Friday, February 18, 2011


Here is a list of things I like. I feel strange, compiling my list. Who cares? Who am I? But I really like reading lists of what other people like. And I really do like these things.

ORIGINS LIQUID LIP COLOR in Wild Flower. I tried my sister’s. Now I use it. My mom tried my sister’s. Now she uses it. If you wear lipgloss and you try it, you will use it. I am a sucker for makeup--even though I don’t really wear that much makeup and I certainly don’t wear it regularly. But I like having it around. Sometimes I get all dolled up, then I sit around the house or go to bed and take a nap. I like the hope and promise of makeup; it’s depressing and optimistic at the same time. I also like looking at makeup palettes. [I wrote this entire blog post spelling it as palate and had to change it--I always do that.] But it’s like painting with expensive paints. Once you are used to an expensive palette, you can’t go cheap. Well, you can but you’ll feel sorry for yourself.

Speaking of palettes.

OLD HOLLAND SINCE 1664. The palette is so beautiful and the tubes weigh a billion pounds more than other paints. If you pick one up, it’s like you’re picking up a bar of lead. Maybe you are, come to think of it. Are oil paints still made with lead? I’ll check right now . . .

Hmm. I guess so. Just came back from the website which says “Known as hazardous when worked with incorrectly. Occurs in the case of Cadmium pigments.” My husband is partial to Cadmiums, come to think of it. Also various Naples and Ochres and the Titanium white.

He keeps a narrow palette though. He feels distain for people with overly rangy palettes. (He would deny this but it’s true.) My husband allows my daughter to play with his Old Holland paints. He doesn’t let her finger paint with them or anything but she does paint with them on canvas. That’s probably not good. Oh well. There are worse things. We don’t give her whiskey and make her sleep in a drawer.

*Note: My husband read this and said, "I would like you to correct the part saying that I use Titanium White BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER USED TITANIUM WHITE. I USE FLAKE WHITE!"

EAST/WEST. My husband was commissioned to do a painting for our building. It was supposed to be a landscape of Chicago’s West Side.

As you see, it is not. Like many artists, my husband does not take direction well. He understands that you have desires, and he lets you express them, and then he says, “Okay.” And then he paints whatever he wants. Luckily, it's difficult for my husband to pick up on when people are pissed; he is missing that part of his brain. For this reason, he’s impervious to criticism. While he was working on the painting, he was three months late delivering it. One day he said, “I think X [client] may be pissed at me.” I said, “Why do you say that?” And he said, “Because he wrote me a email today that said something like, ‘Just get the goddamned painting done already and I’ll give you your little fucking wine and cheese party.’”

My husband looked at me and said, “I never even asked for a wine and cheese party. ’”

As you can imagine, when my husband was finally finished and he unveiled his painting of the west side, the client was . . .not overjoyed? My husband didn’t understand why anybody would be irritated about such a minor thing, and he refuses to be sorry for it.

His reasoning: “The landscape was not going well. So I did this instead. The perspective is facing east. But it’s reflecting west. The reflected buildings are on the west side.”

I said, “Of Michigan Avenue. To be fair, most people don’t really consider that ‘the west side.’”

He said, “Well, he wanted it done fast. That’s what he said at least. And this painting was coming together. I can’t help it if he doesn’t feel like it’s the west side.”

I was working on this fiction book that was based on real people and real events (though sequence was altered and physical characteristics and locations were changed), and I had all these worries and concerns in my mind about the real life people. About not hurting them, but still being able to tell the story. I was agonizing over it, turning over all the different options in my mind. I said, “It’s just that no matter what I do, somebody is going to be unhappy.” My husband said, “Somebody is already unhappy.”

TRADER JOE'S HOFBRAU BOCK. Kind of orange-y. Kind of grapefruit-y. Kind of high alcohol content. Very cheap.

EL TACO VELOZ. El Taco Veloz is my favorite Mexican restaurant in Chicago. And it is so cheap; it is the opposite of highway robbery. It’s like if you were on the highway and somebody drove up next to you and started throwing tortillas in your window.

Certain aspects of El Taco Veloz may annoy you or may delight you, based on your personality type. Obviously, I am the right personality type for ETV. We are a match, but here are some things to expect so you can judge for yourself if you are or are not an ETV person.

1.) The murals inside ETV are really weird. They’re supposed to be Mexican ladies, like “maidens” or something, holding baskets of fruit and vegetables, in white flouncy blouses, as if to say “I am abundant,” but the muralist must have thought that it would be better to give the Mexican ladies a splash of whiteness, and so all of the painted ladies have these giant creepy blue eyes like Barbie is peering out of them, watching you eat your barbacoa.

2.) The music is extremely loud and sometimes a birthday party happens in the middle of the restaurant without warning. There are booths around the perimeter and the staff starts moving chairs and tables aside and it just happens. David has been there before when they moved the chairs and people started dancing. His friend Mark—not the ETV personality type--was horrified. Mark is anti-jubilance. My advice: if you don’t like spontaneously appearing children in hats or adults dancing while you’re eating, skip ETV. These are, no kidding, pictures of ETV, possibly the night Mark and David were there.

3.) Instead of giving you bowls of salsa, they put the salsa into a squeeze container (like those plastic see through containers used to hold hair dye) and you have the squeeze the salsa onto each chip. If you ask for a bowl, they will bring it and you can squeeze some salsa into the bowl, thereby avoiding having to do the chip-by-chip squeeze. But you need to MAKE this happen, be assertive and innovative and all that.

4.) They have spicy pickled vegetables on the table, which are just out there, never put away, communal, there for the taking, which does not seem ALL that sanitary. But because of the high PH, I’m sure it’s fine—or fine enough; I eat them and I’m alive, let’s just say that.

Things that may bring you to ETV: Barbacoa. Cheese or chicken enchilladas (verde). Chilaquiles. Desserts: no. Don’t get the shrimp cocktail either.

P.S. Did you know that in Mexico a taco is not just a taco. A taco is anything wrapped in a tortilla. Did you know that taco in Spanish means wedge or plug or wadding; also pool cue? I didn’t. Taco, the word to describe the food, supposedly comes from a N├íhuatl word derived from tlaxcalla which means tortilla.

BREVILLE ELECTRIC KETTLE. When I bought this, I didn’t know how much I’d like it.

What’s the diff between an electric kettle and a teapot? Well, electric kettles (this one) don’t get all gunky on the inside. And they heat water SO MUCH FASTER. I use a coffee press and I don’t like waiting forever for water to heat up in the morning. Also, I hate when tea kettles scream. I hate when people scream but it’s even worse when a machine screams--because you bought something that screams at you. This kettle has the friendliest “ding” too. Like the tiniest pleasing chime. I use this kettle 5, 6, 7 times a day…and have for five years. Mine seems to have a short. Sometimes the light flickers. When I see the light flickering, I get anxious. Don’t die. I suppose I should be anxious that it may catch on fire, but I’m not.

NESPRESSO. "What else?" I don’t have this. I WISH. My friend had one in Spain. I tried it and . . . it was all over. My vacation was over. I didn’t even leave the house after that. I just stood by the coffee maker all day. I was an unapologetic coffee-swilling PIG. I made myself like 15 cups (lungo! cups) of coffee a day. The coffee maker takes a little capsule. You throw it in this hatch and it punctures it somehow and the coffee pours out a spout into doubled walled glass. My daughter’s little friend’s mother has one and when I went to their place the first time to pick up my daughter, she said, “Coffee?” And I said, “I would, but husband’s making dinner. We should probably go.” When I walked in, the first thing my husband asked was, “Did she offer you coffee? I said, “Yeah, but I said I really shouldn’t, we had to get going.” “Oh,” he said. “You really should’ve. She has a Nespresso.”

The next time I went over, she said, “Coffee?” And I said, “Oh, I don’t know, you’re probably getting ready to make dinner. (Please insist!]” She did.

“I’ll just make you one! It’ll only take a minute. How do you like your cappuccino? Dry? Extra foam? Maybe just an espresso?”

Then she got out a billion capsules. She had an entire silverware drawer of them.

“Which kind do you want? This one’s good. And this one. This is a new kind; I haven’t tried it yet. My husband likes this one.” On and on.

When I looked down, her two-year old daughter was playing with a bunch of the capsules on the floor, stacking them and putting them in cups.

I said, “Capsules!”

She said, “Yeah, we didn’t like that kind at all.”

When the spout started spewing the coffee out, I said, “That thing is so SWEET. Mmm, mmm.” Then we talked about her coffee maker for a half an hour. During this time our children were coming up to us and trying to get our attention and we were like, JUST WAIT A SECOND WE ARE TALKING. Our conversation ended with her saying, “It changed my life. And I’m not just saying that.”

[And the MOST you’ll pay for it is $799 USD!]

Nespresso also has good commercials. John Malkovich is God, a piano falls on George Clooney, etc., etc.


  1. I love your husband. He can paint whatever he wants cuz he's a flippin' genius with the face of a god and those bastards better stand in line-quietly, and politely- for whatever he chooses to paint for them! Hulk Smash!

  2. His face is kind of God-ish. He modeled once and the art teacher (a fashion illustrator) said to the students, "Now THIS is an example of a Classical face." Hulk Smash!

  3. I don't think your post is aggro enough for the Hulk Smash. There are no dropped gs or obscenities. Maybe you should try again, and this time be a little more Hulksmashy.

  4. i want the title of my first book to be Hulksmashy