I Was A Teenaged Peep: A Lifetime Movie Special

I didn't want to make a big deal out of this because I live in fear of being a "bride", the high maintenance, impossible-to-please beast that I blame on the wedding industry. Yes, Bridezilla. Perhaps you've heard of her? I don't know when this term took over but I wonder if it was shortly after the TLC channel aired Say Yes To The Dress and WE tv began broadcasting Bridezillas.

If you've never seen Bridezillas, don't start now. It provides a terrible ratio of amusing to depressing that I doubt your life is missing. See Monday's show description:

Karen continues her reign of terror! When Karen can’t find anyone willing to do her hair, she is forced to revisit her original stylist for round two—and it isn’t pretty! Later, Karen has a hissy fit when asked to accommodate a wheelchair bound relative in her seating chart, and has a history-making meltdown during a dress fitting. Meanwhile, Natasha insists on driving two hours into the desert to find sand for her unity candle...

Okay, maybe that part about sand for the unity candle is kind of funny.

But here's the deal: I got my wedding dress in the mail and it looked like an Easter egg.

After sending Matthew a photo, I called Jocardo and he and I decided that it also looked like:

1. A baby nursery
2. A gay dinosaur laid an egg
3. A Peep

Or more accurately, I would look like a giant Peep when I put it on. The dress was baby blue and yellow. It was very, very pastel. It was, we all agreed, a lovely dress. For another girl.

I don't know how the miscommunication happened with the dressmaker but it did and I just DON'T get along with pastels.

Before I decided what to do, I considered making art out of the situation. I would, with a photographer (Jocardo), go to as many Easter services as possible and we'd document me and my dress at all the socials, eating sweets, chit-chatting and being Eastery. I would try to get an invite or two to a garden party, if they actually exist. We would photoshop Peeps into the shots and make an album called Me and my Peeps. These all seemed like great ideas and I was howling with laughter.

Then I hung up the phone, plowed my way through an entire bag of cookies, and watched the E! True Hollywood Story on Jennifer Aniston. I was officially bummed.

One thing Jocardo said to me on the phone when I was trying to wave off my reaction was, "Darlin' you're allowed to be disappointed. You can have an emotion about this."

But won't I seem like Bridezilla?

Matthew put an end to it, right about when I told him that I was going to do a funny art project with the Peep dress and would just find something else to wear to the wedding. He said that if I didn't write the dressmaker, he would, so we sent her an email asking if she could re-dye it.

She wrote back right away. No problem, she said. She could get rid of the yellow but the rest of the dress would be a darker blue. It can be black for all I care, I told her. Just get me out of these disgusting infantilizing shades of puke and puker.

Which also makes me wonder: Why is it so hard for me to tell people when I hate what they've done to my appearance? I've been given some of the most rotten haircuts over the years and even when I've walked out of the salon looking like one of the Three Stooges, I've thanked the stylist nicely and given them a big tip because I believe in tipping.

A few weeks ago I jokingly got fake nails in New York. Because I've never done gel tips before and didn't know what I was getting into (I have since ripped them off my fingers in a semi-drunken state to reveal cracked and bleeding stubs underneath, pretty! And so worth it!) I didn't know when the nail lady glued the three inch extensions to my finger that she would cut them to a less talon-like length.

I sat there with a heavy heart while she bantered in Mandarin to her colleagues and I accepted my fate as a disabled person who could no longer use her hands. I whispered to Laura, "I didn't think they'd be so long."

She laughed at me, "They cut 'em down, goofy!"

I felt such relief followed by shock that I was going to let someone fuck up my hands. Out of what? Politeness? The feeling that I had agreed to do something and couldn't back out now even though I totally actually could?

As for the dress, the reason I chose that dressmaker was because her dresses come in all colors and aren't so wedding-like that I can't wear it again and again. But not if I look like a piece of Easter candy, something I was willing to accept for many hours. What the hell?

laughing quietly to myself

About the email Kelly sent me two weeks ago, right before I saw her for the first time in several years:

"Can't wait to see you! Should I be expecting any surprises visually? i.e. third tri-mester baby bump, face and/or neck tattoos? Wooden leg? Large hump on your back causing you to bend over severely? Malformations of the hair (mullet perm)?

I just want to be prepared and do what I can to avoid saying "Hi!" followed by a clearly shocked/nervous swallow. I will love you though, no matter what. You know that right?

Good. I look the same, except MUCH hotter. ;)"


laughing quietly to myself

About how when I got into bed last night, Matthew, asleep, thought I was Patsy and kept pushing me away with his feet and saying, "Down! Down!"


It rained a lot that weekend

Walking at the High Line in between rains.
New York NY


How I came to own a crock pot

The summer of 2003

I remember clearly the summer of 2003. It was the summer I said to one of my New York roommates, Joleen, "If I ever act like I'm gonna get married, please remind me of the summer of 2003." She laughed and promised to do so.

She didn't come through, however, mainly because she fled to New Zealand on a ship, leaving $11,000 in debt, no forwarding address, and a roomful of crap for me, Roopa, and Lee to get rid of. Not that we weren't thrilled to sift through her old sweaters, dildos, and handcuffs, DON'T GET ME WRONG.

It was in the summer of 2003 that everyone in my life got married. And by everyone I mean five friends, which was a lot in three months. It was a lot of travel - to Alaska, Washington State, Michigan, Cincinnati, and England - but that was no problem, I like travel. It was some responsibility - as the minister in two of the weddings - and while that was slightly nervewracking, I pulled it off and was happy to give that gift to Sara and Gail.

No, it wasn't really the logistics, it was the emotions that got to me.

I was in a "relationship" at the time - a sort of maybe kind of relationship with someone who would never be into me enough to lose the quotes around our so-called relationship and who wasn't supportive of me the way I was supportive of him. I imagine that some part of me knew this and was envious of my friends. Not for their marriages so much as the love and trust that their marriages represented and that they'd found, that which eluded me.

Okay, the details of weddings bugged me too. I could not relate - painfully so, at times - to the things that crop up around weddings. Buying houses, remodeling houses, wanting stuff for houses you are buying and remodeling. Starting a wedding registry to tell people what stuff you want to put in your houses. I rented a teeny tiny room that I filled with my teeny tiny possessions. I shopped at thrift stores and sales and sometimes put things on credit. I didn't get it and I didn't think I wanted to.

I remember when Sara was in town before her wedding. We walked around the city, drank mimosas at a bar in Grand Central Station, and then she dragged me into Williams-Sonoma. She ogled kitchen goods while apologizing for it, brushing it off as just a weird wedding phenomenon as inescapable as gravity. I was a good sport, mainly because she was cracking me up by being such a little bitch to the store worker who asked us like three times if we needed help. Each time she'd answer, "I'm sorry, whaaat?" until he shrugged and left.

In the end I enjoyed each wedding even if I didn't get it and seriously doubted that I would go through such a thing myself.

My very own wedding registry

I was resistant. The stark consumption made me uncomfortable. Apparently it's rude to announce your wedding registry on your wedding invitation but it's equally rude NOT to have a registry. I'm okay with being rude unless there's a good, practical reason not to be.

Conflicted, I called Sara.

"Look," she said, "It's a guide for people. People who know you well may give you something more personal but you're having a lot of people come to your party and many of them will want some direction. You help them out and you get some things you need. If you don't do a registry you'll end up with fifteen salad spinners and no easy way to return them." (Note: I may have paraphrased some of that.)

Something about that sunk in. I am morally opposed to salad spinners and don't want one, much less fifteen. And now that I like cooking, I've learned a lot of new words, like dutch oven, and it would be awesome to have one. And I've been tenderizing meat with a Patron tequila lime squeezer that I thought was an ice cream scoop for the longest time. This damn registry might actually come in handy.

That doesn't mean I didn't get in a really bad mood while walking through Crate & Barrel zapping things with my registry zapper. Quite a few people told me how much fun they'd had zapping things they wanted. I want that. Zap! That's shiny. Zap! How many do you want? Four? Zap Zap Zap Zap! It made me sullen and short-tempered. The zapper started to feel like a neon arrow pointed right at me, the materialistic one. It was far easier for me to handle on the internet so we finished the registry online where, I have to say, I ended up picking out some stuff that would be rad to own. I am not gonna lie.

Things have started to show up at our house, gifts that are sent to us, waiting on the porch outside our door. It is bizarre and, because I am so unfamiliar with the process, practically magical. I didn't know people sent gifts ahead of time, months before you are married or in my case, in between your Vegas wedding and your Kentucky wedding. I thought you carted your gift to the wedding and made someone cart it back home. This whole SENDING concept really streamlines the process.

So where am I now? Somewhere in between where I was and, most likely, where I'm going to be. How is that for obvious yet vague? I'm looking forward to using my new crock pot.


my new favorite greeting

Renee got in my car and asked me:

"Yoda or The Incredible Hulk?"

"Yoda!" I replied.

Then she handed me a Yoda Pez dispenser but that's beside the point. I just think her question is a good way to say hello.


How to get on my bad side

Yep, strangers telling me to smile - especially men, oh wait, it's always men - infuriates me as much now as it did when I was a teenager. Today I was crossing a street and he was in a pickup truck waiting for the light. I wished I carried a knife like my husband. I wanted to slash his...tires.


I take photos in bathrooms

Usually the photos just make me laugh. I am, sometimes, very easily amused.

I originally snapped this for the Archaeologists Rule! part but then I was like Aimee? What the hell is up with your handwriting? I am convinced that Aimee wrote that about her own ass, is living in an 80s teenage movie, and has big, permed, hard-as-a-rock hairsprayed hair. The bangs are especially huge.

I like the bag of dicks expression. It has not yet reached the threshold of overuse that makes me crazy.

This one sums it up. Someone thinks the bathroom stall is a great place to be clever - YOU SAT ON MY CLYMIDIA - but they misspell chlamydia and thus don't seem as clever as intended. That, however, makes for a fantastic opportunity for someone else to be mean - TOO BAD YOUR DR. DIDN'T TELL YOU HOW TO SPELL IT DUMB ASS.

On a gentler note, I was at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park yesterday and I used the bathroom. I was thinking when I walked in, "This is a great bathroom. So huge. And clean. With dressing room lights, nice." Then I looked up from the confines of my stall and saw these strange yellow trees, which I would call art.


Dog etiquette

The face of a ho?

I was at the dog park with Patsy. There was only one other dog there - Rufus - and the two of them played hard, roughhousing, chasing, and rolling around in the dirt. Right at the end, just before we left, Rufus jumped on her back end and tried to hump her for all he was worth.

Patsy didn't go for it and snapped him off. She isn't into ass play unless it's herself licking herself for A REALLY LONG TIME, JESUS. No one else is allowed to go there, not the veterinary assistant with a thermometer, not Rufus, no one. But when Rufus chased our car and barked at Patsy through the window, she whined and barked for him inside and I commented that they seemed into each other. Does one attempted hump in dog language equal love?

Two days later Patsy's eye was pink on the inner rim and goop was seeping out. We took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with pink eye.

"That slut Rufus!" I said. "He totally gave her pink eye!"

I took her back to the vet a few days ago because we were out of antibiotics and while the eye is no longer gooey, it still seemed too pink on that one edge. Dr. Baker checked it out and told me that she didn't think it had been contagious in the first place, just an irritation, that pink eye is rare for dogs and that it would have spread to her other eye.

Apparently Patsy's third eyelid - Dogs have three, I did not know that - is just plain pinker than the other one. Fine. The other vet must have called it pink eye so we'd wash our hands 3,000 times more daily than usual, it's cool. Perhaps we inadvertently escaped succumbing to H1N1, I don't know.

ANYWAY, with the new non-contagious bill of health we were finally allowed to go to the dog park again and the last two days were sunny and warmer so all humans and dogs were happy. I was standing in the grass yesterday watching the dogs when I recognized Rufus' pizza delivery guy owner on the other side.

"Rufus has arrived," I texted Matthew.

And 30 seconds later, "And he's eating Patsy out."

She didn't put up a fight.


laughing quietly to myself

About how we got home from a play on Saturday night and wanted to watch a movie.

"What do we have from Netflix?" I asked.

"Downfall," He said, "It's a 2 hour and 36 minute documentary that adopts Junge's point of view to recreate Hitler's final 12 days in his Berlin bunker."

"Yikes. Anything else?"

"But I'm a Cheerleader..."


strange apples

I'm turning again to NaBloPoMo because NBPM (abbreviating an abbreviation = awesome) helped me immensely to write more back in November.

The theme for March is STRANGE(R). Who else is liking that theme? Such range and possibility! I'm going to start with apples.

Something has changed with me in the last few months. I've never liked cooking. I always felt clumsy, awkward, and inadequate in kitchens and preferred to stand around drinking wine and clean up afterward. The entire time that I lived with Sunny and Shane in Chicago, I sat on the couch in the kitchen drinking wine before dinner and all the way up until food was on the table and then would try to make up for that by doing dishes.

Since moving out of my parents' home in 1993, I got by on mediocre stir-frys, take out, salads, sandwiches, and things already half made. I tried my hand at a few recipes back in 2007 and made some attempts last year but was always pretty tense, not exactly enjoying the process.

There were a couple of times this year when M and I were cooking together and he would do something - LIKE TRY TO TALK TO ME or worse, KISS ME - and I'd get all anxious and pissy because I was busy counting minutes in my head, trying to make everything hot and ready to serve at the same time and I was sure that something would burn while I was casually and lightheartedly recounting my day.

Then, and not even slowly, it was a super quick process, cooking started to get fun. It became what people always said: just following directions. Which in and of itself was new for me seeing as I never had a use for recipes before. Moreover, it because less of just a lab experiment and more of a relaxation. Little things that used to seem like a mighty big pain in the ass, like washing lettuce or all these fresh herbs that I now like to use - is, dare I say, meditative. I can stop whatever else it is that I'm thinking about and do something physical and tangible and, suddenly, rewarding.

I GET IT. Weird.

The other thing that people always said and I didn't think I agreed with is, "It's no fun to cook just for yourself." Whatever, I thought. I didn't like feeling clumsy and inadequate but figured that it just wasn't my thing because groups of people cooking made me feel less comfortable, not more. If my eggs are going to be runny, I'd rather keep that "fun" to myself and not have to try to covertly drain them in the sink.

Maybe it's because I now have a kitchen that's mine and I'm not borrowing anyone else's, and maybe it's because I don't feel like I have to be some Donna Reed character of perfection just because I get my cook on and I'm married and I own an apron - shut up, it's black and tough looking - and cooking is something that both M and I are into learning more about.

Whatever it is, I took it to a whole new level today.

I was at Kroger and hadn't made a list. I stopped in the magazine aisle and flipped pages until I found something easy to make - chicken with asparagus in pesto cream sauce - in a Paula Dean magazine. It was delicious and heavy and DID I MENTION DELICIOUS and the next morning I read all the recipes. Most of them I wasn't going for, e.g. tater tot casserole, but I saw a photo of a perfectly beautiful apple sliced into four horizontal pieces and cemented back together with slabs of peanut butter.

I read the ingredients: two types of peanut butter, creamy and crunchy, honey, granola. Paula Dean wouldn't need to know that I'd buy organic apples, peanut butter with flaxseed, and gluten free pretzel rods to stick down the cored middles of the apples. It would look just as trashy and/or like a kid's after-school snack as the photo.

Today I made those apples and I made them with a reason. Matthew and I have been both a little worried and a little tired from things we can't control. We're letting go and chinning up but today had its suck and I thought those apple stacks in the photos looked HAPPY. I decided those apples would be sitting on the kitchen counter when M got home from work. Then I realized that wow, I'm feeding an emotion. I've eaten plenty of emotions, oh have I, but I've never ever wanted to make someone feel better by feeding them.

Guess I'll add that to the long list of things I never understood until now.

From the top they look like boobs.

I like how the one on the right is so crooked. I put the apples slices back together wrong. Paula Dean's were not crooked.