we've been brainstorming life updates in response to a request for holiday-newsletter material.

lauren and joe have received their spare set of house keys from their petsitter who moved to new jersey.
lauren and joe have stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb.
lauren and joe have succeeded in business without really trying.
lauren and joe are on a wintertime sleigh ride through hans christian andersen's copenhagen.


the dirty dozen {notes from my hometown police blotter, as reported by the oc register*}

Suspicious person/circumstances. 9:33 p.m. The caller said his 15-year-old son and the caller’s mother have barricaded him out of his home because he recently quit smoking and the son is now upset because he bought an e-cigarette.
Unknown trouble. 3:51 p.m. The caller said the caller's roommate has a machete.
Suspicious person/circumstance. 5:58 p.m. Informant called from McDonald's saying people at Arby's took her balloon and treated her badly.
Disturbance. 5:10 p.m. An informant said the neighbor is angry at the informant's son because the son moved a tree and a seed fell, upsetting the neighbor.
Suspicious person/circumstance. 3:53 p.m. Informant reported that pornographic films recovered in the mail were not ordered.
Terrorist threats report. 8:51 p.m. The caller said a student shoved the caller and said she is going to file a report that the caller was the one who pushed her.
Disturbance. 7:14 p.m. The caller reported a man rolling around on the grass in front of the mortuary.
Disturbance. 12:36 a.m. Informant reported a neighbor that goes out and blows a bugle type horn and marches around the yard with a sword. Subject reportedly does it all the time.
Suspicious person. 7:19 p.m. A man reported that his phone lines had been tapped and that someone was hacking into his bank account. He later said he might be a methamphetamine user.
Disturbance. 4:38 p.m. A male transient who reportedly goes by "Hollywood" was seen urinating in public. The transient was reportedly wearing a shiny cape.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 1:41 p.m. The caller reported neighbors burning their fireplace for the last four or five days without stopping and a very odd smell coming from the house.
Suspicious person/circumstance. 6:48 p.m. A male subject was reportedly standing on a white van and was preparing to skateboard off the top of it. A subject was reportedly videotaping.

*previous installment here.


the dirty dozen {notes from my hometown police blotter, as reported by the oc register*}

Suspicious person/circumstances. 9:49 a.m. The caller said a car has driven by her house five times this morning. She said she put puppies for sale on Craigslist and thinks this could be related.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 7:59 p.m. The caller said she thinks people are intentionally trying to cause a traffic collision with her because her family is wealthy.
Assist outside agency. 9:28 a.m. The caller said she is at IHOP and a lot of customers began coughing.
Disturbance. 4:22 p.m. The caller said a tenant has a bad attitude and the caller doesn't want him there anymore.
Burglary report. 9:26 p.m. The caller said his terrier was stolen from inside the house. The dog has a GPS but the caller doesn't know how to use it.
Suspicious person/circumstance. 6:31 p.m. A woman reported that a man knocked on her door and asked for help with paperwork because he was in training to be a police officer.
Unknown trouble. 1:38 p.m. The caller said a naked woman walked into her house and then walked outside.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 1:47 p.m. The caller reported several men washing cars in the self-carwash without permission.
Disturbance. 5:16 a.m. The caller reported a man and a woman having sex in the Jacuzzi.
Found property. 11:23 a.m. The caller said he received a large package of marijuana.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 12:22 p.m. The caller said a man walked into her house smelling like marijuana. She said his excuse was that “all the homes look alike.”
Suspicious person/circumstances. 6:19 a.m. The caller reported a large amount of broken glass in the sandbox.

*previous installment here.


101 in 1001 {III}: 008 take a knife-skills class [completed 11.03.13]

i thought i wanted to learn to cut things efficiently and safely because joe (foe of onions) always complains that i don't dice things finely enough and because i seem to lose the tip of a finger to a laughably-uncomplicated prep job (this year it was chopping parsley; sorry about that, right index) once a year or so. those are solid reasons to learn to cut things efficiently and safely, and brooklyn kitchen's celebrated class addressed them; i've now spent substantial time practicing the previously-scorned not-removing-the-stem-of-the-onion method, and i now know to make a tiger claw with my non-cutting hand before i get to work on, say, a carrot, and that i should be honing my knife before and after every big job (if you look at the blade of your knife straight on and can see reflected light, it needs to be honed). i also know, thanks to the preview of the advanced knife skills class to which we were treated at the end of our class, that i'm unlikely to become one of those rare and mysterious vegetarians who can prepare meat for others, as the spectacle of our teacher taking a chicken apart on a cutting board directly and graphically in front of me was at least sixteen times more disturbing than the small-stage production of titus andronicus i saw at the public two winters ago (in which a small child wandered around puncturing a lumpy plastic bag full of blood each time a character was dispatched); you omnivores terrify me.

what i now realize i actually wanted was to see someone chop an onion really, really fast, as they do on foodie-reality-tv shows like top chef. i am not a very good pupil as a general proposition, and i am especially lousy at following right-handed people in demonstrations: i have the visual-spatial intelligence of a baby carrot and a short attention span, so i get confused and promptly move on to thoughts of, say, how i might make myself octopus smoking slippers* or teach steve to jump through a hoop instead of digging in and figuring out how to make my clumsy old left hand do the thing i'm expected to learn to do. (i'm a bad teacher for similar reasons, and wonder every now and again if all those archery "lessons" i gave as a girl scout camp counselor ever led to fatalities.) i did not see anyone chop an onion really, really fast (our teacher was far too responsible to encourage us to go benihana on our vegetables), and it's unlikely i myself will be chopping an onion really, really fast at any point in the near future, but i'm not sorry i froggered out to north williamsburg in the middle of the new york marathon to learn knife skills: i'll remember the tiger claw, i now have a freezer full of wonkily-cubed stock ingredients, and i also have a class handout i can consult if i ever develop the self-discipline to sit down and puzzle out diagrams for more than a few minutes at a time. sometimes that's enough.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 did i make it sound like i do all the cooking when i mentioned joe's prissy onion thing?
02 do you know how to take a chicken apart?
03 were/are you a good pupil?
04 were/are you a good archer?
05 when did you last take a class?
06 if you were to customize a pair of smoking slippers, how would you do it?

*they are in the works and will be boss.


central park, 5 november

it's That Week in central park when every third pedestrian has some sort of musical instrument and it feels reasonable to rent a bike for $30 an hour. as i headed for bethesda fountain yesterday afternoon i saw a couple waltzing slowly beneath the elms. forget you, hollywood! i bet they were both in perfect health.


My voice is a zoo right now for this,
and this paces very much inside it,
it would like very much to escape
and eat hot blood again and go home,
and right down to the restless way
I walk I am an argument against zoos.

(patricia lockwood, from "what is the zoo for what," new yorker 10.28.13; her second collection, motherland fatherland homelandsexuals, will be out in june)