A Little Light Reading

September 26th, 2005

I’m halfway through “Runaway” this morning, and all I can say is, OK, Alice Munro, how about you stop breaking my heart at some point? Damn you, and damn your sad, sad stories, so beautifully, beautifully written with the cruel intention of ripping my chest open and squeezing the blood from my weeping valves.

Your reader,
Kristan LaVietes

The Week Recapped

September 23rd, 2005

Monday: Steve says, “I don’t want to go to work. The people at work are mean, and I’m one of ‘em.” Monday kinda sucks.

Tuesday: I decide Tuesday is the new Monday. The day begins at 6:30, when I realize we have failed to set the alarm and I am in danger of being late to teach my 8 a.m. class in Long Beach. To make matters worse, it’s raining, and I have removed one of my windshield-wiper arms and have been unable to get it back on, leaving a giant, spring-loaded metal arm where the wiper blade should be. In my rush out of the house, I forget all kinds of things, including food and money to buy food. My students seem bored with me. Tuesday sucks.

Wednesday improves matters a little. I have new clothes to wear. Steve watches some TiVo’d “Daily Show”s and laughs and laughs.

Thursday goes well for me. My students are all about participating in discussion. I get a birthday present from a sweet friend named Bridget, which makes my day. Steve has a rough one at work, though, and isn’t feeling well.

And here we are at Friday. See, you’re all caught up on our minutiae.

Transporter 2

September 23rd, 2005

Awesome. The cheesiest lines and corniest fight sequences EVER— a laugh a minute. Plus, some really fantastic action-driving scenes. PLUS, Jason Statham is crazy hot. This movie is fun.


September 12th, 2005

The latest are these: (1) I blacked out very briefly this morning when I stood up too fast in the closet and ran straight into an open cupboard door. I didn’t fall or anything, but I saw black for a second. (2) I am eating watermelon our neighbor dropped off last night for no reason but neighborliness. It tastes like a big bowl of sweet summer, and I’m hoping it does its fruity job, if you know what I mean. (3) We got a TiVo this weekend so I can watch my crime shows even though I have these evening classes this semester and because of a gigantic rebate on TiVos right now at Best Buy. The setup requires you to “name” your TiVo, so we named it Stivo. Stivo will record shows of its own will based on what we watch and give a “thumbs-up” to. So far, Stivo has recorded some Seinfeld and “Monk.” I’ve never seen “Monk,” but I hear it’s funny. I have already seen the beginnings of an obsessive habit whereby Steve checks Stivo every few hours to see if Stivo has recorded anything for us. Whether we will watch more TV is anyone’s guess, but it seems clear we will watch more TiVo screens.

It’s a Cute-off

September 10th, 2005

Yesterday at lunch, Steve and I had a brief debate I’m hoping you will all weigh in on (on my side). The debate is this: Which is cuter, a cute baby, or a kitten? Steve says kitten. Now, I concede that many a human baby is not actually cute. I’m talking about the cute ones here. The super-cutey-cute ones that make my ovaries twitch and my Amex jump around in my wallet when I pass the bib aisle at Target.

Kittens or babies? What’s your vote?

Our Other Trip North

September 10th, 2005

Last night I dreamt that my sister and I went on a trip to a part of the country so remote there was no electricity. We were staying with relatives: a family with so many children we couldn’t count them. Many of them were dressed like the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock. There were several feet of snow on the ground. We arrived at the house to find that the adults had set tables out on the front porch and were cooking the dinner meal at an outdoor kitchen (well, fireplace) on the side of the house. Cold as we were, we headed inside. The children gathered around the small indoor-kitchen table to talk to us. We knew we were sort of being rude by ignoring the dinner setup outside that had been prepared for us, but we were too cold to go out there. Then the children led us upstairs to see their toys. My sister and one of the younger girls went out of the room, while I became interested in a very strange toy: a cardboard house with a slot on top for coins. The children explained that with the right combination of coins, the toy house would produce a prize, although they had never been able to “win.” I started inserting coins, and after a while, I had the right combination. The cardboard house sprung legs and ran over to a corner of the room, where it spat out a prize at me from its underside. The prize was a slinky red and black nightgown. Just then, my sister and the young girl returned. They were dressed in matching, trendy, provocative outfits—little skirts and tank tops—and they showed themselves off to us and then took off to go outside to try and meet some people. The other children and I went and told the parents. We all went out into a side yard of the house, where I took pictures with my camera, and my grandparents took pictures with theirs. One picture I worked hard to get a good shot of was of one of the little children on the swingset with Santa Claus. Then we heard a very loud sound, and a strange aircraft appeared in the sky. The wilderness family was terrified, but I explained that it was a rescue helicopter and started shouting for them to get under things so the rush of air from the blades wouldn’t knock them over. We all ran for cover, and the helicopter dropped my sister and the little girl in the snowy yard. Then Steve and I were driving up the road from the wilderness house. We found the nearest town, which was barely a town and also had no electricity. Steve kept finding little Barbie doll shoes everywhere and putting them in his pocket. We saw a very strange animal in a pen—a furry sort of llama/camel/buffalo thing. We met some cowboys and talked to them about the rough farming life and about farm subsidies. We went to the library, which only had one shelf of books and a silent, glaring librarian. Then we were packing up our things, and in place of a sleeping bag, Steve had brought a big comforter, and we had a hard time rolling it up. Someone’s surf board was in the back seat of our car, which was frustrating, since we were trying to fit everything in to leave. We really wanted to get out of that town. As we were getting ready to get in the car, Steve emptied his pocket of the Barbie shoes, but I squatted down and picked them all up to take with me.

Bad Hair Day

September 6th, 2005

This morning in my 8 a.m. class, a student asked what time I have to get up in order to make the drive from Santa Monica to Long Beach. I answered and then confessed that I was late getting up this morning—in fact, I woke up at the time I should have been leaving the garage.

“I can tell,” this student answered, “because usually you comb your hair, but today you didn’t.”

This was actually not what we pedagogical types call “a teachable moment.” It was more what we scattered types call an “oh crap, I knew I forgot something” moment. So I talked about hair for a while. Vitanza fans might say we “drifted” to the topic of hair. Anyway, it’s good to know we’ve already established enough of a rapport in the class so that on the mornings when my fly is down or my skirt is tucked into my pantyhose—and those mornings will come—someone will say so.

It’s Not Chocolate

September 6th, 2005

My husband, AKA the-rockingest-husband-who-spends-part-of-his-labor-day-shopping-for-school-supplies-for-me-while-I-work-on-the-schoolwork-over-which-I-predictably-procrastinated-all-weekend-long, is a lover of pumpernickel. The last two days, we’ve visited Noah’s Bagels in the mornings to acquire said pumpernickel taste, toasted, so that he may delight in its odd flavor. (We tried Saturday, also, but they were out of pumpernickel. Out of pumpernickel??! OutRAGEous!) Steve is proud to be a lifetime lover of pumpernickel, a fact I find strange, since the only way an adult would ever have convinced me as a child to partake of a non-white-bread item like pumpernickel would have been to lie and say it was chocolate. A gagging, spitting-out-of-non-chocolate-betrayal would have followed.

Today, Steve looked up “pumpernickel” on Wikipedia. The best part of the entry is this, the word history:

The word “pumpernickel” derives from the Old High German words “pumpern”, to fart, and “Nickel”, a demon or goblin. The bread got this name for its supposed indigestible quality, although modern pumpernickel breads seem to lack this feature. There is an alternate popular etymology that Napoleon said that pumpernickel bread was only fit to be fed to his horse, Nicole — that it was “pain pour Nicole”. However, dictionaries do not support this etymology.

Pumpernickel: My new favorite word.

After debating the rights and wrongs of a pumpernickel-free childhood (Steve finds it abusive to deny a child the finer grains, while I just don’t see a problem with livin’ in your white-bread world as long as anyone with hot blood can) (that was a Billy Joel reference, by the way), we somehow segued into another debate we often have: The laxative nature of fruit. While I’ve tried to spread the word about fruit’s evil intentions in the partaker’s digestive system by educating friends and strangers alike, Steve continues to deny that each piece of fruit packs the equivalent of ten entire packs of Ex-Lax. Trust me, readers, be wary of this fiendish food group. If someone tries to convince you otherwise, tell them to shut their pumpernickel.

Broken Flowers

September 5th, 2005

I enjoyed this movie a lot. (David and Steve did, too.) Bill Murray is amazing. It must be so easy to make a movie with him. You just put Bill Murray in a scene with someone—anyone, really—and there doesn’t even have to be dialog, the man just has chemistry with people. Anyway, this movie is cool. Do see.