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It’s been a rush of holiday prep around here lately, punctuated by feeding my seasonal addiction to Starbucks’ gingerbread lattes (light whip, no nutmeg – yes, I am that person in line in front of you with a lot written on her red cup, thank you very much, it’s only this time of the year, so back on up off-a me, ah-right?)

Today I dashed off to collect my liquid fix while R. got A. and her stroller into the car to go home.

Me: I got lucky! No wait. This whole herd of teenagers came in just after me.
R: Is that the right word? Herd?
Me: Like a gaggle? “An annoy of teenagers?”
R: Like “a murder of crows.”
Me: Yeah.
R: “A punishment of teenagers.”
Me: Yeah, that’s it.

Holiday Decor

OK, seriously? A shotgun shell wreath? Really? REALLY??

I’m all up on the holiday decor thing and each to their own, but honest to God this is beyond me. Who in their right mind is going to put this up? And who is going to buy it except as a not-funny gift? The guys who don’t just snort the first time they trigger Big Mouth Billy Bass at Walgreens but think he’s a hilarious present? You know what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend? That I don’t know anyone who would give me this wreath.

Oh wait – I just read the full description: “Chamaecyparis, rose hips, and Pheasant Feathers (feathers not pictured in this wreath, but we will update the photo soon!)” Ah. I see why I hate it: it’s because the feathers aren’t in the picture. If it had feathers, it would be 100% awesome.

Lord Almighty. Wow.

Merry Christmas To Me

I found it. It’s my Christmas present AND the most ridiculous thing the Williams-Sonoma, Inc., family has offered for sale since the Electric Vacuum Marinator. It might even be more ridiculous than the marinator because it costs $5000. Five. Thousand. Dollars. For something made by Pottery Barn. I would hope that for five thousand dollars I would actually get a pottery barn. I’m not 100% sure if that’s a barn that stores my pottery (of which I have very little – possibly because I don’t have enough dedicated pottery storage space) or a barn made of pottery. I don’t care which it is: at San Francisco real estate prices, $5K is a bargain for either.

But back to my Christmas present: it’s a car. A Bugatti, to be precise. But not an actual one, a miniature one. With no engine. So even if I were two feet tall, I couldn’t drive it around my house, which is a theoretical crying shame.

If it were an actual one, five thousand dollars would be the bargain of the century. But I probably still wouldn’t be able to drive it since it’d be a hundred years old and wildly unsafe, so I guess Pottery Barn hit the nail on the head: why buy the un-driveable real thing for an exorbitant sum when you can spend a slightly less exorbitant sum on an equally un-driveable but much smaller fake thing?

My Christmas present features, “hand-polished aluminum wheels,” which I’m assuming, since they use the present tense, means the car comes with someone to continue the hand-polishing. I’m starting to see where the cost started climbing.

Also, it has a nickel-plated, cast bronze radiator which sounds expensive and like maybe that’s what kind of engagement ring I should’ve held out for. Or what my next stove should have.

(I hate our current stove by the way. Maybe when my tiny car has it’s inevitable catastrophic accident, I will weld the nickel-plated, cast bronze radiator onto my stove, thereby improving it immensely.)

The web site says “…this car isn’t meant to be driven, but that won’t stop it from making your heart race.” I can only imagine. Between the price tag and the frustration at being unable to either fit into it or drive it if I could, my heart is already racing and the car hasn’t even arrived yet. I can’t imagine what kind of stroke/heart attack I’m setting myself up for on Christmas morning. Don’t not get it for me though because of that: this is all I’m asking for this year. Really. I have to have this car, health be damned.

Send me the shipping confirmation when it leaves the miniature Bugatti factory, OK? I need to know when I should go stand by the front window with my nose pressed against the glass.

Siri and Me

Here’s why Siri is going to be my new best friend just as soon as I buy her… Oh – sorry, Siri – that makes you sound cheap, as if your love is for sale. Which it is, of course, but like that haircut my friend got in high school that made her look like a Storm Trooper, sometimes the nice thing is just to keep your mouth shut about it. Just to be clear: I don’t think you’re cheap because you’re for sale. Apple has seen to that.

I didn’t mean to start off by hurting your feelings, Siri. Let me get back to why I think you’re the best.

It’s not that you take direction well and don’t get all resentful after you’ve done it. No, as with so many things, it’s how you do it that matters. That woman in the ad just goes, “I’m locked out,” and you are right up on that with three locksmiths. A.) That is fucking awesome efficient, and b.) this is what I’ve been waiting for all my life: I don’t even have to form a direct question when I want something from you.

Me: I left my water downstairs.
[long pause]
R: Do you want me to get it for you?
[long pause]
Me: All right.

See that? I need my water. It’s a fact. No, it’s not a request, but the request is implied in my bothering to state the fact out loud in a room where R.’s able-bodied self appears more ready to go get water than I am. Why else would I say it out loud?

This is the losing argument I’ve been having with him for an age and a half. I don’t want to be demanding and bitchy like those girls who tell their man to go get their water. I’m just putting the fact out there: there’s thirst in the room. Do with that what you will. If you feel a question in the ellipses that follows the statement, that’s because you are perceptive and nice, which are just two of the many reasons I love you.

R. calls my habit, “passive requestive,” and would prefer that I state my preference in the form of a question, but I am the anti-Jeopardy. I have tried to get better at this to please him and maintain domestic tranquility, but improvement is slow going. I’ve tried to think of why.

  1. I am from the ivied northeast where indirect etiquette is the norm. Don’t flaunt your wealth, only wear madras in summer, and don’t ask directly for favors: just wait until someone lovely thinks of it themselves.
  2. I am Swedish. Don’t say anything about anything except over afternoon coffee and when prefaced by a conspiratorial, “Well,…”
  3. I don’t like to ask for things in case I don’t get them, in which case I would be disappointed, so let’s skip the asking and I’ll just be happy if my unspoken wish comes true.

Wherever it comes from, my habit remains stubbornly unbroken and Siri, you are my new best friend/solution. Like the nicotine patch before you, you address the immediate hazard but not the underlying addiction, portable and happy-making.

Now I can go back to saying, “I could eat,” and you won’t come back with a tone and a remark about how I never help decide where we go for dinner. You’ll just tell me how far away the tater tots are. Or the Greek food. Or the dog food. Whatever. What’s a little passivity and inaccuracy among friends?

Hi Float!

Party City is a paradoxical place. For starters, it’s not really a city. Just FYI. And the party they refer to is not being thrown by them and is not currently underway. So that’s disappointing.

It turns out you have to throw the party. You go to their non-city, their geographical coordinates corresponding more to what you might call a “store” and pay them for all the supplies you will need to throw your own party. As long as your party theme is “Barbie Princess,” “Mylar Gone Wild,” or “Spongebob,” that is. If your party theme is “I have taste and class,” you might want to collect your goods from a place of commerce whose name is not spelled out in giant, crooked, primary colored letters.

I do not always have taste nor class and I am sorry to report that I have a substantial cache of both irony and sarcasm, so I stop by Party City regularly. Not to be too hard on myself, I also have a one year old balloon fan living with me, so there’s that.

There are two things I used to be able to count on at Party City: a.) the goods would be poor quality, and b.) the experience would be moderately depressing. The latter was a function of the former + minimal wage staff + aisles and aisles of tackiness stacked ceiling high. At least I knew what I was getting: noisemakers, plastic plates, and a taste of permanent recession.

But that’s all a thing of the past. Now it’s a different story. Now, there’s Hi Float.

What is Hi Float? As if the store were not already pushing the limit on plastic per square inch, now you can coat the inside of your plastic helium balloons with it. It’s supposed to keep them high and, er, floating. And it adds ten cents to every balloon sale. Which is why I declined the first time they offered it. My reasoning was that balloons themselves are plastic, so what’s the point of a little jacket of more plastic laminated to the inside of plastic?

I’ll tell you: awesomeness is the point. Airborne awesomeness coming out of an industrial-sized squirt pump.

Since we had already spent upwards of a six bazillion dollars on Astrid’s birthday party, what was another $3.60 to test out the limits of our balloons’ floatiness?

Two weeks. That’s how long one of the yellow balloons lasted. And it only died at two weeks because it was murdered by the housecleaner, not because it was lying without dignity on the floor. It had sunk to the level of the door handle but it was still floating. The other 35 balloons had called it quits sooner, but at least half lasted a week. Read my lips, people: one week.

This is revolutionary. Helium balloons historically have the lifespan of a fruit fly. Can you imagine seeing that same fruit fly that was working on your bananas on Thursday still having at it a week Sunday later? No. You can’t. Neither can I. And that’s not just because all fruit flies look alike. And you shouldn’t be saying things like that anyway: it’s racist. Although, let’s be honest, fruit flies probably say that about us too.

Here’s what I want: lifestyle Hi Float. Let’s find a real applications for this miracle of plastic. My Life: Now With More Hi Float! Hi Float, The Lifestyle Pump. Feeling a midweek lull? Stop by for some Hi Float! Abandon reality television marathons! Stop watching from the floor – start living at the ceiling! Learn to whistle! Loom rugs! Win friends! Influence people! Run a mile without stopping (once)! Feel optimistic about your pointless corporate job (briefly)! Become more waterproof!

I think I’m onto something. If we can consume a McDonald’s Happy Meal made mainly out of saturated fat, what could possibly go wrong consuming shots of liquid plastic? Nothing, that’s what. I’m ordering some. Don’t try to stop me. Really. Don’t. My mouse is hovering over the “Order Now” button. I’m not kidding. I’ll see you on the ceiling.


There is a giant Bed Bath & Beyond right next to our grocery store, and they’ve just added a giant drugstore section to their giant kitchen section. Everything there is giant. I guess their store is so gigantic that it crowded out their plan for a giant backstock space because everything is hung or stacked up to the sky. Some morning, I’m going to go in and ask for assistance getting down the one thousand and first spatula up near their 50-foot ceiling because THAT is the one I need. Eye level is for suckers.

Gigantism aside, I went into the baby products aisle and ended up staring at the colorful condom display instead. See, the birth control section is right next to the baby section. So you can stock up on products for your current offspring while making sure no others join her.

I have a lot of questions after looking at my options.

First, do the “Twisted” condoms come with a little man in leather wielding equipment that looks like it belongs in the hardware aisle? Second, what is the Trojan company implying about my sex life when they try to sell me a condom labeled “Sensations”? I feel insulted and intrigued all at once. Third, can you get the Sensitivity pack gift wrapped so I can send it to couple of my ex-boyfriends? Oh never mind. I just read the fine print. That’s not what they meant.

Being a “her,” I appreciate all the boxes that promote all manner of features “for her pleasure.” Thank you.

Not to get too specific about the guys I dated in my 20’s but I think there’s an untapped segment at the other end of the market. “The Pleasure Is All Mine” condom would be super cheap, flimsy, bad at conversation, and be packaged with a dehydrated shot of Jagermeister. Get on that. You could make a killing. You’re welcome, Trojan.

OK, yeah, I’ll just collect my unscented suncreen stick and Mickey Mouse Band-Aids and be on my way.


Say it in Llama. Isn’t everything better with a little llama in it? Yes. It is. The Llama Font.


Best Denzel impression I’ve ever seen. (What happened to this guy?)

World’s Most Alienating Airport
Prague’s Franz Kafka International Named World’s Most Alienating Airport

No big surprise there. Also: most irritating read for teen girls in AP English.

Oscars 2009 Best Moment

Apropos of nothing, my favorite moment in last month’s Oscars broadcast: