Archive for the ‘Couple Stuff’ Tag

Eat Pray Love Stalk

Husband/Investigator John.  He's posing as a neighborhood resident enjoying a stroll and an iced coffee.  Here, he shows us the truth: "I'm watching you, Julia and James and sundry crew members."

Husband/Investigator John. He's posing as a neighborhood resident enjoying a stroll with an iced coffee. Here, he shows us the truth: "I'm watching you, Julia and James and sundry crew members."

My second post as a celebrity stalking blogger and I’ve already dispatched an assistant to do my dirty work.  That’s code for “A major motion picture is filming in my neighborhood, but I’m trapped on a bus to Hartford, so I’ve sent my husband on a mission to collect photographs.”

The aforementioned major motion picture is Eat, Pray, Love, based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert that I haven’t read.  It stars Julia Roberts.  And you can turn that IMDB rumor into a trumor: James Franco does indeed costar.  That’s right, my intrepid reporter/husband snapped a photo of Mr. Franco heading down Atlantic Avenue to his trailer.  Mr. Franco and I have something in common; we are both students at creative writing MFA programs in New York.  Of course, it wasn’t enough for him to outdo me in the looks, fame, and wealth department.  He’s also showing me up by attending two schools, whereas I only go to one.  And I haven’t even started yet.  Oh well, I guess I won’t be chatting him up about the writing life at a local coffee shop anytime soon.  Sorry, James.  I’m on location for my job, too, in Vermont.  Actually, on a bus.

James Franco

See that dark-haired head on the right? The guy walking with the skinny girl? John assures me that it's James Franco, and I believe him. This blog seems to specialize in tiny, distant pictures of celebrities. You might say we're a new, unobtrusive breed of paparazzi.

So above is the photo John took of James Franco, after walking five feet behind him for quite a while, but waiting until he crossed the street to take James’s picture.  John didn’t see the point in taking a picture of his butt, but I bet there are plenty of people who would be quite pleased to see a picture of his butt (James’s, not John’s, although let me tell you, John has a really great butt.  It’s just not famous.  Yet.)  As you can see, the photo was taken at 164 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn–the border of Cobble Hill/Brooklyn Heights, aka, a view I can see from my bedroom window.  Maybe, just maybe, immediately after this photo was taken, James Franco looked up and tried to peep into my room.  It would serve me right.  But the joke is on him, because 1) I just got new blinds.  And 2) I’m still on a bus to Hartford.  Looks like only one of us will have our privacy violated today, James.

We actually learned about the shoot yesterday, when embarking on a failed mission to sneak onto public tennis courts without a permit (we wound up driving to Long Island to play tennis.  Ridiculous, especially when you consider how much I suck at tennis.)

The telltale shooting (film, not violent) signs were in full force: trucks with film equipment, important looking people talking on cell phones, nosy neighbors (like me!) congregating on the sidewalk, and no parking signs everywhere.  And I mean everywhere!  They stretch several blocks on Clinton, Atlantic, and Pacific.  Guess we won’t be moving our car ever again.  And by ever again, I mean Tuesday when the street-sweepers come.

We spotted burly men bringing film equipment into 172 Pacific Street, which is this adorable white house with a red door and beautiful windows–one of the places we fantasize about owning if we had a bazillion more dollars.  And of course, we felt a smug pride that some film director shared our tastes.  We were remarking on how obviously totally awesome our neighborhood is because this is the second shoot this week, when we passed by two men.

Before I continue with this story, it’s important for you to know that on my way to play tennis yesterday, I looked like this, except that I wasn’t even trying to make the Julia Roberts face that John coached out of me here:

Me, trying to make a Julia Roberts face while wearing an ugly tennis outfit.  Also pictured: badonka a donk.  I think it's the shorts, though.  Note to Julia: I'm sure your ass doesn't look like this, and mine normally doesn't either.

Me, trying to make a Julia Roberts face while wearing an ugly tennis outfit. Also pictured: badonka a donk. I think it's the shorts, though. Note to Julia: I'm sure your ass doesn't look like this, and mine normally doesn't either.

“Hi, Julia.”  One of them said.  I choked out some sort of confused, nervous giggling sound.  But I’ve gotten slightly bolder in my two forays into celebrity stalking, so I asked them what was shooting.

“Eat, Pray, Love,” They said.  “With Julia Roberts.”  Score double.  A huge, major movie being shot in the nabe (God, everytime I use that word it sounds like a body part, so that shot in the nabe sounds like a hideous sex crime!  Sorry!), and an allusion to my having some sort of celeb like qualities.  Probably the glasses.  But I’m going to pretend it was the confident, sexy charm.

Today I had hoped to spot some real celebrities before embarking on my work trip, but ran out of time and thus sent John to do so.   So far he’s been better with the info than the evidence (He’s too polite to shove his iPhone in people’s faces).  He was able to confirm that the actors’ trailers are located on Atlantic Avenue, between Clinton and Court.  Even more exciting, he actually spotted Julia and walked right past her, but claimed he was “too close” to comfortably take a picture.  Sounds like I should have trained my staff a bit more thoroughly before leaving town.  (Trained my staff can also sound dirty if you want it to).

He did, however, snag a photo of the real paparazzi, waiting around for one of these stars to show up.

Here are the real paparazzi, as photographed by John.  I enjoy the meta-ness of photographing the photographers.  Or paparazzing the paparazzi.  Maybe I can make a blogging career out of that!

Here are the real paparazzi, as photographed by John. I enjoy the meta-ness of photographing the photographers. Or paparazzing the paparazzi. Maybe I can make a blogging career out of that!

Such waiting is a lot easier to do if you live nearby, so you can run upstairs and pee, or change your outfit to blend in on set and maybe get cast as an extra (see my post on Gossip Girl).

And here’s a photo confirming the filming, so it doesn’t just sound like I made this whole thing up in a desperate effort to drum up blog material.

Nothing captures the excitement of a film shoot like no parking signs.

Nothing captures the excitement of a film shoot like no parking signs.

But stay tuned, faithful reader.  If John snaps a pic of Julia, you’ll be the first to know.  Actually, I will.  But I promise to share it with you right away.

Until then, I’ll try to absorb some of the self-helpy message of the film: I already ate pancakes this morning, I’m praying for a great picture of Julia, and I’m loving my life as a  Celebrity Stalkward blogger.

Leather Anniversary

Today is John’s and my third anniversary.  I kicked off the celebrations of marital bliss by firing him from our blog.  He never actually wrote anything, so perhaps “fired” is a bit harsh, but I did erase him from our header, which sounds even more ominous.  Sorry, love.  Still, I should give him credit for being a wonderful proofreader and gentle critic when this blog veers too sharply into snarktown.

Anyway, I looked up the third anniversary gift, and traditionally it’s leather.  According to About.com, the leather symbolizes a couple’s awareness of “the durability of their relationship.”  It’s not that I don’t want my relationship to be durable, but I can’t really think of a less romantic way to describe a marriage.  Ok, so I can think of less romantic leather-based ways to describe a marriage: dead, dried out, made of cows.  But still.

  A possible gift for the leather anniversary.          Custom Long Harness, courtesy of Fetish-n-Leather.

A possible gift for the leather anniversary. Custom Long Harness, courtesy of Fetish-n-Leather.

As opposed to durable, leather as an anniversary gift sounds downright kinky in my opinion, as in:

“What anniversary are you all celebrating?”

“Our third anniversary.  You know, leather and fetish and bondage?”

“How lovely!  Do enjoy!”

But for whatever reason, there are now two categories of gifts you can give to celebrate your anniversary—the traditional and the modern.  The modern gift for the third anniversary is crystal or glass, which seems an odd choice.  First of all, it’s fragile, and breaks into tiny, sharp, injurious fragments.   Plus, the logic seems a bit flawed.  Sure, glass & crystal were developed after leather, but a more modern gift might be nanochips.  Or even Astronaut Ice Cream.

Upsetting Annivesary Gift. I don't mean to be unkind, but if you want to know where to buy this, I'm not sure you're going to enjoy my blog. Or me personally. But, courtesy of gifts for you now.com.

Upsetting Annivesary Gift. I don't mean to be unkind, but if you want to know where to buy this, I'm not sure you're going to enjoy my blog. Or me personally. But, courtesy of gifts for you now.com.

Anyway, one glass/crystal gift suggested by the interweb is a Love Is Magic Anniversary Personalized Beveled Glass Picture Frame.  To be honest, I actually do think that love is pretty darn magical.  But I can’t think of a more heinous way to trivialize that sentiment than to mass produce a picture frame inscribed with a tacky poem.  I can’t even bear to copy and paste the poem here.  If you want to read it, you’re just going to have to click through to the website.

John and I have thought of creating our own list of anniversary gifts, much like our friends Morgan and Patrick did for us (last year was Little Trees Air Fresheners, this year is fair trade coffee—we’re waiting, you two).  For our second anniversary, I wanted to get tattoos.  The tatTWOnniversary, I called it.  But we never managed to get them, in part because we couldn’t figure out where to put them that would be discreet but not prone to stretching or sagging.  I think we were also slightly afraid that it would look tacky.  Before you hop on the band wagon and agree that tattoos are trashy, let me inform you that I already have one.  It looks like this:

Before you make disparaging remarks about tattoos.  Remember that I already have one.  I don't have negative feelings about it; it's just become part of who I am.  Literally.

Before you make disparaging remarks about tattoos. Remember that I already have one. I don't have negative feelings about it; it's just become part of who I am. Literally.

But I’m somewhat less motivated to get the tattoos now that we can’t make a fun, new word out of three, tattoo, and anniversary.

In the end I’m opposed to a standardized system of gift-giving that tells me how I’m supposed to celebrate my relationship.  (But I’m quite happy with an individual system—keep ’em coming, MoPa.) We’ll decide how to celebrate our marriage, thank you very much.  Other couples, of course, should do the same, and if that means following guidelines for gift-giving or even buying engraved picture frames, well that’s ok, too (even if I personally find it cringe-worthy).  Love and happy marriages are good things.  Celebrate ’em however you want.

For me, last year that meant getting a Hebrew Study Bible from my (incredibly thoughtful) Catholic-raised husband, and a raw vegan meal at Pure Food and Wine that led to intestinal distress.  Hot.

This year, we drank a bottle of cava that we’d saved from our wedding reception, and we’ve got a much better dinner date planned at Daniel.

And like I’d tell you if there was going to be leather involved.  Awkward.

A Social Experiment

Yesterday, John and I decided upon a social experiment.  As we popped the cork of a bottle of champagne to celebrate his acceptance of a job offer for next year, we agreed to have a snark-free evening.  What’s that, you say, dear reader: you can no more imagine John being snarky than you can imagine me being snark-free? Well first of all, poop on you.  Second of all, within the confines of our own home, John and I engage in a fairly balanced, tit-for-tat snarkfest.

I will now take bets on who snarked first.

You lose.

It was Muckle.

Eight minutes into the experiment, he said, “And that’s why men are better than women.”

Now for a quiz.  Was he referring to:

a) penises

b) muscle mass

c) the patriarchy

d) Wham! Fantastic, the first CD I ever owned

e) Y-Chromosome DNA

But, fair readers, it wasn’t a sweep.  Four minutes after John’s first barb, I uttered the following, “Some Christian you are.”

Was I alluding to Muckle’s propensity to

a) pray to Hecate

b) disbelieve the story of Genesis

c) lie to his parents about where he is calling from

d) eat latkes

e) don hot pants

Regardless,  I think we learned something: going snarkless is fine, but it’s always fun to criticize fundamental qualities like gender and religion.  And Muckle looks really good in hot pants.

To top it all off, later that night, I learned that I had won John’s apartment cleaning services in the recent Sloan charity auction.  Now I get six hours of apartment cleaning from him, and I don’t have to feel guilty. And you can be darn sure he’ll wear those hot pants as he cleans.

I’ll warn you when the cleaning is going down so you don’t accidentally stop by for a visit (or so you can plan a “surprise” visit accordingly).

Now that’s what I call a marriage.

What’s in a name?

That's awkward, all right.

I started this blog because of Patrick, superstar coauthor of the hit blog “Everything Else Plastic Bag” (EEPB) at http://morganpatrick.wordpress.com.  Seeing the pleasure I took in drafting haughty comments in response to his posts, Patrick suggested I get my own blog.  But in a nice way.

So I did.  And of course was faced with every blogger’s first conundrum–what do I call my blog?  (See EEPB’s first post).

Naming a blog is something akin to naming a baby.  Ok, maybe not, but I’ve never had a baby, so I can imagine them as equivalent experiences.  And, much as I named this blog with no input from my husband–my alleged coconspiritor here–I hope to do something similar when we have actual, human children.

Names have long been a topic of discussion and contention between John and me.  Perhaps this is bound to occur when one person was given the 7th most popular name in America in the year of his birth, while the other’s best showing was in 1920, when her name was the 933rd most popular.  Maybe we understand names as serving fundamentally different purposes.  I like my unique name because it signifies only me (well, me and the famous swan-fucker and, according to Facebook, a fair number of Filipina women).  But to most people who know me, I am the only Leda.  John, on the other hand, must share his name with his father, his cousin, his uncle, several acquaintences, and approximately four million other men in the US.  Perhaps this also says something about our propensities to share, and our differing needs to be the center of attention.

The first time I met John’s mother, she said to me without malice, “I like names like Katherine and Elizabeth.”  Nothing wrong with those names.  I have a best friend named Katherine and might have been called Elizabeth myself, according to my mother, had it not sounded so horrible with Eizenberg and had my father been willing to consider it.  But being a Leda feels to me quite different from being a Katherine or an Elizabeth, and it’s a difference I appreciate.

But I didn’t always.  As a child I loathed my name.  Leda Murcia Eizenberg.  Not even a syllable approaching what I perceived to be “normalcy.”  Why didn’t you give me one common name? I’d whine to my parents.  I felt strange, like an outcast.  I had to learn to spell my name early because no one else could understand it, nevermind spell it.  And today, when asked for my name, I often don’t even give it, but launch right into spelling.  “First name: L-E-D-A  last name: E-I-Z-as-in-zebra-E-N-B-as-in-Boy-E-R-G-as-in-girl.”

My fifth grade remedy to this perceived humiliation was simple.  I added a middle name.  One that would allow me to wiggle my way into slightly more typical American girlhood.  Of course, it was Kathryn.  My parents were unconcerned, even supportive as I went so far to put the name in my yearbook.  “Leda Murcia Kathryn Eizenberg.”  The meter of it still sounds as normal to me as the rhythm of my real name, although I’ve long since booted the name from my own, a reminder of when I longed to fit in, rather than stand out.  Who am I kidding?  It was during a time when I wanted both to fit in and to stand out.

The current name debate in our household revolves around whose name should go first when we have children and hyphenate.  Yes, we realize that Eizenberg-Muckle and Muckle-Eizenberg both sound downright horrible, and that we’re potentially dooming our children to a lifetime (or a childhood) of dorkiness.  But I’ve taught high school, and let me be the first to tell you, you’d much, much rather parent dorks than cool kids.  Essentially, John and I are both jockying for first position.  We both know that children are more likely to use and identify with their first last name.  Tradition has it that the mother’s name goes first, at least in our culture.  But John is quick to point out that the Spanish culture with which I claim such affinity puts the mother’s name second.  I think Eizenberg-Muckle sounds better; he thinks Muckle-Eizenberg sounds better.  Surprise, surprise.  I tend to think that if I lug a baby around for nine months, I should get to call it whatever the hell I want.

And no, this post is not our way of telling you we’re pregnant.  We’re nowhere near pregnant.  Didn’t you see me at _____ (fill in recent party where I had multiple glasses of wine)?

No, the only thing being born today is Doubleawk, our “couple’s-blog”.  So what’s with the name?  Well, I wanted it to be short.  And I wanted it to be uniquely us.  But by us, I mostly meant me because John’s at school right now and I’m not sure of his blog-o-participation.  Awk is, of course, short for awkward, and it’s an English teacher’s favorite lil’ comment when her students have pooped the bed syntactically.  But in my classroom, and subsequently my life, awk became shorthand for any of those little awkward moments or beats we might encounter throughout the day.  And double is a favorite prefix of mine–perhaps borrowed from Orwell’s 1984–meaning very, or extra.  The pun here is of course that as a blog written by a couple, there is a doubling going on.  And if you know John and me at all, you’ll know we’re both capable of being quite awkward.

And thus our first baby was born.