Let's Talk About Everything

So far this year I seem to be reading at a far slower pace than I was last year, and I know this because I did that crazy thing in 2011 where I wrote down everything I read each month and then told you all about it at the end of the year. I'm still doing that this year—even though my entries are woefully short; I'm averaging about a book a month—but because it's only April and I don't think this can keep until December, I wanted to draw your attention to a book called The Rules of Inheritance, which I finished mid-March.

I loved this book so much; to say I devoured it would be an understatement. What's even more violent than devouring? Annihilating? Ravaging? Gorging? Well, alright then, I gorged myself on this book, gobbling it up in long, lazy stretches from my couch when I should have been doing something else. 

And then the author, Claire Bidwell Smith, came to San Francisco for a reading, which I couldn't make, unfortunately, although I did coerce her into meeting me at a wine bar, and when she walked up to me and said "Holly?", I was deeply engrossed in chapter two of her book and did a total double-take when I saw her standing in front of me, like she'd jumped to life off the page. "Whoa," I said. "I was just reading about you! And now you're here!" 

(That's not a creepy way to meet someone for the first time AT ALL.) 

Anyway, I enjoyed this book so much that I wanted to mention it now in case you're looking for something new to read. Wear your waterproof mascara for most of it—it's a memoir about losing both parents to cancer—but certainly don't be scared off by the sadness of the subject matter. It's so well-written that even the heaviest parts have a lightness and poignancy to them, and I was truly bereft when it ended. (Write more, Claire! More!)

********************

In other news, I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat wondering what became of our gopher problem, and I will tell you that after trying pretty much every solution that wasn't either illegal or crazy—like, ahem, waiting for the gopher to pop up out of his little hole so we could grab him with our hands, COUGHSEANCOUGH—we finally threw in the towel and called in the professionals. Did you know that there are professional gopher catching services? Because there are, and what's more, they have a sense of humor. The voicemail message on the one we contacted said "sorry we can't come to the phone right now, we've probably got our heads down a gopher hole." 

What? Jokes about gophers? You have my business, sir! Where do I sign?

This is a very humane gopher-catching service, I'm told—even though these assholes are ruining my life, I still can't bring myself to poison or drown them in one of several horrifyingly graphic methods I've stumbled upon on message boards—which I assume means the cheese in their traps is organic triple-creme brie from a sustainable dairy farm where the cows listen to Mozart while talking about their feelings. (Not really: it means they catch them and then release them out into the wild lalalalalala I don't want to think about where that is and how many gophers might be living there.) 

As gopher-trapping services go, this company is pretty confident about their success rate, so we're feeling hopeful that one day we'll be back to having a front yard that isn't just a large dirt pit with blue flags stuck in it to mark the gopher traps, which is very classy, I assure you. In fact, I'm sure if we could just find a burned-out car on bricks and a rusty bathtub to complete the tableau, we'd be the envy of the neighborhood! 

If there is a bright spot in this whole ordeal, though, it's that we come home every few days to a wonderful little note on our front gate telling us, Mad Libs-style, how our traps are doing. 
 
Aw, thanks, Eli. Better luck next time. 

I'm kind of excited to see what happens when they do catch one, actually, because the business model is set up so that you pay for every gopher caught. I had to make Sean explain this to me three times because it seemed so nonsensical to me—couldn't they just tell you they'd caught ten to make more money? What, are you going to ask to see the bodies?—but apparently this is pretty standard practice with gopher-catching services, and I have been forced to assume that clearly there is just some sort of gopher-catching code of honor that decrees that You Do Not Rip The Customer Off By Faking Your Conquests and everyone is just decent enough to abide by it. I'll let you remind me of that next week when I'm presented with a bill for five thousand dollars and eighty dismembered gopher heads.

*******

Say, you know what's really good for getting your brain to stop focusing on that horrifying mental image of eighty dismembered gopher heads?

Paris!

If, on the very slight offchance, you are planning a trip to Paris this year, might I point you in the direction of my friend Caroline's flat, which she is renting out while she's in London.  I've been to this flat and it is indeed very charming and central—when we knocked on the door one evening last November, Caroline was out on the fire escape watching a movie that was being projected onto the side of a building, GAH PARIS IS SO ROMANTIC—and I can personally vouch for her trustworthiness and loyalty, not least because she once fake-fainted with me at a Bon Jovi concert so that I wouldn't have to go to the emergency services by myself (is that dedication or what?) 

Anyway, you can contact me if you want to get in touch with her personally to ask questions about staying there, or you can just be like me and start thinking about which possessions and/or organs you'd need to auction off to swing a trip to Paris this year. I mean, when was the last time you even used your pancreas, right? You'd probably get a pretty good price for that on ebay. 

******
Last thing: Mad Men. Can we discuss? I feel like this season is KNOCKING IT OUT OF THE PARK and I finish every episode desperate to write a thesis paper on all the THEMES and MOTIFS and ALLUSIONS that are swimming about, which is a leftover habit from being an English major (young versus old! The passage of time! What do you mean nobody is going to GRADE MY MAD MEN VIEWING?) and if you feel like this too, I highly recommend reading the recaps on both the LA Times site and Entertainment Weekly, where you will feel slightly more validated in your obsessive cataloguing and cross-referencing of minor details. Truly, it is such a delight to watch at the moment, I never want it to end. Well, maybe I just want it to pause a little so I can watch a few episodes of the new season of the Real Housewives of New Jersey to clear my brain, but THEN I never want it to end. No, YOU confess to your slightly disturbing fascination with Joe Gorga. No, YOU. 

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