A bit off the mark

I'm in NJ with my parents, and it's sweet, sweet pampering for the next few day. My schedule looks something like this: wake up, pop into Starbucks, read, go running in the park, have a home cooked meal, take a bath, relax. During the day I squeeze in a little work, which is productive and leisurely at the same time. Just enough work to make me feel like I've done something, thus justifying the quality play time that follows.

Tonight's entertainment was supposed to be watching Alias Season 5 on dvd. But the local Blockbuster put the kibosh on that because they don't have Alias Season 5. Not wanting to panic and nix my entire Saturday agenda (which had been constructed weeks ago), I decided to try Lost since at the very least the two series have a producer in common. So I swapped out Alias for Lost and my plan remained unchanged.

What I didn't realize is that Lost is scary! I just watched the Pilot and I'm horrified. Alias is fun and very unrealistic. Lost could happen to me on Thursday if my flight to Austin crashes. Not so fun. I often want to be Sydney Bristow from Alias - she travels to exotic places, kicks some ass, and dates a very hot man. I do not want to be any of these people from Lost. In fact I want to spend my whole life trying not to become any of these people from Lost.

You see, this is why I'm generally so inflexible. Plan B has a shifty way of sucking.


Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

Yesterday I was at a conference focused on tobacco addiction for people in recovery. Toward the end of the day I went to a session on the biology of addiction and was riveted by both the topic and the speaker. That's when the fire alarm went off in the hotel. Sirens wailed, strobe lights flashed, and people grabbed their bags and notebooks and ran for the door.

Since it was so close to 4pm this interruption clearly signaled the end of the conference. As people pushed past me in the corridor I was struck with indecision - should I get the hell out of dodge as fast as my legs would carry me or was there time to duck into the bathroom before hitting the road for the two-hour car ride home? In the end I ducked into the bathroom, where I ran into a colleague. Above the din of the pre-recorded evacuation message she glanced over at me and said, "We're awfully blasé about a fire alarm. I think that's a striking commentary on the past half decade of terrorism and threat in our society and the world."

I smiled at her, but shook my head. "I just really had to pee."


A million tiny moments

We're accepting an offer on Grandma's house.

People die slowly. Did you know that? In bits and pieces. They're not gone all at once. I mean, they're gone, but we don't know it, not until something clicks. And then it's like a baseball bat to the face.

On Wednesday night I hit my head. Hard enough to make me cry from physical pain. I rarely cry from physical pain. Emotional, all the time. But I'm surprisingly tough when it comes to bumps and bruises. I was shocked that tears were streaming down my face, and it kind of freaked me out. Which made me cry even harder, until I was practically hyperventilating. As I was sitting against my bed clutching my head in my hands, I looked up and saw the framed picture of Grandma that sits on my dresser. I knew normally I would have called her for some Grandma sympathy - there is no higher-quality sympathy in the world. I could hear her voice in my head.

Yesterday I was going through my cell contact list deleting people's numbers. People I never call or no longer speak to. I scrolled down to Grandma's number, appropriately labled "Grandma". I don't think I'll ever delete it.

When someone is so integrated into your life it's not possible to let go all at once. Because there's just too much to let go of. Mookie said it best when he responded to my sobs about the house sale with "I know just how you feel. It's almost like we're just taking care of the house for a while until Grandma comes back."

Mookie and I haven't always seen eye to eye in life, especially not in emotional matters. But I knew he actually did understand just how I was feeling. For a moment I was struck by our father-daughter bond. It's a bond that Grandma had encouraged and facilitated at every opportunity - she'd always wanted me to be close to Mookie.

Everywhere, little pieces.


The code vs the Law

Last night J and I went to see The Holiday. It was just the break from reality I needed.

J seemed a bit conflicted though - Jude Law had her battling with herself. Feminist J thinks he's an ass for sleeping with his nanny. Regular J thinks he's the most beautiful man alive.

I'm not taking sides, but he is quite pretty.


The Wes Craven of love

When I was a kid I had a significant fear-of-loss thing going on. I attribute it to my parents' divorce, which took place when I was two. I was well aware that I had few People in my life. I had my mom, my sis, and my grandparents who lived 5 minutes away. But I essentially only had one parent, and I knew it. I seemed to understand the fragility in that. I got it: at any point so determined by the universe, I could have no parent. And thus my greatest fear was born and continually validated by each and every horrible thing that happened to anyone anywhere else in the world and could possibly happen to someone in my family.

The funny thing is, to this day I know I truly love my partner when I start to imagine horrible fates befalling him - it's a sick sort of litmus test. The first time I imagined BF getting into a gory accident and dying was a bittersweet moment for me. Full of love and devotion and... raw terror. But I knew he was in. He'd become a part of my clan. And my clan makes up the cast of many a gruesome daydream. I can't help it. I have a very dark side. It's not dark as in angry or dark as in cruel, it's just dark as in scared.

I realize I sound insane but I'm not. I just don't want to lose my People. I think my fear-of-loss thing has intensified since my Grandma's death. I'm short a Person. And the problem with losing your People is that they aren't replacable. You can't just get another one. You're left with a hole that remains a hole forever. You can depend on the ones you have left, and if you're really lucky you can create a whole new category and add one from the outside. But you can't replace a Person. And what sucks the most is that you wouldn't want to anyway. You just have to accept the loss. And there isn't a lonelier feeling in the world. I'm not sure I knew that when I was a kid, but something tells me I had a decent grasp of the realities.

And for that they sent me to the elementary school shrink. She gave me stickers. I believe I found that helpful.


Subtle terrors

Something happened to my alarm clock radio setting. I used to wake up to classical music. This morning I woke up to a story about Kenny Chesney.


Talk about disorientation.

I'm not really a conspiracy theory kind of gal, but I know I didn't change the station to country.


Loss squared

We put Grandma's house up for sale November 25th - that's when the realtor pitched her sign in the front yard. We've already gotten two offers. When we first decided that we should sell before the market gets any worse, I thought I could handle it. But I was wrong.

Over Thanksgiving we spent a lot of time in that house going through things my Grandma had stored away in the basement, fixing up little odds and ends, hanging out laughing and telling stories. I was surprised at how warm and full of love the house felt - I'd never before been particularly attached to a house, and I'd thought that Grandma's house would feel cold and empty without her. But it didn't feel cold or empty. It felt full. In that house, I felt like there was enough.

I've never been a person with minimal expectations. I've never been low maintenance or overly appreciative. I've never woken up in the morning and said "This is fine and I am lucky." I've always wanted more: more love, more family, more friends, more fun, more control, more sleep. Most of my angst probably stems from that feeling of hunger. But at Grandma's I felt like there was enough. I was overwhelmed by that feeling. I've never been so affected by a physical space before. My only explanation is that Grandma's goodwill, compassion, and never ending love and devotion literally soaked into the walls over time. The house has good juju, if you will.

But now the house also has buyers.

I know that it's not practical to keep it. I know it's not practical for me to move to NJ. I know it's too late. But what I don't know is whether or not I'll ever feel so safe or anchored anywhere else. And I know what people say - that it's not the space you're in, it's you. I guess my problem is I don't believe that. It can be the space. It can be both. How we feel at any given moment is such a complicated convergence of things that it's impossible to dismiss physical space as unimportant. It's impossible to dismiss anything as unimportant. I realize that a house won't change my life. But things can matter without being pivotal. Sometimes the periphery changes everything.

It's not just the house. It's never just a house, is it? The things that matter to us but don't make rational sense to other people are never what they appear. It's not just about the house.

But it's totally about the house.


When Monday has its way with you

Here are my thoughts for today:

1. change is scary
2. I am particularly bad with change
3. I want a puggle

The week ahead seems exhausting, so apparently my brain is conserving all resources in preparation.


Now that you mention it...

On Friday while in NJ for Thanksgiving, BF and I went to see The Fountain. After the movie as we pulled up outside my parents' house and parked, BF turned to me. "Don't die of a brain tumor, okay?" (This makes more sense if you've seen the movie but if you haven't don't worry, I didn't give away any secrets you won't learn in the first 5 minutes.)

"You've got nothing to worry about, love. I'm fine, so you're stuck with me for a while," I assured him.

Ah, the power of suggestion.

At dinner, I began to panic. Brain tumor, brain tumor. Hmmmm. I have had a hard time finding the right words lately. Mixing up words. Misplacing objects. I always walk into things. No spacial acuity. I'd spilled my Sprite Zero all over the table just minutes before - things were slipping out of my grip - weakness in my extremities. Brain tumor, brain tumor, brain tumor.

Finally, when there was a break in the table conversation, I blurted out my symptoms and asked my mother for her diagnosis. She said I don't have a brain tumor.


Ah, the power of mom.


Addictions, gossip, and fat camp: A ponderance of the meaning of life

Over the weekend BF and I somehow started talking about addiction, addictive personalities, and kids. I'm not sure how, but most likely the leap was made in reference to one of my many addictive habits. I could have been talking about practically anything - I'm addicted to lots of stuff. Just not substances.

Tonight I'm addicted to Alias. I love that show. It's getting less and less quality as I fly through season after season, but that seems to be par for the course with any television series.

When I was stuck in the airport with my EC kids, we spent at least an hour flipping through People and OK (this was before I slapped the no-speaking edict on them). Some of my kids thought that Jennifer Garner is ugly! I should have demanded silence after that comment. They also thought that Tom Cruise has gotten fat, but hey, that's true.

Isn't he supposed to be getting married? It's too bad he'll be fat for his wedding day - he should have gone to bridal boot camp. Except for grooms. Is there such a thing? It's interesting to me that wedding days inspire lifestyle changes never made before, all to appear flawless in the poofy white dress. You'd think this frenzy would come in the early dating stages, when he'll first see you naked. I'd rather be primed for the unveiling of the naked than for the unveiling of the veil. But that's just me. Naked has always made me more nervous than beaded silk and taffeta.


I'm just gonna put it out there: I hated it

I think Mookie hit the nail on the head when he expressed his dislike for Borat. He compared him to Robin Williams. A relentless, look-at-me attention monger who never shuts up. He has no off switch. As long as there's an audience, he's full throttle. "It's like he grabs you by the lapels and won't let go until you laugh."

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.


The score

Everytime I get a graded exam or assignment back from my nutrition class, I'm reminded of just how achievement-oriented I am. I've always known this about myself - I like to be the best. It's an elusive pursuit.

Yesterday was my 1/2 birthday. I forgot all about it, but BF got me a cute card, painted me a beautiful picture, and made me cupcakes. This morning when we woke up, he asked me if I felt any older. The funny thing is, I do. Not because of my 1/2 birthday. This year I feel older, wiser, and suddenly in possession of a vague sense of universal perspective.

When my Grandma died, it slammed things into focus for me. I understand my life in a way I never did before. I can honestly say that I have a very accurate conception of what is, and is not, important.

But grades are my weakness. One number that symbolizes where you stand on something. 100% perfection. It's the kind of canned validation that I can't resist. I wish grades didn't matter to me because I get that, in reality, they don't matter. But it's just too easy. Grades are like an island in the midst of a murky and vast sea. A tangible haven when you just want a place to touch your feet down.


Stick a fork in me. Almost.

How I know I'm all grown up:
1. My students called me "mom" on our trip to California. (Probably because I'm nurturing and bossy in equal parts.)
2. I've taken on my Grandma's burden of keeping the family together. Along with the burdens of remembering who's out of town and for how long, finding out who's sick and checking up on them, and bridging communication gaps.
3. I'm in charge a lot. That's weird.

How I know I've still got a little ways to go:
1. I paint my toenails at work and stick my feet by the space heater to dry.
2. I oversleep.
3. I'm quite irrational.
4. My ex drunk dialed my work voicemail at 2am. I'm pretty sure if you're on the receiving end of a drunk dial you've not quite reached full maturation.


Chapter 1

BF had emergency knee surgery on Tuesday. I woke up at 5am and spent the morning and afternoon at MGH in the surgical waiting room. Then I spent the evening on the recovery unit, caring for my suffering other half. BF was really sick from the anesthesia and the morphine, and was pale as a ghost. Poor thing. Lucky for him I've got a pretty good bedside manner.

I've taken the week off of work to care for BF post-surgery. Despite the fact that Halloween has passed, my friends and coworkers have suggested I take this opportunity to play out my dirty Halloween fantasies á la Naughty Nurse. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say BF's not really in a good place to appreciate that. Right now he appreciates Percocet. Fin.

My three days of duty have been interesting. Here's what I've learned so far:

March of the Penguins is THE MOST BORING MOVIE I've ever seen. We watched it this morning. I feel like a bad person for saying that, because it's all about penguins, partnership, and baby penguins. But my god. I actually fell asleep at one point. Bor-ing.

That's all I have right now. Kill Bill Vol 2 is on in the background and someone just nailed Uma into a coffin. My worst nightmare. I need to go to another room now and put on earmuffs while I read my nutrition book. Quentin is too hardcore for my delicate sensibilities.

I always thought BF secretly liked the chick flicks and Disney movies I make him sit through. That's another thing I've learned. When he's left to his own devices, the Netflix queue starts to take a very different turn.


Sloppy "seconds"

So, I have my halloween costume! I'm candy corn!!!

Well, not exactly.

I'm candy corn but my colors are in the wrong order. I don't know how that happened, because I looked at candy corn A MILLION TIMES before buying the pieces of my costume. But somehow, I got completely turned around. So when I came home from Target last night I headed straight for the bag of candy corn on our kitchen counter (yes, the bag I'd looked at and memorized before I'd left for Target). Much to my disappointment, orange is in the middle. Well, not in my world it's not. Brachs be damned. It's on the bottom in my world, because I bought the cutest pair of orange sweats, and I'm wearing 'em for halloween.

JPow told me I should put a sign on myself reading "seconds." She said "seconds" is a product that's defective, and thus sold at a reduced price.

Whatever. If J had let me be the trampy devil these color coordinations would be irrelevant. The trampy devil is all red.


Sugar and spice

My sis and my friend R have been telling me for ages to shop in the kids department. They do. Out of principle, or maybe pride, I've always refused. But tonight I crossed over. And I learned that although it's humiliating, it's really quite a bargain. I've figured out that almost everything in the girls department is $7. Stuff that would normally cost $40 or $50 in the women's department! It's hard to swallow your pride. But $7 goes a long way to take a little of the sting out.


A blogger gone missing

I don't have the flu, or the nine month "flu." I just got too busy to take time for myself. Or my blog. Sad, huh? Where'd the fun go?

That's a rhetorical question, but if you happen to know the answer please chime in.


Crime, time, and punishment

Ever get the feeling that you've done something wrong, only you don't know what? The 'waiting for the other shoe to drop' feeling. That's how I feel. Only as far as I know I haven't done anything wrong. It started last night and hasn't stopped. Relentless nausea. Exhaustion. Everything hurts without actually hurting. Today I cried at work for no reason. My boss said, "How are you?" and I starting crying. She asked me what was wrong and I told her I don't know. Which is the truth. I don't know, but I know it's not good.

I worry that it's delayed punishment. Maybe I haven't done anything wrong lately, but the universe can hold a nasty grudge. It waits until you're relaxed and comfortable, and then revisits your sins upon you. It's like holding a rock poised over an ant when you have no intention of letting it live. It's cruel really. I know there's something wrong. I can feel it. It's a poised rock, and I'm standing in its shadow.

Either that or I have the flu. Another distinct possibility given my symptoms.


The departed. Or not

Last night I went to see The Departed with TD and J. It was riveting, well scripted, and beautifully acted. Matt Damon was good, but Leonardo DiCaprio was amazing. I've always thought him to be a talented actor, despite the blip that is Titanic. But he reminds me of one of my more serious college boyfriends R. R was an abusive psychopathic asshole and later also proved himself to be quite a competent and resourceful stalker. So you can imagine why it's hard for me to fully appreciate Leo, hot or not.

It's funny how you can easily exorcise some people from your life. And some you can't. R was a lifetime ago, but the sight of someone who looks like him makes me sick to this day. He was responsible for years of unlisted phone numbers and unexplainable jumpiness. He's to thank for introducing the concept of caller ID into my life. I wouldn't put my name out into cyberspace. I constantly googled myself to make sure nothing would come up. He didn't halt my life, but he did have me looking over my shoulder for a long time.

I should count myself lucky. I've had a string of great boyfriends. Real humanitarians and genuinely stand-up people. I pick good. R was my only mistake. So I can accept that I made one. I won't ever make another one, I can tell you that much. It was a hard lesson but I learned it well and fast.

R is gone from my life, and pretty much gone from my memories. But the sight of Leo still jolts me. I'm sure that will go away too. But a decade later, it hasn't yet. I guess that's the thing about ghosts. They can be gone, but they aren't necessarily departed. Maybe that's important. I'm sure they serve a purpose.


Circus? Check

The circus is so freakishly fun! It was way more fun than I ever imagined it would be!

As you can probably guess, I never went to see the circus as a kid. I'm not sure if the circus is a decidedly American phenomenon, but I put it on the list of those American things I didn't get to experience as a kid with a foreign mom. Others? Mainly these come up in conversations when people are reminiscing about something from childhood, and they look to me for my nostalgic input on the subject. I shrug and offer "My mom's German." Sage nods around the table. "Oh, German."

The circus isn't something I thought about daily, but every once in a while I'd remember it. When I found out the circus was coming to Boston, I immediately suggested to BF that we go. Relatively soon after that I got distracted and forgot to keep hinting. Luckily, he didn't forget, and planned a Saturday night surprise for me. Complete with snow cones and a souvenir purple elephant cup.

The circus is crazy! Some of those performers literally execute death-defying stunts. I'd always linked the term death-defying with the circus and now the association makes perfect sense. It was amazing! Nauseating, terrifying, and amazing.

There were elephants, goats, TIGERS, zebras, and camels. Naturally the animals made me a little sad (they can't actually like being in the circus???), but I have to admit it was spectacular to see so many exotic animals inside a transformed basketball stadium. The overall effect of the circus was just that: spectacular. The lights, the animals, the performers, the costumes, the constant whirlwind activity. The weird talents. It's the place where freaks go to shine. That must be why they're called circus stars.

It was magical. I wish I could go again tonight. I think it gave me ADD, but it was quite possibly the greatest show on earth. True to its claim. Good job, Ringling Brothers.


Today we're going to the circus

Boyfriend does this thing. He makes funny noises that correspond with something I'm doing. Something I'm doing to him. Not that kind of something. Get your mind out of the gutter!

It started when I was in the habit of putting my nose right up against the center of his rib cage and rubbing it back and forth. Not as in, like a tissue. More like a nuzzle. And he'd make a noise every time I'd do it. The noise would change based on how hard I had my nose pressed up against him, or how fast, slow, long, or short I'd rub it back and forth. The first time he did it he was probably just kidding around. But I'm sure my whole face lit up, and the 1000-watt smile was probably incentive to keep coming up with new noises for other touches.

The thing about me? My mom has always pointed out that I'm simultaneously the most mature and the most immature person she knows. When I was young she told me I should marry someone older than me, to match my maturity level. She thought I'd outgrow my other-end-of-the-spectrum childishness. But that never happened.

My insistence that BF act as Noisemaker is relentless. If I nuzzle, poke, or tickle him and don't get a noise response, I simply continue until I do. With pout in place.

I imagine I'll stop when we have kids because then it'll be their turn. And they'll grow up with priceless memories of their dad. Memories of the silly things he'd do to make them smile. Simple memories to recall when they need that heart-warming feeling. The feeling you get when you know that someone in the world loves you enough to be your Noisemaker. Someone in the world loves you enough to break down every barrier and submit to being your personal clown.

Maybe wanting a Noisemaker for your nuzzle isn't so childish after all.

And we are going to the circus. That wasn't a metaphor.


Ode to Ormi Army

Oh Ormi
Like lemons you smell!
You come turn our house
Into heaven from hell

You make our beds
And do our dishes
I would wish for you thrice
If I had three wishes!

I long for your army
of happy housekeepers
You make it so nice
To come home and go to sleepers

I thank goodness for you
Oh Ormi army of clean!
To walk in and smell lemons
Is the stuff of a dream


Where's my consolation prize?

I'm tired.

No wait. That's not emphatic enough.

I'm exhausted.

And I don't even know what to do about it anymore. Work is insane. The gym is a chore. My class gives me a headache. Personal/family matters are stressful: BF's mom isn't well and we're moving up the sale of my Grandma's house. None of these things alone is catastrophic. But the sum of them makes want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. And speaking of covers, I bounce back and forth so unpredictably between my place and BF's that when I wake up in the morning it takes me a minute to figure out where I am.

There you have it. My recipe for exhaustion. Not the fun brand of Lindsay Lohan "exhaustion." The less fun kind that doesn't involve any booze, wild parties or Greek shipping heirs. If you're going to exhaust yourself, you oughta get a Greek shipping heir out of the deal. Something to take the edge off.


Be careful what you wish for

I advise a group of students who do health education around campus. We have meetings Tuesday nights. Sometimes my students say things that make me laugh, and sometimes they say things that make me want to go home.

"I wanna take Valtrex."

"Do you know what Valtrex is for?"

"No, but in the commercials people seem to enjoy life when they take Valtrex."

"It suppresses genital herpes outbreaks."


"Still wanna take it?"


"I'm not sure genital herpes is a whole lotta fun."

"Yeah, but I've never been kayaking. People taking Valtrex go kayaking and camping and white water rafting. If that comes along with a little genital discomfort, so be it."

"You don't even like nature."

"I like nature in theory."

"I think this might be a good time to call it a night."

First rule of advising: when you can't beat 'em, adjourn.


I wanna be a whore for Halloween!

J and I are having a Halloween party! She said no to the streetwalker/devil costume. Probably because you can't tell from that angle but it's actually a thong.

She never lets me do anything fun.


Read the fine print

Today at lunch TD and I went to Ann Taylor Loft. I had a coupon I wanted to use. It took a few failed attempts but finally I tried on a green corduroy dress that fit well and is very fall. I came out of the dressing room, spun around, and got my first and only thumbs up from TD.

Satisfied, we headed to the register where I presented the saleswoman with my coupon.

"Do you have the receipt?"

"Ummmm, no. Why?"

"I need the original purchase receipt for the order the coupon was issued through."


"I'm very serious."

"I see that. I don't have the receipt with me, because that's just ridiculous."

"I can't activate the coupon without it."

"I'm in shock here. Does that not seem bizarre to you? Who needs a receipt to use a coupon?"

"It says right here on the coupon," she pointed to the information in 3pt font on the coupon the size of a small business card. "that you need to bring your receipt with you at the time of purchase."

"Who reads a coupon? I mean, you all should bold that. For real. No one reads their coupons."

"I'll hold this for you, miss. Just fill out this form with your name and phone number and you can come back at a later time with all the required documentation."

I sighed, took the pen and the form, and moved over on the counter to let the next customer step forward. The customer piled her clothes by the register and said "I have this coupon..."

"Do you have your original receipt with you?"

"Yes, it's right here."

The saleswoman gave me a pointed look and I narrowed my eyes in reponse.

"She is so clearly the exception!"


Under the bridge

So BF and I are trying to figure out our Thanksgiving plans. We're either going to my parents' in New Jersey or his aunt's in Chevy Chase. The allure of Washington D.C. is strong. I love D.C. in the fall. I still think of D.C. as the place where I almost ended up, but didn't. I don't have any claim on the city, but it's familiar nonetheless and sort of feels like coming home.

I know Thanksgiving isn't about where you spend it. But somehow cities become like people. You can't help but develop relationships with them. I feel similarly about San Fran, Minneapolis, Chicago, or New York. Going to those cities is not just about what you do there. It's about being there. When I think of D.C., I feel something. And that something keeps pulling me back.


The good girl

J has a friend who's broken hearted. She just got dumped by her long distance boyfriend of about a week. No judgment. Despite the brevity of the relationship, she's devestated. So J told me that the plan is to meet tonight at our neighborhood bar at 7p for drown-your-sorrows drinks. Grey's Anatomy is on for two hours tonight starting at 9p. Clearly I was at a crossroads. Good humanitarianism v television. You know which won out in the end.

"Can you ask her to get all her crying out in the beginning of the night because I need to be home by 9pm."

Guilt guilt guilt.

J replied, "I told her she can only cry for 5 minutes because I don't do pity parties. Seriously. I can't handle whining. They were together for a nanosecond."

Ahhhh, good ol' J. By comparison, I always rise the saint.


Got you where I want you

Recently, they've been painting the stairwells in the garage where I park. Whichever one they're working on is closed off temporarily. My stairwell has been closed off a few times in the past week or so. At first you just had to go to another kiosk to get in or out, but now they're suggesting you use the elevators to go one or two floors up or down. This in and of itself is not interesting to me, but what is interesting to me is how people respond to my comments while we're in the elevator politely avoiding eye contact.

Every time I get in there with another person, I bring up the inconvenience of the stairwell beautification project. These are some of the responses I've gotten:

"Yes, it's a shame to waste all that electricity using the elevator to go up one or two floors!" Hippy woman, probably works for a non-profit someplace downtown. I personally couldn't care less about the electricity, it's just that the elevators are sloooooowwwwwww.

"How good can a stupid stairwell look anyway? It'll look grey, that's how it'll look when it's done. Grey." Uptight business man, probably works in finance downtown. In his favor, he had impeccable manners - he insisted I both enter and exit the elevator before him as he waved his arm in a gallant gesture. Of course, he could have wanted me to go first in case there was a mugger either in the elevator or in the kiosk as we got off the elevator, in which case he is a yellow-bellied bastard.

Polite smile, no comment. This woman was probably a tourist, because she seemed both surprised and alarmed that I was speaking to her. We really are an aloof people, us New Englanders, so I can understand how I might have caught her off guard by actually smiling. To be honest, I caught myself off guard since it was after work and the gym and I'm usually anti-people by that point in the day.

"I like elevators better than stairs anyway!" Kid. Why he was alone in a parking garage is beyond me but it conjured images of Flatliners and I imagined him whipping out a hockey stick and beating me down.

Grunt. A man after my own heart. Annoyed that I was looking at and talking to him before he'd had his morning coffee, he rewarded me with a measured glare. Now THAT's appropriate 8am behavior. No need for extra friendliness! Just shut up in the vator! I hear ya, guy. You're right. Inappropriate time and place for idle chit chat.

After the Grunter I was starting to annoy myself with my own banality, so I stopped initiating the stairwell project exchanges. But I kinda had fun, and so now I'm afraid I might become one of those people who randomly talk to whomever they're nearest to just for the sake of talking. It's fascinating to see how people will react to you. I adore and abhor the very concept of people in equal measure. I either need to be surrounded by them or self-exiled, there is no in between.


It doesn't need to be this hard

But there's a sick sense of satisfaction when it is.

This morning I drove into work, and traffic was disastrous. As I was sitting in my car listening to the Fray and wistfully imagining how good my chai latte would taste when I finally got to have it, I received a text from R saying that she would be late getting in. Figuring that there was a very good chance that I'd also be late, I in turn texted TD to let her know that both R and I were held up. TD then responded to my text to let me know that E was out sick. Since we have such a small staff, this poses a problem since patients need to be moved around as a result. I texted R to let her know the new development, and she then texted TD to get the full, real-time scoop. Then she texted me to share the discussed resolution. I texted her back with an updated ETA based on the surprisingly dense and consistent traffic. She responded that she would see me when I arrived.

I'm not sure this is the most efficient phone tree, since calls(texts for us women who don't do voice communication pre-caffeine) seem to not only go down the list, but also climb back up. The funny thing is that no one gets in touch directly with JPow. She's not a scary boss, so avoiding her isn't at all necessary. But somehow those of us within the ranks feel compelled to cover for our own. Thus, elaborate strategies are born. And with them the seemingly female desire to multi-task whenever possible is fulfilled. I type with one finger while slowly inching toward the traffic light, a can of diet lemonade in my gear shift hand and iPod blaring distraction.


The bewitching of an otherwise ordinary world

Last night as I drove back into the city to see BF, I looked up at the sky and saw a beautiful full moon. Then Roxette came on the radio and for one minute the streetlights popped in halos, and everything seemed cast in magic.


Six of one

My coworker came at me this morning before I had my office door unlocked with this bad-self help-book gem of information: "I recently read about how all men fantasize about other women!"

Sigh. Really? "Well, women fantasize about other men all the time."

"Men look at other women!"

"Women imagine themselves in relationships with other men. Which do you think is more harmful?"

"I don't know... the looking is dangerous."

"Mental marriage is a little risky too."

"Whose side are you on?"

"No one's. But right now I'm visualizing Jessica Simpson as my calm, rational, quiet coworker. See, fantasy life is sometimes spurred on by unwelcomed female nagging."

"You're a traitor to our gender."

"Fair enough."



This morning we had a four hour staff meeting. It was supposed to be three hours, but went over. Starbucks doesn't make a to-go cup big enough to handle that type of situation. Venti can't sustain past two and a half hours. That's the conclusion drawn from my spontaneous research study. Subject participation was not consensual, it should be noted.


A grain of salt

This afternoon TD and I went out to get salads for lunch. On our way to the càfe we passed a homeless man on the sidewalk. He shouted to TD:

"Your toes look better than your hair!"

TD (to me): "What does that mean?"

Me: "I dunno. Your toes are polished, so maybe he's saying your hair isn't as done-up?"

TD: "My toenails look like crap though - they're all chipped."

Me: "Um.... then maybe he was saying your hair looks really crappy? Even crappier than your toes?"

TD: "Okay, I'm starting to freak out now. Does my hair look that bad?"

Me: "He's living on the street, TD. I think you can probably just let this one go."


In bed

This is BF's really busy time at work. The next three weeks. It's a difficult time in our relationship, because I don't see much of him. But this year it's been harder than ever. Probably because I'm all out of goodbyes, so even a temporary one feels like more than I can handle. Needless to say, things between us have been strained.

This weekend was just what we needed. J was out of town, and we spent the entire weekend nesting. Going for walks, watching dvds, cooking, napping. My favorite part was at the end of the night when BF would fall asleep, and I would cuddle up next to him with my latest novel and my booklight. I love knowing he's there, but I also love the me time which delving into a good book always promises. It's the best of both worlds. When I finally decide to go to sleep I chuck the book and the booklight beside me on the comforter and spoon behind BF, nuzzling into his warm back and draping my arms across his chest. Those perfect nights sustain me during the week to come, when I sleep alone again. Well, with my book. But without my BF. Call me greedy, but I prefer to have both.


More than she bargained for

(I was looking through my blog and found this unpublished post I wrote on June 23rd)

For the most part, in the eyes of my Grandma, I can do no wrong. If I got thrown in jail, she'd comment on how stylish I look in my prison-issue jumper. Mookie laughs about it, because as her son, I'm not sure he gets the same starry-eyed unconditional approval. But grandkids are always different.

She was the one who felt sorry for me when I was growing up. She used to say "Poor L. She gets so worked up about things," when other people saw me as a handful. She saw my temper tantrums as displays of spunk and gumption. She thought my wildness was fun, and my neurotic sensitivity was sweet. When I brought home guy after guy and announced, "This is the one," she thought I was just hopeful and passionate. When soon after I explained to her that I was no longer seeing my future husband, she thought I was independent and free-spirited.

The one thing she gives me a hard time about is that Boyfriend does most of the cooking. I call her a lot. She asks about BF, work, my life, what I'm up to, and if I've seen any good movies. And she always asks me if I've had dinner. I think she worries that if she didn't remind me, I wouldn't eat. When I call her from BF's, she used to ask if I was doing the cooking. After about the fifteenth time that I admitted that BF was in the kitchen while I was on the couch with my feet up, she began to catch on.

So on Tuesday we had this chat:

G: "Who does most of the cooking, you or BF?"

Me: "BF." Why start lying now?

G: "L, that's just terrible."

Me: "Why Grandma? He likes to cook, and I like his cooking. I do the dishes!"

G: "Men like it when a woman can cook."

Me: "I can tell you right now, no man who's looking for a personal chef would come near me."

G: "You could learn to cook!"

Me: "But he does so well without me."

G: "You do the dishes?"

Me: "Most of the time. Besides, I have other things to offer besides cooking."

G: "What other things, honey?" Genuinely curious.

Me: "Huh. Ummmmmm, let me think... hmmmm... well, like... ummmm..." A few uncomfortable moments went by before I fessed up. "Gosh, I really got nothin'."

G: "You need to learn to cook."

Me: "No, I really have nothing. Can that be?"

G: "Don't be silly. He's lucky to have you."

Me: (As it slowly dawns upon me) "Well that's what we've led him to believe, isn't it?! But it's not true!"

G: "Oh, now, of course it's true! You have a lot to offer him!"

Me: "But I don't!"

G: "I'm sure you do."

Me: "That's just it! God, it's practically brilliant! I really don't! But I make it seem like I do! It's so simple but that's why it's so fantastic! I'm so high maintenance that he gets confused, and thinks he's working toward something truly amazing. Like all the work will have a big payoff because I'm such a great catch. But really, I have nothing valuable to contribute to the relationship!"

G: "Now, this is just crazy. You're perfect. We all know that. BF thinks you're perfect. Why don't you tell me about the weather up there."

Me: "Wow, I'm a genius. When you think about it, I've got everyone fooled. I've even fooled us..."

G: "Now I'm sorry I brought it up - you have plenty of great things to offer any man. This is just silly, what we're talking about. You're perfect the way you are."

Me: "I'm so good I even tricked myself, I think!"

G: "If you just let mom teach you how to cook we wouldn't have to think about any of this."

Me: "I've probably even fooled mom..."

G: "I think we've exhausted this topic honey. It sure is getting hot here in NJ. What's it like up there?"

Me: "Grandma, you're so smart! This conversation has given me a lot to think about."

G: "Does any of that revolve around cooking?"

Me: "What? Cooking? No. I'm sorry - why, were you talking about cooking?"


The important thing is that we're all here now...

This morning a coworker of mine, C, popped her head into my office. "Hey, C, it's good to see you - god, what a pleasant surprise! I was just thinking about you!" I got up and gave her a quick hug. She looked at me funny. I sat back down.

C: "I thought we had a meeting. Aren't I on your calendar for 10am...?"

Me: "Oh." Pause. No wonder I'd just been thinking about her. "Well, it's still really great to see you."

C smiles.

No one can resist being wanted.


I know where to find you. Wait, do I? I'm not sure I do. This tracking number isn't working. You could be anywhere. Am I stupid?

Why am I unable to track a UPS package? I have never successfully done this. When people give me a tracking number I just think, yeah, right. Like that ever works. It always says my tracking number should be in a form it's not been given to me in. Like, it should be XXX-XX-XXXX and it's XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Wtf???!!!

Ah, Monday mornings.


What am I, chopped liver?

Two things make me ask this:

1. When BF left NJ after being there with me and my family for almost a week, my mom got all teary-eyed, and almost cried. When I left several days later, nothing. Dry eyes. Smiles.
2. My mom called me tonight, because my cousin and his friend are visiting from Germany, and after a long day at the beach they wanted to watch a dvd. But they couldn't get the dvd player to work. So I started to ask my mom whether or not the tv had a menu button when she interrupted me. "We really just wanted BF to call us. Could you ask him to do that?" Oh. Okay. So I guess you don't wannna take a gamble on my own technological prowess...?

I always thought my mom wanted sons. But I also always thought I was adopted or an alien, so I figured it was all in my head. Confirmation sucks.


Only you can prevent it

Last night our latest Netflix movie, Failure to Launch, caught on fire!!!!!! Well, okay, the dvd didn't catch on fire, but the envelope went up in flames! BF has cat-like reflexes, he really does. He was out of bed like a shot. I've noticed his reflexes at other times when potential danger is involved. That guy can hustle.

Luckily (although BF might not agree with my feelings about how fortunate we are) the movie is still okay and watchable! Yay, SJP! Yay, chick flick!

Women are so durable.



For two days last week we had ants. In our pantry. The tiniest brown ants you can imagine - they didn't even look like ants. Squishing them gave me no satisfaction because they just looked like miniscule crumbs with legs. They were everywhere on one shelf. In every box and every container. Crackers. Cookies. Peanut butter. Cereal. The only thing they steered away from was a bottle of minced onions. I don't blame them. I wouldn't want to hang out with an onion bit that's bigger than me either. They didn't travel to the shelf above them. I'm not sure if they just didn't know that they could go up there, or maybe it was too long a journey for them. Either way, the problem was localized.

So we set about the task of killing them. We bought poison ant houses and ant annihilation spray. Those things together seemed to do the trick.

Before we upped the anti J tried to kill them with Windex. She's a close second to me, another one of the stupidest smart people I know. That being said, I was right behind her when she sprayed the stuff all over the place, helpfully pointing out where she missed a spot. At midnight, anything starts to seem like a viable tactic. Wars are probably lost by strategies plotted at midnight.



I just got done flipping through the newest People mag. Leather and/or suede ankle boots and shorts? Famous ladies, please stop. I backed you with the Uggs thing. But somewhere there's a line.


Fate? Sealed

So on morning radio I heard about the theft of a local resident's wheelchair. That's right, wheelchair. What kind of person would steal a wheelchair? Why would someone do that? Talk about hammering the last nail in your coffin. Redemption wouldn't touch that perp with a ten foot pole.


Who made you king of the buttons?

Last night after I finished up at the gym, I bought a smoothie and then headed for the elevators. I got in with about four other people. A guy was in the corner blocking the buttons, leaning against the wall and eyeing everyone who stepped inside. After a minute, as we started to descend, he said "Are we all going to the basement level? That's a first." I came out of my smoothie-induced brain freeze fog. "Shit, no, I'm going to the lobby - sorry." He looked over at me. "You should pay more attention little lady. Normally I don't even ask - I was being nice. It must be your lucky day." Now, I don't know why people keep saying that to me when circumstances clearly dictate that it is, in fact, not my lucky day. Stuck in the elevator with passive-aggressive button guy? Not. Lucky.



Our matriarch's moxie

After World War II my Grandfather, an airforce gunman, was stationed in Germany. My Grandma and Mookie went with him. (That's how my parents met.) After a few months of living overseas, Grandma decided she wanted a driver's license. But she couldn't get one. Because she couldn't pass the test. The written test. The practical test. Any test. So she went to the Kraftfahrzeugamt and demanded they issue her a driver's license despite all the extenuating circumstances (like the hazard she might have posed to the general safety of the roadways). Her rationale for making such a demand?

We won the war.

I knew I inherited my sense of entitlement from someone. My Grandma had some serious spunk. And that was the 50s. So really, what constitutes serious spunk now translates to überspunk back then, when women weren't supposed to question anything, much less a foreign government.



This weekend we watched Sin City. I have a thing about amputation. It's right up there with my shark thing and my scary basement thing. I was not a happy camper. I couldn't squish my eyes shut fast enough to keep up with all the ears, arms, legs, hands, fingers and feet that got tossed around/shot off/eaten off/cut off. Last night I had a dream that a guy got his stomach ripped open by a shark and then he was just standing there, screaming, with his guts hanging out. Don't you love it when the horror you see on the screen mixes with the horror already in your head and it becomes the horror that plays out in your dreams?


Best not to feed it

Lately I've been getting a lot of praise. It's like I walk on water. My performance eval at work was glowing. The phrase "every supervisor's dream employee!" actually came up. In writing. I evaluated myself harshly, because in the back of my mind was the certainty that I hadn't committed 100% to my job this past year. But hey, who am I to argue with my supervisor?

At the door the other morning, BF said "I'm so lucky to have you in my life - you're wonderful." I asked him why, and he said because I'm so supportive and loving. I was a little surprised, because in the back of my mind was the certainty that I hadn't been very supportive or loving the night before when I came home all pissy and threw a fit because... well, because I could. But hey, who am I to argue with my boyfriend?

Rifling through my desk yesterday I came across a card from a graduated student. In the card, she thanked me for being such a great advisor to her student group. I felt guilty, because in the back of my mind was the certainty that I hadn't given that student group the same kind of devotion and nurturance I gave my other, most favorite student group. But hey, who am I to argue with a greeting card?

And then last night, after she finished my highlights, my hairdresser told me that my hair looked fabulous, and that I'm a total babe. I finally gave in. I agreed, because in the back of my mind was the certainty that I'm nothing short of stunning. Hey, who am I to argue with a mirror?

See? That's what superfluous praise does. It goes to my head. My newly highlighted head. And then we're all in trouble. The last thing I need in my demanding, self-absorbed personality is a huge ego where the self-confidence problem used to be. The self-confidence problem is the only thing that makes me bearable.


He can't make animal balloons, but...

It's no secret that I've been sad lately.

So last night I was at BF's, and we decided to shave his head. Why? I don't know why. But it was the first time I've genuinely laughed in ages. He's bald now. BALD. I think he looks adorable, but I'm not sure if that's just a-face-only-a-mother-could-love type bias or if he actually does make the cutest excuse for white trash ever. Either way, it put a huge smile on my face. BF sure knows how to coax a lil' sunshine out of me.


I'm not even awake yet!

This morning I stopped in the hall to chat briefly with my boss, and the issue of relationships came up.

It's so nice to have a partner who really knows you."

"Of course, with the comfort of his knowing you comes the unfortunate fact that he knows you."

"Ummm... I'm not sure what you're trying to say...?"

"Nothing. Just think about it."

Consider me unsettled. Thanks, JPow.


Eerie go again

On Saturday my ex-stepmom B and I drove up the New Hampshire and Maine coasts, stopping to spend the night in an adorable motel in Yarmouth. It was a winding single-story motel with about 12 or so total rooms. After dinner, B decided to drive into Falmouth for a Contra Dance. Which is basically a square-dance spin-off that's got a small cult following nationwide. I decided to stay behind with, as everyone has probably already guessed, a book. And I'm okay with that.

Except that once B left the motel and I tucked myself into the antique maplewood twin bed, I started having flashbacks to that movie Identity. Where all the people get picked off one by one at the roadside motel during the rainstorm by a stalker/killer/demon? To distract myself I watched a Lifetime Movie Network special about babies switched at birth. But my mind kept whirling. John Cusack. Dead bodies. John Cusack. More dead bodies. Mutilated bodies. More John Cusack.

I was up until B came back. And when she came back she scared the shit out of me, because she didn't have a key and so she knocked on the door and when I put my ear up to it, heart pounding, and asked who it was, she didn't answer. "Who else would it be?" she wondered when I finally let her in after I'd climbed up on a chair and peeked through the window blinds until I could make a positive ID. Oh, just ask the corpses from Identity. They'll tell you who else it could be.

Survival of the most vigilant, my friends. That's all I have to say.


Embargo lifted?

I think I might like pizza again. I decided I hated pizza a few years ago, as I'm wont every once in a while to randomly decide I hate some kind of food. But lately every time I'm hungry, I think about pizza.

My ex-stepmom is here for the weekend and we're headed up north to NH and Maine. I'd write more but the only thing I could come up with to share is the pizza thing. It's been a slow week.


A bone? I'll chew on it

Today at the pool at my gym the guy in the lap lane next to me said, "Wow, you're way faster than I am and you're a woman!"

That's right, boys.

Now granted in the weight room he could probably bench press me and I couldn't even bench press his twenty-five pound dachshund... but I take it where I can get it, so I smiled all the way to the locker room.


Victim blaming

This afternoon I called Speedo about a bathing suit purchase that had just been delivered to my office:

"Hi, I need to return a swimsuit. It's not worn and the tags haven't been removed. Can I just send it back in?"

"Why do you need to return it?"

"It's see-through."

"So you don't like the color?"

"No, it's see-through. The color's fine. It's the transparency that's a problem."

"What color is it?"


"You probably shouldn't buy a white swimsuit if you don't want it to be see-through."

"I figured you guys had that see-through issue covered at your end. You know, the end where you design the functional racing swimsuits."

Clearly this is my fault.


NStar: They mean BUSINESS

Yesterday they shut off our gas. I always wondered what it takes to have your utilities cut off, and now I know. It takes noncompliance, in any form.

We pay our bills in full every month. We anted up all winter long when heating prices were through the roof. Every account that we have with NStar is in perfect standing.

But our meter needed to be exchanged. Now, given the fact that J and I have a cleaning lady because we are seriously two single women who are so busy we are quite literally never at home, trying to find a 4-hour block during the workday when one of us could sit around and wait for the NStar meter person was not going to happen. I told them as much a few times, and requested an alternate time for an appointment. They in turn requested that one of us rearrange our work schedule. Which this summer just isn't possible given all of the unexpected business that has kept one or both of out of town. We'd already stretched our respective job flexibilities so much they were about to snap. So we went back and forth and back and forth with the customer service reps.

And yesterday, they came by while we were gone and replaced our old meter with a new one. Which sounded great to me. Except that they couldn't, by law, turn the new meter on without one of us present. Which they failed to mention in the little note they pinned to our doorknob.

So it took me a while to put two and two together and figure out why we had no hot water, and then eventually no functioning burners on the stove. I was in denial that someone like me could be cut off by the utility company. Not only am I firmly rooted in the sort of stable middle-class cohort that doesn't really have issues with 'the system', I also am so fastidious when it comes to bill-paying that other people make fun of me. A lot. I pay bills before the electronic notification makes its way to my inbox. I never miss a payment on anything. I'm a model customer and tenant.

But NStar had gotten fed up, and they took action. Which I can respect, except that I was on the other end of the action so instead it pisses me off. They came at around 10pm last night and activated our new meter. The guy who knocked on the door smirked as we shared our shocked indignation with him. He shrugged as he headed to the basement. "You can't ignore notices from the utility company."

Ahhhh. The lesson.



As I was heading into work this morning, caught in traffic on Storrow, the driver's side door of the car in front of me opened and a guy stuck his head out and puked. Then shut the door again. And inched forward.

Home again, home again. I honestly couldn't care less about what's going on in the world around me. It's numbness, but without any hostility. I just don't have the energy left to bother getting involved.

Or it's jetlag. In which case I blame Northwest for travel-induced apathy.


"This is your lucky day!"

What the Northwest airlines rep told us after finding two standby seats on a flight to Minneapolis. After we'd spent the night in the Philadelphia airport sleeping on benches that were nailed to the floor. Without our lost luggage.

We left for our long weekend in Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon, but didn't arrive until Friday. Absolutely everything that could go wrong did go wrong during that very unpleasant 19-hour period.

Yeah, lady. We're so lucky.

She's lucky. Lucky I was too broken-spirited to reach across the counter and take her down.

Friendly skies my ass.


If I lay here

If I just lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Certain songs speak to you when you're in love, or when you're out of love. You wouldn't imagine many love songs would remind someone of her deceased grandmother, but for me so many of them do. The songs about loss, and missing someone who was as constant to you as breathing. Longing to be with that person again. Remembering that perfect connection. I guess it's not that surprising really. The loss of a romantic partner is vaguely similar to the loss you experience after someone dies. The ex is usually dead to you, in a manner of speaking. Except they're just not dead to anyone else, so you're mourning solo. And then for some there's the added complication of wanting to run them over with your car...

I miss my Grandma. I know it'll get easier. I'm just not sure it'll ever get easy enough.


The definition of "great" has varying parameters

Mine might be a little too liberal.

Last night at the SC I met with my new personal trainer. She asked me what my fitness goals are. I don't have a defined goal. I don't want to lose weight, I don't want to train for anything. I don't want to have any less body fat than I have right now. So I told her: "I've always been in great shape. So I guess I'd like to be in amazing shape. How's that for a goal?"

"Great shape to amazing shape," she repeated as she carefully wrote it down in my file.

After taking a health history and assessing my blood pressure (perfect) and resting heart rate (top notch), she led me upstairs to show me some abdominal exercises. I told her I'd love to learn some new, challenging stuff since my abs are already in prime condition. She told me she was going to teach me a routine called 10-10-10. Named so because you do 10 repetitions of each of the 3 components of the movement. She demonstrated briefly and then set me to it.

After a few painful (for me and for her) moments, she looked a little surprised.

"Huh. Um, okay. Maybe we'll need to modify a little bit for you. How about if we call this one 10-7-5? It's okay, everyone's different."

I looked at her and frowned.

"Maybe you're just tired today...?" she volunteered.

She was being very generous.

"Can I change my goal? I guess I want to go from good shape to great shape. I think I overestimated a little."

"I'll just make a note of that alteration," she offered.

How embarrassing.

Always under-promise and over-deliver. It's better for the ego.


Oh captain my captain

My Grandma died last Thursday. I wouldn't even know where to begin in describing her to you, except to say that she is the most kind, decent, unconditionally loving person I have ever met. She was like a mother to me because she raised me beside my own mother. I've never felt this much grief. And yet when I realize that she is so strong within me, I know I've gained everything I'll ever need in my life during these past 31 years. For that precious time with her, I can be nothing but grateful.

But I would sell my soul for five more minutes. One last moment. One more touch. For that I would give anything. I guess that's what mourning is. Wishing. Yearning for what we've lost. Even if it was more than any person could ever hope for. Maybe even moreso because of that. Something so perfect you don't want to let it go.


It's getting hot in here

This week I'm in Austin visiting my sis, her husband, and my nieces. Right now Mookie's with us too - he's staying through to Wednesday - so it's a regular family reunion. And man is it hot. I mean HOT. Like suck your lifeblood and leave you begging for water HOT. I kinda like it, because I'm always COLD so it seems like a natural solution. But it's a little startling. Luckily, there's an outdoor pool 5 minutes away and there's nothing better than swimming when you're roasting.

My family's putting some subtle pressure on me, trying to get me to move to Texas so we can all be in one place. The problem is, the idea of permanently moving to Texas is as hard for me to swallow as the idea of moving to Boston is for C. So we might just keep American Airlines in business and have everyone stay where they are, at least for the foreseeable future.


Knowing you

On Monday the weather was beautiful, so BF and I packed up the car and drove to Horseneck beach. On the way home, we stopped at Handy Hill for some ice cream. BF got a milkshake, and I got a softserve cone using a free token. We hopped back in the car and BF took the wheel. After a few minutes I was tired of eating the ice cream part of my ice cream cone and just wanted the cone part. So I decided to throw the ice cream part out the window as we sped along Route 88. I stuck my hand out and gave the cone a good flick, and the ice cream went flying. Then, I was curious to see if it had hit our car. So I leaned out the open window to have a peek and my sunglasses got snatched off my head by the wind and smashed into about a billion pieces on the road behind us. They were my favorite pair. I feel like the universe has a pretty close eye on me, because retribution is always in the form of a promptly delivered slap on the wrist.

The ice cream did hit the car, which for some reason I thought was really pretty funny. And note, it hit OUR car, not the cars behind us or the animals on the side of the highway.

On Tuesday, BF and I did some grocery shopping to get ingredients for a salad to bring to a friend's bbq. We threw the bags in the trunk, and I fished out a carton of Jersey blueberries to eat on the ride back to Cambridge. I sat in the passenger seat, picking out the best looking blueberries: one for me, one for BF, one for me, etc. At some point I came across a squished, fat, wrinkled blueberry in the bunch and decided to chuck it. I had just fished it out of the carton when BF warned me "There's a car behind us honey - don't throw that, okay?"

How did he know? I didn't even LOOK like I was getting ready to fling it out the window. It was like he read my mind!

When I asked him about it, he just said "I know you."




BF has a friend in town and I'm off to catch up with them for some drinks. I skipped dinner because I wanted to go to HW for my final chance to workout there - my membership's up. It was really tough to say that goodbye - almost like you'd feel leaving an apartment or an office - someplace constant where you had a minute to catch your breath as you watched your life play out day after day.

Ooo, they haven't left for the restaurant yet - I can have dinner after all. Nothin' like a snack to soften an emotional blow :)


Throwin' a little love to my tv

Tv gets a bad rap. I mean, yeah, it can be violent and result in couch-potato kids. But when productive, adjusted adults brag that they don't even own a tv, I just wonder why? Is it really that cool to loathe popular culture? I love tv. I mean, I discriminate, and I never spend all Saturday cooped up watching The Real World marathon (okay, once, but I was wicked depressed that day). If I get home on a Tuesday night in time to tune into Gilmore Girls, I couldn't be happier. And I'm totally okay with that.


If on your sleeve isn't obvious enough

On Tuesday BF and I went to the Member Fling at the SCLA. It was pretty funny. It really was a nice event, with great music and free, fabulous watermelon-flavored mohitos. We were out on the terrace watching the sun set, and the weather was beautiful.

But for some reason they were short on food. I think most people had come with the same idea that we had: "If we're smart about it we can make this dinner". The problem was, although it was advertised to make you think that'd be possible, it totally wasn't. Each time a server would come outside with a new tray of appetizers, the rich folk would swoop. Not being dog-eat-dog enough, we went hungry, licking the wounds other people's elbows had inflicted on us as they pushed us aside. Of all the people there, we probably need free food the most, but there was no charity.

Although I was there with BF, I got a taste of life at the SCLA, and it was just how I imagined it. The two times that BF left me alone to get more drinks, the men honed in. And what was interesting was their standard first two sentences. They went something like this: "You must be new here because I'm sure I haven't seen you around before. I'm an investment banker/I own my own business/I'm the CEO of prospering company." So what I learned about them is that they scope out women's asses in their gym shorts and they're loaded. The second one I already knew, the first I'd rather not know. Over IM today, I told my friend S about the my-job-could-finance-your-shopping-habit premature disclosures.

"They should just print it on their shirts, that way everyone would know right away." She suggested.

"Yeah, and the women could tattoo their bra size on their forehead and then all pertinent information would be on the table."


I might start asking for tax records right up front if I'm ever on the dating market again.


If you want it...

Tonight when I parked my car I pulled up behind the green Volkeswagen that has terrorized our neighborhood during every snow storm - the owner "secures" her shoveled out spot: leaving cones, furniture, recycle bins and the like to mark her territory while she's at work. No one wants to move them for fear of retribution, and no one knows who she is (although I did find out where she lives. Where, you ask? Nowhere in this neighborhood - her boyfriend lives two houses down. Her boyfriend! This isn't even HER street!). Making a bad situation worse, the parking spot she confiscates each winter for over a month after every storm (yeah, so unnecessary!) is the rockstar parking spot directly in front of our house on our street!

I noticed today as I came up behind her car that she has a bumper sticker baring a single word: "Karma."

Oh, I'll give you karma...


Paint by numbers

Last night I was sad. BF made it better. I love it when things really are that easy.

Speaking of easy, those "easy button" Staples commercials? Are they just stupid? They're just stupid, right? Or am I missing something?


Insert "duh" here

Bumper sticker on the car in front of me this morning:

"When Jesus said love your enemies, he probably didn't mean kill them."


Thanks for clarifying.


Hoop dreams

The weather's getting warmer, which means the neighborhood kids are out at the playground behind our house, playing basketball. They play at all hours of the night. They seem to play more once the sun goes down, but maybe that's just when we're around to hear them. My bedroom window faces the park so I fall asleep to the thump of ball on concrete; I'm equal parts annoyed and comforted.



I spent my Monday at part one of a two-day crash-course grant writing seminar. Securing a grant is the next project I plan to tackle. It's also a bargaining chip I'd like to throw on the table when discussing title, status, and salary - once you start bringing money in you're given a little more lattitude in your demands. But writing a grant is a huge undertaking. I've had experience working on and managing grants, but I've never started one from scratch and guided it from inception through to completion. A two-day seminar may sound like plenty of time to cover things, but it's really not. My poor head was spinning from the sheer volume of information. Everything our instructor said seemed significant, and she said so many things!!! I was completely worn out by the end of the day. Then I went to the gym and I was worthless there too - I think my brain was so overloaded it started sucking the life out of my body.


One shot deal

Last night we got free tickets to Rent! We landed the tickets at 7:35 for an 8 o'clock show, and I was in Cambridge curled up in bed with a copy of Wicked, but the thought of an unexpected night at the theatre was too good an opportunity to pass up. We arrived 10 minutes late by the time all was said and done, but our seats were fabulous. We were front row center balcony, so I could just lean over and rest my head in my arms on the balcony rail and drift off into another world for a while...

I got a Tetanus shot yesterday. My arm was throbbing, so I felt all weepy and out of sorts as the day wore on. Shots always mess me up - I'm never quite right for a day or so afterward. Which means it was perfect timing for play tickets to fall out of the sky.


A $10 trip to the place you hoped you'd never be again

Last night R and I went to see The Break Up. I love Vince Vaughn, and I wish good things for Jennifer Aniston after the Brangelina fiasco, so I was hoping to really like the movie. It definitely had its funny moments. But all in all, way too realistic. R agreed with me on this point. It was life, played out on the big screen. You could feel the frustration, the disappointment, and the pain of a break up where the parties involved still love each other. If I wanted to feel all that, I'd just flip through some old photo albums. Plus, both Vince and Jen have that face - that sweet, wounded, I'm-an-idiot-but-I'm-so-lovable face. It was like watching a teddy bear fall into a puddle and then get run over. Toward the end of the movie Jen says to Vince, "I just don't know how we got here." If I had a dollar...


Side by side comparison

The differences between Boston and NYC, as I see them: NYC has Tasti DLite and Jamba Juice. NYC has amazing shopping. Obviously. And more Starbucks per square mile. Boston has thin women - the Northeast is kind of known for that. NYC has models. Thin women, but with big boobs. Advantage NYC. And I'm not even a guy. Or a lesbian. So for me it's the first three points that make the most compelling case.



NYC was fabulous! We had a great time. When we first hit the streets after arriving at Penn Station, I was a little overwhelmed - NYC is much bigger than Boston in every way imaginable. But once I got my bearings, I started to like the pace and the energy. It even felt familiar, though I hadn't been back there in years. Now I miss it. I'm sure the magic would have worn off eventually, but we left before that happened. So now all I feel upon returning home is longing...



"Cath is in town this weekend and she's staying with us. She brought Steve. She's still not sure about him."

"How come? Haven't they known each other forever?"

"Yeah. Apparently he's not funny enough in social situations."

"Is he funny enough in non-social situations?"

"Yeah, Cath thinks he's hilarious."

"Wow. When did we get so particular?"

"Well, it used to be that Cath didn't think he was hot enough. So at least she's focusing more on other people's opinions about his inner quality."


Consider this your warning

Never jaywalk in Harvard Square.

Today J and I ran a bunch of errands: dry cleaners, CVS, Gap, Barnes & Noble. We ended with Blockbuster and the sushi case at Wholefoods - you can guess what our evening is going to look like. At one point this afternoon as we were driving around town, we were making a right turn on a green arrow when some pedestrians strolled across the street in front of us. They didn't have the walk signal, they had the red-hand-stop signal, so technically they weren't supposed to be going. J showed no signs of slowing down as we careened toward the family of four and they hurried to cross the street, parents grabbing their children's hands and breaking into a run.

"I hate it when people cross at this corner when they don't have a walk signal! It's so annoying! I don't slow down, because I'm trying to teach them that it's not their turn," J explained.

I didn't say anything.

"It drives me crazy. They mess up traffic. Sometimes I even speed up."

I bit my lip, but still kept my mouth shut.

"One of these days I'm probably going to kill someone, but it's the principle..."

This statement hung in the air for a minute.

"I guess it's not worth all the hassle of taking out a pedestrian just to prove a point."

I figured staying silent throughtout this one-man debate was my best strategy. Eventually rationality would win out.

"But one dead body would probably send a really strong message..."

I forgot. J has her own brand of rationality.



On Tuesday morning I'm leaving for NYC for five days for a national college health conference. I'm actually really excited about it. We're taking the train there, and I love trains. We'll be staying at a swank hotel in Times Square, so we'll be in a great location. We've been invited to lots of pharmaceutical company-sponsored dinners and those are always upscale affairs, which means we'll get to hit some good restaurants and order glasses of wine that cost what we'd usually pay for an entire bottle. R has some family in NYC and her brother is going to show us around some of the hot spots at night. So we should have lots of fun.

And as if all that wasn't enough, I just found out that Mookie is coming into the city to take me to lunch at the Carnegie Deli on Thursday. I love the Carnegie Deli!

Oh, and the conference will be a good learning opportunity. I meant to throw that in earlier but I got sidetracked.


You shouldn'ta said that

So last night after seeing The DaVinci Code BF and I got onto the topic of the G-man. We have different views on religion, though it's difficult to figure out just how different our views actually are. I'm not exactly a non-believer, but I'm certainly not your typical Faithful either. In talking about God, and without really thinking much beforehand, I f-bombed the Big Guy. As in, "F Him."

Silence followed.

Now, I realize that sounds just a little bit irreverent. (I think in that silence we were both bracing ourselves for a swift and mighty smiting.) But the context is important here. We were talking about people doing God's work - missions in the name of the Lord because it's presumed that those acts are what He would want His followers to be doing in His name. And I was suggesting that perhaps if God's so picky about how He feels His earth ought be run, He might want to just come on down here and handle some things Himself. If He's too lazy to do that, well, then, f*ck Him. I think the words "f*ck" and "God" aren't used very often together, because boy did that statement seem to ring out and hang in the air.

But why can't they be used together? Why can't I have expectations about my God? While BF stared at me, stone cold, I tried to justify myself. Though it seems irreverent, it actually is somewhat respectful (in my mind). I believe that if there is a God, then He can handle an f-bomb here and there thrown out by someone struggling to accept a very complicated relationship with Him. At least there's some energy behind it. My anger, to me, signals a passion that ought to be the cornerstone of any very individual faith. Plus, I think my God can swallow some back talk. Worship is one of the principles that I take issue with in religion - I don't actually believe my God would need me to fall at His feet before opening up the pearly gates to His Kingdom. I hope His judgments would be solely based on my humanitarianism. Otherwise, hello - ego!?!? I trust that my God is not arrogant. So that's my justification for talking smack about Our Savior: I believe that my God is a nobler god than a deity who demands unquestioning worship (or capital H's for that matter but I'm in enough trouble already). Which means that I think very highly of my God. I just don't fear Him. Thus the sass mouth.

I realize this justification isn't going to fly with everyone. I'm sure it'll seem disrespectful to some that I'm even writing about God in such familiar terms. But no one, and nothing, in my mind, is above some thoughtful scrutiny. I'm being genuine when I say that the comment wasn't coming from a disrespectful place. I question and provoke anyone I respect or believe in, because to me that's where real respect comes from - a labored decision, not a mandate. I just hold God in no exception.

Admittedly (so you can see that I'm not a total ogre) I'll agree that the comment was disrespectful to BF and his religious convictions, and thus should not have been made in his house. If I could take it back, for that reason I would.



This weekend I was away at my boss's condo in northern NH. Part of that time was spent with coworkers, part with JPow, and then the rest with BF (who drove up to meet me). You'd think the most consuming interactions that took place would have been with some or all of those people. But the relationship that got most of my attention this past weekend was my relationship with a two-mile stretch of hilly road.

The road runs from JPow's condo to the club house and comprises three long, steep hills. The first time I tried to run those hills I failed miserably and arrived at the club house locker room sweaty and defeated. That failure was the fuel that fed my obsession for the remaineder of the weekend. I thought I'd die if I left Campton without conquering those hills.

Of course I did, in the end. Conquer them I mean. But poor BF and JPow seemed a little perplexed by my unrelenting tunnel vision. I'm not sure if either of them understood why it was so necessary. I'm not sure I understand it either. But when I finally ran the route in its entirety, it felt like I'd actually done something.


No self-esteem problems here

Today is my birthday and also our designated red day at work, which means I'm both dressed up and dressed bright. Red dress, red nails, red lipstick, heels - I pretty much hit ya in the face today. As I walked into our office building this morning, my favorite security guard was sitting at the desk.

"Wow, you smell good," he said as he swiped my ID card. "Is that Chanel?"

"Nope, Victoria's Secret," I informed him. "Very Sexy."

He smiled and winked at me suggestively. I got into the elevator and turned to a colleague from another department who arrived at the same time that I did.

"Very Sexy is the name of the perfume,"I told her, as I was working this out in my head. "If he didn't know that, he might think I was pointing out to him that I think I'm very sexy...?"

"It might seem that way," she agreed.

"Huh. Well that's just awkward."


Rearing its ugly head

BF is going to the Cheesecake Factory this afternoon to have a goodbye lunch for a co-worker on his last day at EC. And I'm feeling inappropriately jealous. I want to go out for lunch. I've had a rotten week. It's not that I don't want BF to go out for lunch without me. It's just that I want to be going to the Cheesecake Factory too. It doesn't have to be with the departing co-worker, because to be honest I don't like him very much. It doesn't even have to be with BF (although of course that would be nice). I just want to go. Probably because I can't possibly get away for lunch today, and I feel like I'm missing out on something. Like recess.

I've thought about texting him to ask that he bring me his leftovers, but I figure that's just too pathetic.

TD offered to bring me a Saigon sandwich from someplace down the street, but at this point I'm inconsolable.


What kind of person?

I'm going to say something I believe most people feel but few are willing to express because it goes against our educated, environmentally-conscious, card-carrying liberal personas.

I hate cyclists.

I'm imagining that people are going to get all tizzy about that. But it's true. I hate cyclists. I love the idea of them. But my approval only holds up at the philosophical level. When I'm in my car, I hate them. I hate that I have to worry about hitting them. I hate when they insist on riding in the street with auto traffic. I hate it when they don't signal. I hate it when they do signal because I don't know what the signals mean. I hate it when I have to pass them and I'm paranoid that I'll accidentally knock one over. I just hate cyclists.

Oh, and I also hate to recycle. But I do it, I promise.


A hazy Pinot fog filled with tutus and toe shoes

Last night after work my boss and I went out for Thai and then to a ballet at the Wang. Over way too much curry and (maybe too much) wine, we celebrated the near-end of yet another academic year. A little before seven we stumbled out into the warm night air and across the street to the theatre. The ballet was amazing. The dancers' feet seemed like instruments of music, as if the performance was just a physical representation of the sounds wafting up from the pit. You can get lost in a good ballet. It's like having an intricate dream while you're still awake. It's tiptoes in a world full of loud, clomping footsteps. Gentle beauty that doesn't stun, but mesmerizes.


Hey, has anyone seen my car? Oh wait, I remember - I parked it in the super crazy Euro car dispenser...

This is a picture of a new parking garage in Munich. Makes me proud to be German. Talk about efficiency. No wonder organization is one of my strong suits - it's probably genetically encoded.

This structure reminds me of the pods in the Matrix or The Island. Are those cars really living or are they just being brainwashed to think they're alive...???

Those movies bug me. The concept is supposed to be so deep and enlightened. But I can pretty much guarentee that we really are alive. If we were held in human tupperware storage someplace being brainwashed to be happy, there'd be more sex and fewer compromises.

I get the moral of those stories - that essentially we're all living our lives like brainwashed pods, not even realizing we're no longer autonomous beings. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yawn. People should focus on creating change within and around themselves instead of searching high and low for The Man Behind the Curtain. Society has to have structures - that's the definition of society. We're not helpless or powerless, we're just moderately constrained, like every other animal, by the will of our collective pack.


You can do better than that

From a daily email bulletin today:

A new series of beer ads from Miller depict men talking about manhood rather than featuring comely blonds or party-hearty young men, the New York Times reported May 1st. Miller says the ads, featuring celebrities like football player Jerome Bettis, wrestler Triple H, and actor Burt Reynolds, will focus on men who "have defined in their own way what manhood is all about."

"They are true men," said Miller marketing head Erv Frederick. "They all have a lot of substance, and they have their own unique personal style." The ads are staged like a roundtable discussion on topics like how to clink a beer glass. Frederick said Miller "wanted to move beyond that stereotype of men as sophomoric." "We're trying to position it as a smarter, more intelligent light beer," he said.

An in-depth discussion on how to clink a beer glass? Way to move past that stereotype, guys. How about creating a smarter, more intelligent commercial?


Your last worst hope

Yesterday TD and I had to go to a CPR recertification course. Granted, CPR and general rescue guidelines have been pared down a lot in the past few years to make it easier for lay people to attempt to help someone in an emergency situation. But our training was a little too relaxed.

As soon as we walked into the room, I made our trainer for a Baywatch castoff. Tan, laid back, looking like he still had remnants of sand in his sun-bleached hair. He promised to let us out early.

The first thing we worked on was adult CPR. When it was our turn to be tested, TD and I crouched around our resuscitation doll, Resusci-Annie. Except the doll is male. But not the point. Our instructor walked around the room observing. When he approached me, he said "Great job, perfect." I looked up at him. "My guy's chest isn't moving when I do the rescue breaths - I don't think I'm actually getting any air in?" He smiled at me and winked. "Yeah, it's hard to get it right," he said, and walked away.

The rest of the class was pretty much the same drill: we'd screw stuff up, Baywatch would offer absent-minded praise. TD performed the adult Heimlich backwards on her doll, and another woman in the class gave infant rescue breaths that easily would have collapsed a baby's tiny lungs.

Last came the protocol for performing the Heimlich on an infant. When it came time for the skills test, I went just before TD, and when I finished I handed the fake baby over to her. She flipped it upside-down and started to wack its back like it was an NFL quarterback who'd just scored a winning touchdown. And kept on wacking. Eight, nine, ten... "I think your baby's brain dead," I commented, half amused and half appalled. "But, on the plus side, the food particle is probably dislodged."

TD frowned. "Isn't it 30 times?"

"No, it's just a few times. So that your baby's once again able to breathe, but isn't, you know, tenderized like a pork chop."

She frowned. "Huh."

Baywatch strolled over. "Good work," he told TD.

She looked over at me pointedly. "See?"

"Oh come on," I was mildly horrified. "He'd praise manslaughter if it would mean he could get home earlier."

As if to prove my point, Baywatch adjourned the class. Who hired that guy in the first place?


Spitters never win?

This can't be real.

Study: Fellatio may significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer in women

(AP) -- Women who perform the act of fellatio and swallow semen on a regular basis, one to two times a week, may reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 40 percent, a North Carolina State University study found. Doctors had never suspected a link between the act of fellatio and breast cancer, but new research being performed at North Carolina State University is starting to suggest that there could be an important link between the two.

In a study of over 15,000 women suspected of having performed regular fellatio and swallowed the ejaculatory fluid, over the past ten years, the researchers found that those actually having performed the act regularly, one to two times a week, had a lower occurance of breast cancer than those who had not. There was no increased risk, however, for those who did not regularly perform.

"I think it removes the last shade of doubt that fellatio is actually a healthy act," said Dr. A.J. Kramer of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. "I am surprised by these findings, but am also excited that the researchers may have discovered a relatively easy way to lower the occurance of breast cancer in women."

The University researchers stressed that, though breast cancer is relatively uncommon, any steps taken to reduce the risk would be a wise decision. "Only with regular occurance will your chances be reduced, so I encourage all women out there to make fellatio an important part of their daily routine," said Dr. Helena Shifteer, one of the researchers at the University. "Since the emergence of the research, I try to fellate at least once every other night to reduce my chances."


From the mouths of babes

R's response this morning when I was lamenting my high maintenance-ness:

"I don't think you're high maintenance. I just think you know what you want. That's not high maintenance. That's confidence."

Better spin. I'll take it.


The name game

The drug scene is all about names - there are a million names, spanning pharmaceutical to street lingo, for any drug that's remotely desirable. So I'm not questioning that there are lots of ridiculous names for illicit substances out there. But when it comes to treatment options, you'd hope they could do a little better. Something respectable, and yet still catchy. I've been reading about drugs used to treat cocaine addicts, and I came across Nocaine. That's just hokey. It's a play on words. Who wants a drug therapy that's a play on words? If I need drug therapy, I want it to have a clinically-derived intimidating name, preferably one that's hard to remember and impossible to spell. But that's just me.


Before you're even out the gate

It's about that time for me - running season. My running season is pretty short. Typically May through August. I don't run when it's cold. It's on principle.

Today was my first scheduled run. But it's pretty cloudy outside, and it's gotten incrementally darker with every passing minute. Not looking so good. I'm betting the run probably won't happen. Sad - foiled so soon. Weather. It's either a huge hinderance or the perfect excuse.


You never had it so good

J made a great discovery last week: Vitamuffins. They're really good. And super healthy! They have fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals and they're chocolate. Granted, they do taste a little bit like they're good for you. But they beat Grapenuts hands down. We placed our order last night and now we're just waiting for delivery. J took a risk and ordered the Vitabrownies. I think that was a bad call. You can fake breakfast, but you can't fake dessert. Faux chocolate when you weren't expecting chocolate (like in a muffin) is fabulous. Faux chocolate when you were expecting chocolate (like in a brownie) has damaging psychological and emotional consequences.


It's not classy, but it's funny

That movie Cats and Dogs? So funny. Appropriately, it's on TBS this weekend. Talking sinister cats really crack me up. Ninja cats? Oscar worthy.


Breathe easy. Or not.

Tonight after work I went to yoga, and at the beginning of class we did some yogic breathing. As we were practicing, our instructor came around to make sure we were all doing it right. Despite the fact that I only make it to a yoga class about once a week, I've got really good form in my postures. So when Melinda walks around the studio, I expect either no attention from her, or positive feedback. But tonight was different. Turns out I'm not so good at yogic breathing. She said my breathing is shallow and spastic. Okay, those weren't her exact words. But it's disheartening to know that even my breathing is neurotic.

Switching topics, has anyone else noticed that Ashlee Simpson doesn't look like Ashlee Simpson anymore, because now she looks like Jessica? How did that happen? Surgery? Channeling? It's spooky.


Nothing says forever like a precious stone in your navel

I convinced my coworker R to get a belly button ring before her 34th birthday in June. My belly button is already pierced but I want to get a new ring. R wants us each to get a belly button ring with a real diamond chip in it. I knew I liked that girl for a reason.


Why has it taken me so long to figure this out?

So lately I've been getting to work really early. I love it! Just half an hour makes for a totally different experience. There's hardly any traffic coming in, Starbucks isn't too crowded, and this morning I had time to pluck my eyebrows before our first student came through the doors. It's great!



Today is Green Day at work. Following the very successful Gray/Brown Outfit Day of April 7th 2006. The color days were my creation, and green was my push. But last week I wore an adorable all-lime-green outfit, and this morning I suddenly found myself completely out of unworn green. Not wanting to recycle before an appropriate hiatus (and not willing to raid the hamper), I did the only thing I could - I grabbed a green and purple scarf and tied it around my neck as a last-minute addition to my ensemble of otherwise muted tones. Lame, I know. The result? Mutiny. I almost had to hide in my office and lock the door. The ranks are unhappy. Very green, and very unhappy.

Our next day is Red Day. I'm going to be head-to-toe red. I'll look like Valentine's Day incarnate. I know I can win them back over. I'll be so red they'll need a whole new word for red.


Comin' right back to bite ya

May. The time when you want to kick yourself for not keeping better records. That's right.... it's Annual Report season. F*ck!


Sometimes the people you get stuck with stick

Most of my students are afraid of TD. She's our administrative assistant out at the front desk, and she's formidable. She seems aloof and unapproachable. They're scared to schedule an appointment or ask her a question. When they come to see me they try to sneak by her. I'm sympathetic - I used to be scared of her too.

But you never quite know who's going to end up being a friend, do you? If you'd told me two years ago that TD and I would end up being pretty close, I'd never have believed it. And yet, despite our many differences, we relate somehow. I tell her what's going on in my life, and value her opinions and insights. We chat all day on IM and laugh at the same types of things. We dissect one another's relationships and talk about clothes and shoes. We're like good girlfriends except that we do all of this at work instead of over Cosmos. And she's become one of my comfort people.

My comfort people are my familiar people. I'm all about familiarity - I've moved a lot but I only feel happy once I've gotten settled in someplace. So my comfort people are the faces that are reassuringly consistent in my life. They aren't all friends - my barista is a comfort person. My dermatologist is a comfort person, as is my boss. So their roles in my life vary, but the effects are similar. My comfort people keep me calm and stabilized.

I never would have guessed TD for a comfort person or a friend. I wouldn't have chosen her, because we're not really alike. And as I mentioned before, because she comes across as kinda scary. But luckily I got stuck with her. She's like a sleeper hit, or like Viagra when they first prescribed it for high blood pressure and then, much to everyone's excitement (literally), it had other pleasant side effects. TD was a surprise find, but she's definitely a positive addition.