Books, Movies, Music Meme

Okay, I was inspired by Restaurant Refugee to write my very own meme.  I don't have any aspirations of glory or anything, these are just questions I like to have answers to.

1.  Excluding religious texts (not that I have anything against them, but I think they're fairly well agreed upon as being essential reading and I'm looking for something a little more personal) what three books do you think everyone should read (these don't have to be favorites)?

2.  Name three songs you know all the words to without the music playing.
  • Starfish and Coffee, Prince
  • I Dreamed a Dream, Les Miserables (written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg)
  • Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin (written by Kris Kristofferson)

3.  What are you three favorite books of all time?

4.  Excluding Schinlder's List, what three movies should everyone see?

5.  What three movies have you been too ashamed to admit to having seen until here and now?

6.  If you're a cryer, name the three movies that always make you cry.  If you're not a cryer, name the three movies that would make you cry if that was something you did.

7.  What three songs did you used to love but don't anymore because they've been tainted by bad associations or were used in a commercial?
  • Here Comes the Rain Again, The Eurythmics
  • Desire, U2
  • Norweigen Wood, The Beatles

8.  Your list of three really overrated movies:

9.  Your list of three really overrated  books:

10.  Name three of your favorite bands (please).

11.  Now three of your favorite writers (again, please).
  • Jane Austen
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Haven Kimmel

12.  Three of the best band names, song names, book titles, movie titles ever are:


Brown Thumb

I have a brown thumb. I can kill any plant at 20 paces. And I don't even do it on purpose. I think there's some kind of advanced plant information network. They've circulated my description and the plant is 3/4 dead by the time it enters my house. Out of spite.

Or maybe I'm just that talented. Maybe I should be the arch-villian in a comic about a hero called Venus Flytrap. It would be Venus Flytrap vs. The Brown Thumb. I don't like the visuals on that, though. Some icky brown unitard. Gross. But I digress...

My latest victim is a basil plant. I got it and it was gorgeous. Full, green, happy. Within hours of entering my lair, it was wilted. By the end of its second day in captivity it was irrevocably brown. And on the third day I threw it out.

I don't know how I do it. Wilbur had great plants. I was in no way involved with them and they were lovely, happy plants. Someone at work gave me an African violet (supposedly hearty plants) and it died - even under Wilbur's care and I know it's because it knew it was mine.

It started with a bamboo plant when I was 17. Bamboo is known as being un-killable. It is notoriously hard to get rid of. Unless your name is Dorothy.

I seriously don't know what happened to that bamboo. I followed the instructions on the tag. It got plenty of sun. And within a week it turned yellow and all the leaves fell off.

The list of my victims is fairly hefty - especially considering that I gave up on house plants rather quickly. I've killed lilies, ferns, a rosemary bush, at least a dozen various other herbs, and a jade plant.

In college, I took a botany class in hopes that I would be able to reverse the curse with advanced education. We see from my poor basil plant how well that worked.

The thing is, gardening really appeals to me. I want to have a little tomato patch with herbs and squash and peppers. I thought I might try a window box, but considering that I just lost another perfectly healthy plant, I'm pretty sure there's no way I can successfully cultivate anything from seed.

It's disappointing. Although maybe I can start some kind of hit service for stubborn plants. Spanish moss, iceplant, eucalyptus. If you want it gone just call me. The Brown Thumb.


The Fall Meme

This is a meme written by Restaurant Refugee.  I didn't know about RR until today where I checked in to Hannah's blog and read her responses to said meme.  So thanks to Hannah for the link, and thanks RR for the meme.

It’s not fall in Las Vegas until November.  Seriously.  It's 82 degrees right now.  

Kelly Preston’s character in the movie For Love of the Game expresses her need to escape NYC because “Summer’s almost over, and I feel like I missed it.” What do you need to do in the waning days of summer for it to feel complete? Drive PCH from Santa Monica to Oxnard at 3A with the windows down.  And also fire up a grill one last time...

The person I know is wrong for me but about whom I frequently think after a break-up is a Socialist lawyer who lives in a collective in the Eastern US, a vegetarian, and a better human being than I'll ever be.  I enjoy knowing that he's out there in the world doing his best to make it better.

The US Tennis Open, one of four Grand Slam events in that sport, is currently in the quarterfinal round. If you could only attend one major sporting event what would it be?
If I can go with a collective event, then Wimbledon.  If it has to be one specific event, then Game 7 of the World Series.

Assuming that you write an anonymous or partially anonymous blog, by what non-physically identifying characteristics might you be identified in a bar?
I'm pretty sure that I've never revealed more than the fact that I'm short, but if I were sitting at the bar, you'd probably not be able to tell that.  After that, I don't know.  If I were with Matt, then probably I'd be laughing like a fool.  If I were alone, then I'd probably be the one watching the people in the booth behind me (discretely, of course) trying to figure out what they're talking about.

Most blogs cover some sort of niche – personal, political, dating, culinary, etc. What topic, if any, would you like to address on your blog but doesn’t fit into your niche?  My niche is general.  I'm a glazer.  I don't go into much detail or delve very deep.  If I were to re-tool and get a real niche, it might be music or it might be movies, but probably, it would be books/book reviews.

If you could manipulate the time space continuum and give as many as three pieces of advice to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give and to what age of you?  To Dorothy at age 16:  Go directly to college.  At 19:  Break up with him now.  It's time.  You don't have to stay just because it was what you wanted when you were 16.  Age 20:  At your wedding, when your sister says, "If you want to leave right now, I'll go with you," five minutes before the ceremony, take her up on it.

Who among your friends do you really wish had a blog because their stories, or perspective on something ought to be shared? Above-mentioned Socialist, vegetarian, do-gooder lawyer.  He's funny, cynical, and yet hopeful and sincere.

If you were to take an e-cation (vacation from the trappings of our electronic world,) and assuming that employment obligations would allow it, how long of a break could you take? What would you miss the most, the least? I could go for a while.  A long while.  3-6 months no problem.  I feel like I waste a lot of time with the electronics I have.  I wouldn't miss 99% of my email and I could probably live without TV forever (not movies, though).  I'd miss the blogs and downloading music the most.

On September 11th of this year, I will be attending a couple of parties and am somewhat conflicted by the fact that this ignoble anniversary shall pass with it being just another day in the eyes of many (and in some ways my own eyes as well.) Thoughts? I don't know either.  I have a lot of thoughts about September 11.  I feel like moments of silence are perfunctory and largely empty.  I also have no personal connection to the loss outside a general sorrow that it happened, and don't feel I have a right or even desire to make it more personal because I feel like it diminishes the loss for those who were most affected.  I don't think it will ever be "just another day" again, though.  Even if there's no outward act of commemoration, no one who was alive in the United States that day will forget it.

How high are your walls?  Who was the last person to scale them? What tools should would-be climbers have on their belt?  
My wall is high, deep, solid, cold and well-constructed.  I have only one, though, so once you're in, you're in.  Matt was the last person to get inside.  The only tool you'll ever need is patience (if it's going to happen at all).  There are no cracks and no way to dig under or scale over.  It will happen magically one day.  *POOF* you're inside.  But it should also be stated that it can also go the other way.  You can find yourself *POOF* ouside again.  These are involuntary acts of magic on my part - both the letting in and the kicking out and they are equally rare, although, I'm working on the letting in part to see if I can't just be a little less guarded all the way around.  We'll see.

The sexiest thing a man can say to you (or has said to you) is:  There's not much that anyone can say that I find truly sexy in a general sense.  In specific contexts, sure.  Johnny Depp's line in Public Enemies, "I like baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars, and you," is awesome, but I'm not sure it would carry the same weight spoken by anyone else.  The things I find sexiest are when Matt washes and/or brushes my hair and when he paints my toes.  Also, there are times when he walks up behind me when I'm in the kitchen and he'll wrap his arms around me and bite my shoulder.  Yeah.



I love food. I looooove it. Sadly, my 5' frame will not allow me to eat all of the food I would like and not end up looking like Jabba's shorter, fatter sister. However, I spend a lot of time thinking about food, even though I might not be able to eat it.

Today my sister and I were discussing the menu for Thanksgiving. Here is what we've landed on. I'm writing it here because a) I'm really excited about the prospect of eating it, and 2) I will have documented evidence of the agreed upon menu if someone tries to change anything without consultation.

Hors d'oeuvres:
  • chicken liver pate with port and figs (made by our dear friend Lina)
  • cheeses (Morbier, brie, Jarlsberg, bleu (of some variety) and baguettes and crackers
  • gravlax w/capers and dill cream cheese
  • two deep fried turkeys (25 lbs/turkey)
  • ham with pineapple, brown sugar, cherries & cloves
  • plain mashed potatoes
  • truffled mashed potatoes
  • regular stuffing
  • oyster stuffing
  • mushy peas
  • glazed carrots
  • cole slaw
  • cranberry sauce
  • cranberry chutney
  • and, of course, lots and lots of gravy!
  • pecan pie
  • chocolate walnut pie
  • pumpkin pie
  • sunny silver pie
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • pecan balls
Then, on Friday, we're having Thai curry mussels, beef tenderloin with Gorgonzola sauce, Pont Neuf potatoes, minute asparagus (thin sliced asparagus with a lemon/soy/butter sauce), and spinach salad.

I'm also really excited because it will be Matt's first Thanksgiving with my family. We're Thanksgiving people. We gather the family and friends and eat, drink and play games.

I'm officially exited. Only 69 days to go...


He Almost Hit Me and I Almost Cried

I don't often get the cart before the horse. When I start to panic about things that haven't happened, I think of the statement above, made by my niece, at age 5. I was at my sister's house and Ann came running into the kitchen with her younger brother (age about 3) in tow and said, "MOM! He almost hit me and I almost cried!" She was serious. It is one of my favorite reminders that what hasn't happened doesn't matter.

Matt is different. He can get far ahead of himself. The what-ifs prey on him like hawks on field mice. One day, he came home from work completely distraught about something that "might happen." So I told him the story.

My birthday is approaching. I will be 35. My impending natal anniversary and the fact that I looked at myself in the mirror the other day and I felt like I looked different (I couldn't place what the change was, but it was different - that's a whole 'nother post, though), has made me feel somewhat ucky.

I've never liked my birthday. Not ever. When I turned five, I remember crying and crying because I wasn't 4 anymore (but I'm totally fine with change). Usually it's the birthday before the landmark birthday that really bothers me. For example, 20 not 21, 24 not 25, 29 not 30... Last year, though, my birthday came and went and I didn't really think about it at all. So I've been bracing for a minor 'event' for the last few months.

I mentioned this to Matt. And he said, "you almost cried?" So here I am. No longer bracing. Just going along. If I have a meltdown, well, I have a meltdown. Leave what's to come where it belongs - when it gets here.



It began thus: I awoke to a mess in the kitchen. The coffee maker had malfunctioned and sent grounds and not-quite-coffee all over the counter, down the fronts of the cabinets, and onto the floor. I exasperatedly began to clean it up, during which I slid in the water and knocked the coffee pot to the floor. Where it broke. Exploded is more like it. Glass went everywhere.

I carefully negotiated my bare feet through the sea of glass (miraculously unscathed) and went to get my all-star vacuum. I don't have a lot of storage space, so the closet that houses my vacuum also houses a lot of other stuff. It's like a Jenga tower. I pulled the wrong piece and a slew of bags, boxes and clothes toppled onto the vacuum. I didn't lose focus, though. I simply dug the vacuum free and went back to the kitchen.

I successfully sucked all the glass safely into the vacuum bag and then went back to the wet mess that started this whole ridiculous string of events. I had just finished wiping up the last of the nastiness when, pleased as punch to be done, I sighed and stepped back to admire my handiwork and tripped backwards over the trash can that I'd pulled from it's place under the counter to expedite my grounds-slopping. Fortunately, only some of the garbage went on the floor and I had that cleaned up in no time.

I was now free to move on to the avalanche in the closet. I dealt with that tidily in about a half hour and got the vacuum put away. Yay. And all because of a shitty coffee pot...

Only it didn't stop there. I feel like everything I've done today has gone wrong. I also dropped a whole plateful of food onto the couch, I spilled water, I knocked everything in the world over. I walked into a table and a door, I bruised my shin getting into the car, I hit my head getting out of the car, I cut myself on a crab shell, I cut a hole in a shirt in an attempt to remove a tag that left a nasty red scratch on the back of my neck, I sucked my hair into the hair dryer, and at the end of the evening, after I'd struggled my way through yoga, I got home to discover that when I'd taken my shower earlier in the day, I'd knocked over a bottle of body wash with the cap not quite closed. I found out when I went into the bedroom and it smelled like berries. I looked and the tub was full of pink goo.

I'm almost afraid to do anything else. Hell, I may get electrocuted any second by a freak surge from my computer. I can't rule it out. I'm going to eat something small, soft, and cold for dinner so that I can't burn myself, choke, cut myself, or lose a tooth.

Tomorrow has to be better, right?



So, I've been playing around with the idea of putting a piece of fiction here on my blog. I've decided to do it.

So here is my first piece of fiction ever put in a public forum (semi-public, really - I mean I think only 2 or three people actually read this anyway). It's very rough, but I just finished the first draft and I'm kind of excited. It's long (for a blog post), sorry. I give you Neurotica:

I like men with neuroses. Not, for the most part, severe behavioral disorders or actual psychoses, but harmless neuroses. Clean freaks – very hot. Compulsive hand washers (not the ones with OCD who must wash 26 times in a row) - nice. Men who are very detail oriented, who make the bed in a particular way, keep shirts folded just so, alphabetize everything, and keep the toothpaste tube rolled from the end and never squeeze from the middle – these are the men I go for. I even find myself attracted to men who have never-ending confidence problems, men with food fears – you know, the ones who almost can’t take the mayo out of the fridge to use it because they’re afraid of food poisoning, and men who are a little too attached to their cars. Ben’s a detail-oriented hand-washer with a neurosis about beverages in glass bottles. He refuses to drink from a glass bottle because he’s afraid that, somehow, the glass will chip or break and he’ll manage to swallow some of it. Now, I realize that this bottle thing is bizarre, but it doesn’t matter much because almost everything comes in plastic now, anyway. I’ve told him that a little glass ingestion isn’t fatal. I know this because my sister ate a whole glass grape when she was 4. My mom had to feed her mashed potatoes with cotton in them, but other than having to endure the grossness of eating cotton, she was okay. And now it’s 27 years later, so I think I can say with all confidence that a tiny bit of glass isn’t the worst thing you could swallow.
I think I’m attracted to the neurotic ones because I have a whole set of neuroses myself. I’m a hand washer, too. And I eat small foods in even numbers, unless by doing so means leaving a single, say pea, on the plate alone, then it goes with the final forkful. I have to roll up adding machine tape before I throw it away, and dust is my sworn enemy.
I met Ben at Hold Everything. He was buying a CD rack with label slots. I was buying a hanging shoe organizer. We met while admiring the sweater storage bags. He remarked that they seemed like a good idea. I said they would probably free a lot of space during the non-sweater months. He said he agreed, but that he would prefer if they were air-tight – you know, to keep out moths, spiders, moisture. That was all I needed to hear. I think a star actually fell into my eye.
Jon is a dust hater, too. He also abhors synthetic fabrics and his socks have to be a specific thickness. Honey is Jon’s big thing, though. It’s his own twist on food fear. I’ve never known anyone else who felt the way he does about honey. It’s along the same lines as the glass bottle thing that Ben has, but instead of being afraid of swallowing glass, it’s a fear of actual bee ingestion. If not an entire bee, then at the very least he’s sure that every spoonful of honey is potentially harboring a stinger. Of course he’s afraid of bees even without the involvement of honey, but with legitimate cause because he’s allergic, hence the stinger thing.
I don’t know anyone who’s ever eaten a bee or a stinger in honey, although a kid at my elementary school did swallow a bee out of the air once (I have no idea how), so I can’t say with certainty that it wouldn’t hurt him, but the fact that it’s never happened should say something.
Jon and I met at the doctor’s office. We were both in for allergies. I saw him leafing through an Allegra pamphlet. I asked him if he’d ever used it. He said that he liked it better than Flonase, but that Zyrtek worked the best for him. It had to be Kismet.
Then there was Jay. Jay drew me into the dizzying maze of his mind and, I have to admit, I liked it. He was my crack. If I could have injected him directly into my veins, I would have. It was like a nun losing her virginity with the Marquis de Sade: sweaty, brutal, bloody, hot, and ultimately destructive, but entirely unforgettable.
Jay is actually psychotic. He’s medicated and everything. Sociopathic tendencies manifest themselves from time to time, he’s got a rage problem, control issues, an enormous ego, paranoid delusions, and a mean streak that can leave you winded and writhing in agony.
There’s nothing tentative about Jay, except maybe his grip on reality. Confrontation is his favorite pastime. If I ever disagreed with him, there was a lot of yelling and sometimes throwing, and finally sex.
Jay doesn’t have an endearing, let alone redeeming, quality. He’s a reprehensible human being. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that he’s storing body parts in his freezer, especially since I know he has, or had, a collection of my fingernails.
It’s hard for me to imagine now how I ever got involved with him. I was attracted to him first because he wouldn’t touch the elevator buttons with his bare hands, then because he cleaned his glasses, with cleaner, several times a day. The real addiction started with his hands themselves, though. Always immaculately kept, not professionally manicured, but clean, moisturized, and with tidily clipped nails. And he has these huge, turgid veins supplying blood to his long fingers. I wanted to put them in my mouth.
I met Jay at my lawyer’s office. He’s with the same firm. I told him that I’d seen him on the elevator, that I understood his aversion. He told me that I should go out with him. He seemed like a pig, but I agreed to go out with him. The first date was typical until we got to his house.
A car was parked in his driveway. Jay pulled in behind it and got out of the car. After he’d unlocked the six deadbolts in his front door and told me to make myself a drink while he took care of the car, he left me in the doorway. The screen had only just slammed when a loud thwack startled me. Then another. I opened the door again to see Jay ramming the parked car.
In an obvious string of events, the owner of the violated vehicle appeared from a neighboring house, and started a fight. For some reason I ran out and tried to stop them. Jay shook me off, looked me in the eyes, and winked. My heart fluttered and I submitted to the alpha male. It’s embarrassing to admit, but he brought out the worst in me. At least I can say that I didn’t watch Jay pummel the poor idiot who’d committed the unspeakable act of parking in the wrong place.
I went inside. Jay wasn’t even breathing hard when he came in. His hair wasn’t mussed. The only discernable result of the beating he’d inflicted was a fine spray of blood on his white shirt. Gross, but impressive. He ripped the shirt off, literally ripped it off, and threw it, along with his tie, into the trash.
Egomaniacal body obsession had led him to work out, well, obsessively, and it was obvious. I mean wow. It became evident how he’d been able to beat the hell out of that guy with such ease. I wanted to bite his stomach, lick his collarbones. He said I could.
When I got home, I bleached my counters. It’s the equivalent of a post-coital cigarette for me. Then I turned down my tidy, hospital-cornered bed, slid under the sheet and pulled the duvet up under my chin. I snapped off my lamp and closed my eyes. I couldn’t think of anything but Jay. Jay’s hands on my hips. The taste of Jay’s blood in my mouth when I bit his bottom lip.
That was the beginning. And like any good addict, I didn’t admit my problem. When my friends asked about him, I carefully omitted the crazy. “We went to dinner at CafĂ© 36, then went back to his house.”
When I started getting questions about our sex life, I just said that it was great. The general public didn’t need to know about the controlled bloodletting, rubber fetish, bondage, or the swing. All of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Especially the swing. Jay had hooks on chains of all different lengths hanging from the ceiling so everything was adjustable. I’ve actually thought of doing something similar in my own home because it was so terrific.
Jay’s behavior became more and more violent. At least from my perspective. I’m sure he’d always done insane things, I just saw them more often. He got into fights. He stole things, and mind you, he’s an officer of the court, broke things, vandalized buildings, he even set a car on fire. I never tried to stop him after the first time. Everything he did made my pulse quicken. A junkie with a vicious habit for almost a year.
Then one day, his fits stopped being exciting and started to seem infantile. And then Jay started to scare me. I found his fingernail collection and a pillow stuffed with hair (I don’t know who the hair belonged to – maybe lots of people) and started to wean myself off him. As I cut down on our time together, I started to notice things disappearing – underwear, my toothbrush.
The last time I saw Jay was when I told him I didn’t want to date him anymore. I went to his bedroom to look for my underwear. I opened his sock drawer and discovered, much to my horror, that he’d been taking my bloody pads and tampon applicators from the trash. And apparently for a number of months. He had them sealed and labeled in vacuum bags. I left them, and everything else, and walked away.
It’s truer to say that I ran away. I moved that same night. I called all of my friends and we moved all of my stuff into Jon’s garage. I chose Jon’s garage because the cement on the ground actually shines. And there isn’t even one cobweb, not anywhere.
Then I rented a truck and found a new place to live. Later on I changed my name and moved again when I found Jay in my driveway one crack of dawn rifling through my garbage.
I’ve learned to stick with the average neurotics. One good thing about the whole Jay debacle was that Jon and I got back together as a result of putting my things in his care. Honey phobias may not be intoxicating, but at least I don’t have dreams that Jon will julienne me while I sleep and stir-fry me with snow peas and baby corn.


Busy Brain

Tonight my brain will not rest. It will not light on any single thought. I've written a thousand little sentences, ideas, words. I've tried to form the thoughts into something coherent, but nothing is happening, or rather, too much is happening.

Tonight even the yoga cannot quiet the noise. When the yoga doesn't work the voices into tired capitulation, there is not much else I can think of to do than drink some wine, put on some music, take a bath and go to bed and hope that the dreams aren't too disruptive.

Tomorrow is another day.



I collect words - both figuratively and literally. I cut words out of magazines and newspapers and I have at least four English dictionaries. I also have lists of words written in journals and on notepads. I keep words that I like the look of, sound of, or meaning of. Sometimes I get all three in one. I like when that happens.

arabesque, antediluvian, axel, amalgam
Barcelona, bombastic, brash, bioluminescent
charcuterie, comely, cymbal, confabulation
deoxyribonucleic, disinter, demagogue, deontology
emblem, excoriate, effete, ex-communicate
filigree, flange, fabricate, facet, facia
gastronomic, Glastonbury, gargantuan, gestational
harbinger, hausfrau, hoagy, hellacious, hyperbolic
ignominy, iridescent, improvisation, immaterial, iamb
juxtapose, jackanpes, jackal, jammy
kabuki, kumquat, kipper, kangaroo
lambaste, loquacious, limbic, lothario
mellifluous, mastic, Merovingian, malarky
natarajasana, numismatist, natatorium, nihilist, nerd
ophthalmologist, obsequious, outdoorsy, oarsmanship
peripatetic, philologist, plenipotentiary, preponderance
quaalude, quotidian, quixotic, quench, quince
relativism, resplendent, recondite, ravishing, ravenous
syndicalism, sabbatical, saturnine, sanguine, shill
terrific, terrestrial, tumescent, tangent
ubiquitous, ukulele, Ulannbaatar (Ulan Bator)
verisimilitude, vilify, vociferous, verbose
wistful, wainscot, wishy-washy, whatsoever
xylophone, Xanadu, xanthan, xenobiotic
yarmulke, yak, yarf, yen, yearn
zabaglione, zephyr, zoetrope, zed