Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Them that rejoice

I don't know if it's a lingering sense of catharsis from finishing NaNo, or I'm simply devolving into a sentimental sap, but I am weeeepy today, ready to leak like a busted faucet at the slightest provocation.

I was ready to relax in front of the television, chewing with my mouth open, and so I ordered a celebratory dinner from Thai Siam here in Ballard. Thai Siam is notable first for not screwing around with the spices; I was cowed and humiliated by a three-star dish there some years ago and have stuck with the medium-level since. Anyway...they are also reknowned for their annual anniversary dinner, a day-long bash in which all proceeds are donated to local charities. People line up around the block for this; they've been at it for nearly 20 years.

I went to pick up my food and sat reveling in the loopy warmth of the place: the waiters greeting regulars by name, the flower-wreathed Thai figurines, the enormous Christmas tree looming askew between two tables, the little kid waiting with her family and proclaiming her status as the Birthday Girl.

When I got to the counter, I noticed the stack of fliers they were tucking into every bag.

Free Christmas Dinner For Those In Need

If you know someone who would not be able to have a festive dinner on Christmas Day, Thai Siam Restaurant would like to extend our invitation to a free turkey dinner!

It's that "festive" that laid me out, made me want to roll around in front of the cash register blubbering. Such a lovely word, evocative of so much more than a charitable gesture. The broke, the lost, the lonely...deserving not just a free meal but a festive one. They'll get it, too, packed into that narrow restaurant with the tree and the ornate carvings and the golden origami fish mobiles twirling from the ceiling. Bless us every one, indeed.

I was snuffling into my sleeve until the cashier asked me if I needed chopsticks or forks included in my order.

"Nah, thanks," I said.

"Just gonna eat with your hands, huh?" he asked.


Know someone who needs a little Christmas? You can get more info about the Thai Siam dinner, noon-2:00 on Christmas Day, by calling the restaurant between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


I'm done.

184 pages, multiple paragraphs formatted red to remind me that I need to go back and fill in approximately two subplots of at least another hundred pages or so...but I broke the proverbial tape at about 11:10 p.m.

I have a lot to say about this experience, about how much I inadvertently pinned on this insane 30-day-novel project and how spastically emotional it has suddenly rendered me. But right now I've put on William Alwyn's Lyra Angelica, and I'm crying like a little baby girl, and then I'm gonna go to bed.

Thanks, everybody who encouraged me, or cheered me, or simply said "My GOD" whenever I mentioned my word count. I am off to sleep before I start Sally Fielding all over the place.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Dear Santa: Brace yourself

Overheard at the Greenwood/Phinney Starbucks.

Dad: What do you want for Christmas?

Little kid: You know!

Dad: No, I don't. Tell me.

Little kid: A...metal reindeer. That talks. And...walks.

Dad: Did you...see this reindeer, somewhere?

Little kid: No. I just thought of it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Turkey Story

I've been telling this story for maybe ten years, now, but it's not mine: I stole it from my chef ex (not my ex-chef, which makes it sound as if I was living la vida Oprah). He somehow ended up with all our couple friends, in the aftermath; I got the t.v. and the VCR, which probably surprises no one. I'm taking this hard feelings, Ex. Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you be.

Any PETA members might want to just go watch the Macy's parade or something right now...fair warning. I'm sorry.

When Ex was just a wee lad, his parents were going through that back-to-nature, wheat-germ-on-the-cereal, live-off-the-land phase, as you did in the 70s, and they decided one Thanksgiving to procure and butcher their own live turkey. Papa Ex obtained the bird from a purveyor of such, brought it home in a big cardboard box that had once contained a television or other big appliance, and set the box in the back yard, the day before the holiday.

Thanksgiving morning, or maybe sooner, the Ex clan must have come to the realization that they had neither chopping block nor hatchet. Undeterred, Papa Ex devised a plan: he would use a large Bowie knife to cut a hole into the side of the box. When the turkey's innate pea-brained curiosity led him to stick his head out the hole, Papa Ex would decapitate him with the selfsame knife, and any death throes would be handily contained.

Mama Ex and little Kindergarten Ex were brought forth to witness the edifying departure of the main course. Cue Elton John, Cirrrrrcle of Liiiiiife. As planned, Papa carved out a turkey porthole, and as expected, the turkey's noggin emerged for a look-see and was swiftly dispatched.

At which point--no doubt greatly surprised at this turn of events--the remaining corpus of Mr. Turkey lurched bolt-upright inside the box.

At which point the bottom of the box, thoroughly saturated with 24 hours' worth of turkey poops, gave way in a dissolving mush, and the absent-of-head but highly agitated Mr. Turkey set off at the proverbial trot.

At which point the family dachshund completely lost his mind. Generations of hard-coded hunting instinct spurred Willie into a frenzy, and he lit out after the turkey. They circled the back yard at a weaving sprint, Mr. Turkey still emitting copious gouts of blood from where his head had been, and Willie gnashing and snarling and trying to leap on the turkey's back.

If memory serves, the story was that when turkey and weiner dog were at last parted, the Ex clan were still unaware that dunking a fowl in boiling water eases defeathering. So they dry-plucked it, with the expectedly grisly results. I believe dinner was served around 11 p.m., and that Mr. Turkey proved rather gamy and tough.

I'm not sure whether this Hieronymous Bosch holiday tableau ultimately influenced Ex in his career path. I can say that in his restaurant days he could hack up an entire goat on the chopping block without batting an eye, but that when he once needed four stitches in his thumb he fainted and had to be caught by a nurse; make of that what you will.

At any rate, tomorrow, Sis is handling our turkey, who arrived already dead--the least of our things to be grateful for. I am bringing the Green Bean Casserole, as required by federal law. We intend to observe the day by our own strict guidelines: gluttony, followed by moaning on the living room floor with our respective top buttons undone. Then, a postprandial cutthroat game of Scrabble, concluding with the traditional kicking over of the board in a hypercompetitive tantrum. Finally, pie.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Interweb friends!


Looka there, looka there:

Michelle is my regular Special Guest Star formerly known as Darcy; when I started the blog I gave her that alias as some sort of convoluted Pride and Prejudice joke. She has packed up her whole life and her husband and captivating, exuberant children and moved to Copenhagen for a job there, and haven't I done well at keeping my heartbroken existential despair out of this blog for weeks and weeks? Anyway. So it is a complete drag that my two best friends in the world (hi, Holly) now live on the other side of the planet...but Michelle is writing now about her own experiences and you should read her.

I discovered Poppy Z. Brite when I clicked a link in a completely random list of "New Orleans-related" blogs in the wake of Katrina, on a news site I've since forgotten. Her account of the evacuation and the terrible wait for most of her pets to be rescued kept me reading her journal for days and days, and I just haven't stopped. I am slightly mortified to admit that I have never read a single one of her books, neither horror nor restaurant, and regardless of any sparkly font; I am a little scared that she might now come and kick my cyber-ass, because she seems intense. But I also mean to add her work to one of the teetering bookpiles that cover every available flat surface in my house.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Need meme (or meed neme)

This one's making the rounds, where you enter the search string "[your first name] needs" in Google and check out the first ten results. Mine as of last week, lying about in a stray e-mail til now:

1. Kim needs to take off the gloves. [Step off, bitches!]
2. Kim needs to talk.
3. Kim needs some hints! [Heloise, if you're listening--how do I get pumpkin innards off my coir doormat?]
4. Kim needs help big time. [Your point, Interweb?]
5. Kim needs to shut up. [Dude--I was just talking...]
6. Kim needs some Guinea pigs [Rodents? or clever folk with pumpkin-removal proposals?]
7. Kim needs to get serious about paying herself first. [Yes. In Fluevogs, actually.]
8. Kim needs a pee. [BRB]
9. Kim needs to go. [BRB, I said!]
10. Kim needs to meet with her executive social committee [ soon as she returns from the bathroom.]

Strangely omitted is my present need to go to bed for god's sake, I'm pushing 36 here.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I said left turn, fool

Oh my God, this is the best thing ever. EVER. Mr. T, providing the driving directions over your car's GPS navigation system. MR. T, FOOL! Not only will he get you there in one piece, but "your kids gonna act right!" when the T is on the line.

I never go anywhere but NerdCo and the store, but I MUST HAVE THIS. I've already played the clips three times and I think my coworkers are hating me right now.

Via Keri, who's right--this really deserves super ULTRA-EXTREME CAPITALS.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

House of pain

In a fit of premature holiday geekiness, I've enrolled Mom, Sis, and myself as a crack gingerbread-house-decorating team at Cookies in Ballard. We are all artistically and culinarily competitive, occasionally at cross-purposes to each other, so I hope that we can collaborate on an appealing edible domicile without getting ourselves thrown out of the cookie store. For fightin'. Or cussin'. (I'll save the latter for Megan's holiday cookies, of course.)

At any rate, proceeds go to local charities--the Ballard Food Bank and PAWS among them, I believe. Sis took a little persuading to spend part of the hectic holiday season mucking around with icing and gumdrops, but I think the Good Cause element put her over the line. I hung up the phone with her, and 30 seconds later it rang.

Me: Hello?

Sis: You know what would make perfect roof shingles? GOLDEN GRAHAMS!

So, yeah, it's on.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Kind of a drag

I dodged a bullet in the automotive repairs category, this weekend. The Pinkmobile had been shifting very roughly between gears, and stalling entirely when the engine was cold. I dropped it off with the Cute Mechanics and spent a day on tenterhooks, praying that the judgment would be more "Oh, we need to adjust your idle speed" and less "Oh, your transmission is going to fall out on the road."

The verdict was a happy medium: leaking transmission fluid. They performed a slightly premature 90K tuneup, ordered me to replace some failing gaskets sooner rather than later, and sent me home for $300 bucks. After April's repairapalooza, when I could actually hear the dollars whizzing out of my bank account, this left me comparatively giddy.

In conversation the mechanic referred repeatedly to my "tranny"--topping off my tranny fluid, luckily we didn't need to put in a new tranny--and because I am twelve years old I had to repress snerks and chuckles every time. Because how awesome would it be if every auto-repair transaction included a 6'4" drag diva in 5-inch platforms and a Dolly Parton wig? TOTALLY AWESOME, that's how awesome! She would have the greatest coveralls, too, all Bedazzled and shit.

Drag queens again. I guess I should talk about my college roomies. Few things are much more entertaining, or alarming, than a 19-year-old baby drag queen away from home for the first time. Junior year I lived with B., who loved to come swanning into the living room in our shared student housing and launch into some Dynasty-fueled improv conversation with whoever happened to be present. He'd address you with something like "Chantal! Where is your gown? Brock Rutherford will be here for the banquet any instant--what are you doing here in the poolhouse?"

Lacking improvisational skills, I was never a suitable foil: "Uh...watching Golden Girls on Matt's t.v.?" I think I disappointed him.

My other lingering memory of B. is when he made up another of our housemates, Libby, for the annual Deb Ball. I want to say that ours was the first college-sponsored AIDS benefit, a fundraising "formal" winter dance that usually played out something like Your Debauched Liberal Arts Leather Prom. Anyway, Libby was a shy little violet who made her own bread and wore earth shoes; we were dragging her to the dance with us and B. begged and pleaded and cajoled her into letting him make up her otherwise fresh, clean Tom's-of-Maine face.

Ladies, don't let the drag queen do your makeup, really. I say this with only love intended. "Ta-daa!" B. cried, thrusting Libby into the room after his furious labors. And...that was a man, baby. It didn't help that the rest of us laughed fit to piss ourselves; Libby locked herself in the bathroom and it took us a good hour to coax her back out and onward to the dance, at which everyone ultimately had a splendid time. I still have the pictures, the housemates dressed to kill in mostly black, Libby still red-eyed and blotchy from sobbing and scrubbing. Aww. Poor Lib.

Senior year there was C., who actually lived in my then-boyfriend's house, not mine. We never knew each other well, but he is fixed in my memory for one vivid reason. The communal house-style housing on campus was notorious for funky electrical issues and plumbing backups, and I strolled into C's shared bathroom one afternoon to confront what I at first thought was THE MOST HORRIFIC HAIR CLOG SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME. The tub was six inches deep in cloudy water and GREAT CLOTS AND CLUMPS OF HUMAN HAIR MY GOD IT'S GOING TO KILL US ALL and I recoiled in, wait.

C. was just soaking and rinsing his eight wigs.

221b Baker Street, right here

I was sitting on the couch, eating some kind of mint-fudge Trader Joe's cookies straight out of the box and weeping openly over the pages of the Heifer International holiday catalog, when it occurred to me: could I possibly be approaching That Time Of The Month again?

* * * * *

In all seriousness, could there be any better way to select a gift for that most exasperating person on your list? If you love someone, hey, it beats another set of novelty golf balls. And if you can't stand somebody, get to feed a hungry family, AND say to your bad boss/wicked stepsomething/creepy uncle, "This year, in your name, I purchased a BIG FAT PINK HOG." And feel damn good about it, too.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Today's reason to live

Overheard at Bus Stop Espresso this morning.

Woman: I danced, in my eighth-grade talent show. To Joan Jett. "I Love Rock and Roll."

Man: Danced! What kind of dance?

Woman: Just...a dance. There was some kicking. I'd been watching a lot of Solid Gold.

Man (sings): Solid Go-oold!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Crackamint mocha

Ohh, Starbucks. My Dark Overlord. You know, as you must, that I am helpless in the thrall of your Winter Seasonal Beverages? That whatever havoc has been wreaked in my dietary needs by the novel would be rendered null? That whatever resolve I had to stem the relentless tide of sugar courses alternating with starch, alternating with some sugary starch, would be utterly undone by the sight of your holiday-decor-bedecked menu chalkboards, your red-t-shirted baristas, your Elton John's Big Gay Christmas Party promotional CD? Ah, the return of a favorite pairing of words, nay, of sensations:

The Peppermint Mocha.

It warms, and yet it cools. It is sweet, and yet it is peppy. It prompts caffeinated alertness, and yet it floats me away on a little minty cloud of joy. It costs more than three damn dollars, Starbucks, I mean COME ON.

It comes in that little red cup, emblazoned this year with holiday lights and a racially ambiguous couple smooching their bliss under the mistletoe. And a little koan of justification, right there on the Tall size: it's only once a year.

Yes. And at least once a day for the next two and a half months, Starbucks, you magnificent bastards. Damn.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In which I don't quit my day job

I took last night off from the novel, to go vote, and watch some t.v., and cook up a big pot of avgolemono so I'd have something to eat while noveling besides the cold cereal and Kraft dinner I've been relying on. So I'm a day behind, but have absorbed a little nutrition. Week Two, as promised by the NaNo gang, is proving itself to be something of a slog. I am a little concerned to not have a single creative thought in my head this morning. a team meeting yesterday, one of the writers announced his imminent departure, for a writing role at Amazon. I'll disclose here that back in the go-go Interweb boom days, I interviewed there something like six? eight? different times--I've lost count--but somehow never quite meshed with whichever role or hiring manager that had been presented to me. Which is why I am not writing this, this very moment, from my winter villa in the south of France.

So. "Don't forget who your friends are," I joked to the Future Amazonian. I have no beef with NerdCo; it would just be kind of slick to have a short bus commute from my home to downtown Seattle. SINCE THERE WILL BE NO FREAKING MONORAIL GODDAMMIT.

"You know, they're building the team as we speak; I'm the first. They don't have any editors yet!" sez Future Amazonian. I allowed my eyebrows to fly up into my hairline with intrigue.

But I was distracted--by the hue and cry sent up by a couple of my assigned writers on the team, who began to beg and holler and wave their arms in an attempt to break my eye contact with Future Amazonian. Because they want me to stay., you guys! Flattery will get you...quite far, actually.

Also money. And chocolate. You can just put them under my mouse pad for discretion's sake, while I'm grabbing coffee.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Free composting/fashion advice

Have you had some tumultuous rain, of late? If so, you might want to exercise caution when you go to hoist your big honkin' jack-o-lantern off the porch for disposal. It's entirely possible that Jack is full of a couple inches of icy, slimy punkin water, which will pour through his toothy maw and down your entire pantleg. You might want to peep inside his rotting, malodorous head first, is all.


A habit I picked up from my chef ex is reading cookbooks like novels. They're incredible social documents; I collect vintage ones, ranging from the early 1900s to right around the Kennedy assassination...but that's a handy essay for another time. Today, I was doing a little half-assed Google research for my novel-in-progress: would one of my characters have been likely to receive a birthday cake, in late 1920s rural North Dakota? What would it look like? Would there be candles?

I didn't find precisely what I wanted...but this description of an 1851 pioneer child's birthday cake, deep in the wilds of Texas, made me tear up a little:

This recipe was used to make a birthday cake for a small girl eighty-five years ago. There was no flour to be had, and corn was ground on a handmill. The meal was carefully emptied from one sack to another, and fine meal dust clinging to the sack was carefully shaken out on paper; the sack was again emptied and shaken, and the process was repeated labouriously time after time until two cupsful of meal dust was obtained. The rest of the ingredients were as follows: 1/2 cup of wild honey, 1 wild turkey egg, 1 teaspoonful of homemade soda, 1 scant cupful of sour milk and a very small amount of butter, to all of which was added the meal dust. The batter was poured into a skillet with a lid, and placed over the open fire in the yard, the skillet lid being heaped with coals. To a little girl's childish taste the cake was very fine, but looking back through the years, the honoree said relfectively, "It was none too sweet." ---Cooking Recipes of the Pioneer, Bandera Library Association [Frontier Times:Bandera TX] 1936 (p. 23)

From I could read this stuff all day...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

It was a graveyard smash

Eric Lippert's zombie tutorial (via Mike) has belatedly reminded me of my own spook-house experience during college.

At Sarah Lawrence every Halloween, they'd bus in a bunch of kids from a local group home for a party and trick-or-treating in the dorms. There was some sort of mechanism by which you could sign up and indicate that you'd be giving out candy...but the night inevitably devolved into packs of sugared-up children careening through each building knocking on every door in sight, barely pausing to breathe between shoveling fistfuls of mini-Snickerses into their pillowcases. One year my friend Matt and I had the misfortune to RUN OUT OF candy; we huddled in his room with the lights off while scores of treat-seeking orphans HAMMERED on the door in succession. We were certain that at any moment they'd just come on through, blasting a big kid-shaped hole in the wall.

Anyway. So one year I volunteered to help usher kids through a haunted house set up on the campus. We commandeered the student-run coffeehouse located then in the basement of one of the grand old Tudor dorms. We had some fake cobwebs, dry ice, a strobe light; we distributed the roles pretty casually. I was some sort of vaguely witchy guide. One spectacularly woolly kid, a long-haired, bearded neo-hippie who never even wore shoes, was our designated Wolfman: this consisted entirely of him taking off his shirt and crouching inside the giant stone fireplace that occupied one wall. ("Raaahrrr," he'd say genially to the passing kids.) Another debonair young gay man was conscripted as our vampire. He wore a tuxedo shirt and a long black cape (both of which I'm pretty sure he'd already possessed for the asking), slicked his hair back, and practiced rising out of a makeshift coffin, somebody's battered footlocker. Hey, it was gonna be pretty dark in there.

Things went fairly smoothly at first, but as the night outside got darker, and the groups of kids progressively more wired up, it went a bit south. This culminated in a girl of about 12 absolutely FREAKING THE FUCK OUT when Dracula loomed before her. "I vant to suck your BLOOOOOD," Drac lisped through his plastic teeth...and said kid responded by SHOVING Drac in the chest as hard as she could, both hands--nuh UH, bat dude! Drac went down like a telephone pole, becoming firmly lodged in the footlocker. He lay there kicking like an overturned beetle as the kids fled shrieking past.

The best part is that Dracula tore his shirt in the process, snagging it on one of the brass trunk that for the rest of the evening we had to listen to a sullen gay vampire bitch about his outfit between tours. "She ripped my shirt! Did you see that? Look at this! Crap, this shirt was vintage, man! God damn it!"

Then later on I was housemates with two drag queens...but that's a different story. Damn, I miss that place sometimes.

Bad Idea jeans

Before sitting down to write, this evening, I pulled a book off my shelf: Louise Erdrich, The Beet Queen. I just wanted to absorb a little historical detail for my own story, set in a proximal time and place. I meant to skim the first few chapters, breathe the slightest flavor of a much-beloved book.

This unfortunately made me recognize that I am the worst writer in the history of planet Earth, and that not only did I have no business drafting an incredibly sucky, feeble novel, but I should also abandon any professional attachment to the honing of the English language and just do everyone a favor by securing employment at Hot Dog On a Stick as my true qualifications would indicate.

I'm going to look like an asshole in that hat. Thanks, Louise!

Took me two and a half hours to recover enough to even turn on the computer. I'm again hovering around the appropriate word-count quota, but at least 50% of it is the crappiest crap that ever crapped, and the other half I'm scared to look at. Sigh. I think for the rest of November I'll have to let all reading materials pile up, and just lull myself to sleep each night with one of the 856 Christmas catalogs that have begun arriving in the mail. Page after page of pretty furniture, pretty clothes, pretty kitchen narrative thrust to speak of. Well, there's J. Peterman, but that one hasn't turned up. Yet.

Dude. The Sumptuous Caftan! Isn't that an Edward Gorey book? Bea Arthur meets Bollywood.

Also, for using the term "Bling-ji"? You are dead to me, Mr. Peterman.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

NaNo no no no NO! IDIOT!!

Okay, truth be told, it hasn't been that bad. Three days into my novel and I'm just a hair ahead of the quota. Praises be.

The first night, though--that was brutal. Never mind shutting up the Internal Editor; I'm one on the outside, too. Says so right on my business cards. I sweated and grimaced and agonized, consuming a slice of toast per written page, smacking myself over how maybe, genius, I could try sticking to A SINGLE POINT OF VIEW in some 1500 measly fucking words? I poked at all the holes in my chosen Noveling Sweatshirt, making them bigger. (Does the fact that the cuffs have devolved into vague ruffles count as one hole per, or...?)

I've mentioned that, as a teenager, I was a figure skater. Not a good one, nothing you'd ever see on your television...but I could swoop and spin and do dinky single-rotation jumps; I had wee lycra skirts and a handful of ribbons and medals. A couple years ago, some friends were taking their kids to the rink; they enlisted me as the ringer. Sure, I said. I figured I could tow the little guys around, give meaningful tips to the adults over my shoulder. Muscle memory! Easy peasy!

Nobody tells you--that shit has a statute of limitations. It had been a good ten years since I'd put on skates; the utter failure of my body, my timorous ankles, to respond with anything resembling balance and confidence, was an appalling revelation. I teetered around the rink, but only just...excruciatingly aware of the imminent shattering of my thirtysomething bones on the cold, cold, hard, hard ice. Goddamn little kids darting in and out like maniacs, were they trying to kill people? "Humbling" does not quite begin to suffice.

So. The first couple hours of NaNo were like that. It's likewise been eons since I've made any attempt at fiction. Despite the fact that sitting down at the keyboard and saying "Okay, GO!" is the whole premise of NaNoWriMo, despite the fact that a board of adults had once seen fit to grant me a Master's degree in making up shit, I gutted out the first couple hours in a pure flopsweat, full of more terror and self-loathing than I've even admitted to myself in a long while.

But the second I wish I could describe it, but maybe anyone who practices a creative art knows the feeling--where suddenly your brain switches on and hands you the next line, and the next, and the next. Put that in! Yeah! This part too! Then this thing! Yeah! What I'd assumed was a secondary character stepped into Chapter 2, literally set out coffee and shortbread, and just pulled the sentences out of me on a spool. I was in the zone. I'd forgotten there was a zone.

Of course I go to bed each night convinced that The Zone is finite--that every day brings me closer to my allotment of creative ability. I close the file and am certain to my soul that I will never, never find that place again. Every story, every sentence, is just a lucky fluke, and any day now I'm bound to run out.

I'm trying to have faith, though. Faith in the invisible bridge between me and the end of the project, stepping out like Indiana Jones and That Cup of Jesus's, waiting for each stone to manifest beneath my feet.

More words tomorrow, then. IF THERE ARE ANY LEFT, DEAR GOD.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dork suit

I dressed up for Halloween yesterday, for the first time in probably a decade. Inspiration struck, and so I'd outfitted myself as Incarcerated Martha Stewart: a cheap blonde wig that resembled roadkill, a Value Village poncho, and an orange jumpsuit I picked up at the Army-Navy Surplus. It's really a flight suit intended for a seven-foot-tall jet pilot, apparently, so 5'1" me had some pretty deep cuffs. I tattooed "GOOD THING" across my knuckles with a ballpoint pen and brandished a tray of canapes. My (female) boss got it in one guess; the menfolk 'round the office were mystified. Sigh. Whatever; the jumpsuit cost me nearly $40, so I'm just going to be "Incarcerated Celebrity of the Month" for the next 10 Halloweens.

Boss took a few pictures, which reminded me of how I hate the instantaneous feedback of the digital age, because HOLY SHIT I looked like a vast decorative gourd with a dead cat on my head. This did not stop me from finishing off the peanut-butter cups lining the office hallways. I was disappointed that few other sensible adults chose to wear costumes; I mean, I'd pumped gas AND gone to Starbucks in my freak git-up. One of the writing teams showed up in white shirts and ties and claimed to be "IBM Employees," but they were still retaining some dignity, which shouldn't count. I was relieved to encounter an elaborately draped and bewigged witch, coming out of the restroom. "It's hard to drive in this," she said. "It's hard to pee in this," I comiserated. It was--about 15 strategic zippered openings on the flight suit, but none designed to accomodate a lady, y'all.

By two o'clock I had a migraine--or possibly a wig cramp, or a Reese's O.D.--coming on; I left early to take a nap before changing into my Tired Fat Lady Handing Out Candy costume: pajama pants and a faded-to-illegibility college sweatshirt so riddled with holes it appears I've been the victim of severe gunplay. Coincidentally, this will also be my NaNoWriMo uniform. Because Georgia, who's now outed herself as Brooke, talked me into it over brunch last week, and in a pancake-induced delerium I said yes. And elected to novelize my grandmother's brutal, abusive prairie childhood during the Depression, because what could be more fun than that? IDIOT.

I'll end on a better note with my favorite trick-or-treater: the teeny, tiny Spongebob who just opened the door and strolled on in. "He's very into doors," his mother said, apologizing profusely. The kiddo insisted on closing the door behind himself, as well. Hilarious.