Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Saga of Not Being On Fire.

I had a friend in high school who would respond to any modicum of bitchin'/gripin'/general complainin' with one defiant rebuke: "At least you're not on fire."

This both amused and annoyed the hell out of me - my response usually being, "Yeah but still" - only to hear the refrain again. At least you're not on fire.

It's true. I'm not on fire. Nor am I homeless, or limbless, or penniless (working on that last one), or any other word suffixed with -less. But I am fat.

If that last part bothered you, please, cease reading now. It's been a long time coming, friends, but tonight, the blogging of RR (or, as I think of myself in my head to get used to my new rap name, Lil' Cthulhu) is gonna be heavy. See what I did there? Heavy? Fat? Get it? Lil' Cthulhu!

I will be 23 on Monday. It's not really a monumental age, but it is the first full year, a whole calendar, twelve entire months, that I'll be living the way I always wanted to live--I'm in a fuckin' awesome program, with some fuckin' awesome people, and I do some fuckin' great work, plus Wilmington is fuckin' paradise (62 DEGREES IN JANUARY BLUE SKIES AND HAVE I MENTIONED THE OCEAN!?!). So in my mind, it was high time to tackle that terrible beast that I inhabit, also known as my body.

I joined a program. You may know of this program. They have a very aggressive advertisement campaign that features (not the wife of Eddie Van Halen I hate that bitch) a little orange monster called Hungry. I identified not with the trim women vehemently ignoring this little orange monster's temptations of donuts and pizza, but with the monster. He's kind of cute. I also like the whole Points system, having gone to a school disciplined by Points--it's familiar to see the wide range of 4-12 points, mirroring the disciplinary actions taken should you be caught with some weed (incidentally no one could tell any of us how the 4-12 broke down when it came to weed - was 4 a joint, 12 a dorm closet greenhouse? 7 a bong, 12 a 12-foot bong?).

And sure, it's embarrassing. And sure, publicizing it like I'm doing now might not be the smartest idea, and I might regret it later, and you might be thinking TMI TMI Stop This Right Now, but I made a new discovery today, in addition to the fact that my weight is fast on its way to becoming a medical issue.

Jokes help me cope. Jokes, I think, are necessary to coping. I make a lot of bad jokes at even worse times, but it's an intrinsic part of how I get through the days.

For instance, I texted a friend of mine who is also a part of the weight-loss program in question and told her that truthfully, I was terrified. She said: don't be its like the least scary thing in the world. And I said: yeah i guess in general bears are scarier. (This same friend helped me last week when I admitted I was terrified of yoga. She: don't be its super fun and easy. Me: what if i fart? Because that is actually the root of my fears, which I did not realize until I cracked that joke).

So as I'm gearing up to go to this meeting, to sit in a room with all these other women, uniform only in how much older they are than me, I start composing this post in my head. My brother insists I don't make up any jibes on the spot, but keep a notebook that I refer to, that I sit in my room coming up with these--and it's partially true (but the point is he is just hugely jealous that my wit is so, so sharp, whereas he is dull and awful and terrible and doesn't even read this so I don't even care pffffft). In the car, I started listing all the fucking awesome things about my life, like my fucking awesome car and awesome boyfriend and awesome hair and awesome awesomeness. Then I got to the meeting. Then I kind of freaked out.

Truthfully, it wasn't mind-blowing. The sermon--sorry, lesson--was on emotional hunger versus physical hunger. Apparently you should only eat when your body needs to, not when you are sad or angry. No shit, Sherlock. Though I know, when I'm in the middle of a heated argument, putting my face in a cake really helps. That's why I always keep a cake on hand. Likewise, the rewards system is based on early childhood--lose 10% of your starting weight, you get a key ring! Lose 25 pounds, you get a charm (put it on your key ring)! I'm not making this up.

But the numbers were pretty staggering. I won't drag you through the Annotated History of Rachel's Weight (that last post about the journal keeping? Yeah, I'd say probably 70% of those journals are moody musings on body image), but I've been overweight for a long, long time, and I've known about for a long, long time. I have made efforts to remedy it for a long, long time, and probably now is the first time I've been doing something about it in a good way--eating better, riding my bike--versus bad ways (see: all of middle and high school). And this program-joining business is really a last ditch effort, but I have a lot of hope that someday I will be able to wear galoshes. Seriously. That's all I want. Knee-high boots that don't cut off the circulation to my feet.

And I know it could be a whole lot worse. I admit I am unhealthily obsessed with reality-TV programming about marginalized America, and there was a day while Rob was in NJ that I swear to God, TLC was having a SUPER-OBESITY marathon. And I watched a lot of it, and yes, took some comfort in it, knowing sure, I'm heavyset, but I'm not bedridden, good grief. Likewise, I don't eat cheese fries for every meal, or drink 2 liters of Coke straight from the bottle, or gorge myself on Ding-Dongs (there was a time when my diet was probably 3 parts Super Pie and 4 parts Keystone, but those days are over). I don't slather butter on ice cream and sprinkle it with lard. Well, sometimes. But rarely.

There's this new show on National Geographic called Taboo, where every week they pick a group of persons and cover them from different angles, and two weeks ago, it was the Fat episode. I made it a point to watch it, and it affected me more than I liked. There was the usual bit on someone super morbidly obese (so passe nowadays), an African country where fat is still a symbol of prosperity, but then the show closed with a profile of the Miss Plus USA Pageant and a 450 lb. woman who does soft porn. And it was amazing. Here were these women, unapologetic, fuckin' proud of their size--I mean, good lord, those are the two social pinnacles of feminine beauty, a pageant queen and a porn star! And they were huge!

So I guess the point of including them was to say I admired their ability to recognize their own potential within themselves and celebrate it. And Rachel-watchin-her-weight does not mean I'm going to eat only carrots and a single bean, that I'm going to stop going out or drinking or enjoying myself, or that I'm going to hate myself and be a bore to everybody.

Probably the opposite will happen--the whole time I was at that meeting, I just kept thinking what a hilarious story it would make, what awesome fiction data I was collecting, how this would make one heck of a blog post.

See what I did there? Get it? Cyclical posting?

Lil' Cthulhu!

And, you know, if all else fails, well--I am still not yet on fire.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Saga of Complusions.

Dear Readers of the Internet,

Lately I have found myself in a tremendously flummoxed mental smorgasbord dilemma. It goes about like this:

What am I doing?!

Hopefully, friends and comrades, you think the same thing, else you wouldn't be reading this (and I don't why you do, frankly, but I also don't know why Rob insists on leaving three sundried tomatoes in the pack of sundried tomatoes because what good are three sundried tomatoes gonna do anybody? Five sundried tomatoes, maybe, but three? That's just useless).

But that flummoxed state of mind is really nothing new. I find myself thinking it in nearly all situations. Examples: When I decide to ride my bike more than the usual jaunt around the neighborhood. Usually the W.A.I.D. moment arrives when I am about to bike across a hideously busy intersection and my legs feel like they are made of straw and the bike seems to have somehow packed on a couple pounds. More than likely, most of the folks driving, seeing this lobster-hued half-midget struggling-to-gain-momentum on a blue-child's-bike through their fast-approaching windshields, are probably thinking the exact same thing, only "you" instead of "I."

Another example: When I am eating soup and pickles at the same time and consider amalgamating the two. Then I realize what a really, really bad idea that is.

Another other example: When I am interviewing for any of the dozen jobs I applied to, because these jobs are not at all related to me or what I want to do or anything--I feel sometimes like I took an AK-47 and just tossed off a few rounds into the crowd of job openings. But that could also be said for the map of where I applied to graduate school - pretty much me flinging darts while blindfolded (Montana? Rhode Island? Sure!).

Here's the skinny, though, the oh-so-soothing conclusion I made when I was eyeball-dueling with a potential employer, a man hoping to get into local politics, and he asked, "Why are you interested in this position?"

And I said, "Because experience makes good literature!"

And he said, "My God, that's right! You're hired! Also I will become your patron and build you a house on the beach! Also here is a puppy! I know you love puppies! Did you see the latest L.L. Bean catalog, the one with all the puppies?"

And I said, "I cut those very same puppies out of said catalog and pinned them to my bulletin board! But this puppy is better because it is real!"

And he said, "I love you!"

And I said, "Together we will conquer the very universe! Thanks for the house!"

This did not happen.

What I did say: "Uuuh, well, umm, you see, I like--uhh, see I'm a writer? And so I write things? And I am good at sentences. Yes. And experiences. I need experiences. I need to be PowerPoint-certified. But sentences, mainly. I like those."

(He has not called back.) (The part about cutting out pictures of puppies and pinning them to my bulletin board is 100% true though.)

I mean actually this: When I decided I wanted to be a writer, I did not exactly understand the fiscal consequences or realistic application of this decision. This might have had something to do with the fact that I was about six years old and working on a story called Frog and Toad Meet Dracula! But now I'm in a bit of a pickle (which, surprisingly, I don't like). I have a lousy degree. I take comfort in the fact that a lot of folks have lousy degrees, but my lousy degree is something I really love a whole lot, foolish as that is.

I guess, if you had told six-year-old Rachel, busy penning the dialogue of Frog and Toad Meet Dracula! ("Lets go to the beach" said Frog "Okay" said Toad "I WANT YOUR BLOOD" said Dracula "That was weird" said Frog and Toad together), that she would someday be one of those job-to-job-types, that she would someday acquire work experience that could only be called "erratic," that really, truthfully, honestly, this probably wasn't the wisest move to pursue this whole "writing" thing--if you had told her that, well. She definitely would have cried.

But she'd probably have kept writing.

Hence the title of this blog post. Not nigh on two hours ago, I just finished my 24th journal. Twenty-four, ghosts and ghouls. That is an awfully big number, considering I am shy of 23. My journal-keeping habit is both my proudest and most shameful. Shameful because, well, volumes 11-17 are pretty much entirely about Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and boys I wished would go to dances with me. Likewise, earlier ones are very concerned with recording what we had for dinner (phat kyd 4 LYFE). 16-18 are all knock-offs of On the Road, swapping the vast expanses of America for the rather small society of my high school. The more recent ones are just depressing, including more than a few entries written while very, very drunk.

Not to mention my insane personal rite of inauguration--up until two years ago, readying a new journal involved a lot of magazines and packing tape to make a suitable cover image, then titling the thing (usually based on the cover I had cut out and taped together because that made the most sense), then making a strange List Of Volumes that named and numbered all previous editions. I still do these last two, but I've finally graduated from taping irreverent-article-titles over quirky-images-that-become-highly-symbolic-when-recontextualized-onto-my-journal. Now I just acquire plain bound books, either as gifts or indulgences to myself--25 is nice, leather, with a tie and a bookmark.

But, still, I can't help but think: WHAT AM I DOING THIS IS THE BEHAVIOR OF CRAZYFOLK

So someday, I guess, when I am long gone and hugely famous (because you can't get literary credit if you're alive, Rule #1 of So You Wanna Ruin Your Life By Writin' Bout It?! Subtitled: Why Didn't You Major in Economics or Government You Dippy Broad), some ardent young literature student will come knocking on my grandchild's door, and this, fingers crossed, very tall and stately grandchild will produce the locked steamer trunk from where it takes up too much space in his attic, say something like, "I don't know why you'd want them, they're all nonsense." And then the young ardent student will be brought to tears by the maniacal multitude of all my idiotic journals, and he will dream of his amazing dissertation, and how he will be so very revered in the literary world for this discovery. He will begin to read.

Then he will discover that volumes 1-18 are useless in their preoccupation with what was had for dinner and how awesome Samwise Gamgee is. Volumes 18-24 will be illegible, half of their entries written, presumably, while very, very drunk.

Then 25. Ah, 25! Here it gets good. This--this stuff is pure gold!

Right? Right.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Saga of Crazies, Variety Thereof.

Define crazies:

a) pl. n. referring to a group of persons usually referred to in more polite society as mentally erratic and/or behaviorally eccentric.

b) n. a particular brainstate, induced by excesses of the following: caffeine, driving, alcohol.

c) pl. n. a delicious boxed snack, like craisins, only wilder and more frightful.

The answer is, of course, all of the above. (We will be serving Crazies, incidentally at one of, if not all of, the four restaurants I plan on opening when my writing career goes bust and I resort to food service entrepreneurship. Those 4 restaurants are, in order: (1) Mr. Waffles, which is actually a real restaurant but went out of business, and which I find the funniest name of any restaurant in the universe--wait, no, (2) Frickin' Chicken wins that. This will be a joint endeavor with Karlena Jimjams Riggles, and our menu will include three sizes of drink, Small Medium and HUGE, and everything will be served with a side of Ranch Dressing, including our staple, Fried Ranch Dressing Balls with A Side of Ranch Dressing, Drizzled in Ranch Dressing, Tossed in a Light Ranch Dressing Salad of Ranch Dressing. (3) Burger Plane. Like Sushi Train. Only burgers and tiny remote-controlled planes. Lastly, and this one is the murkiest in my mind but the name is too good to pass up: (4) Artichoklahoma. Get it? Artichokes? Oklahoma? Artichoklahoma!)

Actually the answer to the above multiple choice question was b. Which is the meat-and-potatoes of this post, or why I decided it was a good idea to post, because I had a bit of the coffee crazies earlier and have decided, as usual, not to channel that energy into something, oh, I don't know, worthwhile/meaningful and instead am typing while Rob does laundry downstairs. Hooray for Saturday?

But first a PSA: JUNIORS OF GLAMILTON COLLEGE, OR ANY OTHER COLLEGE REALLY: are you currently in a country that is not the United States? Are you keeping the perennial tradition of all college students living in distant lands, The Study Abroad Blog? If the answers to both of these are yes, by all means let me see them! They will be linked! They will be touted! They will inevitably become abandoned as you realize you should be out and living in the great wide world and not sitting at your computer typing about it!

Truthfully, though, I just love blogs. I love blogs the way I love Clean House and Ross Dress for Less and gray t-shirts (I own four, potentially six. I am trying very hard not to wear gray t-shirts exclusively in 2010 as I think it is a bad sign for my mental well-being) - with a certain sense of shame, but with an overwhelming sense of deep and strange satisfaction. If you have a blog, persons of the world who I may or may not know, rest assured that I have found it, and read it, and taken delight in it. I think we all need to be more upfront with our blogging, especially when we are blogging about nothing more than our silly little lives - none of this thematic, political, topic-by-topic business (Minimum Wage Stories, you are an exception because you are singularly amazing). There has, however, been a disturbing trend in my dreams where people in real life accost me about things done in the foggy realm of the Internet, and say things like, "Oh yes I saw on facebook" or "I read on your blog." I think the idiocy of the word blog is definitely partially to blame for the sad, narcissistic,certainly pathetic reputation of them.

But then I also frequently dream that I am beating the shit out of somebody. No joke. Complexes ahoy!

Point being, give me your blog and I will adore it.

As for the crazies: I am here to address three kinds of crazies. The Road Crazies, The Coffee Crazies, and Tulsa As Capital of Crazy But Not in A Good Way.

The Road Crazies are what happens when you drive 20+ hours, at least when that driving is being done East of the Mississippi. I'm picking on the East because once upon a summer, I drove 6,000 miles in the West, and the landscape was so bizarre and strange and changing that I never felt my brain start drifting away like an unmoored rowboat the way it does driving in the East. There are other factors too, naturally - Katie was with me in the West, but she napped a lot (the first time I was convinced she had died in the passenger seat and I nearly pulled over just so I could take her pulse - she was not, in fact, deceased). I'd never driven such a monumental distance before, so there was the thrill of Can I Actually Do This. Overall, though, the Road Crazies have been a singularly Wilmington-to-Tulsa phenomenon.

The Road Crazies go like this: It gets dark. You have been driving for 8, 9 hours. You are contemplating stopping and sleeping but you are also determined to make the next city before doing so (because you have this weird numbers/competition thing and somehow you will have failed if you do not complete the next 38 miles). You have listened to about 45 episodes of This American Life, backdated at least a month, possibly a year, and now Ira Glass is narrating your thoughts. You turn on the radio, and this is when the really bonkers thoughts begin--thoughts like I really should listen to The Police more often or Maybe this year I will go to an amateur rap battle; I should begin a notebook for my rhymes or My father gave me this leftover Tupperware of New Year's Dinner--instead of stopping for a snack I'll just eat these slices of ham and, consequently, Ham breath is one of the lesser-publicized plights of the modern age.

Then you hear yourself thinking and you find a motel and run a hot bath and fall like a proverbial felled tree into your overpriced, oversized, overstarched king-sized bed, but not before considering sleeping diagonally solely because the mattress would allow for that.

The Coffee Crazies are self-explanatory. You drink too much coffee, your stomach lining feels like lava, you take a shower and are so overwhelmed with psychotic spurts of ideas and plots and plans that you can barely concentrate on rinsing your hair. A few hours later, you will be on the couch, watching another episode of Clean House, wondering how you got so tired.

And, lastly, Tulsa As the Capital of the Crazies but Not in a Good Way. During my bout of Road Crazies, I decided I would write an entire piece, an ode if you will, about QuikTrip. The virtues of QuikTrip. My deep and abiding love of QuikTrip. That time we were stoned and went to QuikTrip. It would be a commercial, but it would be more than that - a treatise, where I ultimately discover the source of my infatuation with a gas station (I'm open for suggestions as to what that source may be).

Thing is, QuikTrip is about the only thing left in Tulsa that I can count on being there whenever I go back. Tulsa seems possessed with a burning need to raze or relocate every landmark I ever cared for: the amusement park is a parking lot, the Metro Diner is a ceremonial gate, the supermarket-down-the-street from my childhood home was long ago replaced by a Jamba Juice (don't get me wrong, I love me some Jamba). Altogether, the state of Tulsa elicits one reaction from me:

What up with that?

And the capstone on all this, the really coup-de-grace or whatever (I took German goddammit), is this new business with area codes. Tulsa is changing its area code.

What up with that?!

No longer the 918, all new Tulsa phone numbers after a certain date will be some bullshit like 536 or 549 or something terrible like that. I feel a little guilty, but also a little proud, that I have retained my 918 number, even though I live in the 910 - it's like a collector's item now. So much for the Don't Hate the 918 campaign. While I do not hate it, I am certainly wary of it now. I feel like this will spawn a huge sentimental movement along the same lines of Pluto-used-to-be-a-planet. Poor Pluto. Poor Tulsa.

Tulsa, I'm disappointed in you. But so long as there are QuikTrips, and so long as there are 49-cent drink specials in summer, and so long as Penny is still sad and adorable, and oh, right, my parents too - I guess I'll keep coming back. Mainly QuikTrips, though. And Penny.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Saga of 2009, Part Two, and The First Saga of 2010.

Seven days overdue - and I know you all have been sitting at home, biting your nails, perched painfully on the edge of your seat, impatiently and anxiously awaiting the gripping, thrilling, scintillating conclusion of 2009 - for that I apologize, but here it is.

First, though, 2010. I need to type it a few more times so it looks less like some crazy future date and more like, you know, now. 2010. 2010. 2010. (Poll: Is it two thousand ten? Or twenty ten? Or, if you are me, and from Oklahoma, where we tend to mush our words together like the innards of a loaded baked potato, tweneetun?)

The drive from Tulsa to Wilmington (the Southerly route this time, still 20 hours, but with a few more turns than the I-40 NC-VA-TN-AR-OK route) was fraught, so I'll relay it to you points-style, because if there are two things in the world I truly and eternally love, it's Diet-Coke-with-Strawberry-Fanta-32-ounce-QuikTrip-drinks and assigning arbitrary points.

Oklahoma: will be omitted due to author partiality (needless to say it wins).

Arkansas: -100 for being so damn big, but +15 for the crazy Hitchcockian flock of birds viewed over the Eastern deltas. Also, +5 for some really entertaining radio, and for the existence of Stuttgart, pronounced, of course, Stut-gard.

Tennessee: +55 because I only clipped the corner of Memphis and traffic wasn't bad at all. -30, however, because I didn't get to drive over the big Mississippi bridge and see that crazy inexplicable glass pyramid.

Mississippi: +40, divided into two 20s - one for the nice moon, which was full and orange, and one for being relatively swiftly overtaken by my speeding Toyota.

Alabama: -200 for the disgusting gas station cappuccino (serves me right I know), the overpriced motel room with the bad TV reception (I spent the whole time composing a letter to the manager: Dear Sir, Not only was your reception awful, there was nothing good to watch. Also breakfast was pretty subpar. Please send a refund immediately), AND the Taco Bell I for some reason decided was a good place to grab a bite to eat, only to wait 20 minutes for a goddamn CrunchWrap Supreme. For the record, CrunchWrap Supremes are a) disgusting and b) notoriously hard to consume while driving on an interstate.

Georgia: +200. Two words: Quick. Trip. So. Many. Of. Them.

South Carolina: - 10,000,000. Of course my luck would run out one state away from home; some asshat did not see me cruising past them in the passing lane (which is for passing and not for driving I will have each and every one of you know) and decided to merge, right into me, or what would have been me if I had not honked like hell and swerved right into the grassy median. Smoke, rubber burning, the works. Then I had a little go-to-pieces over the steering wheel and very soberly drove the rest of the way home.

North Carolina: Should also be omitted due to author's partiality but I just want to mention the radio station I found called BOB FM which proceeded to play, in order: Hall & Oates, that White Town song I was obsessed with at age 11 called "Your Woman" or something, Kings of Leon, Journey, Lynrd Skynrd, and then 15 more completely arbitrary songs. It was amazing. Behold! BOB FM

And now I am here. Which leads us to the past 6 months, briefly summarized below.

As a celebratory end to our down-country then cross-country odyssey where we successfully procured an apartment and an enormous sense of apprehension, Rob and I conclude the trip with a sub-trip from Tulsa to Branson, Missouri, where we ride roller coasters and play mini-golf and Captain Professor, the man steering the Duck, makes some snide remark about how we are "so in love" after he views me merely resting my weary head upon Rob's accommodating shoulder. Needless to say a chorus of "Aww" ensued. Rob drives back to New Jersey; when we next see each other it is at our shared address.

I dog sit. The dog in question escapes. Twice. Both times she is recovered. Both times I consider throttling her. Moral: Shih-tzus are the devil.

My childhood bedroom becomes a maze of papers and boxes and trash bags and chaos as I bravely attempt to condense the past 22 years into piles. I manage to cram my entire education in to one single box. This disturbs me, but not as much as discovering every single hot lunch menu from my elementary school, which I apparently diligently saved, marking each day's fare with smiley or frowny faces (fishstix : ( - cinnamon rolls : ) ). Someday this will be fodder for my sidesplitting and deeply depressing Fat Kid memoir.

I move to Wilmington. During the drive there, I think mostly OH HOLY SHIT OH FUCK REALLY IS THIS HAPPENING OH MY FUCKING GOD. Then we, being my parents and I, arrive at my apartment and spend the next week or so really wishing I owned some chairs. My dad takes his first dip in the ocean; he remarks both that "I can understand why people do this, this beach thing. It's quite relaxing" and also "I'm mad at that ocean. It knocked me down." My folks depart, and I spend three empty days in the apartment, watching too much Law & Order Criminal Intent and having trouble sleeping until Rob arrives, which he finally does, bearing, among other things, furniture.

I attend Orientations and am generally bamboozled by the prospect of being at a different school than the one I just graduated from. I meet some dandy folks. I decide to start a blog.

Rob and I watch too much TV, eat too many hamburgers, do not find jobs. That's about it.

I go to New York City and get real drunk and don't really want to talk about it again. But then there are jobs! Albeit short-lived ones. At the end of the month, my mother arrives and sets the Crisco can on fire, plays DRIBBLIT in a game of Scrabble, sits in the passenger seat while I am breathalyzed, etc.

Rob and I go as a deer and hunter for Halloween. The antlers are currently hanging above our front door.

I get published for the second time! Then I write sometimes and then sometimes I don't when I should, but then I just end up watching marathons of Clean House while Rob is gone for Thanksgiving and wonder why I love Niecy Nash so very much. MFA Thanksgiving is a smorgasborg of tasty. It rains.

I drive back to Tulsa for three weeks that become evenly split like so: reading, drinking, driving, and sleeping. I spend $60 at Gardner's in one amazing sweep of manic book buying. Penny and I go on a few tremendous walks, then she spends the rest of the time moping. She is a sad, sad little dog. Christmas happens - Matthew receives his 30 pound jar of North Carolina sand with grace and confusion, then New Year's - which we ring in with rum and Dr. Pepper - and then, glory be, it's 2010.

I had my first class of the semester the other day and it was like a good slaparound - I'd somehow forgotten that I was a student, and a writer, and pretty much anything else beyond a mere human being. This does not seem like it would be a good thing, but marvelously, I am very determined not to squander any more time. So I redid my desk corner, made it into an actual workable space, and then I cluttered it up with books and letters and Polaroids, and now it certainly looks like a crazy writer's nook, if nothing else. Got myself a new printer, too. We also bought another bookshelf, so the teetering metropolis of paperbacks is gone from the study floor, now shelved nicely downstairs. It looks halfway respectable here.

Shamefully, though, I have to say I am a little more in love with the kitchen than anything else right now. Two reasons: 1) the George Foreman Grill coupled with the prospect of Jarlsberg grilled cheese sandwiches (no really have you tried Jarlsberg? it is the cheese of the gods) and 2) the wall cling Where the Wild Things Are stickers I got at the closeout Blockbuster sale so now we have...wait for it...A Where the Wild Things Are panorama across our kitchen cabinets!

Plus, tonight, I'm grilling salmon. George Foreman would be so, so very proud.