Friday, May 15, 2009

Good Fences Aren't Helping

Photo from here.

Because I am crazy and suffer from bouts of civic mindedness and extreme optimism (tempered, thank god, by bouts of dark realism), I decided recently to start a neighborhood collective. I was inspired by a story I edited for the June issue of Sunset about a woman in Portland whose collective is all friendly and community-minded and whose members buy bulk veggies together and knit and walk and do all sorts of other super-earnest activities as a group.
Tomorrow is the first meeting. At our house. Only eight people are coming. Maybe 10. And to tell you the truth, the same thing that always happens in the aftermath of my attacks of vim and vigor is happening; I lose my mojo and start to realize that I am already a stressed-out, over-committed working mother of twins with a dog, a husband, and four chickens.
And then, today, right at the apex of my waning enthusiasm for hosting a civic meeting in my backyard, my weirdo neighbor (not invited), started giving us grief about the chickens. In fact, over the course of ten minutes he threatened to barbecue them, deep fry them, and skin them and gut them in "three minutes flat." He threatened to call Animal Control.
Now, this neighbor has always been someone to avoid—our own personal counter-culture Boo Radley. He's the guy who, during my wedding shower ten years ago, stood in his back yard a mere 20 feet from our hyper-feminine wedding frenzy loudly practicing his bull whip skills. I kid you not. He's also the neighbor who, during our Obama fundraiser last year, started hanging McCain t-shirts in his window and sticking Palin bumper stickers to the glass. This is a man with a bright pink goatee and a completely tattooed head. He smokes pot in his backyard and on occasion has made me look at his "art." He stopped me on the street once and, apropos of nothing, told me he likes to dress his photographic subjects in nothing but leather hoods.
In other words, he's strange and unappealing, but he's seemed harmless enough in an answer-your-door-in-nothing-but-a-pair-of-black-bikini-briefs (which he once did) kind of way.
Anyway, you can imagine just how neighborly his smarmy threats and his unfounded fear of "chicken lice" have left me. Answer: not very. In fact, if it weren't for the comparative unflappability of the Mister, I most likely would have engaged in a very unbecoming screaming match with my unsavory neighbor. Instead I rolled my eyes and huffed while the Mister tried unsuccessfully, but very gamely, to tempt him with fresh eggs.
Neighborhood collective? With this bunch of weirdos? When will I learn to just keep to myself and mistrust the rest of the oddballs out there?
Thanks. I needed to get that off my chest.

Maybe breakups aren't so bad after all

I know, it's hard to feel too sorry for her

Remember this?  Well, it seems to have all come toppling down quite suddenly and with very little forewarning.  For those of you who are thinking "I knew it" I say, shame on you, you old coots.  
It is for me a reminder of just how awful breakups are.  I mean, is there any pain so quite so filled with self-recrimination, shame, regret, and longing?  It is exquisite in its way, but not enough to make up for the nausea and crying-induced sinus pressure.
Is it totally callous to say there is a bright side to all my friend's sorrow and that that bright side is that I get to go to Italy to help nurse her back to her old self and write and drink wine and swim in the blue, blue Mediterranean Sea? I suppose it is.  But, there you go.  Callous or not, it's a pretty good deal for me. Ah, love.

A thing I like

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A chicken coop to call our own

Last Saturday we (well, the Mister and our friend Mark) had themselves a good old fashioned barn raising. By which I mean they drank beer and almost finished a sweet little 3'x4' chicken coop.  
Here's the thing: despite what he thinks, The Mister is not all that handy.  And here's the other thing: despite what I think, I am not all that laid back.  I want to be what my friends and I call a "simple mellow"  You know the type: no makeup, enjoys mountain biking, owns lots of fleece, doesn't screech at her husband during parties, would be totally happy with any old coop.  Alas. Not me.
So, I was a little worried about the whole DIY coop thing.  I was a little worried about buying all this mismatched, salvaged wood at Building Resources and just letting the Mister go all commando on the coop design.  Because, well, I know myself well enough to know that I couldn't love an ugly coop.  Furthermore, an ugly coop might just ruin the whole chicken husbandry experiment for me altogether.
So you can imagine my relief when I saw this beaut.

The Mister's face is peeking though our egg collecting door 

Don't you just love its modern lines and clean design? I am so in love with our little coop I don't know what to do with myself. Now it just needs a roof and some paint. It's going to have a pink window.  Set at a jaunty angle.  A PINK window, people! Could life get any better than that?

A thing I like

This video of Maggie trying to catch a chicken.  Is it just me or is this effing hilarious? Oh, and please note the pink window in the background.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My big fat demotion

This place is like the Spelling mansion compared to my new cube

Ok, I know it's completely unsmart and impolitic to complain about work on a blog. I should take a cue from Dooce and just shut the hell up but, um, they are moving me out of my huge office with the view of the gurgling fountain and blooming lavender and they are putting me in a cube in the hall that was apparently designed for little people, and temps. My screen faces out, like towards the masses.  Translation: no more watching SNL videos at work.  No more personal email.  No more oh-my-god-no-waying with my friend in Milan.* Sigh.  

*Note to boss: I'm just trying to be funny.  I've never really done any of those things at work.

A thing I like

Hula Seventy's Polaroid Party.  Lots of Polaroids.  Just the way 
I like them. Plus, this one is of a donut.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, part deux

Because I do have a soft side, you know. My wonderful friend Tara sent me these beautiful virtual flowers from Germany. And I send them to you.

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