fearlesstemp: (Default)
The highlight of my Christmas has to be - it HAS to be - the moment when I found myself on my knees, head under the dining room table next to the bare chicken legs of one of our dinner guests, doing my best to unbuckle her velcro sneakers so that she could change into a pair of my mother's sweatpants because, as she had said several times by that point, her words slurred by the Chardonnay I'd given her (one lesson I learned today: ninety-pound nonagenarians generally can't hold their liquor), the other pants were "too TIGHT. I don't know why they gave them to me! Ha! Haha! My pants! They're too TIGHT!"

And then she farted, which was the cherry on the sundae of the whole experience. She was in good company, though; my grandfather, who was seated next to her in the dining room (but had had his wheelchair turned around so that Julia could have her privacy while I stripped her down and stuffed her into another pair of sweatpants), has become a champion gas passer. In the middle of Christmas dinner tonight, long after Julia had been tucked into her new gray sweatpants, Grandpa leaned forward, gripped the table, and let out a fart so loud that I heard it at the other end of the room. It took everything in me not to burst into audible laughter. I did burst into silent laughter, hidden behind my glass of coke, because I am (as we all know) thirteen at heart.

Ours was a wild and crazy Christmas. The guests were:

-My 89-year-old grandfather, who yelled about abortion during appetizers, slept through dinner, and yelled about abortion again during dessert;

-the aforementioned Julia, my grandfather's old friend and neighbor at the nursing home, who has a niece who took her car but doesn't take her in on holidays (maybe it's the farting?);

-Gerry and Joanne, my father's cousin and his wife, who are both nice, lovely people, who can be best characterized by the fact that they always drive the speed limit (always!), even in the fast lane, and do not understand why people tailgate them. They are two contenders for the coveted Most Boring People I Know Award; and

-Barb and Mike, my aunt and her husband. Mike was just diagnosed with colon cancer and had surgery to have a section of his colon removed just this past Monday. I was positive he was going to keel over into his green bean casserole halfway through dinner - when I had my appendix out when I was seventeen, I was completely done for for about ten days. He's been out and about since he got out of the hospital on Friday.

It was a wild and crazy evening, let me tell you. I would tell you more about it right now, but my brother and I are about to run out to see King Kong. More later - Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and a very happy Sunday to all others. Happy Hanukkah too!

P.S. I owe a bunch of people e-mails and thanks, and I will get to it soon - promise! You are all lovely people.
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)

Never have I cursed a former self as much as I cursed the Self of Friday Night when I woke up early Saturday morning. Getting up EARLY on a SATURDAY to go watch ADOLESCENT DEBATERS? Madness! It didn't help that I'd felt it necessary to watch both the 10PM and 1AM showings of Battlestar Galactica (OMG the FINALE! JULY IS TOO FAR AWAY!).

It was heinous. But I got up, forced myself out into the rain, drove a half hour to the debate location, went inside, and spent four hours listening to 14-year-olds debate whether local or national laws better protected civil liberties. They were so adorable, the boys in awkward-looking suits, the girls wearing strappy sandals in spite of the monsoon outside. And they were so SMART! Holy crap! Discussing things like Northern Ireland and John Locke! The judge I was shadowing had two different colored pens and her sheet always looked organized and clean when she was done, full of arrows showing arguments carrying over through rounds and cross-examinations. Mine was full of things like, "nat. = [illegible scribbling]" and long blank spots where I got involved in what the kid was saying and forgot to write things down. At the second debate, I had to keep track of the time as well, which was extremely complicated! Really it was! It sounds easy, but plastic kitchen timers can be surprisingly incomprehensible to a person who bakes approximately twice a year! Not to mention the hand signals I had to give to signify the amounts of time remaining.

VERY COMPLICATED! I mean, the minute warnings were simple enough (just holding up the appropriate number of fingers), but sometimes the kid wouldn't look up while I had my hand up, and sometimes when he did, I'd already have had my hand up for like fifteen seconds, and when it's a three-minute timeframe, that's a big chunk of time! But there was no way to signify that difference! Maybe I should have negotiated something, like, when I'd had my hand up a while, I'd start wiggling my fingers or snapping them or something.

[Random Interjection: Is Blind Justice as bad as it looks from the ads? Is it possible for a show to be that bad? "You'd be safer with a man who can SEE!"]

Anyway, as far as I could tell, I didn't destroy anyone's performance, so I call it a success.

Saturday night I had to babysit, which started out great - air hockey, computer games, dancing. The usual. And then, just after my gourmet dinner (potato soup and scrambled eggs), I was in the kitchen getting things together to make brownies for dessert, when I heard the most awful, ungodly sound. It sounded like some cross between a retch and a cough, almost like the sound a cat makes when coughing up a hairball, except REALLY LOUD. Like The Exorcist! It sounded exactly like The Exorcist!

I whipped around and looked at Emma, who was still sitting at the kitchen table. "Was that –"

"I'm FINE," she said, very emphatically, and then opened her mouth wide and OUT CAME THE EXORCIST SOUND!

I was all "Oh my GOD," but when I ran over, she would have nothing to do with me, just waved me away and insisted that not only was she fine, she was great! And then more Exorcist Sound!

At this point I was convinced I'd poisoned her. Given her botulism from the potato soup, or not scrambled the eggs enough, or, I don't know. Poisoned her with my presence! Something!

I so miss the days when she was under four and I could just pick her up and haul her to the bathroom no matter what she said, even if, during one of those times, we didn't make it to the bathroom and she ended up vomiting all over my neck and shoulder. At least I could impose my will! She's seven now, almost eight, and while I can still pick her up when she wants to be picked up, picking her up while she's fighting me isn't as possible.

When I asked her to come with me to the bathroom for the fourth time, she jumped up and ran (naturally!). Right into the living room. Where she barfed on the middle cushion of my aunt's brand-new couch.

I grabbed a pan and paper towels and ran into the living room, where she was still making the Exorcist Noise and insisting she was FINE in spite of the pool of barf next to her. I held out the pan in front of her and, when it came time to barf again, she leaned in towards me and - now I can't prove this, but I swear she did this - deliberately turned her head to miss the pan and hit the rug.

Once her stomach was empty, the Exorcist Noise stopped but the tears started and the Garbo-esque "I just want to be ALONE!" continued. It was very stressful! I alternated between mopping up the barf with paper towels and trying to sneak a hand in to check her forehead for a fever. I finally got her to give in when I told her that she could feel my forehead while I felt hers and I would only touch it for ten seconds (we counted out loud together).

After this was done, I asked if she wanted some apple juice.

She said, loudly, "NO!" and then, rather calmly, "Frankie is eating the paper towels."

I assumed she meant the roll I'd left on the floor behind me, but when I turned around, Frankie the dog wasn't running off with the roll of new towels. HE WAS EATING THE VOMIT-COVERED PAPER TOWELS.

That was fun. I had to chase him through the house, yanking the towels away from him, all the while doing my best to stifle my own gag reflex.

Oh, such a glamorous life!


On Sunday I saw two movies, and liked both of them for different reasons.

miss congeniality 2 )

the upside of anger )


I spent a good chunk of Monday watching coverage of the Pope's life and death. It's kind of terrible how little I knew about him; I always thought of him as a frail old man who refused to let us use birth control or ordain women. And, okay, he was that guy, but he was a lot of other things too, and it doesn't speak well of me that it took his death for me to find that out.

Ah, I'm such a crappy Catholic. I should go to mass. I should know important biographical details of my Pope. I shouldn't stand in church and say, "We believe in one God, the father, the Almighty, the maker of Heaven and Earth, of all that is seen and unseen...mumble mumble...suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again, in fulfillment of the scriptures. He will come again...mumble mumble mumble... one holy, catholic and apostolic church...mumble mumble...Amen."

I could go on and ON about my spiritual inner workings, but I will spare you. It's messy and confused and doesn't make much sense right now. Or, you know, ever.
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
I have been back for a week and I keep meaning to write about my adventures in Europe, but instead I find myself watching General Hospital or reading about how Cory and Shawn were so totally in love on Boy Meets World or obsessing about Battlestar Galactica and NOTHING GETS DONE. There are other important things I'm supposed to be doing, but I lack focus! And drive! As usual!

Right now the thing I'm supposed to be doing but obviously am not is: revising my mother's resume. Pretend I put the accent there. In the next few days I'm supposed to help my brother with a cover letter for a summer internship, too. Why does my family have such faith in my abilities in this area? I've been out of college for three years and have no non-temp-agency-procured job to show for it! I can't get a job for myself! Why would I be able to get one for others?

I told this to my mother and she just waved me off, saying I was being ridiculous. This was one of the rare cases where I think I was being logical instead of ridiculous, but then I remembered that I did get called in for interviews a lot (you know, before the job rejection destroyed my spirit and I gave up the dream of being hired for a job I liked), so I mustn't be so bad at it. That prompted my mother to say, "That's right! You are good at this!" until I followed that up by saying that it must be my personality that's subpar, not my resume (again, pretend I put the accent there), which caused her to backtrack and be all, "No! It must have been the resume! Or! Something! Don't force me to acknowledge your persistent failure!"

Anyway. It DOESN'T MATTER because I got into the MAT program I was hoping to get into, so off to school I go in June! I'm not really going off anywhere, since I'll be commuting, and it's the college I went to for my B.A. (oh, I'm so adventurous!), so I won't even be exploring wild new territory, but - it's happening. I'm excited and also kind of scared. What if I hate it? What if the kids don't respond to me? What if I can't get up early?

Career Pros:

-Vacations and snow days
-Being paid to ramble about random historical facts I find interesting
-Possibly, someday, earning enough to pay for another car

Career Cons:

-Getting up early
-Scary adolescents

Three beats two! So I become a teacher.

(at least that's the plan for now)

A few more anecdotes for the There Are Only Thirty People In The Tri-City Area; They Just Use Trick Photography Learned From RNC Campaign Commercials To Get Money From the State File:

-The other day on the news the lead story was road rage - Driver A cut Driver B off; Driver A and B exchanged words; Driver B called her boyfriend; Driver B's boyfriend followed Driver A through traffic until Driver A stopped; Driver B's boyfriend stabbed Driver A's passenger SEVEN TIMES. The passenger is doing okay, miraculously enough, and was: the nephew of my mother's closest friend at work, the son of someone my uncle Kevin works with, and the nephew of one of my uncle Terry's oldest friends.

-Yesterday I went to get an oil change and when I gave them my name, the oil change guy asked if I was related to Jim MyLastName. I gave my traditional answer ("Probably, he's either my brother, father, grandfather, or second cousin once removed"), and found out that the guy used to do yard work for my grandfather. Random!

-Today I met with R. for a tutoring session, which went pretty well. His girlfriend was picking him up after, so I waited with him to say hi (we've talked on the phone a lot, but never met, and I was feeling friendly). When she pulled up, I introduced myself, and she asked if I was related to Jim MyLastName. Turns out my father represented her through a really tough divorce and helped her out. Random again!

I have to file another progress report for R. soon, which is stressing me out because we missed a bunch of sessions between my vacation, his overtime at work, and frequent foul weather. I'm sure it will be fine (he says he's getting good feedback at work), but I keep worrying that he'll get FIRED and end up LIVING ON THE STREETS all because I WENT TO EUROPE.

I gave him homework! Haphazardly drawn up, sloppily written, but homework nonetheless! And he kind of did the homework! Sort of!

Okay. Enough rambling from me. Oh, but before I go, a quick PSA for American Dreams, which I really really really don't want to be canceled! I read this on a message board and thought I'd pass it along, since I know there are other people out there as determined as I am to continue to get their regular J.J. fix:

To the Friends and Fans of "American Dreams" –

When I first wrote the pilot script for our show, I had no idea where the series might lead. (In fact, I had no idea we'd even make the pilot at all) But I knew that I wanted to create a show about families. A show about raising children. A show that might provide a safe place for families to sit and watch together. One that provokes discussion and provides an entertaining and emotional distraction. An hour to get your son off the Xbox, your daughter off her text-messaging, and you and your spouse away from the TIVO...

And "American Dreams" has become that show to so many of you. You, our friends and fans, are connected to the Pryors and the Walkers. You recognize these families that are struggling, but surviving in the difficult times of the 1960's. Little did I know that because of the tragedy of 9/11 and the war in Iraq, and because of the continued struggle for the rights of women and minorities in the workplace, that our period piece about the 60's would be one of the most relevant shows on television.

You embrace our fictional families with a flesh and blood connection that feels so very real. (Much in the same way I do.) You worried about JJ in Viet Nam. You get angry with Jack. You feel for Henry. You pray for Helen. You get annoyed with Patty. You hope the best for Meg. You're happy she has Roxanne. You empathize with these characters, as you and your family struggle to survive our own challenging time in history.

You love the actors and the writing. You love the music and the pop culture. You love the classic artists and today's artists re-interpreting the great songs of the 60's. You love the way the show makes you feel, while you're watching it. . . and for a while afterwards. How it makes you feel about the characters in the show, about the stories, and maybe even about your own family.

You love the same things about this show that I do. And when I read your comments on line, I'm moved by them. Influenced by them. Grateful that you're watching and writing and critiquing and commenting.

Your support has meant so much to me. And to our cast and crew.

Please keep it up. You can make a difference. Your emails and postcards are being heard and read. In fact, I recently printed the latest version of one of your on-line petitions, and plunked the 550 page document on the President of NBC's desk! So spread the word, have people add their names to that petition, as I will do it again some time in April.

You can help me keep this show on the air. Whether it's on Sundays or Wednesdays or whatever night NBC deems right...

And this week, if you're moved to do so, please send your emails after the show, (to AmericanDreams@nbcuni.com.) The folks at NBC are listening, they are looking to see this Thursday morning if we really do have the kind of organized fan support that I've been bragging about.

I hope you enjoy this Wednesday's Season Finale. I hope it breaks your heart a little bit. I hope it leaves you longing for more.

With gratitude,

Jonathan Prince
fearlesstemp: (john doe mike)
I love Thanksgiving Day. I am grateful for a lot of things, too many to name, but if I had to give a brief list: my health, my family, and my friends, including all of you.

notes from today's turkey day )
fearlesstemp: (fred and ginger pick self up)
Party up in here: My car just passed inspection! I am about to go have a celebratory bowl of popcorn and Diet Pepsi, but I had to share this with someone, and since my house is empty and my friends all have lives and are off doing things at the moment (how inconsiderate!), I must spew into my LJ. To all of you, also my friends! Just many of whom I've never actually spoken to using my actual voice.

I have to say, I honestly did not think my car had it in her – I sat there in the Valvoline waiting room reading Moneyball (which is fab so far, by the way), eating peanut M&Ms garnered from the little machine sitting in the corner (only got four for a quarter, which I thought was a massive ripoff, but who to complain to? Certainly not the people examining my little car), obsessing over what I would do if it failed. Cry? Possibly. More likely just look pathetic and then go home and have a consolatory bowl of popcorn and Diet Pepsi (a variety of occasions are accompanied by a bowl of popcorn and Diet Pepsi in my life).

But all the worrying was for nothing, because it passed! I feel like a mother proud of her child winning the spelling bee or something.

Speaking of mothers: Went to the big family party last night and while there held and fed Abigail, the cutest little baby in the world. She is also the most well-behaved little baby in the world, dealing with a houseful of half-drunk extended family members all poking their heads in her face saying things like, "Look at you! Just look at you! I could just eat you up!"

That last comment is kind of terrifying – why do so many of us say it when faced with a teeny baby? Why do proud parents take it so kindly when someone tells them he or she wants to devour their young? Something to ponder.

I was surprised by how rusty I was. I have babysat a lot in my life, but it's been a while since I looked after a little infant, and when it came time to burp her I was overcome with the kind of panic I always made fun of my male relatives for having. What's so scary about a little baby?

A lot! I kept worrying I wasn't supporting her head enough and she was going to flop around and sever her spinal cord. Is that crazy? Probably. Either way, spinal cord remained intact and Abby burped proudly twice for me, and the third time was a little less forthcoming with the gas, and had to be handed over to her mother. But it was still lovely to hold her.


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February 2009

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