Tuesday, December 30, 2003

When Amanda and I were kids, my dad showed us how to make an “igloo.” We used a “sandcastle” method, making walls by packing snow into empty 1-gallon ice cream buckets, then turning them over and hoping the snow maintained the shape. We used to dig a pocket in one of the walls, put wrapped Twin Pops in it, call it “the freezer,” and store the popsicles for a total of maybe 6 minutes before eating them. One year, our dad let us spray the whole thing with water from the hose so the fort would last longer. I think we had gravelly ice mounds in the front yard until May that year.

When Stephen was a kid, he built a heavily fortified snow fort complete with an arsenal of snowballs. He lifted the thin sheet of ice out of the birdbath and stored his “ammunition” behind it. (Think: “In case of emergency, break glass.”) I’m not sure the fort ever came under fire, but he did shoot a kid in the foot with a not-so-pretend, but-not-real-either bow and arrow when he and his friends were getting chased/picked on by the Popular Crowd one Halloween. (Why did we call them the “Popular Crowd” when no one really liked them? I guess the “Everyone Secretly Wishes You Would Die or At Least Move Far Away” Crowd doesn’t have the same ring to it. Stephen went as Robin Hood that Halloween, by the way.)

2003 has been the Year of the Escape Hatch for me. I’ll wait here while everyone else catches up with the abrupt subject change- the relevance is back there with the birdbath ice/emergency glass. I’ve been trying to build in “escape hatches” wherever possible, so that the tools I need to enact Plan B are never too far from my reach.


After locking my keys in my running car at a lacrosse game last March, I have spare keys everywhere now. I have only had to shimmy up fire escape and crawl into my top-of-the-house apartment twice since I moved in last February. (This is not inaccurate. I had to do it last night, after I wrote that. It’s three times now.) After hemming a pair of trousers with a piece of gaffer’s tape, I have an over-the-back- of-the-seat- organizer with every possible amenity-sewing kit, quarters, breathe mints, tampons, Advil, bottle of water, Visine, AA batteries. I have an electronic “Now You Can Find It!” unit that summons my wallet, day planner, remote control. It used to summon my keys, too, but I permanently lost the set that had the microchip attached. (The irony, I know.) I am one of 5 Nerdy Americans who, (post-Blackout 2003) actually has the recommended, fully stocked emergency kit in a duffle bag, complete with provisions for the pets and updated records of their vaccinations. People, I have Cipro.

But my latest and greatest Escape Hatch *iiiiiis*- I bought a red wallet! Bright red. Fire Engine red. As you know, in addition to losing things, I spill things on myself. Consequently, almost everything I own right now is black. Black wallet. Black day planner. Black cell phone case, black checkbook cover. Black car. Looking into my black purse is like staring into an abyss. My wallet is so hard to see sometimes. Not anymore!

I went to Marshall’s and bought a trendy, bright red wallet on deep discount (somewhere- on the T, at her desk, in her apartment, my sister is smiling…) so it won’t sting too much when I inevitably lose it. I love you, red wallet. Now, let’s go photocopy everything in you so I know exactly what I have to cancel when you’re eventually, inevitably gone someday soon.

Monday, December 29, 2003

What IS it about weddings that turns people into a Total Freak Show, I ask you? (Note to my Engaged Sister: You are NOT a Freak Show. You are NOT who I am talking about. Seriously.) WHY, though? It's like, weddings and funerals seem to bring out the very worse and very best in people.

I know it's because the emotions are all running high, and I know that as a member of various teams of stressed-out Hired Wedding Staffers, I have more exposure than most people to the Wedding Personality Quirk Factor.

And I fully admit that I say this as the person who cried in HEFK's hot tub after her Fabulous Female Fiesta because I was overwhelmed by the emotions involved in it all. Well, that, and I accidentally gave her a baby shower card, which may have kinda sorta made it seem like she was pregnant in front of all her then husband-to-be's mother's friends, many of whom she was meeting for the first time. I swear I thought it was a bluebird of happiness carrying a white wedding bow on that card. I swear. But I digress...

But still, people.... Freak Show. I have to find a sincere way to answer an email now. FREAK. SHOW.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Hello all.

I hope this finds you all well and recovering from the holidays. I had a naaaaaaaaasty start to Christmas Eve triggered by Stop n' Shop sushi- seemingly not a problem most of the time- but I am now physically recovered as I host the parents for a post-present roundup.

The TV I got for Christmas (Thanks Mom and Dad!) didn't fit in the car, so they drove it up here to me today. They leave for Boston in the morning to visit Manda.

I feel very focused on the New Year this year. I don't usually make resolutions. I don't usually even feel like this is a Fresh Start time of year, actually. I tend to celebrate it in September at Rosh Hashanah. ( I should really carry around a pre-printed index card that explains that "I'm Not Jewish, But..." It would have been useful at a Hanukkah celebration at the local Chabbhad -sp?-headquarters last weekend)

But I'm looking forward to the New Year this time. I have a lot I want to write here, actually. Stay tuned....

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I'm really frustrated right now. FRUST.RAT.ED.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Yeah, so I didn't realize that post didn't publish back on the 8th. Sorry about that. And Fred did enjoy breaking a few ornaments and running around with glass in his mouth the first day. Scary.


I have been thinking about the sense of smell a lot lately. It's partly because of the lovely Christmas tree smell in my apartment at the moment, so that's not exactly a total non sequitar. :)

And you know, it's funny, but the sense of smell is really the one of the five senses that you really can't preserve or capture to enjoy later. I was thinking, looking at some sports photos tonight, you know, that is literally 1/500th of a second you're looking at there. 1/500th. Right there, frozen forever.

The father in the story I did about the blind family makes audio recordings of things he wants to remember. He has a little tape recorder with a microphone that he clips on his sleeve. I spent a day with them at the zoo, and he ran around all day making recordings of his 2-year-old son chatting about the giraffes and making monkey noises as he looked at the primate exhibit.

Recipes and frozen leftovers preserve "taste" fairly well. The sense of touch is fairly easy to replicate if the physical object still exists. But smell is the one sense you can't really preserve and recreate at will.

A few weeks ago, I put on Degree deoderent for the first time in 8 years. I had a travel size sample, it was convenient, and then later- "When life turns up the heat"... BAM! As clear as a bell, it was like 1994, making out with J. If anyone had asked me to pick a scent that might bring a memory like that back, (and who would? I don't think anyone else thinks about stuff like this) I probably would have named the cologne he used to wear. I never would have thought about my wearing Degree.

It's the combinations of scents that make it difficult to recreate, I think. In 1995, I wrote in my journal that a passageway in Barcelona smelled like "Warm bread, impatiens flowers and inadequate sewer system." Go, Europe. The combination of Curve cologne, Benjamin Moore paint and sawdust will always conjure up long Saturdays set-painting with Mr. Lehm@n. (HA! No functional comments!)

In Miami, they had oxygen bars where you could pay to wear "fashionable" (eh) tubes in your nose and smell different "flavors" while getting ever-so-slightly legally high on purer oxygen that one usually breathes in the Aventura Mall. I never did it. Still, though, 20 years from now, I doubt they will have the "flavor" I really want, which is the way Nanny's house smells on the day she (and Larry) bake dozens of Christmas cookies. It's the usual comforting combination of Ciara cologne and lingering cooking smells- like soup and fried meatballs. But that day, even that scent is just an undercurrent beneath the aroma of cinnamon and chocolate and nuts and baking dough and peanut butter cookies, the kind with perpendicular fork marks on top.

"I'm making a memory. Years from now, when I'm all grown up, I'll remember
my Grandfather and how he always smelled of peppermint and pipe tobacco." -Hayley Mills in "The Parent Trap"

Monday, December 08, 2003

Ow, ow, the cuteness. I have to lie down.

I got a Christmas tree today. A real live one, that I am going to decorate just the way i want it, and oh- It's up right now, with a strand of white lights, and I put it in the window, the one that it's in the center of the top peak of the house, because I think it will make people happy when they see it. All the main lights in the room are off, just the tree is on, and -

Fred was just curled up in a tight, round ball right underneath the outer branches, and Bella was sleeping with her head on him, like he was a pillow. Of course, when I went to get my camera, they moved a little. They were laying side by side,and it's sort of hard to photograph because there is so little light. Using flash doesn't capture the mood, but anyway... I had a total attack of the cuties.

I just really, really hope they don't turn into Killer Kat and Destructo Dog when I put the ornaments on tomorrow.

Monday, December 01, 2003

The conversation around the Thanksgiving dinner table was one of the best "holiday conversations" I've been a part of. Some years, it seems a little awkward, like I don't have a lot to say to my extended family/friends. (What can you really talk about with Larry, after all? This year, he told me all about processing returned shoes for QVC, and how some of the returns have obviously been worn, and even though QVC isn't supposed to accept them, they do. Apparently, they have a department of people who try to scrub toe marks off the inner soles of shoes with toothbrushes. Hmm.)

But this year, the conversation flowed. Ironically, 2003 was a pretty good year for the usual crowd around the table, except for Aunt Bev and Aunt Mamie, who died. That sounds awful, but anyway... Amanda and Tom graduated, passed the bar, got engaged. Greg graduated from F & M, got a great job, started work on his MBA. Kristen and Adam got married. Nanny returned to a firmer state of healt, climbing the stairs instead of riding in a chair.. Kelly and I got our Big Girl Lives at last. But I realized that all of those accomplishments- which seemed to really fall into place in the last 11 months or so- had been a long, long time in coming. It's lovely when the 20/20 view of hindsight shows you passing the places you thought would lead you where you said wanted to go, then finding yourself there.

Alissa, however, offers a beautiful, poignant description of what I actually *did* over the holiday. www.leafygreen.org/alissa

Also? My cat can actually be a pretty cuddly little guy. :)

Monday, November 24, 2003

I think I sprained my face.


I was driving back up to NY after the wedding, and my face was all sore. I couldn't figure it out. I was like, "Ow... I hope I'm not developing TMJ..." when I realized my face hurt from the constant forced smiling.

At one point, at the reception, after I caught myself saying the 500th inane pat response- "It was lovely.".... "Sure, I can totally take the tear out of that buttonhole in PhotoShop" (PUH-leaze, NO ONE can see it without a magnifying glass)... "No, the flower girl is NOT asleep in the van; she's in the bed and breakfast." "Yes, I just saw her."..."Yes, it WAS beautiful.".... "This is YOUR day."... "Oh, that 'Stacey's Mom' song is your favorite, yeah? It's catchy, I'll give you that."... "Um, you looked like you were having so much fun during YMCA"- I went to the ladies' room and stopped smiling. And it hurt, like when you have your hair pulled in a tight ponytail all day and finally take it down.


Saturday, November 15, 2003

I am in Boston to see Stephen in Julius Ceasar. He's on a roll at the moment, which I am thrilled about. He's going to be touring with "Romeo and Juliet" until the end of May, but it's what we've been hoping for, so- woo hoo!

But in the middle of all the Shakespeare and reputable theater, Stephen is also juggling a 10-person show called Anger Box, which offers some extremely dark comedic commentary on religion, the afterlife, etc. Let's put it this way: I don't really want to see the "et cetera" while sitting in the audience with Stephen's mom. Or anyone's mom for that matter.

I should add, at this point, that Stephen is always fairly secretive when it comes to the shows he is in, especially if I've never seen the show before and don't know much about it. I know who he's befriended in the cast, whose a b!tch to work with, how hot his 8-ft, 50 lb costume is, but I almost never know that he's hiding in a steamer truck for the first 25 minutes of the show, what his costume will be like, if the "nurse" Erika portrays is actually a mental patient and/or when he pops out of that trap door. I know he wants me to have as many surpises as any other audience member so I can properly enjoy the theatrical experience.

BUT-tonight he came to Manda's aprtment after rehearsal for Anger Box with a poster from the show. I did NOT know that while he's delivering his monologue about m@sterb@tion, he will be dressed as an elf, in a green elf costume with a giant yellow bow tie. The teaser postcard he made also mentions that he takes off his pants.

Furthermore, there is an actress in the show who portrays the Virgin Mary as a young mother (w/infant son) in a monologue titled, "Jesus, eat your Cheerios."

I can. not. wait. to see this show. Any takers for a road trip to Boston?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Oh, dear. I got an email forward today from my old pet-sitter back in Miami. I liked her so much; she was a lovely person who loved Bella and Fred and cared for them like they were her own. The email subject heading said, "Fwd: Do you agree or not?"

I usually just delete this stuff, but she hasn't emailed me since last February. I thought it might be something about dog-fighting (HUGE problem in Miami. Huge.) or Greyhound racing (Also, big down there) or ordinances about pitbulls (Dade County has a law that if you own a pitbull, they will confiscate it and put it down. Doesn't matter if it's a stray or 3 days old or a certified Therapy International dog. They will take it and kill it and fine the person in possession $500, no questions asked.) We all know Florida is scary. Last year, I could have called my blog "floridaisscary.blogspot.com")

But this is what the email said: "It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a mess about having "In God We Trust" on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why don't we just tell the 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!" If you agree, pass this on, if not delete."

Obviously, this gets my ol' Liberal Hackles way up. 1.) To launch into a treatise about the damaging nature of unfounded blanket generalizations, stereotypes and anonymous statements like, "It is Said..." and 2.) To question the biased, undocumented statistic that lies at the heart of this email would be preaching to the choir here and 3.) To discuss the challenges, the threats even, that school-aged youth who opt not to participate in so-called "Acts of Patriotism" face when they even consider an act of resistance would be preaching to the choir here. (And yet, it seems I can't help myself...) In fact, to extend the simile, it would just be like asking the choir to deliver the sermon themselves, I think.

So do I just delete it and chalk it up to the General Vortex of Rampant Ignorance swirling around just about everywhere these days? And if I do, does that mean that I sat down and did, in fact, "SHUT UP!!"? Do I try to craft a thoughtful response, at least to the person who sent it to me, with whom I have a personal connection, in hope of engaging in a productive dialogue? Could I even do that in a neutral way when I am so dismayed at the level of smugness and presumption in the email she forwarded?

Do I think about everything too much in general? Maybe I should just go back into an Ivory Tower, become a women's studies professor, use words like "praxis" and "Other-ing" on a daily basis and tell myself I AM making a difference in my Cozy Haven of Social Change by introducing 18-year-olds to the notion of social justice by assigning them "reader responses" to Jonathan Kozol books. In which case, I am going to need some colorful scarves and at least three pairs of dangly, dramatic earrings.

Friday, October 31, 2003

I photographed my first open heart surgery today. Granted, the patient was a dog, not a person... But still, it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen, cooler than the Klan rally, cooler than the $57 million cocaine and heroine bust, cooler than Janet Reno's (actual) dance party.

The patient, Lucky, is a shelter dog who had a heart murmur. She did incredibly well throughout the whole procedure. They think she'll make a full recovery if she makes it through the night tonight.

They actually let me get up on a (spinning) stool and shoot down on the scene in the OR. (These people don't know me very well.) I did not fall off or accidentally fling anything into the body cavity, thank you very much. :)

I really wasn't grossed out. The hardest part, for me, was when the vet tech had to give Lucky her first morphine shot and she kept crawling in my lap and cowering in my armpit and I had to push her away. No one from the shelter could stay with her, so it was just me and the two vets (who originally caught the heart defect) who observed the procedure. I was trying to take her picture as the one vet was petting her, etc. She kept licking my face when I covered it with the camera.

The family who originally adopted her decided (heartbrokenly) that they really can't give her the attention she needs during her recovery. Anyone want a gorgeous German Shepherd mix dog with a "good as new" heart? :)

Still, it was just.. cool. Jason, I have a whole new level of respect for you. How does your back not kill you after two hours?

Monday, October 20, 2003

So, yeah, I'm 24. I honestly don't hear the ticking of the biological clock yet. Every now and then, I think, yeah, okay, I could probably picture myself with an infant. Still, though- the desire to care for a walking, talking child (or a mouthy middle schooler, but that's another story) is as foreign to me as the desire to vote Republican.

But last weekend, I was at a fall festival. At one point, I was talking to someone when a toddler came running up to me and threw her arms around my leg in that incredibly trusting, relieved way that small humans have of showing possession of their parents.

I instinctively reached down to touch her curly little head as another woman, also wearing dark blue Old Navy turned-up cuff jeans, reached out and spatula-ed her confused child from my thigh. The lady I was talking to kept rattling on- but later in the day, I found myself thinking about it. I've never been hugged like that before.

Tick. Tock.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

I think I need a new template, something to psych me up to blog more often.


Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Oh, I'm back, I'm back, I am so sorry... I totally wussed out on the Great Blogging Challenge because my laptop totally crashed and burned in a most frightening way. I'm talking static filling the screen, total lack of power and broken drives and - whew! - we're back online and back in the game. I am a complete klutz, I fully admit that I fall down stairs and off dinosaur statuesd and drop things, but I swear- the scariest thing about this computer problem was that this was in no way caused by anything tangible.

I had a good start on the GBC topics, but I haven't been able to get to the files until the lovely UPS man brought my laptop back to me today. YAY! YAY! YAY, I say! :) Completed entries coming soon...

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

You all know about Lovey, the shredded bundle of threads that, once upon a time, was the security blanket that I carried absolutely everywhere, except when- well, except when I lost it, which happened a lot. In truth, Lovey still does go “everywhere” in that I still keep it in my nightstand wherever I live. It’s funny to me now how all of Lovey fits in the palm of my hand now, all the little strings, held together by a rusty safety pin tangles with pink embroidery floss from a friendship bracelet I abandoned back in the 80s. If you roll out a few of the shreds, you can still see a few faded rattles, balls and safety pins.

I stopped carrying Lovey everywhere when I went to kindergarten. I kept it in my backpack for the first few weeks, until Fire Safety Month, when we had our first fire drill. The thought of having to leave my backpack, (sacred vessel of Lovey), behind as I filed orderly out of the hypothetically burning school was, well, unthinkable. It’s ironic to me now that the mere thought of losing something so precious forever made it possible to separate from it a little. Words to live by.

But I digress.

In My Earliest Memories….

I remember Amanda, who was about 2-and-a-half, climbing into my crib with me. We used to jump up and down in it. Actually, I imagine that she jumped, and I sort of hung on to the bars and bobbed up and down the best I could by bending my knees. I remember feeling the sheet, cool and soft and smooth beneath my bare feet. I LOVED that sheet.

There is a series of snapshots that my mom took around this time period. I am sitting in the grass, wearing only a diaper, trying to pull Lovey the Sheet off the clothesline. As you look through the photos, Amanda the Toddler drags a lawn chair across the yard, stretches up, up, up and unclips it. In the last photo, we’re both sitting in the grass. I do not remember this.

There are photos of us sleeping together in the crib. There is one of Amanda lying on her back, grinning for the camera, and I’m sort of smushed on my side. I do not remember this either.

But I do remember lying in my crib, under that sheet, and staring at my nightlight. If you lie in a dim room and squint a small light, you can see it reflect off your eyelashes and the little hairs on your cheeks. If you gradually relax your facial muscles, it kind of looks like little sparkly beams of light are coming toward you. It’s nice.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Hello readers and bloggers ! I assume you have come here to see what I have to offer up to the Great Blogging Challenge 2003.

For those of you who only read my site- (Everyone, wave to my mom! Hi Mom!) Last week, Gwen put forth The Great Blogging Challenge, aka GBC, asking me and about 6 other people to write an entry every day this week. We compiled the topics last week, and- in theory- we will all be putting up a new entry every day in an effort to breathe life into our (well, I’ll only speak for myself, so) MY sadly neglected weblog.

[HINT TO MY MOM: If you click on the white words above, (they become red and underlined when you run the cursor over them), you will be taken to Gwennie’s web site and the site she created for the GBC, which links to Alissa, Jason, Kelly, et al. Call if you get stuck.:)]

Okay, first topic on the table-

My Fictitious Weekend (What Could Have Happened, But Didn’t)

I woke up Saturday morning and discovered that my double bed with its poorly-attached, bockety headboard had turned into a lovely king-sized bed with a white, shabby chic sleigh headboard (Crate and Barrel or similar).

As I padded into the bathroom to put in my contacts, I realized that I had perfect 20/20 vision, and miraculously- my eyes were the same bright aqua color they have been for the last 12 years, only WITHOUT the artificial assistance of the colored contacts.

Bright-eyed, and no longer nearsighted, I skipped to my apartment door, ready to do the Softshoe Dance of Terror with my pets, in which Bella wraps her leash around my legs, Keystone Cop-style, while trying to yank me down two flights of stairs, thus enabling my cat to run around, under or between my hopping, flailing legs and escape into the hallway to rub his white head on my neighbors greasy bicycle chains in the foyer while I’m out walking the dog.

Then, I realized! Suddenly, I live on the ground floor! And, best of all- Fred has decided to retire his “Incorrigible Imp-Kitty Dashes Out of the Gates of Hell” routine once and for all, in favor of doing something normal, cute and catlike, like… sleeping in a circle with his head upside down on my never-noticed before window seat. Yay!

Meanwhile, Bella had somehow learned to carry her own poop bag home like Raven the Seeing Eye Dog School Drop-out. As I walked through the ground-level entrance to my apartment, work called to say that the Pul!t!zer Judges Panel called. The picture story I shot last week about the St. Gabe’s Festival Ferris Wheel was unanimously declared the finest piece of photojournalism ever seen. Then, realizing that no one else’s photographs could ever top the striking composition, technique and emotion captured in my award-winning entry, they decided to reinvent the craft of photojournalism to give someone else a chance.

They also said I can shoot whatever I want, whenever I want, and in the meantime, they are perfectly content to double my salary and pay me to sleep in my lovely new king-sized bed.

The end.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

"I know I always keep my old nasty bathmats with my wok."- Queer Eye

I love, love, love this show. I am SO their target-tested, focus-group friendly viewer, though. But- Jaysus- what is their budget for this show? $10,000 per straight guy? Seriously.

Erg, I think I'm watxhing too much TV these days.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

It occurred to me these past few days that I am, in fact, making friends here. Because I have had the lovely, amazing group of people in my life who have stayed close for a decade or more, (who also compose the majority of my readership, hey everyone) I sort of forget how long it can take to get through the inertia of being acquaintances.

But somewhere between 4 p.m. Friday and now-

•I took a co-worker with me to my assignment (a festival) and putting her on a ferris wheel to cheer her up.

•I made plans to hand over Senor Tortuga to the same co-worker, who has agreed to adopt him, has already christened him Senor Manuel Tortuga, and will allow him to live out the rest of his days in a huge aquarium with her turtle Irma.

•and I got to take a beloved, purebred, (recently a nursing mother,) English Sheepdog out for a romp in the dog park with Bella, and then out for ice cream, while the dog's owners dealt with a crazy, chaotic family thing

And it occurred to me, I do have friends here. I just do. Huh.

Monday, September 15, 2003

“A short, irritable-looking man was dancing around taking photographs with a large black camera that emitted puffs of purple smoke with every blinding flash.
‘Out of the way, there,’ he snarled at Ron, moving back to get a better shot, ‘This is for the Daily Prophet-’
‘Big deal,’ said Ron, rubbing his foot where the photographer had stepped on it.”
-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I see rich people.

Monday, September 08, 2003

I spent a lot of time in a mosque today. It was fascinating. Beautiful. I am learning so much. Of all the different faiths I am documenting, I have the least experience with Islam, and so I feel right now that I am learning the most when I work in that community.

One of the things that really surprised me relates to the different kinds of dress the people wear. I always sort of assumed that there was one standard "uniform" and that people wore various types of clothing, head coverings, etc. in accordance with the level of piety they observed. Not true. It really varies most according to the country of origin or ancestry of the individual.

In order to go into the mosque, I had to cover my head. I could go anywhere, including the men's half of the prayer room, use my flash, whatever, I just had to cover my head. I came prepared for this. While I was getting help wrapping my scarf properly from K., one of the women I have sort of befriended, an elderly man came up to speak to us. (I had also assumed that the older people in the community would have the most conservative views, particularly in regard to the presence of a women taking photos during a prayer service in the men's half of the prayer room, but I was wrong. The only person who really glared at my presence on the men's side- which K. warned me might happen- was a teenage boy.)

Anyway, the elderly man looked almost exactly like the Christian children's book cartoon version of God. He had a long white beard and was dressed in long white robes. We talked about my being from the newspaper, and he was telling me about this photo of him that ran in a story about Ramadan last year ("It was the biggest picture! On the Page! I'll show you next time!) when K. finished fixing my scarf. He stopped and said, "Ah, see? So beautiful! The head scarf is so beautiful for the women!" I can't do it justice here, but he wasn't being judgmental or oppressive as he said it. He was being very, very kind.

And- all day- I kept thinking about how very, very similar all of the faiths are. We are so much more alike than we are different. I've never been to an Islamic prayer service, and I suppose I thought the service would be sort of graceful and murmured, and it was. But also? There were babies crying, mothering carrying out toddlers hitting each other with dolls, 3-year-olds passing crayons back and forth. I don't know why i thought that wouldn't happen in a mosque. It happens in church all the time; the old joke goes for Catholics, "Babies crying? What do you expect from a church that doesn't believe in birth control?" Still, it surprised me.

The Islamic Center is preparing for Ramadan, a month of fasting and prayer, a time when many people observe the pillar of Islam that emphasizes givng to charity. And- it just- seemed like preparing for Lent. And I had lunch with them, (this was a special Sunday School sign up picnic day), and it was wonderful, and they were so gracious- "Have more!"- and it was like the little old ladies at the Interfaith Seder last Passover insisting that I stay, at least for "matzoh ball soup! Have more!" and the priest at the Greek Orthodox Church telling me, "You'd better come hungry! I insist!" to this big festival I'm covering next week.

We are just.... so much more alike than we are different, and I feel it on a level that I can't really explain.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Oh, it's been a while. Hi dee hum. I'm a bit sleepy, actually. It's 2 a.m. I crawled into bed at 10:30 feeling all proud of myself for acknowledging my tiredness and lack of anything on television worth watching, but now I find I have Imed and surfed my opportunities for a Reasonable Bedtime away. I'm just a night person.

Tomorrow is Annual Vet Visit and Booster Shot Day for Fred and Bella. That's always fun. Not. Although last year, Bella licked Fred's head when he got his shots. It was unbearably cute. Still, they hate getting shots, and I hate making them do it. Well, they need them, but I hate having to hold them down. Bella really likes Dr. Pia, so it might be okay. Fred woke me up this morning by tapping my nose with his paw. That is a very nice way to wake up. To be fair, I often stroke his nose when he's sleeping, which usually wakes him up, so i guess we're even.

More to say, much more, but I'm the Pope of Sleepytown.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

So "The Karate Kid" is on ESPN Classic. Who I even had this channel? I loved this movie when it first came out. I thought Daniel Laruso/Ralph Macchio was the best looking guy ever. You know when you played MASH and got to have celebrity candidate for the husband category? (Half a dozen of my male friends all just went "Huh?") Yeah, he was always my first pick. Followed by Kirk Cameron.


I forgot that all the bullies wore black sweatsuits with skeletons painted on them.

You know, I find watching this now that Daniel Laruso is really short and dorky and that whole Crane Defense Kick thing isn't nearly as dramatic as I remembered, but overall, it's much more endearing than I remembered, too. Did you realize Mrs. Miagi died in childbirth in a relocation camp in California during WWII? Me, neither. Probably the result of my being 5 when this movie was made and 9 when we got a VCR. :)

Ah, well... Wax on, wax off. Wax on, wax off.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Hmm. Am home sick today. I have a cough and the beginnings of what could be a nasty cold, so I just took today off. I am laying in my bed with air conditioner on full blast. Ah, life's simpler pleasures.

My life has been so busy these past few weeks. I have, for the first time, purchased my own car. It's a black 1999 toyota corolla. It's fun for me because I don't have to glue the rear view mirror back on every 6 weeks, the dome light works, and for the first time in my life, I have a car with power windows and locks and headlights that blink when I hit the lock button on my keychain. This is going to save me so much time when I can't find my car in the mall parking lot.

This feels good. It feels right. I can make it work with money stuff. It's mine, on my own. I researched it, did all the legwork and negotiated and shopped around and re-negotiated and finally took it home. I think I got a pretty good deal on it. If anything, I got a more than FAIR deal on it, and I wasn't a push over, and I resisted all their "aggressive, pressure, buy it today" sales tactics, and even if i could have haggled for a lower price, the learning experience I had, doing it all on my own, is more valuable than any additional savings.

I have never named a car; never wanted to name one. Wanda the Honda, Jarvis, Ronald Mark Karen, Adolf, Lester the Land Yacht, the Tam Tam-Pontiac o' Death: none of them belonged to me. I thought about calling the car Ruby. But it's black, and Onyx doesn't suit it. Black Beauty was my favorite book when I was 10, but that's too cheesy. While Ginger suits the car's "personality," (carality? Automobiliality?)- I should add that Ginger was the white horse who was Black Beauty's friend who was beaten by her owner and finally, mercifully killed in a carriage accident- that is so not the Carma (okay, the puns are just running painfully amok here) I want to cast on this car. I am going to drive it carefully, not dribble diet coke on everything, or let my cat out of his carrier for any reason in it. I am debating using air freshener at all in it so that the air conditioner doesn't get that sickly sweet perfume build up smell in it. I think its name wants to be Ruby. But I don't know.

Fall always feels like the New Year to me. I say this every year, but Rosh Hashanah is dead-on perfectly timed for me. I got new shoes (70% off- nine bucks!), a new car (well, new to me), re-folded my all my drawers, finished some projects I've been carrying around (some for more than a year), organized my closets and under the sink, donated a few summer and fall clothes to charity that I just do not and will not ever wear, a new boss (they actually appointed a real, live photo editor at my job) with new plans for a new approach that resembles working for a real newspaper.

Being a diehard band geek, I have always associated, "Eight to a Hand," the first, universal warmup exercises that all marching percussion units start with at every rehearsal, with anticipation, the sense of that good things are coming soon. Especially since college, that basic, clear, dut dut dut dut dut dut dut dut, is the sound of change, progress, new friends, a new start, a fresh binder and crisp new notebook paper, bright blue skies with big fluffy clouds and so many good things. And pretty soon, the Nournal Wews Jeeklies will be "Applaud"-ing autumn, and the NRHS drumline will be warming up.

Monday, August 18, 2003

So... yeah, long time, no post.

Everything has been moving so freakin' fast since I left, and then returned from, vacation. I had my first work evaluation, which went very well, although the jury is still out on the raise. Or, er, the judge? Yeah. We'll see. But I'm touched by the good things they said.

The black-out was pretty awful for me, actually. I was going to try and make it funny and write all about it, but you know? It was like, the worst night of my life. No Manhattan star-gazing, pool parties by torch/flashlight or ecological epiphanies for this girl. I have long since known we are plundering our energy sources, and it was just- miserable and scary.

Yeah, but all is back to normal. I'm feeling efficient and busy and tired. Mmm. Bed time!

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

In 1994, I went on a long trip. One afternoon, on said trip, I was watching TV in a hotel room while a friend of mine (with whom 95% of my readers attended high school; hint- she played the drums) was throwing stuff in a backpack so we could venture out to find the only Subway fast food store in Sydney. She worked at Subway in Manheim, and she promised someone she would get her picture taken in Australia's then only Subway eating a Vegemite Sandwich Combo Meal. Anyway, her hotel room's TV was stuck on one channel featuring a Madeline cartoon, and we kept hearing the theme song ("I'm MAD-e-line! I'm MAD-e-line!") over and over again, until Trip Friend started singing, “In-SAN-ity! In-SAN-ity!” which, on very chaotic days, gets stuck in my head, even these 9 years later.

This week has been killer, and I can't wait to lay on the beach. Last Wednesday was an unbelievable day, in the manner of Unbelievable Days that only seem to happen to me. It started off so well, I should have been suspicious.

I got up before I had to, read the paper, gave Bella a long, "smell whatever you want unless it's visibly disgusting" style walk (we almost never have time for that in the mornings), and gloated a little to myself as I climbed the stairs to my apartment that I had 20 minutes to get to my first assignment 10 minutes away. This was the Kiss of Death.

My key broke in the lock. I just turned it gently and it broke right off. It was like it melted or something. (It didn't, really, but it was such a smooth movement that that’s what it felt like.) So, luckily, I had my cell phone, and I called my associate scheduler person to tell her to tell the reporter I was supposed to be meeting to sit tight, I would be there as soonas I could. Got her voice mail. Damn.

I couldn't leave the dog running free up and down the stairs, obviously, if only because it's 95 degrees and completely unventilated, not to mention that this is the day my new neighbors (with a toddler) were supposed to bring stuff by and start moving in. I couldn't take the dog with me and lock her in the car, and I didn't have my camera gear anyway.

So I left Bella in the hallway, figuring it would take longer for her to have a heat stroke than it would for me to shimmy up the fire escape and go through the kitchen window where I could open the stuck door with the key sliver from the other side. I ran into my landlord at the back of the house, who hates it when we break into our own apartments by shimmying the fire escape.

So HE decided to break into my apartment by shimmying up the fire escape, which always scares the shit out of me because he is a.) 70 b.) mostly deaf c.) not so good with the English and I would have no idea what to tell 911 what hurts most if he fell but managed to not lose consciousness and d.) sometimes he climbs up wearing a trash bag to check the roof during rain storms, which is scary, not just because he's a senior citizen and the stairs are slippery in the rain, but also because the unexpected appearance of a drenched old man wearing a trashbag outside my third story window is, well, scary.

After three explanations that no, my dog will NOT bite him if he goes through the window, because she is stuck in the hallway, and no, the broken key is not in the door from the porch, but rather in the door at the top of the stairs to my personal apartment, which is why the dog is in the hallway (Repeat. Repeat.), he goes through the window. I go around, go up the stairs, wait by the stuck door, holding the dog's leash. Landlord flings open the door, saying, "You fixed it!" while I try to explain, again, that the door from the porch is NOT the problem, THIS door is. Repeat. Repeat.

As I am pointing to the sliver of key in the lock and holding up the broken one, I realize that Landlord probably left the window open from the fire escape open, which means, at this point, Fred has either a.) made a break for freedom and is perching precariously in the gutter staring at a bug or b.) started to gnaw on the plant he loves (the leaves of which make cats sick) that lives on the fire escape since he can't leave it alone.

I go tearing into the kitchen, pull Fred away from the poisonous plant, shove him in the bathroom, yank Bella (now barking her fool head off at the man hitting the lock with a hammer) away from the Landlord, put her in her crate, give her her water bowl, check Fred's eyes to make sure they aren't dilating, they aren't, put him, his litterbox and water in the office, turn the air conditioner on turbo, explain that yes, I have a spare key that will open this lock once you bang the sliver out, oh yes, thank you! Thank you! Yes, I have a spare key, yes, an extra one, no, the broken one was not the only one I have. Yes. A whole other key. I will be fine. Yes. Thanks! (Repeat. Repeat.)

A bunch of other things happened throughout the day. I planned to tell you about them, as some of them are quite funny, but considering that all of the craziness I described above transpired in less than fifteen minutes, I'll skip it. You should get a pretty accurate idea of my day if you just the sing word “insanity” to the tune of the Madeline cartoon theme song out loud to your self right now.

Ready, everyone? “In-SAN-ity, in-SAN-ity! In-SAN-ity, in-SAN-ity!”

Eleven hours later, I return to my apartment to find a sliver-less lock. I use my spare key, and took my dog for a walk.

I should mention that there is a Rogue Skunk in my neighborhood. I think Bella thinks that the skunk is a cat, albeit one that smells most interestingly different from Fred. Fred is a Cat! Fred is a Friend! Friends are Fun! Cats mean Fun! I want to be friends with the Cat! Fun! Cat! Fun! Cat! Cat!

We’ve had a couple of near misses with Rogue Skunk, to the point where I actually stocked up on hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Two nights previous, the dog started to pull me toward a neighbor’s yard. I was facing the other way, but whirled around in time to see Rogue Skunk, still 30 feet away, getting up on his front paws into a headstand. That time, we took off, (actually I screamed into my cell phone first-sorry, Alissa), and all was well.

Not so lucky this time. Bella stuck her face in a bush, and the skunk leapt out, hitting us first a warning shot, which was still pretty bad. It wasn’t so terrible that I couldn’t take her back into the house, although we traumatized Fred with the stankiness, who went hissing and spitting into a corner, all spikey Halloween cat style.

One hour, five bathes (lather, rinse, repeat. Lather, rinse, repeat. You can sing that if you want), a bottle of peroxide and 2 boxes of baking soda later, she went back into her crate for the second long stretch of time that day. Fred got unlimited Whiska Lickins’ and the foot of my bed to himself.

And another day began.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Overheard at the gas station/mini-mart owned by a very nice family who recently moved here from Pakistan….

Customer Lady (in full New Yawk mode, complete with Fuhgeddaboutit accent, wearing a garish pink t-shirt that says, “I am not listening to YOU!” in pink and silver glitter) says to Kindly, Middle-Aged Pakistani Mini-Mart Owner:

CL: Oh, GAWD! Did you have a good week-eeeehnd?
KiMaMMO: Ah, yes, yes very good.
CL: Oh, reeeally? What did you do?
KiMaMMO: Oh, it was so good, I got to see all my family Saturday.
CL: How many?
KiMaMMO: So sorry?
CL: How many people? Did you have a bahr-be-que?
KiMaMMO: We had (visibily counting and translating numbers)… 20, yes, 20 people.
CL: OH, gawwwd, good!
KiMaMMO: Yes, yes! I had to- um- barbeque, yes?
CL: Ohhh… (Nodding)
KiKaMMO: Yes, it was so good, so many people, I had to barbeque the whole lamb!

He was so happy. In about 8 days, I get to see so many of my favorite people. We’re going to have to barbeque the WHOLE LAMB! Can’t wait!

Oh, and H.? Are we gonna call you HEK now? :)

Sunday, July 27, 2003

"Old Friends... They sat on their park bench like bookends..."
-Simon and Garfunkel

So the other day I was standing in a pile of trash, trying to get an unobstructed shot of this intermodal transportation la de da train station they are building here. As I finished shooting and began to walk away, a piece of trash was stuck to my foot. It was a Blue Pop Top Pop label. A certain old friend of many people who read this site used to be obsessed with Top Pop Blue Pop, this scary soda that comes in "Blue" flavor. Not "Blue Berry" or "Berry Blast." Just blue. As I recall, it had a label saying "All Natural Flavors" or something.

Anyway, I walked back to the car and called this Old Friend at the only number I had for him in the middle of a work day. He answered on the first ring, and was in the process of moving out, literally movers carrying boxes around him while he was talking on the phone. (I hope he didn't let them use his bathroom. I forgot to warn him.)

He's doing well, by the way. He's an uncle now, and he's good.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The Great Pumpkin…

My first grade teacher Mrs. McM!nn used to have a gray tabby cat named Critter. Critter came to Show-and-Tell. On occasion, I used to visit Critter (as Mrs. McM!nn lived first up the cul-de-sac and then down the street), and my mom would accompany me for the visit, as her favorite childhood pet was a grey tabby cat named, um, Tabby, actually- who very, very, very unfortunately met the same end as the cat featured in the Very Horrible Car Story. (See below.)

Sigh…. ANYWAY, in the summer I was 7, Mrs. McM!nn asked me if I would like to take care of Critter when she was on vacation. I couldn’t believe my luck. For something like $3 a day, I got to feed her cat and bring in the newspaper and have unlimited petting time.

I was never allowed to get a cat when I was a kid. Some trivial little thing about my dad’s eyes swelling shut. Oh, and my sister would have had to be hooked up to an oxygen tank because of her allergies, ya know…. The closest I ever got was having one of the strays I used to feed brought into the house to catch a mouse. Never mind that the gerbils we had got loose every other day, and my mom would have to close us all in the playroom and tell us not to scream as she tried to scoop up the escapees up with a Maxwell House coffee can. Of course, the gerbil would eventually make a break for it, and my mom would be the one screaming as she leapt over a hobby horse while trying to catch a the runaway rodent, who almost always ended up cowering behind an Easy-Bake Oven and a Barbie Townhouse that leaned more than the Tower of Pisa until my dad got home from school. Anyway, the stray cat never did catch that mouse because he freaked out and got stuck behind the piano and therefore had to go back outside. He hung around until the neighbors with the Demonic Poodle hauled him away. I really, really hope they took him to a nice farm, like they said they did. Allow me this illusion, people.

But I digress. So I was trying to feed Critter, but he was purring and weaving in and around my ankles as I put the mail and keys on the table. But all the weaving and purring made it hard to walk, and I was trying desperately to get to the can opener- when WHAM! Critter jumped onto my leg and bit me! He broke the skin, which scared the crap out of me, watching the trickle of blood roll down from a few inches below the hemline of my flourescent “Jams” into my shiny pink jellies (isn’t this story so much better now that you know this was the summer of jams and jellies? Pebbles used to get stuck in the diamond-shaped spaces that made up the heel of those things. Damn, they hurt your feet, didn’t they?)

So I ran out of Mrs. McM!nn’s house, leaving the keys inside, but making sure the door was unlocked. I left my pink scooter, (chosen mode of transportation for those of us in the Easter Seal “balance problem”classes; I swear modern bike helmet laws were passed for kids like me), in her driveway and ran home screeching and bleeding.

My mom, bless her, took care of Critter for rest of the week, after mistakenly believing I had accidentally locked the keys in the neighbor’s house, and drove pell-mell down the street, and as I recall, driving over the scooter in the driveway. (I needed to learn to ride a bike at some point anyway.) I think Critter tried to take a chunk out of her, too, and that was the last time I looked after a neighbor’s cat.

Until Pumpkin. (Dunt, dunt duuuuuh). My Downstairs Neighbor (DN) has a big orange tiger cat named Pumpkin. Pumpkin gets left alone in her apartment a lot, with only her collection of Fancy Collector’s Edition Barbies (kept in illuminated curio cabinets) for company. He seems perfectly nice, although sometimes a little grouchy, when you meet him on the stairs. When my other neighbors, who are in the process of moving out, took care of Pumpkin, he was always perfectly sweet to me, though they always said he gets “a little violent on occasion.” Huh. But Alissa met Pumpkin on the stairs, and he was an angel. Stephen met him when he was roaming around the Other Neighbors’ apartment when DN was on vacation in June, and he was okay.

But then, I tried to go in and feed him. It was like Critter 2: Revenge of the Hell-Cat. Hissing. Yowling. Then flopping on his stomach for a tummy rub and purring, and on the fifth stroke swiping and spitting like you tried to light him on fire. At one point when Stephen was here last weekend, I almost grabbed DN’s broom and tapped SOS on her ceiling (my floor) so he would come down and create a diversion so I could run for it.

But I guess I can’t blame Pumpkin. DN’s six Ballerina Barbies are illuminated in their display case 24 hours a day, and that just can’t be a good thing for any living thing. If only they had a Townhouse I could cower behind.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Hey La, Hey La...

So Stephen is on his way to DC to visit his brother's family, and I have the place to myself again. Now my dog can stop making her most pitiful Sad Face at me when I get out of bed every morning, since as she resumed her rightful sleeping place (hogging the best part of the bed between the body pillow and the air-conditioner) and since "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" is not running on the TV with anywhere near the frequency it has been these last six days, she will have to find something to do besides barking gleefully every time Ryan Stiles rings that doorbell for the "Party Quirks" improv game thingy. (We've never had a working doorbell here. It is ALWAYS the TV doorbell. It's never anything Bella needs to bark at. Ever.)

What else? I took the scenic route to Norwalk CT today. It was fun. Connecticut is such an odd state. It's so small that nearly everything is about 45 minutes away from anything else, but everywhere I've been in the state is pretty different from anywhere else. Stephen's hometown was smallish and WASP-y and quaint, and Wesleyan (Middletown) was also very pretty in a "visiting Gwen at radical liberal college" way, and the Danbury/Trumbull area, where Steve's friends were married/relatives buried, is pretty run of the mill HomeDepotBigMallTargetAmerica, but Old Greenwich, where Steve and I spent some time driving around yesterday, is so. different. from any of that. They actually have sections of white picket fences with flower boxes staggered in the MIDDLE OF STREETS that lead to the private beaches that keep poor people out. You have to go all slow to navigate around them, so rich people can stop you if you try to get out of your car and walk on Yacht Club beach territory with your impoverished feet.

This is true!

We pulled over to the side of the road by a vacant lot, and we were about to go down this little path to walk on the beach, which we knew was not open to the public, (but it was a Thursday evening! Who would care, right? We weren't going to litter or use metal detectors to find and plunder their gold or anything. Besides, the "no trespassing" signs are so tasteful, they're easy to miss, you know?) and this man came out of his castle to ask if we were having "car trouble." Apparently, this is "Connecticut" for "You people are not in the right tax bracket to walk over that sand dune." Luckily, I pretended to be rummaging in the trunk of my car for anything but that picnic blanket, no sir, no sir, and Stephen instantly produced an ear bulb syringe (it's mine, don't ask) and told him we were looking for "my medicine."

We went to the park instead.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Following the theme of that last post, I'm watching Bravo, and a yeast infection commercial was just immediately followed by one for Red Lobster... and the spokeswoman chirped, "welcome to the world of crab!" which gave Stephen the heebee jeebees, so now I have the couch to myself. Whee!

Although, ya gotta love the boy who spent the day playing with my dog and installing a new sturdier shelf for my plants while I was at work. AND he eats the orange popsicles when I frankly prefer the cherry and grape ones for myself. And he got cast in a show that starts up right after Midsummer Night's Dream ends, which is so good.

Moving on!

I ended up at a teen pool party tonight. Did you know that that annoying country-esque Cotton-Eyed Joe song has become a group dance with specific steps, like the Macarena or the Electric Slide? And when it came on- they were the most excited about it, more than any other song... And then when i was trying to get the names of the "cannonball boys" - the guys who can't think of any other way to get the attention of the tween girls- they messed with me, changing names and sh*t, and then one of them canonballed ME, completely dousing my camera, which they are d@mn lucky didn't short out, although we'll see what happens in the morning when the water I couldn't reach in to dry has time to corrode the electrical connections.


Sunday, July 13, 2003

Speaking of Too Much Information, (we weren't but I can't get my comments to work).....

I went to the ladies room today in a gym. I was at the sink, glaring with my peripheral vision at the evil beckoning scale looming at me from the other side of the locker room (I try not to weigh myself anymore, ever), and two women came in to weigh themselves.

They were speaking in Spanish, and their conversation caught my attention (because I'm a big dork) when the one woman was saying her weight. She weighs 112 pounds, apparently, but she was using the word "siglo" not "ciento" when she was saying "100." Siglo usually means 100 years as in century, and ciento usually means 100 as in money, percentage or weight, so I was sort of surprised and wondered what dialect she was speaking. (Yup, I'm a really big dork).

Anyway, they go over to the mirror and the one woman kind of tugs at her shorts and says, in Spanglish, "Ay, my bebe- it' killing me!" I look over, thinking that at 112 pounds, she is the most slender pregnant woman I have ever seen. She catches me glancing at her, and blushes fire engine red, and says, "Oh my God, I'm so sorry!" and I said, "No, I was just thinking you are the most slender pregnant woman I have ever seen." Smile.

She tugs on her shorts again and laughs and it is at this point that I realize that "bebe" is slang for female anatomy, and this total stranger was basically telling that her cooter is killing her. (Which, by the way, adds a who,e new level, of chachiness to those trendy tight tee shirts with the word "bebe" picked out in fake rhinestones on them) So she says, "Oh no! I have cr@bs and THEY ITCH!" while tugging on her shorts.

I was, for once in my life, totally speechless.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

There is a sign outside the church around the corner from my apartment that says, “Don’t let a hearse bring you to church.” This makes me laugh almost every single day. Now, I know the message that they are trying to convey is serious, even grave. (DOH! Groan. Bad pun.) I know that they mean “Don’t let a hearse be the only (or first) thing that brings you to church.” The slogan reflects their Christian beliefs, etc., which is all well and good.

But- the mental image cracks me up. Like, “Oh, no no no! Sorry. No. Our church does not allow the deceased to arrive for their funeral services in a hearse. We’re gonna have to borrow Bob’s pickup truck.”

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Happy Birthday, Scotto. :) Four days ago, anyway.

It’s funny, the Fourth of July. This is one of those days of the year where I can remember where I was almost every previous year for more than a decade- (and yes, sometimes I remember what I wore.) The memories are not always good, but it’s one of the days, every year, that stands out for me no matter what. Tonight I listened to Delilah’s cheesy radio show while catching glimpses of fireworks on the horizon over the highway. Mmm.

Yesterday I drove up to Boston to see Stephen in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I loved it. This is, by far, the best costume Steve has worn yet, though for him- it has to be, by far, the least comfortable. I would like to see it again sometime this summer, for those of you Boston-based people out there. V. fun.

Sigh…. So I have to say, I had a really bad week at work this week. Things have been really strange and crazy lately. A lot of management type people have been making a lot of decisions that just don’t make any sense to me. The decisions relate to the most basic of operations and expectations, and - they just- seem like no-brainers to me, most of them. I am working so hard to make photographs that end up getting published, when some photos run twice by accident in the same issue, and I am exhausted. They are putting more and more restrictions on me while demanding twice the work. I just feel so discouraged. When I was hired, they were all about “diversifying our contacts” and tackling “edgier” topics, and now I’m smacked down right and left.

But do you know why I feel the worst, I think? I feel like I am shouting in the wind, trying to stand up for myself and the other three photographers on this staff when there is no one in management who advocates for us, who understands the potential news value of journalistic photographs or who knows how to use our time effectively. I get so angry when over the most basic and simple things, like when designers credit someone else for a photograph I busted my @ss for, things management would NEVER tolerate if it happened to a writer’s byline. I try to explain my point, offer reasonable solutions, and you know what’s happening? The perception is that I just talk and talk and talk and talk, and in these last few frustrating days, I have been given the word to just shut the f*ck up, that I am wasting everyone’s time. Sigh…

And I am disappointed, also, because I have essentially come to realize that my boss, who I thought was a nice person who backed us up, is essentially completely ineffective. And the one person who gets what I am trying to say also does some pretty unprofessional things, and it didn’t occur to me so much lately because- although this person loses points for style, delivery and tact, she gets it. And- because she is standing up for me and the other people on the staff who are getting repeatedly screwed- her style didn’t bother me so much. It made me feel validated. But…. I think people are maybe lumping me in with her now when she argues on my behalf, which isn’t fair because I’m not the one screaming down the phone and calling people “bitches” right and left.

But the talking too much thing? (wince) This strikes a very deep, long-held insecurity for me. I know I talk A LOT, for different reasons- when I get excited, when I am passionate about something, when I am nervous, when I want to fit in and when I am lonely. But mostly? I talk when I feel like I can make a difference, because so far in my young life, I have had the very gratifying experience of using my voice and seeing tangible results. And, because I have a lot to say, I try to give people equal time to respond to me. But it turns out THAT effort is being seen as my keeping the conversation going, continuing to talk talk talk talk.

What can I say? I’m embarrassed. Really embarrassed. I need to learn to fly below the radar. I try to, and then I find myself in a situation where I know I have something important to contribute, and so I do. And I usually wish I hadn’t, and worry about it, and I get nervous and the cycle continues. I miss the Merald.

Oh, and today I ran over a cat. It was horrible, horrible, horrible. I sobbed, off and on, for an hour. I was on my way to the vet to pick up Bella, who spent quality time with Dr. Pia and the Gang for two nights when I was in Boston, and I tried to save it, to rush it to the vet. And- he was just gone- and... oh, it was one of the worst experiences of my life. The thing is, I have been seeing the little guy around the neighborhood, and a few nights ago I tried to pick him up so I could give him a bath and take him to the shelter where I do pet of the week, so I could visit him and put his picture in the paper, and.... I was walking Bella, and I thought he would be okay because he let me pick him up while I had a hold of her leash, but then he saw Bella and freaked (as stray kittens are wont to do when confronted by a friendly Rottweiler-y dog face) and he got away and I figured he'd be alright until I could get him without her around or trap him in a have-a-heart-trap and- Oh God- it was awful, I saw the car in front of me swerve, and I was watching the back of the car, thinking "pedestrian? kid on bike? what?" and then, and then, it was too late, and I really think he suffered for about 2 minutes, and I thought maybe the vet can just help him along, and I cried and cried and a nice man (let's call him "Robert") watched my running, unlocked car while I wrapped the cat in a towel and... oh, this is too awful.... Poor kitty, wherever you are, I hope that wasn't your 9th life, and that whichever one you are on, it's a good life where you are loved and cared for from the time before you open your eyes.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

And another previously delayed entry: :)

Anyway, y’all, I’m so sorry about being bad at blogging these days! I’ve had a billion entries running around my head that I have been meaning to put on here. Blah.

But! I have found a dress to wear to Heather’s wedding! Rah! I got it in a store that I – actually- only went into upon Amanda’s suggestion, what with her being the bargain shopping diva of the world. :)

I got my dress at Torrid, which sounds naughtier than it is. It’s actually a Larger-Sized Person’s Hot Topic, owned by the same people and everything. So, my fabulous dress to wear to the wedding is made out of black crushed velvet with a lace-up whalebone corset that I’m going to wear with ripped fishnet tights. And jelly bracelets with a Hello Kitty purse and a safety pin through my eyebrow.

NO! NO! Totally kidding. That is absolutely not what I am wearing, just kidding, and no offense to people who do wear outfits like that, because I had a friend in college who wore that very thing all the time and she was lovely in it. And Steve’s friend Meghan wore a dog collar with her bridesmaid's dress at Beth’s wedding, AND she was only out-accessorized by the man in the bridal party in the same (or similar) dress, so it was fine.

No. Torrid also sells a handful of very fun vintage-y sundresses as well that are sort of 50s ish and cute and swingy. The dress I’m getting is black with white polka dots that is partly reminiscent of Lucille Balle and al little like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” in the polo match scene where she’s wearing the brown dress, you know, with the cute hat? Well, I don’t have a hat, but I also doubt that Richard Gere will tell George Costanza that I’m a hooker, either, so what can ya do? It has this crinoline bottom bit that I might remove, but overall, the effect is one part quirky to two-parts elegant, so I think I can pull it off. AND Torrid sort of makes up their own method of sizing; in which case, I’m a size 2. Whee!

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Hi. I'm sorry, readers. Thank you for the hail storm of concerned emails and phone calls. All is well! Am big soggy loon.

I haven't had an easy time posting things lately. I think blogger is renovating itself. I have some backloogged entries from the past two weeks. Here's one about Harry Potter. Enjoy!


SO. Excited. So excited! I have my new Harry Potter book, purchased at 1:30 a.m. last night. Whee! I already read the first 200 pages or so.

I have been waiting for this for so long, that last night I actually felt they way I did on Christmas Eve when I still believed in Santa. I can only remember two Christmases where I believed, and for one of them, Amanda and I were so psyched that we had a simultaneous hallucination of seeing the bottom of a red sleigh in the air above our house with a waving hand in a green glove with a white cuff and Rudolph’s red nose flying in front after Mr. Margolis from the E. Pete Women’s Club Chimney Check thingy came to give us our gift and ask if we had been good. In truth, there WAS an airplane that my mom told us was the red light of Rudolph’s nose, but I SWEAR I can still see that waving hand as clearly as I can see my cat passed out under the air conditioner. Smart cat.

ANYWAY, last night I did everything I had to do before bed, because I knew if I even cracked the book open I wouldn’t be able to put it down to take out my contacts or walk the dog before bed. So I did my nightly routine- contacts out, brush the teeth, walk the mutt, pj’s and then- the Harry Potter checklist:

Cat named after troublemaking Weasley twin at the foot of the bed? Check.

Teddy bear received shortly after finishing Book 3 in early 1999, (the real onset of my obsession) named after headmaster stowed next to pillow for scary parts? Check.

Pills (for various issues) taken so I don’t realize at 4 a.m. that I am moving into a narcotics withdrawal because I forgot? Check.

And then, I started. So good. I am a little annoyed at some of the characters at the moment, but only because they are surprisingly accurate renderings of moody, hormonal adolescents.

The rumor about the book, of course, is that an important character dies. Now, today when I was at a Harry Potter event (at the same Borders where I shot it going on sale at midnight and purchased my own copy), a mother saw a an employee dressed up as a wizard with a long white hair and a long white beard and said to her 8-year-old child, “Oh, LOOK! It’s Harry Potter!”

The child, (in full Harry get-up complete with scar, Mattel broomstick and standard issue Wal-Mart Halloween Hogwarts robe), gave his mother a withering look and rushed up to the guy, who was, to be fair, doing a pretty good job of faking enthusiasm on a Saturday morning after he worked till 2 a.m. the night before, handing out Bertie Botts’ beans and telling the kids he doesn’t like them, which is amazing for a guy who later told me he only makes $8.50 an hour and has never read the books.) He also said his name was Brandon, and he may have been flirting with me, but as he still was in his Dumbledore costume, all I could hear was the voice of Maria Banford, my favorite stand-up comedienne, doing the bit about being hit on by men 40 years older than she is, going, “Uh-uh, Father Time!”

Anyway, the Poor Clueless Mother (PCM) looks at her 30-something Equally Oblivious Friend (EOF) and says, “What? What did I say?”
Needing the kid’s name for caption info anyway, I said, “Um, that’s supposed to be Dumbledore, I think. The headmaster?” Blank looks from Poor Clueless Mother and Equally Oblivious Friend. “Because, um, Harry’s 15?” And I sort of looked around the store at the 10,000 Harry Potter books covers and merchandise and the life-sized cardboard cut-outs of Daniel Radcliffe all around us, and PCM kind of laughs at herself.
PCM: “Oh. Oh! Right,” Then, to me and EOF: “I hear Dumbledore dies.”
Me: “Yeah, that’s the rumor, but I read up to page 215 or so last night and he was still kicking….” (and I kind of held up my press ID and notebook indicating I need her kid’s name)
PCM: (sarcastic eye roll shared with EOF) “No, I meant in REAL. LIFE.”I swear, if grown women in Scarsdale still said, “Duh,” she would have.
Me: Um, in REAL. LIFE? A British actor named Richard Harris died…?”
EOF: (sounding so eerily like the voice of Quinn’s Asian-American friend Tiffany in the fashion club in the old MTV cartoon Daria, it was creepy) Yeah… That was sooo…Sad.”

Anyway, for the caption? The kid’s name was John Doe. Age 8. Of Scarsdale. Pretending to cast a spell on a very exhausted Story Lady during the costume parade. Blah.

Back to the book!

Monday, June 30, 2003

And then I cried.

(Everything is fine, I am only crying because I am a big soggy loon. Stephen made me say that last part. :)

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Oof-ah. Am sick. Actually, I am getting over sickness. My mom is here because I had a really high fever last night, and I got lost in the worst part of the Bronx trying to get home from Stop'n Shoppe last night, a store that I go to once a week and is nowhere near the Bronx. I was loopy and miserable and lost and fell over coming up the stairs.

As it is, I'm returning to health and my dog is snoring and kicking her feet in a dream beside me on the bed. My mom is watching something on TV featuring the music of Les Mis and Celine Dion (?!?!?) but she brought ginger ale, so who am I to complain? Also, I keep getting flashbacks of crazy fever dreams. They're always fun. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2003



You know that Ex that you hate yourself for dating? The one you thought was funny or "deep" and then, I don't know- they just turn out to be so annoying and awful you can't even be-LIEVE you dated them, even though you were young and dumb etc etc.

Stupid Mark has a website. I hate him. It is taking all of my willpower not to post his blog address here and encourage everyone I know to email him and mock him for being so completely overdramatic and stupid and homophobic and- AH. I usually don't read his site, because it makes me feel like a bad person. But I was reading a funny Vine entry on TomatoNation.com about this girl who is dating Happy Buddha Boy or something- and it was so freakin' funny, and Stupid Mark would totally go off and do things like Happy Buddha Boy, so I checked his blog- ARG. Must. Resist. Inner. Bitch.

It's absolutely hilarious. He talks about how a friend told him that gardening was "kinda gay" so he developed army lingo so he can blog about his garden in code. "Frost" is "Body Checking."

Alissa! ALISSA! :) Can I borrow the Willpower Stick? Quick!!!

I don't have much to say. I'm sad that I am out of the blogging habit. I think I need a new page design to inspire me. (Hi, Gwen! ;)

I need to wax my eyebrows. My hair is getting long. I am sort of trying to lose weight without telling any of my dieting nueroses that I am trying.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

"After reaching the top, the pretend rodent issued a challenge to all who witnessed his feat. 'I knew I could do it—it was hard, yes, it's true. But if chipmunks can climb to the sky, so can YOU!' Chipper said, punctuating his message with a thumbs-up sign and a wink.......Gibson said that, with the exception of certain celebrities and politicians, statements like Chipper's are almost always made by talking animals, superheroes, omniscient narrators, anthropomorphic trains, wandering magicians, friendly dragons, sentient heavenly bodies, Jesus, and other characters subject only to the rules of narrative causality." -The Onion

If you once had a Dream that got kicked to the side of I-95 by the steel-tipped toe of the Jackboot of Bureaucratic Bullshit, and you asked the Person Voted Most Likely to Spend the Rest of His Life With You (who is always right) to beat you within an inch of your life if you EVER considered going after that dream any time in the near or distant future, and then, during the near future, someone unexpectedly scrapes that Dream off the sole of the Jackboot and considers letting you have it back, is Mr. Most Likely Right actually obligated to beat you?

What if you are both deeply opposed to domestic violence?

Does the phrase "potential member of White House Press Corps" change things? Discuss.


Wednesday, June 04, 2003

It’s that time of year again….

Time for yearbooks and “Always remember the fun we had in speech class” and “Never change” and awkward messages from people who don’t understand the proper use of “your” and “you’re” and proms and These-Are-The-Times-You-Look-Wonderful-Tonight-One-Twice-Three-Times-A-Lady-In-Red and the strictly mandatory marching band performances at the VFW where you discover a truly frightening Snapple bottle with a 1/2-inch sedimentary puddle of ice tea that’s probably been rolling around the bottom of your uniform bag since last November and last high school sports games and the grad gown/choir gown change-off between “Pomp and Circumstance” with 56 repeats and index flash cards for finals…. And how is it, as I sit cross-legged in the wet grass with a 300mm lens in my lap, that, really- nothing seems to change? And, seriously, is there enough money in the world that would ever make me do this again for myself?

I don’t f*cking think so. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Fire in the Hole....

While I was little, my dad would play a game with Amanda and I called "Fire in the Hole." It mostly consisted of my dad taking turns holding us close, down by his hip, then shouting "Fire in the Hole!" and tossing us in the air. One of my favorite childhood photos of my dad and me is a picture of us in our old house on State Street playing this game. I was probably 3, and I'm holding Lovey (security blacket extraordinaire- then still extremely recognizable as a bed sheet) and my hair, which was pretty long for a toddler, is all splayed out in every direction and we're really laughing.

Today somebody called in a bomb threat to City Hall and left a PVC pipe with styrofoam sticking out of it on the sidewalk outside. They brought in the whole critical response team and this guy put on body armor and walked this big bomb detecter detonator thingy down to it and hooked it up and then came back to the bomb unit truck. They send some kind of charge down a long wire which somehow determines if its a real bomb and makes it safe to remove, I guess.... and there was this really tense moment before they sent the charge down the wire and they shouted, "Fire in the Hole!" and everything else was really, really quiet until the boom of the disabling charge went off.

It turned out the "bomb" was a fake, a false alarm, and they took down the police tape, and I went on to shoot a story about a hot dog stand guy, but then I heard about Yale, and it reminded me of the anthrax day, the day lots of places, including Planned Parenthood in York, all got anthrax letters.....

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

My boyfriend is a fairy! MY boyfriend is a FAIRY!!! :) And a Rude Mechanical, as it turns out! Whee!

Stephen has been cast in the Publick Theater's summer production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Boston, where he will be playing as Robin Starvling, the tailor (no, I *don't* know if it's by the sea- QUIET! All of you! :), who portrays Moonshine in the play within the play, and he has also been double-cast as one of Queen Titania's entourage (hence, the being a fairy thing). However, he said the director mentioned that they are going for a Mountain Man type effect with the male fairies, so he's more likely to be wearing animal skins and holding a club than fairy wings and holding a wand.

I am. so. excited! Who wants to go to Boston to see it? It's an outdoor theatre near Harvard Square, I think, so it's a Shakespeare-in-the-Park type set up, with equity points and everything! RAH! So proud of Stephen!!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Ow. OW.

On Saturday, I got hit in the chest with a baseball. It really hurt, and a bunch of people saw it happen, and some spectators sort of screamed, 'cause it was really, really out of nowhere (during warm-up catch between innings), and I was all, "Oh, part of the job, ha ha ha. Camera's fine" And then- one of the player's mothers said, "Bless your heart."

Now, most of you remember when I fell off the dinosaur at South of the Border last May, of course. And then my eye swelled shut and turned all purple and strangers kept blessing my heart, right?

Yeah. Now, this bruise isn't visible to the world, so no one else is blessing my heart, but now it has turned a very, very frightening deep, deep purple, almost the exact size of a baseball, although it doesn't hurt too much. I almost feel like a made-for-TV-movie actress, except you can see the baseball stitching. Damn. Maybe I should get some ice....

'"Poor little Piglet," said Pooh." -- A.A. Milne

Monday, May 05, 2003

Congratulations to Alissa, for finishing her masters' degree. I can only hope that any one of my 6 therapists have worked as hard as she has and have had as many people believing in them as much as she does in her. :)

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Hallo!?! Comments, where did you go? I re-installed you! Comments! Comments, come!
Gawd. So much to say, so little time. This has been the "weekend" (in quotes 'cause my two days off were not Saturday and Sunday this week) of Dealing With Extremely Insensitive and Inappropriate People. Sheesh...

Big Ass entries coming soon...

However, "A Mighty Wind" is absolutely freakin' hilarious. WHA' HAPPENED?

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Gonna blog, gonna blog, gonna blog right now,
gonna blog, gonna blog, gonna BLOGGGGG-

(To the tune of the Detrol LA commercial, "Gotta Go, Gotta Go right now...," which, by the way, is an effective medication)

Yeah, blogging is a habit I really like, and I'm getting out of it, and I hate that.

Anyway, things are pretty good with me these days, just trying to get back on track. I've been really tired lately. I slept from 7:30 p.m. last night to 10 a.m. this morning, which was absolutely delicious, but sadly, I do still feel sleepy. Hmmm.... I have kind of been running at a fever pitch since about ten days ago, so that's probably why.
But my "weekend" is Thursday and Friday this week, so technically, this is my last day of work this week.

Unfortunately, all of Thursday I will be running around trying to finish - well, errands, I guess- but pain in the ass errands! Like trying, One. More. Time. to get a New York state drivers' license. But this time, I'm going armed with my passport, SS card, Florida license, an official piece of post-marked mail from my apartment in New York, the signed form from 1997 saying I passed my drivers' test in PA, my title of ownership, my vision correction prescription and my Florida drivers' license (now sufficiently past the four month validity date, thank you very much), so this time there is NO FREAKIN' WAY they can not tell me that I do not drive, do not see, do not have a car, do not live in New York state, do not have a drivers' license at all, do not have a drivers' license for long enough, or simply do not exist. Blah.

If anyone in the Greater Metropolitan Area would like to meet for celebratory drinks after this happens, I'm buyin' (provided I don't get carded and told my drivers' license is somehow null and void... ;)

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

And we're back! Okay! Whee! Sorry... did you miss me? Thanks to Alissa for her faithful blogging; getting to read good, long funny entries without writing anything on mine gives me Blogger Guilt Hives. Ew.

Anyway, so basically I spent the last ten days or so fishing my relationship with Stephen out of the toilet and going home for funeral type events, which were not very fun. I delivered Aunt Mamie’s eulogy. We buried her with her red high heels. It was sad. I want to believe in all the Good Heaven Ideas that my family believes. I do. I want to believe what the priest said, about Aunt Mamie being happy in an Ideal Life Style Heaven working in an afterlife family beauty shop with my other deceased (beautician) relatives. It feels safe and fun and it is more comforting to me than sitting in a freezing cold mausoleum, listening to murmured responsorials and prayers and watching my breath puff in and out against my black cape. It was that cold. Yeah…. I wish I believed in the Family Circle (cartoon) style Heaven, where Grandpa sits on the bed next to Grandma when she looks through the old photo albums, but I don’t think I do.

On a happier note, Stephen just came here for a few days to Sort Things Out. This is the second time we have had the “Do or Die” conversation and went running back to “Do.” That was scary. Not doin’ that EVER. AGAIN. I hope. J

What else? Work is work. I alternate between never having enough time and feeling lazy. I think it’s the weather. It makes me feel like laying on a blanket making daisy chains (Hi Jo!) and going to state parks with lakes. I will be in Lancaster this coming weekend for Easter. The cat and dog will both be there as I have to set off bug bombs to eliminate this freaky gnat problem I can’t seem to kill with Raid alone (shudder)… Anyway, with my parents having a new puppy, this may be the last time Fred comes home for a while, depending on how they get along, so those of you who have yet to meet him should come by. J Gunner is very cute and wiggly and barky. I’m just afraid Fred will be hissy and pointy as a result….

I am actually very much looking forward to seeing Old Friends. Jason, are you gonna be around?

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

bleh. i am so angry.
with myself.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

This entry is gonna be a little dark….

A lot of elderly people in my family are not doing well. Nanny is okay, although she is having a lot of problems with osteoporosis, but Aunt Mamie and my mom’s dad are in very poor health. Also, Aunt Bev, the Plot-Ners’ great-aunt (whom I have known since I was 5, and always spends the holidays with us,) has had a lot of emergency surgery this week, and she isn’t faring well either. I am especially sad about Aunt Bev. Having never had children of her own, she is like a second mom to Mrs. Plot-Ner, my second mom. Aunt Bev bought Kr!sten her wedding dress, and it’s inconceivable to me that she may not get to see her in it on her wedding day this coming October. Sigh…

This past New Years’ Day, in Miami, the Merald did a story about an elderly couplewho committed suicide on New Year’s Eve. They did not have any children or surviving relatives, and most of their friends had already passed away. Neither was healthy, and they did not want to suffer or watch the other suffer, nor did they want to be separated. So, apparently they put their affairs in order, left a note with their final wishes, and jumped, hand-in-hand, off the roof of their condominium building at midnight.

At the time, I was absolutely horrified. But now? After watching my loved ones making decisions about life support and morphine and so on- this one phrase keeps running through my thoughts: “Let it be peaceful. If not peaceful, then swift; if not swift, then painless.”

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Hmm..... My body is very pleased with me at the moment. I had three days off, got lots of sleep, had a professional massage and a lot positive experiences with the visiting boyfriend. (I'll spare you.)

I also had the great fortune to encounter Girl Scout Cookies in a gas station. The owner of the gas station was selling them as a favor to her local troop. No one ever tries to sell me Girl Scout cookies anymore, and I really, really like them. I really thought I missed my opportunity this year, but now I have Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos and Tag-Alongs. Yummy! I am going to freeze some, because I sort of bought too many in my excitement, I think.

HHS Band Alumni, sing with me now- "I walk around in February sayin' 'HOW 'BOUT THESE COOKIES!!!' I'm a Girl Scou-ee-ow-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out! I'm a Girl Scou-ee-ow-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out! G. I-R. L- S. C-O-U-T. Sayin' G. I-R. L- S. C-O-U-T. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Somewhere, Dennis Leary is twitching. Sigh....
Hmm..... My body is very pleased with me at the moment. I had three days off, got lots of sleep, had a professional massage and a lot positive experiences with the visiting boyfriend. (I'll spare you.)

I also had the great fortune to encounter Girl Scout Cookies in a gas station. The owner of the gas station was selling them as a favor to her local troop. No one ever tries to sell me Girl Scout cookies anymore, and I really, really like them. I really thought I missed my opportunity this year, but now I have Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos and Tag-Alongs. Yummy! I am going to freeze some, because I sort of bought too many in my excitement, I think.

HHS Band Alumni, sing with me now- "I walk around in February sayin' 'HOW 'BOUT THESE COOKIES!!!' I'm Girl Scou-ee-ow-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out! I'm Girl Scou-ee-ow-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out-ee-out! G. I-R. L- S. C-O-U-T. Sayin' G. I-R. L- S. C-O-U-T. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Somewhere, Dennis Leary is twitching. Sigh....

Thursday, March 20, 2003

So. Tired.

So much hatred of life.

Am bad dog owner.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Today is the First Warm Day here in upstate New York. (Does Westchester count as Upstate? New Yorkers seem to refer to anything beyond the 5 boroughs and Long Island as “Upstate.”)

It’s like the first warm day in Syracuse, where everyone is so grateful to see the sun that they come out of hiding. For the first few days, everyone is friendly and tries not to see all the garbage that was hidden under all the snow is still on the sidewalk, crusted over with gravel and salt dust.

People sit out on the quad in the few spots that aren’t muddy and marshy, and even though it’s only 60 degrees Fahrenheit and dark gray traces of snow still line the edges of the sidewalk curbs and the places where the buildings cast their shadows, I would bet $20 that some emaciated girl (who paid $125 for her fake tan at the Electric Beach on M Street and then $1250 on a Spring Break trip where she spent most of the peak tanning hours passed out in a hotel room sleeping off her hangover) will be laying out there in a bikini, covered in goosebumps, (the girl, not the bikini), and everyone else will have resurrected last year’s tank tops and Cargo/Capri pants, which, by the way, are “back” this year fashion-wise. (Did they ever go away?)

As for me? Stephen would have pulled me out of bed to “drive to fun places,” or Erika and/or Jo and/or I would have taken Bella down to the amphitheater where we would cheer when she would run so fast she would keep up with the big dogs or jump up onto the stage, and we would try not to think about Lucky.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

My cat got a bath today. This was the first time I actually stuck him in the bath under the spigot. (I love the word spigot.) Usually he just gets a rub-down with a Kitty Bath towel, but he has been a little "not so fresh" lately, (Smelly Caaaat, SMELL-y cat...) so after Bella got her bath, I stuck him in the bath, too. Secretly, I think he enjoyed it. There was a lot of pathetic yowling, but he didn't draw blood, which is unusual for Fred. (Trimming his nails is an invitation to buy stock in the pharmecuetical company that makes Bactine.)

Bella, on the other hand, (as I just IM-ed to Alissa) is probably on my cell phone even as we speak, trying to get Kelly to come take her away from me, the Evil Owner Who Gave Her a Bath. :)

In other pet-related news, my parents got a puppy. He is a black labrador retriever named Gunner. He sounds pretty cute, and they're having a ball. (Liss, if you want to officially convert yourself to Dog Person status, you and Gwen should stop by my parents to see him... Nothing will push you over the end like a pudgy puppy whose paws are still too bad for his proportions)

Hmmm..... MUST. GO. DO TAXES. And shower.... 2:42 p.m. and still in pjs.

Midweek weekend, tra la la la laaaaaaa!

Monday, March 10, 2003

How did I get to be such a bad blogger?

Why is my life so crazy? I always have things I keep thinking I want to write up here, but whenever I'm on, I can't think of them. Or I start thinking i have simething meaningful and /or funny to say, and it ends up sucking. I've also becoming a frighteningly Tardy About Obligations Person. My car inspection has to happen today (too late), Andrea's birthday present is 10 weeks late, and my taxes are never getting done at this rate.

Thursday! I will do these things on Thursday!

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Bah. I’m a bad blogger. I had planned a long, blow-by-blow account of the funny adventures I had encountered n my big drive North, but… now I’m in a holding pattern at my parents’ house in Lancaster as I wait for my worldly possessions to arrive in New York through snowstorms up and down the East Coast. Sigh….

I have been sleeping like it’s my JOB, which frankly, has been very fun. I’ve been really lazy, though; it kind of feels like when I would come home for breaks between semesters and just crash. Still, I just want to get unpack so I can hit the ground running at my new job one week from tomorrow. Eek!

I suppose the highlights of my Road Trip from Hell/Florida include the fact that Fred cried non-stop for the first 133 miles. Non-stop. Almost 3 hours, as I didn’t get on the road until FOUR (!!!) in the afternoon because the movers were late, and they seriously took their sweet ol’ time loading the truck. I knew the trip was off to an (ahem) interesting start when one of the movers asked if he could use my bathroom.

Here’s a moving tip- Never, EVER allow a mover to use your bathroom. He took the biggest, smelliest dump in the history of the world. Oh my god. I was trying to determine whether or not he even flushed, it was so awful. I was moving around cleaning as they were loading the truck, and I was trying to discreetly spray air freshener into the bathroom without gagging. Ew. (Shudder.)

Unfortunately, this was only an omen of things to come, as I reached Northern Florida around 9:00 p.m. on the first day. I decided Fred had been very good since he stopped crying (read; yowling) two hours before, l and he should be able to get out of his carrier and move about the car. Now, Bella sleeps on the passenger side in the front, or else SHE gets carsick every 8 exits, so I thought, “Oh, this will be cute! Fred can come up here with Bella! I am successfully traveling with my pets and my houseplants! It’s working! I am a fabulously avant garde savvy traveler!”

He climbed up front and sat on my lap in fun “Toonsis the Driving Cat” style for exactly two miles before he meanders into the backseat. I had a sudden feeling of Impending Doom, and a moment later, the unmistakable stench of cat poo reaches me in the front seat. Oh, God. I debated the merits of opening the window to keep from dying versus the possibility that Fred would jump out of an open window at 70 mph on I-95.

I decided to split the difference and crack the window until I pulled over to discover that Fred has befouled the same houseplant he “fertilized” two weeks before when Stephen was in town. Kenny Rogers croons, “once, twice, three times a lady” over the gas station loudspeaker while I apologize profusely to the victimized plant. I also noticed that the car really isn’t like a greenhouse, being all sunny and hot, as I had been trying to tell myself. (“I did NOT start schlepping you 1,300 miles for you to WILT, you ungrateful little fern!!!)

Anyway, the trip was fairly straightforward after all that, except when I started laughing really, really hard and had to pull over when I was recounting the story (to Wetzel) of how I was exposed to scabies in college… Oh, and I accidentally got locked out of my room at the HoJo in Smithfield, NC (TWICE!- once with the dog, once without) wearing only pjs, socks and no bra both times. Anyway, I’m still at my parents, but hopefully, my things will be delivered on Tuesday at the latest. Hope you all had a good weekend!

Saturday, February 01, 2003

I have been watching coverage of the space shuttle explosion all day. Amanda called and woke me up to tell me to turn on TV. This is usually the sort of thing that would have had me on the road to Cape Canaveral by 10 a.m. But I'm not working, just packing packing packing, and it's strange to get the news like Non-Journalists- word of mouth, TV, sitting in my personal, quiet space instead of waiting around in chaos for press conferences and family members and cell phone calls from the editors...

Of course, everyone keeps saying this, but it does make me think of the day the Challenger exploded. There was so much hype about it, because of Christa MacCauliffe being the first teacher/civilian in space and everything. One of the 5th grade teachers at E. Pete Elem. was a finalist- in the top ten, I think- so he had spent a lot of time with Christa MacCauliffe and the other finalists.

Everyone went to the auditiorium/gym to watch the shuttle take-off, but the first graders weren't allowed to go. There wasn't enough room or something, this was pre-renovations, so I didn't know what happened. Mrs. P used to drive us all home (because she teaches 3rd grade at E. Pete), and everyone was so quiet. As I jumped out of the car, I casually asked how everyhting had gone with the Challenger. Mrs. P was stunned that I didn't know, because Manda and Brad and everyone else saw it live, and I remember everything standing still when she told me it exploded. I remember staring at my feet on the wet pavement and thinking it just wasn't possible.

A few months later, we went to Florida and toured Kennedy Space Center, and I remember thinking that the memorial was so sad. Sigh...

Sorry to take a brief hiatus and end with such a sad subject. I am almost at the point where I am going to pack up the computer, though.

I will be driving North starting early Monday afternoon, so call my cell phone and keep from going insane. Bella has already started working on being a blast-ended skrewt- sigh- but it could be because I gave her too much rawhide to keep her occupied while I pack because she kept putting her Monkey (chew toy) in every. single. box I started to pack.

I haven't decided yet if I will stop at South of the Border where I fell off the lime green dinosaur in May. Wish us luck! :)

Monday, January 27, 2003

Hmm.... Am still in Boston. I flew in and out of Boston because otherwise my frequent flier restrictions would had me passing through Detroit with long layovers to get to White Plains, and this way, I could visit with Stephen if I had time and have Amanda pick me up, etc. (Thanks for the chauffering, by the way. ;)

Got to see Jillian and Nikki, too, as I, somehow, didn't manage to visit them since ringing in 2002 slightly more than a year ago. It was nice to see you!

Stephen and I wandered up and down Newbury Street today, window-shopping and stopping in all the (heated and not frighteningly windy and cold) stores that, in one way or another, resemble the Imaginary Store Alissa and I hope to have. They were all staffed by one "nearly-comatose-with-boredom" person, usually a young woman, who all said business had been really, really slow. After commiserating about the boredom working most regular retail can induce (which, as some of you may remember, nearly reduced me to a compulsive tshirt-folding, mentally Spanish verb-conjugating, "tights, panties and things" stocking zombie in the summer of '97), it occurred to me that we really do need to implement the Dial-A-Friend service that the character of "Nanny" dreams up in the "Nanny Diaries."

In this book, Nan- driven crazy by the incessant demands of her snobby and neurotic employers- fantasizes about having the ability to just call up a service and have them send over an Instant Friend, bearing a pitcher of margaritas and an 80s Madonna album, for companionship as she's stuck in Nantucket caring for their overstimulated, tantrum-inclined 4-year-old.

The bored, isolated retail workers needed this really badly. I myself could have used it in the early weeks of Miami. :)