Thankfulnesses, an incomplete list

Home; gainful employment; the very nice electric kettle that goes off with a ding when the water is done so that it doesn’t all boil away; baba ganoush; that the refreshingly non-dysfunctional part of my family is in fact my entire family and my boyfriend’s family too; the president-elect; that I have resisted reading the terrible Twilight books this whole time and can now just see the terrible Twilight movie to get caught up culturally; Maker’s Mark; hilarious and kind boyfriend who charms everyone and supports me unconditionally; I-Pass; Cesar Millan the Dog Whisperer; that I have friends who give me encouragement and inspiration and funny-as-hell emails and free oatmeal; Google Docs; the sense of relative wholeness that I have enjoyed for at least three years now and never want to take for granted; peanut butter; zoos; heated car seats; art; you. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE.

Books, beans & barrels of FUN

Lampo #1

You guys, please buy books for Christmas. I know times are tough and the economy is horrible and soon we’re all going to be going around wearing barrels with suspenders, but that’s all the more reason to buy books, so you should buy books.

(Though, just to digress for a moment, how did wearing a BARREL come to be the classic visual shorthand for being destitute anyway? What is the origin of that exactly? Chris and I keep discussing it, and really I would’ve looked it up on the internet by now if I didn’t also suspect that the actual history of barrel-wearin’ involves some icky tar-and-featherish kind of tradition that’s just unpleasant enough to ruin the cartoon fun. Chris did submit the question to “Ask Dr. Maddow,” though, and I’m sure Rachel could relate the gruesome truth quite adorably, because that’s her job.)

(Edited to add: while I was working on this entry, I went over to read Comics Curmudgeon, and Josh is wondering the same thing! Ha.)

But anyway, about the books: buy them. You need to buy them. Even if there’s only one book on your holiday shopping list, buy it new, and even better, buy it from a brick-and-mortar bookseller that you’d miss if it weren’t around, because it’s been coming to that lately for a lot of places. Booksellers might have to wear barrels, people! You don’t want to see that, not even on Barnes & Noble, who would need a very big barrel indeed and massive suspenders to hold it up. So buy books. If you can’t think of any books to buy, I’ve got some that I contributed to recently, and for each one of those books you’ll notice there are links to a whole slew of places where you can buy them, or buy other people’s books; really, I don’t care whose books you buy as long as they’re books and as long as they’re new (as in “not used”). Maybe the book thing is on my mind more these days because my job involves books, but really, people need to buy more books, okay? Thank you.

Like everyone else, I am pretty underwhelmed at how this America’s Next Top Model cycle turned out, even though McKey seems perfectly nice and frankly more modelesque than most of the contestants on that show. The best thing about her is her boxing skills and the fact that she likes to grab people and pick them up like the Hulk, so Chris and I are very much hoping that all her My Life as A Cover Girl commercials next cycle will involve punching and feats of strength, i.e., lifting entire pallets of lip gloss product; holding up runways; etc. We’re going to need something to look forward to in Cycle 12.

In other news, it was cool to get mentioned (on page 3)  in this Onion A/V Club article on blog books. (Buy those books, too! Well, maybe you don’t need to buy Tucker Max’s, not now at least, because if the publishing and book retail industry falls the hell apart and becomes one creepy company, you can definitely count on being able to buy a Tucker Max book with extra big Helvetica print at the Tucker & Max Bookstore in every airport terminal in America WOO HOO AWESOME and then you can prop up your copy on the edge of your barrel and read to your heart’s content. I’m just saying! Buy BOOKS.)

Finally, I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year. Does anybody have a good green bean recipe? The fried onions are standing by…

About last Tuesday

Where I voted

The night before Election Day, both Chris and I slept fitfully and then got up early to vote. A little before 6 am we walked around the corner to the place where we vote—a Mexican restaurant with amazing chicken burritos and a kind of janky sign—and there was a line already, almost to the end of the block, waiting for the doors to open.

We went back there for dinner later that night, after the polls had closed and it was a mostly empty restaurant again. We had the chicken burritos and every now and then checked the TV in the corner to see how the electoral votes were doing. It was a Spanish-language station but of course all you needed to see were the numbers, and Obama’s were already in the hundreds.

We were short on sleep and nursing cruddy colds and worn out from the constant effort of trying to live an ordinary day on Election Day. We didn’t go to Grant Park. We wanted to be home when it happened, and as we sat on the couch switching the channels from one big garish map to another, it happened sooner than we thought, sooner and even more perfectly than I’d ever thought in my most audaciously jinxy thoughts.

After a few minutes I got up and stepped out on the back porch to see if I could hear horns honking or people cheering or any sign that this thing had really happened, but the neighborhood was quiet. I went back to the couch and our laptops and sat there while Obama’s win became more and more real on every screen I looked at. And then we finally sat still and watched the speech. And that was it!  It feels so strange to feel proud and thrilled of a president, and also to think of him as a president and not the just the guy who won for the blue team.

All the same, I was exhausted this whole week and somehow Barack Obama did not cure my stupid cold. And while I know I got a little teary Tuesday night, it wasn’t until Friday when I was home sick that I really felt what happened—and I was happy he’d won, yes, but I also couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the thought of how much was at stake (is still at stake) and how we wouldn’t be feeling joy and relief of this magnitude if we didn’t also sense, on some level, how unprecedentedly screwed-up this country as become. I thought I knew how awful it all was (how awful it still is) but I didn’t understand it emotionally until this week, when I have been just wrung out by gladness. And so for a little while I cried and coughed, and then I went back to sleep. But it feels like things are getting better, my cold and everything else.

Also, and this is sort of a little thing and sort of not: while I’ve never been one to romanticize the First Family, I am extremely heartened to think that in a few months’ time the “American Princesses” will be these two beautiful little girls who are not white or blond or licensed Disney characters.  I can’t help but think that will good for six-year-old daughters everywhere.

Anyway, hello, and how are you?