Saturday, March 31, 2007

kiss my funny, sarcastic ass, professor

rhyming haiku is fun to
do de do de do

Friday, March 30, 2007

quitting smoking stinks

The worst thing about quitting smoking is that the whole world stinks. And I don't mean the world is a dreary place since I decided to deny myself one of life's greatest pleasures. I mean the world stinks.

Four weeks ago I walked in the world blissfully unaware of what it smelled like. Today, a stroll through the mall, or a quick jaunt across town, induces the olfactory equivalent of nails screeching down a chalkboard. Aside from the intrepid piss smell that permeates public transportation as naturally as clogs permeate Portland, getting on the bus used to be a relatively benign olfactory experience. Now, a bus ride is a malodorous assault on my virgin sniffer. Aqua Net, Downy, Pabst, Revlon, Marlboro, Calvin Klein: all agents of scentual harassment. And these are the masking scents.

Like the elephant exhibit, humanity smells like sh*%.

The ability to smell someone’s dirty hair and watermelon Bubblicious from five feet away is a horrifying side effect of not smoking. At school, I passed a guy in the hall that smelled like a combination of bad breath and leather waterproofing spray, and I had to move from my seat when someone sitting next to me smelled like moldy socks and salmon.

Yesterday I took a long bus ride home from the dentist and, unable to endure the stench of damp humans, I stuck my nose into the sleeve of my jacket and quietly pleaded for my old, dulled sense of smell back. I imagined sniffing bleach every day before I left the house to damage my olfactory cells. I thought about carrying around a small container of coffee beans that I could bury my nose in for bus trips, and I envisioned sneaking sniffs of whiskey from a flask during classes.

What happened to my right to choose what odors are allowed in? If I wanted to smell a pink geranium, I could lean in close, stick my nostrils right up to the blossom, and wah la. If I wanted to find out what my tomato soup smelled like, I could put my nose near the bowl and take a whiff. Twenty-seven days after my last breath of non-scented air, my right to a serenely odor-free existence has gone with the smoke.

According to the Daily Success calendar that came with the nicotine patches, Day 27 recommends: “Treat yourself to a bottle of cologne to celebrate your improved sense of smell.”

Listen, if you’ve ridden the #33 bus on a rainy day, you’d know there ain’t nothing to celebrate.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

fat kitty with a little head

Flora was growing into a fairly well-adjusted kitty, and I was growing into a fairly well-adjusted sober adult, and we lived happily together in my beautiful studio apartment. But she really wanted a little brother.

I began searching for a brother for Flora, but I knew that he would have to be a very special kind of kitty if Flora and he were to live amicably. He needed to be brave enough to not be put off by Flora’s own shyness, and he needed to be sweet enough not to scare her.

I was also looking for a non-black kitty, since I already had a black one, until I was informed by a woman at a cat shelter that no one wants the black kitties because they are plain, and that plain black kitties go un-adopted more than any other kind of cat. Flora’s getting a plain, black brother.

Huckleberry had been removed from a decrepit house where he, and 22 others, had suffered neglect and abuse. His tail had been broken and would always be short. I saw his picture on the Humane Society website and knew he was the one for us.

His adoption summary lauded him as a fun-loving, easy-going kitten but it turned out to be slightly incorrect. Huckleberry is a heedless, crazy, delinquent who is also very needy and appears to suffer from OCD and attachment disorder. He never lets me sleep or do my homework. He fights with his sister.

We love him so much we can’t imagine life without our plain black, ¾ tail, fat kitty with a little head.

Get your plain black, lovable delinquent here!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

good day to be a member of the gourd family

Today, for the first time in my life, I was presented with the occasion to use the word Cucurbitaceae in an ordinary conversation. "Ordinary" meaning that the conversation did not occur within that happily Latinate, mystical realm known as Botany Class. In Botany Class, it is not uncommon to throw around such rag-tag phrases as, "I see there are some Apion antiqumm affecting this Cytisus scoparius." (Translation: There are some weevils eating this scotch broom plant.) In fact, among fellow amateur Botanists, the person who can rattle off the highest number of phonetically-challenged Latin names in one sentence, wins.

"Wow, look how tall the Allium schoenoprasum are getting, and the Foeniculum vulgare is really healthy, but there's a couple of Trialeurodes vaporariorum flying around the Solanum esculentums."

I win.

Yes, it's true, once you cross over into the land of unabashedly unpronounceable botanical nomenclature, a rose is not even a rose. It's Rosaceae.

Simply because I can, I drop these multi-syllabic monstrosities on my botanically declined friends whenever possible—"Can you believe the Dicentra spectabilis is blooming already?"—but they're my friends and they’ve learned to ignore this sadistic spouting of plant names.

Aside from the name dropping, I also enjoy flaunting my penchant for completely unremarkable plant facts. I like to work in a little uninteresting information between the Latin abominations, and I'm especially fond of dishing tid-bits about the underdogs of the plant world. You know, give a small shout out to weeds, or liverworts (Hepaticophyta).

"Look at this beautiful Anthocerophyte! Did you know that hornworts typically have only one chloroplast in each cell?"

So, imagine my delight when, as I was having my hair shampooed at the salon, I noticed that the shampoo smelled like honeydew and asked my stylist what kind it was.

“Ummm, currr, cuuu, bita? Cuuu. . . oh, I don’t know. Something and Tea Tree oil.”

“Oh, Cucurbit,” I relished my helpfulness. “Cucurbits are the family of plants that include squashes and melons.”

“Like the Latin name or something?”

“Yeah, short for Cucurbitaceae.”

Saturday, March 24, 2007

alliterative rhyming haiku is cool no matter what your poetry professor may have told you

Sing long, silly songs
eat fudge, French fries, fried won tons
happy hedonist

Friday, March 23, 2007

bat kitty

I don’t even know who I was before I was the kind of person who said things like, “Come ’er bat kitty, my little fat kitty with a little head, get your kitty crack!” But I’m sure I’m a much more likeable person now.

Flora was scared and very shy when I brought her home. She stayed under my bed for weeks, and I had to crawl under there and feed her from my hand. The people at the Humane Society told me she was found on the street in North Portland. She had been abandoned and showed signs of abuse. When I saw her tiny, frightened kitty soul recoiled in her cage, I knew she had to come home with me.

Her adoption summary read:

Have you ever heard of beneficial Flora? (of course I had, I'm a botany geek) Are you looking to improve your overall physical and emotional well being? (actually, I was trying to quit
drinking) Well so am

Well, have we got a lot in common. Come on my poor tiny, frightened, abandoned, and abused little black, bat kitty. I may not have much, but I can offer you a quiet home where you can stay for the rest of your life.

Get your kitties here!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

snow crumbs

"Courage is fear that has said its prayers." ~Anne Lamott

I imagine my fear is a tiny, trembling mouse, hands pressed together in a steeple, up on her two tiny, pink mouse-feet, next to a little mouse-bed with daisy print sheets. I don’t know to whom or what my fear is praying, or even what she prays for, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Maybe she just whispers shakily to the moon, “Snow crumbs . . . snow crumbs,” and that is enough.