Friday, May 29, 2009

Overheard at My House: Father's Day

Her: With Father's Day coming up, I want to get Jim a really great gift, but he always finds his gifts before I have a chance to surprise him.

Me: That's what you get for buying in advance.

Her: I just need a really good hiding place.

Me: If he's anything like Alex, you could put it next to the vacuum cleaner, or the laundry detergent.

Her: (thinking) I guess I'll keep it next to my clitoris then.

Me: Even my LOLcat is speechless.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Great First Dates: Achilles

"All you girls can talk about is my heel."
--Achilles, at a TGIFridays, 1994, moments before buying his first Porsche

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reverse Makeover

Dear TLC, please call me, I have a new show idea. It's called Reverse Makeover. The premise is this: you take a nice, normal enough gal or guy, and over the course of time, strip away any and all qualities that may have made him or her attractive in any way. It's the home version of the game show called life. You may have heard of it.

The "before" and "after" reveals at the end are startling, to say the least. Just as an example, here's one:

Anyway, TLC, whether you decide to option the show or not, I'm going ahead with my own personal pilot, which is actually already in full swing. It started several years ago, with a knee injury that left me with a limp for 18 months. Then there was my personal favorite, a goiter--yes, they still exist--that caused my eyes to bulge and my hair to fall out. In more recent months, I've stepped up my game quite a bit, so that the interesting changes in my appearance are happening faster than I can correct them. As the Queen of Hearts said in Alice in Wonderland, "Here, it takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place."

Earlier this year, I noticed my hair turning quite gray, which I "fixed" with an at-home dye job that turned orange after I went swimming. After the chlorine had its way with the color, the springtime sun began turning my hair a nice lemony yellow. It's cheery, sure, but technically, I'm a winter. Why, just this morning, I chipped my front tooth while biting my nails (seriously), as if my teeth weren't goofy enough. My dentist can't see me for another week, so I was thinking between now and then I would take the opportunity to get impetigo on, say, my chin, and start some sort of action figure collection. I hope it's not too late to start growing ear hair. (I'll have to ask my dad how he does it.)

Anyway, I hope to hear from you soon, since there's no telling whether I'll be available by the time you reply. This toenail fungus looks like it may be spreading.

Jody Reale
P.S. If you're not interested in this show, perhaps you may be interested in another show I have in mind based on the common phenomenon of running to the store in your flannel reindeer pajamas for cookie dough and tampons, and running into your high school boyfriend for the first time in twenty years. Think about it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Landscaping: I Need a Miracle

Behold, this is the result of a mere weekend's worth of yard work, and I've still got tons to do, based on the mess I've made that was intended to eventually improve things. In short: Landscaping is hard, as evidenced by the top of my forearm pictured here, which is pretty scraped and scratched up from pruning various bushes, trees, and shrubs. This is the result of watching too many DIY home improvement shows that convince you that, in an afternoon, you can undo everything a Colorado winter has done to your property. Contrary to neighborhood suspicions, I have not been trying to find a new injection site for intravenous Miracle Grow. Yet.

Now that I've begun what I've come to call one of my dumbest undertakings ever, I realize that I could use a miracle. Keep this on the down-low, but I suspect I may be getting one. Note this image of the underside of my forearm. Note the eyes, nose, and mouth that have appeared there in scabby relief. My guess is that, by the time I'm done with the whole yard--lawn, garden, and trees--we'll be able to make out the image of a religious icon in startling detail. I say that because this kind of thing happens to me all the time.

Take, for example, this photo of my full back tattoo:

It's a depiction of my cat, Fluffy, chasing a ball of yarn, but if you squint your eyes, you can see the faintest resemblance to the Virgin Mary.

And then there's this: The ashtray I sculpted and inscribed for my mom at summer camp one year that looks an awful lot like Jesus' own mother (with cherubs). We finally had to put it away, since balancing a cigarette on what appears to be Mary's lap was freaking people out.

Now here's the dilemma: Just like the holy cheese sandwich a Vegas casino bought for twenty eight thousand clams, these items are on sale now at eBay at rock bottom reserves. But what am I supposed to do with my arm? Certainly not more yard work.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cute Overload

Teacher Appreciation Week was last week, and Sophie's preschool went into full-tilt celebration mode, with all kinds of special treats for teachers, including two days in which one teacher from each classroom got to take off for two hours in the afternoon while a parent helped out the remaining teacher in charge. When I got there for my volunteer shift, I was assigned the toddler classroom, a gaggle of about ten two-year-olds.

It was about 1:00 in the afternoon, nap time, and everyone had taken to their mats and blankets all about the floor. The lights were out and the curtains drawn, and the New Age-y instrumental music was doing its Pavlovian work, lulling everyone to sleep. I was charged with rubbing little Claudia's back while she worked her pacifier and let her eyes droop. She blinked and blinked, one longer than the next until her eyes closed for the duration. Thandi was laying face up, staring peacefully at the ceiling, and told her teacher she didn't need any back-rubbing to get to sleep, she was just fine the way she was. Everyone else was already out cold.

"Holy cow," I whispered to Jenna, the teacher, "this is cute."
"I know," she said.
I took another look. "I mean really, really cute," I pressed.

My shift consisted of taking in all the tiny, wide feet sticking out of the bottoms of blankets, as if I were tending a colony of Fred Flintstone's relatives. I forgot how sweet it is to see wisps of diaper sticking out of the waistband of a tiny pair of khakis. They tossed, turned, smiled in their sleep, wrestled with their blankets. One little girl slept with her legs tucked under her chest, her mouth wide open so that her blankets were soaked by the time she woke up. The music, the darkened room, and the teacher working quietly on Mother's Day tokens in a tiny chair in the corner was almost too much. I sat by the light of the window for the next two hours, reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and wondered what I had done to deserve all this.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You've Got Snail

You've Got Snail is my new 7-minute Zenumentary dedicated to one of our favorite pets: Dorothy the Snail. In all honesty, I know I'm the only one who is fascinated and comforted by her, but I also like to think that the snail cam might add some peace to your day, and that watching it for a few would be something someone like SARK would recommend. Give it a watch, and remember, sometimes it's good to slooooow down. Peace.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Six More Weeks of Winter

Behold, Sophie's first YouTube-published film. I think she's a minimalist, and really good at capturing the angst of what it's been like dealing with the cold, wet Colorado weather all month. Here she is (or at least a glimpse of her shoes), doing what we always do while we wait for Old Man Winter to take a hint and head for Australia. (Specifically, we hang out indoors, listening to Jeff Kagan.)

Caveat Dramamine: You folks prone to sea sickness might want to hold out for the videos in which Sophie holds still while shooting the scene. Look for that one to hit YouTube never.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, Even if it is Fake

Why yes, actually, I am the 2009 Mother of the Year. And because I'll suspend my disbelief six ways from Sunday for any amount of appreciation, I'll take the award and pretend it really exists. Now if you'll excuse me, I've only got a few minutes before the press corps shows up wanting to know what's next for a woman like me.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Four is a Magic Number

What I'm noticing about being a first time mom is that every new stage that Sophie reaches in life is better than the one before it. I imagine this stops being the case sometime during the teens, but I'm still holding a half-full cup.

At four and a half, Sophie is real character, with her ability to hold long conversations about her feelings, and short ones about her mini existential crises. "After we die, do we get new families?" But what I love about the age of four is that it's the state line between child and toddler.

Last night, we were talking about the differences between boys and girls, and the "sugar and spice" rhyme came to mind. Sophie thought and said, "I don't like that part." She thought, pacing like a mad scientist, and then stopped. "I like," she said, "Rubies and pearls, diamonds and curls." My jaw dropped and I asked, "Did you just make that up?"
"Yes," she said, finding a Kix ball in the carpet and eating it.

Ten seconds later, she looked at me with panic in her eyes and started peeing on the floor. I guess that phone call I had begun making to the Julliard admissions department can wait a few weeks.