they were very kind. They would have let me make the return, but they said they actually didn't carry those pants, didn't have that brand in their store at all, as far as they knew. I was huffy; I was rude; I insisted that they did. They told me I was welcome to search the store. If I found the same pants, I could return mine.

Oh I searched and searched. Never has a woman been so determined. But I finally had to admit they appeared to be right: if they had ever carried that brand, they did not now. So much for clearance shopping.

I remained defeated in this slacks fiasco until later that week, when I was straightening up the bedroom again, and I decided to re-hang the poor pants, in hopes that maybe someday I'd be smart enough to let out the hem, or that maybe Sam would shrink or something. And I noticed: those were not the size numbers I had so carefully selected. We'd had a big conversation about how men sizes work, how to pick the right one, etc before I went shopping, and these, these were not those numbers. I went to the closet, flipped through a few hangers, and found the BEAUTIFUL shiny slacks I bought in the FIRST place. The TRUE pants, with their slick black tags still perfectly afixed, and their righteous size numbers clearly proclaimed. What a moment of bliss that was.

By the by, they fit beautifully.

But what I don't understand: how could someone, anyone, put on an OLD pair of pants, and think they had the new one? Are new clothes not one of the purest joys, and can't one tell when fresh fabric enfolds the skin? How could one not notice the taglessness? Sigh. The husband is a strange creature.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bleh Blah Blek Blluuum Bllllleeehhhhh

What am I supposed to be doing right now? Deciding what to say to my 2:30 class, that's what. But I can't. I won't. I ... can't. Today is a no-good teaching day. Tried to teach Whitman this morning and had nothing to say. I mean, what is there to say? He's my dead boyfriend. I love him. His words are shiny objects that feed my soul. And you want me to like, say something about that? Why? Why can't we all just read and smile and giggle and swoon and bask in the loveliness of it?

Sometimes, school, as a thing, seems so lame.

I stood like a moron at the front of the room, flipping throught the pages, begging God to supply me with some brilliant question to ask that would fuel discussion for another 45 minutes. The heavens were closed. Nothing arrived in my head. It was awful. AW-FUL.

It triggered all sorts of who-am-i, what-am-i-doing-here, how-did-i-get-this-job, i-sucksucksuck feelings. I'm brimful of self-loathing.

But tonight, Sam and I are going to the circus. Barnum and Bailey, even. And there, when the big kitties are jumping through hoops and the elephants are swinging their trunks, and the clowns are falling down, it won't matter if I can ask a discussion-inspiring question, will it? Will it?