Wednesday, February 28, 2007

it's vewy possible

A poem for you, by Jim Hall. Dave showed this to me. I can't get enough of it.

Maybe Dats Your Pwoblem Too

All my pwoblems
who knows, maybe evwybody's pwoblems
is due to da fact, due to da awful twuth

I know, I know. All da dumb jokes:
No flies on you, ha ha,
and da ones about what do I do wit all
doze extwa legs in bed. Well, dat's funny yeah.
But you twy being
SPIDERMAN for a month of two. Go ahead.

You get doze cwazy calls fwom da
Gubbener askin you to twap some booglar who's
only twying to wip off color TV sets.
Now, what do I cawre about TV sets?
But I pull on da suit, da stinkin suit,
wit da sucker cups on da fingers,
and get my wopes and wittle bundle of
equipment and den I go flying like cwazy
acwoss da town fwom woof top to woof top.

'Till der he is. Some poor dumb color TV slob
and I fall on him and we westle a widdle
until I get him all woped. So big deal.

You tink when you SPIDERMAN
der's sometin big going to happen to you.
Well, I tell you what. It don't happen dat way.
Nuttin happens. Gubbener calls, I go.
Bwing him to powice, Gubbener calls again,
like dat over and over.

I tink I twy sometin diffunt. I tink I twy
sometim excitin like wacing cawrs. Sometin to make
my heart beat at a difwent wate.
But den you just can't quit being sometin like
You SPIDERMAN for life. Fowever. I can't even
buin my suit. It won't buin. It's fwame wesistent.
So maybe dat's youwr pwoblem too, who knows.
Maybe dat's da whole pwoblem wif evwytin.
Nobody can buin der suits, dey all fwame wesistent.
Who knows?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

oscar cake baby post

Lots to cover in this post:

1. Oscar dresses and what I think of them.
2. A cake I made for my belated father's birthday.
3. There have been requests for Finn photos.

It's going to be long.

I can only talk about the dresses, really, and not the actual awards. Having a baby pretty much knocks out that year in movies for you. I should have piped up about the Emmys. Those I was qualified to discuss. Lots of time logged in front of the television this last year.

All right. Onwards.


Helen Mirren is so foxotronic. I'm going to throw in her Golden Globes dress for confirmation, here, because I loved that color.

Yeah, whoosh.

Kirsten Dunst is a sartorial train wreck in her everyday life - AS AM I - but I like what she does on the red carpet. And I like this weird little groovy demure Chanel business.

I thought Rachel Weisz looked ravishing in the extreeeeeeeeme.

Nicole Kidman. At first I was like....."?" And then I loved it. It's like Alice in Wonderland ate the Queen of Hearts. I also like Naomi Watts in this creamy yellow thing.

Anika Noni Rose - I love things like this. I love the cut and the simplicity and the lack of jewelry.

Cate Blanchett, it's like it's not even worth mentioning it anymore. How great it always goes. I actually would like to see her fuck up now. Next time, please fuck up. I seriously think she can't do it. I am throwing down the gauntlet. Try to dress badly. I'll give you five dollars, Cate Blanchett.

On the other hand, here's a small parade of people who dressed in unfortunate Southwestern colors that don't suit them.

Kate Winslet is usually so stellar. Here the sour cream drowned the guacamole and then the Grand Canyon spat up a little lipstick and made out with her.

This putty color is a bummer, Penelope. Adobe floor. Boo.

Gwyneth Paltrow would look great, I think, if she weren't wearing this terra cotta shade that doesn't have anything to do with anything good for her.

Moving on, we have the puzzling Eva Green.

When she came out to present her award, I loved her dress. But then her gothic hair and makeup troubled me. Now I'm just troubled. But I feel like I could see a different picture and then love it again. I don't know what's going on.


My dad died two years ago and I made this cake for his birthday which was last Thursday. (Long story behind it. Tell you later, maybe.) In any case, I'm a baking wizard these days.

We're building a house right by my mom's place, right? So this cake is our two houses on some chocolate cake soil with green coffee frosting grass. The houses are white cake. My mom's house is the one with white frosting. It's got lemon filling because she is a freak for lemon. Her sitcom would be Everybody Loves Lemon. She says that all the time, that's a quote. She says it very definitively. The gavel has come down when she says it. She is a motherfucking out-of-control lemon advocate.

Our house-to-be is the purplish one. It's got plum filling, as some great plum trees are getting uprooted in the cause. Note the hazelnut path and the hazelnut shingles. What possessed me?! And I baked these bastards from scratch. I've never baked a cake from scratch before. Suddenly I baked three and piled them on each other. And they're delicious, if sort of retarded and abstract. Lookatem:

Yeah, it's bigger than you thought.

3. FINN!

Oh, this boy. This BOY. After I breastfed him the other day and he was lying on my lap smiling up at me, he suddenly said, "Hello." I was like, DOING!!! (doing = my eyes popping out of my head) And on that same day, he allowed sweet potatoes to enter his mouth, repeatedly. His previous stance was fuck vegetables and fuck you for offering them to me. Every now and then he likes to blow my mind. You like that mama? Yeah. Mixing it up. Coming at you from the left, and then coming at you from the right. You don't know how I feel about vegetables. Maybe I like them now. Maybe I don't. Maybe I speak. Maybe I walk. Maybe I don't.

Finnaroo. I brought him into our bed the other morning, and when he saw Dave, he said DADA?!?!?!?! so incredulously I don't know if I can get it across. Dave said it was as though Finn spotted him out of the blue in a marketplace in Cairo.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

un, deux, trois

1. Dave is taking a poetry class, and one of his textbooks is Jane Hirshfield's book Nine Gates. One of my favorite poems is in there - a Japanese poem by Izumi Shikibu that Jane Hirshfield translated. It's not her translation that I love, but the raw translation from the Japanese that she includes. First here's her translation:

Why did you vanish
into empty sky?
Even the fragile snow,
when it falls,
falls in this world.

And here's the raw translation:

why you empty sky in disappear did (?)
Frail snow even ! when falling falling world in

The poem is about Izumi Shikibu's daughter, and the snow that fell around the time of her death and melted away. The raw translation feels so much more accurate and helpless.

2. I baked this bread here, from a recipe I got from the New York Times. Make it. You can't screw it up. It is invincible. And it is un-be-fu-lie-cking-vably delicious.

3. And this guy. I made this guy. I can give you no recipe. He is unrepeatable. Also, if you see him around, please don't give him yogurt. The results are heartwrenching. We attempted this yesterday for the first time, and later that night he screamed and screamed in my arms. I said to Dave about it today, "My heart was in my chest." Wait............

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

happy sergio valente day

Happy Valentine's Day, my friends.

A poem for you, and then an explanation of the photo above.


by Matthea Harvey

My "you" came to the city to visit
me: clouds rushed between us

& the sun. The albums were finally full.
Halfheartedly we looked through the lenses,

fish-eye & wide, but we'd had enough
likenesses taken. Similes were simply out

of the question. The blind man, regardless,
said, "Please a little light so I can see

my love." (He'd gone through
seven doves without even knowing it.) In bed,

the surveyors held their aching heads.
Satellites caught our thoughts and held them.

Then snow fell in between two trains;
then fleas swirled in the hoof-dust; & when

we looked at each other we didn't look
alike. I kissed your magnifying glass

& said, "When the aliens come,
they'll know we're inside our cars."


When I was small, I didn't have Barbies. They were too provocative. So I had wholesome alternatives - European dolls named Sindy, Princess Leia, some tall drinks of water named Darcy who were pretty much Barbie with a touch less rack and name recognition. But in the absence of Ken, who got lumped in with Barbie - bad crowd, I guess - my ladies were short on dates.

The lucky bachelors pictured above scored by default. Eight inches tall to the ladies' ten or eleven, when you stripped off their clothes, they had humanoid wrestler bodies in cobalt blue plastic briefs. They squired the ladies around until the Sunshine Family Dad came on the scene, also a touch short but indisputably more presentable. When SFD took over, I'm sure the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion were like, "Fuck that guy."

Oh, love, you capricious tart.


Now here's a cupcake recipe. I don't know if it's good, I haven't made it yet. -Edit: Yes I have! Keep reading below the recipe! - I'm making it later today, with the addition of coconut extract. But I was too impatient to wait to post this. So, you know, here's a crap shoot for you:

From the book cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans,

Easy-Mix Yellow Cupcake batter
for 12 regular, 9 big-top,
6 extra-large or 42 mini cupcakes

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

If you double this recipe, just use three whole eggs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg and yolk
(or eggs, if you're doubling) and sugar until thickened and lightened to a cream color, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. Mix in the flour mixure until it's incorporated and the batter is smooth. The batter is ready to bake, or for additions such as nuts, fruit or other flavorings. (Coconut, I'm looking at you. -Tina)

Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry. (From the cupcake.)

You're on your own for frosting the bastards.

Edit: I made them. There they are. And OMG. They're good. I put 1/2 tsp of coconut extract in there, and some in the frosting (Betty Crocker out of a CAN, hosers) tanning lotion in cupcake form. Mmmm.

Monday, February 12, 2007

i've never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight

I've never seen you shine so bright.

And I've never seen that dress you're wearing or the highlights in your hair that catch your eyes. I have been blind.

LADY IN RE-E-E-ED...........

It is finished. It is written. It is gone with the wind. It is written on the wind. The red dress party arrived like the day and passed like a cloud. I made a wish. I said it out loud. Out loud in a crowd. Everybody heard. It was the talk of the town.

I think I...let me think...I think I can be done with the song lyrics now.

Yes. So. The red dress party has come and gone, and it was very fine.

Here I am at the McLeod residence, just before the party. Do I look relaxed? I hope so. I hope so, because I was so nervous to be a DJ that I actually lay on a bed and listened to a relaxation cd before leaving the house. I KNOW. IT'S SAD. But it worked. I relaxed.

And I might as well have because I had the first DJ shift - before anyone was drunk enough to dance - so it was pretty much me standing behind a table in a mostly empty room. I could have taken a bubble bath and done my job at the same time.

Here I am waiting to greet the first arrivals, with dear DJ Shafty Shaft nearby. He had the later DJ shift. Naturally the joint began to jump during his shift! I remind myself that I created the pool of songs out of which the joint jumped. This makes me feel better. But I have to give props to ol' Shafty! He reads the room and does what needs to be done. Kudos, Shafty.

But really, there's my dress and there - oh so faintly - are my boots! I imagine your first thought is:

I know. Me too. (I'd hit me.)

This bespectacled, flashing gentleman is from our local hot newsrag, The Stranger. He is their Party Crasher. He crashes parties and files a report. This is what I think his report will say:

A charming woman greeted me at the door. She sweetly told me where I could hang my coat. She admired my medieval gown. She was the evening's first DJ. Had anybody besides me been in the room while she was "spinning"*, they would have been whipped into a Dionysian dance frenzy. Instead, she told me that she was lonely being the DJ. I talked to her for as long as was polite, and then made my escape.

*standing lamely in front of a laptop not doing anything

Look, here are people at the party:

Wait a minute. Who's that last guy? A of all, he's not wearing a red dress. B of all, he's not even over 21 months, let alone years. C of all, why is he so blurry?

Could it be because he has taken his first unsupported steps? And he is thus always moving lightning fast? Okay, even though he only took two of them - and I can't even really believe I saw what I saw when I saw it* - I still aver that this is why the photo is blurry. He is moving fast. And it is not because I am a bad photographer.

*Yeah! I mean, I really think it happened! He was in his playpen then I held up this toy he was like, oh, I should step over and see that toy, and he then totally forgot that he can't walk and took the two steps over not holding on to anything! It hasn't happened since, and I'm still rubbing my eyes and blinking. Did I see what I saw? I don't know!

Another funny thing is I overheard my mom on the phone bragging to someone about Finn. She said, "He's in the 75th percentile." But she went ahead and didn't specify what it could be referring to. Height? Weight? Awesomeness? Civic pride? Who cares! 75th percentile, motherfuckers!

It's height, by the way. His awesomeness percentile is the 105th.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

for those no longer about to sew, we salute you

Today was a really good day around our household. Everybody was in a great mood. Finn was geegle-eagle-geegle-gee-ing around with a big grin on his face, standing up all by himself awesomely in his candy-colored stripey pants with the orange hippo on the butt, and the rest of us were just swinging along sweet as honey. My plaid rainboots arrived and they fit me perfectly.

My brother noted what a good day it was, and posited that the good vibes might be due to the fact that it's needle honoring day.

I was like, wha?

He explained that it's an old Buddhist tradition on this particular day to honor old broken sewing needles for their service. He said that the old needle parts are stuck into some tofu (!) and put on an altar and blessed.

Well, here:

Feb 8: Needle Memorial

In Japan, in a ritual that goes back 1500 years, women dress in kimonos and take the sewing needles that have broken in the previous year to the local Buddhist shrine where a three-tiered altar has been set up. The lower tier displays sewing accessories: scissors, thimbles, thread, etc. The top tier holds offerings of seasonal fruit and white mochi. On the center tier is a vast slab of tofu into which the broken needles are plunged. Priests sing sutras to comfort the needles, heal their broken spirits and thank them for work well done. No sewing takes place on this day.

Now, I don't know if that 's why we were feeling so grand around these parts, but I'll say this: learning about this needle memorial only upped the good vibes in my own personal airspace.

I'm not a Buddhist, but damn it, here's to Buddhism. Of all the major religions, Buddhism has wrought the least harm in the world. It's such a reasonable and non-pugilistic creed. And that needle business is charming in the extreme.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

savage beasts will be soothed on saturday

Sweet relief, lords and ladies. The music playlists for the

red dress party

have finally been completed. Oh, mama. Five plus hours of dancing songs, five hours of songs to make out to in the makeout room. (Did I mention that there's a makeout room? There is. Pa-chow.) Some music to start the party, some music to wind the evening down. It was a giant task, but you know what? I'd rather spend 15 hours putting music together than spend half an hour on the phone asking strangers to donate goods or services. Gack.

There's more than a little bit of neurosis involved in DJ'ing a party, though. My dear friend DJ Shafty Shaft can corroborate, although he is proven to be inspired at it. You're laying your total musical cred or lack thereof out on the table for all the world to see. (Well, not all the world. We're only selling 150 tickets. Several billion people will have to miss out.) (If you're coming and you haven't purchased your tickets, I'd do it soon for it will sell out for sure.) (Click on the words red dress party up there to go do that.) Now, I don't know what the kids are listening to these days. Each year I maybe manage to incorporate one or two new bands into my heavy rotation, and become familiar with more? Maybe? But I have, I can state with certainty, a very entertaining music collection. It's guilty pleasure central. I buy the wack things so you don't have to.

The trick in putting together this playlist was figuring out how to balance out the retarded treasures with more...oh lord, what would the word be? will be wrong...legitimate songs that even sober people could be seen dancing to without embarrassment. See, and the problem is, what are those songs?? I think that only special musical people know! Me, I'm blind, as it were, and I had to guess! I had to go totally by instinct. We'll see on Saturday how I did.

My nightmare scenario:

Def Leppard's "High and Dry" is thumping out into the room. Everybody stands still and glares in my direction until someone drunk enough shouts out, "The DJ sucks!" Then everybody cheers and someone from my theater company sighs and comes and shoves me out of the way, rescuing the party with legitimate music from deep in his laptop. High and dry indeed!

My dream scenario:

People are sweating, their knees are buckling, but they refuse to leave the dance floor. Kris Kross? Inspired! Electric Six? I'm not leaving! Britney Spears...ok! You've earned it! Who's the DJ? Who's the DJ? everyone is murmuring around the room. It's her!

I love her and I also love her plaid boots!

I ordered these from Zappo's. I hope they fit! They should arrive tomorrow. Rainboots will suck all the good out of my dancing, but my red dress is sort of a trenchcoat-turned-dress so I'm going for sort of a totality of look here.

Anyway. Please let me have landed on an assortment of tunes that will give the red dresses and their contents the good time they deserve. I can say this: Flaming Banjo will be happy for at least three minutes and twenty seconds. I mean, you know, if he's there. I can't make any assertions about his happiness otherwise. I just don't have the kind of information to make that call. But really, let's hope the guy will be happy for at least three minutes and change no matter what his plans are for the evening! Three minutes of happiness for everyone!


Now. Also. Do you like chocolate chip cookies? Then make the recipe on the back of the Ghirardelli chocolate chip bag. Do it with walnuts. Are you fatally allergic to walnuts? Is it worth dying to put the walnuts in there? I don't know. I don't know. Maybe. Maybe it is. I leave that up to you.


Note: While editing this post, I discovered I'd used the word "certainty" like five times. And I remember holding back on the word a few times since I had a vague feeling I'd used it. It was with certainty this, without certainty that. So I cleaned it up, but man. Someone's all tethered to the idea of certainty this afternoon.