Archive for December, 2005

Dec 31 2005

In With the New

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This year’s resolutions should be easier to keep than last year’s, which were to be better at answering emails and blogwalking. Considering the many emails still awaiting my attention and the lack of writing my own blog, let alone reading other people’s, I don’t think I get a passing grade for the passing year. Hopefully this year’s model will be more attainable:

1. Get hair highlighted. It’s been 5 months now, and the roots of darkness are only lightened by rogue silver hairs. It’s time for a Pentagon-sized cover-up.

2. Get divorced. It’s been two years since we separated, the apartment is sold, and in the words of more famous former couples, we remain committed and caring friends. It’s time to get on with our lives.

3. Get off anti-depressants. They are expensive and bad for one’s girlish figure. It’s time to get off the pills and get real.

4. Find the perfect nude lip gloss. It’s time to go to Sephora!

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful new year.

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Dec 30 2005

Out With the Old

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The apartment has finally been sold. Other than the breathtaking rudeness and generally unpleasant personality of the woman who bought it, the most shocking thing about the entire depressing process was the fun-filled discovery that the seller gets to pay the buyer’s real estate agent, too. The grand total for both agents was $35 grand. Grand for the agents, that is.

I can’t help resenting paying the Other Agent, when all he did was make a spacious apartment in Pacific Heights with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the roof garden and beautiful period details sound like a tenement in Hunters Point. A really good agent can make you totally ashamed of your place in under five minutes.

So let’s take a farewell tour of the place I lived in and loved for well over a decade.

Here’s the outside of the building which dates from 1927.

It’s three blocks from Nicolas Cage’s house and the famous Haas-Lilienthal House. Guess we all just love to slum it.

This is the
living room, which I painted a sunny yellow. You can see the 250 year old grandfather clock, which has been in my father’s family ever since it was made. The rocking chair was made by my mother’s grandfather from cherry wood, with mother-of-pearl inlays. The plant is called Frank.

view of the living room, looking toward the kitchen. The desk was my beloved godfather’s.

kitchen, showing the wonderful old Wedgewood stove (it’s more than 50 years old and the best stove I ever had). Behind the stove and sink are the handmade Italian tiles I had put in. The counters were made by my brother from quarter-sawn white oak. I really hate it that the new owner appreciates none of these things. She complained bitterly that there was no dishwasher. Undoubtedly, she’ll yank it all out and replace it with stainless steel everything and never cook in it, just show it off.

bathroom has William Morris wallpaper (the frieze is called Willow Bough, and the rug matches) imported from England. The doorknob on the closet is lead crystal, as are all of the doorknobs in the apartment. The tub is a real cast-iron clawfoot, dating from 1890. I painted the outside green and the feet silver.

Last of all, the
bedroom, with another Morris rug and the 1920’s dressing table I got at a yard sale 20 years ago. It turned out to be surprisingly valuable. You can also see the bay window with a glimpse of the garden.

So there you have it. It doesn’t look that bad, does it?

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Dec 29 2005

Follow Yonder OnStar

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You know how it always seems that you have a million things to do right before Christmas? Especially if you’re a dyed-hair, dyed in the wool Procrastinator like I am. My last-minute Christmas Eve tasks did not include malls or shopping, but rather, a trip to the notary, Barney, and then there’s the OnStar incident.

I was invited to spend Christmas with a friend and her family in another city, so I had to rent a car. As with most rental cars, it was far too fancy and complicated for the non-mechanically minded Me (I don’t care how anything works, as long as it works). Picked up car without incident, but faithful readers will know that if I get anywhere near a car, something will happen sooner or later. This time, it’s later, so you’ll just have to wait and see.

Of course I had not packed for the trip or wrapped the presents, though I had at least bought the presents. I was about to pack up the car and go when I got a phone call informing me that I had to get some documents notarized and Fed Exed for arrival on the morning of December 27 at the latest.

Swearing in a most un-holiday manner, off I went to the notary, thankful for their non-holiday work ethic. I took a number, and was banished to the waiting room, which was dominated by a TV set bolted to the wall and inflicting Barney on an unsuspecting public. As he cultishly sang repeatedly how much he loved his (presumably unknown to him) audience and informed them that they seconded his emotion, I looked vainly for an off switch or volume control. Barney, wherever and whatever you are, you freak, I do not love you. In fact, I think you’d make one fine target.

The three kids planted squarely in front of the set would have disagreed with me, except they were in a narcotic haze. If it weren’t for the evidence of Barney so unmissably present, I would have suspected their parents of improving the kids’ juice boxes with a calming hit of an opium-based derivative. But it was Barney himself who caused the slack-jawed, glazed eye look of these brainwashed infants. I was scared.

Fortunately, my number was called, I was relieved of some cash, and I was on my way before there was an incident.

On the highway, an old gentleman driving a white Cadillac and wearing a Santa hat passed me. I wonder if that’s how Santa gets around now? So much more comfortable than a sleigh, where he is exposed to the cold night air and reindeer butts and their products. And just wearing the hat instead of the whole costume is much more modern. Stylish Santa for the 21st century. About time he updated his look.

I stopped at Denny’s en route (I know, I know, but I really had to pee. Those among you who indulge in caffeine will know that a coffee-induced pee is more unstoppable than Barney), and I swear someone was doing coke in the next stall. All I can say is, she went in, didn’t avail herself of the usual facilities, but there was lots of sniffing going on. It seems eccentric to do coke in the Denny’s ladies’ room on Christmas Eve, but perhaps we all need a little help in dealing with our holiday stress.

Back on the road, it was dark, and the inevitable occurred. I got lost. I pulled over to consult the minutely detailed instructions so thoughtfully (and fruitlessly) provided by my hostess. My attempts to turn on the lights in the complicated car resulted in:

1. Opening the moon roof to the cold and rain.

2. Accidentally hitting the OnStar button.

I tried desperately to turn it off, to no avail. A creepy computer voice informed me that it was connecting, connecting…then Kanye West abruptly stopped playing and a voice over my stereo speakers said, “This is Darnell. What’s your emergency?”

I didn’t have the nerve to tell Darnell that my only emergency was being lost, bored, traumatized by Barney, and sick of driving, or to ask him if he was the same Darnell as Crab Man on My Name Is Earl, so I just stammered out an apology for my mistake. Darnell forgave me with the grace of a Wise Man, and vanished from my life, leaving Kanye West and a blushing Suzy in his wake.

I’m never calling OnStar again.

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Dec 24 2005

Merry Christmas, Everyone

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This is a 162 year old Christmas card – one of the very earliest. Who says Victorians didn’t know how to party? I think it’s going to be a goodnight pretty soon for the wine-guzzling kid in the foreground!

Wishing you all a joyful holiday season (and lots of presents)!

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Dec 21 2005

Santa Claus Is Bummin’ Round Town

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I was awakened this morning by someone shouting, “Who the fuck do you think you are?!” angrily and repeatedly. I lay in bed, wondering what the answer was until curiosity overcame me and I peeked out the window.

There was an ancient-looking man, intoxicated, insane, and irate, walking out of the courtyard, gesturing at no-one (no-one visible, anyway) and screaming the age old, unanswerable question at the uncaring sky.

I discovered that Santa had come early this year, and had broken with tradition by substituting the oh-so-fashionable germ warfare for the usual stocking full of coal for those of us who are habitually naughty rather than nice. A seasonable, but so far, small-sized case of a flu-like illness. I never thought Santa would look like a crazy homeless guy, but then again, so many things are disappointing as an adult. Undoubtedly, an efficiency expert told him to get the bad ones out of the way early, and don’t bother dressing up for the likes of them.

With even more excuse than usual to languish and lounge, I checked out the December issue of Vanity Fair. The Letters section was frothing with rage about the November issue’s cover starring Paris Hilton. I thought I was underemployed until I saw the letters from rabid readers who angily cancelled their subscriptions and/or tore off the offending cover and mailed it back to the magazine with their complaints.

The most amusing letter for me was from none other than Mama Partridge herself, Miss Shirley Jones, she whose TV son was arrested for beating up a TV hooker, and whose catalogue of his many, many misdeeds can be found in his very entertaining and well-written memoir, Random Acts of Badness. As far as I know, Miss Jones never publicly railed against Mr. Bonaduce for being a bad role model, and I would venture to say that being a socialite who likes to have her photo taken is not as bad as being arrested for assault or being a crackhead.

But that’s just me.

Being an equal opportunity reader, I decided to check out La Hilton’s memoirs, too. However, they are less of an autobiography and more of a picture book. On the other hand, I did get diet tips, which, as you may recall, my dream girl wouldn’t give me:

Eat fast food, pasta, and chocolate as often as you can. Only eat carbs at night. Never take diet pills or drink diet soda or go to the gym. You might get sweaty.

And words of wisdom on topics of vital importance:

On tiaras: People act differently toward you when you have jewelry on your head.

On skincare: I’m over tanning beds, because I don’t want to get skin cancer. Mystic Tan instead. Be tan all year round. I go to sleep with my makeup on, because it makes my skin look all dewy, and there’s less to do in the morning.

On my beloved Weeki Wachee Springs: My first job (on the Simple Life 2) was at Weeki Wachee, a kids’ place with an underwater show. I got to play a mermaid. It was kind of stupid, but Elvis has been there, so that makes it kind of cool

On public transit: Yes, I admit I’ve taken the subway in New York – and it smells. It literally smells like pee. Why can’t they do anything about that? Does anyone ever clean down there?

And unlike the rest of us insecure girls, she only hates one thing about her body. It’s her size 11 (transvestite sized!) feet.

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Dec 08 2005

The Doors

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Observant readers like the eagle-eyed Mike (I’m betting his kids don’t get away with much!) may have noticed that although my door has a wreath, it did not have a doorknob. Typical of Me to accessorize without worrying about those dull necessities.

It really wasn’t my fault, though. A couple of days ago, I woke up to discover that the door would not open. The diva doorknob generally expressed her temperament by refusing to stay closed, but decided that an amusing variation would be to stay closed and see how I liked it.

I didn’t. I also could not open the door, and sooner or later, I would almost certainly want to venture out into the Wide World, despite generally agreeing with the Water Rat’s dim view of it.

With the doorknob snickering in the background, I called the building manager, Mister Anonymous. Yes, that’s his legal name. No, I don’t know why. I just call him Mister.

He came over as soon as he could. First, he had to oversee the ejection of an enraged and screaming Boob Girl, who managed to smash the glass in the building’s front door on her way out, in spite of the fact that she was in a straitjacket and being carried by a couple of strong men. I learned later that she had expanded her sales campaign from knocking on doors to slipping flyers advertising her sexual services under them. Imagine my annoyance to learn that everyone I know in the building had summarily disposed of these erotic ephemera. Now I’ll never see one.

So Mister went from one broken door to another. You can imagine that he was in a pretty good mood by the time he got to mine. First, he took the doorknob off. Still stuck. Tried to take off the hinges, but only two out of the four would come off. Finally, in exasperation, he kicked the door – and it opened. I still have the deadbolt to keep it closed, but Mister hasn’t brought me a replacement doorknob yet. Fortunately, the wreath was unscathed.

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Dec 06 2005

It’s Christmas Time at the Suzy’s

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I am feeling all festive this year. This is a bigger deal than you’d think, since it’s the first time I’ve felt like celebrating Christmas since Dad died, four years and four months ago. We always had such a wonderful time at Christmas. He and my stepmother would come every other year, and we’d rent a house right on the ocean in Bodega Bay. Often, it would be warm enough for a Christmas Eve picnic on the beach, and one of my very favorite photos of Dad was taken on New Year’s day at nearby Point Reyes, as he paddled in the ocean, loving the sun and the shore birds (the sanderlings were his favorites, and are mine as well: they’re like charming wind-up toys).

That can of GrinchBeGone must have really worked, because I have a tree! Naturally, it’s unnatural, being a vintage, silver and white number, originally from the long-gone, legendary Gimbels department store in New York. It may be even more vintage than I am, since the price tag reads $2.88!

I thought it would be a lot easier to set up than it was. I sort of imagined that you’d just open it up like an umbrella, but no. You have to put it together, and fluff out the branches. Then you have to find a tree stand to fit a trunk approximately the thickness of your average broom handle. I soon discovered that in the world of tree stands, you most certainly can be too thin. Nothing fit my tree’s svelte silhouette, so I ended up trapping it between bricks I found at the back of the building and covering them with cloth napkins I liberated from some first class travel some time ago. Who says crime (well, pilfering) doesn’t pay?

It’s also much harder to take a good picture of the tree than I had anticipated. It has three sets of twinkly lights that twinkle at all different times, so it’s never all lit up at the same time, and the photo was the best I could get. I love the twinkling, though.

As if that weren’t enough, I also have a wreath. This one is real Scotch pine and smells all Christmassy. You can tell I decorated it, since the ornaments are all haphazard. I think it looks pretty anyway.

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Dec 03 2005

It’s Christmas Time In the City

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