Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Feet Are Tired and It's AWP's Fault

I went to the first day of the AWP conference this year, which was held in NYC - the best city in the world, but the conference was located in mid-town Manhattan - the worst place in NYC.

Last year the conference was in Atlanta, where all the book tables were in one huge room, so you could see all your friends. This year the book fair is split up into three rooms, and we're stuck in a corner behind a wall, which sucks.

This means walking up and down stairs and walking all across creation every time I want to talk to somebody at another magazine because everyone's so...spread...apart.

AND John Hodgman is NOT coming to our story reading OR party...because he had to go to LA to film another Mac commercial...likely story. Boo.

Next year the conference is in number two...Chicago in the middle of winter is what I call Shitcago.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Declutter 2008

This week we woke up and decided that We...Must...Rid...Ourselves...Of...All...This...Stuff...

I threw out things this weekend I have kept for twenty years. I threw out the little toothpicks wrapped up in origami paper to look like teeny-tiny geishas my dad gave me when we went to a Japanese restaurant when I was eight.

I threw out all our Adobe Photoshop 5.5 books, because you know what? We're not in 1999 anymore.

I threw out the puppy yucky, which is this spray we spritzed on items so that our puppies would not chew on them - mainly our dining room set.

I threw out a bag of pantyhose I've been keeping since college because I DO NOT WEAR PANTYHOSE. Yet, I thought that some day, I might get a job where I will have to wear pantyhose. But you know what? I've decided that even if I get a corporate job, I will stop the wearing of the pantyhose.

I threw out about five huge shopping bags full of books and another five big shopping bags full of clothes. Outdated terrible clothes I haven't worn in years.

I threw out my old Hello Kitty Jewelry box I've had since I was 5.

I sold our snow-thrower to a nice gentleman on craigslist (Thanks Luigi!).

I threw out almost all our cassette tapes because there's this thing? It's called an MP3 player? I'm 35 years old and I cannot believe how much outdated electronic equipment we already have. I threw out a huge box of diskettes (remember THOSE things?).

We purged the house of boxes full of junk this weekend and you know what? We've just barely scratched the surface of the clutter.

This is really hard for me because I'm a pack rat and when I was growing up, we had almost no money, which meant that we couldn't even afford toys, so most of my playthings were hand-me-downs. Every Christmas, I was allowed to keep one or two items so that we could repackage all the other gifts the rest of the year to give away when I got invited to birthday parties. We couldn't afford to buy my friends gifts and I always saved the best toys to give away.

I think it's because of this childhood that every single item I owned became very precious to me, including the ugly wood carved monkeys my grandmother gave me. I don't want to make this sound like it's soooooo traumatizing, but I think it is a bit more difficult for me to declutter than it is for other people.

One time, on a family trip to Yellowstone, my great-aunt gave us these really ugly scarves sewn up from scrap fabrics. My cousins got really angry about them and threw them in the wastebasket. They said things like, "Ugh! I can't believe she gave us that garbage!"

I rescued them out of the wastebasket because I didn't want my great-aunt to see it in the trash. I was afraid that it would hurt her feelings. I put them in my suitcase and brought them with me all the way home. And yes, those scarves were one of the items I donated to Goodwill over the weekend. I kept them this whole time!

Put Down That Computer

I was surfing the internet and Peter said to me:

"If you're looking up Bronson Pinchot on the internet, it's time to put down that computer."

To which I replied:

"I'm just concerned about him!"

Sunday, January 27, 2008

That Austen Lady

I've been watching the new PBS Masterpiece Theater Jane Austen series, which started with the movie Persuasion. It wasn't as good as the film from 1995 and I was a bit disappointed.

Peter did not like this movie, since at the end he said,

"That Austen lady. She takes a lot of liberties."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Movie Theater is That-a-Way

Peter has the worst sense of direction. He deserves an Oscar for worst sense of direction. I don't have a great sense of direction, since I am a landmark direction person - this means that I will never know what street I'm on, I just know that my cousin Mark's apartment is a block away from Nobody Beats the Wiz (which used to be Unique Boutique).

Our friend John once said, "No one can have THAT bad a sense of direction."

I told him that once we were in Irvington and Peter didn't know if we were going North or South. I said, "Well, since the Hudson River is on our left, we must be going North."

To which he replied, "Why do you say that?"

John's reaction to this story?

"Oh dear..."

So we're at the Ghirardelli ice cream store having a Delicious Sundae and a Waffle Cone when Peter insists that the movie theater is this-a-way.

Since we have been to this place about thirty times before, I tell him that actually, the movie theater is that-a-way.

There are times when Peter is so wrong, but he is so confident that he's right it's downright irksome. So I laid out a bet. Whoever is wrong has to take the dogs out ALL DAY the next day.

Peter smirks and happily accepts the bet. We ask the waiter where the movie theater is and he points that-a-way.

But Peter is not going to accept defeat just yet, he is so convinced that he's right that he says to the waiter:

"No, The AMC Theater. Which direction is the AMC Theater."

The waiter looks at Peter like, "I just answered that question!" He pointed that-a-way again and said, "The movie theater is THAT way."

Of course, I'm giggling the entire time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Not Too Many Vegetarians at Hilton Head

Peter and I stopped at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina during the first leg of our Florida trip. The next day we got up pretty late, tired out from all that driving, and headed out to lunch. It was about 2:30pm, and luckily, most places stop serving lunch at 3pm. We were in the mood for Mexican, so we picked out a place called Aunt Chiladas and made ourselves comfortable.

We figured, "Hey, it's Mexican. There's beans and rice, spinach burritos, cheese quesadillas -- there's tons to eat!"

Wrong, wrong, WRONG.

There wasn't a thing on the menu that you could serve a vegetarian. Also, I don't know when Fish & Chips became a staple of Mexican cuisine. When the waitress stopped by our table, we had already gotten up to leave.

"I'm sorry, but he's vegetarian," I told the waitress.

"Yeah," Peter said. "There's nothing for me here."

At the next table, a woman eating a healthy serving of ribs looked up at Peter in horror. Like, "Eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww. He's a vegetarian. I'm glad we don't have one of THOSE in the family."

The next half-hour was a mad dash through every strip mall on Hilton Head Island. That was like this:

"Oh look! An Italian restaurant! Pastas are vegetarian!"


"Hey! There's a sandwich shop!"


"Let's check out this restaurant menu!"


Finally, at our fourth strip mall location, we find a little shop that actually has (gasp!) a vegetarian menu!!!!

The place was called Market Street Cafe and the food was really good. This was a huge sigh of relief because when Peter doesn't get to eat, his crankiness meter goes way up into the region of NOT TOLERABLE BY ANYONE WHO CAN SEE OR HEAR HIM.

It was nice to sit down and finally relax. Then Peter said he felt badly that I had to deal with this vegetarian thing. The vegetarian thing is nothing. It's the Grumpy Grumperson persona that pops out when he's not fed that is the real problem. But you can make it up to me by learning how to juggle.

The rest of the day was wonderful, like movie-poster wonderful. We took the dogs out for a walk on the beach, which was right in front of our hotel. I was smart and wore my ugly hot-pink imitation Crocs. Peter had his leather shoes on. I told him to go back to the hotel room and change into his sandals, but he decided to walk barefoot. As soon as he set his feet onto the sand, he realized that I was right because walking on the beach in January is like walking on ice, which, according to Peter, "It isn't so bad, but when you lift up your feet, there's nowhere to put it down but on more ice."

So yes, AFTER he went and got his sandals, we took a long walk with the dogs on the beach as the sun was setting. It was a gorgeous day, 60 degrees in January.

For dinner, I was smart about it and picked the one restaurant in the Hilton Head Island magazine with an ad which emphasized that they serve vegetarian items. The place is called Tapas Restaurant and the meal we had was one of the best I have ever enjoyed in my entire life.

I think God loves vegetarians.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I've Heard That Many People Do This

The night before we took off for our road trip, I emptied out my DVR cache, so I watched my saved episodes of Real Simple. I fast-forwarded the brown-haired-lady segments because they are cooking segments and you can tell she NEVER cooks. The way she holds a tomato while slicing it with a knife makes me cringe because one day, she's going to lop off one of those dainty non-cooking fingers. And I feel like telling the Real Simple crew, cannot ONE PERSON go over basic knife skills before you put her ON CAMERA? If she held a knife that way in my mother's kitchen, she would be escorted out of the room.

The next segment was hosted by the guy who talks way too much. Every time someone starts saying something interesting, he interupts them with a stupid comment. (Why do I watch the show? Because even though I dislike 2/3 of the hosts, the young black girl is so awesome and I LOVE her.) This segment was all about how to prepare your house when you go on a vacation, so I paid attention.

The guy said that the one thing you should always do is lock the door, because so many people forget to do that. I turned to Peter and said, "What kind of idiot doesn't lock the door? Obviously, they were not raised in New York City."

Cut to the next day, and as we were leaving the condo, Peter turns to me and says, "You take the dogs and lock up."

I looked at him and thought, "Ha ha, very funny."

You know why this is funny? Because he had the only set of keys in his hand. The night before, we had dropped off my set at his friend's house just in case of an emergency. And this is exactly the kind of thing Peter and I joke about.

So I take out the dogs and I was planning on taking them back to the car, doing a once-over in the house before locking up (with Peter's keys), so I left the door wide open. While I take the dogs out, Peter drives the car down the hill and I assume that he has locked up, so I packed the dogs up and got into the car.

About twenty minutes later, as we are driving down the Saw Mill River Parkway, Peter turns to me and says, "You did remember to lock up, didn't you?"

I looked at him and said, "WHAAAAAT? You know you have the ONLY SET OF KEYS!"

"Why didn't you say something when I told you to lock up?"

"I thought you were JOKING!"

"Do I joke like that?"

"Yes! This is PRECISELY your type of humor!"

"Wow, we have a lot of trouble communicating."

So we drove all the way back home, and to anyone who has ever embarked on a long road trip knows, having to go back home to get something or do something is the single most demoralizing thing that can happen. And of course, I am thinking, "This is all Real Simple Guy's fault! He jinxed me!"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Off to FLA!

Peter and I are driving a zillion miles down to Florida, but first we will be stopping for a day at Hilton Head. Why Hilton Head? I don't really know. It was just the point on the map that was about 2/3 of the way down and I had heard of it before.

I hope that there is stuff to do there and places where Peter can eat.

We're also taking the dogs with us, because we figured that hey, if we're going to do a ridiculous thing like drive to Florida, we might as well double the ridiculous factor and bring the dogs too!

Why are we ridiculous?

Simple really.
a.) We don't enjoy flying.
b.) We don't trust dog-sitters -- since we had one who LOST Scout.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mt. Kisco Honda Sucks Part Deux: Don't Go to Kisco

Remember PART ONE? Well, here's part two:

The Honda dealership in Mt. Kisco has a jingle and it goes:

"Let's go to Kisco! Mt. Kisco HONDA!"

It is pretty catchy, but now I have a sour feeling. We got the car back and the workers stepped all over our car seats, leaving very muddy footprints on the seats. I was so ANGRY. But Peter says that there's no point in calling and telling them about this because they won't care.

Keep in mind, I've had my windshield changed three times already and not once did any of the other guys need to step on the seats. I think that they did this deliberately because they didn't want to change the windshield.

But to add insult to injury, while we were at Whole Foods, I opened the back of my car and noticed that they CHANGED MY LICENSE PLATE frame. Now there's a black frame that says:


"Let's go to Kisco."

I've decided to use my labeler and paste over certain words so now my license plate reads:


"DON'T go to Kisco."

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's So Good It's Not Real

I made a very delicious strawberry lemonade. The recipe is pretty simple, I blended about five strawberries in a blender and added the juice of 8 lemons to make a concentrate. I put about 20% concentrate to 80% water and added a few squirts of agave nectar until I got the right amount of sweetness. Peter likes to use honey to sweeten and you can also use sugar.

My sister had some the other day and she said:

"Wow, this is so good it tastes FAKE!"

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mount Kisco Honda Sucks!!

Peter and I have an orange Honda Element because orange is my favorite color. I always thought that I was unique in this, but according to the lore, Frank Sinatra's favorite color was orange too, so orange is so completely cool that it is Rat Pack cool.

We gave my sister the old Nissan Maxima last summer, and every time I had to have the car serviced I brought it to the Mount Kisco Nissan Service people, who are pretty much the nicest service guys I've ever met (I've almost never gone to the same place twice because I start hating the mechanics/service people).

Unfortunately, the Honda folks are assholes. They just walk around like they are complete jerks and you can tell that they are soul-less. Every time you go in with a problem, last time it was a cranky wheel, they give you a lame diagnosis like, "You should have your left-hand-signal fluid replaced for one thousand dollars."

Every time they tell me to do something for my car, I google it and The Internet informs me that these guys are complete hucksters and assholes for even suggesting this work.

This time we had this window crack (our yearly and fourth window crack), which is under a special warranty because there was a defect in several Element models and ours happens to fall under this category.

When Peter brings the car to the dealer, they tell us that the crack didn't start in the lower right-hand corner of the windshield where it cracks every year. No, it must have gotten hit by a miniscule pebble that left no evidence.

Right, because a PEBBLE fell out of the sky from the Mount Kisco Honda Gods and hit our windshield in the corner where it split the windshield while the car was PARKED in our eensy weensy parking spot.

Fuck you Mount Kisco Honda.

So we called Honda customer service and the lady we spoke to said that the dealership was supposed to take care of this and not give us a hard time. But if they did give us a hard time, to take down her telephone number and extension and she'll have them take care of it.

So when I went to the dealership, they acted all surprised to see me again and said, "Your insurance won't take care of it?"

My reaction was to get really ANGRY and say in front of all of their other customers, "NO, I don't think that my INSURANCE needs to take care of it when this issue is a DEFECT that you guys all know about and I have already shown you the PAPERWORK for the extended warranty your company gave us regarding this issue. I spoke to customer service at Honda and they said to have you speak DIRECTLY to them about it if you guys gave me a hard time."

They were such jerks and got all defensive and said stuff like, "We're not giving you a HARD TIME. We would NEVER give you a HARD TIME."

Right, your customer service is GREAT. That's why steam is practically rising out of my head.

Reluctantly, they called the Honda lady and said that they would take care of the problem but it would probably take three days.

THREE DAYS? Last time Geico had this done, it took fifteen minutes and the guys came TO OUR HOUSE.

Mount Kisco Honda guys are SUCH ASSHOLES.

This makes me want to get one of those electric plug-in cars which would ensure that I would NEVER have to go to a dealership again for service.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pizza Hut Pizza Mia

One thing about being married to a vegetarian is that we never eat at fast-food restaurants. The only way we keep up with what's going on in fast food is by the commercials on television. The other day, a commercial came on for The Pizza Hut Pizza Mia:

"3 Pizzas for $5 EACH!"

And Peter said:

"What kind of crap are they putting in those things?"

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Should I Be Scared of Rocky?

A few days ago, a Doberman killed a baby in Brooklyn. The night I found out about it, I started freaking out and spent the next few hours googling "Dog Kills Baby" and reading EVERY story that popped up.

At first I was relieved, because the list of baby-killing dogs were:

German Shepard

But then an article popped up which shocked me -- a Pomeranian dog killed a baby a few years ago. In case you didn't know, a Pomeranian dog weighs about 6 lbs.

Then I googled "Labrador Kills Baby." Fortunately, I didn't find one case. Feeling brave, I googled "Siberian Husky Kills Baby" which yielded 2 results (although one of them was a Siberian/Shepard mix).

I started to look at my dogs, who are the sweetest dogs in the world, and wondered if a baby could make them snap. If the sight of a vulnerable, soft-headed baby could make them want to chew it up like a dog toy.

I walked over to the bedroom where Peter was, and asked him, "Do you think that one of our dogs could kill a baby?"

And he said, "Oh, I would NEVER trust a dog alone with a BABY!"

So I guess the answer was yes?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Most Disgusting Couple Post of the Year

Okay, I don't mean disgusting-gross, I meant disgusting-ughhhhhhhh.

Right before Christmas there was a BOMBARDMENT of celebrity perfumes ads and the most ridiculous one involves Charlize Theron tearing jewelry and clothes off her body and saying:

"J'aduhhhhhhhhhhhhh Diuhhhhhhhhhhh."

Makes me laugh EVERY time. That's brand-new comedy right there.

One time, after this commercial aired, I asked Peter:

"If I had a fragrance, what would it be called?"


"Don’t you think that’s kind of prosaic?"

"It’s not your fault that you smell like Heaven."

I found a list of celebrity fragrances. Did you know that the Hulk had a fragrance? Although I believe his real title is "The Incredible Hulk." Ya think he splashes this on before putting on those purple pants?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Notes to Myself

I have a document on my desktop where I keep a running list of items I want to write about in this blog. I opened it today and there is a line that simply states:

"and shit"

Huh? When did I write this, and what does "and shit" represent? Some extremely funny story that I have long forgotten? Something I heard someone say in a context that was so hysterical that I had simply written these two small words down, certain I could never forget such a funny episode of my life?

Who knows now? It's lost to the cosmos.

Mental note to myself: Write more detailed notes to myself.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

It's Not a DOLL! It's LLADRO!

All through Thanksgiving dinner, Peter's sister-in-law (his brother's wife, I guess that makes her MY s-i-l too) kept mentioning that she got me "THE PERFECT gift" for our house.

So after dinner, she pulls me into Peter's dad's bedroom and closes the door (as Peter's mother is on the other side). This makes me very nervous, and I went to re-open the door, but my sister-in-law whispers that this gift is SECRET.

Secret to who? The only people present were her family, Peter, me and Peter's mother. Because the door is closed and bolted, I become extremely nervous and can hardly focus on the gift, which she takes out of a ripped Banana Republic bag. Tina unrolls sheets upon sheets of bubble-wrap and reveals this:

I say, "Thank you, you didn't have to do that," and I give her a kiss on the cheek.

She kept standing there as if expecting more. So I thanked her again. And then she said:

"This is LLADRO. This is VERY GOOD."

I must confess that I must not have the woman gene that appreciates fine porcelain shaped into lovely young women. I do not enjoy Hummel dolls (I think they are creepy) and I think Precious Moments dolls are not very precious.

To be honest, I thought that the doll was cute, but I'm REALLY bad at reacting to my sister-in-law's gifts. I never give her the reaction she wants, probably because she gives me things that appeal to 80-year-old women. Plus, I was still a little freaked out about the locked door. I grew up in a house where we were taught that it is rude to lock a door in someone else's house (except the bathroom, of course). And lastly, I wondered a little if she gave me the geisha girl because I am Asian, and if she understands that I'm not actually Japanese.

No matter how many times I thanked her, she seemed really dissatisfied.

At the end of the evening, after everyone left, Peter told his mother that Tina gave us a gift and she said, "I know, she showed me. And she said that your wife didn't really like it."

If she was going to show Peter's mother the gift, why lock the door? I am still trying to figure this one out.

I said, "I like it, but I don't collect dolls."

Her response was:

It's not a DOLL! It's LLADRO!

(comedy side note: everyone pronounced it L-ADRO when the correct pronunciation is Y-ADRO)

Friday, January 04, 2008

I Am Being Indexed by Google!!

Today we were watching Liz Cho on ABCnews again, and yet again, she flubs her lines.

So I say to Peter, "Hey, let's compile a list of Liz Cho flubs and put them on YouTube every month."

He says, "Google Liz Cho flub."

"Why? Did someone do it already?"

I google "Liz Cho flubs" and guess what comes up?


And yet another thing I am s'proud of?

Google "Westchester Sucks" and you get THIS.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

Peter and I went to my friend Hannah's New Year's party in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. At one point we wrote the things we wanted to get rid of on round paper lanterns which were thrown out the window at the start of the new year.

I wrote: My Stuff

Peter wrote: Body Fat (but on the lantern it looked like Baby Fat)

This is the year to conquer clutter!