The stories behind the stories

We call Lori “Mrs. Smith” because she’s married to a man called Brian Smith, which sounds obviously fake, and because it makes her angry when women change their last name when they get married (which she didn’t). So: to grind the gears, really. Also she once showed up to a Halloween party dressed as Groucho Marx so I sometimes call her Groucho, just to mix things up.

We call CV “CV” because those are her actual initials (she also refused to change her name when she got married). I call her Tartufo when I need a favor, and I always fax her pictures of the menu when a restaurant serves tartufo.

We call Becky “Stretch,” although I don’t 100% remember why. It had something to do with her pants or the length of her torso.

We used to call Kim and Luke “Chips and Salsa,” back when they were still friends with us and brought chips and salsa to game nights (or games night, to be technical).

Chelsea and Roxie call SarahB “Guv” because she loves British detective series where indomitable ladies give orders. I stopped calling her “Grandma” because she didn’t care for it.

We call Chelsea “Tucc” because she once got to be Stanley Tucci’s seat filler at the Kennedy Center Honors. This was not long after she spurned our offers to call her either “Butter” or “Pickle,” which we attempted at a dinner table in London. She’s the only person I know who got to vet her own nickname.

We call Roxie “Potato Killer” because she enjoys potatoes in any shape or format, and sometimes “Teresa Wright” because she reminds us of Teresa Wright. I hope you know who Teresa Wright is. If not, go to work.

We call Sally “Phyllis” because we like the character of Phyllis in “Follies” better than we like the character of Sally, at least when she’s played by Donna Murphy at Encores!.

We call Ravinia Bob “Ravinia Bob” because his name is Bob and I met him at Ravinia, and when we’re in a hurry we shorten that to RivB.

SarahB calls Kevin “Max” because of “The Sound of Music” and he calls her “Elsa” for the same reason (i.e., they are both jaded and haughty and enjoy dressing up to drink cocktails in the daytime). I call him “Jerry” because we both love “The Awful Truth.”

Some people call me QHD because I like hot dogs and often behave like a queen, and some other people call me Trixie for reasons that have never been explained.

It’s important to have the right friends when you’re a fully grown adult, is what I’m saying. And a blog.

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Luckily for me

I feel emotionally ready to have a dog but would like someone else to do all the work for me, the searching and finding and procuring and what have you. The planning and et cetera. I just want to be a person who has a dog, not a person who has to go about all the business of getting the dog. Maybe the dog could just show up?

I’m tired of being the person who has to do it all, frankly. I’m ready to farm some of it out. I had this same thought on Saturday (not about the dog) when I realized in the middle of making pulled pork for tacos for a party of five that I hadn’t even considered what to serve as a side. I hadn’t even thought about tacos needing help. I feel like somebody with help would have at least had the presence of mind to think, Huh. Maybe I oughta give these tacos a hand. Luckily I had some rice in the cupboard.

Anyway, let’s get out there and find me a dog. Girl or boy, I’m naming it Millie. Or Marion (Lady Bird’s mother). Or Alan Quartermaine.

Here are some dogs I’ve enjoyed lately on the various social mediums:

In summation, we need more dogs in the world. Whenever people (“people”) start moaning about low birth rates and global warming and so forth I always think oh, who cares. Give it up. Humanity had billions of years to get something right and we came up with Twitter and venereal disease. Just let the dogs take over.

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3 things for today

1. 3 things feels achievable.

2. Is it, though? Are they? Not 100% sure of the grammar on that one, but my point remains: sometimes I wonder.

3. I’m making a cake soon, because I decided I want to make a cake, not because I particularly care about cake. I forgot to read all the rules earlier so I need to wait while two more sticks of butter come to room temperature before I can start, which seems insane but isn’t, I suppose. Most things have logic. (This thing has 3-1/2 sticks of butter.) I thought about googling ways to bring whole sticks of butter to room temperature IN A FLASH but that seemed antipodal to the ethos of the project. I didn’t buy a cake mix, or frosting, I have to beat the whole goddamn thing together myself and then see what happens, and I’m sure as shit not going to blow all that up by cheating with butter. I’ll fax a picture if it all comes out alright. Let’s all bow our heads and pray for me during this, our most perilous hour.

3.1 I was going to make this cake last weekend but thinking you own a hand mixer and actually owning a hand mixer are two vastly different things. 

4. The new Eric Clapton Christmas album is really lovely. I didn’t care much for it at first, but I tacked it on to the end of my five-hour long 🎄 playlist and hoped for the best. Once you’ve reached the fourth hour of Christmas music your mind starts to wander a little, I’ll admit. But this album is very low-key and amiable. A fine companion on a Sunday afternoon: that’s the best thing I could say about any person or any music. Lots of people and entertainments can be Friday-night-cool or Saturday-wild-and-exciting but who do you want to spend a Sunday afternoon with? That’s a good test for you to think about in your spare time.

I also like that Christmas music—which I start listening to on November 1 and will not give up until January 2—can still be new to me. That promises something, doesn’t it? That people keep making cakes, and new music, for no reason at all? Or just to make somebody like me, a chucklehead, happy?

Do not reply

What’s one of your least favorite things? Mine is mammograms (i.e., two breasts = plural grams). Jesus Christ.

It rained all day but I had seasonal errands to run—Xmas gifts and the like—and eyeglasses to pick up and a level to buy, so I struck out early into the wild and managed to miss lunch. I thought I’d have time to scarf down some McDonald’s before my appointment but boy was I wrong. So I left my cheeseburger and small fry in the car while I went in to get squeezed.

I don’t know. Some people (women) don’t seem to mind this procedure but it makes me tense up and panic slightly, which only elongates the process since you are instructed to both relax your shoulders and hold your breath. For some reason I don’t take instruction well under duress, either, so the technician had to spend a lot of time placing my arms and chin in the right places while I passive-aggressively ignored her. Plus she had to go in four times on one side today because, and I quote, “Your breast tissue kind of recedes right there.” I didn’t know what that meant and I honestly didn’t care. I just can’t believe there’s no better system in place for this. It’s 2016, dummies! Wait, that’s not right. But still: figure it out already.

After the mammos I sat in my car in the rain in the empty parking lot of this suburban women’s health center and ate a cold cheeseburger and cold french fries, and then I went to get groceries. When I got home I installed a stupid shelf above the TV, to the tune of Holiday Traditions, sweat, and swearing, and then I sat on the sofa and cried for a while out of exhaustion and a little good old fashioned self-pity.

It’s been a day, man, I’m not gonna lie. Pretty happy about this shelf though.

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There's nothing to be embarrassed about

Now that I’ve remembered how to blog, I have many things to say. Sorry! That’s the price you pay for millions of dollars worth of free typing.

1. I spent all 5+ hours of holiday travel to & fro the great cheese state of WI listening to the Blank Check podcast series on the films of Nancy Meyers. Lord do I love Nancy Meyers and her films. In one of the episodes one of the cohosts says something about Nancy Meyers being a sound machine setting, and I hollered THAT IS A BRILLIANT OBSERVATION aloud to myself in the car. David Sims (I think it was Sims) also called Nancy Meyers movies “white wine movies,” which seemed equally fitting (or maybe it’s “whine”), although during the Something’s Gotta Give episode I did have to correct them on a few key points; e.g., in the heart attack scene as she’s about to perform CPR on Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton says “You fucking guy,” not “You fucking man.” To be fair, I have seen this movie 8,000 times.

2. Last night I watched both of those Paddington movies, which are truly sublime. I was a little stunned, frankly, since I thought my heart had turned to stone. No such luck! Let’s give Hugh Grant a thousand Oscars and be done with it.

3. I also made pizza from scratch last night, including the dough, and I counted it as a real victory even though it was vaguely terrible. I’m determined to achieve this from-scratch pizza goal without purchasing any new kitchen equipment, which means using a sheet pan instead of a pizza steel and making the laziest dough possible. It’ll never be great but don’t worry, I have no intention of serving it to others. Unless they like eating flour.

4. On Thanksgiving day ABC showed a General Hospital episode from 2000 as part of its current “Best of Sonny & Carly” series, which I care zero about, but it did feature a large Quartermaine subplot, so I was thankful to once again have the chance to sit on my parents’ sofa watching this soap opera alone while everybody else watched football in a different room. Alan Quartermaine alive again for Thanksgiving! Welcome to my childhood. Embrace small joys in all their unexpected forms, etc.

5. I’m also thankful for YouTube, obviously, and fanmade montage vids set to amazing musical choices. Enjoy the many fights, hugs & hairstyles:

In 2019 I’m going to start a weekly Quartermaine newsletter just so I can send it to myself. It will unfold at the same rate as an actual storyline on the show, so I expect to wrap it up in the year 2049.

6. Your weekly Bruce: film’s a-comin’! Look at him rolling out of that SUV like QE2.

7. All my tests came back: time for some Vitamin D, stat.

With everything else going on in the world

Imagine after writing this stupid blog post me not wanting to blog anymore. Eh. Almost 15 years is a long time to talk to yourself. It’s okay to get bored. Sometimes I forget that this is [myspace] and I can do whatever I want with it. I’m a pleaser, is the problem. It’s a terrible way to live.

I was crabby about having to decorate a tree yesterday and then I did it anyway and it made me so happy. I always forget. My mom had saved all the boxes of ornaments I left with her 12 years ago when I moved to New York, so opening those boxes was an unexpected gift from my past self to a future I didn’t know I’d be living. A past self with terrible taste, let’s be honest. Big and heavy and silver, very matchy-matchy. Very “Restoration Hardware garanimals.” I used to care a lot about impressing other people and I can see myself buying some of those ornaments with that in mind. I can’t imagine anyone actually being impressed, but I know that’s what I was thinking. Thank god those days are over.


It’s been dark all day, and raining, and later it will snow. Snow! What a world.

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