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!