Being This Grateful Is Illegal In Five States

Wow, Internet, seriously? SERIOUSLY? 400 comments? I'm not even sure how to respond to that (although I seem to be handling it by making frequent use of the question mark.) I didn't even know so many lurkers, well, lurked around here; in fact, I couldn't even conceive of the number "400" showing up next to the word "comments," not even in my wildest dreams! I kept thinking my eyes were playing tricks on me, or perhaps my dad had just taken pity on me and used pseudonyms to comment 400 times. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone who came out of the woodwork with your lovely compliments and your delicious-sounding dinners, and your incredible revelations that OH MY GOD, I HAVE READERS IN NEPAL. And Germany! And Poland! And South Africa! And Melbourne! (Almost as impressively, there was a fairly strong New Hampshire showing, of which I am rather proud. Although my hopes were very cruelly dashed that we are no longer Living Free! or Dying! in New Hampshire after all. Thank you, Liz, for breaking that awful news to me.)

Needless to say, I am feeling, um, the teensiest bit of pressure now---to be funny, mostly, and also interesting and also someone worth coming back to. I feel like maybe I will have to bribe you all with ice cream (or maybe Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches---those Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches were certainly representin' in the comments section, weren't they?) (And yes, I really do regret leaving that "g" off "representing," now that you ask.) You know, Sean and I went through a Skinny Cow phase a few years ago in Charleston, and then we bought a box the other day and I just CANNOT EAT THEM anymore. They taste like cardboard to me now! What am I doing wrong? Apart from trying to morph a 90-calorie lowfat "treat" into Ben and Jerry's with the power of my own mind, I mean?

I'm working my way through all of your blogs, as you so kindly invited me there (well, after I invited myself, of course), and because I would never be so gauche as to show up empty-handed (if there's one thing living in Charleston taught me, it's to always bring a hostess gift---also that "well, aren't you precious!"* is not, in fact, a compliment), I'm trying, of course, to comment on each. This is why I probably haven't got to your blog yet, so please bear with me and know that I'll be there soon.

(*"Well, aren't you precious!" is what very well-mannered older Southern ladies---is there any other kind?---say when they think you are distinctly not precious, when they think you are, in fact, an unsightly ragamuffin with untouched roots and shoes that don't match your purse. They say this very, very sweetly, however, and so you don't realize they're being rude, and then you spend the whole day thinking how nice that Mrs. Last-Name-Is-The-Same-As-A-Street is, when she's really laughing at your Payless sandals with all her other coiffed, twin-setted, be-pearled cronies who spend their days thinking up new arrangements for the living room furniture while their husbands are at work, and driving around in their Hummers with the collars of their Lilly Pulitzer polo shirts turned up. Trust me, I spent three and a half years in America's Politest City.)

So anyway, last weekend, I was in Huntington Beach, California with my mother, who had flown over from Singapore for a spot of househunting---you know, as you do. This was a fantastic opportunity for me to engage in three of my favorite past times: eating, shopping, and nosing around other people's homes. And oh, the treasures of Orange County! We saw very, very large bibles placed on their OWN PERSONAL bible stands next to the fireplace. We saw racks of Stephen King books stored over the toilet. We saw a WHOLE HOUSE that was devoted to the worship of one Elvis Presley, and when I say this, I do not just mean that every inch of every wall was covered with Elvis pictures and memorabilia, but also that someone had set up a STILL LIFE in one corner of the living room that consisted of fake hamburgers and french fries and bottled Cokes resting atop a 1950s cooler. I'm not sure how this was part of the Elvis homage---surely it would have been better to have a tableaux of fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches next to a bottle of bourbon and a stash of barbiturates---but let me tell you that the video camera I was holding lingered just a little too long on this creepy scene, solely for the benefit of my brother and sister back home, who I knew for sure would appreciate the subtle snickering I contributed to the soundtrack.

And oh my god, I bought so many clothes in Southern California. My mother, she is a bad influence, the kind of person who says "but these shoes have been marked down to SIX DOLLARS! You MUST buy them! In fact, it would be foolish not to!" And when the shoes in question are not six dollars, she is the type to press a bill into my hand and say "oh, I just found this special COUPON that lets you buy one, get one free! How about that, huh?" As she said to me, she's still feeling guilty about sending me to boarding school when I was 11. As I said to her, if I'd known I was going to get free shoes out of it, even 16 years later, I would have claimed it was a lot worse than it was.

Anyway, I will leave you now with a photo I took on Monday as I was strolling around LAX, trying to find something to do that would fill the three hours until my plane took off because damn, if SoCal traffic wasn't all sweetness and light the one day I booked my shuttle hideously early in preparation for rush hour traffic jams the entire length of the 405. (The shuttle driver offered to do a few loops around the airport just to kill some time. I did seriously consider it---there's a TJ Maxx pretty close to LAX---but decided to refuse his offer in the end. Too bad, actually; he looked like he might have been a pretty honest shopping companion, one who wouldn't pull punches when telling you whether your bum looked a little...overt in those pants.)

DSC01562.JPG

LAX: The airport for boozers! Look, we even made you a sign!

1
Jess
Oct 05, 2007

Wow, I would definitely say no pressure, since obviously you're doing something right if so many readers are lurking around, reading without any sort of desire to have anything in return. So I don't see a need to change anything or attempt to be anything other than what you currently are. Also, have fun with the 400 blogs you're commenting on. Certainly it will be interesting to read all those different people's thoughts.

2
slynnro
Oct 05, 2007

One of my friends, who is from a small town in Texas, had her wedding at her parents (beautiful) home. In the front entryway, there was a Bible Shrine! They had a special section of the wall cut away with an archway built over it, with a bible as big as a car sitting atop of a golden gilded stand. I was terrified, as was my atheist husband. He was afraid that if he looked upon it, he might be set ablaze by it's Godly power. It was that powerful looking.

3
Ree
Oct 05, 2007

You win! 400 comments ? That's amazing.

I know about pressure though. Zoot linked me today. Ack!

4
jive turkey
Oct 05, 2007

Oh, I am familiar with the "Well, aren't you precious!" and have been on the receiving end quite a few times. It's very unsettling.

5
Gretchen
Oct 05, 2007

OMG, you were in HB? You SO should have e-mailed me. We could have got together and, I don't know, Hoovered my upstairs or something. Funny, one of my mommy blogger friends just came back from a trip to SF and was half hoping she'd run into you on the street. Don't you know you're famous, girl? And to think I knew you when . . . . I always said you'd be the new Dooce.

6
Rachel
Oct 05, 2007

Wow, I wish I liked anything as much as that guy(?) likes Elvis.

Congrats on 400! That's awesome.

7
Kristin
Oct 05, 2007

I'm from America's Politest State - Tennessee, where "aren't your preciouses?" and cheek-pinching abound - so I can totally relate.

I wish I'd been sent to boarding school. I'm fine with buy-one-get-one-free shoe specials. Really, I am.

8
rosalicious
Oct 05, 2007

Well, bless your heart.

(another famous southern saying)

That's super cool you're going to check out your commenters' blogs :) Spread the love!

9
Laurenne
Oct 05, 2007

Less than 10 readers visit my site daily and even I feel pressure. Honestly, if I didn't have ANY readers - if I was just writing for myself - I would STILL want every word to be perfect because I would not want to find what I wrote ten years in the future and regret how silly I used to be. But really, I (and you and anybody who writes whether for themselves or for an audience) should just lighten up and be myself. Obviously, people love who you are (practically the whole internet) - so don't change! Don't worry about your posts being funny or insightful because we would probably notice if you changed your writing style. I will try to do the same.

10
ScottsdaleGirl
Oct 05, 2007

I thought your website was going to BURST!!!

11
Carol Snider
Oct 05, 2007

Well damn. I love you to pieces, read daily (and you'll love this -- my daughter and I read you out loud in a hotel room right by the Alte Brucke in Heidelburg, Germany last week and we cracked up so loudly that people on the street 5 stories below wanted to know what was UP?), but wasn't one of the 403 commenters. So here's one today.

Woo-hoo, I'm lucky 13!

Carol (back in Seattle after a month in Germany)

12
lindsayc
Oct 05, 2007

love that you love your commenters (sp?) sorry that I don't have a blog, but if you email me I will friend you on flickr :-)

13
MJ
Oct 06, 2007

Wait. Your mum is househuntig in California? Does this mean that not only will you and your parents live in the same continent and the same time zone but the same state? How cool is that.

Did these house-sellers not read "Staging 101"? Don't they know that you should get rid of any weird crap that prevents a potential buyer from imagining herself living there? Years ago, when we were looking for our first (and current) house, we went through a home that was owned by a Scientologist. And there were all kinds of Scientology awards, plaques and artwork on the walls. And many, many books by L. Ron Hubbard. It was seriously freaky and--despite the fact it was near a chocolate factory-we couldn't buy it.

14
Heather M.
Oct 06, 2007

O'Hare is literally my favorite airport. I've drank my way through plenty of airports. Sad isn't it? I haven't seen LAX since '83 and since I wasn't legal then...but Dallas/Fort Worth, Philidelphia, Charleston, San Antonio, and Detroit - one can always find a bar in, trust me!

I guess I'd better update if you are trying to stop by and visit every who delurked.

15
Rachael W
Oct 06, 2007

Oh, good old LAX... Did you know you can get married there? Yes, you can get married in the airport. I'm not sure exactly what the cachet of that type of wedding is, but I'm sure some people must have done it if they offer it.

Four hundred? Dang. Congrats!

16
andi
Oct 06, 2007

I was hoping to see a picture of the Elvis house. Although, in our society, you'd probably get sued.

Now I have to go fluff the pillows and sweep off the cobwebs before you get to my blog!

17
Sara
Oct 06, 2007

Mmmmm....fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches. Mmmmm...bourbon. Mmmm....barb--wait. I got carried away. Couldn't comment on delurking day, but happy to do it today. I will keep coming back because I'm hooked. Like Elvis on barbituates.

18
aBd libbing
Oct 06, 2007

Oh no, I had no idea that "Aren't you precious!" isn't a compliment! I knew that "I love her to death, but..." was always an opener to an extremely catty comment, but thought the precious thing was actually positive. Thanks for opening my eyes on that one...

19
marcheline
Oct 06, 2007

I just couldn't bring myself to comment along with four hundred other people (claustrophobia)... so...

I had a bacon cheeseburger with no bun last night at half past midnight, after spending four hours in a tattoo artist's chair getting a freakin' awesome tattoo, which is featured in my latest blog entry.

Come by and check it out if your eyes aren't still bleeding from reading four hundred comments...

- M

20
Nothing But Bonfires
Oct 06, 2007

Oh! And I just thought of another one that polite Southern ladies use! When you hate something, you just say "Well, it's not my FAVORITE...." I used that quite a lot over the Weekend Of Househunting.

And yes, I was quite surprised that the people selling their houses OBVIOUSLY hadn't watched as much HGTV as me and therefore known to hide the Elvis stuff to keep it neutral. I mean, honestly, one only has to see a few episodes of Designed To Sell (I love Designed To Sell!) to know THAT.

21
Aerin
Oct 06, 2007

You had so many comments, I could not comment! The page wouldn't load!

Your description of Elvis worship creeps me out. So vivid!

Also, I am from New Hampshire. Because of this I can say with authority that our state motto is definitely not changing, there's just some idiocy flying around on account of some tourist promoters up in Portland getting too slap-happy with marketing slogans and then sticking them on highway signs. The fact that there is accompanying legislation on the topic is just the 'lifer' New Hampshirites getting nervous about someone ACTUALLY trying to do so at any time in the future. Because, y'know, people are dumb sometimes.

22
nancy
Oct 06, 2007

Now I feel like I should update. Since there may be a day months from now when my readership moves up from 1 to 2. #1 being my mom.

23
Terri B.
Oct 06, 2007

Those weird Southern Californians (I can say that 'cuz I live here). Seriously, the Elvis tableau sounds CREEPY. Geesh!

By the way, the Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches have had the recipe changed in the last year or two. Used to like them, but now ... blech. So it might be more than just having eaten too many in the past.

Also wanted to say thanks for the tip on the Covergirl Lip Slicks. I haven't been parted from my "Daring" and "Hipster" since I bought them. Maybe I should buy stock.

Congrats on 400! I heard something about server overload the other day ... hmmmm.

24
thethinker
Oct 07, 2007

400 comments is definitely an accomplishment. I don't think I get that many in a week. Or two weeks, even.

25
RadiantSky
Oct 07, 2007

"Aren't you precious" is a good line, but I must say, as a Southern woman, one of our favorite lines is "Bless her/his heart". The theory behind this being that you can saying anything awful about a person that you like, as long as it is followed by "bless her heart" because it makes you seem like you aren't actually being an evil shrew and that you really wish them the best. I can't say I've ever used it aside from kidding around, but it's definitely a fun one. ex: "That boy looks like he fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.. bless his heart." Hehe. The trick is making it sound like a sincere afterthought. :)

26
Joke
Oct 07, 2007

You also have a reader in Amsterdam! :)

27
Lioness
Oct 07, 2007

What?? You were funny before??

Honestly now, I think you have so many readers for a reason. If you now deliberatly try to be funny you may end up just writing rubbish, right? (I don't mean to sound rude at all, that sentence went through much reviewing and still I'm not amused.) The thought of having that many readers (and mind, many lurkers do NOT delurk, so I would estimate at least 600, conservativelly -speaking) would make me go a bit batty so I understand what you're saying but - *enter rendition of We Like You Just The Way We Are*

28
Nilsa S.
Oct 07, 2007

Rosie (aka Rosalicious) stole my line. Bless your heart has to be one of the most two-faced sayings the south has to offer!

When my mom comes to Chicago, she loves to hit Lori's Shoes (www.lorisshoes.com). She always says it's for her, but I'm the one walking away with a pair of shoes bought by mom. Aren't they the best???

29
Melis
Oct 07, 2007

Holly, don't worry. The NH state motto was NOT changed to "You're going to love it here." It is still "Live Free or Die." (http://www.nh.gov/nhinfo/emblem.html) Liz, who says she lives in Boston now, must have been confused.

The "You're going to love it here" is just an advertising slogan used on the welcome to NH signs posted at the state's borders and in state marketing materials. The state replaced the welcome signs sometime last year, and the new signs used the marketing slogan but did not contain the official state motto. Removing the motto caused such a public outcry -- we NH'ites feel very strongly about this motto -- that the state has amended all the signs with the Life Free or Die motto.

30
Nothing But Bonfires
Oct 07, 2007

Oh, thank goodness! Thank you for clarifying.

31
metalia
Oct 08, 2007

Four HUNDRED? Yowza. Re: The Elvis House...J had to go to the Hershey Chocolate Store this week for his job (don't ask), and he came back with the most vile creation ever: Reese's Peanut Butter and Banana Creme Cups, complete with a picture of The King on the front. We'll never eat it, mind you, but he just had to bring it home to show to me. Because: EW.

32
Allie
Oct 08, 2007

Oh dear... now I have to _actually_ post something.

Don't change a thing about your writing style - you're obviously doing something right!

33
Kristen
Oct 08, 2007

Melis, you beat me to it on the explanation of the motto. I love "live free or die." However, at the same time, I am glad it hasn't extended to defeating the smoking ban a second time. I enjoy my time swilling drinks in New Hampshire a lot more now. LOL.

34
Melis
Oct 08, 2007

Kristen,

Me, too! It's nice to go out and not reek like stale smoke when I get home, finally! While I think my (our?) state's motto is pretty bad ass, I do feel that it inspires an attitude in both the general populous and the legislature -- which are essentially one and the same in this state -- that prohibits passing social justice or welfare legislation.

35
Heather B.
Oct 08, 2007

You know what would be awesome? If you were in LAX right now, since I'm sitting here bored out of my mind. You could be here to entertain me, now wouldn't that be fun?