09 April 2008

Eat This

As I write this, I am just further confirming to myself that Wordpress is, indeed, the shit. Ah...

Anyway, just felt the need to say that I'm no longer blogging as routinely to Chelsea Hotel No. 2 as often as I would like, between work and that other site I run. What other site?, you may ask.

This one: she eats.

So, point your browsers in that direction if you like food, are easily amused and find that I don't post enough to Chelsea Hotel for your liking.

24 October 2007

I See You

I see you, reader from New Berlin, Wisconsin, who comes here every day without fail.

Who are you? What are you up to right now? What is New Berlin like? In my head, it's like Lake Wobegon -- the place where we waited all day in the rain for you.

Are all the men of New Berlin good-looking? Are all of the women strong? Are all of the children above-average? You probably have no idea what I'm talking about unless you listen to Garrison Keillor. But you have to understand that this is how I picture New Berlin in my mind, for some reason.

And why don't you ever come visit my new home? I've got things over there for you, things that you might like. I've got a recipe for shrimp curry, a YouTube video of an old Polish man saying funny phrases, this cool poem that I heard and a rant about canola oil. You should really check it out some day.

It must be strange and somewhat depressing to come and visit the same page every day, only to see that nothing has changed there since August 30th, every single time. So I'm posting this for you, New Berlin, Wisconsin.

Or does the fact that the page never changes anymore provide you with some unfamiliar comfort that I've now ruined?

Whatever it is, I just hope that you're having a good day, New Berlin. Your faithfulness to this shady, little corner of the internet is astounding and heartening. Be seeing you...

30 August 2007

Like a Rolling Stone

I can't seem to stay put for long. That's right: I'm moving again. Due to an abundance of reasons (okay, only a few, but they're good ones!), I'm moving from Blogger to Wordpress. Come and visit me at my new home:

Chelsea Hotel No. 2 (version 2.0)

Update your bookmarks, change your Favorites, alert the media -- whatever you feel is appropriate. Just come and give me a housewarming comment at my new place.

29 August 2007


Due to a total lack of creativity on my part for the past few days, I've decided to post some of my all-time favorite comics from xkcd. Enjoy!

For larger versions, just head over to the website, you lazy bastard!

25 August 2007

Something Blue

I went in for my third wedding dress fitting today. I believe this marks about the eleventy-tenth time I've been in the bridal salon; it's starting to feel like my second office. The salon itself is one of those little ritzy affairs in the heart of River Oaks, the kind of place where the dresses cost as much as a year's rent and the ladies give you withering looks for failing to come in full makeup (mascara and lip gloss do not count as makeup, dear). They are also unafraid to tell you that you (a) need to lose weight (b) no, more than that, darling, if you want to fit into a dress that doesn't come from the heavy girls' section at David's Bridal (c) you're standing all wrong and (d) STAY STILL. It's like having clones of my mother on all sides, which is more stressful to me than having to sing a solo at Carnegie Hall or juggle priceless Faberge eggs for the Pope. I get tight-chested just thinking about it, so, needless to say, I was not looking forward to this morning's appointment.

My wedding dress is extremely heavy and hot. Luckily, I'm having a November wedding, or else I don't think I'd be able to stand up there without fainting from heatstroke. I would never have thought that something strapless could make me feel like I'm wearing a fur coat inside a sauna. But although it weighs about 25 pounds and has certain sweat-lodge qualities, it's still extraordinary. It looks like a confection; I certainly never pictured myself wearing something so exquisite. It's made of ivory silk and has a hand-beaded bodice of pearls and Swarovski crystals. The dress is tight on top, cinching my waist into a tiny ring like a whalebone girdle, and it flares out in an A-line from the hips. The train is long and slightly bustled; the skirt has scattered French pick-ups over miles of petticoats. I look like...a princess.

I never played dress-up when I was a little girl and certainly never pretended to or wanted to be a princess. So, obviously, I did not pick out this dress. That's right -- I didn't pick out my own wedding dress. My mother and aunt went with me as I began dress-hunting about six months ago. They, along with the bridal salon owner, picked out my dress for me because I simply couldn't choose from the dozens of Stepford dresses with which I was presented even though I feel that I made many valiant efforts to choose one. It's beautiful and I do like it and -- I suppose, most importantly -- I look great in it, but I still feel like someone's mannequin every time I put it on. I'm poked and prodded and shoved and corseted until the dress takes it shape over my body.

So far, I can't envision wearing it for an entire afternoon/evening without toppling over my petticoats or crashing into someone holding a glass of red wine. I'm equally nervous about walking down the isle in it, dragging yards of fabric carefully behind me as I go to meet my groom. And I don't know who among my bridal party will have the sheer patience to fasten all of the tiny pearl buttons down the back or figure out the complex bustle after the ceremony has ended.

As I was waiting for the seamstress to collect her pins today, I rustled around the room trying to adjust to the weight and ampleness of the dress. I was moving pretty well, not jogging or anything, but doing a passing imitation of Grace Kelly when my mother and the salon owner walked in and saw me. They both threw a wobbly and demanded that I not move another muscle until the fitting was over. I stood there, stock still, for the remainder of the time and tried to figure out what to do with my hands. They were like little sparrows, not wanting to stay put, trying to nest on different parts of the dress -- my hips, my waist, the small of my back -- while my mother batted them back down to my sides, annoyed.

The worst part, for me, about the fittings is the way that I'm reduced to an object -- a realistic mannequin for the seamstress, a cypher for my mother -- and treated like a small child if and when I speak up.

I will be so exceedingly happy when this is all over, when the pictures have been taken and the food eaten and the music danced to, and I can just be married. People keep asking me these days, "Are you excited about the wedding?" and the surprising truth is that, as much as I may complain, I am. But I'm simply much more excited about what comes next.

23 August 2007

Odds and Ends

A few things I've been meaning to put down before they get rudely shoved aside in my mind by intrusive thoughts of the butterscotch milkshake I'm craving or dress fitting appointments or JDE invoicing or whatever else might randomly slip in:

Random Compliments That I've Received Lately and To Which I Have Not Known How To Respond:

- "You look like a young Bette Midler" (holy crap -- what???)

- "You have the nicest skin! I'm looking at it so closely and I can't see any pores at all!" (while I certainly appreciate the sentiment, get.away.from.my.face -- we're at a business dinner, psycho)

- "You've got great boobs." (from a chick, no less)

- "You've got great taste in food." (okay, well...yes, I do -- thank you)

A Movie Scene Which I'm Sure Has Never Been Filmed But Which I Would Very Much Enjoy Seeing Nonetheless:

A sex scene in which the two lovers are locked together 9-1/2 Weeks-style in some very random location (like the inside of an old phone booth or a drained swimming pool next to an abandoned hotel), completely throwing all decency to the wind and saying nothing to each other as a Hardingfele plays mournfully over the scene. I know, I know: you're laughing now at the Hardingfele, aren't you? You're either laughing at the word "Hardingfele" even though you have no idea what it is, or you're laughing because you actually know what one is and you're either associating it with The Lord of the Rings soundtrack (no! stop it!) or you're imagining a jolly Norwegian tune being played on it while two people get down in a phone booth.

But go and listen to "Folkdance from the Hills" by Edvard Grieg (you can listen to a small snippet of it on Amazon, but it's not the good part and it really doesn't do it justice). Now picture that playing over the sex. It's totally hot, isn't it? Smoking hot. And here you were, making fun of a Hardingfele like a 13-year-old.

The Temp Who's Sharing My Office With Me Is Very Interested in Homeopathic Medicine

Very interested. He talks about it all the time, which I have a hard time reconciling with the music that he listens to all day long (paging Megadeth to office 1350, Megadeth to 1350, please). I mean, as I write this, he's mumbling something to me about Valerian root. Thank God he can't see my computer screen. So today, I'm getting a little flustered while I'm on the phone with an employee and I flub my words. Big deal; whatever. But when I finish the call, there's the temp waiting with baited breath to tell me:

"You messed up your words just now." Yeah, thanks for noticing.

"You know that the reason people do that -- the reason their minds are all foggy -- is that they have a stomach fungus." What?

"Yeah, a stomach fungus -- it's called candida." You mean yeast? Like a yeast infection? In someone's stomach? O.....kay.

"Yeah, gross, huh? You should totally eat some cream of tartar; it'll clear that right up." Thanks for the heads up, buddy. I'll get right on that one.

A Poem Which I Had Forgotten That I Really Enjoy and Found Again In the Back Of a Notebook Today:

If I should go away,
Beloved, do not say
'He has forgotten me'.
For you abide,
A singing rib within my dreaming side;
You always stay.
And in the mad tormented valley
Where blood and hunger rally
And Death the wild beast is uncaught, untamed,
Our soul withstands the terror
And has its quiet honour
Among the glittering stars your voices named.

-Postcript for Gweno, by Alun Lewis

Hey, Bette Midler's Looking Pretty Good For an Older Broad!:

22 August 2007

The Girl Crush

Richard caught me watching L.A. Ink last night with what I guess was some degree of intensity. It was then that I confessed my girl crush on Kat Von D to him, which he didn’t completely understand because (a) she’s quite alternative and therefore unattractive to him and (b) I think it’s difficult for heterosexual males to understand (or admit that they understand) having a totally platonic crush on someone of the same sex. I tried explaining a girl crush to him, but he had already moved on to grander delusions: namely, me getting busy with some chick.

“You know,” he mooned, “it wouldn’t be cheating if it was with another chick.” I rolled my eyes and turned my attention back to L.A. Ink, while Richard wandered off into another room, visions of lipstick lesbians dancing in his head.

And while I’m not necessarily inclined to carry on a lesbian affair, it did give me a good idea for a blog entry. So without further ado, I present my list of girl crushes:

- Kat Von D (as previously mentioned, because she is fierce and funny and beautiful and blazes her own trail, everyone else be damned)

- Jenny Lewis (who is simply amazing, with Blake Sennett thrown in for good measure, even though he’s a guy, just because he’s so freaking adorkable [yes, I said adorkable] and because I’m sort of vicariously obsessed with the complex friends-lovers-friends-lovers-friends-whatever-we-are-we’re-soulmates-and-we-make-orgasmically-good-music-together relationship that they have)

- Scarlett Johannson (Oh my God, the rack. The acting, too, but…the rack. I can certainly appreciate a good pair of puppies when I see them...)

- Zooey Deschanel (I want to be her so bad, it's not even funny)

- Miranda July (instead of blood and plasma and white cells, she has pure creativity running through her veins)

- Nico (I don't care that she's dead; she was brilliant)

- and almost every girl that makes her way onto The Sartorialist, because I am insanely jealous of their ability to look effortlessly stylish and beautiful (I said almost every girl; beware of some of the more "artistic" looks on that site)

This is not, by any means, a comprehensive list. But it's getting late and I'm tired and I have a Rilo Kiley CD calling my name from the car, so until next time...

A shout in the street

I blame Pancho for this one:

You're Ulysses!

by James Joyce

Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I never much cared for James Joyce or Ulysses, even though I catch myself unintentionally mimicking his stream-of-consciousness style at times. But you know what? I also catch myself writing about the inanities of everyday life and that doesn't mean I like Erma Bombeck. Stupid quiz.

At least it captured my brilliant yet repugnant vulgarity.

Dzien dobry! Nazywam sie Elzbieta.

Ed. Note: I meant to post this on Monday, but I was either really busy or really drunk or really lazy...take your pick.

There was a fierce tranny in my local Starbucks this morning. She looked like a young Amanda Lepore, complete with huge red lips, long blonde hair and kicky stilettos. I'm not quite sure what she was doing in a Starbucks in Memorial at eight o'clock in the morning, all kitted out in her finest denim jumpsuit and bouffant Traci-Lords-in-"Cry-Baby"-hair -- actually, I'm not quite sure I want to know -- but I loved her for it. The yuppies were carefully maintaining their distance from her, which was difficult because she was lounging languidly up against the main counter, batting her eyelashes at all the men in their houndstooth trousers as they approached for their venti lattes. The yuppies were either glaring at her with disapproval -- "A transexual? In MY coffee shop?!? Well, I never!" -- and trying to avoid eye contact completely. Watching them squirm with uneasiness while watching her revel in their obvious discomfort was probably the high point of my day. I wanted to give her a hug and thank her for bringing such joy to a Monday morning, but that seemed inappropriate somehow. So...thanks, mysterious tranny, whoever you are.

I went to a couple of parties over the weekend, which was a nice respite from the constant renovation work we're doing on the house. On Friday night, it was Michael's 30th birthday bash, from which I'm still eagerly awaiting pictures, and these are the reasons why:

- It was a 1985 - 1995 themed party (to pay homage to his formative years)
- Richard went as one of The New York Dolls (we never did decide which one)
- I went as one of his groupies from Paramus, New Jersey named Stacey
- Richard's costume (except for his wig) was entirely composed of MY clothing
- Richard had on the tighest pants perhaps ever seen on a heterosexual male
- It was pure awesomeness

Also, there was karaoke and that lovely cream cheese dip with the raspberry chipotle sauce on top that I could live off of for the rest of my life. And also a random man in his early 50s who looked almost exactly like this:

...but with a goatee, about a gallon of sweat plastered all over his shirt and a really shitty attitude. He was going around the entire party telling us "young people" how he "actually LIVED through the Eighties" and how we "have NO idea what it was like." He was "living in New York then, man, and you don't have a fucking CLUE what that shit was like." Later on, we caught him swaying precariously next to the karaoke machine while some other total douchebag sang Creed. They mirrored each other in intensity: eyes closed, sweat beading on their temples, really feeling the song...well, as much as one can "feel" Creed (gah! I want to vomit at the thought). He looked to be off his manic high from earlier and onto some other completely different illicit substance. We came to the desultory decision amongst ourselves that it was mescaline, because -- really -- who the hell takes mescaline? The answer is: that guy.

The next day, it was another birthday party/congrats-on-getting-into-med-school party at Jessie's house. But Jessie does not host normal parties -- no, these are Polish parties, and they are the epitome of extravagant bacchanalias. You can be guaranteed that the most interesting albeit random people you will ever meet in your life will be at one of these parties. You can also be guaranteed that at some point during the night, Jessie's younger sister, Marge, will peform her infamous "dropping it like it's hot" routine for the enjoyment of all assembled. Never a dull moment.

Immediately upon entering, I was swept away from Richard and my other friends by Jessie's mother, who paraded me in front of her assembled friends and demanded that I speak Polish to them. This would be fine if anyone in Jessie's family had ever bothered to teach me anything useful in Polish. As it is, my vocabulary is limited to these phrases:

- Hello.
- Thank you.
- Give me that rat named Honey.
- I have small potatoes.
- You have a large ass.
- You are a male whore.
- I have no legs.
- My name is Elizabeth.
- Vodka?

You can probably see now why I'm such a great party trick at Polish get-togethers.

So, yes, the party was fantastic. There was a keg of Ziegenbock (represent!), two enormous cakes, enough vodka to float a navy and some delicious hummus. Richard got to talk football with some Polish guys and a Moroccan gentleman who apparently owns half the nightclubs in Houston. I got harassed into shaking my ass on the "dance floor" (i.e., a dark corner of the living room next to the giant speakers). Marge showed me Unicorn Planet (how I missed that one, I'll never know). And I had a conversation with a lovely gentleman from Peru and a woman from Columbia about the recent earthquake there -- in Spanish. All in all, a good night.

Of course, we were completely useless the next day and so kitchen renovations have yet again fallen to another weekend. One of these days or months or decades, we'll finish it. Till then...

21 August 2007

Back in Black

I spent eight hours today at an HR compliance seminar -- sounds like a doozy, right? But this was the most bizzarre, completely awesome HR seminar I've ever been to (and, sadly, I've been to many). It began innocuously enough: a hotel meeting room with a name like "Sierra" or "Diamond" or "Martinique" or some other stripper-esque nomenclature, roughly 90 middle-aged women in their finest Chico's and Talbot's ensembles and a tired buffet of rock-hard croissants and lukewarm coffee. I grabbed a spot in the back corner of the room, hoping to do some covert reading and avoid any thrilling conversations (Oh, wow! We use Mercer as our TPA, too! Aren't their out-of-scope fees outrageous? I know, I know -- but their call center is local -- no damn Indians -- and that's all you can ask for these days, right? Hahahahaha!).

The murmurs from the various HR ladies died down as a man entered the room -- which is unusual in and of itself, since HR as a business unit is so heavily pink-collar -- and shuffled to the front, taking a seat on a barstool and facing the audience. He looked somewhat haggard, with tired eyes and a slightly humped back. His shirt was unbuttoned one button too far, revealing the pasty, hairless chest beneath. His hair was ruffled carelessly. He eyed us all wearily.

The man introduced himself as the seminar leader, mentioning in his opening that he had just come from Phoenix and would be going to Philadelphia tonight, where there were "six lousy bastards who signed up for this thing; at least I've got a good turnout from you people." I stared at him, my attention piqued suddenly by the utterance of the words "lousy bastard" at an otherwise normal seminar, and I wasn't alone. There was some nervous chirping and tittering throughout the crowd as people looked around at each other as if seeking confirmation of what they just heard. I put my book down, curious as to what our leader would say next. I was not disappointed.

He rambled on: "I -- personally -- hate employees; they're idiots. I don't even know why I'm in this business. Don't act like you don't hate them, too. Hell, I wake up every morning wondering how I even got here in the first place. Who hired me? I'm not even wearing underwear today. Don't look -- just take my word for it -- and I've got a terrible case of diarrhea from the steroids I'm taking for this allergic reaction I had to a bee sting. I just violated my own HIPAA -- I'll be doing that all day, so just prepare yourselves. Oh, and you can fill out one of those evaluation forms if you want to, but at the end of the day, I don't really care about what you have to say."

After this insightful introduction, he went on to perform a one-man five-minute skit on what he called "the general ignorance of the average employee." He was amazing and darkly brilliant -- the Lewis Black of HR seminars -- but was also clearly disturbed and/or deeply burned out. It was a trainwreck and I was enraptured. More delicious tidbits followed, as I scribbled furiously on my legal pad to capture all of the verbal insanity:

"There's no such thing as a violation unless you get caught. Right? Right."

"What did I say? USE IT OR LOSE IT, FUCKER! Why is that so goddamned hard for you to understand?"

"I hate California; no, I don't want a goddamn granola bar and get that fucking yogurt away from me."

"Why are you staring at me? Did I say too much? Show too many body parts?"

"I popped one of my wife's Valium's earlier, but it doesn't seem to be doing much of anything."

"Let's use my son Dave as an example. Dave is a loser. He lives in sin with his loser girlfriend, Jamie. I've told them both that they're going to hell, but they won't listen to me."

"I mean, someone had to be drunk when they wrote this manual. I swear to God, look at this crap!"

I could not make this stuff up if I tried; I'm not that smart or funny. The guy was clearly off his rocker. But the even crazier part was that I actually learned something at what I thought was going to be a worthless seminar. No, it was not that mentally unbalanced people need to take their lithium... I actually learned a couple of new things about compliance, since his insanity kept me focused on the topic at hand, no matter how many times he strayed into delirium. Am I thrilled that I learned even more filler about a topic I could really care less about? No, not really. But the day was far more interesting that sitting in the office I'm currently sharing with a temp while he listens to GWAR on his computer, answering inane questions from employees that I too -- personally -- hate.

Now...the fact that I lost my parking ticket and had to fake-cry at the front desk of the hotel to be let out of the parking garage or the fact that I paid $16.95 for a wedge salad at the hotel's resaturant for lunch -- not so interesting and definitely stories for another day.