Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Nothing says "I love you" like unbridled panic in the parking lot

Spotted during this morning's coffee stop:

1) Wild-eyed man exiting Safeway with dozen red roses in cellophane.

2) Wild-eyed dude in skater-boy knit cap, randomly picking up chocolates and teddy bears and coffee tumblers in the adjacent Starbucks and examining each with grave uncertainty. What does she want, man? WHAT?

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody. For some reason I'm decidedly cheerful today; I've bought my own truffles and am wearing socks with hearts on them. Singularity be damned!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Meme me me ME me me meeeee....

It's so peculiar for Mike to tag someone with a meme, I sort of feel obliged/compelled. Mike, you are putting a lot of pressure on me for content this week, man.

Anyway, yes. All in fun; if you choose not to play, ignore me like a credit offer from the First Bank of ScamFraudia.

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.

1) Haligweorc
2) King Alfred
3) polyglot conspiracy
4) mike's web log
5) pagooey

Next select five people to annoy. Uh, to tag. Tag!

1) Alyssa
2) David
3) Michelle
4) Brooke
5) Erin

What were you doing ten years ago?

I was nearly a year into my first grown-up, career-type job, writing software training manuals for a small local company. I made $24,000 a year and baby, I. Was. Rich! At the time it seemed extraordinary; in hindsight it was basically 11th grade, with a salary. Today I have to watch "The Office" between my fingers because it's just too real. I was living with my then-boyfriend in a crappy apartment with a severe mildew problem. In rainy season. We scrubbed the walls with bleach on a weekly basis, to no avail. I blame that shithole for the breakup, actually!

What were you doing one year ago?

Preparing to embark on a long-awaited trip to NYC, to visit my college mentor and see Christo's installation of "The Gates" in Central Park. Gorgeous and fun, until I contracted the Bird Flu. Beyond that, my blog archives suggest that I was doing mostly the same things: bitching about Valentine's Day, sustaining housework injuries, and failing to update with any regularity.

Five snacks you enjoy:

1) Tortilla chips--just plain, not Cool Ranch Margarita Blast!! or some shit
2) Toast
3) Those little Laughing Cow wedges of cheese
4) Potstickers
5) Chocolate and peanut-butter chips, the kind for baking, straight out of the bag (hides face in shame)

Five songs you know the words to:
Dude, I know TOO MANY SONGS. It falls somewhere between "curse" and "talent;" on my deathbed, I won't remember my children's names but will be able to bust out "Copacabana," "Embraceable You," or the entire Beatles catalogue.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:

1) Take care of my loved ones, first.
2) Supplement my humble abode with an apartment each in Manhattan and Paris.
3) Endow...oh, something, at my alma mater. Pour money into their scholarship fund, without which I would not have enjoyed the privilege.
4) Help these guys.
5) And these, too.

Five bad habits:

1) Saying "I could do that" instead of a plain yes or no, when invited to or offered something. It's verbal hedging, me trying to avoid actual decision-making. Michelle called me out on this; I'm still working on it.
2) Binge shopping. I can't buy a lone CD, a single book.
3) Deferred maintenance. I dawdle when faced with doctors, dentists, or mechanics.
4) Free candy? Don't mind if I do!
5) Unresponsive to most of the 5394 items currently in my e-mail inbox.

Five things you enjoy doing:

1) Reading.
2) Cooking; I'm powerless in the thrall of a new kitchen implement.
3) Lolling around in the tub with various girly bubble products, my pink inflatable pillow, and a couple water-wrinkled magazines.
4) Cat naps, accompanied by cats.
5) Being outside, near water, on a bright blustery day.

Five things you would never wear again:

1) Miniskirts. Stacey and Clinton forbid it!
2) Stirrup pants.
3) God, I don't know. I came of age in the 80s; terrible things happened. Neon-colored garments? knickers? pastel overalls? green mascara? patterned shoelaces as hair ornaments? I think I can say with certainty that none of these will appear on my person again.
4) Okay, one more: an extremely...frivolous, itchy, and...complex...foundation garment I picked up at Victoria's Secret as a college student. (Look away, important business colleagues! Skip to the next item!) I needed an engineering degree to put the damn thing on. What do you do with such a thing, outgrown, anyway? I've never had the nerve to toss it into the Goodwill bag, but...no matter how hard I work at losing weight and improving my fitness, ain't no way I'm ever gonna be 21 again. The eliptical trainer does not, to my knowledge, have a "Time Travel" feature.

Five favorite toys:

1) TiVo.
2) Food processor.
3) Le Creuset silicone spatula. I cannot wreck it!
4) My new Mr. Clean Magical Bathroom Wand thingie. Incredibly awesome for a short lady, plus no impaling myself on the shower door track trying to reach a far corner.
5) Dishwasher. My beloved!

Enough about me. What do you think of me?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Walk it like a daaawwwwg

Mike has written before about his annual pilgrimage with our buddy Roger to a Garfield High School basketball game. Mike's kids were/are Bulldogs; Roger played for West Seattle High back in the day. As another GHS alum, this year I begged to go along, and they agreed to accomodate me provided I participate in the other aspect of the ritual, dinner at Ezell's across the street. This was further incentive, not a deterrent.

For reasons I can't now explain, I'd never attended a high-school basketball game, my own or any other, in my life. During my Garfield years we had something of a hoops dynasty going; both boys and girls won state titles in 1987. Mysteriously, though, I chose to attend only football games, at the grim, crumbling Memorial Stadium. Garfield did and does suck at football; I vividly recall trudging disconsolately to the car in this or that third quarter and hearing the horn and loudspeaker blare from the distant stadium: "Touchdown, Opponent's Name Here."

So. It had been close to 20 years since I'd been inside the GHS gym, scheduled to be demolished and replaced this summer: might as well get to it. We wolfed our chicken and double orders of mashed potatoes (hi, Holly!) outside, steam curling off our greasy fingers, and headed in. Prior to the excursion, I'd located my 1985 student ID card, but did not quite have the nerve to submit it for a discount. Garfield was once again playing Redmond, illustrating a race and class divide that Mike's noted in his previous entries on the topic. Mike, Roger, and I all happen to be honkies; "Redmond to the left," the ticket seller told us genially. Ouch. We climbed the bleachers on the Garfield side.

"What are you thinking?" Mike asked as we settled in.

"It is SO SMALL," I blurted. "I know everyone says that, but DAMN." I couldn't help myself. When I was 15 that gym was vast, the stands packed with hundreds of kids and the floor spacious enough for balloons and cheerleaders and the entire homecoming court on an elevated platform wrapped in crepe paper. The hell?

I couldn't get over the intimacy: kids milling in the stands, athletes whipping the b-ball around mere feet away. Since high school I've only been to professional sporting events in immense tax-loophole venues; it felt like those high-school players were going to fall into my lap at any moment. (At one point they almost did, lunging out of bounds and nearly flattening a cheerleader who let loose a magnificent scream but, admirably, held her ground.) Across the room I noticed the guidelines painted above the bleachers: ADULTS, VISITORS. I'd forgotten that: that grownups were encouraged to self-segregate into their own incomprehensible, utterly boring world. We sat on the GARFIELD STUDENTS side nonetheless.

I spent the bulk of the evening in a Things-Have-Changed reverie, the fried chicken triggering Proustian memories that conflicted with the scene below:

* The uniforms. Both boys and girls hitched up their huge voluminous shorts between every play. Likewise, no one seemed to be sporting the Jheri Curl made legendary by the star player of my generation, a kid named Kelly who was immortalized on a mural above the attendance office. (Is that still there, I wonder?)
* The (small, teeny) gym. It had a reasonably fresh coat of paint, with a cartoon bulldog logo emblazoned over the more sober G that had been shellacked onto the center court in my day.
* The cheerleaders. Their chants were largely incomprehensible, aside from a souped-up version of "Rock Steady" I was able to pick out. They did not do the "Bulldogs...are FRESH!" hip-thrusting number I most vividly recalled. Also, their pom-poms were the new little puffy kind, not the long, shaggy, swishy ones I secretly envied in the darkest corner of my teenage heart.
* My ass. I have considerably more padding than I did in my student days, but MY GOD I AM CRIPPLED after a couple hours on those hard, hard bleachers. Where is my lumbar cushion? Where is my memory foam? My lower back STILL hurts, man.
* The phones. My god, the phones! Kids in the stands called each other or snapped grainy photos; cheerleaders teleconferenced between quarters. In my day, you folded a note to the size of a pea, passed it down the row and prayed it would not be wrongly intercepted. Uphill! Both ways! In the snow! No shoes!

Anyway. I think what surprised me the most was...the kid-ness of the kids. When I was 15, I was deeply intimidated by most of my classmates, the cheerleaders not excepted. Hell, our cheerleaders were TOUGH; they could grunt out a cheer and beat your ass with a free hand. Scary. But these kids in purple pleated skirts in front of me were just...kids. The girl center whose every pass would take your head off if you weren't paying attention; the boy who took an elbow to the face and rolled on the floor, the team doctor sprinting to his side; everyone around us slouching and gossiping, getting called down out of the stands for excessive horseplay, cheering and rousing themselves for a chorus of "I'm So Glad," all of them...just kids.

That's the most elusive memory, I told Roger, leaving: what it felt like when everything MATTERED. It all mattered, so much! Who you saw, who you sat by, would you win, all of it thrilling and devastating and excruciatingly significant. The ADULTS were over there in their own section of the bleachers like a distant planet, and by god, EVERYTHING MATTERED.

We! Are! Together We Are! Together We Are the Mighty Bulldogs!

Okay, yeah. Dork. Point taken.

Monday, February 06, 2006


In the break room this morning: a tray of sad, blue-iced, leftover cupcakes, each inscribed with a crookedly frosted "S" for Seahawks.

* * * * *

On another note, whose large white granny panties did Mick Jagger politely flick back off the stage during the halftime show? Honey, it's the Rolling Stones; the very least you could do is buy a nice pair, special.