The day after Christmas is always kind of lonely; I miss the contrived, pre-planned togetherness that eventually spawns actual feelings of togetherness. I miss making hot drinks last tasted or heard from in the 1949 novelty hit "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas," and forcing them on friends and relatives. Worst of all, the holiday season is the only time when it is widely accepted to listen to Easy Listening shamltz (of which I have an abundance) and this precious time is almost over. Indulge, indulge, quickly while no one is judging!


"This is California. We can do anything we want to do."

I'm housesitting in San Francisco until January 3rd, lounging in a sort of artist's loft that I will never be able to afford, with sun streaming in through giant windows and attractive houseplants-- species unknown. The house belongs to kindred spirits, I can tell, because the cupboards are bursting with specialty teas and Beach Boys albums. I've only been here 2 days, but already I'm receiving a higher volume of calls than I have during the past 8 months. It's like I'm being born anew into the mythological California of my dreams, with a positive, Donovan-tinged understanding of the world and myself, and a loving community of friends! Either that, or the new vitamins I'm taking are POTENT. The animals I'm taking care of are uncommonly beautiful and well-behaved. The dog responds to commands. I didn't know dogs could actually do this. It's great! They also have some interesting reading material, including the 1990 yearbook of a now defunct college in Vermont (it was a Humanistic Psychology experiment and it failed) and one of the earliest copies of Our Bodies, Ourselves. Finally, I can gain a gentle, 1970s understanding of my body the way I would have liked to at the actual onset of puberty. In reality, I learned everything I know about sex from the school bully, but that's a story for another time and/or a licensed analyst.

You should come visit me while I have this outrageously sweet set up. Throw some flowers in your hair or some shit.
Recommended Reading: Richard Brautigan


Confession: I lack the attention span for NPR; love jello

If you are the sort of white person who has an art degree and whose heart lifts at the sound of the opening strain of the saxophone theme to All Things Considered, you might wrinkle your nose...oh woops, there I go alienating all 3 of my readers! Stay with me now!
This time of year always finds me thinking about my family's holiday menu, full of recipes plucked by my grandma from newspapers 40 years ago. The family holiday menu exists in a kind of 1960s Americana vortex. I didn't realize until I went to college that other people weren't eating Jello salads on Christmas-- that no one had eaten jello salad since 1983. When a marshmallow cream and cream cheese based fruit salad failed to produce the desired oohs and ahhs (and instead produced undisguised disdain) amongst my peers, I realized, with no small amount of shock, that my diet identified me as The Wrong Kind of White Person. Mainly for health reasons, and partially due to snobbery and embarrassment, I've wandered far and away from my food origins, trying, with a fairy-dust sprinkle of nutritional yeast, to make them disappear. Although I've learned to love health food as much as I formerly loved trash, there is no need to deny this part of myself. As a holiday homage to my now deceased Grandma Nina, I provide you with the recipe for Pretzel Salad. I dare you to make it-- though I'm warning you, this desert is in no way sanctioned by Terry Gross, and to your own horror, you'll probably love it.

Pretzel Salad

2 & 2/3 cups broken pretzels, in small pieces
1 & 1/2 cups margarine, melted
4 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 & 1/4 cups sugar
1 container (9 ounces) whipped topping
1 package (6 ounces) strawberry jello
2 cups pineapple juice or water
1 large package frozen whole strawberries (no sugar added) or 2 to 3 cups fresh strawberries

Place pretzels and margarine in botton of 9X13 inch baking dish and bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Cool.
Mix cream cheese and sugar. Spread over top of lukewarm, baked pretzels. Spread whipped topping over cheese mixture. Chill.
Dissolve gelatin in boiling pineapple juice/water. Stir in strawberries and allow to thicken almost to jelled point. Spread over topping/cheese/pretzel layer and refrigerate until solid.


My Dearest Friends live thousands of miles away...

... and last week, we reunited in New York. We sang oldies while traipsing through the crisp, cold streets. We snuggled. We drank hot toddies. We stuffed ourselves with African delicacies. We recognized that some of the most seminal moments in our lives have been heralded by the arrival of Andrew W.K. We came up with hilarious premises and inside jokes too numerous (and possibly irritating) to mention here, though I'll give you one: live-action movie based off of everyone's least favorite comic strip, Cathy, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (who gains weight for the role) as Cathy. Aack! I experienced a joy so pure that I felt compelled to make cornball proclamations like, "I love the fun that we have!" every few minutes. Loneliness, insomnia, and paralyzing analysis were annihilated in the face of friendship and belonging. I could enjoy the simpler pleasures:

doughnuts from Doughnut Plant in NYC, Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap, D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow, genmai-cha, the pictoral inspiration for my free perm, Sesame Street memories.