Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dick, Jane, E.T. and Teddy Roosevelt

Look! Look where I am! Do I sound like a Dick and Jane book right now? See! Oh! See!

Weren't the pictures in Dick and Jane books cool? Wouldn't it be great to have a print of one?
I am good at the focusing. As I was SAYING, look where I am! I am home! It's 2:30 p.m. on a Thursday! Oh, it's exciting. We had a blackout in our building, and I do not mean that we drank and forgot everything. All the power went out and we all got sent home. You have never seen a more animated group of middle-aged people in your life. It was like the last day of school.

So naturally I came right home and blogged. Cause I am a giant, giant loser.

Please cast your eyes to the right side of this page. Did you notice we are now up to $15,500 in savings? Marvin Gardens got his last paycheck and it included all his unused vacation and such, so we put a lot of said check in savings. Would it be okay if we took the rest of it and used it for Botox?

Folks, I look so terribly bad. I mean, I am turning 42, so it's not going to get any better from here on out. I realize that. It is sort of a long, wrinkled, puffy road ahead. But as I cannot groom, and as I USED to groom quite a bit (I do not mean that I chewed nits off of Marvin Gardens. I mean that I used to get my hair actually cut and colored by a professional. I got my eyebrows waxed. I got facials. Oh! Facials. I used to get those spray-on tans in those booths that felt like the shower in Silkwood. I used to BUY NEW CLOTHES), there is a distinct difference in my appearance. Perhaps it is only visible to me, but isn't that who matters, really?

E.T. phoned home and his space people said, "We can see June's pores." If I cannot get a facial, I wish I could at least buy some of that pore-closing mask stuff at the drug store. But it is not allowed. And I am running dangerously low on the self-tanner I got last year.

And my wrinkle. Oh, that wrinkle. I have a giant crevice in between my ungroomed eyebrows, created from years of being crabby and frowning. I sprinkle salt in there, and people dip crudites in my forehead at parties. So at least it's useful. I need that area Botoxed so bad. So bad.

And I know I am a jerk. I read about that poor woman who was on the oxygen tank, and she couldn't pay her $122 electric bill, so they cut off her electricity and she died. Now, there is someone with a real problem. I know that the fact that Theodore Roosevelt has paid Panama for control of my forehead is nothing compared to that.

So I guess I will suck it up for another SEVEN MONTHS.

And please, nobody buy me any tanning cream or masks or anything. I feel bad enough not being able to buy anybody anything. I have another wedding coming up and I'm giving the IOU wedding card. I wish I was good at crafts and I could be all, "Look! (I am Dick and Jane again.) I made you this priceless meaningful quilt that you can pass down for generations." Yeah, not so much.

It sent another friend a Hallmark birthday e-card yesterday, which is free and it's better than not acknowledging these birthdays at all, and the friend wrote back and said, "A bunch of us are going to dinner to celebrate my birthday tonight! You should come!"

Well, that was awkward. If I wrote back and said, "Remember? I can't." you KNOW she would've said, "Oh, come on! It's on me!" and I just couldn't bring myself to be on someone yet again, so to speak. So I just didn't write her back. It was the only thing I could think of to do. I could've just lied and said, "Got plans, sorry!" but that didn't occur to me till just now.

So, that's the latest in the not-spending world. We have 15 big ones; Gopher, Julie and all the guests on the Pacific Princess are sailing between my brows; and my friends, one by one, are going to break up with me.

At least I have the afternoon free!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Entirely too much poop in this one

Isn't this exciting? The weekend is over, and yet it's NOT OVER! One more day of not doing anything we don't want to. Except I do have to Nair my moustache, which is never something I want to do, per se. But it is better than the Snidely Whiplash look I get otherwise.

We did all sorts of non-spendy-pants things this weekend, and yet I ache, ache I tell you, to spend.

On Saturday, Marvin Gardens went hiking in Topanga Canyon with our friend Bill. Bill called Saturday morning and I kept hearing Marvin Gardens tell him, "I'm not allowed. Nope. Not allowed." I knew Bill was wanting to go out to lunch. Really, this little experiment is probably hardest on our friends. In the end, Marvin packed sandwiches for the two of them to take on their hike. See? See how we adjust?

My oldest friend in the world, who I will call Wally Green because she is absolutely obsessed with Walgreen's, is having a birthday in a few days and I can't get her a dang gift. She has sent me McDonald's gift certificates this year when she read that I was hankering, and she also sent me some bottles of my favorite shampoo and conditioner (guess where she bought them?), and I cannot do a thing for her. So I called her today and told her that for her birthday, she can choose whether she wants me to sing "I Love the Nightlife, I've Got to Boogie" or "Time for me to Fly" on her answering machine.

What could be better than that? I will have no friends by the end of this year. Marvin doesn't even allow me to sing in the house at all. I have to limit it to the car. I am sure the neighbors will enjoy me jammin' out on my cell phone on the morning of May 30. "I've been around for you/been up and down for you/ but I just can't get any relief..."

So, anyway, I did see my old college friend Nan this weekend, and she was kind enough to buy me a manicure/pedicure right there on the Sunset Strip. We sat in those big spa chairs that they charge you $6 extra for, and we yak yak yakked while they did us up. Then I drove her around and showed her the important sights (where River Phoenix died, where Lindsay Lohan is always getting into trouble, the sign for Beverly Hills). The thing is, I can no longer pay for car washes and have to wash my car myself, and I tell you my car was covered, COVERED, in bird poop. (Please see my last 50 posts, wherein I obsess about the birds in my yard. I guess there is a downside to all this communing with nature.) As I drove my friend around, I said, "Why are people looking at us?" And she said, "They are looking at the bird poop!" It was bad, folks. It was like we were in Tippi Hedrin's car.

Isn't it nice when you see an old friend and it is like no time has passed at all and they didn't get all serious or all grown up and unapproachable or humorless or mature or anything like that? Why is it that you can fall right back into place with some friends, and others you are like, ew. Did I ever like you? Did you used to have a personality? Was I drunk every time I ever did something with you, or what?

I really was badly tempted to buy something new to wear to see this old friend, but that would have been completely stupid. Did I need to impress her? Was she going to like me less if I was wearing something old? Truthfully I do not even think she is the type who remembers what I wore. This need-to-spend thing is often self-imposed.

But I do have to tell you the truth. Afterwards, I filled my tank and paid the nine extra dollars for a car wash. I would have gotten bird flu washing that thing myself.

The spending temptation came back today. We barbecued at Renee and Dan's today. We brought fruit salad, so we went to the grocery store, and along with fruit, I had to get hair gel. Now, this is a necessary expense. If I were to go with no product in my hair, Sputnik would call and tell me to put that thing in a bun or something. So, there I was, in the sort of cosmetic-y part of the store, and sister, I was tempted. And in real spending life, I would never buy makeup at the grocery store. But just that one little purchase of hair gel (technically, it was mousse from John Freida. I know, 1983 called. It wants its hair product back) and I was like an addict. I looked at the lipsticks, I looked at the hair elastics, I looked at the bubble bath. Marvin Gardens had to pull me out of that aisle.

Also, summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the streets. Is it the time is right or the time is ripe? I never know from songs. You know that old song jungle love/it's driving me mad/it's making me crazy? All my life I thought it was chug-a-lug/it's driving me mad until Marvin Gardens caught me.

But I digress, for a change. Summer is here and I wish, oh how I wish, I could buy new skirts and little T shirts and oh! do I wish I could get new shoes. Little pink summery shoes. Little slip-on metallic summery flats. Oh.

As it was, I ironed the khaki cargo pants I bought at Old Navy in 1872 and wore those with my flip-flops bought during the Nixon administration. Then as soon as we got to Renee's, she said, "Oh those pants are so cute!" So, there you go.

I know I have rambled forever, and you have turned into a skeleton with cobwebs hanging off you, but I do need to tell you just one more thing. Renee made a fabulous, healthy dinner, and we had my fruit salad for dessert. Then, because I am a terrible influence, because I am Goofus to Renee's Gallant, I said, "Don't brownies sound delicious?" So the next thing you know, Renee and I are baking brownies, and also sugar cookies because Marvin Gardens does not like brownies. I understand that he is a freak, yes.

So, Renee's daughter Charlotte, who is two and only eats healthy things, get one half of a sugar cookie, and Renee hands out the warm brownies on paper towels. We are happily eating, but Charlotte is most concerned, her brows furrowed. Finally, she couldn't stand it any longer. She pointed at our brownies and asked, "Poopy?" That poor child thought the adults were all sitting around enjoying paper towels filled with fecal matter.

Perhaps she will grow up without much of a sweet tooth.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

At this point we could make a quiche

Now, I know this blog is supposed to be about our growing nest egg, but this is ridiculous. Now there are FOUR eggs. I am sure the mom bird, who is never giving me an exasperated look when I walk onto the back porch, at any rate, is thrilled with me continuously photographing her nest. She must feel like Angelina Jolie.

Anyway, meet McMuffin, the Scottish bird. He joins Omelet, Shelly and Benedict in our pail hanging from our back porch.

I was even geeky enough to do some research online, and I have pretty much figured out that these are California Towhees. Here is a fact that you will not find fascinating: did you know that different KINDS of birds build different KINDS of nests? Some add junk and paper to their nest, some build really tidy ones, some build them low to the ground, and SOME birds, like the California Towhee, add mammal fur to their nest, which is part of how I figured out what kind of bird we had. I have mentioned before that this nest included German shepherd hair from the dogs next door. Keep up. Do you have any idea how hard to is to keep writing "nest" and "next" and not screw it up?

In other news, and I'll bet you were sick and tired of waiting for any other news besides those baby birds,who I love more than life itself even tho they are not yet born, yesterday at work, we got let out at 1:00.

I stayed till 5:30. Well, sue me. There was a lot to do. Beleaguered office mate has been out for six weeks with a herniated disk and I have been holding the bag. Which really gets inconvenient, trying to do your work and hold a bag of herniated disks at the same time. ANYWAY, one of the other I-am-staying-late-even-though-it's-a-holiday-weekend geeks, who is a good friend of mine at work, said, "June, do you have any food? Cause I have a ton in the fridge." I told her I was fine with food, but I was dying of thrist. This is a problem when you aren't spending, although my plan was to just go to the water cooler. But I was really hankering for a Coke or something. My coworker said, "Why don't you just go to the free soda fountain?"

Okay. I have worked at my job for FIFTEEN MONTHS. I had NO IDEA there was a free fountain thingie downstairs that had Coke, Root Beer, lemonade and other fancy drinks. Some of our department work down there, so it's not like I am never downstairs. Seriously. Next thing I'll find out we have free yoga, too. (That is an inside joke for my coworkers. We DO have free yoga. Get it? Get my hilarity? Whoo!)

I have to get ready now, as I am meeting that old friend from college today. Now, here is a time that not spending kind of sucks. The last time she saw me I was maybe 28 and still cute. I am just saying, it would be nice if I could have picked up a spiffy new shirt or something. As it is, I am wearing my white tank that I have worn 7,895 times before. Not that she would know this, but it is the IDEA. I am sure many women out there are feeling me on this.

And do not fret, if there is a fifth egg, you will be the first to know.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Three's Company

Now, this is getting silly. When is she LAYING these?

Please welcome Omelet and Shelly's new sibling, Benedict.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Nest update!

I have officially become an old lady. But our nest in our back yard now has TWO eggs in it! So Omelet will have a brother or a sister after all. We have named the new egg Shelly. If it turns out to be a boy, we will rename it Sheldon. How I am going to know if it is a boy or a girl bird is beyond me. Maybe it will be wearing pants or have long eyelashes or something that'll give it away.

And by the way, if you look carefully at yesterday's photo of the nest, you will see there is sort of brown/black fuzzy stuff in there (if you click on the photo you can see it better). I figured it out: it is German shepherd hair from the two beautiful dogs next door -- Legend and Queenie. What a good way to keep your eggs warm, using dog fur!

We have had two expenses this week that were medical: our cat Winston is really uncomfortable with some sort of eye ulcer, and we have spent $170 so far on him, and he sees an ophthalmologist tomorrow. Yes, they have cat ophthalmologists. I didn't know that either.

Also, you know how I don't like to complain (there are like 78 old entries I could link to here but I will spare myself the humiliation), but I have not slept since Saturday night. No, not because I lost the disco competition to John Travolta; I actually do not know what is up other than, oh, my husband has no job. But on Sunday night I felt very ill and stayed up till FOUR A.M. I could NOT fall asleep. Then on Monday night I woke up at 1 a.m. and stayed awake till who knows when, since Marvin Gardens covered the clock so I wouldn't look and obsess. Last night was a real luxury: slept till 2:45, then tossed and turned till 3:30.

You can imagine what an effective proofreader this has made me. So alert and thoughtful!

So today I went to the doctor, who has prescibed me a non-narcotic drug, because I did not want to turn into Valley of the Dolls, over here. I will soon be taking said drug, and I pray pray pray that I will FALL ASLEEP AND STAY ASLEEP. I do not mean that I want to fall asleep forever. I am not Sylvia Plath. Yet. But let me tell you, that sleep? It's necessary! You need it for the driving and thinking and functioning sort of a thing. Who knew it was such a big deal?

At any rate, I drove and drove and drove through Santa Monica, where my doctor is, looking for a free parking space. And do you know I found one? It was just slightly illegal. Then the visit itself was $20 and I am happy to report that the prescription was only $3.95!

I had to sort of cheat regarding lunch, by the way. The filling of the prescription was going to take an hour (and does anybody know why it ALWAYS takes SO LONG to fill a DING-DANG presCRIPtion? WHYYYYY is it ALWAYS like that?), and it was way past my lunchtime, and my packed lunch was back at work, so I went to the grocery store near the pharmacy and bought a little package of green apples already cut up that came with granola and this carmely, creamy dipping sauce that I have to tell you was the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my entire lifetime. Man, that was good.

So, technically, that was cheating, cause we have ruled out pre-packed food like that. But the doctor's appointment was really last-minute and what was I supposed to do, buy a raw chicken and cook it on top of my car using the engine or something?

I hope when we meet again, I will have slumbered deeply. Caught the ZZZs. Sawed some logs. Gone to the REM concert.

You get my drift.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I have so become that annoying neighbor woman and her husband from Married with Children

Today was Marvin Gardens' last day at work. It was supposed to be Sunday, May 27, which was the date of our first date, so it seemed like good luck. I do not mean that we are having our first date this coming Sunday. Our first date was May 27, 1986, when I had a perm and Marvin had curly hair that inexplicably turned not curly through the years.

Anyway, they had to do an exit interview with him on his last day, and since his last day was a Sunday of a holiday weekend, no one felt like coming in to interview him, so they said okay, today can be your last day. Good enough. He gets paid through Sunday. In fact, he gets paid for all sorts of unused vacation time and such, so expect a big leap in our savings soon.

It occurred to me today that for the first time in seven years, I will actually see Marvin Gardens every single weekend. As it was before, we only saw each other every other weekend, which if you are keeping track there at home, meant that we only saw each other four full days a month. Which is ridiculous. It also occurred to me that he will no longer work on Christmas Day, unless he becomes one of Santa's reindeer or something. On Dasher, on Marvin!

So after dinner, Marvin and I went in the backyard and burned all of his work shirts. Here is a picture of our actual grill burning MG's actual work shirts:

We toasted marshmallows over said fire, and then I worried that we might catch some disease, cooking over burning unnatural fibers and such. But I ate my marshmallow anyway.

While we were back there, Marvin took a picture of the nest in our metal pail on the back porch. Apparently the birds are having an only child, just like me. I think I have named our bundle of joy Omlette. What do you think? Also, I have told Marvin Gardens he cannot photograph the pail any longer and he has to leave it alone so Omlette does not grow up all neurotic and nervous, getting jostled about.

In other news, this weekend I am seeing an old friend of mine from college. We hung out together so much that back then that people called her my wife. Remember in college, or when you were 22 in general, and you had all the time in the world to hang with your friends? You could call at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and say, "Let's get ice cream then walk down and look at the ducks." "Okay!" Or at 11:45 p.m. on a Friday. "I just had the most boring date. Let's go to the Peanut Barrel, drink vodka/cranberry/lemonades and throw peanuts at each other's cleavages." "Okay!"

This was because you had basically no obligations to really be anywhere, except like maybe at 4:30 you had to show up at your bartending shift, and even then your friends could just come along!

"Nan," who by the way loves to be called "Nan," (and really, most of my fake names for my friends in here are just versions of their names that they hate, right Sandy and Blanche?) has grown up and has a cool job and lives on the other side of the country, and I think the last time I saw her was in 1992. So, she is coming and has promised me a pedicure. I know I just HAD a free pedicure thanks to my mother this last Friday, but I have already done something stupid with my shoewear and have lost my new-pedicure luster, so I am looking forward to living large and letting yet ANOTHER person buy me a pedicure. Am I the most shameless foot hussy ever?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weddings, Winchell's and Wistfulness

In case you were worried sick, Marvin Gardens has still quit his job and we are still married. I realize it has been a couple days since I have written, and I did not want you to be over there wondering. And thank you all for your nice comments and emails.

My mother has been in town, as is my stepfather, seeing as they are married and all, so that is where we have been.

It is exciting having my mother in town, as she has purchased my first pedicure in five months, and also lunch at Ribs U.S.A., which is, like, the best barbecue place within a 10-mile radius of me that I have not been to due to the fact that, you know, we are not spending. What run-on sentence?

Speaking of which (spending, not run-on sentences), the other night after dinner, the soon-to-be-unemployed Marvin Gardens and I took a walk and we noticed that the donut shop ON OUR CORNER had been completely redecorated, and we had not noticed it because we never go there anymore. They had painted it and put up a fancy menu and everything. I mean, it's one of those little hut places where you just walk up and order your donuts, and it's got windows all the way around it, so you'd think we'd have at least GLANCED in there this year, since we pass it every day. But no.

That donut shop, in the early morning, is a hangout for old men in cowboy hats. They all sit outside with their coffee and their hats and such, and every once in awhile I would get my coffee from there before work. Even though I had wet hair and I am 97 years old and give new meaning to the term "front butt," all the old men would watch me walk by. I was the belle of the Winchell's ball.

Speaking of bells, tonight we went to a wedding, and weddings always make me wish I had nicer dress up clothes. Even when I was not not spending, I tended to have just one "marry 'em and bury 'em" dress that I wore to all special occasions. Hey, it's LA, and you hardly ever need a dress for anything, so just one will do. But then you go to these weddings and you think, where DOES one find a dove gray crushed silk dress with a fur trim, and why don't I have one as a wardrobe staple?

I remember when I first moved here, and went to my first LA wedding, I was struck by how NEW everyone's clothes looked. I had come here from Seattle, where you buy new clothes that purposely look old and faded, so this was a shock to me.

Anyway, on top of lusting for people's clothes, the house where the wedding was held was not to be believed. It was probably the fanciest house I have been to here, and I kept thinking if I lived there, I'd never be sad again. I would just wander from room to room thinking, "Man, I'm rich. Look how rich I am. Here I am in another room, continuing to be rich."

I'm sure I'll be invited back soon, seeing as how just as we were getting ready to leave, I dropped my LIPSTICK behind some 17th century dresser in the entryway (the entryway. Do you know what my entryway is? My LIVING ROOM) and some wedding guest had to help me SCRAPE said 17th century dresser across the antique plank flooring in order to retrieve my $7 lipstick. Hey, I can't just go out and buy another tube. What do you want from me?

So that's my news. Oh, and no, we did not buy a wedding gift for the happy couple. We figure just us showing up, eating all the food offered then going back for seconds, being first in line for cake, and then scraping the antique floors was really gift enough.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Marvin Quits

Today Marvin Gardens quit his job. I made him do it, and we are going to be poor, and I am glad.

I will not tell the whole detailed story, because it is his story, not mine. But I have mentioned before that Marvin Gardens SO hates his job, which is a terrible way to live.

A few years ago, he went back to school and got his teaching credential, which though not high-paying, was something he really wanted to do. He graduated with a 3.9, the teacher he student taught with loved him, and then he could not find a teaching job. At all.

So, Marvin stuck with the job he had, hoping a teaching job would finally happen. Then today his work did something so disrespectful, so vile. He called me, completely dispirited. It was awful. I have such a nasty email to his boss brewing in my head.

So I said to him, "Go back in there and quit that stupid job. We will not starve to death. You can substitute teach. I have a job with benefits, you can use my insurance. But you cannot live like this any longer."

Because you know what? It is more important to be happy than to make money. It is so, SO much more important. We will not die without this job. We have savings now. Maybe this is why we did this not-spending plan in the first place, who knows? But I believe we will be taken care of. I think something better will come along and we will be grateful that this stupid day even happened.

I had planned to blog today about how I wanted some sparkly pink ballet flats that I saw at Urban Outfitters, and that Marvin had washed his iPod in the washing machine and wanted a new one. We will continue to be living without those things. We are trained in this going-without thing now. We can do this!

But in the meantime, can I make Marvin call me "Pants"?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Heart the Service Industry

My mother is coming to town. Now, she has known me for 41 and 3/4 years. She knows I am a slob. The jig is up.

Why, then, did I spend EIGHT HOURS cleaning my house yesterday?

Back when we lived like normal people, we used to have a cleaning lady. I would come home at the end of a long workday, and do you know the house would sparkle? You could SEE through the shower door! The wood floors would reflect up and you could see up my skirt! You can imagine how the neighbors clamored to see that.

But not anymore. Now it's just me and my increasingly foul mood doing the cleaning. At least I have been regularly doing the Martha Stewart homekeeping technique every weekend, so the house is starting out somewhat okay. Remember that scene in The Color Purple, when she first moves in with her husband and the kitchen walls are black? That is how it used to be for me when I would try to clean my house.

But I am telling you, I slaved. I removed every knickknack and dusted it (and we are not minimalists; our decorating style is kind of 1950s grandma), then dusted all the furniture. I cleaned the outside and inside of the windows, and now when you look outside it is like you have been lifted from a great depression. There are actual COLORS out there! I swept cobwebs from the porches, and worst of all, I removed everything from the refrigerator and cleaned the whole thing top to bottom.

Have you ever removed your crispers to clean them out? Don't. Just go buy a new refrigerator. I know I have a large contingent of Christian women who read this blog, so I will apologize in advance. But I can assure you that the entire Osborne family, Jack, Ozzie, even that sister who we never see, the WHOLE CLAN did not say the "F" word in an ENTIRE WEEK more than I said it in that hour I spent trying to get those crispers back into their ding-dang slot.

Finally, I tried to clean the kitchen floor. I am ashamed to admit to you that I called our ex-cleaning lady and asked her how to remove my waxy buildup. I'll bet she had some buildup she wanted to wax off of me. I know that didn't make sense. Suffice it to say, she was probably annoyed. But she cheerfully told me what to do, and I spent 45 minutes on my knees, with a scrubby sponge, removing that buildup.

It is occurring to me as I write this that perhaps Alicia totally made that technique up to punish me for calling her for free advice.

Anyway, if you ask me, the house doesn't look any different. I hate everything.

And speaking of my eyebrows, I know I have told you before how much I miss going to Damone, my eyebrow guy. There is a Buddha statue when you walk in, and the Buddha is holding tweezers in his lap. They serve you mint tea. Often there are celebs. And when you are done, oh! do you look good. One of the things Damone or his cohorts did was trim my eyebrows.

So, yeah, I have the tweezers, but I was really hankering for an eyebrow trim, as I was getting a kind of Andy Rooney look, which is not flattering.

So what did Miss Resourceful over here do? I found the tiniest scissors we had, my eyebrow comb, and did a little Damone-action trimming.


Remember that scene at the end of The Wall (I assume you see a lot of movies, don't I?) when the main character shaved off all his body hair?

It was a travesty, and I am afraid I actually managed to FORGET that I had done this to myself and went to work that way, and you can imagine my panic when I looked in the mirror this morning. All I had at work was a brown eye pencil, which gave me a lovely Mommy Dearest kind of a look. Which is what everyone wants.

So I wiped my brows, hoped no one would say anything, and got to work. Later, I am toiling away, and I hear, "Hi June!" I turn around, with my Pink Floyd eyebrows, and do you know who is there? Do you KNOW who is STANDING in my DOORWAY, looking at my face, my "I thought they were binoculars but they were really helicopter propellers" face? The OWNER of our COMPANY! The OWNER, who I have never talked to before. The OWNER, who is very fancy and VERY well-groomed.

Perhaps my cleaning lady needs a helper.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Maybe Campbell's will send me a big check.

Marvin Gardens gets paid on Tuesday, so I am certainly hoping we put more into our savings. Although $13,000 in four and a half months is nothing to sneeze at. Why I would sneeze at my savings is beyond me. Where did that stupid phrase come from?

My grandmother was always going around with phrases that didn't make any sense, such as, "You tell him your ass would make him a Sunday face." I was about 28 before I figured that one out.

At any rate, last time, I asked you to remind me to tell you things and you didn't. Fortunately, I can go back to my last post and remind myself. Some good you are.

First of all, people are forever asking me the same things about this not spending thing. The most annoying one is when I say, "We are not spending this year and we have saved X amount of dollars" and people say, "Since when?" Okay. I just said we are not spending THIS YEAR. Were you thinking I went by the Aztec calendar?

Then people want to know the details, and I will give you one today: bringing my lunch to work. I prepare my lunch the night before in under two minutes. Have you tried those Campbell's Soup at Hand soups? They come in a microwavable container. So I have 6 million of those at the ready. Then I throw in a bottle of water, yogurt, a piece of fruit and maybe an Odwalla bar. Done.

And speaking of the details, Mother's Day is tomorrow, and the whole gift-giving thing was causing us much consternation, which sounds like I just said 'constipation,' but I didn't. However, last week I had a brilliant idea for my mother.

Many years ago, my paternal grandmother made tapes of her life story which are FAS.CIN.ATING. My mother has always wanted to hear them, even though this is her ex-mother-in-law's life story. I asked Marvin Gardens if he could transfer the tapes to CD for my mother's gift. I thought this would take 10 minutes. It took every spare moment of Marvin's life from last Sunday to Thursday. I have the feeling he may have made this harder than it had to be, because then he had an excuse to play with the computer, the CD player, and other noisy electronic devices.

So, that was free, other than the fact that Marvin FED-EXed it to my mother, despite the fact that she will be here in five days and would have been just fine waiting for her gift. Marvin sent something free to his mother too, but I think she hasn't gotten it yet and do not wish to ruin her surprise.

Oh, and I was gonna tell you how yesterday was the 10-year anniversary of when poor Marvin made the fatal error of proposing to me on a Ferris wheel (I looked it up. 'Ferris' gets capitalized and 'wheel' does not), but since I was EXTREMELY busy last night watching Anne of Green Gables, I did not blog and what is the point of telling a story about being proposed to 10 years and one day ago? But here is me on said Ferris wheel, glad that some idiot finally wanted to marry me.

Nice acid wash.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Do you want to know how many traffic lights I go through between my house and work? Why would you want to know something that boring?

Eighty-three. I kept track today as I drove, and I am pretty sure it was accurate, even though I was also jamming out to Ambrosia on my all-'70s station. I also saw four billboards that I had proofread. I proofed 'em again just to be sure.

I am certain I was a safe driver out there, what with my Ambrosia jamming and my counting and proofreading. Won't you join me in the car?

Anyway, remind me tonight to tell you about the relatively free Mother's Day things we gave our mothers, the gift of hair products I received in the mail, what I have been making for lunch and how today is the 10-year anniversary of when Marvin Gardens proposed to me on a ferris wheel.

Should Ferris Wheel be capitalized?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Commuting is kind of free, unless you count how your SOUL and your WILL TO LIVE are sucked out of you DAILY

Will you look at the time?! Perhaps you are in a Vegas casino and you cannot. It's 5:50 P.M.!

For a week, I have been afraid that somehow something would happen and I would miss seeing Barry Gibb tonight on American Idol. I even thought about taking Tuesday and Wednesday off work. What if there was some hostage situation at work, and the hostage-taker wouldn't let me leave? What if there was some terrible traffic jam? Now, I know this is ridiculous. I get out of work at 4:30. American Idol starts at 8:00.

Nevertheless, I warned work. Do not do that thing to me where you give me something at 4:20 and need it done before I leave. I am LEAVING AT 4:30 ON THE DOT TODAY!! AM I MAKING MYSELF CLEAR?!

By 4:34 I was in my car, which is pretty good.

I was making good time on the way, then I got to my exit. You are not going to believe this. My EXIT was BLOCKED off because the PARK near my house was ON FIRE! WHY!? WHYYYYYYYYYYY????

I tried to stay calm. I'll just go to the next exit, whatever that is, I thought. So I exited, and the intelligent highway department lead me RIGHT INTO THE FIRE! Seriously! I drove right into it! Ash filled my car! A piece actually BURNED me! I honestly found it a little hard to breathe! And, also, I was COMPLETELY LOST!

At this point I started to panic. Not about the fire, about Barry Gibb. And by the way, it was the hottest day so far this year, and old Johnny Cash over here decided to wear a long-sleeved black shirt today. My back started sticking to my car seat. I tried to head toward the hills that I know are near my house, when suddenly the lane I was in became a TURN-ONLY LANE HEADING BACK TO ANOTHER FREEWAY!

Okay, anyway. I got home, an hour and 20 minutes later. Coincidentally, I read a fascinating article in The New Yorker today about how commutes ruin people's lives. There have been all sorts of studies done. There was no mention of how parTICularly ruined one's life would be if one missed Barry Gibb on American Idol.

Seeing as I still have two hours before Barry time, I did promise dcrmom that I would do the meme she sent me. Neither dcrmom nor I know what "meme" means, but it is kind of like a chain thing between bloggers. So, someone tagged her to tell seven random facts about herself, and then she tagged me, and I get to tag someone else. ...Oh. I guess I am supposed to tag seven people. I do not think I know seven bloggers yet. I will worry about that later.


1. I do not have a spleen. When I was 12, I fell off a balcony at my aunt's house (thereby ruining her birthday -- sorry again, Aunt Kathy) and I broke both wrists, had lots of internal damage, and had to have my spleen removed. You do not really need your spleen -- the rest of your organs kind of take over. Just flew in from the balcony and boy are my organs tired.

2. Marvin Gardens and I own photo albums of people we do not know. We have three photo albums of this couple from the '40s, Norma and Vern Weinstein, and from there we started collecting many pictures of complete strangers. Someone is making a documentary about this odd hobby and we were interviewed twice.

3. I detest the theater. I hate musicals and plays and I hate hate hate hate hate those theater photos. You know, where the background is always pitch black and someone is in the foreground with a dramatic look on their face? You wanna torture me? Take me to the dang theater.

4. There is no better smell, if you ask me, than Vick's Vapo-Rub. I feel similarly attached to Dippity-Do.

5. I simply cannot let you take a drink from my glass. If you do so, you might as well take the whole thing, because even if I were lying prone in an endless desert, I would not drink from something someone else drank from. This rule applies to relatives, Marvin Gardens, anyone.

6. There is nothing more depressing to me than National Public Radio. Particularly that All Things Considered theme song. Ugh! It plummets me into depression. Those soooothing voices and those loooooong pauses. Oh, I am getting the heebie jeebies just describing it. My parents always had that thing on before dinner, but I do not know why that makes me so depressed. It's not like they bound my limbs with electric tape and propped my eyes open with toothpicks during dinner or anything.

7. (finally) I adore the sound of a train in the middle of the night. And old coffee percolators. And thunderstorms. And crickets. Was that 10 things, then?

Monday, May 7, 2007

I never had a farm in Africa

While we have been busy this year with the whole not spending any money thing, our friends Renee and Dan have had a little project of their own. They are selling basically everything, quitting their jobs, and moving -- with their two-year-old daughter -- to Maui this July.

Renee has known since she was 13 that she wanted to live in Maui. She met Dan, and several years ago they went to Maui together on vacation, where it turns out he threw her a surprise wedding. (Yes, really. He had the whole wedding planned out: flowers, photographer, location, something old/new/borrowed/blue, he had her family and friends ready to call after the ceremony, everything. And yes, she thought it was great and did not freak out that she didn't have control over the details of her wedding. She is not that kind of person at all.) Since that time, Dan got really into the idea of living in Maui as well.

(And by the way. If your friend up and elopes, I understand that it might be tempting to queue up The Wedding March and throw Minute Rice at her the minute she comes to your house after. May I just WARN you that you will be finding and stepping on Minute Rice for the next 47 years.)

And yes, they should have their own blog about all this, cause you know it is interesting.

Anyway, we were on the phone today, Renee and me, and we realized that we needed to find a time to get together. Next weekend is out, cause she has to work. Weekend after that? My mother is coming to town. After that weekend, HER brother is coming to town. Exasperated, Renee said, "We are coming over right now."

So we spent a spend-free afternoon with Dan, Renee and Charlotte. Here is Charlotte today on our porch. I am afraid that those Hello Kitty markers and lunch box in the background are mine.

Have I mentioned I am 41 and three-quarters years old?

We really didn't do much, the five of us. They are the kind of friends you can be with for six hours and all you've really 'done,' per se, is color in a My Little Pony coloring book and look at a bird's nest (OMG! I forgot to tell you all that birds actually built a nest in our back yard! I know I am 86, but it doesn't get much better for me than this).

They stayed till Charlotte, who is not one to mince words, started trying to open the front door, saying, "Hungry? Hungry?" (She had 47 different healthy snacks with her, plus she ate 50 of Marvin's pretzel chips). So, they left, and we all said we would get together for dinner in a few weeks.

But after that, they will probably be on their way.

I know Renee and Dan will be the kind of friends we will always have, that we'll be able to pick right back up with when we do see each other. But it will never be the same.

Did you ever see Out of Africa? And if you haven't, why are you wasting your time with my blog? Go rent it. Meryl Streep plays a Danish woman in the early 1900s who moves to Kenya to run a coffee farm. Eventually, she has to go home. As she is leaving, she wonders:

"If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me?

"Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?"

And I wonder the same thing, in a very shallow, non-Meryl Streep kind of way. Will this city know the song of Renee and me? Will the places we've been, the ridiculous things we've done, somehow linger long after we've both gone from here?

One time, Renee and I went to a stuffy spa, and we were in the quiet room. When the last spa client finally left, Renee jumped, naked, onto a bench, dancing while I threw lemon slices at her. You have never seen more lightening-fast movement when that spa door opened again. Then we had to sit in our quiet chairs and quietly convulse with giggles, Renee sitting on lemons.

Do you think it's possible that some day someone will be in that stupid quiet room, and they will have no idea why they are suddenly overcome with uncontrollable laughter? Will somebody in my old apartment make Christmas cookies and wonder why they are glad the cookies didn't end up looking like the state of Pennsylvania or internal organs?

Or maybe two women will be shopping, and one of those women will realize, with complete clarity, that her friend is pregnant.

Do you think there is any way that this silly city, with its new buildings and new lips and displaced palm trees, could remember a friendship so genuine and true? At any rate, I will. I always will.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Fred. (I couldn't think of what to name this one.)

I do not know if I can begin to tell you how much I love our cat Winston. I mean really. I am thinking that our fish Smoothie is not so crazy about him, though.

Anyway, we cheated today. I know, we are slipping, dog. I do not know why I just turned into Randy Jackson.

We happen to live close to a Baskin-Robbins drive-thru. This used to be quite a problem. I would sometimes drive through there and have a banana split for dinner. Again, why so chubby?

We also live in a part of town called the Equestrian District, which is a fancy way of saying there are horses here. So it is fun to get your ice cream and walk around and look at horses in people's yards. (Actually, I think this area has a fancier name than that, like Rancho Horso or something. Cause everything has to be Spanish here. It is crucial.)

(I have an uncle who is like 1/100th Mexican or something. Oh, is he ever gonna write in and yell when he sees that I made it such a teeny amount. Anyway, his whole life he has lived and worked and SPOKEN in Michigan. Yet whenever there is an opportunity for him to say a word with a Latin inflection, OH! is he ever happy. "Let's all go to Thaco Bell! So I can get a burrrrritho!" Again, born, lived in, speaks in MICHIGAN his whole life. But give him a Spanish word and he is Speedy Gonzales. So you can imagine how he gets his knickers in a twist when he comes here. "Oh! Is that Olllverrrra Street? Let's shop there before my siesssta!")

Goodness, how I digress. What I am tying to say is that today I got me a little ice cream hankerin'. I am on Weight Watchers, AND we are not spending, so this was not a good hankering in any way, shape or form. But I blame Marvin Gardens, cause I said, "Doesn't ice cream sound good?" and he said, "Si!" and the next thing you know, old Jed's a millionaire. And there we were at Baskin-Robbins.

I am afraid I got me some chocolate lavender blueberry ice cream, which I know sounds totally gross, but it wasn't. It had little purple peanut butter cup-looking things in it, and those were made out of blueberry lavender and inside each cup was more chocolate.

Marvin had vanilla.

Marvin Gardens always gets vanilla ice cream. When he gets donuts? Plain. What can I tell you? He lives on the edge, that one. A regular Indiana Jones.

So I would imagine we spent like five bucks, all told, and also we walked there and so now I am incredibly allergic feeling, which is God's punishment.

Oh, speaking of God, my pal over at Musings of a Housewife has posted some interesting thoughts on Christianity and tolerance and acceptance and all that. I really like me the Musings of a Housewife (aka dcrmom). Our beliefs are so different, yet we are so alike. It's cool, this blog world.

dcrmom also sent me some interview questions, as part of a little chain that bloggers are sending each other. So if you have a blog, write in and tell me, and I will send YOU five questions that I guess I get to make up! Here they are:

1) As an East Coaster my whole life, the West Coast fascinates me. What do you like most about living in California? And the least?
Well, first of all, I have always felt like I should be living in New York City. It's where I always thought I'd end up. I even applied and got into NYU, but chickened out on going. I wonder how my life would have turned out? Would I have met Marvin Gardens anyway? Cause he went to school in Boston.

But in answer to your question, I think there is no beating the weather. Seriously. People often ask, "Don't you miss the change of seasons?" but I lived in Michigan for 27 years, and you know what seasons I liked that it was changing into? Spring and summer! Which it basically always is here! Also, I like the attitude of the people here and in Seattle, which also counts as the West Coast (see? See my good geography?). In Michigan, it seemed like the prevailing attitude was, "Do not be in any way different. Do not call attention to yourself. Different = bad." Here, it is just the opposite. There is even a movement now in Oregon called "Keep Portland Weird." I love that.

I do not like how when you are 35 in California, you are older than most of the buildings. There seems to be an obsession with money, success and screw history if it means making a profit. There is nothing old here. Including the women.

2) In which reality TV show would you most like to participate, and why? Oh, dear. Certainly not any show where I might vomit or die or get lost. Not The Bachelor, seeing as I have a husband. I do not need Nanny 911. Oh! How about The Biggest Loser? Is it okay that I am not technically overweight but just a little muffin top-y?

3) What is the one beauty product you absolutely cannot live without? I love me all beauty products. But I get antsy when I haven't combed my eyebrows. Am I odd? So, yeah, my eyebrow brush. But a close second is my Shiseido eyelash curler. Do not waste your money on any other eyelash curler, women and drag queens.

4) What has been the hardest thing to live without during your spending freeze? It used to be McDonald's, and now I am really starting to miss pedicures. There is no doing your own pedicure once you start getting them professionally.

But I think the number one thing is that I miss spending to entertain myself. I have come to realize how often I spent money just to keep myself amused. "I'm bored. Maybe I'll go shopping at Ollllvera Street!" Weekends are kind of this looooong stretch of nothingness now.

5) If you were given the opportunity to interview one current world leader, with the exception of President Bush, who would it be? And why? Okay, there is no one, NO ONE, who has less knowledge of world events. I know that this is something that I am supposed to be ashamed of. Once my friend and I were poring over Victoria's Secret catalog, and speaking in great detail about the lives of each model, and my mother said, "You guys, who is the Secretary of State?" We were all, "If it were Stephanie Seymore, we'd know!" That said, does Queen Elizabeth count as a world leader? Or is she kind of the pastel knickknack on the shelf of life? If she counts, I would pick her because she is so STUFFY and HUMORLESS and I would love to see if I could find a personality there. If not Queen Elizabeth, I do like Eleanor Roosevelt. Does she count? Every single thing that woman said was brilliant. Even more brilliant than, "If it were Stephanie Seymore, we'd know!"

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hello, non-gift-giver

Have you noticed that I have been prolific this month? I have blogged every day. Okay, it's the 3rd of May. But still. What if I blog every day this month? Will you be proud of me?

Remember that scene at the end of The Sixth Sense (Marvin Gardens got the big secret of that movie like 10 minutes into it, and then he had to tell me and ruin the whole dang thing) where the kid tells his mom he sees dead people and that he sees Grandma all the time? And Grandma said to tell the mom, "You make me proud every day"? Didn't that just rip you to shreds? What about Hallmark commercials? Do you convulse when those come on? Do you wonder how I got off on this tangent? Do you hope to all that is holy and merciful that I do not blog every day this month if this is the kind of crap I am going to pontificate on?

Today I am going to talk about giving gifts, or, rather, not giving them. I know that I have already touched on this subject previously, but now it is getting serious. This month I have the wedding of a dear friend of mine, and also Mother's Day, in which you are supposed to celebrate the fact that your enormous head broke your mother in two. At least that's what my gorilla head did. As you may recall, I practically had a beehive hairdo coming out of the womb. I never DIDN'T have too much hair, not since day one.

My Easter Island head was probably the least of my mother's worries, since I -- how shall we say this? -- made her ass itch at all times. Don't you think I at least owe it to my mother, and Marvin to his, to give a little something-something for Mother's Day? Of course, out of every human in the world, it would be a mother who would say, "I don't need anything. Make me something. Send me a card." You know those phony things moms say.

Now, my mother has suggested that for a Mother's Day gift I actually start calling her "mom," which is ridiculous, since I have been calling her Pam, seeing as it is her name, since I could talk. She could have tried to nip this in the bud in 1967, not now.

Hey, she's the one who decided to be a total hippie and get married in front of a peace sign and to say "Call me Pam" all that. Heavy. Love the one you're with.

And yes, that is an actual photo of my parents and me. Note the desperate attempt to keep my hair reasonable by giving me a masculine haircut. It still looks like my face is in the middle of parentheses.

In a completely unrelated note, which actually deals with maternal instincts, so I do kind of have a theme going, in a sort of bag lady, babbling and waving my hands kind of a way, I read an interesting article about Hello Kitty today. Someone is studying this phenomenon in Japan wherein most of adult society there is obsessed with cute, childlike things, including Hello Kitty. There is even some Japanese-sounding name for the trend, which I could tell you if I felt like going back and looking at the article.

Anyway, some idiot has been studying this trend for years (where do people get jobs like this? "Yes, I study Hello Kitty. It took years of greeting cats to acquire my degree.") and the theory is that Japan has the lowest birthrate, and that these childless adults like these things as their way of satisfying their unmet maternal instincts.

Hmmph. I do not have kids. I have never wanted kids (which, by the way, does not translate to "she hates kids!" which for some reason people love to think). After I read this article, I took a photo of my desk at work:

Okay, so I have a Hello Kitty water cooler, stapler, paper holder, bowl, box of candy and screen saver. What do you mean I have some sort of thwarted maternal instinct? My ass itches.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Nobody puts Barry in a corner


Barry Gibb is HERE, in LOS ANGELES, right NOW!!!!!!!!! I know this because I am on my lunch hour right now, so naturally I got right on, and he TOLD us all he is in LA! He is doing the "American Idol" guest whatever.

(At work, I do not have the option of doing links or of italicizing my words, hence the air quotes around "American Idol." I also do not have spellcheck. I do not like blogging at work. And note to any supervisors reading my blog, again, I am at LUNCH right now. Okay, back to my Bee Gee freakout.)

Oh. My. God!

Last time he came to LA that I knew about was in like 2005, and I knew the exact dates, which were a span of three weeks, and do you know I had SEVERE strep throat from the day he got here till the day he left? I think that was God's way of keeping me from being arrested for stalking.

Other than that breaking news, I forgot to mention that I quit the softball team. Yes, I am a quitter. Sue me.

But I wasn't really being very realistic. I mean, first, I cannot play softball. So there's that.

But also, all the games and practices were over on this side of town, hours after I leave work. So I would have to drive an hour home then an hour later drive BACK to this part of town, or else wait for hours on this side of town without spending any money, till said practices or games began.

I even tried to do that once or twice. I brought dinner things to work, along with lunch things, but by the time 4:30 came, I was in no mood to sit in my car with my dinner till 7 p.m. or whatever.

So I am unreliable. A big flake. Nobody likes a quitter.


Oh, and finally, my fabulous coworker, who has had a song written about her and everything, DID indeed bring me her conditioner, which is good, as Bernie from "Room 222" called and wants his hair back.

I think that is all my news that is fit to print. Oh, except that I am sick of my clothes.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

News in Brief. And no, I am not wearing briefs.

I have approximately one minute to shower or else I will be late, so I will briefly update y'all. (I have to stop reading southern bloggers.)

We did not take the place in Hancock Park for myriad reasons. I know, I am annoying.

I purchased new hair conditioner, as I ran out of the lovely John Freida stuff I bought in bulk before this year. I found some Suave Naturals Refreshing Waterfall Mist conditioner for -- are you ready? -- 99 cents! It has watermint extract and vitamin E! My hair looks ridiculous. Someone at work, without me mentioning my new 99-cent conditioner, said, "I have some extra conditioner I'd like to give you." This is not a good sign.

And finally, we put $450 more into savings, which brings us up to $12,650. Sort of yay. Not as good as we were doing.

Okay, that's it. Off to Suave my head. Theirs does not do what mine did for a lot less, Peppy Whitemore.