Thursday, July 27, 2006

Spinning the Color Wheel

I think I've discovered the greatest copywriting job in the world: naming paint colors.

For the past two weeks I've been exploring the intricacies of the color wheel. Just when I think I've examined every yellow-green, green-yellow, yellow-pink and pink-yellow combination on earth, I change my mind and start all over again.

My path to color enlightenment began at the website of Sherwin-Williams, where I found an affordable paint/primer called "Harmony" that contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Fortunately, "Harmony" is available only in lighter shades, so I could eliminate a bunch of deep colors right away.

The site allows users to select a room and "paint" it in a variety of Sherwin-Williams colors. I have spent hours painting and re-painting rooms, looking at colors next to a variety of wood floors and levels of ambient light.

When I'm hungry, I paint my room Portabello, Butter Cream or Cherry Tomato. If I'm feeling frisky, I try Saucy Gold, Swanky Gray, Ravishing Coral, Heartthrob or Lusty Red. To try to boost my spirits, I work with Free Spirit, Euphoric Lilac, Drama Violet and Dapper Tan. But would anyone ever really choose a paint called Polite White or Vaguely Mauve? Why not just announce, "I am Somewhat Dull because I'm Vaguely Uncertain About My Style"?

Right now I'm struggling between Solaria and Lantern Light for my living room, Atmospheric and Vast Sky for my bedroom, and Jardin and Nurture Green for my office. The emerging theme: Bringing the outside in. My only real toss-up is the guest room, where I tried two colors, Swimming and Teaberry. I painted patches of each color near the window. I felt like I was living in an Easter Egg patch.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mookie's World

The kittens are getting big. I see them loping across the living room, trying to make their tiny bodies catch up to their long legs. They still have trouble jumping, but Mookie, the one with stripes on his back and a pink nose, manages to get on the window sill so he can look out onto the world.

Such a little animal, such a big world. Do you ever have days when you feel like the tiniest, most vulnerable thing, trapped inside the house and looking out the window, while the world goes on about its business?

I feel that way today. Suffocating under a pile of papers, drowning in a sea of computer screens. Looking outside at the green, green world, the trees shifting in the wind outside my office window. The earth takes a breath of fresh air, but this room feels stale.

The kittens have taken to sleeping on my neck and chest, so I often feel like I'm wearing a fur coat at night. Nanuq wanders the house, making strange bleating sounds from time to time when he realizes he's alone. I breathe deeply and look at the patterns the curtains make against the wall. They look like snowflakes.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Saturday, July 22, 2006

It Hurts

I always knew the day would come, but I tried not to think about it. The day he would meet someone else.

On the phone, I could tell something was different. After giving me advice, he said, "Oh, don't listen to me. You should do what you think is best." When I said something self-depracating, he didn't reassure me. He didn't say much when I mentioned a few of our secrets, things only lovers can share. He stopped reading this blog.

Then he said the words. I'm seeing somebody.

He didn't say much, and I didn't ask. I was trying to be an adult. I heard my disembodied voice saying, "That's great. Good, good. I'm glad."

I learned she is 35 years old, so I couldn't hate her because she's young. I learned she is "very different" than me, but I didn't want to know how. Maybe she's thin, I thought. Maybe she doesn't care about a commitment or children. But I learned the most important thing: that he's moving on with his life.

Why does it hurt so much?

My mom said I should be happy for him because he's a good man and he deserves to be happy. That would be the grown-up thing to do, the nice thing to do. But I don't want to be grown-up or nice. This once, I want to be childish. I want to cry to the heavens and stamp my fists into the ground. I want to beat on his chest so he feels the pain I feel. I want him to come back and give me all the things he said he couldn't give me, even though I know he can't.

I want to be happy for him. My mom is right. He is a good man. But I wanted him to be my good man. Now someone else gets to kiss him. Someone else gets to hear his stupid stories and reassure him about his insecurities. Someone else gets to hear his story, and my story, and why I couldn't give him what he wanted.

It hurts. It really, really hurts.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Boys Are Back in Town

We had our first visit to the vet last week. I had hoped one of my little ones would turn out to be a girl, but alas, I am awash in males. Must be punishment for always wishing we had a few testicles at my office.

Nanuq was quite unhappy when we left him alone in the house. The kittens were scared, too. They meowed the whole trip. They sounded like babies. When we saw Dr. Bohn, however, they behaved like perfect gentlemen. They even stood fairly still while they had their nails clipped.

Each day brings a new adventure, but the boys get along quite well. Nanuq grooms and chases them around the house. He uses the kitten's litter box, even though he is three times its size. I try not to laugh when his efforts result in mistakes. After all, unlike most men who can't aim accurately, my cat has an excuse: his brain is the size of a walnut.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Brett Myers: Giving New Meaning to "The Fightin' Phils"

So much has already been said about Brett Myers and his situation that I wonder whether I have anything more to contribute. But after watching him start yesterday's game against the San Francisco Giants, I still can't let his behavior go.

For the many women like me, who feel as much breathless passion for the game of baseball as we do for the discount rack at DSW, we are left in the difficult position of weighing our love for the game against our our loyalty to our gender.

Scratch that. It's not difficult. Because I'm a woman--a human being--before I'm a sports fan.

It's not easy being a female sports fan. For the most part, the games and their marketing aren't designed for me. I won't spend extra so I can sit closer to the Eagles cheerleaders. I don't need to watch a guy smashing beer cans on his head to feel entertained. I grit my teeth through the WIP morning team's exchanges about farting and scantily-clad women (apologies to Rhea Hughes).

I figure my presence is enough to discourage the more misogynistic tendencies of the men around me during a football or baseball game. But now the entire Phillies organization wants me to believe that because a guy can pitch, I should forgive him for dragging his wife by the hair through the streets of Boston. Sorry. No thanks.

In addition to creating a PR fiasco that will serve as the textbook example of bad crisis communications for years to come, the Phillies have alientated any person in this city who cares about the treatment of women and domestic abuse. The solution should have been simple. They should have said: These are serious allegations, and the Phillies organization takes the suggestion of domestic abuse very seriously. This should have been said quickly. Clearly. Decisively. Instead, what they did say, at various times over several weeks: He's a professional, and he needs to pitch today and block out that he was arrested last night. We're sorry people found out about it. He's misunderstood. It's between him and his wife. The fans are crazy. He was trying to help her. (That one's my favorite.)

I'm all for second chances. Brett Myers is 25 years old. He's got a wife and small child, and he's a celebrity in an intense environment. He's also a hothead. I hope he'll get the counseling he needs.

The Phillies organization says it cares. I'm sure many people there do. But I don't think they understand their responsibility as owners. What they do doesn't just matter to them. They are public figures. What they do, and say, makes a statement to the fans and the public. And what I saw was an organization that didn't care about their female fans, didn't care about Brett Myers and his family (until a week of denials went by), and didn't take seriously their role as stewards of our community.

I can't support a team like that. The Phillies won't be seeing my money again anytime soon. They need to do something--and I can't imagine what--that says domestic violence is wrong. In the meantime, I have just three words:

Let's Go Mets.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Nanuq Meets His New Siblings

Two weeks ago, Nanuq and I welcomed home two gray tabby kittens, gender unknown. Against my better judgment, I let Nanuq meet them nose to nose.

The kittens came from my friends John and Jackie. A mutual friend, Aren, found six kittens in an empty yard in Northern Liberties. Their mother had abandoned them. The mother cat later returned and took one of the kittens; she left the remainder in the grass. Aren and his girlfriend gathered up the furballs and bottle-fed them for a week. John and Jackie offered to take them, with the goal of adopting out most, or perhaps all, of the kittens.

After I moved, I had planned to get a second cat. I thought Nanuq would be happier with a playmate. But it didn't take a whole lot to sucker me into two.

When I arrived at the Maki's house to visit the kittens several weeks ago, Jackie ushered me into the bathroom. The kittens were rolling around in the bathtub, squealing and nipping at each other and looking up at me with tiny blue eyes. Each was small enough to fit in my hand. Fortunately for me, John and Jackie had already decided to keep the black one; just looking at him made me want to cry.

"My" kittens bounced around the tub. One was much fatter than the other; he (or she) never got enough of the bottle. John and Jackie put the five kittens on their bed, and we watched them play. When they got tired, they curled up together and took naps. My two seemed inseparable. I couldn't tear them apart.

Guess cuteness is catching. The Makis kept the other three kittens.

Our first few days were an adventure. My guess is that bottle-feeding cats is about as neat as bottle feeding infants. Nothing like the smell of watered-down cat food first thing in the morning.

The kittens have their own room for now while I clean and renovate the house. They can't jump into the windows yet, but they've learned from Nanuq how to drink water from the bowl, use the litter box (most of the time) and chase after balls of tin foil. I love coming home at night, watching them chase each other as the setting sun casts shadows against the wall in their room.

Nanuq likes the kittens; each morning he sits outside their door and meows until I let them out. He grooms them and chases them back into their room when they try to go down the stairs. The kittens are unafraid, and spend hours swatting at Nanuq's tail. He never bites, but he puts them in their place.

I will chronicle their growth in the coming weeks. I know kittenhood is fleeting. But for now, I'm enjoying my new little family.