Friday, March 06, 2009

the feinswog story

Have I ever told you the Feinswog story?

First, you should know that my last name is Feinswog. It's a name that probably started out as a perfectly normal name in... oh... let's say Eastern Europe somewhere... and mutated into it's current form at Ellis Island. I'm sure it went something like this:

Ellis Island Guy: What's this name here?
Ancestor Feinswog: *incomprehensible garbled sound*
EIG: What?
AF: *igs*
EIG: What?
AF: Feins*incomprehensible*
EIG: Feins-What? Feinswhat? What? ahhaahah JOE! hey Joe! I'm gonna call these guys Feinswog! haha! Great name. Good luck with that...
AF: *puzzled*
EIG: Go on in.

Do you have any idea how many times I have spelled Feinswog? It's almost a poem to me:
F as in Frank
E - I
N as in Nancy
S as in Sam
W - O - G
No, G. G! G as in... Gary?
(I learned this "poem" from my mom, who I don't recall ever having a word to go with G, so I always fumble at the end...)

I digress.

You would think that having been married twice I would have found a better name to have on hand for waiting lists in Asian restaurants. But, no, I kept Feinswog both times, and I'm glad I have, because since I'm the only Laurie Feinswog in the world, recreating my resume is just a google away.

I'm also glad I kept it because without it, I wouldn't have the following great story...

Between 18 and 19 years ago (it was right before my son was born, so I can be fairly specific) I was still living in Seattle, I was extremely pregnant, and my mom was out visiting helping me nest for real. While I was folding tiny little socks and little bitty hats, the phone rang. I answered it, and the man on the other end said:
Hi, my name is Lee Feinswog. Any time I'm in a new place, I look up Feinswog in the phone book...
He followed his little pre-packaged schpiel with a question about how we're related. Since I know absolutely nothing about my father's family, I held up the phone and yelled to my geographically convenient mother, "MOM!!! It's for you!"

My mom and Lee talked briefly about how my father's father and Lee's grandfather (I may have this wrong) were... cousins? I don't remember. It's not an essential part of the story. ANYway, they hang up and my mom and I went back to folding teeny tiny little clothes. Squee!

Several months later, I had birthed a baby boy, packed up my hubby and house and hightailed it to Houston. A few weeks later, my mom came down again, and in the midst of putting away more teeny tiny little clothes (Squee!) the phone rings:
Hi, my name is Lee Feinswog. Any time I'm in a new place, I look up Feinswog in the phone book...


Years pass.


Seriously. Like 4 years later, the brother of one of my friends came in from Baton Rouge with his buddies to watch, of all things, a hockey game. Houston has professional hockey. Baton Rouge does not. You live in Louisiana and you want to see professional hockey... Obviously. You go to Houston.


Anyway, Carol and I went to the game with the guys, and afterward we went out for drinks, and somehow in a conversation with one of Paul's friends, I mentioned how old I was (30) and the guy said, "No way! You're not 30!"*

Me: "yes, really, I am."
guy: "NO WAY!"
Me: "seriously. I'm 30."

So I show him my driver's license and he looks at it and says,


wait for it...


"Hey, do you know Lee Feinswog?"

*laugh track*

The reason I bring this up now is that in the intervening 14 years, I have done the, "Hi, my name is Laurie Feinswog, and whenever I'm on the web I google Feinswog and..." thing, and Lee and I have subsequently become as much as Facebook friends. But what I'm building up to is that next week Lee Feinswog (who is, by the way, a sportswriter in Louisiana, and clearly a favorite of Baton Rouge hockey fans) is coming to Houston, and after nearly 20 years, we're going to have lunch...

*I have an age thing, I know, but it's not my fault. That picture in the corner was taken last week. I'm trying to get a goddamn beer, but no one will serve me...


Ok, so this is how it happened.

First, my blackberry keypad started dying. I've had it for over 2 years, and it's given me a lot of love, so I'm not holding a grudge, but I had to start thinking about a new phone, and the big question... iPhone? Should I? (yes, of course I should. why did I even ask?)

Second, I started downloading free apps for the iPhone I bought - before I got it, yes. It was like the nesting you do when you're pregnant. Basically I was buying the iPhone that was in the mail little phone booties - and I noticed all the twitter apps.

Third, a work friend announced that she was going to start twittering if it killed her.

You see where this is going, right?

So, I apparently started twittering before getting my iPhone so I WOULD HAVE SOMETHING TO DO ON IT RIGHT AWAY.

I am spoiling that phone...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

you wanna see my id?

As if to prove a point, my friend and I were at Cafe Express last week, and ordered a bottle of wine. The check out girl, who I admit was a few olives short of a salad bar, actually asked us both for ID. We are 42 and 40.

Ta da!

passover seder in a bottle

Among other things I collect, I have a bathroom cabinet filled with aromatherapy shower gels. I can't help myself. I like how they smell, and I like using them in the shower. If I walk into a Bath and Body Works sale, I willfully suspend my critical consumer thinking and will buy 5 for $25 without calculating that "on sale" still means that 10oz of what is mostly water and sodium laurel sulfate is costing me $5.

What's worse is that when I go on these consumer splurges, in an addled frenzy I will sometimes buy smells I know nothing about simply because of attractive packaging, or a nice sounding name. I have not yet learned that olfactory products should not be purchased based on visual or aural clues.

So, last night I cracked open a new bottle of "lemon grass sage" shower gel. I guess I bought it because I like lemon, but was aware that without smelling it in the store, I could be in for a completely kitcheny experience. I was hoping more for "Joy" than "thai food", but I was definitely prepared for something that didn't belong in the bathroom.

It smelled like neither end of that spectrum. It had no recognizable lemon scent at all, and the scent it did have was just dancing around the edges of my cortex, teasing me into trying to place it.

It didn't smell bath-y and it didn't smell kitchen-y. It smelled fresh. It smelled green. It smelled... fresh and green. Like lawn, only not really. That was the best I could do. And on top of the elusive smell, it triggered an elusive memory. It was an old memory, and it compelled an action, though I wasn't quite sure what that was, either.

I spent an extra 10 minutes dawdling in the shower trying to figure it out. As I was rinsing out my conditioner it finally hit me. Parsley. It smelled like parsley. And what I was wanting to do was dip something in salt water and sing Dayanu...

Next time I'll pick up the complementary Matzoh and Charoses bath beads.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

the sky is falling

Speaking of fear...

I see this ad on late night TV and it makes me want to scream. Can someone introduce statistics to the American people?

I'm going to hermetically seal my teenager. Much safer.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Executive Privilege
"Balanced" news
18 months of presidential campaign
Really stupid people (although these guys were entertaining)
Credit industry
Not having a ceiling fan in my bedroom
That in the last 30 years the Internet has been invented, cell phones, cable modems, wireless internet, ipods, iphones, TVs are wide screen and hi def, and yet somehow "good car mileage" still is in the 30 mpg range, which, if I recall, is about the same as it was, oh, 30 years ago. I realize combustion is limited by a fairly strict set of laws and efficiencies, but... c'mon guys. Even the hybrids aren't that impressive.
Oil dependence (or did I just say that?)
My post-40 deteriorating eye-sight

maybe next time a quick post on the things i like...

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I have always tried to make these posts more than just a daily journal of my life, although it's always been a little bent that way. I prefer my writing to be entertaining and to make people laugh, if not be downright laughable. But I find that everything I want to write about, everything that I think about lately, just really pisses me off, and when I start writing it takes about a paragraph until I'm patently unfunny and deep in a rant.

So, today I will embrace my anger and see if that helps...

Things that make me angry - an abbreviated list:

War in Iraq
The administration's treatment of the men and women serving in our armed forces
Any kind of Czar
The fact that we can't stop calling things "xxx-gate", as if "Watergate" were some sort of controversy about reservoir tampering, and not the name of a hotel.
The disintegration of the 4th estate
The dismantling of democracy by the corporate oligarchy
Big Dick Cheney
Big Oil
Big Pharma
Big Religion
Lack of national health care
Cost of a college education (HOLY SHIT!! How is it possible that it costs more than I make a year to send a child to school?)
The fact that as a society we have divested ourselves of the responsibility of protecting education, health care, and the media from market forces and keeping them as part of the public trust
Have I mentioned "You don't know Dick" Cheney?
Alberto Gonzales
Rudy Guiliani
The concept of "God Bless America" - I have never had a need to postulate a god, but if there were one, I'm pretty damn sure his globe wouldn't show big pink and blue and green blobs of political entities.
Global warming deniers
The death of accountability
The language of non-accountability
Bill O'Reilly
People who "pray" for financial success
Technical support
Voice menus
Abstinence-only sex education
Gay bashing
Reality TV
The "it's cool to be mean" culture of American Idol
Whipped news media
Fear-based politics
Integration of Church and State
Comcast advertising
The remake of The Producers

I know that some of this is redundant, but it probably reflects only a small fraction of the things I think about that I'm never more than hair's breadth away from launching into a rant about.

So, there it is. I'm angry at, oh, everything. I can probably still be funny, but I needed to get this off my chest.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

am I back?

I need to start writing again. I have been, oh, a little busy with other things, but I always feel better when I write, so I'm going to try to get back on the horse.

here I go.

Monday, November 13, 2006

more important things

I don't care what they stand for, Citizens for More Important Things has the best name in the world. How jealous am I that someone else came up with something so simple, meaningful, and easy to remember, yet with enough Monty Python in it to make me actually laugh out loud while reading the NYT.

It's almost a shame that CMIT (which, I suppose could be pronounced ComMIT, if they wanted a decent acronym to go with the great name) is a single issue group. Their sole purpose was to stop Seattle from imposing a tax to pay a gazillion dollars for a new stadium for the Supersonics. Why? Because they thought that the money could be better spent on, say, healthcare.

Fair enough. The site has an actual list of "more important things," but I think they could do better. Some of you are particularly fond of sports, and that's ok, but seriously, what do you think public tax money could be better spent on? Really. For the sake of "more important things." Do we not all have a sense of where tax money should be spent? Tax money. Money paid by people who may more than one wage earner per family making bare minimum wage in several jobs to support a family of 4. I'm thinkin' that basketball may not be their primary concern, but feel free to argue.

catalog season

For most of my life, the whole "getting ready for the holidays" thing coincided with activities like pulling out another sweater box, or buying a new ice scraper for my car. I lived in NJ, upstate NY, and Washington State before I settled in Houston. The stacks of store catalogs that pile up inside my in my mailbox used to have multitudes of uses, from brushing snow off the windshield of my car, to wadding up as fire kindling, to cutting into long triangles and rolling around a toothpick with a dab of glue and making paper beads for garlands, to, well, actually shopping.

My northern European blood means that if I were a plant, I'd be better suited for "hardiness" zone 6 or 7. Houston is a 9. Because direct sunlight and temps in the 90s pose a somewhat hostile environment for me, this is supposed to be *my* time of year. Dammit. According to someone who claims to be a friend, I'm whiter than a Kabuki mime, so I generally welcome winter as the only time I get to have pink cheeks without them being pre-cancerous. Don't get me wrong. I don't think I could handle being Minnesota-cold -- (that'd be, like, zone 3 or 4) -- but this is Houston, for god's sake. It's not like we have to shovel snow or waddle around in Eskimo-worthy down garments. However, it does get cold enough to put away my short sleeved wardrobe and pull out my few remaining sweaters for a couple of months. The temps are often worthy of an extra blanket and most houses are equipped with some sort of heating system. That makes me happy.

I do miss real winter a little, but I've lived in Houston for 16 years now, and have also learned to appreciate not having to start my car well before I need to go anywhere, so I’m getting over it. But I would like to be able to count on a little seasonal change. Just because I don't get snow, it doesn't mean I can't get a little relief from summer, right? I mean, it's the middle of November...