Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Birds beware

Lunchboy's mother lives in Florida. Her house is in a quiet spot, and it abuts several acres of uncleared land where local wildlife likes to congregate. She occasionally sends us pictures of the creatures that venture into her yard. For the past month or so, she's had one particular visitor who swings by to drink from her bird bath in the mornings:

She says it's fearless and very beautiful. The bird bath hasn't attracted as many birds as it used to--what a surprise. Now if bobcats ate fire ants, that would solve a bigger problem for his mom.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Self doubt

Hello, my name is Moxie. I like the new Christina Aguilera song.

I'm not a bad person. Really, I'm not.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Yet another cat post

Many are the days when I make the comparison between having a human child and having three squawking, demanding, needy, inscrutable cats. I’m sure the real parents out there will set me straight in no time but before the voice of true parental authority comes down upon me, let me just say that at least you can train a human child to use the toilet. Cats? Not so much.

But wait, you say. Cats have a natural instinct when it comes to using a litter box. They are neat, clean creatures who take pains to cover their waste, unlike dogs, who are allowed and even encouraged to walk away from their mess without even a pang of responsibility. To you I say, meet Scully.

The reasons that I love Scully are numerous and deep. I have lugged her furriness around the country with me. She is my constant companion and we have been through a lot together. But when I got her from the MSPCA, she was depressed and that depression must have interfered with her natural litter box training, because in none of the places we have lived has she adhered to proper litter box etiquette.

In addition to her other quirks, Scully can’t stand sharing a box with other cats. This is a major problem, as we live with two other cats, one of whom insists on using Scully’s box because it’s THERE. To combat the inevitable accidents, I’ve bought every non-ammonia based cleaner I can find. Last month I finally bought a pack of those puppy training pads to try and keep the accidents under control. But after several weeks of repeated incidents, I finally broke out the big guns and declared a War on Cat Pee.

My strategy entails the following:

1. a clear vinyl shower curtain, doubled over and duct taped to the floor and the wall
2. a layer of absorbent Arm & Hammer dog training pads
3. an easy to clean jute rug to keep the boxes in place and prevent scratching of the other layers
4. two cat boxes, cleaned and liberally dosed with Arm & Hammer cat litter deodorizer

We’ll see how the opposing forces react to my tactics.

"Loin" is a really fun word to say

This weekend I let something back into my life that I’d cast out almost 16 years ago: pork. And it was all due to Lunchboy’s amazing culinary skills.

My aversion to pig products wasn’t based on religious or moral grounds. With the exception of a brief vegetarian phase in college, I’ve eaten meat my entire life. Ever since my sophomore year in high school, however, I’ve avoided all things porcine. That was the year my biology class dissected fetal pigs, a 10-day undertaking that was both repulsive and fascinating. Did I learn? Yes. Did I have fun taunting the boys in class when I cut the pig’s tiny vas deferens? Yes. But the smell. Oh, the smell. From the first day of the pig project, the classroom and whatever I wore to class that day stank of pig and formaldehyde (or whatever sanitized version of formaldehyde they let into schools back then). *shudder* That odor lingered in the back of my throat for years. Whenever I ate—or tried to eat—pig-related foods, all I could taste was that smell. All I could think about was that baby pig splayed open in the pan, its entrails pulled out so that I could poke a dull Xacto knife at its vena cava.

Then yesterday, Lunchboy made pork tenderloin in an effort to cure me of my pig repulsion. He cooks dinner on Sunday nights and last night he outdid himself. Though I still couldn’t look at or touch the meat when it was still raw and wrapped in supermarket plastic, he cooked it up with apples, cranberries and a orange juice/brown sugar sauce that made me want to lick the plate. There was no pig smell or taste, only sweet, juicy goodness. It’s official—I am converted.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Why dry cleaning day is popular at our house

No fight left or so it seems

Lunchboy is on a project in NYC right now, which means a free hotel room in NYC, so next week I’m going down for a few days to hang with him and enjoy a change of scenery.

Unexpectedly, I am also having dinner with H, my ex-best friend of 18 years. Friendships present some strange and unfamiliar territory, particularly when they end or fade away without warning. H fell out of my life two years ago, right when my life was falling apart. Until then, I’d never tested the whole, “crises show you who your friends are and who they aren’t” hypothesis, but it’s a very true statement. When things got bad, she vanished completely, without a warning or an apology. To be honest, I didn’t miss her at all, not even when she popped up in dreams or when I saw something that reminded me of her. All I felt for the first year or so after our friendship ended was relief. There were times when I felt like a horrible person for letting go of her so thoroughly, but then I’d remember how good she was at making everything about her and how much effort it was to be myself in her ultra-competitive eyes. Last week, I picked up a book that had been moldering on my Amazon wish list for a long time and it helped me get some perspective.

H and I will never be best friends again. Under no circumstances will I ever rely on her or open up to her in a real way, and I doubt that she’d want that kind of relationship with me, either. In all likelihood, we will never be more than email acquaintances from here on out and I’m ok with that. But for some strange reason I’m excited to see her next week, even though I’m already wondering what the hell to wear to dinner here, a place I’ve been dying to eat for years. Awkward, uncomfortable, overly optimistic or exhausting—dinner could be any one or all of these, but I still need to do it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

X and Y

This amused me. “Maneissance?” Who knew? I mean, how many male viewers of “24” DON’T love Jack Bauer? Personally, I’m always amazed that Jack never eats, sleeps or goes to the bathroom. This is a man who can’t stomach terrorists but he’s let Chloe, the single most annoying character on television, live for five seasons. Go figure.

Speaking of masculine topics, I must come up with a name for my fantasy football team. This is no small task. I am neither witty nor funny, so trying to be both in the space of 2-3 words is excruciating. Above all, I must not give away the fact that I have no clue what to do in the draft come September. Lunchboy is managing the league and the smack, it hath come down.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Analysis paralysis

My job is extremely boring right now. Not enough work means that I have way too much time to think—never a good thing—and lately I’ve been thinking about happiness. At one point last week, I was flipping channels and bumped into that horrible Renee Zellweger/Meryl Streep movie One True Thing.

At one point Meryl Streep is trying to explain to Renee Zellweger why she isn’t bitter or angry about her husband’s flighty approach to family time and fidelity. “Happiness is a decision,” she says. “It’s so much easier to be happy.” If only things were that easy. Or are they? Is having a positive outlook an issue of attitude or disposition, or both? When I get stuck in a negative frame of mind, I beat myself up about it and try to talk myself into being more upbeat. Sometimes it works. No one can be happy ALL the time.

I feel like I am always looking for more, but the more isn’t anything I can ask for. The things that mean the most are the things that are given freely, without prompting. They are gifts in the truest sense of the word, the kind you can’t go looking for beforehand. I think happiness lies in the ability to not look for more than what you have.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Out and about

I spent the past two days at a copywriting seminar in downtown Boston. Two days of getting lunch at ABP. Two days of riding the T rather than being stuck in my car on my way to the suburbs. I miss working in town. Also, I miss proximity to good shopping. After the seminar ended yesterday, I met Renate at Park St. and we hit DSW before getting some food at Faneuil Hall. Shoes aren’t usually my weakness but I fell in love with these and couldn’t leave the store without them. I’ve always wanted cute red shoes.

Before I met Lunchboy, the catty women in my department at work wondered how anyone could deal with being a consulting widow. The prevailing theory was that the consultant’s wives were too busy spending the consulting moneys to notice that their husbands were out of town. I laughed along with them but it’s kind of true. I'm spending my money, not his, but shopping does fill the time.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Friday, June 09, 2006


All I can say is that our girls would kick ass all over this thing.

Chicken soup for the ???

It’s been an incongruous day. Everyone in my office is buzzing around in a strange mood, maybe because the finance department failed to refill their Candy Dish from Hell. When my 3pm sugar craving reared its head, I wandered into the kitchen, hoping for leftovers from someone’s catered lunch (this happens a lot on Friday). Instead of cookies, though, someone left the following on the kitchen counter for others to enjoy:

1. L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology: A New Slant on Life
2. an instructional video on Swedish massage
3. an instructional video on belly dancing
4. Strictly Spirituality’s How To Read Tarot Cards

Like I said, incongruous.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Home alone

It rained so hard yesterday that the windows near my office were shaking and the windows themselves were leaking. All I could think about was how wet the basement probably was. We finally put the stupid sump pump away about ten days ago and promptly received the most astronomically high energy bill I’ve ever seen. Sump pumps apparently eat up a lot of energy, especially when they’re running 24/7. Who knew? But now, the specter of fishing the pump out of the utility closet, duct taping hoses together and snaking them out the window, all by myself. If the water was really high, I’d have to mop and towel and sweep it away alone. For some reason this thought totally overwhelmed me and so I avoided the situation entirely by heading to yoga class straight from work. Afterward I was too relaxed to care about flooding—or maybe I just inhaled too much incense. When I finally got home, the cats were hungry but dry-pawed and there was a bit of water in the basement but not nearly as much as I’d feared. No pumping necessary. I almost opened a bottle of wine just to celebrate out of relief, but held off when I realized that wine plus yoga dehydration probably wasn’t a good combination.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Laundry night

Helping or hindering?

What it's like

On mornings when I have a hard time getting up with the alarm clock (which is almost every morning), one or all of the cats shifts into Moxie wakeup mode. They are a tag team, a little cat pack, and when they get fixated on a goal, be it catching a fly or waking us up, they do not stop until the goal is reached. If I hit snooze twice, Griffin suddenly appears on the bed, her nose in my ear and her soft little body perched on my chest. She purrs so hard that she sounds like an outboard motor. Then she nudges me with her face and meows her scratchy little meow, telling me to get up NOW, mom, NOW. Some days, though, she’s just as lazy as I am and she climbs up my arm only to worm her way under the covers and flop on my feet, her warm, slight weight vibrating with contentment. Those are the days when it’s Cringer or Scully’s turn to get things started. Scully sits just out of arm’s reach and squawks until I move a body part and then she runs for either the food bowl or the back door. Cringer jumps up onto the bed and then back down to the floor, the thuds getting progressively louder the more determined she gets. She is Rubenesque and she knows how to throw her weight around. I am incapable of resisting their cuteness.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Random thoughts

Today feels like it should be Thursday. Strangely, I’m glad it’s not. But my brain doesn’t know that—I cannot concentrate on anything.

It wasn’t until I read Dooce today that I realized it’s 6-6-06. That’s supposed to be bad, right? Like fake Y2K bad or astrology bad? All I’ve seen is everyone being in a touchy mood and they’re not driving particularly well, which could translate to potential traffic badness.

Last night I fell on my face in yoga. Hard. We were doing a standing preparation for bhujapindasana and over I went, my cheek hitting the floor so loudly that the two people next to me looked up and then fell over, too. My face hurt in down dog for the rest of class. Another day, another down dog.

I am in love with salad right now. Not like Richard Simmons loves salad, but then his salad was designed by Jay McCarroll, so it's trendy. If I could eat salad every day for lunch and dinner I would. But when Lunchboy is home we tend to eat larger, heavier meals. He doesn’t understand my addiction to baby spinach. We went to a BBQ over Memorial Day weekend and he looked at my quizzically when I cut up my chicken sausage and ate it on salad with some yummy sesame miso dressing from Whole Foods. Maybe it was weird but it was GOOD.

Last night a fly got into the house. Bugs of any kind (unless they’re ants—for some reason they aren’t into ants) cause Griffin and Cringer to go into full hunting mode. They jumped in the air and tried to catch the fly. They sprinted from one end of the house to the other, skidding on the hardwood floors, their tails waving through the air. They hunt as a pair—it’s indescribably adorable. Scully watches from the couch, with a look on her face that says, “No bug is interesting enough to get up for.”

Sunday, June 04, 2006


My head is still fuzzy from being drunk on Saturday night. That's how old I am--vodka hangs on for a lot longer than it used to. We went to the ICA closing party with some friends. It was one of those events that talked up for days beforehand, which meant it wasn’t something I’d normally attend, but we have a friend who works at the ICA and he asked us to come.

Cleared of art, the space was perfect for a party. It’s a crowd I don’t usually spend time around, so the people-watching was spectacular. So was the food and booze. The nice thing about nonprofit parties, it seems, is that good restaurants donate lots of munchies. My favorite part was the Formaggio Kitchen cheese bar (best concept ever). Because the booze was donated, the bartenders weren’t shy about dispensing mindbendingly strong drinks. The vodka and cheese combination probably explains why I found myself on the bathroom floor at 3:30am, pressing my cheek to the blessedly cold tile and wondering if the nausea would ever stop. I’ll stick to wine and cheese from now on.