Fourth Wall

Friday, July 30, 2004

The further adventures of everyone's least favorite aunt's boyfriend, as described by my dear Cousin Sarah. (Least favorite boyfriend, not aunt.)

Harvey put a cougar in his freezer, intending to later taxidermize it, but forgot to pay the electric bill and now its a stinkin' maggoty mess. If only he could've done right by that roadkill, it would have made a lovely birthday present for someone's 90th.

Dad says, "where do you think he got the cougar?"

As we near Grandma's 90th Birthday, we seem to have been thinking about how we resemble her. Sarah writes, on the "Phillips Nerves" phenomenon:
I do believe I've inherited her "nerves" as has G. Annie and Alice
mentioned the same. What modern psychiatric principle could this be?
Just garden variety "neoroses" ? Or could we have something more
dramatic a la Zelda Fitzgerald? Whatever it is  you can be assured it's
quite deep and soulful.

I tell my kids that they all have to stop nattering at once because "my
nerves can't take it" and in modern parlance that "I can only focus on
one thing at a time  so don't all scream." In a time of true duress
(usually in the car) I'll wail "my stomach feels like it's on fire!'
Then I tell them how I grew up under such quiet, grim circumstances and
thay look at me with blankness. Yes, some of us were simply not made to
create large families. Poor Grandma, she's not a cast iron skillet of a
woman, though now, with Daisy's help she can rock.

On a completely different subject, we watched Kerry's speech last night. That is, my mom watched. My father was Shanghied and I was in the next room.

Kerry (from TV): Yes. I was born in the west wing.

Alice (from offstage): Dan Miller just groaned so loud I heard it.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Return of the Real-Life Conversations

I finally had to confess to Matt last week that I converted to Catholicism. I was pretty nervous. Being Jewish, and from a Catholic High School, Matt has both a unique view of Catholicism, and the assumption that all Christians are Catholic. I found this assumption easy to exploit when I wanted to talk about being Catholic, without the difficulty of explaining why I chose to convert (see: previous quote re Devout Catholics in San Francisco).

So I told him. He had an interesting reaction.

"Yes... I seem to remember you not being Catholic. And now you are a Catholic. That would require a change..."

Of course, he also wanted to know all about my weekend.

Matt: from my small and muddled point of view he sounds like a good man and a good match.
Alice: plus he's... well, how do I put this...
Alice: crazy about me.
Matt: well that's big plusses for sure
Matt: but let's face it...
Matt: who isn't?

And then there's some from Andrew. The following conversation is amusing to nobody but Matt, Andrew, and I, but I wanted to have a record of it, so here it is.

Andrew: If you weren't Alice, that would suck.
Alice: for me, especially.
Alice: And then who would be Alice?
Andrew: hmmmm
Alice: It's a hard question, isn't it?
Andrew: yes it is.
Alice: You would be able to qualify, I suppose.
Andrew: I dunno about THAT
Alice: except you don't have a bust.
Alice: I hope.
Andrew: this is why God invented silicon.
Andrew: put that in your blog and post it.

So I did. Then things just sorta spiraled out of control, because as I was typing it in, Matt started asking questions.

Matt: hey, what are you thinking about RIGHT NOW?!
Matt: GO!
Matt: tell me!
Matt: faster!
Alice: Andrew's bust.
Alice: Or lack thereof.
Matt: how? what? why?
Alice: ask him.

So he started a chat, and did.

Matt: lady and gentleman, we are gathered here today to discuss a very important subject
Matt: andrew's chest
Matt: i dont know why, but i was told this is a subject worth inquiring about

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Catholic Nerd... Children?

We all know what a Catholic Nerd is (You know you're a Catholic Nerd when you think it's really romantic to switch rosaries with your boyfriend... you have nightmares about invalid masses... you want a bumpersticker that says "I don't break for Marty Haugen... you have a bumpersticker that says "Eucharist is God: Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul, and gave your boyfriend a "Eucharist is God" bumpersticker... you know who St. Gaspar del Bufalo is... you chortle when someone mentions the Angelicum... etc.)

But what would the children of two Catholic Nerds be like?

Daddy, can I be St. Sebastian for Halloween?

Ok, now it's time to play Christians and Pelagians!

But Mommy, why don't they make lunchboxes with the Pope on them?

Mommy, Mary called me a Jesuit!

In other news, my cousin Sarah, writes:

Dear Aunt Fran,

Daisy wrote a rock song for Grandma, urging her to get in touch with
that inner rocker. It's never too late.

I hope Alice's boyfriend meets parental approval--I'll bet he's a nice
Catholic boy. Daisy had a crush last year on Ross Wilson who was the
brainiest, coolest boy in school, so at least I know she has good taste.
Cecelia, on the other hand thinks all boys are "annoyin'" and couldn't
be bothered.

I thought that Cece was the sister who resembled me the most, as she is, after all, the one with the smart mouth. Clearly I was mislead.

As for that nice Catholic boy, late Monday night I returned from seeing him in his mathy element in San Luis Obispo. I stayed in a room with the only girl in the math program, and met several of his friends. They're all rather obsessed with playing cards- some with making up games, others just with betting on them, and Matt with shuffling the cards. I suggested it might be an addiction.

"Yes," he said, "but as far as addictions go, it's a relatively harmless one."

"That's what you think, until the papercuts start."

We ate quite a bit of good food, walked around downtown until we were thoroughly bored of it all, except for the kittens in the adoption center window. I liked the grey tabby, but Patrick went with the "pugnacious" black kitten who would quite willingly fight the larger ones. "Tell him that those kittens grow up to be like Gwynn," my mother said.

We saw some bellydancing... accidentally. We didn't know that the Mediterranian Restauraunt had entertainment after 7pm. "At least it's not Bilal," Patrick said, comforting himself in his embarrassment. We also accidentally went to a bilingual mass at the Mission.

How do you feel about having studied German now, hm?

Unfortunately, the Mission, unlike Mission Carmel or the Old Mission Dolores, just stinks of renovation and modernization. On one hand, it is nice that it has been in regular use. On the other hand... *sigh*. It's just not the same feeling when you walk inside.

We went on a picnic, twice, once to a park out at the edge of town, and once for breakfast in the Mission Plaza. There we ran into a black cat named Nitzsche ("Dog is dead," says Patrick). Of course, the best part of the trip was getting to spend time with Patrick on a walk to the downtown (my two favorite signs: Carmel Lutheran Church and Tri-Counties Blood Bank: Serving San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties), or sitting on the couch in his apartment, or throwing a book at him as he tells his father that the mass was in "Hindu and Sikh."

I got some writing done, too.

Three weeks from today, I will be in St. Charles, Missouri, seeing Patrick again. My parents will fly home out of Kansas City, but I will stay in the midwest a few days longer. Patrick has been referring to this trip as "Alice in Boringland," but I can't wait to be there, with Patrick, who I love.

I have a headache. I'm going to go take some painkillers, and then go up to the cafe up the street to have a Chai and try to write.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I thought that I should tell those of you who were worrying about her health and my sanity that Genevieve has shown great improvement. I think it was Monday when she tried to leap up on the compost bin and missed. When we took her to the vet, she had a fever of 104.5 degrees. They gave her fluids (for the second time), took a blood test (for the second time), took an x-ray of her lungs, and put her on antibiotics. All the tests came back clear, with no explanation for why my not-even-two-years-old kitten was refusing food and water, sleeping all the time, and unable to make jumps that she usually does without thinking.

Well, we have been feeding her delicacies to get her to eat (tuna, hamburger meat, goldfish food-- the vet said, "She ate what? The little flakes?" Well, yeah, she likes them). We had to take her to get more fluids on Tuesday, but now her energy is back, her fever is down, and she just, finally, took a drink of water out of the bathroom faucit. We are much relieved-- it really seemed as if we were going to lose her for a while there.

Now, of course, I can worry about the other poor animals we saw in the waiting room those long evenings-- the tiny dog whose toe had been bitten off by a larger one, the cat who had a seizure, the labradoodle puppy (so cute) who had a bad reaction to his vaccination-- and a whole range of owners, from fashionista yuppie women (labradoodle) to a middle-aged mom whose kids had probably seen their cat's seizure, to old women and men whose pets were their only companions.

Speaking of elderly men with pets, I made an interesting discovery yesterday-- it turns out that there is a Mrs. Tony. We had all assumed that Tony, of Tony & Scooter, the human-dog combination that always seems to be going for a walk, was a widower, but no. His wife is alive, but ill, and they have had nurses staying in the house to take care of her.

I had a plethora of errands to do yesterday. I bought my grandmother's 90th birthday present (jewelery, of course), went to the bank, bought shampoo and other sundry toiletries, had the battery in my watch replaced, had lunch (went to a taqueria and had real nachos... the type you need to eat with a fork), went downtown to the Pauline bookstore, had my nails done, and bought a hostess gift for the girls who I am staying with in San Luis Obispo. When I got home I had to go to the bank again (had another check to deposit) and go to walgreens. I was exhausted.

And I get to do the same sort of thing again today, because I bought the same book twice at the Pauline Books & Media store, and am going to try to exchange it for a different volume of the same series.

So that is my life. Today is the feast day of St. Mary Magdalen, so I'm leaving for mass soon, and then meeting Matt for crepes in West Portal. Andrew, unfortunately, cannot help celebrate, as he had his wisdom teeth out yesterday. Early tomorrow morning, I leave for a weekend in San Luis Obispo. I am staying with the only girl in the math program (how mathy), who the boys did not know existed for the first few days (very mathy). I hope I leave early tomorrow morning, at least, because when Patrick took the same train, it was delayed three hours. If it's delayed I'm going to go insane with boredom.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Quote for Five Months

"I mean, he's half Irish... and half French! What a freak!" -Anne

Monday, July 12, 2004

Three Notes, and a Memory

Seen Saturday at a garage sale: two videos next to eachother. The First: The Exorcist. The second: Abs of Steel. I was amused.

Also seen Saturday: an Apartment Building called "Nineveh Gardens." Is it just me, or is that like calling your new church "Babylon"?

Californians Against Lawsuit Abuse is an organization that I support with all but my money. One of their recent billboards reads as follows: "Arnold: Over 130,000 lawsuits last year in California alone. Help!" Someone, who I think I would like to meet, has changed a certain key noun to "cyborgs."

When reviewing recent conversations to edit "Real-Life Conversations, Part II," I suddenly remembered that I didn't have it all that bad with the old lady at the bus stop. A certain male friend of mine, who shall go unnamed, but whose name begins with N and ends with -thaniel, was once given cash-- to help take care of the friend he was wating for the bus with. The woman thought the girl was pregnant.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Real-Life Conversations, II

Katie: It's called "Camp it Up," not "Let's Camp it Up."
Rachel: 'Cause that would be dorky.

Alice: So I'm knitting at the bus stop, and this old woman is looking at me like, "how nice, your knitting is preventing you from engaging in premarital sex."
Alice: I suppose it is sorta difficult to engage in premarital sex while knitting.
David: And it gets so much easier after you're married, Alice.

Alice: Vests mean evil?
Charlotte: Vests mean evil! But not a sweater vest. He's not that evil.

(Alice opens a birthday present: it is a set of cards with rare words and their definitions.)
Jessica: I am so glad I don't go to school with you anymore.

Real-Life Conversations.

Or, at least, Real-Internet Conversations

Alice: The first story I remember writing was with you. We were going to write a mystery about pets who found stolen jewels, but we stopped the project when we had an argument about how to spell the word "mystery" in the title.
Alice: You were right.
Jessica: Holy damn, woman.
Jessica: I do not remember that at all.

Alice: It's my Saint's day!
Andrew: ohhhh ok
Alice: And, hey, it's cake, what are you complaining about?
Andrew: So true, what kinda cake?
Alice: Chocolate.
Andrew: oooohhhh
Alice: You know, I think Zachary Lamb had a crush on me.
Andrew: Wow, that was random.
Alice: Remember when we were little and chocolate would make me sick?
Andrew: that had to be the randomest thing ever.
Andrew: It did?
Alice: On his birthday, Zach always made sure that there was one non-chocolate cupcake for me.
Andrew: Whoa.
Alice: No, I just said that it did to get attention, but that was nice of him, don't you think?

Andrew: I wonder whatever happened to that guy
Alice: Yeah. Was his father in the military?
Andrew: Damn, you remember more things than me
Alice: You know, there is a solution to this problem...GOOGLE!

Alice (to Andrew): I mean, saying that you've become a devout Catholic in SF is like saying you're a Lesbian in Nebraska.

Alice: You [and Jared] seem to be getting along.
Patrick: Yes, in Calvinball we made each other put our pants back on.

Alice (to Nick, in his car): So I was in maybe sixth grade, reading Dear Abby, and this woman wrote in saying that her husband had been reading anti-circumcision literature, and was moping over his loss and fretting over a lack of protection, and she was wondering if she could knit him some sort of a cover...
Nick: (a snort)
Alice: I mean, No! NO, you cannot!
Time passes...
Alice (referring to the 4th-of-July and pyromania): Missing any appendages? Do I need to knit you anything?