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March 27, 2009

How to wear your nightshirt to work

1. Have the teacher of a week-long software training you're attending tell you that Friday's going to be a lot more casual and invite you to even wear pajamas if you want.

2. Joke with your coworker that it'd be hilarious if you came wearing a nightshirt.

3. Make the coworker triple dog dare you to actually wear one the next day because you can't refuse a dare (and no one can refuse a triple dog dare (obviously)).

4. Settle upon this number:
 border=(In case you can't see, the nightshirt is festooned with kitties, poodles, Eiffel Towers and the phrase "Oh, Mon Amour!)

5. On Friday morning, reconsider following through.

6. Remember you've been triple dog dared.

7. Add a belt, sweater, tights, boots and any other accessories that may lead passers-by to believe that the nightshirt is actually a dress.

8. Leave the house looking like this:
9. Wear your sunglasses on the train in case anyone stares at you so you don't have to meet eyes.

10. Wonder why no one's staring at you.

11. Remember that it's Portland.

12. Go to training session.

13. At the end of the session, inform the teacher that you took her up on her pajama offer. Become amused that she had thought it was just a really cute dress. Mission accomplished.

March 26, 2009

A peek into my nightttime brain

I had such a weird series of dreams last night. I would usually post those to my dream blog, but in recognition of my TP blog delinquency I'm going to post them here.

My mom revealed to me that I had been adopted. I was shocked to learn this, as all four of us kids had been told repeatedly that we were accidents. My mom informed me that, in fact, my older brother and younger brother and sister had definitely not been planned, but after Big Brother's birth they had decided they wanted a little girl to complete their nuclear family. So they adopted me. I was furious; how could she have let me lie on all my medical family history forms I had filled out? How could she have let me believe that I was at risk for developing the cancer my brother had suffered?

I asked my mom if she had contact information for my birth mother and if she'd want to hear from me. She gave me Birth Mom's email address and showed me some pictures of her. She looked suspiciously like a woman in my real-life software training class that I'm going to all this week. I shot Birth Mom an email asking if she wanted to meet up and she responded emphatically that she would love to.

I met her at a VFW church, I believe. She was heavily made-up and wearing a ridiculous hat festooned with feathers. When I got there she was embracing Sarah Palin and telling her how much she loved and admired her. My mom was a neocon?? She didn't have time to talk to me-- the church service was about to start-- but introduced me to my birth father. He looked like an overweight frat boy with graying hair. I tried to interview him about my new family, but he was extremely hostile to me, perhaps because I told him I had been raised Jewish. His own father showed up and I tearfully told him that I was his granddaughter.

I had a new poem that I wanted to read at a Portland open mic. I wandered into one I go to every Thursday, but it was a Wednesday and the crowd was sparse. A group of people beckoned me by name. I asked them how they knew who I was and they said they were huge fans of my boyfriend's. They inquired if he was coming that night because they wanted to give him $500. I said he was elsewhere.

I spotted a former coworker at a newspaper I used to work at. She told me that we had been two of five women who had ever worked there. She had just been laid off and she suspected it was due to her gender. We had left on not-so-great terms, so I tried to assure her that I really did like her.

March 8, 2009

Disaster Cake

I decided to make my first cake today. It was to be an orange (the flavor, not the color), two-layer masterpiece with a meringue topping and strawberry whipped cream frosting.

Things started to go wrong pretty early on when I attempted to separate eggs for the meringue and the yolk kept breaking. I had a mini meltdown when I couldn't find my beaters. We've started watching Deadwood, so you better believe I was cussing up a storm Old West-style and calling my missing tools all sorts of unsavory similes for sex acts. Once found, they proved incapable of beating the meringue into the "stiff, white peaks" the recipe called for. More swearing ensued. After nearly going deaf from the blender noise I decided the gooey glops they were making would have to do.

Then I decided to put my oven racks one rung away from each other. Halfway into the baking process, this started to happen:

The meringue expanded so much that it stuck to both the rack and the cake pan above it. I tried to gently unstick it and to jiggle the rack loose, and the only thing both efforts got me was multiple burns.

After much maneuvering, I managed to flop my pathetic excuses for gateau onto a cooling rack. This is what they looked like:

Mind you, I was also planning on making a turkey for tonight's meal. The pressure to get everything ship-shape before I had to babysit/baste the bird for the next four hours made me swear like a sailor.

I figured I could hide the ugly under a layer of the whipped cream, and stack the less-offensive layer on top, like so:

Not so bad, right? Next I just needed to cover the exterior in frosting to make it all pretty-like. I channeled Duff from the Food Network's Ace of Cakes, and all my frosting efforts gained me was this:

It appears as if I just took fistfuls of whipped cream and lobbed them in the cake's general direction, but I was actually using a spatula to carefully transfer the frosting from the bowl to my masterpiece. This picture proves why I'm a better at thinking than at doing anything that requires motor skills.

But fret not my pets. I wasn't done with the little guy quite yet.

Behold: this is how I saved my boyfriend's birthday: