Keeping My Eye To the Keyhole

Recently, Melissa McEwan’s adoption of the relentlessly adorable and completely miniscule Sophie Moon coincided with my co-workers’ capture of nine stray cats across the street from the library. These cat rescue people are SO SELFISH. Oh, they say, would you like to adopt two or three cats? It’s hard to believe these rescue people spend all their spare change catnapping and feeding cats they find – you know – freaking everywhere. It’s practically stealing.

Meet our newest furry overlord, whom we are calling Chou Chou because cabbage is divertissant.

She’s awfully cute. In a death-defying twist of hilarious fate, and perhaps a watusi or two, at just about the same time, Topaz and Drusy started singing My boyfriend’s back and there’s gonna be trouble when the stray cats went all Jets and Sharks in our backyard. I enjoyed the dance numbers. It was about the time I separated hissing girl gang members that I decided Topaz and Drusy needed a new hobby, preferably one that didn’t involve knife-fighting back up singers. How about a kitten?

Those selfish rescue people didn’t have a female kitten, so I asked a friend who volunteers at a shelter, where they had too many rules. Look, I said, if you’re actually trying to place animals in good homes it shouldn’t involve more paperwork than a bank loan. I asked another friend who volunteers at a shelter in North Jersey. She said they mostly had older cats; I pictured Topaz and Drusy pushing some wheelchair-bound tabby down the attic stairs, Baby Jane-style. I couldn’t have kittehs plotting revenge and ruining the Chi of my teeny yoga studio, thus, you must imagine my relief when the original selfish catnapper contacted me about a kitten named Gigi. Yesterday, Pete and I were more or less interviewed for two hours by very nice people who finally believed we weren’t sociopaths because we said we weren’t, which, um, nuh-unh.

Gigi just isn’t a Gigi. She’s beige and terribly plush and after 4 this morning, she decided to clear off Pete’s dresser. I can’t blame her. Kick…BLAM. Kick…BLAM. Kick…BLAM! Kitteh! I got out of bed a few times to address the situation but how can you be mad when the kitten says purr purr purr? She is a darling baby girl who at eight months outweighs the two-year-olds and is mostly unimpressed by their hissing. Above, Miss Chou Chou sits in a Fuzzy Town igloo in our bedroom closet, her plush refuge between Pete’s work boots and my bedroom slippers. She is acclimating. This igloo is supposed to house stuffed animals. We are trying our best to fill her full of tasty kibble.

If I Could You Know That I Would

I haven’t given up blogging. In fact, over the next couple of days, I predict you’ll remember why you tolerate my neglect. You will. Believe me! Anyhow, this morning, I have to attempt to pay attention to …something, I don’t know what, at the library, so please enjoy this picture of an artichoke. Because why not.

Make Some Book Of Records

Remember this cast of characters from December, 2005?

Dad is a decisive person weighing his options.

Dad: InExcelsisDeo’s son graduates from military mechanic school in Pittsburgh on the 23rd.
Tata: That date can only have been set by a man whose wife wipes his nose, and to whom he doesn’t listen. Fucker!
Dad: Do you kiss babies with that mouth?
Tata: What did you say when you heard about it?
Dad: “What fucking madness.”
Tata: Moving on, then…
Dad: Your brother Todd comes in from California on the 30th and stays until the 2nd.
Tata: Really? I knew he’d be here at some point.
Dad: And Dara has to have Christmas with her mother and be back to school on the 2nd. I can only make one trip. What are your plans?
Tata: Gluttony and sloth. Tell me when and where, and I’m there.
Dad: My problem is I promised my sister I’d make Christmas Eve dinner, since she will be out of town until appetizers are plated.
Tata: Don’t worry. My sister, my cousins and I will do it.

OH MY GOD! Did you see that coming? Because I didn’t!

Dad: How’s the apartment?
Tata: I’m considering piling the remaining boxes in front of a vulnerable window and calling it my burglar alarm. I may leave it for my grandchildren to incinerate when they cart me off to the home!
Dad: Serves ’em right! Bastards!
Tata: They’re cashing my social security checks! I would!

So Dad’s staying three hundred miles away for Italian Christmas Eve. This morning, panic set in when Auntie InExcelsisDeo agreed to let the Girl Gang do the cooking because there just isn’t any other way that doesn’t involve folding our arms and blinking forth Emeril. I call my cousin Sandy, eight months older than Miss Sasha, most of a foot taller and 100% more local. Sandy’s temporarily bunking in at Auntie InExcelsisDeo’s family compound in South Brunswick, which gives us access to modern on-site refrigeration in the absence of the homeowner. And salmon!

Tata: Your sister told your mother who told my sister who told me that she, your sister Monday, wanted to make the chicken and polenta.
Sandy: Monday wants to eat the chicken and polenta.
Tata: What do you want to cook?
Sandy: I can’t cook.
Tata: Fine. You’ll make Edith’s bean salad. We’ll make the manicotti together. You’ll make shrimp pose seductively in a circle.
Tata: Are you in traffic?
Sandy: Bumper to bumper.
Tata: You are a danger to yourself and others. Doesn’t your boyfriend have a Costco card?
Sandy: He does.
Tata: Keep your eyes on the road. If you crash, he might be too busy whining about what a marvelous person you were to go shopping for your family. You’re so selfish!

If you read the stories leading up to Miss Sasha’s wedding, you know Daria, Monday, Sandy and I are now lined up to play a mixed doubles game of YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME! Daria calls.

Daria: Did Daddy call you?
Tata: Daddy called me.
Daria: Did you talk to Auntie InExcelsisDeo?
Tata: I talked to Auntie InExcelsisDeo.
Daria: Do you know why he’s not coming?
Tata: He’s coming, just later. Todd’s coming later.
Daria: Stop talking to me like that!
Tata: You stop talking to me like that!
Daria: Don’t be so bossy!
Tata: You don’t be so bossy!
Daria: I’m going to hang up on you in a minute!
Tata: Pot to Black Kettle! Come in, Black Kettle!
Daria: You taking the right half and I’m taking the left half of the buffet?
Tata: I talked to Sandy. She’s psyched. We’re going to cook.
Daria: Oh my God, Sandy’s going to cook?
Tata: We have boyfriends, fiances, cousins and spare moms. With any luck, we will also have other help. It’s going to be fine.
Daria: Are you drunk? They let you drink on university property? Hello!
Tata: We’ll put appetizers on every flat surface and make Monday bake something into dessert-like submission. And fuck anybody who complains.
Daria: My husband will handle the meats.
Tata: …And there’s my cue to hang up.

If I had money, I’d hire a camera crew and a bulletproof director. If I were smart, I’d hide the fondue forks. I don’t, and I’m not, so it’s stuffed mushrooms and a side of SHUT UP AND DICE for me!

Remember? You do? Congratulations! Meet Auntie InExcelsisDeo, relentless do-goodererer.

The Winner of a Nationwide Contest Gets a Well-Deserved Holiday Makeover
After a nationwide contest, Vern surprises a very deserving [Auntie InExcelsisDeo] with a makeover just in time for the holidays. She has taken in families in need, fed the hungry and made quilts for disaster victims, the homeless and soldiers’ families. Vern creates a beautiful kitchen and dining room in French country style for [Auntie]. And downstairs, her brand new laundry room comes complete with an area perfect for her quilting.

• November 16, 2008 8:00 PM ET/PT
• November 17, 2008 12:00 AM ET/PT
• November 22, 2008 4:30 PM ET/PT
• November 23, 2008 5:00 PM ET/PT
• November 29, 2008 8:30 PM ET/PT
• November 30, 2008 12:30 AM ET/PT

Tomorrow, Sandy’s getting married. Sunday, Auntie InExcelsisDeo greets her public. Monday, I’m going to hide under my desk and meow.

Brush Me, Daddio

Mr. Breszny is a clever man:

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): All of the good works you do in the coming week will send ripples far and wide, but not all of them will be recognized and appreciated. I hope that’s OK with you; I hope you won’t get obsessed with trying to get all the credit you deserve. The fact is, your influences will be more effective and enduring if they are at least partially anonymous. Ironically, your power will be greater if it’s not fully noticed.

The universe calls my bluff. My ego is ginorrrrrrmous! My desire to Do Good is great. Can I trick me into doing piles of right things while shouting, “Nothing to see here, nothing to see, move along” at the tops of my lungs? Stay tuned for stuff I can’t take credit for and don’t mention!

Or Study Anthropology So What

My cousin Sandy’s whirlwind wedding is midday Saturday. Three members of my horrified family have called and asked the same ominous question.

Terrified relatives: What are you wearing?

It didn’t sound dirty when they said it, either. I’ve said all along I’ll wear emerald satin pajamas because I am an uncaring bitch but also because I have the shoes and pizzazz to carry it off. Two days ago, as temperatures sank, I started feeling a bit more tropical. Though I wouldn’t go as far as Carmen Miranda’s fruit turban for an afternoon wedding, I’m going to try on every samba-related halter dress I can find tonight. Perhaps because I hate trying on clothing and dislike mediocre mall shopping in general, this dress on Katy Perry fills me with glee.

I’ve done meaner things to bridemaids.

You will be pleased to hear I scoured Sandy’s registry at Target over a week ago for wedding gifts from Pete and me. Pete took one look at the list and waved a white hanky. Then he muttered something about plumbing and skulked around the basement tool bench for an hour, leaving me to assemble something like a gift to be delivered wherever Sandy lives now. I don’t know where. It starts with a U. Anyhow, I picked out a sewing kit, a waterproof mattress pad and weights. The shipping charges were hilarious, because shipping weights is heavy, if you didn’t know, so when I got to filling out the online gift card, I was, let’s admit it, somewhat peeved – but still anxious to be helpful:

Happy Wedding! This collection of items is usually only found in an evidence locker. Don’t get caught!

I hope they have their own rubber gloves.

He Bought It For A Dime

Left to my own devices, I eat a really wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, meats, fishes, fowls and grains, often all at once, explaining my overwideness and undertallitude. Pete’s had a few health issues along the way that somewhat limit his diet. He can’t eat seeds or nuts, white flour is his mortal enemy and most dairy makes him nervous; on top of that, he won’t touch eggplant and though he likes the flavor of mushrooms their texture makes him squirmy. I personally find eggplant smooth to the touch and delicious; mushrooms are downright sexy. More for me!

Last time we made the pilgrimage to Virginia, Daria brought with her a quinoa salad she picked up at her gym’s juice bar. All of my gyms had uneven bars, so I’m not up on spa cuisine but quinoa I learned about on PBS. Her salad had yummy golden raisins and almonds and a light, slightly sweet dressing. It was tasty, but I wanted cashews, mushrooms and dried cranberries. And chicken paprikash, for dessert.

One day, I was exercising with a friend and babbling about being lightheaded, not to mention fatigued. You’re right, I should switch to decaf, but suddenly I realized I’d been eating stupidly, despite the fantastic variety of foods. Somehow, I’d lost sight of the fact that I am so anemic on good days doctors wonder why I remain conscious. Thus, I’ve been on a tear with quinoa boiled in good stock or broth and lots of herbs and greens sauteed with olive oil and garlic, with the whole mess sprinkled with lemon or lime juice. Different greens have different nutritional values, but most have good, solid amounts of iron, which is great. Iron can also be binding on the intestines, thus the quinoa. But you could saute cardboard in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, sprinkle it with lemon juice, and you’d be glad to eat it.

On the other hand, I’m a little hard pressed to explain the 10 boxes of creamed spinach neatly lined up in my freezer except to say spinach makes me stronger than Bluto and I had a coupon.

To Feel You’re "Acceptable"

This week, voters in California voted to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. The effort was funded largely by the Mormon Church, which had to found its own state because its views on marriage were so far outside the mainstream. Anyway, the struggle in California ain’t over – not while money is flying in every direction faster than you can say “wedding industry.” This is a temporary setback. It’s an idiotic, repressive and pointless setback, but it’s temporary. I’m certain of this, and here for me is what constitutes proof: Bianca and Reese are getting married.

All My Children tends to circle around and around – and sometimes around again – an issue before making it part of normal life. At first, Bianca was gay and the characters just talked about it. Then there was – zomigod! – a kiss, and we all had to wait for the hysterics to calm down. Then, there was another big build up and another kiss. Nobody was killed and we returned to folding our laundry. Then we had a transgender character talking about emotional and physical love and the audience kind of went crazy, which was stupid but foreseeable. Eventually, the audience calmed down again. Bianca has come back with a brand new baby and a gorgeous girlfriend and this week, Reese proposed. Bianca accepted. They kissed a whole lot and the world did not end. It didn’t! I’m sure of it. See for yourself – the first three minutes will do the trick.

The reason I say Californians’ setback is temporary is that women are going to watch Erica Kane plan a wedding for her angelic daughter, whose beautiful girlfriend is sweet and warm, and women all over the place LOVE A FREAKING WEDDING. There will be resistance, then women will say things like, “I’m not sure it should be legal, but wasn’t that beautiful? I cried my eyes out!” Then a whole lot of women will make one truly crucial recognition: they have gay friends and relatives who might really like to hire a band and polka in public. All gay marriage will mean to most women is the possibility of more weddings, more cake, more dancing, more flowers, more love, more babies to adore, more of what makes life good.

It’s just a matter of time. No one can stop that now.