Monday, August 26, 2002

Okay, so I have a nit to pick with the Hallmark people. I am a big fan of Hallmark. Sending and getting cards makes me really happy.

But as for them creating holidays- enough is enough! I walked into a Hallmark store today, mostly because I have a gift certificate for $6.00 and no other money to spend on fun things, and their Nature's Sketchbook collection always goes on sale (H., are you out there? 75% OFF!!!) in the last week of August to make room for the Christmas ornaments, and I saw a display for Clergyperson Appreciation Day.

My first reaction was to be like, add this one to the Bosses' Day, Administrative Assistants' Day, obligatory but made up holiday list, but you know, being a spiritual leader is a round-the-clock job, and often probably stressful and/or painful when you have to help people who have lost a child, etc., so okay. I take it back. And it's always a good idea to thank people who can make your life either heavenly or hellish, as Bosses and Administrative Assistants have the power to do, and.... What would places like where Alissa works do without her? They really would have issues. They *should* thank her! A lot.

BUT THEN- I saw it. Sweetest Day. October 19th.


We've all said at one time or another that Valentine's Day is totally blown out of proportion, that Hallmark is trying to make money, etc etc. But now they've created Sweetest Day. For the life of me, I can't figure out what makes it different from Valentine's Day, except Valentine's Day honors the Catholic Saint Valentine, who was imprisoned for being a radical thinker and sent love letters to his wife or girlfriend via dove or pigeon or something. I don't know how the pigeon/dove knew where to go, maybe it was like Hedwig and the other really smart post owls in the Harry Potter books?

Whatever. I don't like Valentine's Day anyway. I know I have no right to complain, having had a boyfriend, a very romantic boyfriend who likes to surprise me with creative fun ways of celebrating this day at that, for the last four years. I still hate it. People get all greedy and competitive and jealous and angsty about it, and some years in college anyway, I found myself getting pulled into that, which drives me crazy. And it makes everyone else feel lonely and/or insecure about being independent or in relationships that don't fit neatly into a little velvet box or what have you.

I read this quote somewhere that said something like, "Will you be my Valentine? and I said, 'No, I do not need a holiday to love you." It may have been an Ani DiFranco song. I forget. That is pretty much how I feel about Valentine's Day in my current relationship, though.

BUT SWEETEST DAY? Why? WHY? WHY?!?! (To be read in rapid succession, a la Paul Reiser)

Don't get me wrong! I am all about making up new holidays. Every August 14th, my mom (and Kelly- who thinks it's funny and always remembers) wish me a Happy Conception Day, in honor of that special day in 1978 when I officially became a zygote. (Yes, my mom knows the exact day. Her memory is a lot like mine- creepy)

And last year, I wrote about my Menses Commencement Day, in honor of the day I got my first period, October 21. Last year, I celebrated a full decade of fertility. And Amanda and I have pledged to create a New Birthday for each other, in light of all of the bad news and emotional crap we've gotten on our Actual Birthdays in recent years.

Also, in fact, Thursday is Bella's Founder's Day. Exactly two years ago on August 29th, she ran out of the Rose Garden and got stuck in a bush behind our house in Syracuse, kicking off an intense four months of housebreaking. Woo hoo! (She's getting a new toy- SSssssh! Don't tell her :)

We should definitely make new holidays as they suit our life. For example, I have *never* gotten a box of raspberries in the grocery store that didn't have at least one really yucky/mushy/moldy berry. No matter how fresh they are, there is ALWAYS one moldy one. As soon as I bring home a "perfect" box of berries, I am declaring it Perfect Berry Day or something. Alissa, whom I know understands this, will get a Perfect Berry Day card, at least. :) Also, there is a bullfrog the size of a dinner plate threatening to take hostages out on my porch. It won't move! As soon as it leaves, if it leaves, I am declaring a Scary Big-Ass Frog Exodus Day.

Anyway, in an effort to open up a discussion in the comments, which seldom happens here, (although what is there to say, day after day, except, "Oh, God, I can't believe all that bad stuff happens to you! How are you still alive?!?!" or some such thing :) I am putting this out there-

What holidays can you recommend that we create- romantic, religious, silly, etc? How would you celebrate it? What day should it be? The person with the best/funniest/whatever suggestion will get a prize. (A real prize, one that I make myself or go buy in a store or whatever seems right. The prize will be good, I promise.)

So, suggest away!

Friday, August 23, 2002

Hallo! I am Triumphant Hiami Merald Freelance Woman! :)

I did my first assignment for them yesterday, which was to shoot a University of Miami (big Syracuse rival- Go Orangepersons!) football practice. I got a real photo assignment, with accurate times and dates and addresses and the name of the reporter who is ACTUALLY writing the story and a cell phone number that actually WORKED when I called the reporter to check in, on a piece of paper with my name on it and everything. I haven't had that since the Daily Record. (I am making a big deal out of this, but it's kind of tongue in cheek- getting photo assignments with all that info, etc is standard operating procedure everywhere but @P, apparently) I was so psyched.

The football team is very strict about media at practices. We were only allowed to shoot for the first thirty minutes because they are very anal. And you know what? The editor told me that when she assigned me, the reporter reminded me when we spoke the night before AND it was written on the assignment sheet! (Cue music: The hills are aliiiiiiive....)

This is EXACTLY the type of thing that Maniacal @P Staffer Who Made Me Miserable (some of the other people who work there have taken to calling her You-Know-Who- I guess they are going to fight her with sorcery the Harry Potter way...?) would have used to her advantage. She would have said, "Practice is between 8:30 and 10 a.m., so just go over there whenever... Why don't you start your day at 9?" That was always the catch phrase, "start your day;" like, "Your shift starts at 10, this random congressman's rally is at 10:15, so why don't you start your day then?" And I would have gone there at 9, and I wouldn't have been able to make a picture due to the restrictions or whatever, and then they would have said, "Always make it a practice to go early" or some shit, and it would have ended up being my fault. Which did NOT happen with the Merald! YAY!

Anyway, I shot the practice. It went well. After I was done at U of M, I did the standard thing, call back to the office and ask if they need anything while you're out, which could be anything from shooting another assignment or bringing back a jelly doughnut. Nope, all set. Half and hour in morning traffic later- remarkably when I am five minutes from the airport- my assignment editor calls and says, "Go straight to the airport; they are evacuating it. From all reports, the action is at concourse B."

Here's the thing. Someone called in a chemical terrorism/anthrax threat to the airport that morning. It turns out that the call was a hoax. However, someone- and no one is sure who- accidentally discharged a big-ass can of pepper spray in the international terminal. Naturally, when 43 people suddenly needed medical attention for choking, watering eyes and difficulty breathing an hour later, the airport thought the threat of anthrax/chemical warfare was real. They did find the pepper spray can about 15 minutes of chaos later, but everyone had been evacuated, the national guard called, HAZMAT teams mobilized, etc.

Every single journalist in Florida was on it, including You-Know-Who. I couldn't believe she was there. She has shot one thing since April, and that was when I was New York, shoplifting things (completely and totally by accident) from the company store. Anyway, You-Know-Who was making a big show, chatting with everyone and looking oh-so-at-ease with all the other photogs blah blah blah. And then, the HAZMAT people showed up and started putting on their gear on the other side of this big cement pole.

Now, here's the thing about so many journalists covering something. There is a real "pack of wolves" mentality to it. One person runs toward something, and everyone else follows. I have been the second and third person to see something in other situations, but never before have I been the first. So I see it, and walk quickly but purposefully to the spot and start shooting. Everyone comes running over, and You-Know-Who is. Right. Next. To Me. With a very teleconverter on her lens, a lens that is much better than mine. I just kept shooting. She was right next to me.

Fast forward three long, hot hours. Two other Merald people are there, and we spread out to try and get different stuff.

The airport re-opens. A Merald photog gets a kick-ass shot of a pepper-sprayed woman covering her eyes and being ushered out really, really fast. Every other person who needs medical treatment has been long gone, and they told employees they could return to their jobs a little too soon. Meanwhile, I am getting pictures of bored skycaps and checking the nondenominational chapel in case people are in there praying or something.

By the way, have any of you ever been inside an Airport Nondenominational Chapel? I had not. The one in Miami International has a big mural of an eagle, some folding chairs, a podium and two copies of Santa Biblia, the Christian Bible, in Spanish. I don't know what I was expecting. I think I was expecting more of a One-Of-Everything type place. You know, one cross, maybe a prayer mat or two, some plain white candles, some copies of the Koran, the Bible, the Torah, maybe some kind of shrine or a small Buddha or something. I don't know. Anyway, I get the eagle thing. You know, America, eagle as national bird, freedom, wings, flying, plane, airport, and so forth. But still... Huh.

So we go back to the office. The Merald is pleased with P's pepper-sprayed employee shot and my work, esp. of the HazMat people. I process everything. I go to leave. Fun New Nice Boss stops me and asks if they can move some of my photos of the (Bad Old Internship) Wire. (The Merald contract says they have to ask, because I keep the resale rights! I. KEEP. THE. RESALE. RIGHTS. This is great, and not what Bad Old Internship Place does. At All)

ANYWAY- this is so long, sorry- So this is what happened. Bad Old Internship Boss called Fun New Nice Boss and said, "Did you have anyone out at the airport?" (Um, yeah, everyone and their mother did, but okay) and Fun New Nice Boss, all this is according to her, by the way, said, "We had quite a few people."
BAD OLD BOSS aka BOB: "Oh. Well, if you have anything that looks different from what we shot, could you move it on the wire?"
FUN NEW BOSS, aka FNB: "Certainly."
BOB: "DO you have anything different?"
FNB: "Yes."
BOB: "Um, is [my full name here] working for you?
FNB: "Yes, as a matter of fact she is."


BOB: "Oh. Well, good for her."
FNB: "Good for both of us, actually. She's doing very well. We're really happy." (I love her.)
BOB: (Silence)

Hee hee hee. But wait, there's more.... THIS is the best part.

They requested MY picture of the HAZMAT people, because the picture You-Know-Who took, who was standing RIGHT NEXT TO ME, with superior equipment, Well, BOB had to specifically request "a HAZMAT picture."

Of course, P's picture of the woman who was having issues with the pepper spray was the Numero Uno Shot of the Day. I am SO PLEASED for him, and of course, concerned for the woman, whom I hear was just fine after a quick trip to the Eye Wash station. (Whoever told her to go back to work before all the Irritating Chemicals were taken care of is also a Bad Boss.)

But just to keep you from thinking Random Bad Stuff has stopped happening to me, during the Three Long Hot Hours that I previously fast forwarded, I got a $29 Parking Ticket (all the journalists parked in the journalists' area that weren't big satellite newsvans did) and they towed my car (which only cost $25 to get back from the airport, because they hadn't taken it to the tow lot, which would have cost $100+) but I got it back AND still got pictures of the National Guard coming in.

BUT THEN, after work, the rental car that I am using until my own car is fixed got banged in a mall parking lot, which I am responsible for, to the tune of $600+, which I am mostly paying for myself as my parents already graciously paid the first $500 deductible from the Scary Accident a fortnight ago, (Fortnight! Loo! Telly! Lift! Bloody Hell!) and my mom thinks the insurance company might drop me if we report another accident, even though it was technically hit-and-run, since I wasn't even there when it happened.

Sigh... But it's still okay. In any car accident where no one is hurt, I am learning, it's a blessing. My money from @P can cover this. My savings are still okay. My insurance is still okay. I think this is the universe's way of achieving balance since @P technically had to pay me twice for my photos from the airport, once to not work for them, and once to buy it from me as a pick-up from a member.

And I am happy. Because this is what photojournalism is about for me. It's about teamwork, and sports, and nondenominational religious spaces, and pepper spray. It's about Being There, for the good stuff and the scary stuff. It's about doing your best and being respected for it. It's about being a part of something bigger and focusing on getting people the information they need.

The Weird Bad Luck is so much less overwhelming when you love what do and have the freedom and support to just go out and do it. In the meantime, I am parking waaaaay out in No (Wo)Man's Land, far away from everyone until I get my own car back. And maybe even then. :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Hello all. Greeting from the Land of Not So Sucky at the Moment.

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I am going to say this very quietly so as not to give my computer any ideas, but it's been hard to blog as my computer has been having all kinds of type 25 errors blah blah blah and quitting and freezing and booting me offline. I think it's because I had to give the Internship Wire Service Laptop back, and they were friends. So perhaps it has been sulking? I don't know.

Anyway, I had posted ay67777777 (Okay, that was a message from Fred the Cat who just stepped on the keyboard) excuse me, an explanation of why I am no longer an intern at the International Wire Service. (Keeping the @SS in @SS-ociated, but anyway...) a few days ago, and then I took it down, because... well, I don't really know why, but I did, so...

Here's the thing, the situation just got worse and worse, and the more I tried to make things better, the worse it got. It was incredibly frustrating, but there were factors at play that essentially had nothing to do with me, although I did have my fair share of mistakes, car accidents and problems. Definitely lots of bad stuff on my part. Not really stuff I had control over, but still...

Basically, I got dumped. I did not get fired, which they made sure to tell me. It was totally like getting dumped. Things were bad; I knew it. We went through Break Up Phase One- Everyone tried to pretend things were fine, and then something essentially very dumb happened, my fault, and there was a tense phone call, where both parties know that this is *it,* that things need to just be laid out there. We agreed to meet in person the next day. I was told it was up to me whether or not I wanted to end my "experience" early.

Break Up Phase Two/The "Talk"
I dressed up, the way you do when you have the Break Up Talk. I said, "I am not a quitter; I am committed to this." They took that choice out of my hands. And they said, "We consider your obligation to be fulfilled." (which is the corporate version of, "it's not you, it's me" which ALWAYS, ALWAYS means "It's you.")

Then we moved into Phase 3/Giving Back of the Stuff.
I gave back all the pool equipment I was issued (every single piece of which had
*something* wrong with it when I got it, from missing lens caps to the "Not Firing At All, Ever, Not Once" flash, all of which I replaced, fixed, sent away for repair, BY THE WAY). Also, they got me this really nice, expensive photo backpack when I arrived, and I laid it with all the stuff I was giving back, which is the equivalent of Dumpee/Me saying: "Here, take back this necklace/ring/sweater you gave me," (with undertones of "Fine! If this is it, I don't want ANYTHING from you! No!) and the Boss was all, "No, that was a gift. That is for YOU." and then the Dumper/She says: "No, no that was a GIFT; please, keep it" (with subtext of, "What the hell am I going to do with a woman's necklace/ring/sweater?!? Besides, your cooties are all over it.")

Phase 4: The Denial/We can still be friends/Awkward Hug Moment
Boss: "You aren't being FIRED, did you think you were being FIRED?!?! NO!!! It's just over now."
Me: "Oh. Well..." (Forced smile)
Boss: "We will be in touch" (No, we won't)
Then she hugged me, and it was weird, and I turned to leave.

Phase 5/ Realizing there IS someone else
All summer, my boss has been paying a girl, who is exactly my age and is a beginning shooter and has a Very Very Famous Photojournalist Father, to archive all the diorganized negatives and photos from the Days of Yore. She has *never* once had a credential/security pass, (all worn on a lanyard around the neck by every journalist everywhere) for months, since I got here in May. As I went to leave, I saw it... on a lanyard, a credential of her own! Jesus, it's like seeing the Ex's class ring on a chain around the New Girl's neck. (cue music: "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To")

Phase 6/ Taking "Custody"
Several of my co-workers, esp. my Mentor (who was not consulted at any time about any of this, and Human Resources are not returning her calls) were Upset, and promised to write me good references, etc. The Other Staffer is still probably doing a Happy Dance Around the Darkroom. Whatever.

Phase Seven/ The Blind Date
Five minutes after I got home, a staffer called and insisted I call his wife, a photo editor at the Hiami Merald, "right away, right now." I did. She asked me to bring in my portfolio first thing Monday morning (today).

Phase Eight/Mourning
At first, I drove out of there so liberated, so free. Then, there was a little crying, (not too much, though, I cried more over Stupid Mark, if that gives you a reference) some very long (occasionally late night) phone calls, the trying to keep busy (my apartment is so clean) and the staring off into space and ocassionally muttering angrily to oneself.

Phase Eight/ The Rebound Relationship
My meeting went very well this morning. I am now a freelancer for the Merald! Yay!

So it's onward and upward from here. Are you ready for the best part, though? Here is where the similarities to romantic break-ups end. They are still paying me through the last day I was supposed to work. So, basically, I am making $14 an hour to sit on the beach, watch Trading Spaces and bring you new Gerunds, below. Which is also necessary, as I have to pay my rent next month, which I wouldn't have to do if I didn't come down here with the expectation that I would be working into September. I have to say, I respect them for that. Otherwise, this would be a really, really expensive mess.

Obviously, it isn't the way anyone would have wanted it to go, you know? But I have felt for weeks here that everything was just getting worse and worse. You, faithful readers, all know how I fell off the lime-green dinosaur, literally breaking my fall with my face, on my way down here, right? Yeah. I pretty much felt like I was falling flat on my face every day after that. And I don't feel like that anymore.

I did learn a lot- A LOT. I feel like better things are most definitely at hand. :)

Sunday, August 18, 2002

Hmmm.... There are some weird things happening with this page. This is another test.

Friday, August 16, 2002

“I have a better solution: You keep me on the payroll as an outside consultant and in exchange for my salary my job will be never to tell people these things that I know. I don't even have to come to office, I can do this job from home.”
-Fight Club

I remember when I was, I don’t know, let’s say 10. I saw the movie “Big” starring Tom Hanks. And while there are many memorable moments from the movie- the scary nodding fortune-teller machine, Tom Hanks on the piano at FAO Schwartz- one of the more subtle things about the movie relates to when Tom Hanks’ character is playing a video game, probably on a computer like an Apple IIE, the kind of computer where you had to insert one disk to start and then put in a different one to run, and the snippet of the game shows him trying to defeat an evil wizard. And Josh, the character kid, tries to beat the game in the beginning, and nothing he does, not trying to run past the evil wizard, not trying to melt him or freeze him, none of it works. And in the end, when he decides to be a kid again, when he is truly “big”- mature, whatever- he plays the game one more time. And he decides not to fight the wizard, to walk away from this situation that he just can’t figure out- no running, no melting, no freezing, just deciding not to fight anymore. And he wins. The only way to defeat the evil wizard is to not engage him in combat.

Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Oh, and by the way, I was telling Gwen and Alissa the other day about this new thing in Britain where these wealthy estate owners have decided that they want to hire a hermit, as hermits were an actual part of everyday estate life in the 18th Century. They don't want an actor, someone (a la Historical Williamsburg) to meet with visitors and explain why and how hermits came to be, blah blah blah. Nope. They just want to pay someone to be their hermit.

This articlefrom Everyone's Favorite (Internship) Rival News Service, Reuters, explains it better.

They state: "The successful applicant will be expected to live in a cave on the grounds of the estate and abandon human contact, except for scaring visitors -- and will probably have to give up shaving and bathing as well." Enjoy!
Ah... There is nothing quite like the Internet when you need a little something to help you waste your days off. It's a beautiful day out there, but it's hot as balls and so here I sit, reading Television Without Pity and The Onion and Tomato Nation and the free comics over at United Media. Where would I be without Get Fuzzy, since the Hiami Merald doesn't run it? If you weren't aware of these sites before, happy procrastinating!

Okay. Must. Stop. Right. Now.

Must go call insurance adjuster and find out if they have gone to the correct Toyota dealerships yet to look my car. Must go work on Portfolio CD packets and follow-up postcards to beg the universe to let me be an employed photojouranlist after September 6th. But really... I just want to take a nap and play with the kitten who is chasing a plastic bottle cap around the kitchen. :)

And now for the Crazy Animal Lady Report of Unsolicited News About My Pets- no more barf, woo hoo! The dog has taught the cat to fetch. The cat has taken to perching on top of my computer monitor while I'm working (yeah, right, playing Snood obsessively and checking my email every ten minutes for news about jobs is more like it), but the other night he fell asleep while he was up there and I guess he shifted in his sleep and he fell off. The good news is that he didn't fall to the floor through the crack between the desk and the wall, nor did he hit his head on the printer. Which is good. Fred is a little off anyway without head injuries. :)

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Greetings from the Land of Suck. The Internship Train, which left from "Isn't this exciting?" Junction last May, has now passed through "Try to Make the Best of Things!" Crossings and steaming full speed ahead toward "Hell on Earth" Station.

Please don't worry when you read this next part, okay? I am fine. I am so totally fine.... but I was in a car accident on Wednesday. A big one. I think my car may be totaled, actually, which I have come to find out actually means, "when the cost of repairs exceeds the total value of your car's worth." I am not sure yet, I am still trying to coordinate getting an insurance adjuster afiliated with my insurance company in PA to go look at it, as that nice insurance company, owned in part by my dad's best childhood friend, does not have adjuster stationed in Florida, obviously.

I am okay. The other people are okay. There are no injuries. They hit me actually. I was on a two-lane street that merges with an off-ramp of a causeway/highway (which was supposed to be closed, actually, more on that in a minute) and then immediately goes down to one lane and a left turn lane. I needed to move to the left turn lane, but that involves directly crossing where the exit ramp lane meets the street. The off-ramp is on a big blind curve, and I was trying to make sure no one was coming off the highway, trying to avoid the very thing that happened, ironically. They were speeding and didn't see me in time and couldn't stop.

It was very scary, and I am so lucky not to have any injuries. I just sort of took care of business and went right back to work two hours later. I feel very lucky, in part because when I got back to work, the TV news was reporting a horrible accident, a hit-and-run, in which a woman who was not wearing her seatbelt was hit by another car (who left its entire front fender, headlights and all, but didn't stop), was ejected from her vehicle and then crushed by her own flying SUV. Which is horrible, and so much worse than what happened to me.

I tend to have some not-so-good driving habits- cell phones (yes, plural), eating, frantic map-reading, my dog climbing all over the car, and I did have to take a written test because I had so many speeding tickets, but I have made a real effort to not do those things anymore, or at least do some of them more safely. The ironic thing is- I was not doing any of those bad things- no food, no dog, no phone, no radio, no map, nothing. My car was going 0 mph; I was wearing my seatbelt, and still- something really bad happened.

I was surprised that someone was even coming off the exit ramp from the MacArthur Causeway, because it was closed for the filming of the new Will Smith movie, Bad Boys 2. There are three ways to get from Miami Beach, which is sort of on a penninsula that reaches out parallel to the East Coast of Florida, into downtown Miami, but MacArthur cCauseway is the main one. Also, the MacArthur causeway stretches out further to Key Biscayne, a ritzy little island for wealthy people and their servants, and it is the ONLY way to get to the main land. So all of these people couldn't get to their jobs for four days because of the movie filming. The wealthy people just went and stayed in hotels in downtown Miami, at their own expense, but all of the people who work in grocery stores, Blockbuster, gas stations, etc., on Key Biscayne, as well as the people who cook, clean and raise the children of the wealthy people had to choose- do not go to work or go to work and do not go home for four days.

Furthermore, they were filming high speed boat chases in the area under the Causeway, which is a manatee conservation zone. It's a No Wake Zone for local boaters all year round, but it's especially dangerous for manatees now, as it is their mating season. Sigh... It makes me sad, although not surprised, that the government officials can sacrifice things they say they care about- workers' rights, environmental conservation- if the price tag is big enough. The production company paid the local authories $20 million- 20. Million. Dollars.- to do this.

I feel like it might be okay if the local government here in the Land of Suck used that $20 million to compensate workers who couldn't reach their jobs or to have environmental workers on hand at the scene to do what they could to either help injured manatees or consult with stunt boat drivers or something- Pardon the Bleeding Heart Liberal Tendencies here, people- but no. Nope.

Anyway, this relates to my accident in that the car, which was driven by locals not movie production people or anything, was coming off the ramp to the closed Causeway, which I don't get. But whatever.
So please, dear readers- take your time, use your hands-free devices for your cell phone, wear your seatbelt, go easy on the volume of your music, maybe eat more urban food logs (thanks for the phrase, Gwenie) that don't require utensils in the car, and be very watchful of the road when reading mapquest directions and/or a map, and always always always be on the look out for mating manatees. :)

My new goal for the Miami Experience is making it out of here alive. (Ha ha, kidding kidding!)

Friday, August 09, 2002

Happy Birthday to the person who:

•used to walk around S.U. with a New York State Fair Lost Child Tag that said, I belong to Ace” (nickname for Alexandra) when he was still dating his high school sweetheart

• Who falls into fantastic, well-paying, interesting, “Is a lot of international travel a problem?” dream jobs by spending a summer sleeping until 4 p.m. and playing video games

•who used to work at Fotorama in the Fayetteville Mall

•Who held my hand when we watched the footage of the Lockerbie Air Disaster and the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Pan Am 103 in photo class before we went there to document the survivors in the town (P.S. Check out the September 2002 issue of Health magazine)

• Who is always mildly confused but never offended whenever I tell him he looks like various animals, as in, “You know that picture I took of you with your hair over your eyes? You look just like the yak in this postcard!”

•who would fly back to London just to eat lunch at Wagamama if he could

• Who postponed taking classes in his major so he could have just a few more weeks playing his cello with an orchestra (a prestigious one at that)

• who sees me differently than anyone else in the world; I am seldom beautiful in photographs and never the way I appear to be in his :)

• Who sat in the waiting room at L.A. Weight Loss for 45 minutes while I waited to be weighed in, was psyched at my getting below a specific goal, and then celebrated with me at Doug’s Fish Fry (Where they’ll deep fry your left arm if you asked them too)

• Who drove to Office Max to get sticky tack in the 72nd hour of a three-day “scanning, printing, trimming, mounting” marathon when he really, really, really (I mean, *really*) didn’t want to, so that Jill and I could hang the Remembrance Week photo exhibit in time (Thanks, Jill! :)

•Who I once caught coming out of a steamy bathroom (fully clothed) with my boyfriend when I unexpectedly stopped by the apartment they shared senior year (They were testing out their laser pointers- apparently, you could see the full beam of light when it bounced off the steam... if you say so :)

• Who would awaken from a sound sleep (at 3 p.m., mind you), get dressed and go out in four feet of snow to jump my car after I wore down the battery by leaving my blinkers on while I worked in the darkroom for four hours so I wouldn’t get a ticket for parking in 15 minute parking behind the journalism school (It made it seem like I was coming back soon, see?) which, of course, drained my battery. He actually did this on more than one or two occasions and never complained.

• Who invested several thousand dollars in a professional studio camera, but walked around with a giant hole in his shoe for more than a year.

• Who, even when he is 75 years-old and capping off a successful career as a commercial photographer with hundreds of awards, will still forget to pull the dark slide out of a medium format camera for the first exposures.

Happy birthday, Luke!

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Okay, in general, I don’t talk about my love life on this site that often. But I am going to beg for Mushy Blog Entry Amnesty today, which is Stephen’s and my Four Year Dating Anniversary. I am hoping that this won't be as nauseating as the last entry. :) I can't believe how much has changed in our lives these past four years. Our lives, since we have been together, have had a tempo, a rise and fall of great joys and difficult struggles.

His grandparents died; his nephew Andrew was born.

Nanny got sick; Nanny is dying to start driving again.

I came back from Prague; together we went to England, Ireland, Scotland, the beach, the lake, the mountains and college.

I have been on 7 different psychotropic medications and lost and gained a total of 80 pounds all together, in either direction. I feel really healthy in mind, body and spirit, despite being somewhat… well, “eccentric” would probably be putting it mildly. :)

I cut all my hair off, grew it back, cut most of it off, dyed it red, dyed it back, and cut it all off again. Stephen had the same haircut since he was five, then had it shaped into an old man semi-circle for a role and sulked (legitimately, it was bad) for half-a-day before his director mercilessly decided his character should be completely bald, then grew it back somewhat and kept it short ever since. I think love is when you can Bic your boyfriend’s head twice a day- before a matinee and again before the 8:00 show- and then walk across campus with him wearing a black trench coat and tall, black snow boots, and both pray we don’t run into any of my women’s studies professors. :)

My work has been displayed in four exhibits, three magazines, and in and on an unknown number of newspapers and web sites (because of being on the wire.)

Stephen has performed in 12 shows. He has written 9 sketches, 7 monologues, a 1 one-act play, and countless drafts of beginnings I have never seen. He directed 3 shows and created an improv troupe. I have had 5 internships, did all the stuff I used to do at Isaac's: cook, waitress (excuse me, tron) and hostess, worked holiday retail, substitute taught, shot weddings and pets, and moved to Allentown, London, Syracuse, Lancaster, Harrisburg and Miami. He drove an ice-cream truck, worked in the box office of a theater in Boston, and now performs magic tricks in a giant top hat between auditions. His mom sold the home they grew up in and moved to Boston.

His brother was diagnosed with and eventually beat cancer for the second time.

My sister fell in love, went to law school and made law review. Then she started her MBA. His sister changed jobs three times (from a start-up job to a that boomed then busted and now a Good Grown-Up Job), bought half a house and got engaged.

We went to three weddings, including one where he had to wear a kilt, and that of my First Love. He saw his First Love on a subway in Boston when they simultaneously said, “Bless you,” to a woman sitting in the rows halfway between them, and they didn’t a word to each other.

We solemnly vowed to get out of bed, jog to the gym together and swim laps before class three different times, on three different “Health Kicks.” We never went. Not once.

He likes all the popsicle flavors that I don’t like. The way I see it, we have to get married someday, because with him not here… all I have left are the orange ones! :)

We have lived, at different times, four states away, five floors apart, six blocks down the street, 10 stops away on the Underground, and 1,500 miles apart. And yet, to me, “home” is wherever we are together.

And with all the good and all the bad, all we’ve accomplished and seen and performed and done and written and shot and printed, this relationship- keeping it healthy and strong and so much fun- is the best thing we’ve done. The best.

Thank you, Stephen. I love you. Happy anniversary!

Hi. Are you eating? Don't read this entry if you're eating. Or about to have lunch or dinner. Seriously. Step away from the web site. Step away.

I have decided that I am in advanced training for Motherhood. You know people always say that when you become a parent, you are no longer disgusted by anything that comes out of another human being's body? Riiiiight. Yeah, okay, having pets? In particular, a dog AND a cat? Excellent preparation.

Apparently, it's a well known fact to bi-animal households (who identify as being both canine and feline-positive; tee hee, my psuedo-politically correct speak amuses me. And only me, apparently.) Ahem, anyway, apparently, it's well known that dogs like to eat out of litterboxes. I was not aware of this when I brought young Fred into the house. So, Bella, adorable as she is, has been, uh, pilfering the litterbox, shall we say?

I have been trying to keep the door to the bathroom (where the litterbox is) shut to keep her out, but unfortunately that keeps the cat out, too. They (probably the same people who say that motherhood makes you immune to gross body stuff) say that necessity is the mother of invention, right? So, instead, Fred took a dump in my fruit bowl- my beautiful, Maya Angelou, Life Mosiac Hallmark serving bowl that was a birthday gift from Kelly. Let's just put it this way, I don't think this is what Maya had in mind when she decided to put the quote, "Life is a glorious banquet, a limitless and delicious buffet," on the serving bowl. Sigh…

So I put the bowl in the bathtub under scalding hot water for 20 minutes, scrubbed it down with bleach and, drought be damned, washed it in the dishwasher four times today.

And, oh God, this isn't even the worst part.

You know that commercial for Dial soap where the dog is drinking out of the toilet, the owner comes home and the dog licks the owner's face and the announcer says, "You're not as clean as you think you are." ?

I am not as clean as I think I am.

This morning I woke up, and as I rolled over to check the time, remembering happily that it's my day off, I see that there is a giant pool of dog vomit on the pillow next to my head. (Not the one my head is on, mind you, but the other pillow, which IS next to my head, so it's only a teeny, tiny sliver of comfort.)

So I scream, leap out of bed, and land on my feet on the floor NEXT to my bed, and…. Surprise! You guessed it, I am now standing in a SECOND pile of dog vomit, which- by the way- also covers my hardback copy of Harry Potter 4: Goblet of Fire; yes, the rare "misprint/discrepancy that only appears in the first half of the first edition books" version. (So, H., I know you felt guilty about its spine being broken, etc. And least you didn't barf on it, right? No more feeling guilty!: )

And as I hop on one foot to the bathroom to wash it off, I spy a THIRD pile of dog vomit by the door to the bathroom. At this point, I'm like, screw running for paper towels and Febreze; I want a crucifix! Bella doesn't need a vet; she needs an exorcist! But, of course, the REASON she is throwing up is because she- quite obvious to me as I was cleaning up- was, um, eating out of the litterbox.

So I have spent my day washing and rewashing (and rewashing) all my sheets, duvet and comforter and keeping an eye on the critters. I also went to Home Depot and bought some bricks and cinder blocks- bricks to wedge the bathroom door open just wide enough for Fred, but not Bella, to get through, and a cinderblock on the inside to keep Bella from pushing the door open the rest of the way.

I love them. I do. I am not going to tie them to a guardrail on an entrance ramp to South Dixie Highway with a sign that says "Free 2 Good Home," but I won't say the thought didn't cross my mind. And, I figure, compared to this, it will seem like small potatoes when someday when I have a kid with the flu, right? Of course, Goddess willing, Future Child probably won't be leaving piles of regurgitated cat shit on my pillow, either (shudder).

Saturday, August 03, 2002

OH. MY. GOD. OH MY GOD! I can't believe what jsut happened!!!!!

Okay. Okay. It's 4:30 a.m., and being nocturnal and not having to work until 4 p.m., the sports shift (yay!), I am awake and working on portfolios and new gerund stuff in the bottom section. AND- AND- OH MY GOD- I was troubleshooting the graphics bit, and on one of my updates, I saw that there was a new comment under the entry directly before this one. And I was like, "Huh? Who do I know is awake right now, and what is so comment-worthy?" AND- OH MY GOD- it was a very very very obscene picture. It was a picture of a guy- uh, choking the chicken, shall we say? EW. EW. EW. Bleeeeecchhhhh. What the hell!?!?! I seriously feel violated, actually. Who goes around posting obscene pictures on people's comments at 4:30 a.m.????? ANd what if I was busy tomorrow and didn't check it?!?!? Sheesh.


Going to take a shower. I blocked this particular user, but seriously, guys, if this happens again, please call me right away, okay? Keep an eye on your blogs.
P.S. All new Gerunds below. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago, Kelly sent out a forward, which she very seldom does and only when they are very funny. It was something about, "You know you are out of college when..." and some of the things it listed were like, "You only have a few alcoholic drinks you really like, because you have probably had a bad experience with almost all of them," etc. Anyway, one of them was, "You keep your houseplants alive."

And no shit! It's true! For the first time ever, I have five houseplants that are alive. Three of them are thriving. The other two weren't looking so good, but I pulled the dead leaves off and moved them to a sunnier spot, and one of them looks healthy again. The other one looks better, although it does still have a big leaf that is a dubious shade of yellow. One of the plants is so big I think it needs to be transplanted.

This is a big step for me! Usually, especially in college, my plants have just shriveled up and died no matter what I did. However, I think the plants I had in my freshman year of college, (before I lived with Best College Friend Jo), when I lived with Holly the Big, Dumb Inconsiderate Sorostitute Ho, were committing suicide. Can't say I blame them, what with all the hairspray and perfume and whatnot.