Archive for January, 2007

Go, go, Gadget Arm!

One full month ago, Husband and I heard a cat crying. It began in the evening and continued through the next morning. And the next evening. And the morning after that. And it has not stopped. We can hear it from inside our house, with our doors and windows shut. Our own cats, totally lacking in sympathy, have begun writing terse notes to the management about the noise.

Two weeks ago, I put on my detective hat and went to see if I could pinpoint where the sound was coming from. This was not as simple as you might expect; Puzzletown has strange acoustics. I thought I’d tracked it to a little gray cat in an apartment across the courtyard from us, but while that cat and I were having a staring match through the window, I heard the sound again. I left the gray cat to its victory dance and walked outside the courtyard. And then, on the other side of the tall, black, pointy fence, I found the yowler.

Next to Puzzletown is the Puzzletown Chateau. It shares our name, but not our tax bracket. Its residents sip champagne in the back of stretch Hummers while yelling at their publicists. They are lifted, tucked, and tanned. Their personal assistants have personal assistants.

The yowly cat was on the small balcony of the Chateau’s penthouse apartment, pacing back and forth and looking deeply unhappy. I spoke to the Chateau security guards about it. They knew about the problem already, and said the owner had told them he would “get rid” of the cat the next day.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked when I tell you the cat was still crying the next evening. “I’ll call the police, if I have to,” I threatened.

“Wouldn’t do any good,” the security guard told me.

“Why not?”

“Police can’t get in here.”


“Rules. We’re not allowed to let the police in here unless someone’s called 911 or they got a warrant.”

(Ah, money. How I long to possess thee, so that I too may flaut the law and common decency.)

They promised to speak to the owner again.

One week later, the cat was still crying. I called the leasing office for the property, where I spoke with a woman who grouchily promised to look into it. (Actually, her first response was “Why don’t you call the police?”) I told her I’d follow up in a few days.

Today I called back, and the person I’d spoken with before was “no longer with the company.” So I went through the whole story again with a woman who sighed when I told her which apartment it was. “Oh yes, we know that resident well.” She promised to take some action, and said I should call back tomorrow.

If that cat is still crying this weekend, I’m gonna handle this ninja-style.



Update: The Resident Relations director spoke with Evil Owner and gave them one last chance. When he failed to do anything, they called the Humane Society to schedule an appointment for someone to come get the cat. Does anyone know what happens to animals that are picked up by the Humane Society? Please tell me they don’t get gassed.


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Things you will discover on the lemon cleanse.

  • Sugar crashes are rare, but may be promptly resolved by eating an apple.
  • The lemon/maple-syrup/cayenne mixture is far more delicious than you ever suspected.
  • Eventually, the metal pin that holds the lemon-squeezer together will gasp, shudder and die.
  • When this happens, you can squeeze lemons with your bare hands. It is messy. Be careful not to squirt yourself in the eye.
  • Careful or no, you will squirt yourself in the eye. Replace the lemon-squeezer as soon as possible.
  • The world won’t end if you eat a few spinach leaves and maybe some green pepper at dinnertime.
  • While you’re on the cleanse, you will not crave spinach or green pepper. You will crave mac ‘n cheese, pizza, cake, Chinese food, Indian food, and SourPatch Kids. In that order.
  • After you finish the cleanse, you will have little or no desire to eat any of these things. Except for the Indian food. Because Indian food is delicious.
  • Don’t get too used to the absence of the last three pounds you drop. They’ve just stepped out for some fresh air; they’ll be back soon.
  • You will poop more in these ten days than you have in the preceding year, or possibly ever.

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I’m not sure whether to be insulted or amused. I’ll go with both.

Absurdity happens often. This, we know.

What science has yet to uncover is why it happens so often around me.

I live in a largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, filled with synagogues, shuls, and kosher bakeries. Men walk our streets in calf-length coats and wide fur hats, or suits and fedoras. Most shops are closed on Saturdays. It can be quite convenient to live here, particularly when you have a hankering for kosher pizza or chinese food, or you’ve forgotten to purchase the wine glass for breaking at your own wedding, and your already-tuxedoed stepfather is able to dash out to get one from the kitsch shop three doors down. Not that this has ever happened to me or anything.

The other night, Husband and I were having coffee at a local shop before we went to a movie. We were surrounded by orthodox women wearing thick nylon stockings under their black ankle-length skirts. The highlight of the conversation came when one black-clad woman said to another, “Rachel – you know Rachel, right? Rachel who wears a lot of black?” It was like one centipede saying to another, “You know Jim, right? Jim with all the legs?”

So anyway, we were walking over to the movie theater when a car sped by, and the passenger of the car yelled out the window, “Heil Hitler!” I looked around – the street was nearly empty – and realized he was shouting at us. It was dark out, after all, and he must have just seen that I was wearing a long black coat and a hat, and that Husband was dressed in black as well. But still, I thought it was pretty impressive that he’d managed to hurl his epithet at the least Jewish woman in a one-mile radius and her goyishe husband.

It reminded me of the time that I was walking through the lesbian Mecca of Northampton, Massachussetts, when a pickup truck full of teenage boys drove by, and one shouted “Faggots!” at the crowded sidewalk. A tall, butch woman cupped her hand to her mouth and shouted back “Wrong town!”

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That explains it.

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A bird’s nest: Now with lemony fresh scent.

I don’t want to jinx anything, but I have a feeling that 2007 is going to be a good year. I have made a number of resolutions, none of which I’m going to share on this blog, because that would be certain death. And as we know, 2007 is a death-free year!

In order to start things off properly, I have embarked upon The Great Lemon Cleanse. I was inspired by my (blogless) friend Sara, who has done it twice, and recommends it highly. The Lemon Cleanse requires that you eat nothing for ten days, and drink only water and a surprisingly delicious lemonade composed of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Today is my second day.

Yesterday I made it through work without a problem; the lemonade is more satisfying than I would have thought. After I got home, Husband and I walked over to Nordstrom’s to buy me a sports bra (okay, I’ll share one resolution: Be Less of a Lump). The sales associate revealed that she was new to L.A., and made some comment about not being thin enough.

I shook my head. “Don’t let L.A. get to you with the crazy skinny rules! It’s not healthy!”

“I’m not,” she looked away. “But everybody I know around here is doing this cleanse right now, and – are you okay, sir?” Husband had fallen off his chair laughing.

It turned out that her coworker was on Day Ten. She was almost as enthusiastic about her experience as Sara had been, but had clearly had a harder time sticking to it. “I snuck a couple of peanuts on Day Seven,” she confessed.

This is not a weight-loss project, although, okay, sure, that’s kind of a side benefit. It’s not a very effective weight loss project, as half of whatever you lose is water weight, and you gain that right back after you stop the cleanse. My primary goal in this is to feel healthier and cleaner, and also, if I am to be completely honest, to feel like I have accomplished something small but difficult. I think accomplishing a small project will give me the confidence I need to tackle the larger ones.

    Other ideas for confidence-building

  • Wear superhero costume
  • Recruit cheerleading squad
  • Hire marching band to follow me everywhere
  • Get rock star hair

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Here I am!

office 1

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Your patience will be rewarded . . .

. . . next week, when I move into MY OFFICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Soon I will be able to blog with impunity. I had to take a break this past week, though, because

[begin Unidentifiable Foreign Accent]

the work, she kicks my ass with her staple-studded stilettos. [/UFA]

If I have any room left after filling my office! with the files and whatnot that currently swamp my desk, I will throw a decorating party. You’re all invited. Bring veggie sticks, beer, a glue gun and some spraypaint.

Preliminary camera-photos

my new office.

View! From window!
my new view.

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Please cross whatever you have.

There has been a schism in Grandma Secretary’s firm. I’m not sure what went down, precisely, but I know it involves the female partner and the female associate packing up their briefcases and clearing out their offices. The day after they announced their imminent departure, the firm had their nameplates taken off of their doors. There are hushed rumours of lawsuits. Grandma Secretary has spent the last two days muttering “Jeezle Pete,” “Oh, Lordy,” and “I’m just gonna kill myself” in angry tones.

What does this mean for your Beloved Author? Well, there ought to be a little less yelling around here (once the initial chaos dies down), and, even better, two offices are being freed up.

See this?

Save me.

This is what comes of squeezing the paralegal (who also serves as secretary and office manager) into a space this big:


I mentioned to Lawyer that it might be a good idea to look into taking over one of the newly empty offices, and he agreed! It will only happen if we can get the price down a bit, though.

Wish on your nearest star for me, ‘kay? I could really use more room. And if it doesn’t work out, be prepared with your ropes and shovels. I might need some help clambering out of here.

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I’m not one to take joy in others’ misery (much), but I have to say that this feels like karma to me.

megan mullally show cancelled, crying execs and producers, big meeting @ 2pm

You don’t diss the knitters, man.

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2007 is the year of living.

In 2006 I lost three friends, ranging in age from 26 to 69. One took her own life after finding out that her thyroid cancer was incurable, one died of heart failure after chronic complications from a gastric-bypass surgery she had three years ago, and, just this past weekend, one fell through the ice on a lake while cross-country skiing. Each of these people touched my life deeply, and I will hold them all in my heart forever.

I would like to place a moratorium on deaths for the next twelve months. Y’all hear that? No dying. I’m serious, people.

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