The Battlefield Where the Girls Say I Love You



That's just the thing: we will never tell you we love you. In fact, we're here only to hold hands across state lines and yell at the world. We're here to try to touch you across this chasm of flown things. Not even that. At most, I will teach you how to make a gin smoothie when there's nothing left in the house. Hannah can teach you several languages and what to do when your car breaks up with you. Thanks for coming out.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

the first baptist church welcomes you to denmark, sc:

from what my father says, the sign used to read, "welcome to denmark, sc. impeach earl warren." chief justice. integration. you get it. anyway, on sunday i followed carlyle to denmark to meet his family. i'd met roughly a third already but none of the biggies: mom, dad, grandmother, various neighbors.

after turning off of I-26 onto 321, the highway speed limit dropped to 35. train tracks ran through the center of most towns, churches (some pentecostal, some presbyterian) lined the road. at one point, an unattended piglet lingered on the side of the road.
hannah yelled, "DELIVERANCE! turn back!!!" into the phone.

call waiting beeped. carlyle.
he said, "i've got a story about that piggly wiggly grocery we passed back there."
we pulled onto a dirt road. he parked, motioned for me to park and get into his truck.

hannah yelled "do not get out of the car!" into the phone.
in the truck, carlyle said, "you're going to blog about this."

"absolutely not," i said.
later, hannah yelled into the phone, "what? you've got to!!! stop putting him before your art!!!" she was kidding. of course she was kidding...

anyway, his family was lovely. we ate dinner in courses on fine china. each of us had our own salt and pepper dish. they asked if carlyle had met my family. i remembered, faintly, our defrosting the gumbo for his visit.


okay, so then a sort of pub crawl...only with people. families came over to deliver presents. we went to their houses (where it took all i had not to blurt out, "is that a bayonet on the wall?"), drank german beers by the indoor pool.

anyway, it was awesome.







Monday, December 24, 2007

"you don't make a hog fatter by weighing it."

from our John Edwards, presidential candidate of these United States, in reference to no child left behind and its tendency toward testing in lieu of teaching...as seen in the sunday new york times (where, i will say, two books of poetry were reviewed this week. two!)

now, is john edwards a two-faced jackass who uses his down-homeness in order to lure, well, just about anyone? yes. did he sue my friend's father for malpractice, lose, then send the family a christmas card? absolutely. and yet, well, that quote is adorable...i don't care who wrote it for him.

i will preface the next political comment by saying: if mike huckabee ever actually became president, canada would not be far enough. hannah and i and the kids would be in brogue within 72 hours. but i will say, his naivete is captivating. in a recent interview, the poor guy asked about huckabee's recent hundred pound weight loss. huck said, "it's just one of the ways i'm beating satan." then, in one of those petrarchan sonnet "turn" sort of ways, the writer steps back mid-article and says, "this was an entirely different mike huckabee than the one i met six weeks earlier..." that mike huckabee was given a choice: we'll meet at whatever restaurant you'd like. he chose TGIFriday's. the writer, smartly, refused. they settled on Olive Garden. (strangely, i've been to both of these restaurants with daisy...)

is it too obvious to say that our country is kind of like a cirque de soleil show, only with everyone fucking up?

okay, i'm totally in the spirit of best and worst. i feel, though, that mine are too obvious: the paris hilton larry king live interview, time and materials, that song by carrie underwood about cheating, no country for old men, my summer with hannah, amy winehouse, the lazy goat, beyonce falling on stage, my new keen hiking boots, discovering toffee nut sprinkles at starbucks, the dollar becoming about as potent as those new toy guns that shoot marshmallows...

so.....SONGS!!! top 10 songs/albums of the year!!! yea! now, before tomric jumps through the computer, i must say: not a fan of magic, the new springsteen album. nor can i stand wilco's sky blue sky. tweedy, i too hate it here. plus, isn't "on and on and on" an erykah badu song?

that being said:

10. grace potter and the nocturnals...apologies (this is somewhere)
9. spoon...the underdog (ga ga ga ga ga)
8. tegan and sara...back in your head (the con)
7. glen hansard and marketa irglova...falling slowly (once soundtrack)
6. rilo kiely...silver lining (under the black light)
5. the new pornographers...all the old showstoppers (challengers)
4. loudon wainwright III...strange weirdos (music from knocked up)
3. ryan adams...these girls (easy tiger)
2. glen hansard and marketa irglova...when your mind's made up (once soundtrack)
1. the avett brothers...paranoia in B flat major (emotionalism)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Raindrops on Aaron and kittens in heat

Hi. How’s it going? Are you all baking cookies and holding hands? Is your house/cave ablaze with cheer??! WHOOOOHOOOO CHRISTMAS. Thanks for taking a break from all the joy to visit the blog, where I have decided to do a list of my least favorite and most favorite things.

LF: That it’s Friday night and I have a wicked flu and fever and am at home writing this list.

MF: That Mamie is currently at a slumber party which involves Webkinz and 4 yr old girls.

LF: That Maus is in heat. It’s god-awful. I wanted to hold off blogging about it because there’s something shameful and humiliating about having a cat in heat. Like it’s too private or something. Next thing you know I’ll be fretting about showing my ankles in front of men. Whatever. It’s so bad that she yeowls fearfully all the time and slinks about in this posture, if you know what I mean, and backs herself up pleadingly to inanimate objects. I’m SORRY but it’s TRUE. And before you put your fingertips together knowingly, let me just say that she’s too young to be spayed. This is the eeee-eeend of the innocence.

MF: After the wind had blown Aaron’s hood off his head six times in succession today, he stopped walking, stamped his foot, glowered up at the sky, and shouted, “STOP. STOP WINDING AND RAINING. I’LL. BUY. YOU. A. PRESENT.” He enunciated the words just like that, to make sure his words made it up to the sky.

“What kind of present would you give the rain to stop?” I asked him.

“I’d write it a book,” he told me.

“What kind of book?”

“A book where it could rain and wind the whole way through.” And the boy who thought he could bribe the rain with a story tugged his hood up and shoved his hands in his pockets.

LF: The fact that my neighbors, en masse, have delivered cards and presents. The worst were these fruit/nut balls, which were straight up inedible. It all means I’ll have to go out again tomorrow to buy these sort of ridiculous tree candles from Pottery Barn bc they practically hurtle themselves at you screaming, Perfect gift for neighbors!!

Also, they have informed that our neighborhood does this whole business of candles in sand-weighted milk jugs on Christmas eve. The whole effort just seems like some sort of frantic show, some deranged tribute to our merriment. "Just make sure you have a dozen milk jugs sawed in half", they said cheerfully, "and those tall candles; if you use short ones, make sure you run out in the night and change them out." I eyed them warily--WHO exactly are we doing this for? And right then, it occurred to me. We'll probably have carollers. Do you have to tip them??

MF: Kan, tonight, as I was leaving their room. Oh, and by the way, do you know that they recite the ee cummings poem to me now, the i carry your heart with me one? Anyhow, after they recite the poem to me and say their prayers in Hebrew, Kan goes:

"Hannah, reach out your hand. There is a kiss whistling softly by the lamp."



**Soon to come: "From hairdresser to mailman: who gets the gift?" Ok, so that probably won't happen, although Mamie and I have this conversation all the time: SHOULD I buy them for teacher's ASSISTANTS? (Yes, yes, obviously yes. Candles from Pottery Barn shaped likes doves and trees.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dear Wipes-Snot-on-Shirt and Spills-Milk-on-Laptop,

In two hours, we are not getting on a flight that takes you from New York to Indonesia. Neither am I stuffing you onto a flight from New York to Guam. We are not doing this because we never took the flight yesterday out of Wilmington—that part of your itinerary having been systematically ignored by the deciders.

The upshot is that you’re here with me, or else I’m here with you, for a few more months. I’m miffed and humbled about how you could be overjoyed about this. Don’t you remember that I’m the one that absolutely can’t look at you when you’re chewing because there’s broccoli looking like green mash and, wait, is that a bit of chicken? Gross, you get the point. I’m also the person who says, hush hush hush over and over, because the sounds you’re making, well they’re actually making these tiny cracks appear all over my brain and just one tap now is all it will take.

Despite all of this, you ARE overjoyed and I would like you to know it and remember it so that when you are thirteen and twelve and evil and mean and saying things like, I hate you and you SUCK, I can simply point smugly to the time when you were like, Wooohooo, AWESOME, and I had my hands pushed against my temples like I was trying to hold my brain in.

There were a few hours when I thought I was losing you before Christmas that I was really nice and patient. That illusion was effectively dispelled when you came down to announce that you had painted the carpet upstairs orange and green. Your exact words, Kan, were: “I’m afraid to tell you this, but…” And I bounded upstairs and pointed and screamed and stamped and went and huddled in my bedroom closet. Where, 10 minutes later, you brought me a note: “Der Hannah, we have tried to cleaned it up. We paynted it wite.” And now it’s all fixed, because there is a hard, cement-like swath of grayish paint with splotches of orange and green beneath.

Meanwhile, things are still unhinged with our family. But I figure if you’re old enough to use search words like “hannah + wine” you are old enough to know that our father is a suicidal, bankrupt lawyer who has been shouting “no money for doctors” and often “I’m lonely” and just recently “what will become of me” to me, his daughter, who’s on enough anti-depressants to put an elephant smiling.

Still, we have ice-skating to look forward to. And presents. Aaron, there was a sweet moment yesterday when you said you wanted to buy your teacher a pretty dress for Christmas (“eeeehhhh, actually, Heeeennnneeehh, can you pick a dress for her?”) and Kan, never to be outdone, decided your teacher needed a gold necklace with a medium diamond. Cookies it is.

Thanks for staying. Love and impatient groans,
H

Monday, December 17, 2007

can't see the line, can you russ?

we, the family, had decided initially to take a trip in lieu of giving gifts this year. unfortunately, due to family illness/mayhem, we are reverting to capitalist square one. which is fine with me. only: i'm still getting over feelings of entitlement. say, nick lachey* is never leaving vanessa manillo in order to show up at my house with a red-bowed golden retriever puppy...like, i know that rationally. and i'm never going to come into several hundred thousand dollars from an aunt no one knew we had who sees the potential in me--only me--so that i can buy that old farm house and fix it up, all while completing a book of essays and two collections of poems (my shirtless lover chopping wood in the pines).

the question is, of course, what manageable gifts would we like to receive or give to ourselves (these double as new year's resolutions)?

1. hand-knitted purple fingerless mittens--skeert!! my student's mom already made me some.
suckers.

2. my gift to hannah is a promise. and you can make a promise, if it's one that you can keep. i vow to come to you if you wait for me... sorry, sorry. i heart tracy chapman. anyway, i vow to be supportive of her as she goes through "the change."

3. read all of harold bloom's genius. just yesterday i got through the preface and introduction.

4. write 5 hours a week. (i realize this might not seem like a lot of writing time to some of you more dedicated, less waitressing people.)

5. see more live music. period. i fell off this year.

6. lose 7 pounds via rebel, the school trainer (her real name...she's an anomaly: mother, bad ass, lover of tae bo in 2007)

7. keen hiking boots and new fleece jacket

8. now, when i say "get right with the lord," i'm only half trying to mortify hannah. story: yesterday, on our sunday drive to seneca to eat lunch with carlyle's godfather, i'm talking a mile a minute, reading the new york times magazine, yelling something about mike huckabee and global warning standards, when carlyle says, "have you ever thought about doing yoga?"

while the idea of meditation or centeredness of any kind makes me laugh like a crazy person and systematically peel yellow paint from the wall, it might be good for me. us. the both of the us's.

9. cook more. eat out less.

10. the next time carlyle comes to my house with two rented movies, one of them paris, je t'aime and the other black snake moan, i will not clap excitedly about seeing christina ricci chained to a radiator while tossing the one that swept sundance to the floor.

your turn, abrams.

*why doesn't crazy affect famous women as well? by that i mean, how do they get away with it? so, jessica simpson is dating tony romo for, like, a week. and yesterday, she shows up at the cowboys game WITH HER DAD and WEARING A JERSEY WITH A PINK NUMBER 9 ON IT. if he does not dump her TO DAY, i'll be floored.

*also, we went to a dinner party saturday and drank these lethal yet amazing cocktails:

BULLS:
rum
negra modelo
triple sec
fresh squeezed limes
(over ice) mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

the peach moonshine holiday party of 07



this year's holiday party was so lovely b/c of all you (except mamie, who was too cool), i can't even make fun of it.






i think you can tell, by my expression here, that i had totally fallen in the kitchen. boom, down. stilettos and a mopped floor.



stockings, pillaged by 3rd world children.









that right there. what jason's holding. the moonshine that did us all in.







skip this bit if at all annoyed by food descriptions that are not ironic at all, but are rather self-congratulatory and pompous. kiwi-lime pie. prosciutto-fig-goat cheese wraps. orzo with mint and raisins and pine nuts. ham-gruyere puff pastries. pistachio-crusted goat-cheese poppers. cheese trays with cranberries and poached pear. peach cream tartlets. mango-honey bruschetta. rosemary lamb with raisin-almond couscous. pomegranate mimosas. salads with parmesan baskets (you melt the parmesan and mold it over an overturned cup)... ok, i can't stop. it's loathsome.













blahblahblah, beautiful people, lovely time. wish i could do it every night.

Friday, December 14, 2007

everything was lilies, lilies, lilies

my students, naturally, with whom i cannot be friends on any network:

(however, i will say these two are eerily similar to hannah and me; i fear they are much nicer to each other.)

the subject line of the message reads: everything was lilies, lilies, lilies...after a poem title of cody's, which refers to/makes fun of rainbow, rainbow, rainbow and blackberry....oh, hell. you get it. only, in cody's poem, the actual body is only the lyrics of "pop, lock and drop it." as a joke.

dear mamie,
can we (hannah and i, of course. who else would be incorporated into a "we" with me? only my second soul, naturally) anyway. i lost my train of thought. let me reread. oh yes. can we (hannah and i) view your face de book profile. to achieve such luxuries, we propose that we become friends with you, if only for a few hours. and then, after studying your life further, we will promptly delete you from our data bases. said circumstances would be purely confidential, of course. no copying of information into bill gate's protege. *insert accent over the "e"*. We can guarantee this for you because, if you haven't noticed, we don't have friends. and when said topics are discussed with us (such as different types of motor oil, your personal life, and the history of lemons) i lost my train of thought again. rewind. oh right, that's it. okay so when said topics are discussed with us, it ends. right here. right now. ("riiight here riiight nowww, there is no other place i'd want to be"). *cou! gh*.because we don't spill such details to an unworthy world. it makes us less special. (special, as in UNIQUE) and you can bet your bottom dollar that hannah is right here, not wearing pants, as i type this. (don't fret, it's a usual occurrence. i've gotten used to it.)hope carlyle and you are doing swimmingly. enjoy your evening. (together)....forever. in a shrimp boat, off the coast of alaska. (he looks like a man that would father alaska lovin' babies).

sincerely, and without a trace of irony,
cody & hannah --------------------

happy holidays


Hi all, it's been a busy year! Baby Jarvis has become very vocal, and babbles adorably all the time. So sensitive to women too--my prediction? He'll be a feminist one day.

And baby Daisy! What a little trouble-maker all ready. She's in this stage where she's testing everyone's boundaries and her spirit has just become so colorful! And by spirit, I mean she even used a bad word the other day. We won't tell Santa because I'm sure she'll grow out of it.

But I've got Eddie there to help me--I'm blessed to have such a darling husband. And since Eric started dating Oprah, well, there are a lot of resources to be had there. Looking forward to the E & O marathon they're training for which will benefit the new charitable foundation: Eric's Angels.

Happy 08,
Love H. Abrams, Mrs. Morgan-Abrams, Mamie Abrams, Jarvis Abrams, Daisy Abrams, Eddie Abrams, Eric Abrams and Oprah Abrams.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

hahahahmmm. mamie's just kidding, guys (NOT FUNNY MAMIE). anyhow, here you go. and happy holidays, from ours to yours.

audrey can't see, clark. her eyes are frozen shut.

she wasn't kidding about the scarves. she wasn't kidding about luring carlyle into taking this picture. none of the back story matters, really. only, it's 75 degrees outside. morgan refuses any scarf other than this magenta feather boa. luke swaddles himself in a red pashmina, much to his father's concern. all fancy schmancy cameras break in unison (i'm serious); the only camera left is my kodak disposable. when my mother screams "close up!!!" carlyle actually has to walk right up to us. "you people look crazy."

Friday, December 7, 2007

vegetable soup: kind of gay?**^

**this was the title of a short story a friend of mine/ours had to grade.
^also code for: we have finally caved and done that 7 and 7 shit

same friend said this of the goodreads cult: goodreads aka al qaeda emailed my entire address book so i have forty students who've been like, hey bill, long time, etc. barf.

this afternoon, i got a series of emails that included language like this: Hannah, You have 568 new updates from your friends.

i'm not blameless. i spent the entire 3 hrs i was administering an exam, idly adding books. or copying them from your lists, excuse me, your shelves, because i'm Lazy. i was going to talk about how this was a waste of time, rather like this blog, but as aaron pointed out, Do we just do things to waste time so we don't think about dying all the time? i said to him, Why, yes, i think we do. but i also eyed him suspiciously for taking shit lying down and secretly thought: Whatever, i'm beating this whole death thing, watch me.

and on that note: let me preface the following by letting you know that i've been shouting, Stupid, stupid, stupid! at myself for 24 hrs now. you're perfectly welcome to join in.

yesterday, at a red light, someone slammed into the back of my car. i was first at the light, and the force of the impact did 2 things: pushed my car into the intersection, and threw me--in spite of the seat belt i was wearing because i just got a HUNDRED DOLLAR TICKET FOR NOT WEARING IT AS I PULLED INTO A PARKING SPACE--onto the horn of my car, so i just laid there dazed, honking forlornly. beep. beep. beeeeep.

in the end, it seems that the jetta is not a car, but a damn rock. it's uncrushable. her car on the other hand was clearly made of apology. the entire front end had sort of smooshed in abashedly. and the driver was crying and old and in pj's and there were 3 babies in the car. sobbing, she tottered forwards and peering into my car, said, You got babies in there?

WARNING: STUPID CONTENT COMING RIGHT UP. i looked at my car, saw that it was fine, worried that i wouldn't make it to the exam room where 150 of my students were waiting, told her no problem, hopped in, and drove off. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW. i develop a conscience and sense of responsibility at impossibly inconvenient times. but this woman in her bedroom slippers. the students! some of which really WANT to do well. anyway because I KNOW I KNOW I FUCKING KNOW, i am not now complaining of crippling back and neck and chest pain. contrary to what you might expect, i am not now DYING OF A BROKEN BODY.

what i am doing is, err, a cute little dance. a jig a la ashleeeeee simpson. the dance looks like this:

7 WEIRD THINGS ABOUT MAMIE

1. she doesn't wear underwear.
2. people have always thought she was gay.
3. she was gay, for a month.
4. she's been in therapy since she was 12. which makes me question my sessions.
5. more than anything, mame wants to be a housewife. she uses phrases like, Take care of my man. will grin sloppily and declare something about the joy of folding laundry and blahblahblah CUFF LINKS. while she's doing this, i'm looking round for a new best friend.
6. she knocks. on wood. superstitious doesn't even do it justice. and the more she has to drink the more she knocks. 'i was driving down the road,' i'll begin and notice that she is discreetly knocking knuckles on the table. 'this woman died,' i say--to test her--and both her little fists just start pounding a nearby tree.
7. she's ocd--can't tune the radio backwards. tuner must only go forwards.
8. in college, our little sommelier's drinks of choice were: tom collinses and white zinfandel. WHITE ZINFANDEL.
9. omg, i can't stop. when mamie first played basketball she scored a couple of points. for the other team. which won 3-2.
10. at a private school dance, when mame was fat and wore tons of makeup, she turned up in black combat boots, magenta socks, a grey jumper,and asked out paul dent, who was actually popular, & after he rejected her, went around demanding of everyone: What's wrong with him???
11. she'll tell you she loves to gamble, and then throw out the figure $40.
12. every morning, the security guard on her campus charges at mamie shouting, What is your purpose?
13. carlyle is from denmark. the town. dunno. anyhow, friend of his has a daughter who went to school with mamie and remembers her as the girl with glasses who is REALLY ALTERNATIVE. sort of like when i wore doc marten's and a flowy skirt and a white tank and a lumber-jack shirt around my waist and some other 12 yr old said i was so NEW WAVE.

jesus. mamie is shouting about a 2-in-1 post and to me it just sounds like she's screaming MANIFEST DESTINY! over and over.

**************

okay, my turn! this is the first time we've blogged together in the same post. momentous and subtle, like touching knees at the movies.

goodreads.com/al qaeda: in college we played this game where someone would say, "i'd never date a guy who ________." (i have the strange feeling i've blogged about this before.) and i'd respond with, "has a dave matthews/confederate flag/OBX sticker on his car." the karmic effect of that, of course, is that i now live in a home that sports d.m. oil paintings and a roommate who has a huge dave tattoo on her back. now, though, these days, i'd have to go with: any guy who uses the word "networking" not ironically in a sentence. it's so clinical. and slick. tends to involve business cards and hair product and some man in a bar slipping me a vodka tonic. or the guy who slipped me his card at the bar last week with a note on it: "have dinner with me monday. -bill" while carlyle was sitting on the other side of me. or "networking," only everyone on networking site is 14 and stalking each other. when i quit myspace and joined facebook, i should have known. while it seems less skank, more collegiate, it's even trickier stalking-wise. as in, facebook DOES IT FOR YOU. so, like, after a bottle of wine, carlyle and i changed our status to "mamie is in a relationship with carlyle" and vice versa. only, face sends all your friends this message with a heart and all. and if we fix the lameness now, they'll send out a picture of a broken heart and a message that says, "carlyle and mamie are no longer dating."

so, we should have known with goodreads.com. we should have known when there was a space devoted to: "about me--my own personal canvas to express myself." are you fucking kidding me?

this morning, i get 73 e-mails from stevie lynne via goodreads: stevie lynne gives franz wright's walking to martha's vineyard 4 stars; stevie lynne thinks that transtromer's selected is "delicate and beautiful." i hate this thing. i thought i'd be reading more, not running back in tears to maxim's open arms. now, i love anything stevie has to say about, well, anything. but you know she has no idea this has happened, little kohler way up there in the alaskan mountains...

also, i tried telling my smart friend ashley the riddle. only, i kept opening it with, "this dwarf gets on an elevator." then muttering, "shit shit shit" under my breath.

okay, jig: okay WEIRD HANNAH STUFF:

1. when she was 14, hannah dated a drug dealer who wore a hearing aid named leif.
2. after breaking her elbow on some sort of outdoor gymnastic balance beam, she had to wear a waist to neck body cast, and her arm was positioned like she's about to say the pledge of allegiance.
3. oh, i don't know: she gave birth to two elementary schoolers.
4. she forged her report cards for three years.
5. also, she forged field trip slips that didn't exist and then rented villas on islands near jakarta.
6. ran away for two weeks and lived in a seedy hotel.
7. participated in a fashion show--and this wasn't that long ago--at a gay bar where she strutted down the catwalk in doc martins (i had to) with a crossdresser named topaz.

okay, are we done now. that wasn't fun, dais, and it's putting a wrench into mine and hannah's relationship.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

jennifer love hewitt is standing up for size 2 women everywhere.

this is exactly what i'm talking about. this is exactly what the ex cast members of the real world are talking about. typecasting: hannah the nurturer, mamie the oppressor. i get it. granted, i do and say everything she says i do or say. only, you see what she's done, don't you? (this is the part of the movie where the framed murderer begins to look, well, just crazy enough to have done it.) don't be fooled by her evil gift basket posts. a little bit of fun (riddle), some f-ing winnie the pooh, a handful of seasonal photographs of the beautiful children...all of which give room for a nestled section of mean. hate her. and my knee-jerk reaction always is to blog immediately about whatever no matter what. it's the literary equivalent of streaking.

part II: (see? two can play at this game.) this is the part where i say something that makes me look stupid, knowing that you people can use it as collateral. i do this with g. singleton all the time. he has a poster tacked to the back of the office door; it's a list of all the dumbass things i say/do/mistake for valid stories.

i didn't get the riddle until this morning. what i mean is, i knew the answer (dwarf). but i somehow didn't take the trip from riddle to answer. as in, i thought it was just supposed to be nonsensical, surreal. like, you ask me what color the sky is and i say, "california roll." or, just as easily, "sweater." i'm walking from the office to my classroom this morning when i stop dead in my tracks: oh! he couldn't reach.

part III: (eric, i'm doing the roman numerals and colons together on purpose. like slash and /.) i called my mother from old navy last week, having just realized (as we all at some point do) that i had become her, that every item in the store (particularly the 40$ cashmere sweaters, the plush floor length robes in various pastel shades) spurred perfect gift item!!!! in my head.

me: jesus christ. it's happening. retell above story

her: all of the cashmere is on sale? what size robe do you think your sister would wear?

me: you don't get it. you ruin everything.

her: hhmmm? listen, mame, do you own a scarf?

(i'll use the awkward space of pause to say: when your mother is not only a mother but a best friend and someone you talk to five times a day, you see their train of thought for miles. you make immediate, seemingly unlikely connections.)

me: i'm not wearing a scarf in the f*cking christmas card.

(i'll use this awkward space of pause to say: we do the christmas card thing, but normally it's funny. none of this family-dressed-in-white-lounging-in-front-of-the-dunes-at-pawley's-island-bullshit. last year, gavin was the only one looking at the right camera, the sun was in our eyes, luke's hand was over his face. on the inside, my mom wrote something like, "we're exhausted. barely made it this year. but we did. merry merry and peace be with you all." at least she had a sense of humor about such things.)

her: oh, but mame! i just saw the cover of pendleton's (wool catalogue). there's this group of sheep in scarves....get it! wool! but they're already woolly?"

i sit down on the floor outside the dressing room.

her: joy to the wool! it says in the heading, JOY TO THE WOOL!

she's ecstatic at this point.

me: what do the sheep have to do with us?

her: that's what the card will be (clearly illegal, though she doesn't realize this). and on the inside will be a picture of us. dramatic pause. also in scarves.

me: i can't talk to you when you're like this.

her: we'll do it sunday. we'll get together for lunch after church and then do it. maybe carlyle could come and take the picture?

me: really, mom? seriously??? yeah, i'd like my BRAND NEW boyfriend to come over to my family's house on his only day off and take a picture of me in a scarf. jesus.

but here's the thing. she's just like me. all my complaining translates to her: we'll be there at noon. you dare tell my mother "no" and she just blinks back at you. like when chandler would break up with janice on friends, she simply didn't accept it. played deaf.

part IV: !!!!!!!GIFTS!!!!!!
okay, i need the guys in on this. in greenville, most of my friends are boys. the secret santa thing at work? a guy. brother-in-law. dad. 4 guy friends. nephew. carlyle. what do you people like for christmas? the only people i have to ask are them, and their only answer is "strippers and booze." which simply will not do.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

why am i beating my head against this brick wall? that hippopotamus song is playing. again. it will never stop playing.

1. Parallel Thinking. Or was it Lateral Thinking.
My sweet uncle donated a book of riddles for me to use on the kids. I was delighted and curious. The point being about getting to think in parallels. Or laterals. Anyhow, the scene at breakfast is me reading the first one (from the easy section) to Sim.

The Man in the Elevator

For a start, here’s one of the oldest and best-known lateral thinking problems. It goes like this:

A man lives on the tenth floor of a building. Every day, he takes the elevator to the first floor to go to work or to go shopping. When he returns, he always takes the elevator to the seventh floor and then walks the remaining flights of stairs to his apartment on the tenth floor. Why does he do this?

We both laugh nervously. Then, a long pause, in which we come to the same uncomfortable conclusion that we are both Girls Who Are Not Very Smart.

Finally Sim blurts out, “Because of his big belly??”

Mamie, on the phone later, snaps: “He clearly has a crush on the person so only rides the whole way up when he’s with her!”

The answer is: “He is a dwarf.”

In other words, the answer is that parallel thinking is designed to send you zooming off at a perfectly equal distance to reason and logic, with no chance of ever intersecting truth.

Or else, as Mamie suggests: it reveals your own insecurities/obsessions (Sim=health, Mamie=dating, Me=nothing, a giant blank. Because the kids have, in the night, replaced my brain with a dirty sock.)

2. Me, You, and Everyone Mamie Knows

Her life should be some sort of musical. Am convinced she rolls out of bed in the morning, is dressed by bluebirds, and skips out of the house lilting, "Bonjour! Bonjour!" Or, alternatively, “Can I get a tall, with-whip, non-fat, sugar-free, toffee-nut latte? And would you mind, is it okay, could you add half a Splenda to that? Oh, and a Venti ice water? Thank you so much, Pierre.” That’s one of our early phone calls. Later, on call 55, she is speed-walking through the park, greeting the homeless and calling encouragements to firefighters. In the background, a perpetual chorus of: “Mamie! Hi Mamie!”

She’s even more insufferable right now because: Mamie has a BOYFRIEND. She asked me to blog about it, so I want to make sure you all heard me. His name is Carlyle. They’re going on 72 hrs, so I’m already worried about having to buy a yellow Galliano and elbow gloves. I won’t do it Mamie.

There are a few problems with Mamie dating anyone. She goes all soft and giggly and I have to hang up. The man is deluded enough to use words like heartbreaker. More giggling. And my final point on the subject: the other morning, I woke up to find myself in the same room as them. As in, my phone rang at 730, and I was suddenly on speaker phone with Carlyle talking to me—both of us groggy—while Mamie brushed her teeth in the bathroom. That can never happen again.



3. The story of an hour. Or, in our case, an hour that is then repeated endlessly and so constitutes our lives. Or, the answer is that parallel thinking is designed to send you zooming off at a perfectly equal distance to reason and logic, with no chance of ever intersecting truth.



5pm: The kids are going to their mother.



515pm: No, their father.



520: They have two different sets of tickets. Leaving from the same city. On the same day.


6pm: They might be staying here.


4. Milne.

"Hallo, Rabbit," said Pooh, "is that you?"
"Let's pretend it isn't," said Rabbit, "and see what happens."

***

One fine day Pooh stumped up to the top of the forest to see if his friend Christopher Robin was interested in Bears at all.