Saturday, October 28, 2006

Party Planning!

We're throwing a Halloween party tonight and I am very excited to see how it is that Shawn and I will be able to stay awake to attend it.

Last night, Shawn went to a work happy hour and arrived home promptly at 4 a.m.---a full eight hour work day of drinking and socializing. I was fine with him being gone until about 12:30 when I still couldn't fall asleep and hadn't heard from him since 8:30 p.m. when I called him and he said he'd be home in about an hour. At 2:30, I called his cell phone. No answer. At 3:30, I called him again--no answer again. At 4, he stumbled in, soaking wet because he had decided to walk home from downtown (in the rain) which took about an hour and a half. I was relieved that he wasn't dead (kept thinking, if he had been hurt, who would call me? Would anyone know to call me?), but livid that he was so late and that he didn't call at all and that it kept me up until 4 in the morning, especially since we're having a party tonight that doesn't start until 9 p.m. Then he woke up at 8:30 a.m. because he has some walk to do for this new committee that he's on. That means I've had a little less than four hours of sleep and we haven't yet bought any of the food or beer or decorated, though I did clean last night and put up some window decorations last Sunday.

I told him that he should consider being single--that he would be much better off if he didn't have to worry about niggling things like calling me or returning home at a normal hour or having to think about someone other than himself. But why would he want to be single? He has someone who helps pay the mortgage, whose car he can borrow, who buys groceries, who cleans the bathroom and washes the sheets, who is obviously more of a home body and so there's little danger that she'll be out carousing and flirting. It's the best of both worlds except when he has to deal with me actually being upset that he's not thinking about me or contributing to the house hold at all. But I'm not mad. I understand. I want that too.

While I was laying there playing out the possible scenarios for where he might be, I thought of a good short story idea about a woman whose boyfriend is killed and how she is not sure how to feel about it--how on one hand, it's really sad and horrible and how on the other hand, this might mean she can keep all of his furniture. A good title for the story could be something like, "My Boyfriend Went to Heaven and All I Got Was This Lousy Sectional Sofa."

I'm in Rocket Cat again with Padhraig who has come up from State College to see Carrie and to attend this certain-to-be-anticlimactic party. He doesn't quite have a costume yet, but he'd like to come as a French aristocrat, which should be easy to pull together in a couple of hours. He's sitting next to me right now, grading badly written history papers about Nazism where the students write sentences like, "Fascism at this time allowed for many changes and made certain parties gain some kind of rights that were guaranteed to alter the course of history somehow." I told him to write in the margins, "Mysterious!" or "Intriguing...I wish I knew more." Padhraig would like me to mention that he has had a haircut and that it makes him look years younger.

(Aside: there is this utterly obnoxious dad/uncle/kidnapper in here with a two year old boy . The guy has a scratchy loud voice and a Camel cigarette tucked behind his ear. He said, "I'll have a cup of coffee and a child-shutter-upper." HA HA HA! He looks a little bit like Julia Roberts semi-ugly brother, Eric. He also said, "Hey, I'd be crabby too if I woke up at 5 a.m. every morning with my pants wet! I'd be arrested!" It doesn't seem right that I should be able to hear every word he says even though he's forty feet away. He's one of those guys who sincerely believes that everything he says is funny. Please don't let this be the kid's dad).

Friday, October 27, 2006

These Philadelphia Folks Are So Nice!

You would think I was from small town in the Midwest (well, I am), the way that I behave sometimes in this city--as though everyone is looking out for me and has not intention of bad vibes. For instance, I decided while at Rocket Cat this morning (took today off as a personal day), that I had to go to Circle Thrift next door. But I had a problem--I wanted to return to the coffee shop afterwards but didn't have enough money to buy yet another coffee. The solution? Leave my laptop and jacket on the table and trust that these nice city people won't steal anything of mine. I did a bit of speed shopping at CT (which is quite difficult with everything I must look at, try on, touch, contemplate). I came back here about 35 minutes later--laptop still in place. Still, I don't think it's the best idea to expect the employees/patrons of the coffee shop to watch my stuff. A similar event occurred on Tuesday when I went out with Kelly and Amanda. Since the new stupid smoking ban in Philadelphia, you have to smoke outside. All three of us are smokers, and so we tottered out the door, leaving our drinks and asking the guy in the next booth to watch them to make sure, as Amanda said, "That no one spikes them with roofies. The guy rolled his eyes and sarcastically said, Oh, yeah, sure no problem. I watched our table through the window. No one approached and none of us left drugged.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Most Wonderfulest Time in the Year

We are about to descend into the holiday season in just a few short weeks--sooner, probably, if Hallmark has anything to say about it. The season of cliches, Target, and the little baby Jesus and another year of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty, the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and other slighty terrifying shows produced in the early seventies that continue to return again and again and again, no matter how much you might hate animatron or little green monsters who mistreat their dogs. I suppose they might play Nightmare on Christmas Street or whatever that Tim Burton movie was called, but it seems that the film reels from the olden days will sustain, especially now that all those people who were kids when the TV programs appeared now have kids of their own to watch them with. Here's the thing about Rudolph: I don't like the way he talks. I know he has a problem with his nose, but why does he have to sound like he's stuffed up? Can't he just blow his nose? And I don't like the way those little puppets close their eyes--it reminds me that they're not real. And I really hate the part in Grinch where the dog is teetering on the mountain with his waist cinched in by the belt. And I also don't like Cindy Lou Hoo, for that matter. If I remember correctly, she doesn't have feet and also, why does she have antennaes? That's creepy.

SEE? This year for Halloween, I cut out a bunch of construction paper things--a cat head, a witch on a broom, a red devil, vampire, Jack-o-lantern, etc. but nothing terribly frightening. Nothing as scary as Cindy Lou Hoo, though I did suggest to Shawn that we put a big picture of George Bush up--the most terrifying thing in this world.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday Report from the Rocket Cat

Three nearly identically dressed thin twenty-something guys with brown hair. They are all wearing hoodies, jeans, and sneakers--one with a black knit cap tight against his head. All are artistic and by "artistic" I mean effeminate (cross their legs, gesture with their hands, speak with a certain drawl). We also have a husband and wife and their blue jumper clad eight month old--a bald headed baby boy (also wearing a hoodie) who is behaving pretty well aside from his persistent "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"-ing. Seems like everyone knows everyone here--how do they meet? Should I introduce myself loudly to the room? "Hey, guys, I live just down the street and I like interesting things and will wear quirky clothes on occasion."

I could brag about my recent publishing accomplishments even though they are not based on anything I did really recently. Philadelphia Stories is republishing "Wonderful Girl" in their first anthology and I just got an acceptance for another story in Cimarron Review. The CR story is one I wrote for the summer fiction class--so that makes that entire experience worthwhile. If I were a really nice person, I would email the teacher and tell her and thank her personally for her suggestions for revisions. I plan on taking advancing fiction with the visiting writer whose grad class I tried to sit in on this fall--she said I could take this course and it's on Main Campus once a week at a great time--4:40-7:00, so I can easily go there without having too much of the work day. I'm excited. In the meantime, I need to keep writing at least something or revising the other story I wrote that summer.

But more importantly, I introduced my friend Amanda to Sims II by bringing my laptop to work yesterday. I felt a little bad about it--not about loading a PC game at work--but at giving her a taste of Sims. It's like I just introduced her to crack so I could have another buddy to smoke with. She liked it immediately. She seemed to get the game much faster than I did and then asked a bunch of questions about it and was amazed with every answer. We created the "Proulx" family so she could see that process--a teenage girl and her single dad, a fat black cat named Iggy, and a super unattractive and mean love interest/roomie--I forget what we named her. I usually don't make unattractive or hard to deal with characters because it makes the game less harmonious, but it was fun to do the opposite of what I normally do--to make the character's nose really big, her eyes tiny, her lips protruding, her stomach a big beach ball, and an ass to match. We dressed her in terrible clothes all around, including a gigantic bra and granny underpants and gave her a personality that when illustrated on the screen, showed her beating up a teddy bear (she's not very nice). Amanda then wanted to come up with a back story--another thing I seldom do (you can write their bios on the page; you can also keep a running story line going on by writing in each family's journal. Why do I never do this?). We decided that the dad, Billy, was attracted to this horrible woman because she had red hair and green eyes, just like his wife, who died five years before. The teen daughter and this lady will fight all the time because the daughter, Megan, resents her. I can't wait to move them in and try something different with the Sims--something with a narrative.

Amanda called last night and said it was taking everything in her power not to rush over to my house to play. Meanwhile, I played for a couple of hours until one of my Sims caught fire grilling hot dogs and burned to death and then I had to close the game without saving or else she'd be dead forever. A tragedy.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Yo, Whyn't Youse Come Over Here So I Cans Beat Your Ass?

As uttered by some white t-shirted kid on the corner down the street from me last night while I was attempting to watch ER and knitting a sweet little baby blanket (not for me). At first, I thought the noise was coming from the TV (when you knit and watch TV, it's more like listening to a radio program b/c your attention focuses on the task at hand. Most TV shows now don't require a visual component anyway, particularly not ER or Law & Order where the dialogue usually just supplements the action for those viewers who may be really, really dumb or toddlers.

Example from last night's Grey's Anatomy: "So you're saying you don't want to have the double mascetomy because you feel guilty about being mad that if you hadn't been breast-feeding, you wouldn't noticed the lump in your breast?" Mom: "Yes! Yes!" (a nod would've been fine, but a nod might be too subtle.
Example from any episode of Law & Order: "I get it. You were angry. You took the knife and stabbed your wife's boyfriend in a jealous rage and then planted the knife in your wife's purse and then faked your own stabbing in hopes of framing her for both crimes, right?" Perpetrator: "Yes! Yes!").
Anyway, after looking up from my knitting, I realized that the yelling was coming from outside. I poked my head out and saw a bunch of identically dressed dudes on the corner, challenging each other in some kind of fight or precursor to a fight. "Yo, dude, do it! Hit him! Hit him!" I had my glasses on which reduces my vision by about 50%, but it didn't look like anyone was actually punching, but lots of guys were shouting back and forth so it seemed imminent. I dialed 911 and gave the operator the wrong street name (said Tulip instead of Memphis), but in about one minute, two cop cars whizzed by. I was very impressed with their speedy response until I heard one neighbor lady who had her head stuck out the second story window say, "Yeah, I called the police like fifteen minutes ago when I heard all that bullshit start up." Haley's mom also had her head out the window. (By the way, Haley's parents decorated the front of their house with all of this Halloween crap, but it's not the typical stuff (scarecrows, jack-o-lanters); it's really scary and ghoulish like with this big black witchy monster that moves and lights up and has red eyes that glow at you. That must be fun for Haley). All the neighbors had their heads out the window or "winder" as it's called in Fishtown. The crowd dispersed. I went back inside knowing that if I were ever called to be a witness, I would be destroyed on the stand. "Isn't it true that with your glasses on, you can't see more than four feet in front of you and everything else is fuzzy and out of focus and so therefore, you couldn't really tell if it was a fight or maybe if they were just street dancing?" "Yes! Yes!"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pitying and Judging Others, Even as I Am Being Pitied

I blushed yesterday for the first time in about 15 years. As you may know, I have a slight addiction to Sims II, a PC game wherein you basically play life--creating characters who then have to fulfill mundane human needs like eating, sleeping, socializing, going to the bathroom, and having fun--which you fulfill endlessly at the expense of your own appetite/social life/bladder. And because I love my Sims so much, I had to buy the latest expansion pack as soon as I came out (it's about pets. I love pets!). I went first to Best Buy and was looking around at the PC selection but didn't see it. I approached an employee and before I even opened my mouth, he said, Let me guess. You're looking for Sims Pets? That is when I blushed. What was it in my appearance that hinted that I spend a not insignifcant amount of time playing a simulation game most popular with pre-teens? Was it my Hello Kitty purse, my ponytails, or my I HEART THE SIMS tee shirt? They did not have Pets yet. I left in shame.

I went to Target, only to find that they don't carry PC games at all. I walked out and told myself to give it up and just check Best Buy tomorrow. Then I remembered that there was an evil chain whose name I cannot mention (see Liz, it's not like I'm promoting it) and since it was on the way home...I was shocked to see that they had plenty of copies of Pets. I bought it, along with a 10 pound bag of cat food and a 25 pound box of cat litter, and was gleefully headed back to the house. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I spotted this hot guy who looked really familiar pushing a cart outside of Home Depot. I racked my brain, but couldn't at first remember who he was. Then it dawned on me that he's a friend of this guy I sort of kind of not really dated. I thought, How sad! Ryan is working at Home Depot and he's not even really working there, he's just the cart guy! Then I realized that I was rushing home with a kid's video game that features pets and 35 pounds of cat paraphenalia.

Shawn made an awesome invitation to our Halloween party. Yes, you are invited too!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hasana Made Breakfast AGAIN today

Or maybe Will did--I'm not sure. I was still asleep, but after they left, I went down to the kitchen to get my own breakfast (a cup of coffee) and saw a skillet out as well as some pepper and a spatula. Being a brilliant deducer of clues, I quickly figured out that someone quite possibly may have fried an egg or two. The other smart thing I accidentally did was to not notice that Ernesto slid out the door some time last night and so consequently, he spent the entire night outside where it was very cold. Hasana spotted him the morning, clinging by all fours on the top half of the screen door. Why was this smart of me? Because now he will never want to go outside ever again. See? Tricky!

I'm sitting in Rocket Cat Cafe which is why I'm able to get on-line. Always an interesting mix of people here. Currently, we have a guy with intentional Elvis hair (slicked back, long sideburns. He is being ironic. He also wears Dickies jeans and has a chain wallet), an older man in a Red Phillies hat and blue blazer with brown elbow patches, a guy with Jesus hair and a bad camo shirt, an older woman in a red turtleneck and very red lipstick. She is writing something--a letter or maybe it's an entry in old fashioned style blog; I believe it's called a journal? Maybe she's writing about who is in here too: "woman sitting by the window with a black eye. Should I offer to help her out? None of my business. Still, it is a shame. She must've deserved it." A dorky nineteen year old kid with his dorky parents (mom has a backpack). The assorted mess of hipster kids--another guy with a chain wallet and boots, tons of thin, pale girls with purposefully disheveled hair and low slung cords, arm tattoos everywhere you turn and one or two semi-cute hipster guys though they tend to look as though they might have a certain unwashed, pee-on-the-jeans smell.

Okay, like, there's like this girl behind me who is like, talking like this? "That night, I like, wait, was it that night or like another night? Well, anyway, I like was walking down like the sidewalk you know and then this car like drove by--I mean, it was on the street and everything, but still, you know, it was so loud the way the car turned and I was like, Jesus! Learn to drive!" She has not paused for the last ten minutes and has used the word "like" no less than 456 times. "You know, I'm like, am I being selfish for wanting to like have everyone think about what I need all the time? And then I like decided that no way, dude, that is like a perfectly legitmary way to be, right?" Now she's talking about running into some girl who did something to her once and how scary it was. "And he's like and she's like..." I just can't get over how much she is saying LIKE. Great, a baby came in and now we'll have to pretend that everything it does is adorable. Even the babies in this place are hip--this baby is wearing velour, multi-colored bell bottom pants. I am not kidding.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I only write about my cats

Shawn sent me an email yesterday with these two pics and headings:

And: Almost a Lemur:

Pretty much all we do is take pictures of the cats. But they are so photogenic!
Hasana and Will are visiting from Montreal and Pittsburgh respectively. We bought a bed at IKEA on Sunday with a real bed frame and a shitty little mattress, but at least it's better than the fold-out couch. Now we have an actual guest bedroom (sans closet and sans dresser). Ernesto is confused because when we got the bed, he assumed it was for him only and now he has to share. Not to mention that fat Henri has decided the box lid ghetto bed I made for Ernesto is his and he now lays in it or rather, wedges himself in it.
Hasana woke up this morning and actually toasted two English muffins and put jam on them and she and Will had breakfast. I was amazed. I almost never make breakfast. I scarf cereal out of a box by the handfuls and drink coffee and maybe have a piece of fruit, but I don't think my toaster has seen any action in years.
One more thing about this black eye. I was thinking how it would be great if you had some girl in a short story whose boyfriend really did hit her in the face and when people ask her how she got it, she would say, My boyfriend beat me up, and everyone would laugh, assuming she was kidding and then she would start laughing too, and this would keep happening (fyi: this is not a veiled plea for help).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Mommy, Why Did You Force Daddy to Hit You?"

This isn't the best representation of my new black eye, if only because you can't actually see the true purpleness of the lid. It really just looks like I'm super tired or haven't slept well for a few nights. Shawn is going to send me a better one if he can find it. How many times have I told the story? As in every accident, there are moments where I should've just stopped and said, Hmm...Is this really a good idea?

Moment One: I contemplate the wooden, twin-sized bed frame sitting in the hallway on the second story of the house. Shawn is mopping the hardwood floors in the bedroom where we just spent the last two hours breaking our backs pulling up the carpet, linoleum, and two layers of thin paneling. I could ask for his help, but look, he is already so industrious mopping the floor and if I ask for his help, he might make me switch with him and I totally don't want to mop. So instead, I decide to pick up the bed frame and take it to the basement by myself.

Moment Two: Wow, this is really heavy. It's hard to get down this first landing of stairs. Maybe I should just leave it at the bottom and let Shawn take it to the basement later? No. I want to get it done.

Moment Three: It's not fitting through the basement door. It's large and unweildy but I don't feel like moving the desk in the lounge to make it work better (impatience again). If I have to move the desk, that will take longer! I am determined to get this down into the basement, even if it means breaking the frame in half. I stand on the landing of the basement steps, yanking the bedframe through the door.

Moment Four: Should I be doing this wearing socks?

Moment Five: Should I be doing this at all at 9:30 p.m. after a long day?

Moment Six: The bed frame will almost, almost, almost make it. I could leave it sitting halfway in and halfway out of the stairwell if I wanted. I could come back later with Shawn but maybe he would irritate me by trying to tell me how to do it when I know my way is best (yanking and hoping). I yank again.

Moment Seven: Holy shit, I'm falling.

Moment Eight: I end up at the bottom of the stairs. I have a vague recollection of having fallen forward though I don't know why that would be. I don't think the frame landed on me, fortunately. I am bleeding on my head. I am alive and not paralyzed.

Moment Nine: Spend the next hour on the sofa, thanking God that I didn't break my neck and wondering if this means I should make huge changes in my life. So far, I have started taking vitamins. It is something.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My new baby

Here is my new baby Owen Matthew. I know I didn't tell anyone that I was with child, but here he is. Or at least he will be mine as soon as I can get it together to drive to State College and steal him away from Julie and Danny. I swear in this picture of Owen that I can see Julie's expression. This is the look she will give you if you suggest that we could skip yogilates just this once. This other picture shows Julie and Owen and Danny. Doesn't Julie look like she was just in labor for the last six hours? Like, ten years ago? I mentioned how she barely looks like she exerted herself at all and she said, Well, this was after I had a shower. Clearly.

Okay, and then there is the baby, Lina, and LWhiz. I would very much like to marry LWhiz after seeing this picture, but alas, he has gone to Israel to write a screenplay with his stupid girlfriend who is very beautiful and smart actually. Look at Lina. Just look at her. Don't look at the baby! Walk Lina! Lina needs a walk and a treat!

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Mi Vida en Gatos

First, we have Henri, in a rare moment of whimsy. This photo is entitled "Play." Next, we have Ernesto in his Fishtown trashy cat bed--a box top with a towel in it. I call this photo "Hey Baby" because it looks like he's leaning out of a car window, hooting at all the ladies on the street.

The picture above is entitled "What Has Happened to My Life? ---by Henri."

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Free stuff and almost free stuff

Liz and Luke came to visit this weekend and we had two dream-come-true moments over the weekend. The first occured on Saturday after we went bowling in Northern Liberties with Padhraig and Carrie. We were going to go to Johnny Brenda's, but it was loud and obnoxious, so instead, we wandered over to this house design place across the street. It turned out that they were celebrating their two-year anniversary and so had set up several huge white tents on the outside of the store with music, food, and drinks. We had walked past the tents but assumed it was a private party, only to be told by the friendly and only slightly drunk store owner that it was open to the public. We went inside and settled in by the food and wine area. They were serving hummus and fancy crackers, bread, cheese, and cheese pate, sunflower seeds (?), lemon bars, chocolate bars, fresh shrimp with cocktail sauce, something wrapped up in dough, thick slices of pizza, and a few other things. You could choose from red or white wine or get expensive beer from the keg next to the pizza. We were in heaven. We didn't even feel self-conscious about sitting right by the food. We could've felt like those guests at a party that no one knows who eats all the best stuff and then leaves, but since everyone was a stranger, it didn't matter.

On Sunday, Liz and I went to Circle Thrift by my apt. We walked around and every once in awhile, we'd find something really cute. Liz stumbled on a pair of green sandals with thick corkboard heels and I found a black pleated skirt with a black lace slip sewn in. Then something weird happened--we started to realize that we were finding TONS of really cute stuff. A bright long sweater with big sugar cookie-sized buttons. Lavendar perfume and powder in a brand new old-fashioned, sealed cosmetics case. Placemats with hand-embrodiery on them. Finally, we overheard the guy at the counter tell someone that Anthropologie had donated five truck loads of their sample clothes. Anthropologie is my favorite store, but I never buy anything from there because it's too expensive. At Circle Thrift, pretty much everything sells for $4. I bought one key lime pie colored shirt that still had an $88 price tag on it. Some of the pieces were slightly distressed or had "sample" written on them, but most were fine. I spent $70 and walked away with: 7 shirts, four sweaters, two skirts, a placemat/curtain for the bathroom, new hand lotion, and a soap dish. Liz spent less, but she got 3 pair of great shoes and a few shirts and sweaters. We had to keep pinching each other because both of us thought we were dreaming.

Here are some examples of what I bought. The white tee with colors was originally $68 at Anthro and is currently on sale for $35. I bought it for $3. The Kangaroo Pull-over stripped pull-over was $118 and is now on sale for $35 and I bought it for $5 (however, this one does have "sample" written on the back hem part in marker. What should I do?) The cardigan with the flowers in not on sale--it's new and going for $148.