The Suckiest Animal in the Sea

Today’s blog post is a collaborative effort by author Gracie (age 11) and illustrator Madison (age 10).

Well, we just started our Oceanography unit. And our teacher assigned us animals.

I got the most possibly suckiest animal in the sea. Actually, there’s no way there could be a more sucky animal than this one.

I got the scallop.

(Dun, dun, dunnnn).

My first thought: I got food.

Here are some boring facts about the scallop.

1. When they are born, they are free-swimming embryos and they grow a shell after 48 hours.

2. All they do in their 40 years of life is sit on a rock, eat, and die.

3. Scallops can get as big as an average adult’s hand.

4. Okay, this is kind of sad…even starfish eat scallops. Almost all animals in the sea eat scallops.

5. There are 37 different ways to cook a scallop.

Scallops…delicious but sucky.

There, I Blogged

They say every blog post needs a picture. Here.

Ten things that happened today:

1. Weird conversation with my husband

2. Four hours in my client’s office

3. Two hours talking on the phone with Lisa

4. A Mad Men-themed party with Robrt Pela (my karma for writing this)

5. Drunk

6. Drinking wine in the streets of F.Q. Story

7. Dinner at The Parlor

8. Belly ache because of a tight dress

9. Lou just found some cat barf on the carpet

10. Blog

Give It Ten Years

Photo by Ryan & Denise Photography

People are disappointed to learn that we are still this happy.

“Give it ten years.”

I want to take a moment to express how much I adore hearing this from other married people. Oh, man, it’s the best!

When Lou and I were planning our wedding, I’d often share my excitement for my upcoming marriage.

I quickly learned not to do that.

After hearing countless versions of, “Just give it ten years,” or, “Enjoy it while it lasts, ” I made a conscious effort to scale back my expressions of happiness.

Not because I felt like a braggart. But because it felt gross when other people (some of them “friends”) openly damned my marriage.

We’ve been married for over a year now.

“How’s married life?” someone will inevitably ask.

“Totally awesome. I love it,” I always reply (because I’m not a liar).

“Yeah…talk to me in a few years,” they say.

“Go fuck yourself!” I [wish I could] say back.

I assume this means that people want me to say that marriage is harder than I thought it would be and that married life isn’t romantic or that my husband is a dick and we never have sex anymore.

Sorry, everybody, but this will never happen.

And I mean that. Never.

It won’t happen because I made a promise. Sure, I promised Lou I’d honor him in sickness and in health and blah, blah, blah…I take that seriously. But that’s not the promise I’m talking about.

Way before I met Lou, I was in an unhappy relationship. This man and I stayed together over four years and even though we fought constantly, we got engaged.

I broke it off.

I put him through hell. I disappointed our families. And I flipped my life upside-down.

I decided all that mayhem had to amount to something. So I promised myself I would never be in an unhappy relationship again.

Since settling would have broken my promise, I could have easily spent this life alone. I am extraordinarily lucky to have found Lou.

So, no, I will never hate on my marriage. No matter how much other people want me to.

Besides, how could I hate a husband who does this?

I found this on my desk this morning. Lou printed out a picture of himself. Then he made himself say, "Lilia Rocks."

My Beef with Mad Men

Even after divorce, she still makes him look good.

Yeah, I said it. I’ve got beef with Mad Men.

I’m sure I’m in the minority here. People still seem to love this show and celebrated the Season Five Premiere episode. (My Facebook feed from the last two days proves it.)

Honestly, I barely got through Season Four. Now that there are about 100 episodes, I’m no longer amazed by the costumes or the eyeliner. The blatant chain smoking, boozing, and sexism has lost its mystique.

Today, the show only offers a weak and over-complicated storyline.

But that’s not my main beef with the show.

It’s this: I can’t believe what they did to my favorite character, Betty Draper.

In the early seasons, she was neurotic, catty, and completely bored with her role as the faithful housewife. Frustrated by her under-stimulation, she lashed out in very strange (and very entertaining) ways…shooting birds, driving her car into a yard, and looking to a school-aged boy for understanding.

Sure, she was somewhat bitchy to her kids, but she delivered some hilarious lines. And she was a loyal wife, even though she was married to the worst husband in the world.

So Don finally gets his comeuppance and she leaves him for another man.

Then, suddenly, she’s smacking her kids across the face and saying horrible things to little, lisp-y Sally. Not to mention, she’s an unreasonable bitch to everyone, all the time.

Don, left to tend to his abused and neglected children, is now our hero.

(Nevermind the fact that he hardly interacted with his children in Seasons 1-3 because he was too busy banging every poon in town behind their mother’s back.)

Poor Betty. They had to turn her into a monster just to keep Don Draper the audience favorite.

What a rotten trick.

Plant Me the Serenity

Lou, choosing our next murder victims.

I guess we are gardeners now.

Yesterday, I consented to Lou’s sudden suggestion to buy some plants.

After sucking down two mimosas during a lovely brunch at Vincent’s, I gleefully skipped through Baker Nursery and filled our cart with herbs and vegetables.

(Had I been sober, I probably would have nixed the whole idea in the first place. I believe Lou knew this and took advantage of my midday drunkenness.)

I have a terrible track record when it comes to gardening. Not to mention, I just took a pay-cut by switching to this freelance business.

So, we basically just spent $50 on a bunch of plants that I will soon kill.

Poor little things don’t stand a chance.

Reunited (and It Feels So Good)

aussiegall, flickr creative commons

I miss the days of rotary phones...but not the long-distance charges.

I have a phone date with my best friend in about 45 minutes.

After writing this post and reuniting, she and I have chatted on the phone, online, and over text at least three times a day.

And, now that I’m a freelancer and she’s an independent artist, we decided to be conceptual office mates. We share ideas, fears, inspirations, and offer the emotional support needed to be successful professionals.

Yesterday, after chatting for at least an hour, we were abruptly disconnected. This is nothing new. Throughout the years as she lived in different cities, our friendship has largely taken place over the phone.

When she lived in Boston (in fact, she’s the one I was preparing to visit in this journal entry), there was an occasion in which we talked for a record-long eight hours. Our only interruption was when one of us had to refill the balance on our calling card (remember those?).

So when we’re disconnected like we were yesterday, we usually don’t reconnect. I set down the phone and wait.

Because I know that if I call her and start another phone call, we’ll go on for another hour…or eight, if we’re able.

I recently apologized to Lou for spending so much time on the phone with her. He said, “Baby, you can have all the time you need to talk to Lisa.”

Thanks, Lou! I’ll take it!

Favorite Gift: A Cruel Cartoon

More than three years ago, I was treated to dinner by two of my favorite pals, Robrt Pela and Todd Grossman.

I dressed up that night.

Then Todd drew this.

I feel special when people make fun of me.

His husband, Robrt, was kind enough to give it to me.

(Todd is to the left and Robrt is on the right.)

Since then, I’ve pinned this little slip of paper to every cubicle wall and office bulletin board I’ve been forced to stare at during the past three years.

Because it’s one of my all-time favorite gifts. Ever.


Pet Death Du Jour

Fritz had a bold confidence...admirable, but deadly.

As a child in a family of cat-lovers (at one point our family owned five cats), I’ve been through my fair share of pet deaths.

Typically, I’m not squeamish when it comes to these things and I never understood it when coworkers or friends would spiral into days of depression after they lost a kitty or puppy.

That is, until Fritz died last summer.

At age 23, I adopted a little gray kitten from a PetsMart. It was a “gift” for my boyfriend at the time.

Fritz was always a special little guy. Curious and bold, he grew into a big, fat cat who strutted around with a nonchalant and confident attitude.

Of course, he was gentle as a lamb. He always chirped affectionately during neck-scratching sessions and he would let me hold him in my arms; the same way I cradle human babies. I trained him to lick my nose to signal when he wanted to be released.

He learned to turn door knobs with his paws, he slept on top of the kitchen cabinets, and he played fetch.

In short, he was a cool dude.

Fritz and I split for a few years when the boyfriend and I broke up. But, I always wanted the special guy to come back into my life.

(The cat, not the ex.)

The ex moved out of town and Fritz needed a home. Lou and I took him in.

I’m a staunch believer in keeping cats indoors. But things didn’t go well when Fritz came home with us. For two months, we tried every trick in the book to get the guy to live peacefully with our other two cats.

Unfortunately, his boldness turned to bullying and he completely terrorized the house.

After countless cat fights (I have a massive scar to this day) and a very traumatic attack on one of our other kitties while she was using the litter box (she pooped on the living room floor right after), we finally agreed he had to go…


We set up a kitty oasis in our laundry room with a bed, food, and water.

Turns out, Fritz loved the outdoors. The first time we let him out, he immediately rolled in the dirt and then climbed one of our grapefruit trees.

Every night for six months, he would visit our backyard porch for dinner, scratches, and water with ice cubes (his favorite in the summer).

Then he stopped showing up.

We made posters, alerted his microchip manufacturer, visited the shelters daily, and longingly stared out our windows for two solid weeks.

“Should we go pick up his body?” I asked our irrigation guy when he stood at our door, cat collar in hand, delivering the news that he had found Fritz.

“Oh…no, honey…he’s just maggots and bones.”

After the irrigation guy left, I wailed into my pillow. The convulsions and moaning were so uncontrollable, it sounded like I was hysterically laughing.

Our mischievous and clever Fritz had found a shady, cool spot: The irrigation pipe at the end of our block.

Lou reassured me over and over again that the irrigation water came in a strong rush and that the death was quick.

For the first 48 hours after we found out about Fritz’s death, however, there was nothing anyone in this world could say to convince me that his death wasn’t anything short of my baby Fritz trapped in a small pipe; water slowly trickling as he panicked and clawed at the walls until his paws were bloody; screaming and panting; desperately wondering why his mommy wasn’t saving him as the water level climbed so just his little nose and wet whiskers peeked out from the surface…choking and hacking as he gasped for air…

After days of sobbing intermittently and a very depressing phone call to tell my ex that I killed his cat, I finally emerged from the fog of grief.

But for those first 48 hours, I was down in that pipe with him. Bloody paws and all.

So, to any coworkers or friends who have received anything less than my sincerest sympathies during your pet death grieving, I offer my apologies.

I so totally get it now.

List and Shout

See that last item? It was added purely for my own satisfaction.

It should come as no surprise to you that I am a dedicated list-maker.

I can’t live without them.

Other list-makers will agree that there’s nothing better than gazing upon a neat column of checked items at the end of a day.

I’m also guilty of creating an item after I’ve completed it…just so I can have the satisfaction of checking the box.

Am I that desperate for proof of productivity?

I guess so.

An interesting note about this blog:  The other headline I considered for this post was “Gorillas in the List” but it didn’t seem to make much sense.

Oh, Make Me Over

Attention all chicks and gay men: This is a makeover story!

Since I’m now a real freelancer, my husband and I thought the time was right to finally put together a proper office.

Plus, we can write this shit off at the end of the year, right? Right? Please tell me this is true.

Here’s our “office” before:

My husband is going to kill me for showing our shame to the public.

Don’t judge us. With a remodel on it’s way, Lou and I recklessly embraced the opportunity to chuck any and all junk in this room. It’s filled with all the mismatched furniture from our apartment days.

Terrible, isn’t it?

Two Saturdays, a can of hastily-chosen rust-colored paint, $500 worth of IKEA furniture, and some folk art was all it took to get this office in proper condition.

Here’s our office after:

Even the cat likes it.

Some highlights from our journey…

I was left alone to paint a wall.

Lou hates it when I paint messages because he says it ruins the integrity of the paint job. But how can I resist?

Mia is a camera whore.

I didn’t wear proper work clothing. After a day of taping, painting, and assembling IKEA furniture while crawling on carpet, I got some sweet rug burns.