Goodbye, Papa Bear

I’ve just heard the sad news and would like to call for a moment of silence. Stan Berenstain passed away on Saturday. For those of you living under a rock in Ulaanbaatar, Stan and Jan Berenstain gave us the Berenstain Bear books, and even though the stories were a bit stiff and preachy, I’ve always thought the tree house, Bigpaw’s Lair, the woods and all of Bear Country were fantastic products of a colorful imagination.

I’d especially like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the man who was indirectly responsible for one of my fondest memories- the icing, if you will, on an official Day of Joy Overload:

Once upon a time in The Land of College Experience, Pickle and I had the brilliant idea of combining
Worlds of Fun and mushrooms (the magic kind). For the occasion, we developed a highly intellectual code that enabled us to speak freely of the trip, our addled condition remaining undetected by the common, unfortunately sober public (because drugs make you clever and also very sly). We floated through the day comparing how we were/should be affected by the sun, crowds, smells and food “today” (drugged to a state of molasses-smooth elation) vs. “yesterday” (not), i.e., "Yesterday that jerk that just cut in line would have really bothered me. Today? Not so much." We weathered our apprehension at the very idea! of riding a dragon, and groaned in disgust at the recurring view of long-nailed girlfriends intently picking at their ape boyfriends’ neck pimples. We ventured into the Africa section of the park and gleefully threw mental hugs at the perfection found in the sight of skinny kids sporting afros, in line for the Shaka Zulu.

Sometime later, we rounded a corner into a real-life version of
Berenstain Bear Country. Faced with this amazing, generous nod at my childhood (which I assumed had been manufactured in that moment, JUST FOR ME), a jubilant fire spread from my heart to my throat to my twice-baked brain as quickly as my grin spread from ear to ear. There was no way to contain this all-encompassing, hugely overwhelming, body slam of joy. “This,” I tearfully (and loudly) proclaimed, “is the happiest. day. of my LIFE!”

Thank you Stan, you made my day.


In the works

[edited to remove most work-related commentary. And there was much rejoicing.]

I decided to tour the massage therapy school I will be attending, come February.
A "career change" (to call my current occupation a career is like saying the next two years with Bush will fly by) has been in the background of my discontent for roughly 6 years now, and it's one of two major Taking Action plots currently in the works. What is the second, you ask? I'll tell you by next week. And trust me, you'll want to gnaw on my head for keeping you in such suspense over so little.

So yes, I will be on my way to becoming a registered massage therapist in 2006 (as soon as I can come up with a slightly intimidating amount of money), and I felt like documenting the Beginning of Something, so here I am, documenting and stuff. Everyone I spoke with was extremely enthusiastic and helpful, and I was sufficiently impressed with the Success Stories they had pinned up all over the walls (not that I think I'll be summoned to the Olympics, or go on tour with Neil Diamond, but perhaps some of that luck will rub off and I will at least have a steady income and flexible hours).

The only shaky moment in the tour came when the director came at me with "it's very important to be physically fit as a massage therapist." No doubt, but it was a bit difficult to take seriously as the director is Tubby O'Shortandsquat.


The After-Thanksgiving I’m Tired List

The coolest grandmother in the world has been paying a week-long visit. I want to be just like this young-at-heart, world-traveling 83-year-old when I get to be her age. Just, you know, without the sporadic racist comments.

It’s been a great visit overall, with much eating and much more drinking than I am accustomed to (no, really). I woke up this morning feeling wholly unprepared for a fresh new work week, and as I stumbled around the house (trying for the love of god to get out the door on time for once) I tallied up all the items that are taxing my currently limited supply of tolerance and energy.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m tired of:

- Turkey. I lost my sense of taste (due to a cold) just in time for Thanksgiving dinner, but I’m still sick to death of the bird. Sister has a touch of the crazies when it comes to making meals- she is forever paranoid that there won’t be enough food so she overcompensates with a vengeance. I don’t think it would have killed anyone to practice a little portion control, and a smaller bird would have saved all the diners from the turkey doggie bags pushed into our hands as we left, along with the endless turkey leftovers. Turkey sandwiches for our visiting grandmother the next day, turkey curry for another family dinner over the weekend (I made this and it rocked, actually), and I believe she’s plotting a mini Thanksgiving Revisited sometime this week. And yet, somehow my brain short-circuited yesterday morning and I decided ground turkey tacos would be a good choice for my lunches this week. All 5 of ‘em. Gag.

- Leftovers in general. See the above food paranoia and you will know why the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes like mashed and sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and cranberry sauce have had daily recurrences over the last 3 meals.

- Competing with my niece for attention. Petty? Sure. But I’ve been mid-story/sentence when a visiting family member inevitably tunes out and begins singing to/playing with the baby, never to return again. As you can imagine, it’s a real ego boost. Last time my parents were in town, I nearly took an elbow to the jaw as my mother shoved me out of the way to get the little one up from her nap.

- Marital tension between Sister and Clod. Yeesh. Going over to their place lately has been kind of like sliding into a damp, narrow hole. Without a lantern. And the ground is closing in above you. And you’re wearing a 30-pound weight strapped to your chest.

- Being nice to Monk and vice versa. I tend to overcompensate during family visits as well, but I do it with Evidence of a Good Relationship instead of food. For some reason Monk and I seem to get more affectionate and helpful and “no no let ME do the dishes” and “thank you SO MUCH” when we are surrounded by family. Too much of the Perfect Spouse behavior and I want to stick a butter knife in my eye. I’m actually glad Monk has practice tonight and will not be joining everyone for pizza so I can freakin’ relax already.

- Complaining. (Sigh) I have more, but it might be beneficial for all of us if I just put this to bed. I’m tired of the I’m Tired List.

Hope your Thanksgiving was warm and fuzzy.


I definitely missed the mark on this one

Oof. Yesterday I was thinking about last year's holiday season, when I somehow managed to roll cat allergies into a bad cold, into a sinus infection, all of which started right around Thanksgiving and lasted through February. February was the magic month in which I said "Right, enough of this, I'm miserable and maybe a doctor can help me," except of course it sounded more like "Right, eduff of this, Ibe bizrable edd baby a doctor cad hellbee." That's when I found out I had been harboring a sinus infection in my head for quite a while. Hooray for antibiotics.

So, back to yesterday, when I could breathe through my nose. I was reflecting on the holiday antics of last year's germs, when WHAM! Suddenly (and I do mean suddenly, even though I was taught a long time ago that one should never use "suddenly" as things never really happen "suddenly." Maybe I'll try "with a quickness" in a minute) my nose was dripping, my tongue had sprouted fur long enough to tease my throat, and I was soldiering through a wave of mental sludge. Fantastic. I guess last year's cold heard me calling its name, hit the all-car-alert button and blew into town to take me out with a quickness (hee!).

Good thing today is a short work day. I'm sitting at my desk, eyes occasionally rolling back in my skull, lips chapped beyond recognition, nasal passages burning, my head bobbing every few minutes, threatening to come crashing down on my keyboard... Fantastic. By some miracle I will make it back across town, in and out of the grocery store (good idea Q, plan a "quick trip" the day before a huge food-oriented holiday), and home before passing out. And at some point I will make pies. And Monk wants me to walk the dogs, but in my muddled mental state a little voice is telling me that if I just open the front door they'll walk themselves ("they know the route, just let 'em go for it"). So yeah, operating heavy machinery and other stuff, here I come.

Further proof that this head cold has me swathed in layers of mental fog and near-delusion: I intended to write an entry about how much I love the Fall.


I do more by Saturday afternoon than most people do all weekend

I think it must be a sign of superior time management skills that I am enjoying my weekends so much lately (it could also be a sign that work’s the kind of bitch who consistently backhands me every time I step through the door so that by the time Friday rolls around, I’m crawling towards my car muttering “weekend, weekend” like a desperately thirsty man stranded in the desert… but no, let’s go with time management).

Friday evenings are normally spent recharging, which may or may not include large quantities of alcohol consumed in the safety of our own home (because we are responsible drunks who live in the suburbs and have outgrown the thrill of driving under the influence). Saturday I was so productive by 11 a.m. I would have put those army commercials to shame. Then Monk and I went out and spent, spent, spent, like we could afford it, or something. Monk purchased his first-ever suit (and I must admit he looked dead sexy in his grown up costume, wallet at the ready), and then we slapped our credit card around some more at the Buffalo Exchange. There was a B.E. in Albuquerque, but (like most things in Albuquerque) it fell short of the mark. So I am once again hooked on funky secondhand clothing (and I don’t mean “funky” as in “smelly,” but what is up with that signature thrift store smell? I could ruminate and come up with some ideas but I’d really rather not). Never mind that a few of the items were kind of overpriced for being previously worn- my closet thanks me for the update.

Monk had a midnight gig that I skipped out on, which is a shame since I would have enjoyed sharing the boob-flashing he received in the beginning of the night. I don’t know why these things get under my skin the way they do (okay, I suspect I know exactly why), and while I understand nothing malicious was in play, I have since put my mind at ease by applying a hex-in-absentia on the Limo Flasher. If anyone out there has a friend who suddenly gains 100 pounds and starts smelling like rotten potato salad, um, I had nothing to do with it.

And Sunday? Oh baby, this’ll make you really hot- the house was given a thorough cleaning and reorganizing, and we did our annual swap of summer clothing out of the closet, winter clothing in. This involves a lot of “Why the hell am I still hanging onto this nasty sweater? Off to Goodwill with you!” from me, and a little bit of “You’re not finished yet?!” from Monk. (Monk and I also had a great exchange during the clean-a-thon where I discovered some 4-month-old dry cleaning with a button missing, exclaimed over the inconvenience and incompetence, and when I started to add “I guess we’re never u---“ VRRRRROOOOOMMMMM!!!!! Monk promptly turned on the vacuum, and exited the conversation. But I shouldn’t tell that story, because obviously? I’m so over it.)

My point (ha! ha!) is that despite all the activity and productivity, there was also much relaxation, a trip to Target for a new (ugly) bedspread, loooong conversation with Biff (nearly 3 hours! Bliss!), two movies watched (Ray and The Incredibles, both of which received two thumbs up, which probably doesn’t mean anything to you people, since I may be the last person on the planet to see either of those films), and a Sunday cookout enjoyed by all. The only negative is that I slept terribly, but weekends are for sharing a bed like the normal folk, so what can you do? Monk told me he sleeps poorly when I’m in the guest bedroom (apparently we have joint custody of the insomnia ball now- he gets it during the week, I get it on weekends), and I’m relearning the art of compromise.

That was the other highlight of my weekend: I’ve come to the conclusion that I do a lot of My Way Or The Highway at home, so I’m practicing saying yes to Monk more. I’ve started already (see the ugly bedspread note above, then guess who picked it out). I may have a limited capacity for agreeable behavior, though, so let’s not be surprised if the next few weeks bring a lot of Putting My Foot Down at work. We’ll see.


More of the stress stuff

There are a few highlights of Stress Week that should not be grating as much as they are, because I know that I do not have control over things like mother nature (the air has grown sharp and chilly and I wasn’t finished with warmth and sunlight) or other people’s driving inability (although chanting “why don’t you all fuuuuuck oooofffff” in a high-pitched sing-song whisper this morning is a sure sign that I need to chill); I swear I am working on reclaiming the zen attitude. Really. I’m working on it (must. unclench. teeth).

But something I CANNOT deal with is lack of sleep, which has been the theme of the last 7 days. Once, when I was little and unable to sleep (hopped up on sugar from my once-a-year candy allowance, no doubt), I burst into my parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night (okay, so it was probably more like 10 p.m.) wailing “I just want to sleeeeep!!!!! Why can't I sleeeeep??!!!!” Superman had kryptonite, I have sleep deprivation. And if someone else is the cause of me losing sleep, make way for the rage and the shouting.

(I could never be Sleeping Beauty, because when the prince comes and kisses me awake, instead of living happily ever after, I’d be all “What the FUCK are you doing? Can’t you see I’m SLEEPING, you horndog?” and then he’d get a Quinn-patented crotchpunch.)

I’m honestly not sure if I had such problems with insomnia and light-sleeping in my early twenties, or if it crept up on me after I became older/busier/monogamous and cohabiting (cohabitative? cohabitish?). Looking back, those years seem like a much easier time in my life (only dealing with the depression and suicidal tendencies really streamlines the psyche). I had a bed to myself, a little puppy whose bed was next to mine, not in mine, who let me sleep (most of the time, and if she woke me up it was just “awwwww” because who could stand how cute she was? Not me!), and the only person making noise in the morning was me, so no one woke me up Before It Was Time. Well, there were the mornings I came fully awake halfway through my shower, or while fashioning a coffee maker out of a saucepan and some toilet paper, but I understood that while that may be a clue I was up Before It Was Time, I had no one to blame but myself. You see? Me neither. But did I mention I used to have the bed to myself?

Now I share the bed every night. Not only with another person, but with two dogs (the second addition made herself known as Pushy right from the start, the original decided she was Not To Be Left Out), a bad back and the mental list of maybe a gazillion items to keep track of, whether finance related or just the usual headache that comes with owning a house and maintaining it enough so it doesn’t look like it is inhabited by a) broke-ass college students or b) crack whores. And the other person wakes up too early (or returns late at night from practice) and makes enough noise with the dogs to wake me up and keep me up (but again I must point out the light-sleeper development, so he’s not entirely to blame), oh and also takes up too much of the bed and blankets and even snores sometimes! I know! Of all the nerve! I’ve never enjoyed sharing a bed with someone (just ask those in my past who have been neatly kicked out after the party hour). Perhaps I thought I’d get used to it eventually, I don’t know. And when, may I ask, did I get so lax in doggy obedience that having two (TWO!) on my side of the bed all night became acceptable? Both of them get comfortable before I get there (somehow affixing themselves to the mattress in such a way that makes moving them an impossible dream), so I can either try to fall asleep spread-eagled around them (and girls, we all know this stance ain’t quite in the comfort zone), or I can take advantage of the 3 feet of open space between the beasts and my pillow and make nice with the fetal position. Mmmm, domestic bliss, sign me right up.

For seven years now, any night I fall asleep relatively easily, wake once and return to sleep within ninety minutes is considered decent. For various reasons, interruptions and worries, I have not had a decent night’s sleep since last Wednesday. Yesterday morning I tearfully came to the conclusion that in my weakened state I was no match for things like Daily Annoyances, Financial Hardship, etc., etc., and if I didn’t get one decent night’s sleep this week I was going to lose my already unstable mind. But not before the dogs and Monk lost their lives. So last night Monk and I said a goodnight tinged with melancholy, and I tucked myself into the guest bedroom for the next eight hours. As the door closed, it felt like the end of something, the admission of some as yet unrecognized failure. But when I woke this morning after 7 solid hours of slumber, legs fully extended, back free of pain and nose free of dog hair, it also felt like the beginning of something, a rejuvenating glimpse of sanity.


Welcome to Stress Week

It's official: I am destined to spend the week in a state of constant irritation, frustration or out-and-out rage. To list all the items I am not handling very well would produce a very long and tedious entry, and sometimes it’s easier (less boring?) to go piece by piece.

So here’s something: I hate the telephone. I rarely answer it (and if you make my Always-Answer list you’re either chock full of blackmail-worthy secrets, or sleeping with me), and I’ve come close to hyper-ventilating when it’s time to order pizza (question: when ISN’T it time to order pizza?). I have a love/hate relationship with my cell phone- if it weren’t for these wild and crazy Texas drivers, I wouldn’t feel the need to carry one (although the ability to do the whole “hey, it’s me again. Okay, now I’m in the ice cream aisle. Cookies ‘n’ Cream or Chunky Monkey?” is awfully convenient). I speak to my mother on average once a week (because if I do not she will make me miserable on average every time she can catch me, for the rest of my life), Maki once every other week (we’re so Busy and Important these days we have a standing call schedule, la dee da) and Biff about once a week. As it happens, these are not quick, just-checking-in calls. If Biff and Maki would just move here already (or, you know, send a damn email from time to time) we could avoid these in-depth conversations. And my mother, well, she just has no idea how to end a conversation (you should have seen her every Sunday of my childhood. This woman makes Not Leaving Church a championship sport. She’d round everyone up like WE were keeping HER, and then we would stand around for days praying to the sweet baby Jesus for her to FUCKING WRAP IT UP ALREADY!)

So now that we’re all up to speed on my anti-talking-on-the-phone thing, you can imagine how quickly I went into convulsions upon opening the cell phone bill and discovering that the good people at Cingular were demanding nearly $400.

How on earth did I rack up over four times the minutes last month? Oh, wait, last month was the first month in almost a year of having this devil contract with Cingular that I’ve actually been able to have a conversation without the call being dropped several times. All those times of “Hi, I’m back, yep, that was my phone disconnecting again” were actually saving me money. One of the pirates at Cingular explained to Monk that if we make a call a minute before our Night rates kick in, then we’re charged Day minutes for the duration of the call. Huh. You’d think they can’t do that, it must be illegal or something, but no, baby! This is America! We can take advantage of whomever we want because it’s a free country and people don’t read the fine print before they sign their money and souls away for two or three years at a time! Head hurts. Must go.


Happy Anniversary (a retrospective in which there is much linkage)

As much as it entertains me to ramble on with random observations or revisit my past in a rose-tinted glass-bottomed boat, I understand that sometimes you want a little more. The blogs I read regularly are not political, environmental or musical (sorry, Pickle), they are personal accounts of people’s insecurities and fuck-ups, windows into their daily lives, and since I am one of those people who will take a walk at night and if your curtains aren’t closed you’re damn right I’m looking in your windows (what?), the personal accounts are the ones that captivate me.

I started this site a year ago, tentatively, as a way to get back into the practice of stringing words together for the hell of it; as a result I can proudly say I’ve made a hefty contribution of crap to the already existing galaxy of self-important dung floating around in the Internet cosmos (I have also just revealed how little I actually know about the Internet- and also Outer Space- and how the whole crazy thing works). I had no idea I’d eventually want anyone to read my garbage, and yet made an effort to keep things objective and aloof . That kind of fell apart after the first entry.

I resigned myself to baring a bit more uninteresting leg around here but upon further scrutiny am not sure I’ve really done that. I know, I know, you’ve heard far too much of my
work woes, I’ve shared a moment of pain, I’ve bitched about my friends, talked about why I’m not cut out for marriage, one time I even used someone’s real name (gasp!), but still, I sense you wanting more.

So, in the interest of getting MORE personal with you, I thought I would share with the Internet that I am having a god-awful bad, downright nasty hair day. It’s fluffy where it should be laying straight, and kinky where it should be… just, normal. And dammit if every time I look in the mirror some wayward strands have come out from behind my ears and are plastered to the sides of my face. That’s right, I’m a fucking
gelfling today and I can’t seem to do anything to combat it.

(Sidenote: it’s kind of a shame that when I was trying to decide which college to attend oh so many years ago, my list of schools wasn't as diverse as I thought. Whoa.)

Not groundbreaking, perhaps, but I promise: As soon as there is something notable to report, you’ll read it here. Meanwhile, I’ll be in the bathroom ignoring my
muppet hair and attempting to cough up something nice and phlegmy to describe in colorful detail later.


The Morning After

Raise your hand if you went to price exercise equipment yesterday and ended up with a treadmill in the back of your vehicle. Just me then?

After an extremely productive morning (I don’t know why I have this compulsion to pack paid time off with a bazillion errands and fact-finding missions), I decided to find out what my “home gym” idea would cost me. Little did I know that a deviously cheeky little salesgirl would turn my normally reasonable and budget-conscious nature (okay okay I’m Cheapy McSpendNoMoney) on its ass:

Salesgirl (out of the corner of her mouth as she sidles by): Are you being helped?

Q (panicked, and cursing the fact that eye contact’s been made): Just checking things out, thanks!

Salesgirl (walking away): Okay.

Q (muttering): tricky bitch, I almost pulled my wallet out.

Salesgirl (returning): You can apply for a Sears card, no interest no payments for a year, and put that treadmill on it today.

Q: (derisive laugh) I don’t think so.

Salesgirl: But, no interest! No payments for a year!

Q: Heard you the first time, I’m just pricing things today.

Salesgirl: No interest, no payments!

Q: Well, you’re just like a little robot, aren’t you?

Salesgirl (blank look): Um, no interest? (Spend-Money-Now Rays shoot from her eyes)

Q: Alright, alright, now I feel strangely drawn to this fabulous sale you’re having. Did you hypnotize me with the no interest no payments thing?

Salesgirl: But it’s great, no interest no payments for a year.

Q: I heard you, just ring up the damn treadmill.


But I did use it this morning, after a fitful night’s sleep (about 5 hours total, happy day) and it was awfully nice to hate exercise in the comfort of my own home.

Unfortunately, I stepped off when inspiration struck me to share my weak will story with the Internet and now Monk is up, which means I’ve pretty much lost television rights for the rest of the day.


Now I Know

My performance review occurred yesterday, finally, and put me out of my misery. You know how you can obsess over something long enough, explore all the angles, process each hypothetical outcome, and then when the thing actually happens, you’re just completely over it? No? You expect me to believe I am the only one who does this?

I’ve been agonizing over this review since September (a.k.a. the Month it Should Have Happened), so after ranting to Monk, friends, family, strangers on the street (“NO! REALLY! Don’t you think I should be getting more props and LOTS MORE MONEY? Why are you running away?!”), preparing my case, recording examples of my brilliance, drawing diagrams and creating scale models illustrating Productive Quinn in Action, and procuring evidence of every other Assistant in the area that does the same thing at a higher rate of pay, well, I just wanted to take a nap. Instead, I was subjected to an hour of being told how Very Good and Outstanding I am, and how the Areas For Improvement are not applicable to me because, shucks, I can just do no wrong. Torture, people, clearly. Oh, and how Boss is also great because IF the company decides it can afford (ha ha!) to give across-the-board raises to its employees, and SINCE the raises will be in the 1-3% range, she will be recommending me to receive the highest possible raise WITHIN that range. You’ll understand why I don’t quite feel as though I’ve won the lottery here. Unfortunately, the whole episode was so pleasant and positive that I had no appropriate moment to insert my thinly veiled pay-me-more-or-I-will-quit-and-you-will-be-hard-pressed-to-find-another-sucker-to-take-my-place threat. Instead, I politely handed over my salary increase request (pie charts and dioramas included) and said something (weak and stupid) like “no time like the present to ask for more money heh heh heh!” What happened to the girl who, in her New Mexico days, made her boss cry? Because she clearly did not accompany me to my performance review.

Boss and I also worked on my Objectives for the Coming Year. Although I personally believe my main objective is to continue to squirrel away as much money as possible so Monk and I can start our business ASAP, and also not go raving lunatic postal on Boss in the near future, she had some other ideas: I will be responsible for securing a Real Office for us. Apparently Boss has decided we are growing too big to continue these home office shenanigans. I don’t know, I’ve grown quite fond of Housekeeper vacuuming 80 times a day, the urge usually hitting her when I am on an Important Call. Oh, and when Boss’s sons use my computer over the weekend, it’s so amusing to log on Monday morning and be greeted by SexyAmoeba on AIM. There is just so much I will miss.

An additional Official Objective will be to eventually hire an assistant. For me! An assistant to the assistant to the president. But where oh where can I find someone with all the necessary computer skills and a not-annoying personality, who will be willing to work part-time hours? I suppose I can always misrepresent the assistant’s role and make up some terrific perks of the job- oh wait, that’s been done before.

Meanwhile, Boss has asked me to come up with a list of tasks that can be assigned to my new assistant. I have already made some definite headway on this:

*Database maintenance
*Open or close the office (depending on Q’s plans for the week or, like, if she’s really tired that morning)
*Basic office correspondence
*Bring Q coffee (and sometimes a bagel or a donut, or go get her some candy) as needed
*No talking before 11 a.m. (although exceptions can be made to tell Q how pretty she is)
*Answer phones

Well, it’s a start.

*UPDATE: Significant raise with the disclaimer that I should not expect another salary increase until 2008. I'm pretty sure any remaining work ethic just went down the toilet.


Bring the Pain

I was reunited with two lost loves this weekend. The first one I thought of often and believed I’d never see again this side of the ocean, and the second I had shamefully forgotten about.

Saturday evening Monk and I went to a tapas place which was surprisingly, fantastically authentic (give the girl one trip to Spain and suddenly she’s an experto de la comida). The Spanish-speaking wait staff whirled around our little table, the crowd grew steadily, I sipped a smooth glass of red, and we dove into the little plates of appetizers that arrived with speed and abundance. Towards the end of our meal a Spanish guitar player took the stage (I’m not sure the musician was actually Spanish, but I’m sure the music was. Or he fooled everyone and I am so not complaining) and added his over-practiced strumming to the general ambience. We’ve been disappointed with tapas in the States before and I had pretty much given up on the idea of encountering the real deal on American soil. But I am overjoyed to proclaim that here in Texas (of all places), croquetas are crave-worthy, gambas are good and garlicky, plato de queso is… well, so-so. But I’m not a big fan of the Spanish cheeses. We ate like it was our job, people, and then packed it all down with some flan for dessert. Went home peering over the edge of that excessive eating precipice, where one false move could have you clutching your belly for the rest of the night. No regrets though; it would have hurt so good.

Last night, to counteract the whole fine dining thing, we ordered a massive artery-clogging pizza and settled in to watch a long-forgotten Eddie Izzard video. Eddie and I first met in Manchester, a decade ago. Our introduction came about when my host turned on the television and yelled something to the effect of “oh snap, this guy is fucking hilarious!” (the original sentence has been translated from British to American for easy reading), and as the man on the screen happily paced about in heels and makeup, changing topics at light speed, talking about cats drilling behind the couch, my love grew and grew and grew (have I mentioned that it grew?). Back to real, present day life: Periodically I forget about Mr. Izzard and his ranting and side notes and dry humor and facial expressions and sarcasm, and how he makes me laugh until my head is pounding. In my forgetful phase I tune into another late night Margaret Cho special, witness the 856th rendition of her Crazy Chinese Mother yelling her name down the street and I sigh, sadly resigned to the fact that things just aren’t as funny as they used to be.

But oh, sweet joy! Last night we rediscovered the Eddie Izzard DVD we’ve had for several months but never got around to watching. I sat, rapt, as he once again paced about the stage in heels and makeup, unleashing a stream of dry wit, absurd tangents and sarcasm, thinking I’d like to buy him a beer. I’d like to put him in my toy chest. I’d like to climb him like a tree. I spent two hours laughing so hard my head was pounding. And it hurt so good.


I do. Really.

I spent most of my pre-university life looking at Marriage as abhorrent, pointless, or oppressive (depending on the week), and generally not for me. My attitude was temporarily turned around in college, and never quite bounced back to its former not-in-my-lifetime conviction. Later, Monk came on the scene and took the capital M out of the word for me. He helped me see (without uttering a single persuasive argument) that marriage is more about choosing to go through life’s adventures with someone who can happily be described as your best friend, as opposed to the suffocating institution I held in my mind.

I still don’t believe that marriage is for everyone; even now I do not consider myself a true convert to the pro-marriage stance. I don’t think “forever” is locked in, just because you say it out loud. I can argue circles around myself, noting both sides of the “just a piece of paper” issue. I'm the one who has been told throughout the years that I'm "not the marrying type." So even though we all know people don’t come with Owner’s Manuals, I still think Monk could have used a heads-up.

Because you can have a beautiful relationship, honor your commitment and every morning choose to stick around through another day with the person, but still want to kick your spouse out of the bed. Or the house. Frequently (and not out of anger, but because Sharing is still HARD WORK). There are plenty of moments that I forget how great marriage can be, and focus only on how settled our lives have become, how Marriage means I can never take my dog and move to another state at the spur of the moment again, never again spend a whole weekend alone and silent, never again be responsible for no one’s shit but my own, never again have a night of sleep unaffected by another person or his alarm clock… There are a lot of Never Agains. Sometimes my subconscious gets hold of these Never Agains and runs with them, stirring up other characters like Regret, Mood Swing, Idealist and Bitch, and they all go off frolicking towards Depression, sometimes picking up Resentment along the way. Suddenly I become difficult, irritable, put-upon, scornful and withdrawn. It’s not a new persona, but when I was single it could be packaged as something more romantic or eclectic. Or no one had to see it at all. I could hole up for a few days and weather the storm until a Normal Person emerged.

In present life, unfortunately, Monk gets subjected to this mess. Poor guy. He’s just trying to live his life with some dogs on the couch and a person to hang out with, make a decent living and get laid on a semi-regular basis. At the Difficult times, I slip deep into self-loathing for inflicting this psycho shit on him, at the same time simmering with resentment and frustration because he can’t possibly understand the chemical imbalance in my brain. In my fantasies of my Other Life, I am Normal all the time, which leaves nothing for my imagined partner to “handle,” so no missteps can be taken with my heart, consequently no one makes me feel alone, mismanaged and inevitably let down.

I know the clouds will pass, they always do eventually, and we can return to our regularly scheduled program where I am together, confident and interesting (“who told her she was interesting?” Shut it). In the meantime, someone give this guy a medal. Or a bj, depending on how his day is going.

Q NOTE: You would not believe some of the weirdness that comes up when you Google “marriage” as an image. I decided to go with the one that made me giggle and shudder at the same time. I hope it’s as good for you as it was for me.


The Doctor Is In

It is quite common for women to buy bras in a certain size for years and years, until one day someone turns them on to the idea of getting “professionally sized.” Of course, we are generally hesitant to enter a store and have a stranger’s hands on us, (judging) measuring our rack (or in my case, lack thereof). The fitting is, however, free of charge, which makes it more alluring. Most of the time, this professional sizing delivers the lesson that “hey dumbass, you’ve been squeezing your breasts into the wrong shape and size for ages!” And then the journey of comfortable undergarments can finally begin. (I know of no such similar experience for men. Perhaps I’m just not privy to the conversation my male friends may have with their buddies about the day Coach helped them realize they’d been wearing the wrong size jockstrap [well! Didn’t that sound perverted!], or the time they were fitted for a condom. I suspect these issues never come up. If I’m wrong, someone please enlighten me.)

But it is interesting that most people don’t seem to pay much attention to how something fits, be it clothing, athletic shoes, evidence of adultery… And we all know of the people that wake up one day with the epiphany that their current relationship is over. Or that it should be. “Terribly sorry, I’ve been under the impression that this was the right fit for me, but it turns out it isn’t” may be the simplest and truest explanation, but one that would never be fully appreciated by the significant other. So. What if there were Professional Sizers of Relationships available to us? And don’t tell me they are called therapists, because those cost money and usually have some sort of fucked up availability, so you can never get an appointment when you really want/need one. How great would it be to go out running errands and get the unexpected bonus of someone telling you quickly and objectively if you are in the right relationship? And all this without making a purchase! So many people spend years in a relationship, waffling between moving on (and how to do it gently?) and hanging on (and how to do it gracefully?), while their friends practice tact and diplomacy in their ears, when what they really need is a professional opinion (“hey, dumbass, you’ve been squeezing your emotions and energy into the wrong person for ages!”) that they don’t have to pay for. This way, bailing out of the relationship can be further justified: "It's not just me, this is the expert opinion of the Professional Sizer of Relationships!"

I am hereby offering my services as a P.S.R., for the good of all mankind. The mall nearby won’t let me wander around their shops, offering strangers love life advice, so I’ll be working from home for now. Email inquiries are welcome while the office is getting set up. And I promise I won’t call you a dumbass. Unless you like that sort of thing.