July 31, 2006

Saint Mother And The Holy Land

Much to my surprise, Faux Ma has stepped up to the plate and is being active in the selling of the Faux home. They’ve lived there for thirty-four years, and despite talking for the last five years about moving for the sake of the ever-declining mobility of Faux Pa, the wheels of moving elsewhere are actually turning now that their neighborhood is officially diverse.

This segment of their lives is proving to be more than challenging for Boyfriend and me. While it is definitely taking a toll on Faux Ma, to watch her struggle through this process is annoying and frustrating.

First came Faux Ma’s realization that the office carpet looked shabby. She decided she needed to replace it before the house went up for sale and asked the realtor what color she should make it. Of course the answer was beige. I can completely understand that. I can’t completely understand why the carpet had to be replaced in the first place, but I suppose that wasn’t for me to decide. She assured us more than once that the realtor was the one who chose the beige color. We all know that she would have chosen beige herself, but she seemed to feel ashamed of that fact and repeatedly blamed the boring carpet color on the realtor.

The carpet store rep said the room had to be cleared of any furniture, of course. There is a hide-a-bed in that room, and The Fauxs decided to pay the carpet installers $30 to move that piece of furniture to avoid herniating themselves. When the carpet installers picked up the couch, they forgot it was a hide-a-bed and the mattress frame flung itself into the wall, making a very nice hole. The carpet installers went on to install the carpet with the hide-a-bed remaining in the room, moving it as needed to get the carpet installed. The carpet store sent someone out to repair the wall at their expense and the room looks lovely. However, Faux Ma is demanding that her $30 furniture moving fee be refunded, because she believes they didn’t really move the couch. Well, yes they did. They moved it right through her wall. They moved it several times to get the carpet down. The couch had been moved. Faux Ma insists that none of that counts, and she would pay only if the couch had been moved out of the room. Boyfriend and I tried to explain that she is paying the fee for not having the room cleared of furniture. She said she isn’t finished with them yet, and won’t be until she gets her $30 back.

Faux Ma then told us how she’s been busy painting the foundation of the house – how she has to dig away the dirt to paint beneath ground level. I asked her if the realtor suggested she do that, and she said no, she just thought it should be done. What isn’t being done is the downsizing necessary for them to move into a smaller dwelling. There are bundles and bundles of old magazines that have never been thrown out or recycled. There are boxes and boxes of old Christmas cards – not vintage Christmas cards, just old ones kept for the purpose of knowing who sent one that year and who didn’t. There are grocery bags upon grocery bags filled with newspapers. And that's just the trash.

There are cupboards and closets and trunks filled with “special” things like the plastic canvas Kleenex box cover that “Mother made.” Faux Ma had a tumultuous relationship with her mother. However, when Mother died Faux Ma took it upon herself to canonize her. Things that belonged to or were made by Mother (and Mother could make everything from lye soap to origami toads) are not to be thrown away or given away to strangers. Such an act is unspeakable.

There are also things like old wagon wheels that came from the farm, another sanctity that must not be blasphemed. The farm – the hell hole Faux Ma couldn’t wait from which to flee and which rendered Faux Pa emasculated by his father. The farm, originally Faux Pa’s father’s, and later occupied by the Fauxs, was cause of nothing but strife, anxiety, and frustration. Of course, once they moved from the farm to a city in an entirely different state, the farm, like Saint Mother, was canonized and determined to be a place of holiness. Anything that came from the farm goes into the same pile as anything that came from Saint Mother. All of these items act as tokens of both survival and of defeat.

For now Boyfriend and I are keeping our distance from this portion of the Faux’s journey. The tension level is high. Faux Pa is retreating into a stupor of silence, while Faux Ma is fine-tuning her skills as a passive-aggressive. This form of behavior takes the edge off the feelings of inferiority she has in situations where she is completely uninformed and unreceptive to advice. Because Faux Pa is practically catatonic in the chaos of selling their home, Boyfriend will be the target of Faux Ma’s passive-aggressive behavior.

I think we’re ready for the possibility of being shunned by the Fauxs for our sassy suggestions and our impatience with their inability to throw anything away. I’m already on the shit list because I rejected the thirty-year-old electric bun warmer offered to me by Faux Ma. After all, “it belonged to Mother.”

July 27, 2006

Haunting The Earwax With A Giant Penis By Order Of The Devil

Things I learned today:

1. There is a restaurant in Chicago called The Earwax Café.

Earwax Café? Why not the Eye Matter Deli? Or the Boogar Bar? Earwax Café sounds disgusting, but from the looks of the website, it is a rather groovy place, providing dinner and a movie.

2. There is such a thing called Cotard’s syndrome. The sufferer believes s/he is dead, and often tests his/her mortality by trying to commit suicide.

If I thought I was dead, instead of testing my mortality I’d do more ghostly things, like moving things around on my coworkers’ desks, shrieking in that ghastly, angsty way that ghosts are known to do, or tripping people. In a nutshell, if I thought I was dead, I would essentially believe myself to be invisible, and the fun I could have with that is immeasurable.

3. According to the religion of Scientology: “Human beings are comprised of three parts: mind, body and thetan (pronounced thay’-ten).” (Quote found on

Thetan? Isn’t that a sissy name for the devil?

4. Mushrooms don’t always look like the ones you find in the grocery store.

We have, growing in our garden, very large phallic-looking mushrooms. At first glance I thought it rather cool to have unintentionally produced fungi looking so life-like, but then wondered if we are zoned to display such obscenities in the openness of our back yard.

This ends today's list of fun facts to know and tell.

July 25, 2006

Mental As All Get Up

Lyrics of the day: “I’d like to take your inner child and kick its little ass.” Thanks to The Eagles, I have some reassurance that I’m not the only one who thinks people should take responsibility for themselves, even if that means a little shock therapy to hurl emotions back to a time prior to trauma. Take charge, people! Life is a lot tougher when other people are calling the shots. Guess what? You get to call all the shots in your adult life! Get over it!

With that said I am transported to a time when a friend of mine decided she should see a psychiatrist regarding, well, I’m not actually sure what inspired her to see a psychiatrist. She was incredibly shallow and I can’t imagine that she would have any insights or take part in any emotional self-examination which would motivate a visit to a shrink. But she must have experience some type of emotional discomfort and consulted a professional. She called me the evening of her second visit.

“I went to see the shrink today.”
“How did it go?”
“Fine. I took a long test last week and today we talked about my scores.”
“Yeah? What were they like?”
“The doctor said I’m a borderline schizophrenic.”
“Wow, borderline schizophrenic huh? Did he prescribe any drugs?”
“When are you going to see him next?”
“I don’t think I will. He wants me to go back, but now that I know I have something I can blame everything on that.”
“But if you know there’s something wrong with you, don’t you want to fix it?”
“I’ve been okay until now; I can live with it.”

Later we discovered her mother was schizophrenic and her father committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. My friend was the one who found him.

I haven’t seen this friend in about fifteen years. We had a parting of the ways when she got married. She ended up having two children – very ugly children from what I’ve heard. She gained about seventy-five pounds and got divorced. When I think of her now, I wonder if she will become the purple, bloated, dead person in the closed garage with the car engine running simply because she never took control of her life by treating her mental illness. And even though her children are ugly, I hope they have enough sense to get the help they will most definitely need considering the gene pool from whence they sprang. Because we all know, there’s nothing worse than being ugly and crazy.

July 22, 2006

There Goes The Neighborhood

Where can I begin to tell the tale of the Faux’s housing situation? It is a tale worth telling, simply because it is a situation which brings out the characters of Faux Ma and Faux Pa to the fullest. As you know, we aren’t normally privy to their personals, such as their feelings, their general health and health history, or their opinions regarding matters of greater depth than gas prices and gardening techniques. But in the circumstance of the ever-changing neighborhood, they find it hard to contain their true selves while expressing current happenings.

I think it’s best to start with an incident last winter when Boyfriend and I were visiting his parents at their house. They were telling us about how their neighborhood, as they have known it for decades, is changing. Lots of the people they have known for years and years are now dying, being committed to insane asylums, or moving into housing more convenient for oldsters. It’s not so bad that these people are leaving the neighborhood (although they’ll be missed), but other people are actually moving into the houses once occupied by “regular people.”

First came the Tibetans. I’m not sure how Faux Ma and Faux Pa knew they were Tibetans, but that’s what they are known as in the House of Faux. Then came Carrie, a woman who insulted Faux Ma by telling her the interior of their house should be more colorful. Apparently Carrie had been adulterating one of the old neighbors’ homes by painting the interior vibrant colors. (Faux Ma believes that the interior walls of a home that are anything but white or eggshell will never sell. She mentioned that fact knowing I decorate my home in a style similar to Carrie, with interior walls ranging from gold to brick red.) Then there arrived more new neighbors, the Ecuadorians, who ended up right next door to the Fauxs.

To review: we have The Tibetans, The Ecuadorians, and Carrie. Once this information had been relayed to Boyfriend and me, Faux Ma looked me right in the eye and asked, “Are things diverse in your neighborhood?” I was stunned. Like, stunned. I didn’t know how to answer her question. I stumbled with the only response I could muster, “Diverse?” Faux Ma specified her question by saying, “I don’t mean your Germans and Swedes.” As my eyes grew wider I looked to Boyfriend, and with a facetious grin he said, “she means your coloreds.” He and I broke into laughter while the mocking humor of Boyfriend’s statement was completely lost on the Faux parents. They saw nothing funny about their concern over the ethnic heritage of their new neighbors.

About a month ago Boyfriend placed his biweekly call to his parents and they informed him that yet another of the neighborhood homes had been sold. Faux Ma saw the new neighbors and informed Boyfriend that they are “blacker than black.” They aren’t Africans, which you might expect to her to say in the spirit of her previous labeling of Tibetans and Ecuadorians. They aren’t African-Americans. They aren’t even Black. They are “blacker than black.” Yikes. I guess they’re black. Like, really, really black.

So now, in the presence of Tibetans, Ecuadorians, Carrie-Caucasian-But-Insulting, and Blacker-Than-Blacks, Faux Ma made the announcement that it is really time to get serious about finding a new place to live. They’ve been half-heartedly looking at townhomes for years in view of Faux Pa’s declining ability to ambulate, but now it’s become more than a matter of convenience. It’s a matter of fear and disdain.

Up until now I’ve overlooked the bigoted attitudes that sneak out of Faux Ma and Faux Pa once in a while. Their opinions of anyone who is different from them (racially, occupationally, religiously, politically, fashionably, etc.) are so outrageous they’re laughable.

But I’ve stopped laughing. There is something much more serious with which to contend, now that a realtor has been named and the search for oldster housing has begun in earnest. Boyfriend informed me that they are looking for townhomes in neighboring areas to us. While we have always lived in the same metropolitan area, it was nice to know they were at least a half-hour’s drive away. Now it is possible they could be ten minutes away, or less. They actually looked at a place not more than one mile from our house.

Best case scenario, they’ll settle upon something outside my fifteen-mile radius comfort zone. Worst case scenario, I’ll be talking to my neighbors, discussing the diminishing property values since those dang North Dakotan immigrants moved in.

July 16, 2006

Captain Jack Vs. Zorro

It's hot out - AND YOU NEED A POOL!! (Inside joke for those of you in the Twin Cities area who are familiar with the Watson's TV commercials.) Yes, very hot, and we don't have a pool. What better time to head off to the local movie theater and take in a good film? After all, most theaters keep their temperatures around 62 with a pleasant draft of the brisk air blowing on you at all times.

Boyfriend and I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man's Chest. We also rented some movies to view in the comfort of our 78 degree home (much more comfortable than the aforementioned breezy theater), one of which was The Legend of Zorro.

After seeing both movies, I was compelled to decide which of the characters, Zorro or Captain Jack Sparrow, would be my love interest du jour. Sorry, Boyfriend, you know you're the love of my life, but a girl needs a movie boyfriend too. Besides, I know you have deep desires for Catherine Zeta-Jones and that you've been thinking of her nonstop since we watched Zorro. Who knows, you might have been lusting after that Elizabeth character in Pirates too. So there. Now I feel justified to continue with my assessments of Captain Jack Sparrow and Zorro.

Both embody the element of adventure, which very desireable. Who could be bored around either one of them? Both also have a sense of fashion I like, although I think Jack beats out Zorro on this one. While I love the cape and mask of Zorro, he was actually wearing pointy cowboy boots (something I will never tolerate on a man), and that overgrown Moe hairdo looks greasy and annoying. (Yes, Moe, as in the stooge.) I've never been a fan of dreadlocks, but Captain Jack keeps his dread-like hair contained in the very fabulous head scarf thing at all times. Jack also wears those sexy over-the-knee boots which would never be referred to as "shit kickers" as the pointy cowboy boots often are. Jack also has the jewelry on his side, wearing rings on every finger. He's flashy and flamboyant, where Zorro is dark and mysterious.

Then there is the sex-appeal category. Zorro looks like he's going to eat off the face of his kissing partner, where Jack displays an urgent, yet non-aggressive kissing style. Neither is wussy or "tender" about kissing. Both mean business, which I like, but at the end of a serious make-out session, I prefer to have retained my face.

What I really feel the need to assess, however, is the overall character of each man. Zorro is the savior of the world. He fights for justice. He is good, his opponents are evil. He is flawless in his ability to overcome obstacles. Jack, on the other hand, is the savior of himself. He fights only when there is no other way out of a situation. He basically covers his own ass, and his opponents are those, good or evil, who get in the way of his getting what he wants. He bumbles through fights, but nevertheless always finds his way clear of danger in the end. Bottom line, Zorro is for the greater good, Captain Jack is for himself.

The results: Zorro gets one point for the cape and mask. Jack gets two points for the bangles and boots, and another point for the eye liner. Zorro gets one point for kissing, only because he can probably be trained to not eat off his partner's face. Jack gets two points for kissing. Zorro gets one point for being altruistic and for the greater good. Jack gets twenty points for running a bad-ass ship and stopping at nothing to get what he wants.

Zorro - 3. Captain Jack - 25.

So, while Zorro is out saving the world from evil and destruction, Jack and I will be sailing on his dilapidated ship, drinking rum, making out, looking for treasures, and saving our own respective asses from dead guys with squid faces. Sounds dreamy. Really, I'm serious. Yo ho.

July 12, 2006

Can You Teach It To Decoupage?

My God, I just realized that I live in the wrong city. Chicago is where I ought to be. Where else would any woman want to be, if it can offer you a Crafty Beaver?

Mine is anything but crafty. It’s warm and cuddly, according to Boyfriend, but far from crafty. It never learned how to make a Popsicle stick house or a pinch pot. It can’t knit, crochet, or sew. It can’t braid or macramé. It can’t weave a basket or string beads into a necklace. The fact that I never even knew a beaver could be crafty leaves me feeling quite inadequate and ashamed.

I need to plan a trip to one of the Crafty Beaver stores in the Chicago area. Perhaps they can provide me with the tools I need to train my craft-challenged beaver. Maybe they have workshops! I would be so proud if I could fold an origami swan without using my hands. Wish me luck!

July 07, 2006

Got Spurs?

Reading blogs and online diaries is such a lovely way to pass the time while at work. OK, don’t get your undies in a bundle thinking I’m a slug of a government employee. I am your civil servant and earn every dime of my paycheck. But I’m digressing into a frenzy of defensive thinking, which should have been taken care of years ago with all that therapy meant to reshape my psyche. (Note to self: call Shrink regarding possible malpractice – could get you some free sessions.)

Back to the blogs and diaries. When I find a new one I like, I go into the archives and read each and every post. Kind of obsessive, but I like to get to know my computer friends. The most recent one in which I’ve been indulging is most amusing and entertaining. However, twice in her blog (so far as I've read to date) she gives negative comments regarding the “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner,” commercial. The writer is a vegetarian, so I suppose I can cut her some slack for not liking the whole concept of eating beef for dinner. But she also thinks the commercial sounds too “authoritarian.” I want to tell her, “Oh honey! You don’t know what you’re saying!”

The beef commercial voice-over guy is none other than that sexy cowboy, Sam Elliott. Anyone who knows me well knows that the one, single thing that gets my binder winding is a voice. It doesn’t have to be a particular voice, but as some women say, “great biceps,” or “what a cute butt he has,” I’ll be listening instead of looking. Of course in all my years of dating I have never been with a guy who has a voice that makes me melt, as they are very few and far between. This is why I need to have things like the beef commercial in my life. It isn’t authoritarian at all, it’s just downright seductive.

Besides having a voice to die for, Sam Elliott also has a look and demeanor that I simply cannot resist. I especially like his cowboy persona with the big moustache, worn boots, and long duster. Yow. Which reminds me of a real-life tale.

Boyfriend and I took an Alaskan tour a couple of years ago. I know, tours are something old people do, but we decided we’d rather take the tour than plan the entire trip ourselves. Call us lazy. One day, as the fourteen of us (a very small Alaskan tour group, thank God) were traveling along the winding roads between the mountains our guides decided we needed to stop for an ice cream break. (They love their ice cream in Alaska.) As we’re pulling into this isolated little trading post kind of place, I pointed out the bus window and shrieked, “It’s Sam Elliott!” There, leaning against a fence was a cowboy with a rumpled hat, cowboy boots, and grey moustache. Sam Elliott indeed. While the others in our group went into the store for ice cream, I dragged Boyfriend and the camera over to Sam, who, of course, wasn’t really Sam at all. His name was Gary, and the closer we got to him I found he stood about 5’7” to Sam Elliott’s 6’2” frame. He also didn’t have Sam’s voice. But he seemed really tickled that I was utterly enthralled with him, so Boyfriend took a picture of us together.

That’s my brush-with-Sam-Elliott story. Except it’s really my brush-with-Gary story. My point is to simply state that I love Sam Elliott, I love his voice even more, and I obviously have unresolved cowboy fantasies that I really must speak to Boyfriend about.

And tonight, it’s beef for dinner.