Prague II

            I don’t write in my blog as much as I should because writing is hard. Often when I feel the urge to write, I realize I haven’t organized my makeup drawer in a while—the lipsticks have mated with the eyebrow pencils, with disappointing results.  Or I think that maybe it’s time to watch some funny cat videos because who knows how long they’ll be on the internet? What else is difficult is grading student papers; you can’t just draw smiley or frowny faces. When I’m faced with a stack of papers AND I’m recovering from a migraine AND a cold, I know this is a sign from the universe that I should neither write nor grade papers, but do something different and fun. Like get my eyebrows professionally dyed.

            “You have very tiny blonde eyebrow hairs,” the certified cosmetologist told me. Or maybe a certified cosmologist told me this—I often confuse the two words.  “I think you can go several shades darker,” she said. I listened to her, because certified cosmetologists are always right. When I got home I realized that I looked like Groucho Marx in drag. Sans mustache (I had that waxed off a week ago), but with post-nasal drip.  This is not a look that suits me, so I decided to use some household bleach to get my eyebrows back to normal.  Well, the bleach got in my eyes and now I’m certifiably blind, but luckily this has not affected my typing ability.

            How does this relate to Scrabble, you ask? Well, I’m picking up Marty from the airport tomorrow (which may be hard to do since I’m now blind.)  He’s returning from the Prague Mind Sports competition and Scrabble is a Mind Sport and I want to look pretty. Wanting to look pretty has backfired on me in the past.  Once, when I was supposed to be on television, I realized I looked especially jowly. A Google search of How to Look Less Jowly yielded a few suggestions. Among the most popular was to apply some Preparation H to the affected jowly area. The cameraman kept sniffing me and, yes, I attracted a bunch of assholes.

          Marty has been having a great time in Prague. Perhaps too great a time. He loves the city—the food and the beer and the old medieval buildings. Yesterday he finally got to do some serious sightseeing. He took in an organ concert at an old church and found himself deeply moved, especially by the Bach.  I was happy to hear this, because I love classical music and sometimes wish Marty shared my passion more deeply. He’s grown to love certain composers and genres. Not opera, though. He told me he’d run in to Joel Wapnick before the tournament and that Joel was going to (or had been at) the opera.

            “Marty, why don’t YOU go to the opera?” I asked.

            “Uh, because I don’t like opera?”

            And then Brian Bowman wrote on Facebook that he’d gone to the opera.

            “Marty, why don’t YOU go to the opera?” I asked again, like some character in a modern fairy tale.

            “Uh, because I don’t like opera?”

            I’d taken Marty to the Lyric a few times, but had tickets for particularly uninspiring works: Amistad, a modern atonal opera with little action; and some minor Donizetti.  Marty listened for a while, then took out his six to make eights bright pink anagramming note cards.

            Anyway, I was pleased that he liked the organ recital, but then he mentioned that he went to some bar that evening for take-out breaded pork tenderloin and that some woman tried to flirt with him.

            “A young or older woman?” I asked.

            “Oh, she was quite young,” he answered.

            “How do you know she was flirting with you?”

            “Don’t be jealous, sweetie. I didn’t flirt back. Once you’ve had steak, you lose your appetite for hamburger.”

            “So you’re calling me a piece of meat.”

            “You know, sometimes I think I just can’t win.”

            The flirting thing got me thinking that I need to take better care of myself.  So I unbleached the eyebrows with some commercial hair color and now they’ve all fallen out.  I went for a walk, but it was cold and the post-nasal drip turned to ice on my face, leaving a permanent scar beneath my nose. I thought I would console myself with some chocolate, so I bought a big bar that was on clearance at CVS. The reason it was on sale was because it was this special chocolate with salt and chillis, which made my face break out. Won’t Marty be surprised.






It’s irritating when your husband gets to go to Prague to play Scrabble and you’re stuck in Charleston with something called WORK, especially since it’s the last week of classes and student excuses fill the air like bad Justin Bieber songs. 

Marty is playing in the international Scrabble Champions tournament, part of something called the Mind Sports Festival, though I keep referring to it as the Mind Games Festival.

            “Marty is playing in the Mind Games Festival,” I tell friends.

            “Daiva, shouldn’t you be playing? I mean, you know, mind games….”

            (Yeah, why didn’t I receive an invitation?)

Anyway, here’s a link to the events:

This is what I’m doing to deal with the resentment and loneliness caused by Marty’s selfish absence. (I’ve also discovered that these are GREAT ways to avoid grading student papers and preparing for class.

1. Inviting the neighborhood stray over for a soak in the hot tub followed by a cold shower and complimentary beef jerky treats.

2.     Attempting to find all of the Lintz chocolates I’ve asked Marty to hide.  I make it a game. Each time I find one, I give myself a quarter from Marty’s “secret” stash of change.

3.      Playing imaginary Scrabble with Marty (Collins and TWL) and always winning. Saying things like, “Look, honey, I made BOBFLOAT for 203 points. That’s good in Collins, right?” and “Ooh, I think I have QUETZAL on my rack.”

4.     Cleaning out Marty’s closet and taking older items (pre-1968) to the Salvation Army.

5.     Making prank midnight phone calls to Marty’s opponents in Prague.

6.     Cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

7.     Forming dirty words from Cheezit Scrabble crackers.  In bed.

8.     Listening to MY holiday favorites: Oi to the World by the Vandals (oi is good in Collins, BTW); the Dean Martin version of It’s a Marshmallow World (where he slurs the words—ha ha!); Bach’s Christmas cantata Unser Mund sei voll Lachens BWV 110 with text by Georg Christian Lehms; the Lee Vees How Do You Spell Channukkahh; and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rendition of The Little Drummer Boy.

9.     Realizing that the world is my snowball.

10.Emailing old boyfriends “to catch up on things.”

(Just kidding, Marty. I love you and miss you and hope you’re having fun in the land of your ancestors.)