Wednesday, January 19, 2011

beer googles

Beer and cake are the most heavenly foods on earth. How do I reconcile my worship of a bitter, carbonated nectar with my equal rapture in the presence of the sweet, dense manna? Hell is having to choose between them.

But I can choose, and I choose beer. Nearly every day. But beer has a stigma: it's undignified, manly, aggressive, unlike its more refined counterpart, wine. It's associated with frat parties and thick-necked guys and redneck softball teams, where the outfielder has a cigarette in one hand and a can of Natty Boh by his feet. Tell someone you drink a glass of wine every night with dinner, and she'll tell you how healthy it is. Now tell her you drink a beer every day at 4:00, and she'll think you're an alcoholic. Even though beer is good for you, but soda is not, beer still loses; no one thinks you're a drunk if you have a can of Coke with lunch.

You should know that when I talk about beer, I don't really mean beer; beer is, typically, lager—that piss-water-colored stuff that tastes nasty. I always mean ale. I like hoppy, bitter, light brown beers—no food-thick stouts with weird additives like chocolate. Give me some Flying Dog Doggie Style or some Harpoon IPA or some Rogue Dead Guy (perfect for Good Friday) or the holy grail of ales, The Brewer's Art's Resurrection (perfect for Easter Sunday).

I'd be lying if I said I didn't like the alcohol in beer. Coffee tastes delicious, but most of the people I know drink it for the flavor and the caffeine. Look, in a world that's as fucked up as ours, we need all the legal drugs we can get. Back when I suffered from insomnia, my therapist told me I should live like a starlet—popping uppers for breakfast and downers for dinner. And I do. Did.

On Monday, I took a beer-drinking hiatus, at least during the week, so of course I can think of nothing but beer. I quit because it's obvious I have a problem. That's right: I can't fit into my fat jeans. My problem isn't an alcohol addiction. If I had to pick from among Budweiser, Miller, Coors, or even Yuengling, I would abstain. If all you had was wine, I'd chew gum.(Possible exception: Riesling. Hey—I was raised on Maneschewitz, which spoiled me for Merlot.) Don't even mention diet beers. Blech.

Last night, my husband cracked open a Resurrection. Curses! I went upstairs and got in bed to wait for The Good Wife. The defendant had a drinking problem, and there was a picture of him with a beer in his hand. Last night I dreamt I was cooking eggs for breakfast—while drinking a beer. This morning, I found a pair of Flying Dog caps in the silverware drawer. I am Flying Dogfaceboy.

It's going to take the patience of Saul and the faith of Job to get to Friday with two six packs of Resurrection in the fridge. I like beer. A lot. But there's something I want a little more.

I want to fit in those white dragon pants.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I made this.

The first time I saw the press-kit photo of Jimmy Page on the wall of the School of Rock, I was in love. Not with Jimmy, though his sloppy, many-layered solos and his squinty eyes are timeless and sexy. With the suit, the suit of dragons and poppies. It's not a suit just any man can pull off, especially without good reason.

But a girl? A girl could wear the hell out of that suit! So when Serena signed up for the School of Rock's Tribute to Led Zeppelin, I knew what had to be done—and, true to form, I waited until the last minute to get on it. Last Saturday, with a week to go, I dragged a friend to some thrift shops in search of white pants and a white jacket, and when I blew ten bucks on three pairs of too-tight white jeans, I dragged my kid with me to the Belair Road Goodwill. I hit the jackpot.

In case you want to know the details so you can try this at home (and you can!), I did a Google search for "dragon" and "dragon art" and "dragon clip art" and "dragon suit" "jimmy hendrix." I didn't find a single beast I liked, so I combined the perfect clip-art dragon head with the body of some guy's back tattoo, using a cut-out filter to turn the photo into art. When I liked the results, I printed the dragon out (it took four transfers—it's about 26" long) three times, and ironed it on the clothing. I did the same thing with some clip-art poppies. Then I painted over everything with fabric paint, slopping some glitter-filled house paint on the dragon scales.

Every day, my daughter walks by the pants hanging on the door of the armoire in the living room, and she says, "Those are some fucking awesome pants."

Hey, I make some good stuff. My kid is the best of the best stuff I make.

Serena—and her suit—are on about a third of the songs at this weekend's School of Rock tribute to Led Zeppelin (4:00 Saturday, 1:00 Sunday at the Recher; $10). If you are in the area (and not watching the playoffs), come watch these amazing teenage musicians show off the chops they've been polishing since September, and throw yourself right back to 1975, at the Capital Centre. If I'd been born yet, I'd have gone with Andrea Palefsky.

I heard Page didn't wear The Suit that night. We've got that show beat.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

hermommie and the order of the feedus

Today, my daughter, Hormonie, is thirteen. She may think January 6th, the Epiphany, is about her, but it’s all about me. Hermommie woke up looking like a Death Eater, the Dark Mark under each eye, evil roots black as night, and skin of—what else?—elder. Overnight, I became the parent of a teenager. A teenanger.

It won’t be all bad, will it? It could hardly be worse than last year. And there’s evidence that she’s outgrown her parseltongue. Last night, at dinner, she told me she loved me. And I didn’t even have to give her money.

But it’s not about her, a girl whose favorite bands are Pink Floyd, Sweet, and the Records, while other girls her age are drooling over Justin Bieber; a girl who can nail the sax solo in “Us and Them,” then hit the drums on “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and then play the lead guitar on “Over the Hills and Far Away” and then sing “Use Somebody”—while drumming!—and sound like the record; a girl who is so quick witted that when I apologized yesterday for my foul language (“The crows are fucking amazing!”), she replied, “I don’t give a shit”; a girl who—wait! It’s not about her.

For Christmas this year, Serena got me a gift certificate for a facial. My appointment is today, but I doubt that even Gina’s powerful elderflower and polyjuice potion can turn back the withered, arthritic hands of time. I guess that's OK. Truth be told, I wear my marks of motherhood with pride (and just a dash of Photoshop magic).

All of this is just a fancy way to declare my continuing love for my daughter, despite her age and disposition, and to say, in the clearest way* that she will understand:

*Happy Birthday, Serena!

If you want to translate English to parseltongue, go to the parselmouth.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

the joy luck club

I forgot to resolve. I'm sure I was supposed to join most of the rest of America and engage in the annual ritualistic declaration, but I have been tiptoeing around the baby new year, afraid I'll wake him; 2010 was just that good—at least in comparison to the last batch of years. On Monday, I hope to stop eating like I have two assholes. That's about it.

Twenty ten began with an attitude adjustment, a concerted effort not to tell myself I suck with every passing minute. I focused less on whining my ailments to the world and more on putting them to music (C, G, D, usually, but occasionally D, A, G and sometimes Em). I have liked living this way. The benefit to feeling pain but not sharing it all the time is that you get to create some pretty twisted poetry and still have a bunch of friends with whom to share it.

Twenty eleven is much harder to say, but I hope it will be no less easy to do. The morning began like last year's, with an incredible sunrise and the serenade of crows, followed by a brisk walk in the park. It will end with Harry Potter at our favorite theater. In between, I stood around in the street gabbing with friendly neighbors and eating a roasted pig sandwich and chocolate truffles, drinking ale, telling jokes, and taking pictures. Perpetually-pink-haired Paula Willey, Your Neighborhood Librarian, was the pig tender—and boy was the pig tender! (Sorry.) I tasted brains for the first time (creamy and rich, with a little metallic aftertaste; almost delicious, except for the part about them being brains), though I'm pretty sure black-eyed peas are slightly luckier.

I've put in a request for lots of joy this year, a heaping helping of good times with friends and family, smooth skin, good hair, deep relaxing breaths, a pinch of luck, and just a tiny dash of strife to keep the art interesting. Happy New Year!