Dead Writers’ Society Or, That and 50 Cents Will Get You A Cup of Coffee

I picked up The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler at the library and spent most of Saturday afternoon on the deck, sipping an icy Diet Dr. Pepper and reading aloud to Ryely.

Rye looks so noble here. I love this picture.

He wasn’t impressed (he’s more of a Fitzgerald kinda guy) but I’m pretty sold.

I’ll read a couple of pages and then, I’ll have to put it down for a second because goddamn it, it’s good.
How does this guy do that?
How does a man come up with these perfect, perfect statements like, “I was as hollow and empty as the spaces between stars.”

Holy shit, that’s good, right?

I wish Raymond Chandler were still alive. Wait. Let me amend that. I wish I could call him up and say, “Hey. You wanna meet up and get a drink?”

We’d meet at some Los Angeles hole-in-the-wall that only a guy like Raymond Chandler would know about and order real coffee – strong, rich and served in thick white ceramic mugs with cream (not creamer), sugar cubes and a bosomy waitress who calls you ‘hon’ when she tops you off – or gimlets. Real gimlets. The kind Terry Lennox drank – half gin, half Rose’s Lime and nothing else.
I’d talk to him about his writing (because in a fantasy world where dead authors come to life and meet you for a drink, they’d actually give a shit what you think) and the way his writing and similes are so goddamn perfect and beautiful and precise.

Dead men tell no tales so my chances of having a drink much less a conversation with Chandler are pretty slim.

So, I guess it’s just me, a good book, a warm day, a cold drink, a deck and a dog who rests his head on my lap and looks at me like I’m nuts when I read aloud to him.

525,600 Minutes Or, 2010 in Daylights, Sunsets, Laughter and Cups of Coffee.

A quick wrap up of the past year:

January — New year, new blog, new resolutions. Most of which weren’t really kept. January was a pretty quiet month for me — kept my head down, worked a lot, drank gallons of Wawa hot chocolate and griped about the cold.

February — Experienced my first blizzard (hate!) in which I slipped on ice a whole lot, worked from home, lost feeling in my extremities while we trekked to CVS to buy supplies and whacked myself in the face with a plastic snow shovel. Augs made me a digital valentine’s day card featuring Ron Livingston and then, took me out for brunch where I drank lots of vanilla coffee and made eyes at the ridiculously cute guy across the table from me. We came home and watched Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. True love, y’all.

March — I turned 27, ate eggplant and goat cheese pizza (love!) and my first nephew was born. Colin has that great baby smell, is totally laid back and when he smiles at you, your heart stops a little and you’re filled with the irrepressible urge to buy him a pony…covered in diamonds.

April — Augs turned 27 and I discovered cold-brewed iced coffee. Tailgated at the Phillies game, drank rum-infused iced tea, ate crab fries and got a serious tan. Dana came to town and we spent a perfect spring day in Philly – wandering around Rittenhouse, eating delicious burgers at Village Whiskey, gelato at Capogiro and cheese at DiBruno Bros. My dream in life is to travel with D.

May — Attended The Lost Weekend in New York City where we sat in the same room as Damon Lindelof (totally made eyes at me, dudes), Carlton Cuse, Jorge Garcia and Michael Emerson. Fell in love with Chelsea, walked the Brooklyn Bridge with friends, ate delicious-delicious veggie burgers at Bubby’s and bought a kick-ass new purse on 46th Street. Lost ended and I still have mixed thoughts about the finale. On one hand, there are moments I love-love-love so much about the episode (that great look between Jin and Sawyer at the hospital – “Hello…detective”) but burning questions weren’t answered and I’m still irked about that.

June — Watched a Back to the Future revival – all three movies in a row. Nine-year-old Jaime would have been proud. Discovered the world’s most delicious huevos rancheros at Jones, attended a World Cup Viewing Party in Philly in which I overheard two dirtbags say, “Yo, if Jersey was in this shit — we would have won already!” Wept for the American soccer fan. Spent a week in West Palm with the family, ate lots of homemade Indian food, hung out with my favorite aunt, watched the World Cup every day and cheered madly for England and Spain, ate Maoz (love!) and experienced the shitty agony of a herniated disc (hate!).

July — Faceplanted on asphalt and got some choice scars, celebrated another fantastic year with Augs, learned how to make homemade kettle corn, fell in love with Inception and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog and decided that if I ever come into obscene amounts of money, I’m bankrolling everything Whedon wants to do without hesitation.

August — Augs and I celebrated our anniversary in Atlantic City. Love the song, but the trip was essentially a bust. I am not an AC kinda gal. Made terrible cookies and had a breakdown amidst chocolate chips. Realized I make killer huevos rancheros and that’s better than cookies any day of the week. Spent lots of quality time reading on the back patio while drinking enough iced coffee to induce cardiac arrest…in a mastodon.

September — Ate pumpkin pie for the first time ever. Realized that pies made of gourds can be glorious. Attended two weddings, drank gin cocktails and danced to Sinatra with the best-looking guy in the room. Went to the Temple-UConn game where we hung out with Augs’s hilarious college roommates and had killer seats to watch TU trounce UConn.

October — My office flooded. Bad juju all around, but on the plus side? I learned that even construction workers can’t resist head-bobbing to old school Madonna. Dana and Steve were in town again! We ate amazing food (cheese plate at Harvest is the love of my life), went on a Haunted Hayride and reiterated the notion that you don’t need to share DNA to be family. Initiated YA Fic Lit Book Club with my sister, read terrible books from our childhood and realized that they’re much more fun if you read them as snarky twentysomethings.

November — Bought a pair of kickass blue suede Pumas, learned nothing makes the day better than trading Mean Girls Memes with your co-workers. Launched into a Vampire Diaries marathon and decided that this show is leaps and bounds better than True Blood. Writing, pacing, characters, dialogue — it beats the hell out of True Blood (which was seriously scattered and boring this season. There’s more to good television than the disturbing sexual habits of vampires and unfortunately, True Blood didn’t deliver the goods this season), had a pretty epic office Thanksgiving feast to which I contributed five pounds of buttery, salty mashed potatoes and ate the world’s best cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner with the family (the secret is Triple Sec)

December — Had one really good hair day, discovered the best veggie burger in the ‘burbs, made cards for the first time ever, decided I want to smell more like roses, celebrated Christmas with family and friends and am currently planning on spending the last night of the decade with sequins, champagne, good music and better friends.

2010 was a good one — Stronger relationships, frocks and flip-flops, gin cocktails and blonder hair. Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay and American Gods. The city so nice, they named it twice, PhiLOVEdelphia, huevos rancheros and a continuing search for the world’s greatest veggie burger. Great conversations with my sister, movies and popcorn and real time World Cup updates at work. Cute babies, dancing to Sinatra in dimly-lit rooms, crafting and above all else, more love than I thought my heart was capable of handling.

Here’s to 2011 being just as fabulous, if not more so, than 2010.

I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles.

Dan and I are at Wal-Mart, killing time while we wait for satellite radio to be installed in his car. We mosey over to the video games and see that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is the selected game for the PS3. We watch a six-year-old kid fiddle with the game for a moment and are about to walk away when a tiny voice pipes up:

“Excuse me!”

We turn around the six-year-old is looking up at Dan.

“Can you help me? I can’t win this!”

Dan looks at the kid and smiles.

“Alright, buddy. Let’s see what we can do.”

Having already beaten the level months ago, Dan makes quick work vanquishing the foe (a heavy artillery truck thundering behind Nathan Drake much like the boulder behind Indiana Jones).

The kid’s eyes light up and he starts jumping up and down.

“You did it! You did it! You beat it!”

The boys high-five…and then, this little boy, this complete stranger flings his arms around my fiance and gives him a huge hug.

The kid lets go, we say bye and as we walk away, we can hear the kid telling anyone in a ten foot radius, “We did it! Did you see? We did it!”

It was a pretty great moment that illustrated three things:

1. Kids rule. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and are better for it. We should all be so honest.
2. Dan is gonna be a great dad one day.
3. My fiance rocks a video game controller like no-one’s business.