I don’t so much write personal blog entries anymore, but I need to get this out. If you aren’t interested in the memoirs of a crazy cat lady, you’d be wise to do something else with your time.


I’ve been very fortunate to have very little experience with death. I have had relatives die, but they’ve all been people I hadn’t seen, or, in some cases, even spoken to, in over a decade. I’ve comforted friends when they’ve lost loved ones. While I can certainly conceive of their pain and empathize, the closest I’ve come to first-hand grief is with pet death.

More often than not in my life, I’ve owned a pet of some sort. A human is, in all likelihood, going to outlive his or her pet. It’s something that everyone knows when they decide to adopt an animal. As we grow to love them as part of our family, we try not to think about it until it’s staring us in the face. When our pets get old, we expect their imminent death and try to make them comfortable toward the end. But sometimes, our pets don’t have a chance to get old*. As a jerk who has mostly eluded first-hand loss, it’s kind of a big deal.

Tobe a.k.a. Toblerone, Tobenstein, Captain Fluffypants, Falcor and, as recently dubbed by my daughter, Tobe Beeb.

I’ve had Tobe for 8 years. He was approximately 1 year old when I rescued him from the shelter. It feels silly to say “rescue” in Tobe’s case because he is such an awesome cat that he would not have been there long. More accurately, I snatched him up. Later on, I learned that he is, at least mostly, a type of purebred cat called a Ragdoll. They are large, fluffy things, designed to live in your lap. Tobe has zero hunting instincts. Once, I saw him watching a flock of birds in our yard, tail swishing all the while. I decided to let him out to see what he would do. He went bounding out of the door like a dopey puppy and the birds flew away instantly. I wish I’d gotten it on video because he’s never tried to stalk anything since.

Tobe is a mama’s boy. Before my daughter was born, he was a near-permanent fixture on my lap. The common scene for us was as it is right now. He’s draped across me as I type. Every once in a while, he gives me an appreciative nudge. Whenever I’ve been sad, just burying my face into his big, furry belly always made me feel better. Many people tell the same story. My relationship with my cat is not unique. Nonetheless, it feels special to me. I’ve always been a cat person. But Tobe is more than a cat to me. Tobe is my baby.

When I first got pregnant, Tobe knew something was up. He started getting grumpy and peeing inappropriately (i.e. all over my breakfast nook). After all the tests came back negative, the vet surmised that Tobe was depressed. He somehow knew that he was about to be put on the back burner and he was not happy about it. Fortunately, anti-depressants work on cats. That’s right. My cat has been on fluoxetine for 3 years. It’s a pain in the ass, but it’s a lot nicer than cleaning up pee every day.

As my daughter has required less attention, Tobe and I have been able to re-forge our relationship. That’s why I really noticed when he stopped hanging out with me. It went on for a couple of weeks. He’d been slowly losing weight over the past couple of years, but he had some extra love in the beginning. When he reached a healthy weight, I expected the loss to taper off. It didn’t. He got thinner and thinner, but all the tests came back negative. When he became reclusive, I knew there was definitely something wrong. The vet did some more tests including a “senior panel”. At 9 years old, it seemed early for that. But it succeeded in finding the cause of his weight loss. He had low protein levels indicative of an issue with his digestive system. I nodded throughout the vet’s speech, but I’d stopped listening after “low protein”. When she suggested I schedule an ultrasound, I laughed a little. Obviously, that was going to be pretty expensive. I said I’d think about it.

Tobe seemed to be complaining about his cat food. He’s always been on a dry food diet, and, though he can be choosy, at that moment, his bowl was filled with his preferred brand. He meowed at me in his way (which doesn’t sound much like a meow…more like a “meh”). He is almost always silent unless he really wants something. I realized that it had been at least 24 hours since I’d seen him eat. On a whim, I pulled out a can of wet food, and he actually got up on his back paws and meh’d at me again. I have never seen him do this before. I put the food in his bowl and he devoured it. I immediately bought more canned food. His appetite was back. He started hanging out with me again. “Great!”, I thought. “He’s getting better! He just needed more protein”.

Denial is a motherfucker.

The vet called me about a week later, concerned that I had not yet scheduled an ultrasound. Through the course of that conversation, I realized that the results of his senior panel were much worse than I thought. Whatever was causing his low protein levels was certainly deadly. There was a slim chance that it was something curable, like liver disease, but more likely, it was something much worse. The doctor explained that if we find out what it is, we can at least make him more comfortable. Still in shock, I made the appointment.

On the ultrasound, they found 1 mass on his colon and 1 on his small intestine. They did a non-invasive biopsy and the results came back today. Lymphoma.

My cat has fucking cancer.

Now, there are all kinds of expensive treatments I could administer that might prolong his life up to a year and would require monthly blood tests. There is also a minimal treatment that requires only another daily medication and would give him 3-6 months of comfortable existence. “Maybe longer,” she said. But I think that was for my benefit, as she could probably hear the sniffling through the phone. As much as I’d love to be the crazy cat lady spending all my savings to keep my baby around longer, I’m not going to do that. He would hate me for taking him to the vet once a month and he’s already not thrilled about taking a pill every single day of his life. Now I’m adding one more. With the “aggressive treatments”, it would be 2-3 more medications. All to put off the inevitable. I’m not doing it. Do I feel guilty about that? You bet your ass I do. But I also know it’s the right thing to do.

The next couple of months are going to be really fucking hard. I did not expect to have to explain death to my 2 1/2 year old. But she’s going to wonder why mama is constantly sobbing into Tobe’s fur. Eventually, she’ll ask where Tobe went. She probably won’t even remember him when she’s older. I had visions of her devastated at 5. That might still happen with our other cat, Lucy. She’s 16 goddamned years old. She went to the vet for the first time ever this year and she had NOTHING wrong with her. She’ll probably live to be 20. She’s the Mr. Burns of cats. I didn’t expect her to outlive Tobe. Very few things turn out the way you expect.

Death is a hard lesson for a 2 1/2 year old. It’s even harder to learn when you’re a full grown woman. I’m fortunate to have experienced very little tragedy up until now. I know I’ll move on and everything will be fine. I’ll eventually get a new cat. But Tobe is going to be a tough act to follow. He’s still here now, snuggling up to me as I type. I hope that I can cowgirl up and make the most of the rest of our time together. But right now, all I can think when I bury my face into his now emaciated (but still quite fluffy) belly, is “I’m really going to miss this goddamn cat”.

(Told you he was fluffy.)

Thanks for reading.

*When I linked to the Ragdoll Wikipedia page, a sentence stood out – “One study utilizing Swedish insurance data showed that of the common cat breeds, the Ragdoll and Siamese have the lowest survival rate, with 63% living to 10 years or more for the Ragdoll and 68% for the Siamese”. I’m sure that fact is prevalent in Ragdoll literature. Apparently, I’m awesome at glossing over unpleasantness. Though it is somewhat comforting to know that he is among the 63% of “long-lived” Ragdolls. Purebreeding is a motherfucker.


Cheer Up, Sleepy Jean

I don’t remember if I’ve ever written here about my love for the Monkees. If I have, it’s been a long time since I’ve brought it up. It’s not that I’ve forgotten about them. They are on every playlist and I’m always happy for them to pop up in my shuffle. But they had a hipster revival a couple of years ago and I felt like their relevance was well covered by more prolific people.

But now Davy Jones has died. He is the first Monkee to go. To me, that feels significant (other than the obvious, “a man is dead” significance). The Monkees are definitely the first manufactured boy band. But they are also, in many ways, an alternative to the Beatles. I’m not saying they are BETTER than the Beatles, or even as good. But to me, they are more important. If I had to choose to listen to one over the other, I would choose the Monkees. Maybe it’s because I like a little whimsy in my psychedelic 60’s pop. Maybe it’s because it’s like listening to several great artists at once. Neil Diamond and Carol King each wrote some of the group’s biggest hits. Mike Nesmith eventually convinced the Powers That Be to let him write some songs, and what he came up with was some of their best work.

Mike was the most musically inclined. Peter was the weird one. Micky was the voice and Davy was the face. They were never as good alone as they were together.

It’s not exactly a John Lennon situation. 66 is young by today’s standards, but it’s not like he was in his prime or anything. Was he even recording? He’d be the last Monkee that I’d want to hear a solo album from. This is like Ringo dying first in terms of its impact on actual production of music. Personality-wise, it’s like losing George first.

Davy is dead. That means the Monkees are also dead. Even though they’ve been gone for a while, it really feels real now. From now on, whenever I hear their music, it will be a little sadder than it was before. There will be a ghost in the song.

2011 in a Nutshell

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? Entered a beauty pageant. It was for charity! Also, most of the other contestants were drag queens. I was interview on the radio for the first time this morning. I’ll let you know how that goes. Methinks I was a drag.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I wanted to work out more and I definitely accomplished that. I also did get to do more writing, but not as much as I’d hoped. This year, I want to stress out about things less, even if that means finding a way to take some things off my plate. That will be VERY hard, though, because I’m not good at letting go of things. I had a hard time living in the moment in 2011 because I was always thinking/freaking out about the future. I want to figure out a way to enjoy my present more.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes. Babies Jack, William and Luke came into the world. More on the way for 2012. Not for me, though.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Not to me, no.
5. What countries did you visit? I did not make it out of the country in 2011. To be rectified in 2012!
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? More patience and the ability to manage stress. A cleaner bill of health.
7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Skaraoke was epic this year. Possibly the best one yet. 2/21 was the day Lula started walking.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I have to steal Elyse’s answer and say that keeping a toddler thriving and relatively happy is a huge achievement. Those things are always trying to kill themselves.
9. What was your biggest failure? Time management. Letting things go.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? So much goddamned illness. I was at the doctor constantly. The pharmacist knows my name now.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Organizational tools. It felt SO good every time I got a new drawer or closet in working order. Still so much work left to do, though.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My husband is a champion. Such a good dad too.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Big time mama issues.
14. Where did most of your money go? Stuff for Lula, trips and medical bills. I wasn’t very good with kid shopping in 2011. I kept trying to find the perfect book or toy that would make Lula happy forever. But, of course, such a thing doesn’t exist. Unless that thing is the TV. But I can’t let her become a couch potato just yet.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? SXSW, SIFF, friends visiting, visiting friends, Skaraoke, seeing Ween at the Paramount, Party Bus w/ Drag Queens, Adult camping, pie.
16. What song will always remind you of 2011? “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. I was late to the Gaga party but really enjoyed the hell out of her in 2011. “Bad Romance” is also pretty fun to sing at karaoke.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Sadder.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner. I weigh less now than I have since college. It’s the toddler-wrangling workout.
iii. richer or poorer? Pooer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Relaxing.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Freaking the fuck out.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? Spent the morning with the in-laws and the evening with friends. Perfect.
21. Where will you be spending New Year’s Eve? Having slumber party with another family. Hard to get a sitter for NYE.
22. Did you fall in love in 2011? I loved hard.
23. What was your favorite TV program? “Louis”, “Justified”, “Archer”, “American Horror Story” (compellingly bad). Apparently, I am FXs bitch, as I also watch “The League”. “Doctor Who”. Was “Mad Men” on in 2011? If so, “Mad Men”. “Ru Paul’s Drag Race”. I was very excited for “Fringe” to come back, but it was a pretty big let-down. Holy shit, I watch a lot of TV.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Not that I can think of. Weird. I can’t even think of a celebrity. I am losing my edge.
25. What was the best book you read? Just finished the new Miranda July book, “It Chooses You” and was predictably moved. I still haven’t finished “Everything Matters!”, but was really into it for a while.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? I never discover anything anymore, but I really dug the Gaga catalog. Also Dead Man’s Bones (way late on that one). Both Liam and Noel Gallagher came out with new music this year and I will probably always buy what they’re selling. I’ve listened to a shit ton of Caspar Babypants recently because they’re tolerable kids music and Lula has been wanting to hear more of it.
27. What did you want and get? Plentiful nights off from parenting.
28. What did you want and not get? Caught up.
29. [Replacement question] What did you get and not want? A chronic fungus.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? Kind of a toss-up between “Drive” and “The Future”.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33. We went out to karaoke over the weekend and my husband made me dinner on the day.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? For time to stop for, like, a week so I could make some headway on my ever-growing to-do list.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Portland hipster. Lots of soft cotton, hand-stitched skirts and appliqued hoodies. Barrettes because I’m growing my bangs out. Colorful boots and knee-high socks. More color in general, but still sticking with dark and earthy tones. Slim fit tops, as well because I wasn’t trying to hide my belly as much.
34. What/Who kept you sane? My husband and friends. The babysitter. Recreational substances.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Ryan Gosling. Again I am late on this. I guess that just cements my status as an out-of-touch old lady. But this year, he became more than just “That guy from the steaming pile known as ‘the Notebook'” because I saw him in a number of impressive roles and he just blew me away. He’s also kind of a weird guy, which is unusual for a guy who looks like that. Also, Nick Kroll a little bit.
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Health care, Occupy.
37. Who did you miss? Friends who used to live here.
38. Who was the best new person you met? I think I didn’t meet my friend’s daughter, Josie, until this year. She is an awesome, smiley kid.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011: The opinions of strangers do not matter.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: I can never think of anything good for this. Here’s how I feel every time I try to take a load off.

It’s not that I don’t like you/I’m just at a party
And I am sick and tired of my phone r-ringing
Sometimes I feel like I live in Grand Central Station
Tonight I’m not taking no calls/cos I’ll be dancin’

The Circle of Shameless Self-Promotion

“Seattle Wrote” profiled me as part of their ongoing series of local blogger interviews. Is it meta to post on my blog a link to a post on another blog in which I promote this blog?

Either way, here it is.

Film Threat Review: Hall Pass

Rated R
105 minutes


One would think that after nearly twenty years spent writing and directing movies, the Farrellys would be better at it. They started out OK. “There’s Something About Mary” and “Kingpin” are consistently funny. “Shallow Hal” is practically a heartwarming story with a good message. They haven’t done anything noteworthy since. After their latest offering, a tragically humorless mess, they should strongly consider retirement. At its best, “Hall Pass” is a checklist of “outrageousness” including, but not limited to, public defecation, an enormous boner, a tiny boner, a massage parlor mishap, a catastrophic fart and frequent discussions about what one could and would do to various parts of the female anatomy. At its worst, it’s a puerile, if not completely misogynistic take on marriage. Despite the (squandered) presence of Stephen Merchant (“The Office” UK) and a handful of jokes that were likely improvised, there is no good reason to see this film. Be warned, readers: I’m about to get all Camille Paglia on your asses.

Maggie (Jenna Fisher) and Grace (Christina Applegate) are two long-suffering wives who decide that they are tired of being embarrassed by their husbands’ perpetual horniness. At the suggestion of their pop psychologist friend (Joy Behar) they decide to give Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) a week off from marriage to do whatever or whomever they must to “get it out of their system”. Never mind the fact that this would all be resolved if they just had sex with their husbands.

Rick, the marginally more mature one, isn’t completely on board with the Hall Pass idea at first. He has no say though, as the ladies leave town before they can discuss it. Meanwhile, an ecstatic Fred convinces Rick that it’s a good thing because it’s their turn to have a dream fulfilled. Their wives, he asserts, have had all their dreams come true. These dreams included getting married, having babies, and buying a house with a nice kitchen. This speech is delivered and received with utmost sincerity. According to the Farrellys, all women want to be pretty princess baby machines and all men want only to put their penises in things.

Unfortunately, these ideas aren’t entirely original. The Farrellys are perpetuating a long-standing implication that only men want to get laid while women view sex as either a soul-bearing experience or an inconvenience. “No sex after marriage” is the joke that will never die. But it really needs to. Sure, every marriage experiences dry spells, particularly if there are children involved. However, even with frequent boning, every person (male or female) in a committed relationship checks out other people and occasionally fantasizes about them. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying. This is perfectly normal, healthy and doesn’t mean that they love their partner any less. The wives in “Hall Pass” confess to each other the lengths they’ll go to avoid sleeping with their husbands from pretending to be asleep to complaining of lady problems. Maggie has mentally bronzed the moment she lost her virginity, claiming to know the month, day and hour it happened. Both women accuse their husbands of being unreasonably horny. But it’s not unreasonable to be allowed access to your spouse’s genitalia every once in a while. These women should be happy that their husbands still find them attractive. It’s not that wives owe their husbands sex. It’s that they should want to have sex with their husbands. Otherwise, why stay married to them?

The Farrellys have never been particularly good at writing female characters. They’re barely capable of writing male characters resembling socialized adults. Rick and Fred are detrimentally arrested adolescents while Maggie and Grace are humorless, frigid balls of estrogen. The women loosen up somewhat when they decide to utilize the Hall Pass for themselves. And the men do have one or two moments in which they make real, adult decisions. But it’s not enough. Simply having one or more characters ultimately “learn something” does not make up for gross gender stereotypes.

To add insult to insult, the conceit of “Hall Pass” isn’t even original. Whether or not the Farrellys were aware of “The Freebie” when they wrote it, the conceptual similarities cannot be denied. But concept is all they have in common. “The Freebie” is a thoughtful, emotionally honest look at the lengths an otherwise happy couple will go to in order to fix their stale sex life. They are friends as well as spouses so they discuss these issues honestly and maturely. It leads to them opening a very touchy can of worms, but this is an extreme outcome to a conversation that many couples have had. The Farrellys, on the other hand, took an interesting premise and vomited it onto the classroom floor. “Hall Pass” is desperately in need of the pink sawdust treatment.

Originally published on (now defunct).

2010 Year-End Meme

I don’t do memes that much anymore, but I still really like the year-end meme because it’s nice to reflect on the years as they whiz past. So let’s do this.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Gave birth to and subsequently cared for a human life. Weird. I’ll try not to make this whole thing baby-centric but it may prove difficult as once you have a baby, they basically consume your life. Also, I went on my first cruise. Ever since then, I’ve dreamed about being on a cruise at least once a month.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Didn’t make any. Though this year I’d like to continue to get some exercise at least 5 times a week, spend one night a week reading instead of vegging in front of the T.V., continue to have at least one baby-free night a week with my husband and find more time to write. Those all seem pretty do-able because I’m already doing several of them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yep! 2010 welcomed Lula and her future BFFs Josie, Sam, Maddie and Ian.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
We weren’t that close anymore but my cousin died. It was weird because she was so young (21), but even weirder because I found out about it on Facebook. That’s the first time that’s ever happened. Is that the new way to deliver bad news? Also, my Aunt finally lost her battle with M.S. What a shitty disease that is.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
A sense of purpose. I know that, as a mother, wife and semi-professional critic, I’m certainly necessary to at least a couple of people. I can’t exactly explain why I feel a little aimless. But hopefully 2011 will bring about an end to that.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 20th, my daughter’s birthday. Also, February 12th, her due date, as it painfully passed me by.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Successfully nurturing and bringing a new person into the world and subsequently keeping that person alive for the next 6 months using only my boobs. I know that people do this all the time, but it still seemed kind of incredible that I, personally, was capable of this.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Still not finding a good parenting/work balance and therefore letting my freelance work dwindle.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Pregnancy is a lot like illness and giving birth definitely counts as injury.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The Ergo baby carrier. This thing is amazing and I’m always glad to have my kid strapped into it when I’m boarding the bus, walking down a city sidewalk, rushing through an airport or shopping at Trader Joe’s. Life is just so much more difficult with a stroller.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband has been absolutely incredible and has taken to fatherhood so well. Because of him, I get to sleep in once a week and I get to relax when he comes home from work. I have NO idea how people do this by themselves.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Idiot politicians. Parents who make gay kids scared to come out.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Baby stuff and vacations.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Lula’s birth. Not being pregnant anymore. Being able to drink again. Our various vacations. Meeting my friends’ babies.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
“Sister Golden Hair” because I sing it to Lula all the time. When you’re trying to get a baby to sleep, you just pull out any songs you know all the words to that can be slowed down a bit. Plus, she’s a tow-head, so it kinda fits.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
-i. happier or sadder?
Happier. This time last year, I was pretty damned uncomfortable.
– ii. thinner or fatter?
Thinner! I don’t even want to tell you how much I weighed this time last year.
– iii. richer or poorer?
Personally, much poorer on account of work falling by the wayside. But overall, we’re probably about the same financially. Shop Amazon, people! :)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Camping. I really missed it. It wouldn’t have been as much fun with a tiny baby though. But this summer, we already have one trip planned!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying. Hormones are a motherfucker.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Hung out in good old Poulsbo with our close friends. I won a gingerbread house building contest and $60 playing pai gow. It was a big day for me.

21. Where did you spend New Year’s Eve?
We dropped by an adult party and left around 9, when Lula started to lose her baby mind. When we got home, we put her to bed, watched Mad Men commentaries and fell asleep by 11:30. Parenting.

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?
I’ll try not to make anyone nauseous with the old “love at first baby sight” cliche. But I definitely love a person this year that I didn’t even know last year. My fella also continues to find new ways for me to fall for him.

23. How many one-night stands?
Not a lot of time for torrid anonymous sex when you have a baby.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Mad Men and Fringe.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is a strong word, but I’m not as much of a fan of someone as I used to be.

26. What was the best book you read?
I didn’t read much fiction, but I continued to get much out of this book:

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
That old Sesame street songs are totally palatable and even delightfully clever.

28. What did you want and get?
A healthy, awesome kid. Losing the baby weight before her first birthday. No stretch marks (no idea how this happened as I still have faded white lines on my hips from puberty).

29. What did you want and not get?
To not fall prey to postpartum depression. For our cat to get used to the baby.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
“The Room”. Not since “Showgirls” has a movie delighted me to tears with its sheer inanity.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My husband made me dinner and we watched one of my favorite movies, “Wild at Heart”. I turned 32.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Regular sleep.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Problematic. It really sucks having to fit a constantly fluctuating body whilst still maintaining some semblance of personal style. I mostly refused to wear maternity clothes on account of the fact that the affordable ones were extremely frumpy. After I gave birth, my body shrank slowly so I had several in-between stages to get through without spending too much money on clothes that wouldn’t fit me in a month or two.

34. What/Who kept you sane?
My husband, my awesome friends, the babysitter and alcohol.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Jon Hamm.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The rash of suicides amongst bullied gay teens.

37. Who did you miss?
Friends who moved away. My cousin. My band.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Lula, obviously. Our babysitter is a runner-up. I love that girl.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
That many people think they know more about how to raise your kid than you do and it’s OK to tell them to suck it.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple
To last your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song

La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la

A (Probably) Complete History of Weezer in Relation to Me

In response to one of his friends’ Facebook posts, a clip of Weezer playing live, my friend Mark found himself wondering why the band remained so popular after all these years. Since, once upon a time, I was in a Weezer cover band, he decided to ask me. In short, he wanted to understand “the significance of this man [Rivers Cuomo], his band and why they’ve stayed important for 15 years.” My relationship with the band is kind of complicated (though likely not unique), so I knew that in order to answer this question, I would have to detail my history with them, rather than attempt to write something objective. After all, I usually can’t understand why the masses like what they like. But I do know why I loved Weezer, then hated them, then came to terms with them throughout their existence. My story is a long one. But hopefully it will be interesting to more than just one or two people. If you please:
Continue reading

Stepford Nightmares

I used to have nightmares about aliens and monsters, mean ex-boyfriends, school and the end of the world. Last night I dreamed I was making breakfast for the whole family. I couldn’t find anything because all of my kitchen supplies had been put back in the wrong place. Things kept boiling over on the stove and making a huge mess. Everyone I was making breakfast for was standing around in the kitchen but no one was helping me. I guess my transformation is complete. My subconscious mind is officially lame.

The Short Grift

I’m not proud of this. But that’s why I feel like I should own up to it. Because it’s a lesson and I don’t want to make the same mistake again. I was scammed yesterday. I was a woman with a crying baby all alone in her house in the middle of the day. I was a mark. Right random phone call, right time. This guy is an opportunist. He acts fast.

Our furnace was broken. So the husband asked me to call for service. “There’s a sticker on it,” he said. “It has the number.” So I located the sticker: “S & G Heating Services” and called the number.

“Hello?” said a man.

“Yes…is this S & G Heating?” I asked.

“…yes. How did you get this number?” He was Hispanic and didn’t speak English very well. Also the connection was very bad.

“It’s on a sticker on my furnace…Do you do service calls? Is this the right number?”

“Yes. What’s wrong with your furnace?”

I told him. He took down my information and said he could probably come tomorrow. He’d check his schedule. He was “working on a job” right then.

He called back to say he was 45 minutes away. An hour later he showed up. His truck didn’t have a business name on it. He didn’t have any business cards. I answered the door with a baby screaming in my ear. She was hungry but I couldn’t feed her right then. She didn’t understand this at all.

I showed him the furnace. He asked a lot of questions. He looked around, complimenting many things on being “nice”. He took a long time to assess the furnace. Lula cried in my ear all the while. I knew what she wanted but at least I was smart enough not to leave this guy alone in my basement. He fucked around with the fuse box. He used the bathroom. He complimented a few more of our possessions and decor choices.

“It need to be replace,” he said. “The gas valve here, it no work. The blower is also broken. The ignitor switch broken. All these parts very expensive. Better to replace.”

I asked him about prices. He basically said that each part would be about $500 each but that he could give me a really good price on a new one. $2800. He said I wouldn’t get a better price. I told him I had to ask my husband and tried to rush him out the door so I could feed the baby and call B. He asked if I couldn’t call right then. I left the room to call. B. was smart enough to say we should get other estimates. I knew the guy wanted an answer right then. I also kind of wanted to give him one even though I knew B. was right to shop around. He really seemed desperate for the job and I thought, “he must really need the work.”

I told the guy that we would get other estimates but that I’d get back to him soon. He said we would need to get back to him soon because his schedule was going to fill up in a few days. He also again said what a good price he was giving me. He also said if I did find anyone who would go lower that he would match it. I began writing a check for the $40 he’d asked for up front. I asked him who to make it out to. He asked if I had cash. I said I didn’t though I’m pretty sure I did. He asked if I could leave it blank and he could fill in the name later. I totally complied! I assumed that he just didn’t want to have to spell it out. That the language barrier was hard for him. In fact, I let a lot of things slide because of the language barrier. My goddamned liberal guilt. I assumed he had a difficult time finding work. That the recession was hitting him hard. But there were so many red flags that he was just trying to scam what he deemed to be a rich white woman alone at home with a baby. And I fucking fell for it.

Luckily, my husband is thinking clearly. Another company came today. A company that exists on Google. They poked around for 5 minutes and said it looked like our furnace just needed to be cleaned. 30 minutes later, it was and it was working just fine. $180 for the service call. No new furnace needed. They were so pissed off about this other guy that they took his number. They called him. He didn’t answer his phone. I wonder what they will say to him if he ever calls back.

But I am so ashamed of myself for succumbing to his pressure. For believing him and feeling sorry for him. I don’t know what this says about me. I didn’t want to be perceived as a Real Housewife of North Seattle so I trusted someone I shouldn’t have trusted. I really hope it’s just because I was distracted by the screaming baby. Otherwise, it just means that I’m becoming my mother. I’ve always prided myself on my astuteness (i.e. my general mistrust). I also like to think I can properly spot a genuine person. But these powers utterly failed me here. I need to stay alert. Vigilant. I need to learn to work with a baby screaming in my ear. Otherwise, I’m as good as chum out there.

Sorry, Blog

Most of my day has involved crying and puking. This baby shit is hard, and not in a funny “Mr. Mom” kind of way, but in a very real crying and puking way. She cries, I cry, she pukes, I get puked on, she’s hungry, I feed her and it starts all over again. Apparently this sort of thing is normal around this time but it still sucks. This is the part that people complain about (“I’m so tired!”) but can’t seem to explain what is so sucky about it. It’s this: The baby is unhappy. The baby is your responsibility. You are a terrible parent for not knowing how to fix it. You are hungry but can’t put the crying baby down to eat. You are tired but can’t put the crying baby down to sleep. You know it won’t always be like this but it seems like forever till then. You learn to pee with a crying baby in your lap. You also learn to type with one hand while breastfeeding and consider that a break.

I love the kid, but damn, this shit is hard.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to write. Soon, I hope. I miss commenting on pop culture and discovering new movies to hate. I have to go now. She’s done eating…