381: bring it on home to me

The week before Christmas at work is usually pretty slow. It seemed even slower this year, as I am no longer in support and therefore a slave to customer calls. Folks with whom I needed to collborate or consult were on vacation themselves. I found that I had 34 hours (a little over four days) of vacation time that would not roll over to 2006. So I decided to take Christmas week off and play hooky in town.

Before I left, I hit the tech support holiday party. The bots had sushi and non-alcoholic egg nog. I tried, valiantly, to throw a Festivus party the Friday afternoon before Christmas but nobody was around. Jacalyn and I had, like, two pounds of lumpia and a pile of cheese straws (my very first homemade batch — they looked more like slugs) to consume. Once they were gone, so were we.

Christmas Eve morning found me lying in bed, despairing what to get for the Goldberg-Bauman-Hornes. I ran around some shops, bought wrapping paper, then brought it all home to arrange on my living room floor. Instead of wrapping straight away, I watched Moonlight Mile on DVD and ate takeout salad. I wasn’t in the spirit, and didn’t get into the spirit all night. This despite the efforts of TBS (24-hours of A Christmas Story) and NBC (It’s A Wonderful Life), respectively. My VHS copy of White Christmas taunted me as I wiped salad dressing off my t-shirt and debated whether or not I should go to Midnight Mass at St. Hedwig’s. I didn’t want to be a religious hypocrite with my non-observance so I stayed home, and went to bed early.

Christmas with Joe, Jacinda, and their family was fun. Lots of presents exchanged between bits of bagels dipped in this amazing salmon cream cheese fondue. Breakfast was followed by elevenses (served at 1pm) – bacon, eggs, waffles. Napping, petting the dogs, watching funny videos on the intarweb, and more eating. Dinner was a feast of lobster tails and giant prawns followed by several games of poker. Thom taught us how to play 5 card draw. Not as fun as Uno, but I’ve never been into gambling much.

Before Joe drove me home, we all sat down for a truly awful TV movie which featured Matthew Modine dying and being reincarnated as a golden retriever named Fluke. Awful though it was, I had to finish watching it when I got home. I am a loser.

I spent Boxing Day at Khloe and Jeff’s, eating a delicious brunch in honor of Jeff’s new job in LA. I’ll miss him, certainly, but he’ll be another pal to visit the next time I am in the area doing one of several things: spotting minor celebrities in West Hollywood, eating In-N-Out burgers, or getting cheap pedicures. Marla and Greg were at brunch, as was Khloe’s b-school classmate Chip. I thought he was 19. Not because he looked especially young (which he did), but because he was energetic and curious, writing down the names of movies and bands to look up later. So sweet. The other guests left, leaving me to sit with Khloe in her red room while she smoked cigarettes and filled me in on her Christmas in Florida. She also baked chocolate chip cookies, which I ate while she put together a doggie bag for me (green beans, bread pudding, beef, these brie and cranberry puffs Jeff served before brunch), and then we all went to Evanston to see The Producers. The theater was packed with families, young adults home from college, gangs of teenage girls wielding Dooney & Burke handbags and Coach wristlets. The air smelled like popcorn and fir. It was delicious, as was the movie. I wanted to do like Ulla and prance about in a teal gown, painting my apartment white. Tap dance in glitter shoes while humming the chorus to “Springtime for Hitler”.

I woke up Tuesday morning with a distinct sense of cheer. Day four of my vacation, and all I wanted to do was lie around, eat cereal, and watch The Discovery Channel. Kathy rescued me, taking me along as we ran errands and such. Bought some new pillows at Target, some 600-thread count sheets on deep discount at Bed Bath & Beyonce, got my nails done. Watched a lot of bad television when I got home. But it wasn’t all fun and frolic — while we drove around, Kathy and I had a very serious conversation about, like, boys and stuff. I came to the conclusion that I don’t seem to have what the kids like to call “game”. Being a non-practicing heterosexual, this came as no surprise. I am a sad apple.

Wednesday, I engaged in an illicit activity which makes me blush just to think about it. With Andrew and Jacinda, I paid for one movie but saw two! We saw Munich (good but depressing — Eric Bana is so hot, and Golda Meir was played by the same woman who played Miranda’s housekeeper Magda on ‘Sex and the City’) and Fun with Dick and Jane (funny in parts — Jacinda didn’t laugh once). We stopped short of a third so Andrew and I could buy overpriced sandwiches at the fancy-pants grocery store down the street. Munching on sandwiches, we walked around Michigan Avenue before calling it a day.

I managed to keep Stef out of Sephora Thursday. I felt bad about it, as we’d had such a trying time shopping for black pants (my previous pair were permanently stained with salt, and torn at the hems) and jeans. We’re not small women, so finding pants to accomodate our curves while flattering our asses was no small feat. We succeeded in the black pants search, though not without a great deal of frustration. Sweating under unflattering fluorescent lights which brought out every enlarged pore on my face, or pulling on the perfect pair of pocket-less black bootcut trousers only to find a matador-esque floral appliqué on the right leg, was nothing less than traumatic. “To the California Pizza Kitchen!” we cried. We had salads and booze — red wine for Stef, vodka and soda for me. I think vodka and soda is my new favorite drink. Oh so yummy. It would go without saying that Stef and I talked about boys, except that I find Stef’s opinions on the subject so insightful, and her stories of less-than-exceptional dates so hilarious, that the thing to do would be to share. Of course, this could prove embarrassing, as I have an awful tendency to leak details without necessarily meaning to do so. Just know this: one day I will compile all of Stef’s stories, and my own pitiful few, and the anecdotes of my other lady pals, and one from my friend Matt I., to publish them as a guide to what *not* to do when courting, and laugh all the way to the bank, suckas.

Friday was relatively quiet — watched The Umbrellas of Cherbourg on IFC in the morning, then went to Casanova with Kathy. Late lunch was takeout spinach salad and chicken from Eatzi’s (crap name for yummy gourmet market). Kathy took off to have the braids taken out of her hair. Molly came home then went out on a date — I’d be resentful if I didn’t totally adore her and the guy she’s seeing. I started watching Donnie Darko, but had to switch it off as Jake Gyllenhaal’s sleepy blue eyes prevented me from following the plot. I baked a cake and went to bed.

I spent New Year’s Eve morning at the Museum of Contemporary Art, taking in the Tropicalia exhibit before it closes next weekend. The museum was full of suburban families and aging hipster couples in modular garments and noisy accessories. I took my time in the other galleries, drifting into the Dan Flavin installation on the fourth floor, until I realized I had to run some last minute errands before Chris and Sarah’s party that night. Scampering north, I searched in vain for a cute top to wear, getting face wash, buying gigantic earrings at Urban Outfitters. I spent the afternoon at home, cursing myself for not doing laundry and playing with different hairstyles. Brush on foundation, curl eyelashes, apply mascara eye liner eyebrow pencil lip liner lipstick. Fluff up hair, put on huge earrings and new white button-down shirt. Kevin, Gabe, and Thom collected me, and off we were to the South Side. The party was fun, though it was all couples and gay men. So no smoochies for me, which is really just business as usual. Topics of conversation included Whitney Houston, how R&B singer Ashanti is really just a real life ‘Sexual Chocolate’, and vacations the supafriends should take together (New Orleans, Walt Disney World, and other culturally rich destinations in the post-colonial sphere). Home by 2:00 — we waited a bit after midnight to drive home, just so we didn’t get hit by any stray bullets.

New Year’s Day — brunch with Kathy and Adrienne (Marcello’s on North Avenue — try the garlic wings!). We digested back at my house, playing UNO and trying to play Texas Hold ‘Em. The ladies left, then Dan came over for a bit to catch up and teach me how to play chess. Dan left right after Joe and Jacinda came over with Yahtzee, Clue, and a six-pack of Coca-Cola. After a few rounds, we joined Molly in the living room for three episodes of “Constitution Busters”, aka “Law & Order”.

Day after New Year’s Day — breakfast at Toast with Kathy and Adrienne. Bought new sneakers, as the old ones died after one too many sessions on the elliptical trainer. Adrienne went a little nuts on the sale at Bath and Bodyworks. Headed to South Shore to help Kathy find some new headwear, lunch, then back home to the ladies could raid my CD collection for songs to copy to their iPods.

So you can see how difficult it was to return to work. I got a lot done but at a leisurely pace. I am, naturally, appalled to see how much I ate. I promised myself that I wouldn’t drive myself crazy making resolutions I had no hope or intention of keeping, but this is ridiculous. I feel sluggish, and I don’t doubt that the cake I baked last week helped much. I’m watching the sugar, but I can feel myself getting careless. It’s back to the watching, the vigilance, but I don’t mind it so much. Not really because of what’s at stake (high blood pressure, spiking blood pressure, morbid obesity) but because I geniunely enjoy the benefits. The energy, the loose jeans, and the promise that one day I will in fact have but one chin to stroke in a fit of worrying.

In the new year, I should stop being so self-deprecating, or at least change my tone so I don’t sound so damn depressed. I will order more of the pens that Molly got me for Christmas (each printed with the legend JASMINE DAVILA ROCKS) and give them to you and everybody you know. I will proclaim my awesomeness without irony or restraint. I will stop eating white rice — when I can. I will write letters and epic poems and see if I can find a publisher for “news from the flip front: the book” so that you may all have the privilege of paying $19.95 to read something you’ve been reading for free for the last 5.5 years. I will tell you how hot you look when we go out. I will “bring it”. I will spend at least one day saying “Yes” to every question and request put to me. I will bowl more. I will spend less time watching television and more time watching movies in beautifully restored vintage theaters. I will declare a day that is not my birthday “Jasmine Rocks Out!” Day (or Weekend or Fortnight), to be celebrated by listening to AC/DC, watching foreign films, and eating Jamaican beef patties. I will break your heart. I will fail in some of these attempts, but it won’t matter because I would have tried. I will “put ’em on the glass.” Like Mr. Sparkle says, “Join me or die! Can you do any less?”

love,
jasmine

“You’re so stupid! Yeah, I said it!”
(Celi)

*songs*
Rosemary Clooney – Come On-a My House; Rufus Wainwright – Poses; Cameo – Shake Your Pants; Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Cold Light

*links*
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/43957
http://villagevoice.com/nyclife/0551,musto,71138,15.html
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyID=2005-12
-31T171620Z_01_SCH162148_RTRUKOC_0_US-LIFE-CLICHES.xml
<a href=”http://www.al.com/newsflash/national/index.ssf?/base/national-57/113603364328651
0.xml&storylist=national”>http://www.al.com/newsflash/national/index.ssf?/base/national-57/113603364328651
0.xml&storylist=national
<a href=”http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0601020110jan02,1,1991071.story?col
l=chi-newslocal-hed”>http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0601020110jan02,1,1991071.story?col
l=chi-newslocal-hed

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~ by Jasmine on January 4, 2006.

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