Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I've been blogging about NASCAR and boy am I exhausted!

I don't want to brag, but I'm a really great gift-giver. As those Yoplait commercial idiots would say, like "Shoe shopping while eating chocolate good." (Ad guy 1: "My ex-wife likes shoes a lot. Let's add that in." Ad guy 2: "I see a lot of girls eating candy bars when they have their periods. Gotta rep that too." Ad guy 1: "Great, we're done here. Time to bash stuff with football helmets.")

For my birthday last month, my friend Becca got me the novelization of "Snakes on a Plane," which weighed in at a logic-defying 400 pages. Single spaced.

It was a direct nod—some might say a thanks—for a summer filled with my Snakes on a Plane song-and-dance routine. ("Song and dance" could be overstating it. It was more of a musical chant "Snakes on a Plane, Snakes on a Plane, I'm so excited to see Snakes on a Plane!" combined with a mix of the running man and The Carlton. I'm telling you, it did not get old.)

Because those wacky Internets told us it was the cool thing to do, it was my summer's exclamation. There were many uses:
"Snakes on a plane that bowl is hot!"

"Snakes on a plane I'’m tired!"

"I can't worry about that deadline. Who has time when there are snakes on a plane above us right now?"

Now of course, that sounds lame, but during summer 2006 it was hot, hot, hot! Ah, it was a simpler time. Sadly, the movies out right now don't work as well: "Running with scissors I need a drink!" "Flags of our fathers did I just stub my toe." No, not cool. I'm trying out random celebrities now: "Tina Yothers that music is loud!"

So Becca gave me 400 pages of snakey goodness. The only thing I had to worry about was finding a gift to match the brilliance. Enter the NASCAR Harlequin romance book "In the Groove," the heartwarming/sexy story of a simple kindergarten teacher who has an ex Photoshop her face onto a nude body and distribute them on the Internet. After she loses her job, she gets hit by a car driven by a NASCAR heartthrob, and well, you know the rest. Story old as time.

Please, please, if you do nothing else for yourself today, treat yourself to the description:

"She wouldn't know a NASCAR star if he hit her with his car...and he just did. Sarah was a kindergarten teacher until a sleazy ex-boyfriend got her fired. Now the only job she can find is driving the motor coach for racing star Lance Cooper. She doesn't know a thing about NASCAR - and she's off to a rocky start when she doesn't recognize her ultra-famous boss. Lance can't help but notice Sarah's sweet smile - and how seriously unimpressed she is with his fame. Her reaction piques his interest - and he's convinced she's a good-luck charm. But Sarah has no interest in Lance's jet-setting life; she'd rather deal with spitballs than one supersexy race car driver. Too bad whenever he comes near her she turns hot as race fuel. Soon things begin to heat up on the track, and Sarah begins to wonder if she might be able to teach one famous race car driver a few lessons about love. "

It's not just the awkwardly shoe-horned in racing imagery, like "her checkered past might distract him from the checkered flag," or the pandering moments like "she had a plain face but there was something pretty about her." And "I think being a kindergarten teacher is a noble profession." But just the puzzling sentences like "His stomach felt like he'd just eaten 12 monster tacos." First of all, who would eat 12 not just tacos but monster tacos? And why would this be used to describe being nervous before The Big Race instead of being about to be sick?

This book should get a Pulitzer. It's funnier than Dave Barry. But in the words of Reading Rainbow, you don't have to take my word for it. Here are two actual reviews from Amazon: (all spellings are sic)

"In The Groove is a blast! It's funny, sexy and romantic. My daddy has always been a huge NASCAR fan so all of the quips and explanations about sponsors, teams and fans had me smiling in remembrance. Lance is sexy and handsome and he's a really sweet guy too. Sarah is the kind of girl you want to see happy. She is such a nice person and her kindness and positive attitude are infectious. In The Groove is a story that I just raced through. It's so entertaining I couldn't put it down. I finished the last page with a satisfied sigh. Read In The Groove. It will take you on a fast, fun and romantic ride!

I took ITG down with me on the loooong drive to the Daytona 500 this past Feb and it was the best thing I could have done! It got me psyched for the race, it made me laugh, made me cry...UNREAL!

The character of Sarah is so loveable as the every-girl you could totally see yourself in her. The driver Lance just oooozes the kind of swaggering sexuality that you would imagine your favorite driver to have. Pamela makes it EASY for you to tack the face of your Jeff Gordons, Carl Edwards or Kevin Harvicks out there onto Lance Cooper and that was more than enough for me!

The story was so hot that I must admit, at parts I found myself reading so fast I had to go back over it all and soak it in! LOL. Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed by this book in the least!!! I cant WAIT for Pam's next book "On the Edge" to come out!! Thanks Pam for writing these deliciously wonderful books that tantalize the need for NASCAR and some goood lovin!

Congrats "Chrissy," you're the first person who's ever combined a NASCAR event and reading something that wasn't printed on the back of the Cheetos bag. And really? It made you cry? I guess it makes sense, what with the shocking ending of them ending up happy and all. And don't "LOL" yourself, makes you seem desperate.

Another take:

"The chemestry between them is great and real, but I'll tell you this is a squeeky clean romance novel. There are NO sex scenes in this book. It completely skips over all the physical romance. Even the language is vague and tame. No dirty or highly suggestive words. There is a hot kiss or two, but that is it. I only mention it because I know I like my romance novels steamy, but besides that I still found this book great."

Cause I like my NASCAR romances, but I'll be damned if they're gonna make me read between the lines (or lanes. Har.)

You can keep the party going with the author over at Myspace.com/Pamela_britton.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday Morning Dance Party Vol. 6: "Here, take this pill" edition

Just because you're stuck with your family for the Armenian holidays doesn't mean you can't wave your hands in the air like you just don't care. Holla!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Summary: There's a lot of hair in my office garbage can

I was putting the final touches on my Halloween costume (maternal Angelina Jolie) and realized I've probably already scared more people than your average hobgoblin this year.

(The only thing scarier than a gnarled-up goblin mask is one of those machines with a motion sensor that starts cackling when trick-or-treaters come to the door. I mean, scare kids, don’t scar them for life. Sidenote: Do you think the people who put those by their door are trying to help with America’s obesity epidemic by giving kids negative associations with candy?)

At lunch today I ran to a Jack's 99 Cent Store, where the sign says "Everything 99 cents…and up." I felt like pointing out to Jack that that is kind of true for most stores, but there was no time. I was on a mission. I had to get three little dolls to duct tape to myself.

Early on the plan got derailed when I realized that they only had black princess dolls left. Whatever, I thought, I'm Angelina. I don't see color. So, no doubt crushing a small girl's dream to own a small black princess doll, I scooped up the last three.

I've now spent the last half hour printing off faces of Maddox, Zahara and Shilo Pitt-Namibia-Jolie and giving the Maddox doll a faux-hawk. Then I stopped to write this. Yes, my boss is out of town today, why do you ask?

In total, I've worried, or at the very least puzzled, the following people:

The store clerk who rang up a professionally dressed woman in her 20s casually buying three identical black dolls in the middle of the day.

The coworker waiting for something to print as I came over and got the random assortment of pictures of someone else’s babies.

The coworker who walked by as I was cutting a doll’s hair and glue-sticking it straight up.

The coworker who just did a double-take at the six tiny feet poking out of my purse.

And tonight:

The janitor tonight who will no doubt quiver when he looks in my garbage can and sees piles of hair and wadded up faces of babies, wondering if it’s a voodoo ritual.

Employee of the month, right here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wherein I say 'lapels' four times in 45 seconds. (Subtitle: Winter coat of my discontent)

If I'm remembering what my 12th grade English teacher taught us, there are only three conflicts that are the basis of all literature: Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Man and Man vs. Self. Finding a coat covers all three. Kate vs. Winter, Kate vs. Other Shoppers, Kate vs. Kate's Doubts About Said Coat. I'd also like to throw in Kate vs. Bank Account, but I'm not sure which category that would be. (Sidenote: I had to delay buying Q-Tips the other day until I checked my balance.)

It's almost the end of October, and like the swallows of Capistrano, I return to the coat section of a major department store near you. It's an annual battle of wits. And every year I lose; I'm on my third coat in three years.

The grey pea coat was in shambles, so last year I got an almost identical tan one, a coat that managed to be simultaneously bulky and without a modicum of protection from the merest draft. Not one modicum. They had the heat cranked up really high in the store, lulling my Spidy senses into complacency.

I realized my mistake the instant I stepped out from the revolving door but I walked around all winter, shaking like a Chihuahua on an ice floe. I'm stubborn like that.

But this year, oh this year my friends, it would be different. Part of my plight is that there is such choice out there. Do I go formally woolen? Puffed up and casual? I fell in love with a red one, but that would clash with a lot of my clothes. Ditto apple green. I really wanted a white one, but I knew I wasn't a talented enough laundress to battle that city grime out. Nobody is.

So after trying on—and this is not an estimate—19,000 coats, I found a semi-puffy one. It's grey-green with gold undertones. (Looks better than it sounds. Or maybe not.) I like that it's long, and warm, and has a cool belt, but here's where it gets tricky: It has a wide collar, like one that goes out to the shoulders, which could be either extremely fashionable, or extremely clownish. After so many attempts, I'd given up the ability, and the will, to care.

I assume I'll be seeing a solid 80% of my readers in Boston this weekend, so feel free to let me know how "wicked queeah" it looks.

Still riding high on my baby-Halloween-costume-designing brilliance, I came up with my dream coat in my head while shopping, which led to this conversation the next day:

Me: "OK, here's what I would do on Project Runway."
A Certain Someone: "Go."
Me: "I would make a puff coat that's not too puffy that looks just like a trench coat, with like the lapels and stuff."
ACS: "I've seen that before."
Me: "No you haven't. I mean like not just a big collar, but lapels. Lapels!"
ACS: "I'm pretty sure I could take you to a store and find one just like that."
Me: "No way, I looked in every store in Manhattan. The brilliance of that coat would make Nina Garcia say, ‘It's a witty interpretation on a classic.' Michael Kors would weep openly."
ACS: "Hmmmm…"
Me: "I'm telling you. So cool. With toggles. And lapels!"
ACS: "Did you just learn the word 'lapel' or something?"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A cry for help

My boss' phone rang a minute ago when she had someone in her office and before I picked it up for her, I felt the need to yell "I'm on it!" like it was a matter of national security.

I think I drink too much coffee.

You would too though if you had my office's coffee machine. It's from the future! You put in a little pod of grounds and hit a button, and stand back and watch science (? Eh.) in action. I haven’t been so entranced by a piece of equipment since the 6-foot gumball machine at the mall.

Plus, there are like 20 flavor choices. Because I have high standards, I exclusively drink the Colombian Dark Magic Roast, which sounds like the sequel to "How Stella Got Her Groove Back."

Plus, it's just sexy. A big cup of a.m. sexy.

I may not get a "pension plan" or "health care," but that's nothing that my job can't make up to me by letting me drink my body weight in free coffee every day.

Part of the problem is that I don’t sleep. Not a fan of passing out for a third of my time on the planet. To hear my mom tell it, I was some crackhead baby awake at all hours. (Actually, I'm pretty sure that's true. Even then I knew napping was for suckers.)

Yes, I'm aware that just going to sleep after The Daily Show might be the "mature" thing to do in the situation, but long about midnight, I'm ready to do a jigsaw puzzle, do a jig, drink a jigger of gin, play gin rummy, write a letter to Rummy about Iraq, rack up pool balls, swim laps in a pool, pool my money with friends to drive cross country, listen to David Cross do stand up, stand up and pace until I fall asleep. (See what my mind does when it's tired?)

What's a girl got to do to get some Lunesta up in here?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Monday Morning Dance Party Vol. 5: "Every girl deserves to feel like a princess" edition

So let me understand. Each of those loyal subjects looked at this woman and thought, "Yes, I'll do what she tells me."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tokyo Kate

I don't know how to tell you this, but I'm a really big deal in Japan, more popular than Hello Kitty, vending machine beer and rice combined. Bitch, I'm bigger than Nicky Hilton's handbag line

It all started about a year ago when I first moved to New York and went to the Plaza for their pre-renovation sale. Because I'm fancy.

Although I don't think I was stocked up on toilet paper at the time, I'm pretty sure I thought it was necessary to buy monogrammed Plaza towels. Add to that I had several friends getting married that summer and that there was also talk of an eBay venture with my sister. So all in all I was excited to be there for such a historic moment to run amuck and literally unscrew doorknobs from the rooms.

Next stop swankyville.

While waiting in line to buy get in, I was interviewed by four different media outlets. Maybe it was my charming all-American demeanor. It was probably the fact that I'd brought along a rolling suitcase. (It's called thinking ahead.)

Of the reporters, two were from competing Japanese TV stations. Did they sense my masterful use of chopsticks and my longstanding love of "Big Bird Goes to Japan"? Probably. I gave them my A game, really stellar soundbites about the Plaza, its cultural place in our imaginations, and my excitement to buy $7 towels that have a big P on them. Heartfelt sentiments I never knew I thought until I shared it with all of Japan. All in English, of course. I would have loved to have been a Japanese person watching the news that night and seen the same American girl on two channels, giving the same dubbed quote.

Japanese viewer 1: "But I don'’t understand, there are so many other people there."

Japanese viewer 2: "She must be a celebrity."

Japanese viewer 1: "We should see if we can get her to design purses."

Since then, I've been on NHK and other Japanese stations literally every eight weeks or so. Not always interviewed, sometimes I'm just in the background, but I'm definitely getting my facetime. It happened again this morning, as I blithely sashayed in the path of some cameramen in Midtown. I assume I have my own show by now. Maybe it's a national obsession.

Note: To any Japanese readers who may stumble across this site, finding me on the news would be an awesome drinking game.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

If you Google "Saddam" and "sheep" I wonder what comes up?

My brother and I once got in a fight—honest-to-God backyard fisticuffs—about whether or not he invented the joke "Where do sheep go to get their fleece cut? The baa-baa shop."

I'd read it in a joke book and couldn't believe someone three years younger than me could possibly have the genius to spontaneously generate such comedy gold. Sorry, Kevin.

I've known a lot of jokey people, in the vein of "How's the weather up there?" (Get it? Get it? Cause I'm tall.) But nobody over the age of 6 seems to tell a joke with a setup/punchline format anymore. I can't tell you the last time a request was put out for a joke, so much so that the one and only one I can produce on command has expired.

This one is also from my brother, but there's no way his wordplay is sparkling enough to make it up:

What do Saddam Hussein and Little Miss Muffet have in common?
They both have Kurds in their way.

Ba-dum-dum-CHING! Also, ethnic cleansing? Always appropriate. Always hilarious.

I can just picture myself trying to tell this joke to my grandkids someday and being pelted with nursing-home Jell-O before they teleport themselves out of there.

Kate in 2052: "Well, there used to be this dictator of that country, Iraq, that we'’ve been liberating for three generations now..."
Grandkid of the future: "Shut it, Grandma. I have to go clean my silver jumpsuit."

It kinda cuts down on the humor if you have to give historical context.

It's almost like:

What's a Cypriot's least favorite food?

(Seriously, I'm available for weddings and bar mitvahs.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


After three nights of working on it, I've finally figured out this whole "links" business. If anyone wants me to link to them, just let me know (e-mail, or just in the comments)

30 seconds worth of questions for the Gap.

My first attempt at liveblogging:

• Whaaaaa….?

• Who is this tiny flailing person? Was there some sort of hire-the-handicapped contest?

• Oh no, oh God no, please, is that Audrey?

• Don’t you just hate when you’re elegance personified for a few decades then some greedy offspring goes and ruins your hard-won image in literally 30 seconds?

• Seriously, how bad a mother was she? Are we talking wire hangers?

• How hard did the ad agency work to make her look batshit crazy? Was it late nights with Chinese takeout in the editing booth to defile the memory of the style icon to every chirpy nip-slipping actress in Hollywood?

• “Back in Black"? Oh I get it, because the pants are black, and the song says black, right in the title. Takes out the guesswork so I don’t go into the store, panic and buy green pants. Because that would be lame.

• Remember that great “Jump, Jive and Wail” commercial a few years ago? You still sell those same khakis, so let’s bring that one back. We could all pretend to be interested in swing dancing again (retro!) and be enthralled with at stop-action 360-degree shots (edgy!) like the Matrix had never happened.

• Should Bellview study this?

• Can I say that a person who’s been dead since 1993 is dead to me, or is that redundant?

And finally, a haiku:

No, I won’t wear those
pants. You made her look crazy.
So stop asking, Gap.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Operation "Honk if you love 'House of Carters'"

I myself have a Metrocard instead of a drivers license (keeps me in touch with the common man) but I understand it must be hard to drive in this city. I appreciate the brilliant absurdity of 4.2 million cars trying to get to the same place at the same time.

That does not, I repeat NOT, give you the right to try to hit me for sport. I was inside the lines, I had the light, I'm a human being dammit. If you plow into me and knock me down, do I not bleed from the ears? If you cut a corner sharply, does my foot not flatten?

I'm generally a good pedestrian. I'll at least glance around before I dart between cars. If you have a siren on your vehicle, I won't stroll lackadaisically licking a lolly. But when you decide you have to cross the intersection to squeeze into the line of stopped traffic even though the light is red, well you sir deserve to get caught with your bumper sticking into the oncoming traffic. You got greedy and you got caught. People like you deserve society's scorn.

I know you're important. That's a given with your late-model Honda and flashy Rochester Big & Tall suit (no, seriously two for $350 is the steal of the century) but unless there's blood or a woman in labor in the car, you don't get to make the rules. I know you want to be like your heroes, but if Mad Max or someone from Grand Theft Auto jumped off a bridge, would you do it too? Cause I seriously wish you would. (Zing!)

Next time this happens, you're not getting off with just my withering glare and angry blog (which I'm sure is like a knife in your heart now). The next step involves me slapping an "Honk if you love 'House of Carters' " bumper sticker on your car. That's my right as an American. A pedestrian American.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Where art thou Courteney Cox?

When I was a kid, one of my brilliant inventions was a long stick I could use to reach across the room and turn out my light. (Apparently in the ‘80s ‘’nightstand lamps’’ hadn’t been invented yet. Or maybe my parents thought I shouldn’t be trusted with glass so near my precious self. By the way, three of my other early inventions were: the mailbox with doors at both ends so you didn’t have to go into traffic for your bills and birthday cards (this was later invented), raisin juice, and the peanutbutter-and-jelly knife with a blade at either end. Admittedly, this had the limited buying audience of people who loved PB&J enough to invest in a special utensil but also had a small number of knives in their possession.)


I have now been able to realize that early dream of turning off my light from across the room, even without the aid of a long stick. Thanks new roommate!

I live in a three-bedroom apartment, with two normal-sized bedrooms and one sort of storage nook. I was formerly sitting pretty in the biggest bedroom, just pointing and laughing at everyone who complained about Manhattan cramping their style. I had one Great Roommate at the other end of a long hallway, and she was never home. It was a simpler time.

Enter new roommate. A final parting gift from my boyfriend came in the form of a girl who was going to rent out my room when I moved in with him.

Within the hour of 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. one random Monday I’d been broken up with and my Wee Little Landlord (4’10”?) called to tell me she’d found someone to take over my lease.

She took pity on me and let me move into the nook instead of putting me out on the street, which was merciful considering I barely had the $35 to get the cable transferred to my room, let alone funds to rent a moving truck. It would have been a happy ending snatched from the claws of defeat, if not for Bad Roommate.

“Friends” led me astray. It is not awesome to have a roommate named Monica. She doesn’t make me laugh or lend me her boots or date the boy across the hall. She does clean a lot though. Well, that’s not actually true. She does, uh, encourage us to clean.

Within her first day, this transpired:

HER: Hey Kate.
ME: Hi Monica. Welcome to the apartment.
HER: Uh yeah.
ME: We’re really casual so help yourself to stuff in the kitchen or whatever.
HER: OK. Hey that stuff in the living room (points to my laundry bag on a chair) you’re going to move that, right?

(Editor’s note: I had dismantled and remantled my bed that morning and moved every possession I owned into the nook because she said she wanted the bigger bedroom instead of a discount on the rent.)

After that I avoided her at all costs, but when I returned from my hospital interlude with my dad, I was greeted with a note on the door saying:

“Hey Roomies! (Editor’s note: Ugh)
There have been dishes in the sink for over a week and that’s really gross. Let’s try to be better about that.”

The sink was empty when I left town + Great Roommate has never left a dish in the sink X I did her dishes the last time they piled up / several times a week she has large groups of her family over to eat what I assume is rotting flesh judging by the smell = she is crazy.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Monday Morning Dance Party Vol. 4: "Black glasses" edition

Bertha: "Well sometimes you need to stop doing the mashed potato and have some punch with your best fella."
Cathy: "Plus, these glasses are heavy."
Bertha: "I'm glad we all decided to match."

Friday, October 13, 2006

Foods that can go to hell

In the magazine world, we like to combine two words to make completely new ones, like charticles (chart + article), magalog (magazine + catalog) and listicles (delicious with sprinkles).

Listicles appeal to both your ever-shortening attention span and journalists seeing how little work they can get away with. It's win-win. So you not only get People's 50 most beautiful, but also Marie Claire's "117 hot fall looks" and, for the hot-pink-wearing sorority slut in you, Cosmo's "40 ways to light his thighs on fire!!!" (and other headlines that have to be covered up at Wal-Mart.)

Listicles have also become the bulk of VH1's non-Flavor-Flav-related programming. 50 hottest bodies, 100 richest useless people, 25 ways to become a snarky talking head. (None of those are apparently "Be funny." Seriously VH1, holla at your girl. I promise I'll be funnier than the nasally hooker with that star necklace).

Because I'm nothing if not trendy, here's my listicle for the day.

Foods that can go to hell:

1. White chocolate. I hate you, imposter. You're unfit to carry the name chocolate.
2. Jelly Beans. Nobody is happy to see you in an Easter basket. You take up prime Cadbury Egg real estate. You ruin Easter.
3. Licorice. Satan's snack food.
4. Tea. Know what I could really go for right now? Some scalding water that's had a bag of herbs dipped in it.
5. Bananas. Too bananay.
6. Diet Coke with Lemon. I'm enjoying my soda, but I think I'd like it even more if I could add Windex to it.
7. Baked beans. Protein? Yes. Remotely tasty? Mais non.
8. Raisins. Grape warts.
9. Cooked green pepper. You were meant to be cold. Don't fight nature.
10. Extra-spicy daal. You know what you did. I hold a grudge.

And the blog was free, free, free!

I tend to take things the extra mile. Whereas you will be content with merely eating one green apple, I'll eat three. You will check Gawker twice a day, I'll compulsively refresh it until my fingertips bleed. And when a co-worker compliments you on your hair clip, you'll say "Thanks" or maybe even "That's so sweet. I like your skirt." I will blurt out the price.

"Thanks! It was only $2.50!" I'll chirp in your face. And you'll back away slowly, because there's nothing to add to the conversation.

Nobody likes it when people brag about something being expensive, but announcing how little you paid is just annoying and weird. I mean, it's like I'm living during a World War II sugar ration, bragging about sweetening my cake with applesauce.

It's part of my overall problem controlling my mouth, not in a bitchy or gossipy way (editor's note: that's not true), but in a literally-don't-know-what-I'll-say-until-it-comes-out way.

On the first day of class one semester in college the teacher was calling roll and although everyone else had seemed to master raising their hand or saying "here" the teacher called out my name and I randomly made my hands into the "here's looking at you, kid" finger guns and did that side-of-the-mouth "click click" sound. I promptly skipped the next week of classes, and looking back, probably should have dropped the class entirely.

But the price thing? There's just no explaining it. I like a bargain – everyone who knows me knows that – but I seriously doubt that proclaiming I got a deal on my sweater will make anyone rush out and buy one just like it. (If you do, let me know and we'll like totally wear them on the same day. Sweater twins!)

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to tend my victory garden.

UPDATE: On the way home, I remembered I also said "no problemo" to a coworker today. Why am I allowed to talk? I should be fined.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I want Alopecia

Know that disease where all your hair falls out? Since 5th grade I have prayed to catch a case of that. I've done the math, and it would be worth it to wear a wig and draw on my eyebrows like one of those permanently surprised-looking old ladies. Wearing a wig vs. 180,746 hours of plucking over the next seven or so decades. It's a no-brainer. Seriously, I could have solved that whole Mideast kerfluffle by now and still had time to finish my screenplay.

My eyebrows are star-crossed lovers who only want to be reunited, and my tweezers are a Montague (or Capulet).

The year was 1991 and life at Grant Wood Elementary was progressing smoothly for a young Kate, as witnessed by my third grade picture. Seeing the photo of that little girl in a pink dress, I just want to go back in time and warn her of what the next 12 months would bring. It would bring eyebrow. Singular.

I know I had two eyebrows when I went into the fourth grade, but I somehow came out with only one. Here's an artist's rendering of my 5th grade school picture.

Do you see what it's like out there for a unibrowed person? We make babies cry.

We may not get handicapped parking tags or extra time to complete our SATs, but make no mistake, we are disabled. People tell me I look angry a lot, which makes me angry since chances were I was doing something like happily blowing bubbles or thinking of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes before they said that.

On the plus side, there are many successful people who share my affliction:

Of course, a monobrow is no guarantee of success:

(Editor's note: Yes, I did think of all this as I watched my sedated father in a hospital. My first thought was, "Please don't die" followed quickly by "Thank God I made my sister sign a pact that she'll be on eyebrow duty if I'm ever in a coma.")

Monday, October 09, 2006

An open letter to Steinbrenner

Dear Georgie Boy,

May I call you that? I don't especially care. I'll be brief. Please hire me to play next season.

Fact: I own a Yankees cap.
Fact: I am willing to buy a bat, and find my old soccer cleats from my parents' garage. If those are not appropriate, I will consider buying new shoes.
Fact: My record is unblemished. I've never lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Fact: I will motivate my team the way my parents motivated 4-year-old me to run faster to first base in tee-ball. "Pretend a dog is chasing you," they said. "Pay my therapist," I said. "Help me get over my newfound fear of dogs."
Fact: I will not demand my own locker room. I'll share. I'm a team player like that.
Fact: I enjoy money and would be willing to make millions of dollars.
Fact: I'm a good leaper. Stick me in the outfield.
Fact: I live reasonably close to the D train.
Fact: I will point A-Rod to first base, if by chance he gets a hit next season. If he's there next season.
Fact: Pinstripes are slimming.
Fact: I can do the YMCA between innings.
Fact: I can write "Hideki Matsui" in hiragana. That will make him feel at home.
Fact: I have an incriminating picture of Derek Jeter with a mullet. This is true. I interned in Michigan and found it in the archives. It's ugly and will cost him millions in endorsements and his hot bachelor status. Trust me, after this curly monstrosity is unleashed on the world, even a crazed Mariah Carey wouldn't call him back.

I will await word from your people. I trust the contracts are being drawn up even as we speak.

See you for spring training!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Monday Morning Dance Party Vol. 3: "Even she can't look" edition

Did you have to wear this to work this morning? No? Then stop complaining. She had to and she's smiling. Although she does have her eyes closed, which probably helps the whole experience go down easier.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

My Dad Part 2

Aaaaand exhale.

After a few days in intensive care, my dad is OK! Well, he has Legionnaire's disease, which has killed several people in New York this week. But he's out of the woods, no longer under sedation (or, as I randomly decided to tell someone "under seduction." It was a long week.) He's confused about where Friday through Wednesday went and is surprised every time we tell him about someone asking about how he's doing. Dad's not one for a fuss being made.

He no longer has a feeding tube, and is now delighting in hospital pork chops and canned peaches--"delicious!" (If I were my mom I'd be seriously calling into question years of compliments about her cooking.)

Within hours of being taken off his respirator, he was cracking jokes. One of his nurses was named Pam, and after she left the room he was calling out "Pam! Pam!" like Kramer when he liked Jerry's girlfriend and said her name was like a bell. Best sound ever.

We watched the Yankees game the other night while he was still hooked up to his heart monitor and every time a Yankee stuck out or bobbled the ball-or whenever the camera cut to A-Rod, even in the dugout-his heart rate would creep up.

So thanks to cutting-edge science or prayers (take your pick)he's on the mend. I'm actually going with mystery door C. My friend used her birthday wish for him to get better. You can pray all year, but you only get one birthday wish. I'm forming a new religion around the church of the birthday wish. Our idol is the candle, communion is cake and milk. Follow me to salvation. Or diabetes.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday Morning Dance Party Vol. 2: Domo arigato edition

I'm not sure what the stereotype is about Asian people dancing, but I'm going to go ahead and guess there's karaoke involved.

My dad

My dad is dying.

My dad is dying. My dad is dying. My dad is dying. My dad is dying.

I've been practicing saying that in front of the mirror the way you'd practice your "hellos" before a first date. But it doesn't sound right. Or natural. Or possible.

"My dad died when I was 26." "My dad died last year." "My dad died ten years ago." "I wish dad were here."

It's not possible.

Maybe he won't die. Maybe medicine, and a respirator, and a team of doctors, and many dozen Catholics can work their magic. Today was better than yesterday. His lungs are clearer, and the MRI didn't show the spots on his brain that were there yesterday. So maybe it's not a stroke. But I feel like I should be prepared. Just in case.

But people have already started dropping off pies, and casseroles, and soups. In case. In case my mom has to go home to an empty house when my brother, sister and I leave again. It's only when I see her hunched over the sink washing one lonely cup that it really hits me.

"Have you ever met a man who loved Thanksgiving more?" she asks. And I shake my head. He's so joyful when all his kids are home. He mugs for the camera, and dances jigs. He makes a big deal of tending to the turkey, hopping up when the timer beeps, and basting it with pride.

He cries at the end of "It's a Wonderful Life" and every year writes note tags on our Christmas presents from Santa. Each one gets a different hokey rhyme or little sketch. And if he dies, Christmas will die too.

He always said that if he were in the hospital for the holidays we should drape him in Christmas lights. I bought some. Just in case.

I wrote his eulogy on the plane. In case. I hope I never have to open up that piece of notebook paper.

My sister said the last time she talked to him, he fell asleep in the middle of the conversation. We laughed, because even healthy we're pretty sure my dad has low-grade narcolepsy. I don't think he's still ever seen the musical act perform on Letterman. He worked late when we were kids, and usually drifted off when he read us bedtime stories. We all read at a young age, I'm sure in no small part because our stories were always suspended, Care Bears yet to rescue the kid scared of the doctor, puppies left missing.

Long after we learned to read, we'd cuddle in the crook of his arms to have him read us the comics on Sunday nights. Per our pleading, he'd "do all the voices" of Calvin, and Snoopy and those damn Family Circus kids. I don't think any of us were ever amused at the comic itself, but giggled when my dad made his patented "tickatickaticka" sound tracing Billy's path around the neighborhood.

On Sunday afternoons we'd eat our sandwiches while we watched the Three Stooges. None of us kids got the comedy and he'd turn around and have three sets of eyes watching him closely to laugh when he did.

I spent last night in the hospital by his side, watching all the machines, praying they wouldn't beep, or would keep beeping, or whatever the hell they're all supposed to do. We watched the premiere of Saturday Night Live together too, him completely sedated and me curled in the chair. We both laughed the same amount. I told my mom that this morning and she said, "He has to get better, he'd love that."

I tried to keep myself from being the obnoxious family member, but kept pulling the overnight nurses into his room when things dinged and hissed. I winced every time they moved him. If I were rich I would hire a doctor to sit next to him and just stare at the numbers like we do. That would be their only job, because he shouldn't be another patient on their rounds, he's my dad. They should be there. Just in case.

The doctor told us yesterday that he was the patient in the worst shape on the floor. "Dad did always do things all the way," my brother said proudly. There was an odd twinge of pride too that it took three nurses to hold him down before he was sedated. A feisty one.

My dad fell off his idol pedestal for me a long time ago, but he never stopped being my favorite person. We share an outlook, and a sense of humor, and react the same way to things.

He can come up with names and details that nobody else remembers. There have been times when he wins Trivial Pursuit without other teams getting a roll. He and my mom have been banned from playing with some people. We were finishing a game one night and he fell asleep in a chair (see above) and we woke him up. He answered the question correctly and went back to sleep.

I keep thinking of what I'll tell him when he's better, but we don't leave things unsaid. He knows how beloved he is, so I don't worry about that. I just want more time with him, many selfish more years of peace and holidays and boredom and petty squabbles. Years to know him as an adult, to walk me down the aisle, to see grandkids. He'll be the best grandfather.

"I think Heaven," he told me when I was a kid "will be getting to meet anyone you ever wanted and sitting and saying 'Want to sit and talk for, oh, six years?' "

My father is a journalist through and through.

Maybe all the worry will be moot in the morning. But I know that there are a lot of authors and world leaders in Heaven who should be preparing to be chatted with for a good long while.

Just in case.