Wednesday, June 17, 2009

tea's best friend

I think the time has come for me to welcome a fuzzy / scaly / spiney / feathered companion into my life.

And no, I'm not talking about dating.

While TV has been doing its best to warm my long, lonely weeknights, I could really use a comrade with a pulse. My apartment technically has a "no pets" policy, but I'm assuming this means no pets of the canine / feline variety. A furry friend who dwells in their own, self-contained habitat should be a-ok, right? After all, they aren't technically a resident of "the apartment" - they reside in a cage that just happens to be located in the apartment. Zing!

Now for the big question: what kind of pet is right for me? I'm sure there's a Facebook quiz for this, but I'd rather do some old-school brainstorming, using my very own brain. Computers will be making all our decisions for us soon enough.

So let's start with the most obvious domesticated cage-dwellers:


Ah, the noble hamster. It's not a mouse, not yet a guinea pig. As a kid, I was obsessed with hamsters . . . and cats, and dogs, and bottle-nosed dolphins . . . and briefly, during the 4th grade, capybaras -- which are essentially giant, mutant African hamsters.

--So easy to care for, even 10-year-old Tea could do it!
--Fuzzy and cute - like Japanese cartoon creatures come to life.
--Tons of fun accessories - hamster-ball races could become the new Primetime if I'm forced to cancel the cable.

-- They look like mice, which are the scourge of all apartment-dwellers.
-- Easy to lose / squish.
-- Lack of "street-cred". Although this could be an opportunity to rebrand hamsters as the "recessionista's pocketbook dog".


Admittedly, I don't know much about ferrets. I think there might have been a giant flying one in the Neverending Story movie. Or maybe that was a "luck dragon". Well, whatever . . . it lives in a cage, yes?

-- It's got fur and a cute face. And really, isn't that all ya need to make it in this great big world?
-- You can walk them on leashes. Can we say 'making new friends at the dog-park'?!
-- They kill snakes! Right? Or are those weasels?

-- They've got teeth.
-- They look cunning. Almost too cunning. I don't want a pet that can outsmart me / steal my soul.
-- I'm pretty sure they are loud and nocturnal? And eat meat? And suck the breath out of people while they sleep?
--I clearly know nothing about ferrets.

Rabbits (plinkity-plinkity-plink)

(Amy Sedaris' rabbit, Dusty)

Ah-ha! A house-rabbit would be the cleverest way for me to thwart the "no-pets" clause. Because while rabbits are technically cage-dwellers, you can also house-train them and let them hop free! Like a cat with longer ears.

-- They're totally furry and lap-friendly.
-- Amy Sedaris has one!
-- They deliver chocolate eggs.

-- A free-range rabbit + my apartment full of extension cords = imminent electrical fire.
-- I have a hard time imagining a rabbit being happy living in an apartment. Anyone who has read Watership Down can probably see why. Rabbits are meant to live underground and steal carrots from Mr. McGregor's garden.


Not fuzzy or cuddly, I know . . . but have you seen a gecko? There was a tank full of them at Petco, and I stopped dead in my tracks and grinned at them for about 10 minutes. They've got these giant, moist, understanding eyes . . . like a cage full of tiny therapists.

-- They've got British accents.
-- Will give the apartment a more tropical feel . . . "blimey, you've got geckos in here, mate!"
-- Also, you can apparently dress them in tiny sweaters?

-- Like living in a tropical climate, which mama won't be able to afford come winter. Unless gecko wants to go out and shill some auto insurance to help pay the heating bill.
-- Not fun to pat.


Don't knock 'em, people -- do you see how cute these little bastards can be?

-- British!
-- Requires virtually no grooming.
-- I will never have to buy toothpicks again.

-- Shows it love by piercing you with tiny spikes.
-- Pretty sure these little dudes are nocturnal, which means I'd never see him.
-- Eats bugs. Which means he'd also be needing his own separate refrigerator, because I'm not keeping his effing mealworms in with my people food!

Sugar Gliders

AKA -- flying squirrel. Yes, these animals are real -- and yes you can keep them as pets. My dad actually knows someone who has one. It is a marsupial that like to sleep in a pouch -- or your pocket. I'm sold!

Sugar Glider-Pros
-- Pocket-friendly!
-- It lives for like 12 years or something like that -- so it's like all the fun of having a dog or a kid without having to walk it or send it to college.

Sugar Glider-Cons
-- Also nocturnal. His party will be just starting when mama is ready to hit the hay.
-- Lives in a giant cage suitable for climbing / "gliding". I currently don't have enough space for a floor lamp, never mind a small zoo enclosure.

So that's my shortlist thus far. Consider the voting lines open, people -- what pet should tea get? If I've left an amazing creature off the list, feel free to write one in.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

summer in the city

Now that the cold winds of winter are officially behind us, I need to reconnect with my city and remind myself why the hell I continue to live here. Thus, my epic Sunday afternoon tour of Cambridge. I forgot to bring a real camera with me, so documentation was limited to some snaps with my phone. And no, I don't have one of those fancy iphones, where you can watch a movie and sign up for online photography classes while waiting for the bus . . . so please forgive the crap-ass quality of this photo collage. In real life, Cambridge is much less blurry.

Behold, Boston in all its summertime splendor! This is the money shot right here -- the picture that makes tourists and locals alike sigh with admiration. Just remember, kids -- that booming metropolis still has an over-priced, urine-soaked, 19th-century subway system and anyplace remotely fun (or booze-filled) closes before 2am.

Growing up, I used to play a game whenever we went for long car rides called "Where Would I Sleep If I Was Homeless". Popular choices were: thicket of bushes on a traffic island, fire escapes, old / abandoned barns / houses, trees (both under and in the branches, depending on the tree), abandoned train-cars . . . you get the idea. Needless to say, this "clearing full of ducks" or "DuckCamp!" totally would have made the list. Not only is it surrounded by leafy-groundcover, it comes complete with feathered-companions, perfect for snuggling with on chilly nights.

One of the things I love about Cambridge is that there's always something wacky going on. Every cultural group / college / religious cult seems to sponsor their own street festival. And if there's one thing I love, its giant crowds and fried food stands. Behold, two examples from Sunday alone. First, We have the Dragon Boat Festival on the Charles, featuring a family-friendly street fair on the shady river banks by Harvard.

Now here, we find the . . . . well, to be honest, I'm not exactly sure what this is called. "Portuguese Jesus Parade?" As a proud resident of East Cambridge with some family roots in this hood, I know that my mother was forced to march in these Portuguese Saints Day parades as a small child. Please note the lack of spectators / concern for traffic. There was one, lonely cop blocking off part of Cambridge Street, while drivers on all four sides of the intersection honked at those little girls in bridal dresses and the elderly brass band.

Oh, Boston. How could I ever leave you?

Monday, June 1, 2009

blue skies

Summer is here, people. I know this, because right now I am drinking a tall glass of Crystal Light raspberry lemonade. For me, that artificially sweet chemical-tang is the taste of summertime . . . the taste of long days spent lying in front of the AC, reading books, watchin’ crap daytime television, and wondering why I was still such a lard-ass. I was drinking the effing Crystal Light, goddamnit! Eff swimsuit season. Pass the Cool Ranch Doritos.

That’s “What I Did Over My Summer Vacation” from roughly age 12 to age 20. The formative years of Tea Guarie were a sarcastic, bitter, indie-comedy kind of time. I’ve always been a sass-mouthed and salty, even as a small girl. One of my mother’s favorite stories of my sweet babyhood is when, at age three, I walked up to my grandfather with my hands on my hips and said, “Grampy, you’re pissin’ me off!”

Get to the point, girl. Ok – this month, I’m going to attempt to recapture all the promise and excitement of a childhood summer . . . minus all the moping around whining and refusing to wear a bathing suit. This June, my goal is to practice Optimism. Sure, the world is a crazy place. Yes, I am preparing to be laid off any day now. No, I have not yet developed a taste for cat-food and government cheese . . . but I’m not going to let all that “doom and gloom” business spoil my good time.

I have never been a particularly “optimistic” person. Hell every time I get on an airplane, I prepare a Will. So this might be a bit of a stretch here -- but for the next 30 days – the glass is gonna be half full. Half full of an “artificially flavored lemon drink”, perhaps. But you know what they say: when life gives you lemons, use them to garnish your pitcher of powdered lemon-flavored beverage.