Monday, July 30, 2012

My husband is a fantastic liar.

My friends cancelled on me for lunch today. I was a little bummed, but not devastated. I've cancelled on them a million times. And I have so much satire to read, it's not even funny (get it?). Rob asked if I was OK with it. Sure, I replied. This way I don't have to put on real pants or go outside of the house. My motto is, "No pants? No problem!"

Then he said, Why don't we go to lunch?

Wha?! Lunch? Con migo? In Hollyweird? My husband never asks me to go on lunch dates. I mean, not since I was working at The Hollywood Reporter and we would keep it classy by meeting every day at the Del Taco on Highland and Santa Monica (which has, sadly, been replaced by a fancy gas station)—the exact midpoint between our two workplaces . Of course we can go to lunch! And at Kitchen 24, you say? I will even put on pants for this!

No, I did not think it was weird that he asked me to lunch with no occasion. Or that he suggested we go  at 12:30, a ridiculously early time for a Whalen to eat a midday meal. I just thought my husband wanted to buy a special lunch for his special lady.

When we walked into the restaurant, Rob gestured to a couple of hot blondes in a booth: Hey, don't you know those girls? And then my jaw fell off of my face. Sitting right there in the booth, in Hollywood, were two of my favorite friends from growing up who now live nowhere near me (Australia and Arizona to be exact). These gorgeous little liars in cahoots with my husband managed to keep their presence in LA a complete secret in order to surprise me. It was the best thing in my whole life.

If I had known this was going to happen, I would have styled my hair 
or made up my face or worn an "outfit" instead of "pajamas." 
But seriously, how pretty are my friends? They look like true All-
American girls sharing a shake with their weird, Eastern European
 exchange-student friend.

And Rob's not bad, either. ;)

We sat in a booth and chatted for three hours that might as well have been three minutes or three years. 
It truly is a wonderful thing to see old friends when I live so far away from my home and family. It reminds me of who I am.

My sneaky husband begged my other friends to cancel on me so that I could have a once in a lifetime surprise with my boon companions. And I had no idea.

What else is he hiding from me?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dog food: Raw and Uncooked.

Outside, on the porch, where the animal feeding happens, there's a big bin with a screw-on lid that is usually filled with several pounds of fancy, all-meat kibble. Every morning after our walk, we make Fritz sit in in front of the bin and wait while we scoop out 3/4 cup of this stuff, sprinkle it with ground flax, make him look us in the eye, and then say, "OK!", so he can get on with his breakfast frenzy.

Right now, that bin is empty and echo-y and a little sad. This is usually a sign that we need to hightail it to Blue Collar Dog and stop being so lazy. (When our pantry empties out, we can go to Taco Bell. But there's no Taco Bell for puppies...yet!) Don't worry guys. The kibble bin isn't empty because we're trying to starve our dogbaby. The kibble bin is empty because we're going all East-side on you: raw, semi-organic, and all mixed up.

I spent all evening in the kitchen, collecting carrots, beans, pineapple, eggs (with the shells), and leafy greens—everything in my pantry that wasn't on the no-no lists—and piling them into my poor blender that, unfortunately, is not a Vitamix. The smell was amazing! Like freshness and nature and vitality! Rob hated it. Also, it made a ginormous mess. (I found green sludge behind my earlobe and inside the silverware drawer.)

I'm telling you is this green for reals.

The truth of the matter is that our dog has a problem. A very stinky problem. The poor dummy can't express his anal glands on his own. I know, I know. You want to know more! We discovered this problem with our noses. Every 4-6 weeks, our dog smells like a decomposing skunkfish. The vets (two different dog doctors) have had no suggestions. So every six weeks, Rob sets an alert on his phone called "Anti-Skunkfish" to remind us to get poor Fritz's butt glands squeezed out. You're so jealous.

And we were going to just keep doing this at $14 a pop, until a couple weeks ago. We were walking Fritz around the neighborhood when we met the hottest, youngest, most tatted-up lady vet in Silver Lake (walking the dog is about as social as we get...). We asked her about Fritz's problem and she said: Guys. Raw food.

So there's one cup of kibble left. Tomorrow, Fritzstopher Frolumbus gets his first taste of raw turkey and veggie slop. I'm anticipating a future of fresh breath and healthy butts. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Fritz-iversary!

One whole year with this mutt.

Seems like it was yesterday and a million years ago that we got this stinky dog from the pound and thought, we have made a grave mistake.

But we were wrong. We made a great mistake.

Friday, July 13, 2012

My first hater.

I've been writing this blog for a while now, and I've never, ever had a hater. Well, not one that I knew about. I just figured that most of my haters probably didn't even read my blog in the first place. Because why? Unless you want to relentlessly make fun of it and, oh my goodness, please do! This is all nonsense! All of it! Useless drivel! Self-referential and embarrassing and stupid and dumb.

But now that I have a hater ... I've arrived! Yes! Finally! Now that someone has anonymously called me out on my own blog, I've achieved miniscule Internet relevance. Wait. No I haven't. But it kind of felt like that for a minute.

But hater...why are you anonymous? If you "welcome" my honesty and "cherish" my perspective, why not have an honest conversation with me about my perspective? Why should you get to enjoy my vulnerability while hiding behind anonymity? And why, if I don't know who you are, should I feel compelled to answer any of your (kind of hurtful) questions?

Because the Internet, that's why.

So I'll do it. Because I wrote the post. I kept it deliberately ambiguous. I threw it out there. So here we go.

[I]s there any selfishness in your explained thought process?
Of course there is! This blog is a dumb blog because it's about me. It's a place for me to post my thoughts and my feelings. It's public because all my writing used to be public. People said, "why don't you write a blog?", so I did. And sometimes, the things that prompt me to write are, well, about me. So yes, I was thinking of myself. I know how my friends feel, and I know how the more outspoken church members feel, but for stuff like this, I'm my only real reference. Now I know how you feel. Thanks for sharing.

Don't you think that other people have part of themselves hidden a closet as well[?]
I mean, yeah. I don't think I said they didn't. But on the topic I was discussing (which I left deliberately ambiguous because this is my blog and I can), I was responding to a cultural atmosphere which is felt by many, many people. Everyone has shit buried in the backyard. And I would never dream of taking that away from them.

Maybe ... there is enough crap in their own lives, that watching "Breaking Bad" is just a little too close to home.
You're right. Some people do deal with drugs, and death, and cancer, and living in New Mexico. I don't. I have a charmed freaking life. Nothing to complain about here. But I only brought up "Breaking Bad" because it has swears and adult themes. Correct me if I'm wrong (and I know you will—winky eye smiley face), some Mormons would condemn me for watching a show like that.

[A]ren't the same people who claim they never can be accepted fully the first ones to sit in the back row, or text someone else or joke in the car ride home about how that person is so abrasive or full frontal?
Sure. I mean, I guess so. But Rob and I sit in middle of the chapel during Sacrament Meeting, then we go teach Gospel Doctrine (from the front of the room), and then, if I don't have to rush to work, I sit in the front row of Relief Society and participate. I figure, if I'm going to be there, I might as well pay attention. On the car ride home, we usually listen to Beirut.

You say that you want to be totally yourself and allow others to see you fully, but maybe a part of you holds on to the precious fact that you are too unique to give everyone all of you? 
Since this is a criticism (I presume), I'm inclined to agree with you about me, because I hate myself. But no, I actually don't think I'm unique. I'm a dime a dozen! I literally think there are at least a dozen other Mormon girls out there just like me. Like you said, aren't a bunch of us all just co-writers on the same old song?

And what does liberal even mean? 
 Well, I don't know what liberal means to you. I don't even really know what it means to other liberals or even non-liberals, for that matter. But when I describe myself as liberal it means this:
  • I support gay marriage.
  • I do vote democrat. (I know, right? Such a cliché.)
  • I question (and even disagree with) some Mormon church policies and traditions.
  • I claim attachment to the "Mormon" culture, since I was born, raised, and educated in it. Also, graduate students. (But everyone hates graduate students.)
Maybe when you stop focusing so much on your feelings of exclusion or polarization you might realize that there are more people out there than you think that are trying to figure out their own feelings on things.
You're right. I am self-absorbed. Maybe I should have a baby.
But I'm not necessarily delusional. If there are a whole bunch of us who feel this way, as you say, then couldn't our feelings be somewhat valid? Or are we all just making it up because we can't stop thinking about ourselves? If there are more people out there trying to figure out their feelings, then shouldn't we all be a little more sensitive to multiple perspectives? You know ... embiggen the tent, as it were?

We are all growing and changing at various rates and you never know where someone is at. 
I totally agree with that statement. Except for the fact that it ended with a preposition. ;)

I hope you find a way to marriage[sic] your two selves and progress with success and hopefully find the humanity that you seek.
Thanks. Me, too. I might find it, if I can locate the co-authors and co-producers of my tired old song. After all,  the Grammy nomination deadlines are coming up.

Oh, anonymous. I was hoping I could find some of that humanity with you. Instead, I will try to make myself a better person so that you can find it with me.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

There's a war inside of me.

This line from a song by my favorite twin/lesbian indie duo rattles through my head most Sundays. It usually starts off sometime during Sacrament Meeting, the rattling. Then it gets louder while I'm teaching my Sunday School lesson. By the time Relief Society starts, it's so loud that I can barely sing along with the practice hymn. Something, usually a statement from a talk or a line from a prayer, reminds me that these people don't really know me ... and I feel like they wouldn't like me if they met me. I mean the real me. Not the me that curls my eyelashes and puts on an A-line skirt and tasteful clogs for Sunday worship. No. I'm talking about the me that swears. The me that sits for hours on my futon reading feminist criticism and eating candy in my undies. The me that watches Breaking Bad. I feel like that's the me they wouldn't like.

One me is not more real than the other. They are both as authentic as I know how to be. My religion is my heritage, my culture, my history. It's the only way I've ever lived. But in the interest of self-preservation, there's a lot of me that stays, for lack of a better phrase, in the closet. (Spoiler alert: this post is not about being gay. It's about being a liberal, among other things.)

There are times when I chastise myself for keeping so much of me in this closet. If these people love me, I tell myself, then they will love me in spite (or perhaps because) of these other parts of me. And some of them do. (I'm thinking of you, Lisa, who put your hand on my shoulder today and shot me such a welcome dose of love and respect, even if I am a Democrat—winky eye smiley face. Or you, Angela. I'm pretty sure you would love me even if I showed you my communist party membership card, which I swear I do not have.) But a lot of them don't, or wouldn't if they knew. I've read enough of their blogs and Facebook posts to know that their tent is not big enough to include the likes of me: the bleeding hearts, the skeptics (but not necessarily cynics), the respectful questioners. The searchers and ponderers. The pray-ers with (maybe) different answers.

Here's what I want: I want to feel just as comfortable with my church friends as I do with my grad school friends. I want to know that, like my grad school friends, my church friends won't think I'm dangerous or misled after hearing what I have to say. Or if they do think I'm dangerous or misled, they won't hold it against me.

I want to come out to my church friends. I don't want to have to pretend to agree with their solutions or support their same ideas. I want to tell them my honest feelings and share my honest struggles. Maybe they're having the same ones. Maybe we can help each other. Maybe we can make things better.

So I'm not coming out of the closet yet. But I'm opening the door. Maybe I'll burst all the way through when it quiets down out there. Maybe I'll come all the way out when there is more room in the tent.