Saturday, March 31, 2012

Looking forward to my refill.

I am a born skeptic. I've told this story before here, but I'll tell it again because it will help me get where I'm going. I don't actually remember this happening, but my parents tell me that at a very young age, I heard a rumor that Santa Claus, who I dearly, dearly loved and appreciated, was not an actual, living person.  When I confronted them, my parents (being the new-agey hippies that they were) told me the truth. I was mortified, I imagine. Probably damn near inconsolable. But the telling part is this: I started asking about my other invisible, gift-depositing friends. What about the Tooth Fairy?, I asked. The Easter Bunny? The Little New Year? (Which I'm pretty sure is just another generous imp my mom made up anyway. I could probably google that and find out for sure, but these days, who has the time?) My parents—bless their hearts—told me the truth.

And then I asked, So, what about Jesus?

It has never been easy for me to believe things. It took me a long time to accept the fact that I'm not an optimist, even though I really, really have always wanted to be one. But I'm just not. I describe myself as a "glass half empty type of gal". I've just never been sure that everything is going to turn out OK.  And the older I get, the more I realize that ...  I'm right.

A friend of ours died last week. A really cool lady. She was young. She had two little babies and a husband freshly barred in the state of California. She got throat cancer at a freaky young age for no reason. And despite all of the traditional and experimental treatments, the fasts, and the prayers, she still died. And it's not OK.

It's not OK because all this woman's friends and her young little family are going to feel the pain of this loss as long as they live. It probably won't maintain it's intensity and they will definitely be able to find joy and happiness in the people and things that are still around. But there's no getting around the fact that losing this lady from the planet is nothing short of a tragedy. It just sucks.

While Rob and I were discussing this and just how awful the world can be, I reiterated the fact that I'm a pessimist and this is why. He agreed with my self-diagnosis, but he amended it a bit:

"You are a glass half-empty type of gal," he said. "But you're always looking forward to the waiter coming around and filling your glass back up."

I belong to a culture of knowers. Where I come from, people know the things they know beyond a shadow of a doubt. I do not think I'm a knower. I wish I could be, but it's just not reasonable to expect that from my brain. I'm too prone to making mistakes. For example, today I went to work, really knowing that I was on the schedule. And here I am now, blogging in the middle of my shift. You do the math. So, no, I'm not a knower. But I sure am a hoper. And a lot of the time, the things I hope for actually turn out to be right.

So, I hope—I believe—that I'll be able to see Carla again. I hope I'll be able to see her, with all her hair and fingernails, reunited with her husband and babies. I hope I'll be able to tell her I'm sorry I wasn't a better friend, and I'm sorry I left her baby shower early that one time because I had to go work. I was on the schedule that day.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I don't know how to say this...

It's horrible. It's embarrassing. But I can't keep it to myself any longer. I need help. The thing is...


I think my dog is a racist.

Those of you who have met my dog know that there is almost nobody that Fritz doesn't love. I mean love. He loves people so hard that he thinks the only way he can express his feelings for them is by sitting on top of their collarbones and tasting the inside of their mouths. He gets so excited to see perfect strangers that his butt swings back and forth so hard, I'm afraid he might dislocate a hip. He is friendly to a fault. He has almost no concept of stranger danger. If we ever lose him, I'll just assume he went home from the dog park with, like, anyone else. Because he would.

Unless that person is of one particular race.

It's solicitor season, I guess. Recently, we've had a few young people come to the door and try to sell us magazine subscriptions. Rob mentioned to me that a couple of girls who came earlier this week made the mistake of ringing the doorbell and knocking on the door—two things that cause Fritz to go temporarily insane. In these instances, it's easy to chalk his bad behavior up to his surprise. He was awakened from a nap! Who wouldn't go totally street-rat crazy if they were roused from a dead sleep by a rattling storm door, right?

Today, there was no door-rattling or bell-ringing to blame it on. My dog just didn't care for the man who was on the other side of the door. Usually my dog just wants french kiss the person on the other side of the door, but today, it seemed like Fritz wanted to eat this man's face.

"If you're dog isn't barking, then he's not doing his job," said the very kind, very understanding solicitor while I grabbed the scruff of Fritz's neck and tried to get him to lie down and stop making hell-hound sounds.

I messaged Rob right away. "I'm worried Fritz is racist," I told him.

He wrote back: "hahaha."

But seriously, what if my dog is an A-hole? Slate wrote an interesting article on how I'm not crazy and how dog racism can be a real thing. But I still don't know what to do to make him stop barking like Cujo at any member of a particular ethnic subset. It's mortifying! And it's not a good look for him.

One commenter pointed out that maybe my dog just has a problem with solicitors. He definitely does, but his reaction to the other (white) solicitor who came that day seemed much less mentally deranged. And months ago, on a walk, he kept giving this poor man "warning barks" that did not seem like equal opportunity warning barks.

What to do?

Friday, March 2, 2012

1 Part Greg Laswell, 1 Part Sara Bareilles, and Just a Pinch of Magic.

Wow. Two posts in one day? Someone must have a paper to write....

Yes, I'm putting off coming up with an answer to why Theron Ware fails as an intellectual and an aesthete. And Yes, I'm still in my sweats and I haven't brushed my teeth yet today. But my friend Greg Laswell (OK, my Facebook friend) sent me a link to this beautiful song he made with Sara Bareilles. It's called Come Back Down and it's the first single from his album Landline which is due out next month. Treat your earballs to this:

Don't you love that? Doesn't it make you want to get up in your house and do the kind of twirly dancing you only do when nobody but your dog can see you? Doesn't it make you want to sing way louder than you're used to singing so your voice cracks? Here's a secret: that's what all of Greg Laswell's music does to me. I am his biggest and best fan. Biggest And Best! I feel like if he knew Rob and me in real life, we'd probably hang out a lot. Like at the Bright Spot, eating eggs florentine and talking tunes. We could swap stories about our scrappy terriers and talk about our favorite ambient percussion trends. Short of having all food taste like cupcakes, few things would make me happier than that. I wonder if he needs a drummer...or a penny-whistlist....

We have been following his every move...wait, no... his music for several years now, but I'm worried that not enough people are doing the same. Now you have no excuse.

You can snag a free download of the song on his website here.

In My Next Life: Illustrator Edition

I'm starting a new series here on this nonsense blog. It's going to be a thing where I say what sorts of stuff I would have and do and be if I were some other person in some other place at some other time. I have thought to myself "I wish I did that" so often that I figured I should make a thing of it on something I actually do do ... meaning this blog, not doo doo. (Wackity schmakity and so on).

Today's edition is all about illustrators. It was inspired by a couple of baby books that have come into Yolk over the past couple of weeks. Some clever book-nerds out there (Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver) made a Jane Eyre counting book with some of the most enchanting images that I've ever seen in connection with a Brontë. Check this out...

They also do Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, and a Shakespeare ABC book called Y is for Yorick. You can see the covers here. And you can see some of Alison Oliver's other work here. My child-bearing friends should not be surprised if they receive these as shower gifts from me.

Now, as a grad student of the literary persuasion, I'm sort of ashamed to admit that I've never actually read Jane Eyre (she said as she cringed, took cover under a pillow, and waited for the blows to rain down on her head like so many fire darts). But I've heard people talk about it so many times that I feel like I could write a screenplay. The same goes for Moby Dick and the last half of Anna Karenina. What? Lots of English teachers haven't read really important classic novels.

All of this leads me to my conclusion that in my next life, I will continue not reading many classic novels. Instead, I will do fun, colorful, graphic illustrations of classic novels to help babies get the gist of them. Because in the end, isn't the gist of Jane Eyre good enough?