Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Crafting is, like, sooo crafty! And dangerous!

Craft Corner Deathmatch. Has anyone seen this show on the Style network?

I think people are celebrating it as Martha Stewart Living meets Mad Max Beyond Thunder Dome, American Gladiator, and the Iron Chef. In fact, this, from their website: "...home ec as extreme sport...and someone's about to get the craft kicked out of them." Well, with a slogan like that you know you are in for a solid half hour of entertaining TV time.

And it is just that.

I am not going to sit here and review all the dynamics of the show. It's rather game-shjow formulaic in that you have two contestants (in this case, two fist-pumping DIYers), a panel of judges (craft "experts"!), a gothic and solemn "Vanna White", a charismatic host (yum, more on him later!), and a rowdy audience that gets a lot of airtime (they are jeering and cheering and enclosed behind a fence to, you know, shield them from a flying glue gun, mobile, or paper airplane). Really. You either get the picture or you are living under a rock. Seriously, get thee to the show immediately! You won't regret a single moment.

I like the show for two reasons. I like crafting and I like boys. Let me explain.

First, I am a crafter myself. I have been cross-stitching, quilting, purse-making, doodling, knitting, decoupaging, glue-gunning, duct-taping, etc. for years. Here is a walk down "crafting" memory lane.

The first time I got creative with scissors was with Barbie. First, it started with cutting hair. I had the Donnie and Marie dolls and, well, they weren't Barbie. So I cut Marie's hair. In a bob. Then my sister and I each got a Ballerina Barbie, so we agreed we could make one "ugly." We cut her hair too. Then Donnie we just made gay. Because he had the purple nut-hugging outfit. Then we had a Darcy doll. And, well, she wasn't Barbie either - and she was bigger, more voluptous. So she was the sexy Mom. Who stole all her daughters' Kens.

Then I started cutting up old clothes and vintage (gasp!) aprons to make Barbie clothes. I was a Barbie fashion designer. I made wraps. I'd put on snaps. I would overlay fabrics. Playing With Barbie became Designing For Barbie. This carried on into high school when I met my bestest friend, Martini. But not with Barbie. No, we were dressing and designing ourselves. We canvassed the thrift stores weekly. Great days were "Bag Days", when you got a hodgepodge of goods. You never knew what gem would be in your bag. Then we would reconstruct the clothes. One time I made a green blue and red paisly long-sleeve shirt into a skirt. Sigh. This was back in the late-80's before thrifting became so trendy and marked-up.

I remember a time in high school, going to a party and meeting Schmitty. Schmitty was an odd duck (seriously, think Duckie from Pretty In Pink). He was just sitting at this party where lots of beer-drinking and acid-dropping occurred. What drew me to Schmitty was the fact that he was just sitting there.....knitting. So I got him to get his lesbian mom to teach me how to knit.

I remember taking a quilting class in high school. Then I became competitive with some other girl in my class to see who could crank out the most "Quilt-In-A-Day" quilts in the year. I made six but I think she won. But that's ok, because I got the boy. We were an early day Craft Corner Deathmatch.

In college, I had Saran Man. Saran Man was inspired by my friend, Katie. Katie took some wire hangers and fashioned a "little man." Then wrapped him up in your favorite color of saran wrap. We all had one sitting in the back seat of our cars because one time Katie's Saran Man got her out of a speeding ticket. Seriously, the cop was not the least bit creeped out or weirded out by a "little man" just hanging in the back seat. So he left her off for her "creativity." Who knew? So, Saran Man then served as our guardian angels.

I watch HGTV. I like craft shows. I could spend a lazy Sunday watching nothing but. Which is ironic if you think about it. If I like crafting so much, shouldn't I be spending that lazy Sunday doing so? Sometimes I do. But I like watching other people's ideas too. The traditional craft shows are so sweater-tied-around-the-neck, this-is-how-my-grandma-did-it, whiskers-on-kittens, blah-di-blah. So rote. But Craft Corner Deathmatch is a craft show that doesn't take itself too seriously. I like to see how two different people approach something as outlandish as making shoes out of wallpaper, boxes out of cards, or pins out of candy.

But let's get to the real meat of this. Should I be embarrased to admit that I have a crush on the host? Yes, people, Jason Jones is kind of hot. He's a blisteringly-animated, overly-anxious, smack-talking, trouble-raising, shrieking maniac! He's as menacing as my purring two-toothed cat who runs from the vacuum. And when he did that V formation with his arms right at unit level, with the slightest thrust, when he was talking about "kahunas." Well, I might be a little in love with him.

So, in the end, I got no point. But I got a message: Competitive Crafting is the new crack. And I'm admitting it here: "I'm addicted."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

On A Date, I Am A Class Act...Always

So I had the date on Friday, which, going into, I was very nervous about. It was with a guy I briefly dated about a year ago. I blew him off at the time - a case of possible right guy, definitely wrong time. As in, my heart was foolishly somewhere else. But now I am in such a better place. So I contacted him a few weeks ago and after a couple emails, I suggested meeting for a drink. Surprisingly, he agreed.

We were meeting after work - at a bar I had never been to nor heard of. Instead of believing that a guy maybe did want to see me - and maybe even happily - I instead went through all these revenge-seeking scenarios he was going to seek against me. Like...Does this bar really exist? I have never heard of it. Is he sending me on a wild goose chase? Or will he throw a drink over my head? So then do I take my new sizzling leather jacket off before I sit down? He can take my dignity but not ruin my wardrobe. Maybe he will just do the tried and true and stand me up? Maybe he plans on berating me - and all his friends will be in attendance? Everyone will laugh at me. Maybe I will show up naked, forgetting to put on my clothes. Maybe I will have to stand on the bar and recite the Declaration of Independence or sing a Celine Dion song a capella. see, I got creative with these scenarios and they were taking a turn into Scary Things Than Could Happen and my Fear of Public Speaking. So, I got back on track and decided to focus on the outfit - carefully chosen. But by the time Friday 6:00 rolled around my stomach was in a tangled knot of nerves.

I cabbed over and was anxiously propped on the bar stool by 6:15. So the bar did exist! And it couldn't be more perfect. Then he came sauntering out from the back. He couldn't be more relaxed and this made me more relaxed. We jumped right into conversation and didn't stop talking or drinking all night. So I escaped having a drink poured over my head! Golly, I was having a fine time so bartender pour me another Belvedere Soda and another and another and another and another. Oops...hiccup...giggle...giggle...time to stop, time to go home. Yes, it was time to call it a night and he kindly offered to drive me home.

The poor dear. Because somewhere between drink #1 and drink #60, I took a nosedrive into the Outer Limits of Coherence - where wacky hijinks can be had. Here is where the fun really begins.

Things I did on the date I was trying to impress:

Had him pull over so I could throw up on the side of the road. Wait! I'm prone to motion sickness. I throw up on airplanes with the faintest bit of turbulence. I am not drunk. But then again, I started to think that maybe I was. Yep, I think I am. Pull over!

Ran right out of the car, never said "bye" or "thanks" or "let's do this again". Nope, just split. I ran right up to my apartment and laid down on my kitchen floor because nothing says drunk like that.

Then the phone is him! Downstairs, he wants to come up. I want him to come up! But for the life of me, I can not remember how to buzz him up. I am pushing "pound"..."nine" it "three"...don't know how I finally got the door to buzz open, but he made it. Heellllooooiieee...(and there may have been two or three of him).

And so, what is the one thing you should probably never ask a guy on a date? If he would like to lay on the kitchen floor with you? Yes. That would be it. You know what I did? I asked him if he would lay on the kitchen floor with me. Beauty. What would his answer be? "Well, no, but I will lay on the living room floor with you." It's got carpet! Good idea...I like smart men! Poor guy, he was just obliging me. So I think in the middle of making out there, I excused myself to throw up again. I know what is happening here - I had no food. In hindsight, he should have fed me. Purrr...(my behavior is kind of kitty-like tonight).

And at the end of the night, when he probably decided he had enough of my drunk ass, I capped off his good night kiss with a roll...of the lint brush. The poor dear was covered in cat hair. So I rolled him.

In the morning, I woke up with a skinned knee, a bruise on my hip bone, and only one eye washed of make up. And I'm sure my hair was all over the place. I chuckled to myself thinking lucky for him he only got to see last night's act.

He has called and we laughed about it. So I don't think I scared him away. Besides, I really do not think I could be with a guy who couldn't appreciate the wackiness that will sometimes follow me and a few cocktails.

Although, I regret not being able to remember the kiss. I want a replay. And eventually I'd like to be able to ask him into my bed and not my kitchen floor.

Friday, April 08, 2005

I Don't Want To See You Again

Dear Perv,

I gave you the benefit of the doubt and went out with you. Even when I first met you at the bar and you were drunkity-drunk-drunk-drunk and saying very sexually-oriented things. I shrugged it off as drunk - I know drunk - I have compassion for drunk.

So I agreed to go out with you. We hadn't finished one beer yet and you were begging me for a sleepover (back down, Sparky). Then you disgustingly pondered my 91-year old great-aunt's sex life (file that under NOT INTERESTING). Did you not start to notice the one-sided conversations? I'm really not that shy and coy, buddy. Then I mistakenly obliged you and peripherally entered a conversation on sexual experiences and positions. But then you had to go and take it a step further and "enlighten" me on "how 'it' should be done." Here is a tip, never criticize a girl's ex-boyfriend's bed manners.

I could not be more turned off by you at this point. And, by the way, silly boy, it takes way more than three beers and a shot of whiskey to get me "liquored up and in bed."

And so I got rid of you and sent you on your way. Then you started calling me, emailing me, and text messaging me again and again and again. And always drunk. I never called you back. But you kept calling still.

This past week, you tricked me with the "202" area code. I answered. You questioned me on why I never called you back. And I told you it was because my phone didn't work for a while and I must have missed the calls. And I've been busy. And, yes, I realize I am at fault for not being forthright. So I started to feel bad. And went there again. You had to wax on about penis straws and whether or not I like to "drink from them." I suddenly realized you were no longer talking figuratively. You were doing that gross-me-out thing again.

Then this conversation happened:
You: I hate work. Someone here is making my life hell.
Me: ...
You: I am going to crack.
Me: ...
You: Do you ever feel that way?
Me: What do you mean, "crack"?
You: You know - just explode.
Me: Define. Like scream you head off and punch a pillow crack? Or walk out on your job suddenly crack? Or bring a gun to work crack?
You: The first two.
Me: Ok. I think those might qualify on the healthier side of cracking. I vote number one.
You: Actually all three, because they are all one form of cracking.
Me: ???
Me: ooookkkaaayyy...Got to go!

So you see? Now you were doing the creeping-me-out thing.

Now you tell me you are moving back to DC next month and can't wait to see me again. I wonder, how can you even think I'm fun? I'm not very nice to you. But I know what I need to do. I need to be blunt. I realize that you do not understand that I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN. I realize that you do not get that my saying "we'll see" or "I don't know" in response to seeing you again is not the same as NO. (My inability to say "no" is my problem.) So, know this, the next time you do call, I will answer, and I will tell you, "I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN."

Signed, Someone Who Doesn't Want To See You Again

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Spring Forward

Time is a funny thing. Springtime breathes new life again. The birds are chirping. The trees are bloating. The leaves are brightening. People are opening their windows. People are alive. Losing that extra hour arouses life anew and propels us forward.

Some people live their whole life looking back. Memories can be sweet and memories can be painful. Sometimes the painful ones eventually turn sweet. But only because of time.

Some memories are neither painful nor sweet - they are stepping stones along the way to Me (or You). It is those memories to learn from and to spring from. They do not linger in any real sense - but only abstractly. Hopefully, they make you a better person.

Some people become bogged down by their memories. And use them as excuses - to not move forward. It stews. I have been guilty of this. I spent six years "with" someone who I knew would never committ emotionally. I rather liked it this way. I thought, "I can't get hurt this way." Because I had been devastated by an old relationship that didn't work out and I didn't want to get too close again. So after that hurt, I found someone with the same fear of getting too close. Together, we stayed - for the friendship, for the attention, and for the understood wall that neither of us was ever going to penetrate. I was hiding behind it. He'd break it down and I'd bust through ocassionally, but we always went back to our respective corners. We understood our place.

Throughout the six years, I did try going out with others. But I always looked for flaws immediately and never gave anybody a chance to get to know me. I always ran back to the arms of Him, knowing that there would never be any pressure. Never any chance to mess up a good thing because it wasn't a "good thing". Most certainly, never any chance of loving each other the way two people should love each other - tenderly, undoubtedly, and unconditionally. And passionately, because there really wasn't any passion come to think of it. In any case, I call it my Chasing Claude complex. (Modeled after a character in a book by Nancy Lehman, Lives of the Saints.) Chasing Claude is a collision course for disaster. It proved to be. I eventually crashed and burned.

See, that was no wall. That was a fucking barbed-wire fence - somewhat penatrable and very prickly.

And so you learn. I am not Chasing Claude anymore. I'm not dwelling on what could have been. It is what it is. And I am better for it. The memory of him isn't painful. It isn't sweet. It just is. It is shaping a new Me.

The new Me called up one of those guys I never gave a fair chance and, surprisingly, he agreed to meet me for drinks. I also have agreed to go out on a date with a friend of a friend. The Match thing is starting to pick up again too. Who knows? But I do know, I will be open-minded and not bogged down by past mistakes that never amounted to anything more than a fleeting memory now.

I happily turned that clock forward last weekend. Who needs an extra hour of sleep anway? There are shrubs to be hedged!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Table For One

Eating alone is lonely. Eating out in public alone is humbling.

I don't mind dining out alone. But for the experience to be dignified, you have to plan for it and you have to have contingency plans. Even the most seasoned Table For One sometimes messes up and vows never to return.

The first rule of dining alone is to bring a distraction (i.e., reading material). So you look busy - at least too busy to be bothered with company. You are in control and content in your own skin. But my decision to dine out on Saturday afternoon was an afterthought really so I didn't have any reading material with me. Aha! But the restaurant has a City Paper. That would be perfect. Except...there were no more papers to be had. I had no reading material! I decided I would persevere anyway. It was early enough and the restaurant was empty enough. I thought I could be in and out rather quickly.

So I amble to the hostess' counter and meekly say, "Just one, please." She looks at me then proceeds to talk to the other hostess. Huh? I stood there for a good whole minute before another girl - a third hostess - comes over and asks if she can help me. I say again, more confidently this time, "Yes. Table for one, please." She seats me. And she gives me a choice. It was a difficult one. I could sit right in view of the front door. Or by the window - away from the eyesight of the door or passerbys on the main street. This choice is crucial. I was going to need scenery (what with no reading material). I could stare at the front door and people watch. Or I could select the window area - which is more secluded. I select the window. Again - I was going to be in and out quickly....right?


Nobody is taking my order....I have been sitting here for - what - five whole minutes! (When you are a Table For One With Nothing To Read, that can seem like an eternity.) I didn't even need to look at the menu. I said I was ready to order right away. So I wait. Minute after minute. For someone. Anyone. To take my order. My drink order? Hello? Water. Thhhirsssty. De-hy-dra-ted. No one. There are three waitresses (or are those the hostesses?) huddled at their post. I try to wave their attention. Nothing. Bitches. Ten minutes later, I make eye contact and ask if I can order. They nod. Two minutes later, a completely new girl goes to the table behind me to take their order. Their whole party wasn't even seated! So she mosies my way. And yet, I politely order my food. I don't want any funky kitchen scrap or bodily excretion ending up in my food on account of some sassy attitude. It's key. Restaurant staff can treat me like shit, I am always going to treat them like gold.

In hindsight, I should have ordered it to go. Because - horror of horrors - what does a Table For One With Nothing To Reading NOT want more than anything in the world? A Table Of Three sitting ON TOP OF THEM.

And so the bitches (who clearly hate me) sit a Table Of Three at the table right next to me. When there are about 30 other tables - the whole restaurant really - where they could have sat. This table is ON TOP OF ME. Really. They are so close I could reach out and butter their bread. Or stick a finger in their eye. Now, why? And why didn't they just say, "Could we have this table over here?" Why did they have to sit right ON TOP OF ME? If I enter a very empty restaurant and they want to seat me right ON TOP OF another person. I politely ask to sit somewhere else. It's called personal space.

So, as I am waiting for my food, I am just staring into space because again, I am Table For One With Nothing To Read. I would like to look around. But Table Of Three is, like, blocking my view of the whole restaurant so I would just be staring at them. I thought that might seem impolite. Or stalkerish. So I decide to just sit there and mind my own business - get my chopsticks ready. Look in my purse. Fiddle with my napkin. Take sips of my Coke. You know - general time killers. And then you know what Table Of Three does? They look my way - out the window - right over my head and through my head. And started talking about the weather. And looking outside. La la la. Looking outside. Through my head. While I just stare at the phantom person across the table. (And we are telepathically telling Table Of Three - LOOK AWAY!)

So forget it Table Of Three. You sat ON TOP OF ME. You stared my way for eternity. I'm listening in!

Conversational themes I heard from the table ON TOP OF ME:

Food is my friend!
Guy #1: I just eat when I get hungry. And then I stop when I'm full.
Girl: Me too! I never eat that much so that I get that full feeling. I know when to stop.

I want spicy but not spicy!
Girl to waitress: What should I get? I want noodles. I want spicy. But I can't do Rendang. This indecision is killing me.

We are vegetarians!
Guy #2: I'm vegetarian.

Guy #1: I am too!
Girl: We are all vegetarians! Waitress we are vegetarians - no meat products can touch our plate or in the vicinity of our meal.

{Waitress brings me my meal.}
Table for One: Singapore PORK Fried Rice. Yum! Hi Table Of Three! Maybe you should have taken one of the other 30 TABLES in the restaurant! Bon appetit!

You see, I wasn't alone after all.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Plump Up The Volume

One of the best things my brother ever did was marry who he did.

It was a fast courtship. It was also a long distance one. So when you are talking on the phone every night for hours and living hundreds of miles away, what do you do? You get married! Or rather, you elope to a very far away land where nobody will know you. And that is what they did. They hitched their fingers together and jumped to Italy - just the two of them. The pictures sure were pretty. And when they got back, the fun didn't stop! They got married by a justice of the peace to make sure it was legal in the eyes of America. They also did a church ceremony to make sure it was sacred in the eyes of the Lord. And they had receptions everywhere, with this part of the family, then that part of the family. It was a matrimonial whirlwind really. So when you ask me when their anniversary is - I just don't know. My head hurts trying to do the math.

But they did things their way. And it worked. They produced two of the three most beautiful children nearest and dearest to me. They love each other. Very much. Or they are very good actors.

I remember the first time I got to meet my new sister. Mom and Dad had already met her and loved her. But my first time meeting was going to be as sister-in-law. So I had to like her because she was here to stay and I couldn't give my little brother shit about it. So, in my mind, I was going to try my best to like her regardless.

Turns out I didn't have to try, I just did. She was so likable. Easy-going. Warm. Vivacious. Sweet. I felt like I had known her forever. We jumped right into conversation like one we had been carrying on for centuries. I loved her instantly.

She has fabulous taste. She is a great decorator, a terrific cook, and a devoted mom, daughter, sister, wife.

But you know what my favorite thing about her is? She is older than me - by 19 days. So she checks out the age before me. She dips her foot into the water. Shakes it off. Then we hold our breath and dive in together.

While we are not quite at the "39 and Holding," "40 is the New 30," or "I Don't Get ID'd Anymore" age yet, we are creeping up on it. We regularly bemoan our aging bodies and how we have to work harder at it. So this year we need a plan. And I think we found it. Cosmetic trickery! The Lip Plumper! They say it will smooth the wrinkles and create a mild "swelling of the lip tissue" and it doesn't involve painful injections. It's genius really. Because every aging beauty needs big lips. Yes, we are starting small on the body beautification. Baby steps. Next year - maybe Crest Whitestrips?

Pucker up, Gina!
Happy Birthday, girlie!