Monday, December 26, 2011

How My Sister Packs For Christmas

Middle sister, Jessie, is here for five days. She arrived at noon on December 24, and is leaving around the same time on December 29. She brought a monster bag, weighing over fifty pounds (until she put some things into a duffel for the flight). She could not remember what she had packed, and I knew it wasn't presents because she is Princess Gift Card (I am not belittling the gift card - I love the gift card, and gave out quite a few, myself, this year - I am simply making the point that none of the over-50 pounds were presents). Since she accumulated around 7-10 extra pounds worth of Christmas loot, from Santa, she was concerned about the luggage weight for her return to Denver.

"Gretch, come look at my bag and help me figure out why it is so heavy". Okay. There were the requisite, normal, three pairs of jeans (good), one sweaterdress (good), one pair of tights to go with sweaterdress (uh hunh), one heavy, clunky belt (fine, but wear it on the way back, what is it made of, iron?), and then four long-sleeved shirts that didn't really go with anything else in the bag, and that's where the logic unraveled. The remaining contents to be sung to the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas"...

Eight pairs of socks
Seven similar sweaters 
Six pairs of undies
FIVE, FANCY BRAS (who are you planning to see while you're here?)
Four workout outfits
Three pairs of pajamas (?) 
Two pairs of boots
and a bikini with heavy metal clasps

We do not have a hot tub. I must also mention that two of the seven similar sweaters were actually closer to identical: black, wool turtleneck. She was wearing one, when I pulled another one out of the bag and held it up. She laughed. I think she does it on purpose so she can borrow my stuff. "I thought about packing my puffy down coat, but it didn't fit. Can I borrow yours?" Last year she had to borrow my socks. 


I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Vicarious Movie Travel

I'm not going anywhere anytime soon, but I shore is goin' places on muh teevee. Turner Classic Movies continues to expand my (unnecessary) familiarization with old-timey movies, and I commented, to no one in particular, "Hey, a lot of these old-timey movies take place on ships". (My dad mistakenly took that as an invitation to one of his long-winded explanations about how, in those days, ship travel was the way most people..."No!" I shouted, "It was just an observation!" I had to cut him off. I was missing precious snappy dialogue.)

Today I sailed on the S.S. Queen Anne from Southampton to New York with Myrna Loy and William Powell in "Libeled Lady", from 1936.

Don't be fooled by the poster, the movie was a classic black & white. I curse the people who colorize the classics. It looks wrong. Like your two-year old got into your rouge and powder and smeared it all over the filmstrip.

If you love fashion, but think "I don't like black & white movies", you need to re-evaluate your likes and dislikes, toute suite. Oh my God, everything Jean Harlow wore had fur sleeves, including her nightgown.

Never mind that Ms. Harlow forgot her bra for the duration of the film, the clothes were astounding. Each new scene had me blurting out things like "Fur sleeves!" and "Her dress matches the furniture!" and "Why is she still not wearing a bra?"

She's on the phone to the costume department, asking the same question.

I watch a lot of old movies, and often find myself wondering "How did they get their hair like that?"

People put effort into it back then. Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy were not on the ship, though, let's get back to that.

I mean, the hats alone warrant a celebration. Black tie and gowns for dinner. And more fur!

This was not a Carnival Cruise.

Eventually they disembarked, but the fashion kept coming.

I think those were real flowers on her dress.

I don't know how I have lived this long without having seen this movie. It was hilarious, clever, entertaining, and insane with the fashion. Maybe I should spend less time traveling, and more time on the couch with TCM.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mercury is Retrograde

"Mercury is retrograde" is a phrase I frequently employ when, in fact, Mercury IS retrograde. It helps explain the myriad communication snafus that result when the planet Mercury appears to be going backwards. "Oh, you didn't get that email? Yeah, Mercury is retrograde." Or "You tried to call me yesterday? I didn't get a message. But that's okay, because Mercury is retrograde."

Or as explains it:

A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. According to modern science, this traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth with relation to other planets in our solar system.

Since I just took a 2-hour walk with my dad, who talks like that all the time, rendering the simplest sentence nearly unintelligible, I just read "A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards, blah blah blah science, blah blah solar system."

That is neither here nor there. What IS here AND there is that Mercury tends to foul up any and all communication. What say you about this,

In general, Mercury rules thinking and perception... and all means of communication...By extension, Mercury rules people who work in these areas, especially those who work with their minds or their wits: writers and orators...

AHA! That explains it! And I'm only kind of laughing at the word "orator".

Another thing that is here AND there is that the Brand New Book I Wrote is now officially listed on Amazon as available for pre-order, and NO ONE TOLD ME! WHA???? That is correct. I was going about my merry business on Facebook, and joking around with one of my friends, who then made a joke about pre-ordering my book, and I was all "oh, har har, yep". Then he came back with a "Whoa, a real entry and everything. Nice." This comment gave me pause. Not pregnant pause, not kitty-cat paws, but serious "Hang on a second, what is he talking about" pause. And before I could press "un-pause" I was over at Amazon typing in the title of my book, and you know what? IT WAS THERE.

Hellooooooo book! I was not appraised of this new development! I immediately sent an email to my editor (whom I love) with "AHEM" in the subject line, because cyber-coughing always gets people's attention. I demanded (in my nicest, non-all-caps, email voice) to know why I had to find out about this via a friend on Facebook, rather than a singing chocolate-shoe-gram, like all the really important authors. She still hasn't responded. And it's not just because I'm not a really important author. It is because? Anyone? Bueller?

It is because Mercury is retrograde.