Neighbors

Summer wandering

Hey gang!

I had a professor in college who seemed like she was the feisty camp counselor in an 80s made-for-tv movie. She had red hair, curly like Mrs. Roper’s, and she started every lecture by snapping her gum and saying “Hey gang!” in a way that was at once jolly and sardonic. Every once in a while I try to bust out a “hey gang!” in her manner, even though no one knows what I am up to so I just end up looking weird. I would love to be jolly and sardonic, but I will settle for weird. Apparently.

Let’s catch up on the happenings around here. There is a regional “joke” in Seattle that says that summer really doesn’t kick in until July 4th. This year that was quite literal. It rained up a storm (ha ha, now THAT’S a joke, fellas) (oh dear lord) right up until July 3 and then on the 4th and ever since it has been super gorgeous. Sorry to rub that in the faces of all y’all reading this in other parts of the country, where I know that the weather has been crap on toast. I would send you all a little package of this heavenly stuff here if I could.

My July 4th was as low key as could be. My brain has just been running amok lately and so I think I just needed to max and relax as much as possible. I took myself to a quiet lunch by myself, and then Biogirl and I hiked it over to a lakeside park and sat in the grass for the entire afternoon and then strolled over to get gelato and strolled some more. Nordic Boy and I spent the rest of the night in, no fireworks, no barbecuing, no nothing. America was pretty mad at us I am sure.

Once the weekend rolled around I found myself, still due to the previous month’s madness, completely and totally without plans. I love a good activity-filled weekend, don’t get me wrong, but a gorgeous, sunny, summertime weekend with absolutely nothing that has to be done? GOLDEN.

This meant that I spent the whole weekend just thinking, in the moment, “Self? What would you like to do next?” What resulted was a sort of unremarkable weekend, but it was the kind of weekend that I hope I will remember for a very long time.

About 10 years ago, when Nordic Boy and I lived next door to our friends Neighbor B and Neighbor J, there was this one summer evening where we were grumpy and tired and hot, and the Neighbors invited us over for watermelon. And we sat in their living room, which had a view of Lake Washington, and ate this watermelon, and it seemed the sweetest, tastiest shit ever, and we were laughing and talking and looking out the window to the lake in the distance. There was nothing about that day that was memorable, yet I have never forgotten it. I felt content, and happy, and just inside a cocoon of friendship and love, if you want to get right down into hokey-town. Just so ordinary, but so beautiful. I love those days the best. The ordinary and beautiful ones.

I got to have two of those this weekend, and here’s some of what went down.

Nordic Boy and I wandered to a little Italian restaurant where I had some sparkly white wine that made me hiccup all the way home.

I met up with Biogirl and one of her high school besties and his wife who were visiting from California, and we wandered around Pike Place Market, eating ice cream and listening to the seagulls over Elliott Bay.

I saw Moonrise Kingdom, which seemed so appropriate for summer. If you want to see it, see it in summertime.

I had brunch with Biogirl at our favorite haunt.

Nordic Boy and I drove to Snohomish, which is known for its antique stores, and wandered around a bunch of them aimlessly, digging up World War II aviator goggles and 1970s McDonald’s collectible juice glasses and cut glass grandma-style bowls.

On the way back from Snohomish, instead of hopping onto the freeway, we got onto some curvy backroads that cut through farmland and looked at blue sky, and wide green fields, and white-topped mountains on the horizon.

I sat on my front stoop and talked to my mom and dad on the phone, and we laughed a lot, and I missed them, so very very hard.

I opened up all of the windows in the house, put my feet onto Nordic Boy’s lap, and read a book from beginning to end all in one sitting.

I wore summer dresses all day every day (which are hard to take self-portraits of, by the way).

Thanks, July. I needed that.

A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor

The snow is all gone now and so my city has gone back to its regularly scheduled soggy drip. Somehow, rain seems colder than snow. It’s just so…damp and clammy.

The rest of the holiday weekend was pretty much taken up by full on joyful hysteria over the fact that Biogirl is moving to a house within shouting distance of my house, right on my street, right there, OMG, right there! This got me thinking about relationships in my life that were made even more awesome by geographic proximity. Dudes, I feel a hearken coming on! I am about to hearken back! And listing is also imminent! Listing and hearkening: commencing!

1. My sister and I shared a bedroom when I was a kid, up until she left for college when I was 10. My sister was, by far, the most important person in my life for my entire childhood and our sharing a room made my worship of her that much stronger. Lying in our beds, listening to The Clash on her super cool record player, away from my stinky brothers: heaven. She probably hated having me there during her teen years, but I’m so glad that we had to share a room. All the better to try to make myself into a mini-me of her coolness. I think I am still probably doing that to this day.

2. After my sister left, I got a new roomie, at least part time: my cousin. My uncle often would work the night shift at the car factory, so my aunt and cousin would come spend the night at our house a lot. I graduated to my sister’s bed, and my cousin would sleep in my old bed. It was like a total switcheroo- the age difference between us was the same as it was between me and my sister. Now I got to be the (sort of) cool older one. I remember, when she was about 5 years old, she would have nightmares and come wake me up to come sleep in my bed with me. Having her scared little self huddled up with me made me feel a protectiveness that I had never felt before. I still feel that way about her.

3. Allison lived in my neighborhood from the time we were like three or four. I have walked my ass to her mom’s house so many times in the past 3 decades that I’m surprised the pavement isn’t worn out between her mom’s and mine. The thing I remember about her living there was that she was so damn accessible. Sleepovers were easy, getting to school together and back was cake. I remember having a crush on this unattainable dude (who was in a band! who rode a motorcycle! who was 24!) our senior year in high school, and the afternoon when I actually somehow managed to make out with him? I ran to her house immediately to tell her. I could have called her, or another friend, but she was right there to OHMYGODDDDD in person. There are still times even now where something big will happen to me and my first impulse is to want to run out the door and somehow get to Alli’s house.

4. I had many roommates growing up when I went to the various dance schools I went to, but my favorite friends were Kim and Marcy. The three of us lived on the same floor of our dorm, and we were inseparable. I was 13 years old at the time, and living by myself in New York City (“NEW YORK CITY!? GET A ROPE!” Sorry, I just have to say that) but was in classes with older girls who were 16 and 17. Kim and Marcy took me under their wing and, well, ok, they exposed me to shit that I probably shouldn’t have been exposed to, but dang, I loved those girls. They talked about s-e-x at a time when I was still calling it s-e-x. They were always very conscious of the fact that I was a kid- they all smoked and swore and had clandestine meetups with boys, but would never had allowed me to try any of it. They rocked.

5. The first colleg roommate I had was Liz, who at first glance had nothing in common with me. She was shy and dignified, I was loud and um, if anyone ever called me dignified when I was 18 I’ll be a junkie’s uncle. She came to school with a pink flowered bedspread with matching ruffled pillows and my sheets had Snoopy as the Red Baron on them (hello 18-year-old-me, you are trying too hard to be ironic). Liz turned out to have a silly sense of humor and we spent many a night laughing until we were literally on the floor. Her friends were not people I hung out with, and mine weren’t her favorite either, and I often think about how, had we not been roommates, we would never have gotten so close.

6. My other notable college roommate was Nan. Nan was around during some of the bumpiest days of my life and was pretty much the reason I made it through.

7. My big bro. Read about when he took me in. Pretty good guy, that one.

8. I lived with a couple of dudes before shacking up with Nordic Boy. Meh, not so awesome. Let’s just call those learning experiences. Or just dumb. Either one.

9. I moved in with Nordic Boy, who is the first roomie I have encountered that understands the importance of singalongs and making up silly dances in a roommate relationship.

10. Before I went to grad school, I knew Neighbor J sort of, just through a mutual friend. We went to a party at her place- a duplex of super cute proportions. “If the unit next door ever becomes available, let us know,” I said. And like a month later, it did. This led to the defining neighborly relationship of my life. Neighbor J and I fell in friendship love like nobody’s business. We would carry on conversations through the wall, and we would eat dinner together every summer night in our backyard, and we would have afternoon tea times, and just do every last thing together. It really was one of the best times in my life.

11. Delium is not really my neighbor- he lives one neighborhood away from me, but the fact that he and I went to college together in a teeny tiny Michigan town and all these years later we both live across the country within one mile of each other, and we didn’t even do that on purpose, is pretty weird. But great.

12. The Soggy Librarian and I were work friends for a little while. Well, more like work acquaintances that were friendly. I always sort of had a friendcrush on her, but we never really did anything outside of work. One day, we were at a meeting, and she told me that she had bought a house on my street. I remember, in that moment, having a sort of Wayne Campbell thing happen where I thought “You will be my friend now. Oh yes. You will be my friend.” Creepy? Ok fine. But I was right.

And now, Biogirl. We have been through thick and thin together, the two of us, but one thing we have never done is to be neighbors. Until now. Yippee!

Do Me a Solid

The other morning as we were getting ready for our day, Nordic Boy’s phone rang. It was one of his sisters calling from Ohio. She’s thinking of buying a car and she wanted his advice. Nordic Boy has four sisters. And when they need advice: about life, about relationships, about money, about anything, they call him up. This fact never ceases to amaze the living daylights out of me. Like, sometimes I just sit there and stare at him while he is having these conversations with them. That’s how much it fascinates me.

Don’t get me wrong. Nordic Boy is a great person to talk to, and his advice on things is stellar. He’s a smarty, and a great listener, and he will tell you the truth no matter what, and he’s kind. So really, a perfect advice-giving blend. That’s not the part that blows my mind. The part that blows my mind is that his sisters– his SISTERS– call him when they need something.

My siblings? Call me up to ask me for advice about something?

HAR HAR IT IS TO LAUGH.

I’ve got two brothers and a sister. And I love them all. But the day that any one of them would have a Life Issue and think to themselves “Self, I need to pick up that phone and ask Librarian Girl what she thinks about this one,” is the day that sparkle fairies fly out of my crack.

Why is this, I wonder. It’s not a question of birth order, as Nordic Boy is not the oldest in his family. It’s not a question of competence (um, I don’t think), as I am a fully functioning member of adultkind. So I don’t know what it is. I have called upon my siblings from time to time. Sure, not that often, but it has been known to happen. Like, maybe I’ve done that once every couple of years or so. But them, calling me? Not. gonna. happen.

I have to admit, this bugs me. You’ve never wanted to know my opinion about something, people who have known me our whole entire lives? Anything? NEVER? Like, never, ever? Ever?

Apparently, nope. Not ever.

Why should that matter?

I think I can illustrate it best using an anecdote about one of the best pieces of advice I ever heard my brother give. (Talking about why it bugs me that my siblings don’t ever ask me for advice via a story about advice given by my sibling? HOW META CAN YOU GET?)

A few years ago, my brother was visiting me in Seattle and we went out for lunch with Neighbor J. Neighbor J had just moved into a new house, and there was an elderly couple that shared a driveway with her. The wife was sweet to Neighbor J from the start. The husband was a bit gruff. Neighbor J knew that the husband had a sweet interior in there somewhere (grumpster with a heart of gold, party of one), and she was trying as hard as she could to connect with him, but it wasn’t working. She wanted to have good relationships with her new neighbors, and she was pulling out all the stops, being as chatty and smiley as she could be, but it wasn’t working. She was starting to think that Grumpy Husband might never come around.

My brother’s main cache in life is that he is charming. He can charm the pants off of anyone,(and when we were younger that could be quite literal: I don’t know how many times I had to tell my girlfriends YOU CANNOT DATE MY BROTHER SO JUST LOOK AWAY because that would be too weird for me). And so he listened to Neighbor J lament about her grumpy neighbor, and this is what he said:

“You know what you need to do? You just need to ask him to do something for you. Come up with a favor and then ask him to help you. That’ll thaw him right out.”

And then we just sat there for a moment. What? Why would that solve anything? Ask him to do something for you? Why?

Neighbor J let that one sink in. And then she went home and tried it. I believe she had a busted up tv or something in her garage, and she knew that Grumpy Husband was a retired engineer, and so she asked him to fix it. And he did. And he softened. And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. They’re still friends, even now. He came to her baby shower, and her 30th birthday party. They’re buds.

I never forgot that piece of advice. I thought it was pretty dang good. My brother, the Yoda of Charm School. Asking someone to do you a favor is powerful. It shows them you respect them, and you trust them to help you with something, and of all the people in the world to ask, you chose them. You’re honoring their experience, their expertise. You see them. People appreciate that.

Anyway. I was thinking about that the other day, as Nordic Boy chatted away on the phone with his sister, and how true it was. There has never been a doubt in my mind that Nordic Boy’s entire family not only loves him, but holds him in the highest esteem. They respect him, a lot. I’ve been really moved by how they treat that dude on many an occassion. It’s really beautiful, actually, and I never really broke down what it was that got me about it. But that’s what it is. And that’s sort of what made me feel wistful about my siblings. I know they love me. But that particular brand of showing it? I’ve missed out on that from them my whole life. So when I see it happening constantly in the Nordic Boy clan, it just gets me.

Then, over the weekend, I got a call from my other brother. And he was thinking about this thing he had to do for work, and did I know of any resources that could help him with it?

I could have fallen over. Really. It was a small conversation, totally off the cuff, but it shifted something for me. It’s hard to explain what I mean. I just felt…something different. I don’t know, maybe it was the tremor I was feeling in my hindquarters from those sparkle fairies, or something.

Poker? I don’t even know her! Har har har

This weekend, I:

*was treated to a delicious pan of homemade baked mushroom ravioli made by my Nordic Boy. Rainy evening plus gooey dinner = happy belly.

* went to a show featuring the works of Twyla Tharp. I had the privilege of taking a master class in choreography from Ms. Tharp back in the day, and I am so grateful that I got to soak in wisdom from such a legendary figure, so please don’t misunderstand what I am about to say, because I really admire her and think she is awesome. But the half-day I spent in her presence? Gave me the distinct impression that she was weird. In that creative, neurotic way, yes, but still. Wee-yerd. Like, woo-woo. Can you give me specifics? I hear you ask. No, I really don’t want to get into it. Just take my word for it. And I suppose if you know anything about dance then you know about Ms. Tharp and this news probably isn’t that shocking to you. She’s not known for being unweird, let’s just say that. The point is that now when I see her work, I just sort of can’t stop thinking about how strange a creature she is. And I see her work through the prism of that one slice of time I spent around her. It colors things. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but in a way I wish I could turn that memory off when I see her stuff. Does that even make sense? Am I talking shit? Look who’s woo-woo now.

We were literally in the very back row. Because we are cheap asses.

*had another delicous meal, this time with friends. My friend Sameer is one of those foodie people who geeks out over food and makes amazing feasts from time to time. My mom is a gourmet cook and there were times, growing up, that I felt like people would befriend her after tasting something she made, merely in the hope that she would make them more food- I shit you not. She knew when people were doing that, and resented it. It’s for that reason that I would like to go on record to say that I would totally be friends with Sameer if he couldn’t cook a lick- he has many other qualities that make him awesome. But, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that the killer cooking is a MAJOR BONUS. I mean oh my GOD. We got to have some fancied up rice, chick pea stew and sweet and sour pumpkin. The carnivores in the group got pomegranate chicken. Just saying what we had doesn’t describe the experience, and I wasn’t going to whip out my phone to take a photo in the middle of a dinner party, but dang. It was dee-lish-ussss.

*played poker with a group of friends. Like, for real poker. I have never really done that before. Sure, the ante was only $5 and we were betting nickels and quarters, but still. It was for reals, with people who knew what they were doing. I was the dumbshit newbie who had to be told everything, like everything (really, says me, two pair beats one pair? You DON’T SAY!), but my friends are patient and I started to pick it up by the end. Although I didn’t win by a long shot, I am proud to say that I walked away from the table up by FOUR BUCKS. Look out, Vegas.

*started to think about sending out holiday cards this year. Have you started any holiday planning, shopping, listmaking? If you’re doing that, you should totally shop at Neighbor J’s Etsy shop. So many cute things, I know. Just buy one of everything.

Trips to Portland and Suburbia

Last week, I took a vacation day and went to Portland with Nordic Boy. We arrived late, late on Wednesday evening (ok fine it was 11pm but that is way late for us), singing Journey songs at the top of our lungs the entire way there. It’s a good thing we did that because it was most depressing for us to realize that when you drive to Portland at night, you can’t get a good look at the Hamiliton Corner billboard, which for those of you that are unaware is a giant billboard along the I-5corridor with a big drawing of Uncle Sam on it and an everchanging string of right-wing batshit crazy written in big block letters, usually having to do with the Mexicans wanting to take jobs away from us including Obama (who is really Mexican, or Kenyan, or just, you know, brown) who is also interested in taking away all the guns that the folks in Real America use in order to defend their homes from the rabid Commie librarians who want to turn all of our children gay by reading them picture books about the two male penguin parents. Is it wrong that I sort of love that billboard? Maybe love is the wrong word. I just look forward to reading what it has to say every time I drive to and from Portland. But at night there are no lights for it so we missed out on the crazy. Rats.

While in Portland, I met an old friend for lunch. He’s a friend of mine from high school who I literally have not seen since 12th grade but through the magic of the Faceplace we are all the sudden friends again. I must cop to a small amount of trepidation for this meeting because you never know what a person who knew you in middle school might remember about you that you have totally blocked out about yourself (hey, remember that time you pooped your drawers in Algebra class??). The friendship also has the misfortune of his knowing me starting in 7th grade, when he moved to Flint. 7th grade, can I just tell you, was not my finest hour. It was, actually, my worst hour. I know many of you feel that way about middle school, so I won’t get much sympathy. But for me, 7th grade was the year that I pulled a total Angela Chase and dropped my childhood friends for the cool crowd. Dudes, it was GROSS. Luckily I snapped out of that shit by 8th grade but of all the years to make a first impression in my life? Seventh grade would be last on my list.

Luckily, my friend either did not remember this about me or was gracious enough to not mention it, and we had a lovely lunch. I am always amazed at how many cool people I seem to meet everywhere. Aren’t cool people supposed to be, like, rare? In my world, they seem to just come out of the woodwork everywhere I go. Perhaps you are thinking that that is because everyone is just cooler than me, so I have a skewed perspective or something, and to that I say an unequivocal WHO ASKED YOU.

Speaking of cool people, Nordic Boy and I then had dinner with the ever-lovely @metaleah that night. She was in town for a museum conference (a librarian crashing the museum world! like a secret agent or something!) and so we went and picked her up from her hotel (in Nordic Boy’s company car which this week was a gigantic white pimping Pontiac that was just begging to be donked) and went out on the town. Once again, cool person, in my immediate vicinity. I must have a magnet in my brain or something.

We got back to Seattle in time for a lovely weekend, which included a field trip out to the burbs with BioGirl for a day of getting ridonkulously lost in mall-land. This is not unusual for me (people who plan suburbs, do you not believe in grids? Or numbered streets that actually go in number order? Or sidewalks?) but BioGirl is my go-to guide whenever I need to burb it up. She’s like a burb sherpa or something. However, this time, she seemed just as lost as me. Which takes some doing, let me tell you.

Yesterday Neighbor J came over for the day and we just sort of ran our mouths for the entire day. Sometimes I think that if there was such a thing as a conversation contest, Neighbor J and I would be like, the Tiger Woods of that sport. When we lived in the same building as each other, we would talk on the phone for 3 or 4 hours a day. We both had to invest in a headset phone just so we could stay verbally attached while we went about our day.

Finally, last night I watched The Way We Get By. Don’t let me stop you from watching it because I thought it was great, but let me tell you it was depressing. It really crushed the everloving hairy Jebus out of me and made me go to the bad place where I just wanted to hug Nordic Boy by the neck and weep about him not dying and leaving me all old and alone with my cats and the headboard of our bed. Never mind that I don’t have cats and that you don’t know what the headboard reference is unless you have seen the movie. Just watch it, but be warned that you might feel like shit afterward. Wow, how is that for a recommendation? Nice one, LG.

At any rate, to combat the depressing, we then watched Beach Girls and the Monster. Which might qualify for the weirdest double feature ever.

Hope you all are having a loverly Monday!

I’m Kind of a Big Deal

I have discovered something today, and it is this. I think I might be an a-hole. And you know what else? If you’re my friend, it turns out you might be one too.

Happy Wednesday!

I was reading this post at the Maiden Metallurgist today, where she talks about how oftentimes women take the self-deprecation a bit too far. Like, those “I’m so fat” comments that women say, and so forth. She told all her trusty readers that if they do that, then to stop that shit, and I heartily agree. It was a truly inspiring post and says a lot about why I think she’s pretty dang awesome.

However, it also showed me that I am an a-hole.

Why? Let me demonstrate: because she ended the post by asking readers to list, in the comments, three great things about themselves. And many people did, but said it was hard. I didn’t list, but not because it was hard. I didn’t list because I thought to myself “ONLY THREE? That is way too little, for I am delightful in scads of ways. Scads!”

A-hole. Me. I know.

Granted, I didn’t always feel this way. I wrote about it a couple of years ago in one of my favorite posts about when I told some old ladies I went to rodeo clown school, this process that I’ve been in, especially in my 30s, to own being proud of myself. And it’s working out pretty darn good. Practice really does win the day. When I get a compliment, it’s super easy for me (now) to say “thanks.” And I give myself a break pretty much as a rule. And I can’t remember the last time I said “I hate my hair!’ or the like. Not because I am better than anyone else. But just because I practiced it, intentionally, for a long time. And then it just started to come natural and I now don’t have to think about it nearly as much.

And you know what? If that makes me an asshole, that’s cool. I am ok with that. Because the stress I used to put myself through in my 20s? FUCK THAT.

So, instead of a list of why I am awesome, I am going to make a list of some of the reasons why I am able to even think that I could be the slightest bit awesome. Thank Jeebus for the following:

1. My mom, who raised me with good body image and always made me feel smart and pretty and good about my sexuality (yay girly parts!), and who taught me that I never needed to apologize for having a big assertive mouth (you’re welcome, America!).
2. My closest friends, who don’t put themselves down (which, as I stated above, might make them a-holes too). Since they don’t put themselves down, I don’t put myself down. Because when someone says “OMG my boobs are so ugly!” what other response is there except to say “your boobs? You haven’t seen ugly until you’ve seen these knockers!” The more I thought about this one the more amazed I am at these friends. Thanks BioGirl, Neighbor J, Hopscotch, Sarah, Alli, Map, Cousin R, etc. You guys are my role models, for shizzle.
3. My Women Studies degree. Oh yes, one of my degrees is in Feminazism. And they beat the shit out of you if you put yourself down or disparage your uterus or what have you. Ok, not really. But kind of.
4. Nordic Boy, who has for many years loved everything about me, including the changing size of my ass and my ever-increasing Granny-liciousness.
5. And me. That’s right, me. I deserve some of this credit too, because I, did I mention, am awesome. And maybe an a-hole. Holla!

Doc Octopus on a Plane!

Well there goes another Halloween down the crapper, and there are smashed up gourd innards on the street to prove it.

So: costumes. Let me explain mine to you. First of all, Nordic Boy, Neighbor J, Biogirl and I all think that screaming out “SNAKES ON A PLANE!” is a gutbuster. Hence, we made our Halloween costumes along those lines. BioGirl was an airplane passenger with a snake wrapped around her. Clearly, when you see her you should yell “Snakes on a plane!!!” right? That is totally the thing to yell, right? Or you can also stare at her and say “What exactly are you supposed to be again?” Either one of those responses were heartily accepted.

To confuse things even more, Nordic Boy dressed as an airline pilot and pinned a big photo of a cupcake to his shirt. And I had a flight attendant outfit on and a basket of snacks. Obviously, we were CAKES ON A PLANE and SNACKS ON A PLANE!

Yeah, don’t feel bad that you don’t get it. No one else did either. But when we thought these costumes up, we laughed our asses off, which is what matters in the grand scheme of things.

Our friends, however, rocked the costumes like you would not believe. People really get into this Halloween thing, did you realize that? I could go on and on about the costumery that I saw Saturday night because it blew my friggin’ mind, but let me just tell you about my favorite costume- a kick-ass Dr. Octopus costume. It was SUBLIME. Check it!

COME ON.

R U SERIUS?

I know, my friends are way totally cooler than I am, I am highly aware.

We The Peeble

Remember the town that BioGirl and I populated? Wow, that sounds like she and I are spawning or something. Let me re-phrase. Remember those two posts I wrote a long while ago about the imaginary town that we have created where we have characters whose names are sayings or phrases? Like Dot Matrix, the owner of the local print shop? Or Jen Teal, the charm school teacher?

Our town has been on a bit of a hiatus lately, ever since we created a sister-town based on an entirely different rubric. It all started with the fact that she and I have a nickname for each other. “Peeble.” I won’t get into how this nickname began, but just know that I call her Peeble and she calls me Peeble. We also call other folks our peeble, if they are a good sort of person. I guess you could say that the literal translation of peeble has come to be something along the lines of a mensch. If you’re a good sort, then you’re part of the peeble population. At any rate, that’s what we call each other. And I don’t know what it says about us that we have the same nickname. Perhaps it shows a distinct inability to differentiate ourselves one from the other. Come to think of it, another friend-who-is-like-family of mine, Neighbor J, and I also have the same nickname for each other. We call each other Neighbor. The more I think about it the more I realize that this is a weird pattern in my life.

But I digress. BioGirl and I started making up characters based on our nickname for each other. I think it started with emails that we would write to each other. Instead of signing our names, we would just sign them “peeble.” Then we started to get creative with this. Writing an email about baking cookies later? Sign it the Peebler Elf. Talking about taking a leadership role at work? Sign it Captain Jean-Luc Peeblard. Talking about doing a painting this weekend? Sign it Peeblo Picasso. How about if you’re feeling cheesily melancholy? Peeblo Bryson, of course. We have a million of them.

Simultaneous to this, BioGirl and I had discovered an eyeglass frame store in Seattle called Mr. Peepers. We thought this was a slightly dirty name for an eyeglass store, and we used to joke that it was a front for a mob-run strip club or something. And although Mr. Peepers is not exactly a peeble-name, we sort of conflated him into our peeble-mania.

It wasn’t long before we decided that all the Peebles needed to have a town of their own. And because he was a little different than the rest of the Peebles, we deemed Mr. Peepers the founder of the town. Well, him and his brother, Dr. Pepper. Pepper and Peepers forged a sort of colony for the Peebles (in order to follow their new age spiritual leader, Peeblak Chopra).

Alas, just as we started to populate this new colony, BioGirl and I ran into an impasse. She decided that she didn’t want Mr. Peepers to be too dirty, because it would corrupt the innocence of the rest of the Peebles. If a peeble is a mensch, then how could Mr. Peepers be an old dirty bastard? I on the other hand, maintained that with a name like Mr. Peepers he had to be a nasty old coot and there was no getting around that. We never came to a conclusion on this, and our second attempt at town-creation had to be left undone. It’s like the boom and bust in the construction market, with our second town abandoned in the middle of the process.

Sad.

And yes, weird. That goes without saying.

But now, I think we need to get back to doing what we do. Forget the health care debate, forget Seattle’s mayoral race, forget the presidential race in Iraq. I want to know: do you vote that Mr. Peepers be a nasty effer? Or do you vote for a kinder, gentler Peeper? Or do you see a way for us to compromise on this point?

We need your help, peebles.

And it IS overdue. Long overdue.

I was going to post about my weekend, but you know what? Imaginary pop culture is more fun. I have lots of imaginary pop culture in my life. To begin with, I have four, count ’em, four, imaginary bands. One is called “Fully Operational Mothership,” and is a pyschedelic funk band. I started this band after I heard an NPR interview with George Clinton where he responded to the question: “What does funk mean to you?” with the unbelievabley awesome answer “Funk, to me, is a fully operational mothership.” In my fake band, I play the synth, Dr. Teeth style. BioGirl plays the triangle, and Nordic Boy is the singer. This is one of those funk bands that has like a hundred people in it, so if you want to be in it, pick an instrument and you’re more than welcome.

My second imaginary band is called Unagi. It is a late-70/early 80s style rock band, kind of like Loverboy or Boston. I am the lead singer, and my name is Pussy Willow. BioGirl, I believe, plays the drums and is named Stellarai Foxx. Nordic Boy is on guitar and gives us a bluesy tinge. His name is Petey Wheat. My friend Jen was on keyboards and Neighbor J was on bass (I think- this band was formed a few years ago and it’s all getting sort of hazy). Neighbor B was our pyrotechnics guy, and we even had an evil manager (an ex of BioGirl’s) who never showed up to any of our imaginary gigs. His name was BB Mox.

My third imaginary band was a spin off from Unagi. Neighbor J and I decided we needed to explore some roots music, and we created Dawson and Clyde. The back story on that is too much to even get into.

Lastly, BioGirl, Nordic Boy, Borgsmith and I have BLACK ICE! You have to capitalize it and add the exclamation point every time you mention BLACK ICE! It is also a rock band, but more of an indie band than Unagi is. We haven’t decided on anything about BLACK ICE! other than that we have a song called Hot Dish and that we play at a club called the Snow Tractor. So that’s a work in progress.

This weekend, I branched out from imaginary bands and got into imaginary tv shows. Ladies and gents, I give to you:

Overdue, starring Alexis Bledel.