Sunday, December 31, 2006

And The Year Of "No Joy" Comes To A Close

So very much to write about.

In an unplanned and yet very-good-for-me kind of way, I have spent almost no time online in the last 11 or so days. Nearly two weeks! I abandoned email, blogging (reading and posting), and various other time sinks (however awesome they may be) and spent time in the real, flesh-and-blood world. I reconnected with my family, spent good, quality time with Ish, and took some big relaxing breaths.

A lot has happened. I have a lot to share. I haven't written much of substance in a long time, and not because I haven't been thinking it...but because it's big.

Just one example - my family had to clean out and sell my dad's house. Dealing with the finality of both my parents being gone has been difficult enough for all of us, but dealing with the insipid and insensitive details of paperwork and finances and oh, my father's debts. After months and months, my sisters and aunt and cousins and friends and almost-mom-in-law took what we wanted of memories and knick-knacks and furniture and said goodbye to everything else.

I only wanted the photos, and so one day, not long before the crazy holiday season started, I got them. Two big boxes full of memories of my family and parents. Meaningful, and sad. And then buried in the boxes were some things of my mom's from years ago. Love letters she wrote to and received from men long before she met my dad.

How do you process that? Dad's gone. The house is gone. It comes down to two boxes, and one of them includes secrets and details about a woman's life I didn't know nearly enough about.

I still don't write about my mom here very often. There's a whole lot to say.

The year wasn't all bad, though. I don't mean to give that impression. It's just that the hard things are really difficult to write. I never know where to start. My relationship with Ish is fantastic, but it's scary and hard, too. He is going through a divorce and that puts me in a very difficult space, because I want to tell you all about my scared-ness, but have to be respectful, too.

Maybe I can now. Maybe this year will be the year to start.

Wow. "This" year.

So 2007. Lots of posts coming. Lots of reflection, lots of funny. Lots of not holding back.

For now, though? For tonight? Lots of staying in and celebrating life and love. Lots of champagne, too.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Quick Update

The last things on my list left to ship to the East Coast seem to be me and Ish.

We leave today. :) (I'm so excited he's coming with me!!!)

More entries will follow, but a bit sporadically.

And so as not to leave you with a no-entry entry, here is a picture of me with my best dog growing up. His name was Boggle. He's a French Sheepdog (a Briard).

me and boggle

I am the same height today as I was when I was 10, as in this picture.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Most Fun Holiday Game EVER!

I'm calling it, "Guess Which Side of the Family the Retarded Came From."

What's that? Oh, please. We HAVE to have a sense of humor about these things, and plus hello! NO website out there comes with directions for how to handle this doozy of a diplomatic family issue.

The whole situation is incredibly difficult. And it's not like my family isn't sensitive -- hell, I think we compensate for our over-sensitivity by being incredibly sarcastic.

We've had a helluva hard time, my family, but we've always managed to get by okay by finding humor in things. Even where there maybe ought not to be.

A favorite example comes to mind...
My mother has just died. Family and friends are meeting up near the dock, where we'll be boarding a boat to take us to a small island off the coast of Maine. We're traveling for her funeral; she will be buried on the island.

My father is unpacking the car he came in, getting help from his best friend, Roger. My father hands Roger some luggage, some soft drinks, a bag.

The last thing my father grabs from his car is the urn containing my mother's ashes.

I watch as my father holds the urn in both his hands and looks at Roger. He hesitates for a moment. Something has crossed his mind. He's not sure how to proceed.

But he can't resist.

With apologetic eyes and a sheepish grin that emerges unexpectedly and seems a bit out of place, my father holds the urn towards Roger. And he says it.

"Take my wife, please."

Roger bows his head. And laughs.

So right. The "diplomatic" family issue.

In case you're new here, my sister just found out that her son -- the first baby in my immediate family -- has a genetic disorder that will cause him to have some mild to moderate mental delays.

That doesn't seem very funny to me, you might be thinking. And you'd be right. Mostly. The disorder isn't funny. Nor is the genetic nature of this situation: Charlie inherited it from my sister who inherited it from one of our parents who inherited it and so on. And now that it's surfaced in this generation, it will affect how my sisters and I approach having (more) kids, and can affect our cousins, too. No, not funny.

Except um.

Well, we don't know what side of the family it came from yet. And even though "carriers" of this syndrome may not have a full-blown version of it and may not show any signs at all...sometimes carriers of this syndrome do have symptoms.

So not only do we get to play "Which side of the family did the disorder come from," but until we know, we can kind of quietly play, "Which side of the family seems more likely to have passed on a bit of mental disability?"

Is that not good old-fashioned holiday fun?

Because if you ever thought your family was crazy (and I know you have), let me tell you: this little twist adds a whole new dimension. You know, the twist wherein you realize those suspicions you held at the holiday table years ago about that relative who seemed just a bit "off" to you? Turns out, you could have been very, very right. And you may be next!

It's just that the more I think (and giggle, sorry) about it, the more I realize there is strong evidence to suggest that this genetic mental "un-swift-ness" really could have come from either side of the family.

And so now, for your holiday bemusement I share a Sammis-family, Christmastime story with you that involves my forehead.

And my cousin's forehead.

And anecdotal evidence to suggest a paternal inheritance.
[Dear Nate,

Merry Christmas! Hahahahahahaha!


My cousin Nate, who appears here in the comments every now and then, and who is a contributor on Atlas Chugged, is a year older than I am. He grew up in Maine with his brother and I grew up in Connecticut with my sisters. Our families would get together at Christmas and for various other occassions throughout the year.

While Nate and I have never been too good at staying in touch on a regular basis, we get along famously when we're together.

One Christmas when we were some unfortunate age, I'd say maybe 13 and 14, we discovered we had very similar haircuts. While his hair was mostly short, he had grown out his bangs. His hair parted on the side, so his bangs swooped over his forehead. If he chose, he could tuck his hair behind his ear, or leave it down and have it cover one eye.

For our younger readers, please understand that this was an incredibly fashion-forward look at the tiem. Also? Be grateful you weren't trying to look good as a teenager in the 80s.

My hair, on the other hand, was longer -- shoulder length, I'd say -- and ALSO included grown-out bangs that ALSO swept over one eye in a most dramatic way.

We were hot.

At one point, we decided to look at a family photo album. We sat next to each other on a window seat. I believe I was on the left, Nate was to my right. As we looked at the photos, our heads hanging over the album, we realized that both of our bangs were hanging onto the photo pages.

We thought this was funny. We thought we were so cool with our same hair and how funny was it that our same hair hung over the pictures and hey, wouldn't it be like, even more funny to like, point at things in the photos with our hair?


So we did. We started pointing to photos with our bangs and laughing and thinking we were silly but awesome. And then the fates conspired against us. (Probably the fates were thinking we had no business having those hair cuts and needed to be taught a lesson.)

And so, while we were laughing and hair-pointing, both of us kind of pulled back from the album in opposite directions, and then at the same time, we very suddenly decided to point to something in the center of the book.

There was a loud CRRAAAAACK! as our foreheads careened into one another so very, very hard.

I saw spots. I started to tear up. I could feel the heat of the golf ball-sized bump forming on my forehead. I looked at Nate, who seemed to be in the same predicament. We rushed ourselves to the kitchen for cold compresses.

Unfortuately, we were too hasty. We should have taken the few extra minutes to come up with a better story for why our foreheads were sprouting mountainous bruises than the one we had.

But we didn't. So we stood in the kitchen, in pain, with ice against our heads, having to explain to our mercilessly sarcastic family that we were bruised, probably for life, because we LOST CONTROL OF OUR HEADS WHILE POINTING AT PICTURES WITH OUR HAIR.

Dad's side of the family, I'm looking at you.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Eight Is A Lot Of Legs, David


(Please note: that is a relaxed Ahhhhh sound, not to be mistaken for an AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! which one might expect me to be hurling around here given that Christmas is just over a week away and right.)

I spent today shopping and wrapping and finally had an opportunity to put Love Actually* on. This means it's offically the Christmas season and I'm ready to get festive.

My ghetto tree is decorated and standing and lit, and I'm finding it highly enjoyable that my cats are stupid.

Seriously. My cats are so used to being naughty and eating any growing plantlike thing that comes into this apartment that they keep trying to SNEAK EAT my fake tree.

What am I supposed to do with that?

And you know what I mean by the "sneak eat" right?

It's a move I have seen more dogs perform than cats, actually. You know, where their head is dangerously close to a table that has food on it, but the dog knows it's not allowed to eat that food. So the dog just sits there, pretending not to drool, giving you a look that says, "I'm suuuuuuuch a good dog, and I'm sooooooooo sweet and see how well I'm behaving and not eating anything? See? See? Can I be rewarded with food now?"

And you think "My God, I am a good dog trainer."

And then you turn your head to talk to someone else, and the dog will watch you and then carefully, oh-so-casually leeeeeeeeaan its head toward the food and carefully, oh-so-casually extend its tongue out of its snout and carefully, oh-so-casually lick the food into its mouth and chew it quietly so as not to disturb your conversation.

THAT kind of sneak eat.

My cats do essentially the same thing with flower arrangements. They stalk the arrangements very quietly, keeping an eye on me. They sit close to the flowers and then just stare at me, waiting for them to notice how good they're being. "Huh? What? I'm just sitting." And so I look away and the next thing I know they're snarfing down potentially poisonous leaves.

As a side note, I do hope my cats never die from this habit. I used to think that cats had some instinct about which leafy things would be poisonous and which wouldn't, but that was before I discovered my cats trying to eat my PLASTIC TREE. And dear Darwin in heaven, I have discovered my cats trying to eat my plastic tree MORE THAN ONCE.

The point is, I finally feel like it's Christmas. I feel like I'm not quite as behind as I felt last week.

This year, I have even managed to buy and wrap and package and ship (well, almost, we're working on it) gifts for my Family/Friends in New York who might well have a group heart attack upon receipt of said gifts. Mostly my gifts to them are sporadic at best, and I think ONE year I got ONE of them something in time for Christmas morning.

I have known them my whole life.

So they may well wonder what has gotten into me, what with gifts for them in time for December 25** except they will probably feel somewhat assured when they realize my package includes wedding gifts for Hakuna.

For the record, Hakuna was married in October of 2004. I have had one gift for her since August of 2004, and one since November of 2005. Merry Christmas, 2006!

Also for the record, Hukuna and her daughter (my best friend, Em) manage to send wonderful, indulgent and thoughtful gifts to my entire family, every year, on time. Including the year Em HAD A BABY ONE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS.***

How do you have any kind of excuse in return?

"Oh, um, hi...yeah...with um, the mess that I am and cats and um...problem with the"


But this year there are signs that I am finally getting my act together just a little bit. And that? THAT is worth celebrating.

*The title of my post is a silly quote from the movie, Love Actually.

**I am entirely tempting fate by writing this post because, while all things are purchased and wrapped, they have not yet Shipped Actually.

***She had her second baby this past week. Couldn't not say anything, but it/she/they deserve their own post. :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Yo Yo'self.

I am writing this from a cafe where my lunch consisted of a poppy-seed bagel and coffee (because it was also my breakfast even though it's well after noon because this is what happens when you work from home and sit down at your computer sometime before 8 a.m. to "check email" and then it's four hours later and you haven't had caffeine yet and that explains why the soulful look from your cat made you a little weepy).

Yes, the caffeine should restore my chemical equilibrium.

In the meantime, I feel like I should point out that um. I'm not sure what it is about this particular cafe, but I am entirely surrounded by men on laptops and I swear that every one of them is gay. How does that happen? Did they all call each other this morning?

And also it is totally destroying my Gay Man Ideals because none of them are on Macs. Witnessing a gay man using a clunky, old-edition Dell laptop in the high-tech Bay Area is kind of like witnessing a gay man wearing acid washed jeans.

On the plus side, I guess I don't have to worry if I have poppy seeds nestled between my teeth or stuck to my chin the way I would if I thought the men would be checking me out.


I have no explanation for the man directly next to me, either. He is an older Asian gentleman in a baseball cap with gray Fu Manchu facial hair who, as far as I can tell, has come to this internet cafe with his laptop to play the online slot machines.

* * * *

Last night was the BlogHer Holiday Meet-Up and I think it was an overall success. I didn't know how stressed I was about it until last night, post-party, when I felt a tremendous release.

Now I just have 729 things to do before I leave for Massachusetts. In five days.


* * * * *

TheBoy (I think I should just call him "T" from now on, seeing as he was TheBoy when we were dating and that ship's sailed and we're friends and whatever) T sent me this link today about all the blog cliches currently suffering from tremendous overuse.

I have been thinking about this for a long time myself, because the more blogs I read (and write), the more I realize we're many of us starting to sound alike.

I am not posting the link because I'm cranky about it because I use EVERY ONE OF THEM.

Fine. Here it is. Read it and weep. (And not from caffeine deprivation in this case.)

In my defense, I've been writing like this (this = cliched vernacular circa Clueless) in my emails and casual correspondence since long before I knew what a blog was.

But okay. Point taken. Yo.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It Is Time (A Poll)

You know, for 1.5 years, I was completely without cable.

I had a TV, a DVD player and VCR, but no active "channels." No TiVo, not even the ghetto, Comcast-issued DVR. Nothing.

What's this you say about Lost? Huh? Who is Carrie Underwood? The Amazing what now? No, I have not seen that commercial.

It was a sad state of affairs, but I was resolved. I was tired of spending a couple hours every evening watching bad television. For every hour of "good" TV, I was certain to watch at least an hour of something I really didn't need to see. And not just re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-reruns of The Simpsons, but things like infomercials for face creams (or rather, Facial Cream Systems) and Guerra De Los Sexos! on the Spanish channel.

I do not speak Spanish.

So I used my downtime to do other things. Like blog. And knit. And date. My plan worked. But then. Ohhhhhh, but then.

Last Christmas everything changed.

Of course you can come stay with me... my dad's fiancee had said. It was the last night of my holiday vacation back east, and I had been invited to stay with Jane and spend the night with her and her daughter.

...we can stay up and watch Project Runway.

I didn't think much of it.

I didn't know.

And then, back-to-back, one, two, THREE episodes! Ohmygod. Tim Gunn is so great and encouraging and smart and WHY has no other show had someone like him? I love you! Carry on! And Heidi is so gorgeous and cute and adorable -- SO adorable that when she tries to be all snide and scary, she's just cuter. Ha, ha! And remember? Last December? With Santino! And Ahhhhhndre! And Nick! And WHERE THE HELL IS MY CHIFFON!?!?!?

I got cable.

And now, a year later, my life is very different. I watch television. I don't watch a lot, just enough to warrant my cable bill (and the ghetto DVR it comes with).

I love Project Runway. I enjoy Top Chef. I am THRILLED about Top Design. And you know, American Idol.

And now that I am owning up to this, I have made an executive, creative decision. Are you ready?

I am going to blog about television shows.

Does this matter? Probably not. Do you care? Probably not. But I have just decided it's silly not to talk about them so whatever.

Anyway, my quick poll question, which I'm assuming very few of you have any interest in answering is this:

A. Do I post my recaps here?


B. Start a totally different blog?

Any emails and comments will be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sexy Secrets Revealed!

Or not at all!

Because this is maybe the least sexy secret ever! Whatever!

Evil Secret!

* * * * *

I nearly choked on my diet coke when I heard.

"You're working where?" I asked my friend, who I had always thought shared my political beliefs. " they...they're out here? How did this happen?"

My reaction was shared by others. You don't live in San Francisco and then up and work for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart!?!? It just isn't done.

"It's not exactly Wal-Mart," she said. "It's Walmart DOT COM, and it's not what you think."

But I didn't want to listen. I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to have my friend's place of employ be a source of contention in our relationship. She knew all the arguments I would make, anyway.

Certainly you're familiar with them. You know, the ones where you lay out any basic liberal premise and then illustrate the ways in which Wal-Mart fucks it.

I just shrugged my shoulders and tried not to think of it. It's not like I could persuade her to change her mind and quit her fabulous new job.

And as her uber-liberal, British boyfriend said to me, "She didn't create the problem. Maybe she can help be a part of the solution." Or something like that. Fine. Whatever.

But then a few months after she started working there, she learned that I was officially looking for a new job -- something that would actually advance my stalled career. And she did what any good friend would do: started forwarding me job descriptions from her company.

I didn't want to seem ungrateful, and I didn't want to spark controversy, but um. No. I do not go to work for Wal-Mart. That's the craziest thing I've ever heard. I don't care what the position is, I can't go in and --

-- huh? What's this? The best job description I've ever read?


So what did I do? Did I declare, "Absolutely not! I don't care that this position was written with my very own resume in mind! I don't care that it would mean working for the largest and most reputable companies in the entire world, because who cares what Fortune thinks? Old white men! I live in San Francisco! Yay Peet's Coffee! Boooooooo to the boxed stores! Fuck you all!"

I did.

And then I forwarded my resume to my friend anyway.

The truth is, I was weak. I desperately needed a new job -- not just for more money, but because my kick-ass boss was on her way out and her replacement? Oh, for the love of pete. May I someday have the balls to write about him because I want to and he deserves it.

No, I could not have handled reporting to that man.

And so I interviewed at

And it was...well, it was nothing at all like I expected. I expected the worst, and found myself instead at a typical Bay Area dotcom. I met cool people, smart and interesting people, people who cared about what they were doing, and took pride -- however modest -- in the fact that their work would impact millions of people every day.

So when they offered me the job, I took it.

Yes, dearest Invisible Internet Friends who are right now at this moment deleting me from their bookmarks and RSS feeds, I worked for

I. Worked. For. Wal-Mart.

Sheesh. It seems so odd to write that. To see it in type. But it's true. I did work there, and I had a pretty darn good time doing it.

Does this mean I'm pro-Wal-Mart? Um, no. It does just mean, simply, that I think some elements of Wal-Mart and its brethren aren't completely, 100% spawned from the devil. Some of the ideas, some of the ethics are admirable. Yes, the execution falls short...

Ultimately, I think:
  • Wal-Mart has the ability (size, power, capacity, infrastructure) to change the world for good. It does. Period.

  • Wal-Mart does not understand why people hate it so much. I don't think it takes its dissenters seriously. Or if it does, certainly it's not seriously enough.

  • Until Wal-Mart embraces and internalizes why and the extent to which they are hated, real positive change won't be possible.

  • In the meantime, I would like to see the dissenters offer realistic proposals for change, working WITH Wal-Mart and not against it. Wal-Mart has almost unlimited reach and resources that could help millions of people worldwide. Why aren't they?
* * * * *

Anyway, there it is. Hardly sexy, but revealing nonetheless. And in case you're wondering?

Yes, I had to do the Wal-Mart cheer.

No, I didn't have to wear the blue vest.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Fear Your Holiday Inbox

Dear Knitting World At Large,

Please explain.


Thank you,

p.s. I received the above photo in my email inbox this afternoon. Don't believe me? Go see for yourself - the hat comes with a shawl. Well, and a prostitute from the looks of it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Super Saver Sucker

Ah, but I've come to expect this from Amazon.

I found THE PERFECT gift for Ish. Added it to my Amazon cart. Knew damn well that it would be entirely possible that things would ship after Christmas and so I was prepared. I was braced.

Six items in my cart. Proceeded to check-out. Edited my Ship To and Bill To addresses. Added a new credit card. And the result?

Five of the items will ship and arrive before Christmas.

The perfect gift for Ish?

Uh huh.

Amazon Order

Being prepared for this makes it a little less painful, but not entirely.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Is It Okay...

...if I feel worn out from Christmas shopping and I haven't even left my house to do it?

In the last, say, two days, I have spoken to my sisters about a hundred million times, been to quite possibly hundreds of online stores, and sent no fewer than 15 emails all in the name of finding the perfect gifts.

It's a new kind of holiday shopping stress, I guess. Now that we have all the resources in the universe at our fingertips, what is our excuse for spending $45 on something when you might possibly maybe could be able to get it for $41.50 with free shipping? And once you have found yourself thinking this way, the madness begins.

I can get this Widget at Store X for $45. Shipping isn't really very good, though. Still, I can also get that Hoo-Ha and Whatsit here, too. That is a pretty good collection of things. But man. Store Y has the Widget for $41.50 and with free shipping. Yay! Oh, but they don't have the Hoo-Ha, they only have the Hoo-Hee. Is that good enough? The prices are comparable. Would my sister mind getting the Hoo-Hee? Fucking Store Y doesn't carry anything like the Whatsit though. Maybe I should forget the Whatsit altogether. I really love my free shipping. Maybe Store Y has other cooler things I haven't even thought of...

:: call from sister interrupting shopping trauma::

What? What do you mean you got her the Hoo-Hey? I was just going to get her the Hoo-Hee., no, fine. You get it for, I have to re-think my Whatsit strategy anyway, since I really want to get the Widget with free shipping....It does???Store Z has $1.00 shipping till WHEN?...

And then suddenly it's 10:30 p.m. and your eyes are crossed and you're not sure you're making the right decisions and you're weighing shipping costs versus delivery times and realize you literally have 28 shopping carts open at different online stores and have, in the end, when all is said and done, purchased exactly one bottle of hand lotion.

* * * *

I am back from Chicago. I left at 6 a.m. on Monday and returned at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, so it was a quick trip. I didn't get to see a lot of the city, and was mostly running around, but what I did see, I liked. I think the conference in July will be amazing. Updates to come.

And for any of you IIFs who live in the area and might want to help me out in an informal ("that place? that place sucks!") kind of way, please email me. Thanks!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Winter Wonderland

As Ish was getting dressed at 6-something on Sunday morning to go back to his place to inject his diabetic cat --

I haven't even gotten into this story yet. But not only has Ish acquired his two cats, one is -- yes -- diabetic and needs a shot of insulin every 12 hours or he'll die.

I know.

At this point I fear you might think I'm just making all these family and pet illnesses up, but I am not. And what makes this even crazier is that Ish ISN'T EVEN THE FIRST shaven-headed, goatee-sporting man I've dated who, following the dissolution of a relationship, has gotten custody of more than one cat, INCLUDING A CAT WHO REQUIRES INJECTIONS. Let me say that again. NOT THE FIRST ONE. ElG had (well, still has) a cat who requires a saline drip, every day, drip drip, or he will die.

IIFs, I could not make this up if I tried.
--I looked up and saw him standing before my veritable winter wonderland. You know, the half-lit, fake, misshapen, ghetto Walgreens tree atop my bedroom desk next to the plastic container of other holiday accoutrements that also probably don't work.

I couldn't help but laugh at my pathetic excuse for Christmas decor. (Also? It was 6 on a Sunday morning and at that time pretty much you have to laugh or else you will cry.)

I asked him (from bed, because even though HE has to get up and go at 6 in the morning doesn't mean I have to) to please bust out with his camera phone and take a picture of my collection in all its glory. So he plugged the tree in and took this picture and now here it is for you.
Winter Wonderland
Not so much celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ

who I just typed as "Jess" Christ (because I am exhausted because I got up THIS morning at 4 a.m. to get to Chicago and do busy, important things, which is why my last post consisted entirely of my teeth chattering). You know, Jess? Jess Christ? Jesus' little sister? Dude, you totally had a crush on her, don't lie to me.


--as it is an illustration in My Domestic Failures, File #2509.

Fa la la la laaaaaaa.



Friday, December 01, 2006

Dear Purl:

Thank you for sharing your horrific hairstory with us. It is nice to know that we all went through some very unfortunate-looking years (mostly those double-digit ages beginning with the number 1...), particularly in the hair department. Ugh.

And so, in the merry, seasonal spirit of solidarity, I offer two words to you:

Permed. Bangs.

permed bangs



No, I am not referring to my mental age, though I appreciate you going there.

No, I am not referring to my clothing size because we are not discussing weight, size, poundage, heft, bulk, disgrace, working out, or fat or calories until (probably) after the holidays because I just do NOT have the bandwidth. I lost basically no weight in 2006 and don't think that's going to change between now -- DECEMBER, by the way -- and New Year's. Because with turkey and eggnog and the fact that I'm spending Christmas with my family and my cousin Nate who once dubbed himself Boozy Clause, it's just not realistic.

I guess my "No Joy in '06" plan -- the plan wherein I was going to rein in my spending and my eating and hunker down and grow up -- worked VERY WELL except for the weight part. Which was kind of the whole fucking point. So oops and we'll have to come up with something catchy for '07.


14 is the number of degrees it is threatening to be at some point next Tuesday when I am in Chicago.

[Attn: BlogHer babes -- going to Chicago to scout venues for us to rock the uber BlogHer Con '07. Woo to the oot!]

That's like, barely more degrees than I can count on my fingers and you know what also isn't cute? When one of the venue ladies you're going to meet with adds a P.S. in her email that says, "Bring your snow boots!"

Snow boots?

I did grow up in a land where it snowed and so I mean, I am not oblivious to this sort of thing, but I live in California now. Where, sure, it gets damn cold but that doesn't mean we stop wearing our flip-flops.

I'm not really sure what the point of this entry is, other than to share that I am going to Chicago next week on a business trip and feel very grown up about it. Especially because I was adult enough to get my winter coat over to the dry cleaners this morning after I realized that it was:
A. the only nice, business-ish coat I own; and
B. covered in splattered ketchup

True, I'm not sure how showing up with a ketchup-splattered coat could be any less professional than having my cat hock up a hairball while on the phone with the vendor I'll be visiting, but you know. Appearances and all that.

In case you're wondering about the ketchup, I will tell you. A few nights ago, I was out grabbing a quick bite with Ish. And the "quick bite" involved being at a hamburger joint that had one of those push-down-on-the-plastic-spout tubs of ketchup I have managed to use without incident my whole life. Ish sidled right up to it and pushed down and got a simple, easy, steady stream of ketchup.


Then I used it. And while I didn't push too hard or fast or uncarefully, my breezy elegance must have sent a secret message to the tub that I had been condiment-free for like, a whole week and so it decided to do its civic duty and clog, suddenly. And then unclog, suddenly.


Ketchup droplets all over my shirt. All over the insides of my pink coat. (Yes, I said INSIDES. Outside alone wouldn't be enough.)

I just looked up at Ish, who said reflexively, "Awww, sweetie." And then laughed at me.

This is how it goes all the time. We've had practice. I spill / trip / fall / drip. I look at Ish. He says "Awww, sweetie" and then tries not to laugh too hard while mopping me up.

It reminds me, actually, of my brilliant friend Missy, who said to me once, "My husband just sort of follows me around with paper towels."

But did I mention? 14 degrees? Oh, and SNOWING? At least my coat will be clean.

I wonder which pair of flip-flops will go best.