That gay cowboy movie

No one really had anything good to say about it, which surprised me because when it comes to sensitive/controversial movies, most people are afraid to say anything negative. But that general rule didn't seem to hold for Brokeback Mountain. Despite the pans I finally saw it on Sunday, and I really thought it was beautifully done. I could do without ever hearing that music again, but that's my only complaint.


My kind

This morning I cut off a funeral procession as I turned from Norris onto Mass Ave. I wasn't paying attention. It sucks when you know that you hate people who do things like the thing you just did. :(


If I weren't already in my PJs, I'd totally go myself

Hmmm. I'm at BF's, reading and checking my email while he's hard at work on some files. Now he just got paged, so he left to attend to something having to do with a medical crisis. My dilemma is this: when he gets back to the apartment, how awful would it be for me to ask him to run out to the convenience store to get me some Tostitos? Inappropriate, right?


A window into my weekend

This afternoon my Alien landlady pointed out that our storm windows are not down. Any of them. So that meant two things: 1. That I had to feel like a complete moron, and 2. That I had to fight with every crappy window in the house in order to fix the problem. Our windows are my nemesis. Our place is very charming, but it's old. And where it shows its age is in the windows. They're made out of heavy cracked wood, and they're not afraid to give you a splinter the size of a matchstick for your trouble. None of the screens pull down or go back up easily, and some of the windows won't even open very far at all. Others of them get stuck open, so I have to grab on to the rim and hang from it, hoping that my entire body weight, suspended, will be enough to get the job done. Sometimes, believe it or not, it isn't. What kind of freak window can resist an adult person hanging off of it??? And I do mean literally hanging off of it, reminiscent of the elementary school Fitness Challenge arm hang. It's like they're superwindows.

My roommate came home as I was taking a screw driver to one of the safety latches the Alien had installed on the windows last summer. "What the hell are you doing?" she asked.

"Insulating our home. If you were wondering where all our money has been going this winter, the answer is literally out the windows." She looked at me blankly. "We forgot to put the storm windows down." No sign of comprehension. "The cold air is coming in through the windows."

J looked mildly interested but generally unconcerned. "Huh. I don't know anything about stuff like that - I don't do storm windows or whatever they are."

Now, I'm pretty sure the rules clearly stipulate that there can only be one princess per household. I've had that title cinched for years. Like, 30 of them. How did I get nominated as the default handywoman?

"You shouldn't hang off the windows like that, I think you could probably get hurt," J observed as she plunked down on the couch.

Important note to self: If you kill her, you'll get stuck with her share of the rent.


Railroad ties

It was the summer before our senior year in college. We spent our days working (sometimes). PS and N were the handymen for the apartment complex we lived in, and they painted, patched, and fixed. I was a secretary at a used car lot that my friend B's father owned - it was shady as hell and loads of fun. M taught music at a camp. I know other people were players in this piece, but their faces and names are hazy in my memory. Every weekend we would go to the beach to swim, lay around lazily by the ocean, and eat fried fish and frozen yogurt. Every night, we would just sort of be. There weren't many boundaries. And time passed on that way, until the leaves changed colors and the weather turned.

We would all grow up, get advanced degrees, careers, husbands and wives, mortgages. Little did we know at that point, but we'd eventually drift apart, drift back, marry one another, devastate each other. But that summer, we were our own little universe.

Some nights, we'd walk to the satellites in the fields behind the campus and climb up into a dish. We'd lie there, looking up at the sky, and talk about things that seemed so important then. As it turns out, most of those things we talked about were indeed very important, but what we thought about them years later would be very different than what we hypothesized about them under the stars.

Other nights, we'd walk down the country road past the university property line to the train tracks and follow them into the woods. There were no lights, so we'd stumble and feel our way along the railroad ties. We'd usually be under dressed for the New Hampshire nights - I remember always being so cold.

About a mile in, the tracks met a bridge. The bridge was supported by crossing metal beams, and it was an eerie white in the moonlight. We would sit in a line along the platform, waiting, and dangle our feet above the water. Local legend had it that there was a boxcar down below that had crashed off of the bridge years before, and if you came down just right, you would land on top of it, and probably break your neck.

When we heard the distant rumble of the train, we'd climb up onto the beams. They were different heights - some of us would climb all the way up to the top, some of us would stay closer to the bottom. As the lights of the train approached, we'd perch - ready. When the train came upon the bridge, the entire structure was alive with a violent humming and rattling. We'd hold on for as long as we could. Finally, when the jarring vibrations and the thunder of the train as it roared past us became too intense, we'd jump.

The water was always a cold shock. The swim to shore was quick, and we'd climb up the embankment dripping in our shorts and t-shirts, shivering. Laughing. We were always relieved that no one had discovered the boxcar. We were happy on those nights. The walk back to civilization was filled with warm and compassionate chatter - mellow after the river had taken some of our restless energy and kept it for herself.

I would never in a million years do something like that now. In hindsight, I can see how dangerous and irresponsible it was. How we could have been hurt, or killed. Of course I would never do that now. But I'll always remember that feeling, as you heard the rush of the oncoming train and felt its power, letting go at the last possible second and falling downward. You knew the water was going to hit you hard, or you it, but the impact seemed such a long way off.


Of all the gym joints in all the towns in all the world, you walk into mine

So BF has to work for most of the upcoming weekend, and my thought was that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to spend some time at home, rent some movies, see some friends, and log in some quality, unhurried hours at Healthworks. And honestly, it's the uninterrupted gym time that I'm looking forward to the most. During the week, my gym time is squeezed in, but it's never without time constraints. If I'm in Boston for the weekend I usually workout with BF at the EC campus gym, which is fun because we get to workout together, but it's still not my gym. BF can't come to HW (gender restriction), so even if we're together in my neighborhood, I still rarely get to go to my gym both Saturday and Sunday - we're usually way too busy anyway (and yes, lying in bed snuggling, eating, napping, and reading until noon constitutes busy in my world).

So this opportunity is an anomaly, and I plan to make the most of it. But this morning I got an email announcing that it's Bring the Whole World to My Gym weekend. That's right: the infamous Healthworks Open House.

I hate to be snotty - I really do. But I'll tell it to you straight: gym rats hate open houses, promotional times involving free day passes or coupons, and post-New Year's Everybody Joins My Gym at Once peaks in membership. We like things how they normally are: we share the gym with the other steady gym-goers and settle into our routines.

After New Year's, it takes about 3 weeks for the Resolute to drop off the face of the earth (or the gym floor, in this case). It's a difficult 3 weeks, because they're in your way that whole time. They don't have a set routine, so they stand around - dawdling, chit chating, whining - and don't follow proper gym etiquette or procedure. And I know the gym is supposed to be for everyone. But let's face it - everyone is annoying. The showers are at capacity, you have to fight for a locker, and the likelihood of someone tapping you on the shoulder and asking you how much longer you'll be on the elliptical machine increases exponentially. And touching at the gym shouldn't happen. Tapping shouldn't happen. For the most part, talking shouldn't happen. (Okay, talking is allowed, I just got carried away there with the t words.) But the point is, it's maddening to share your space with people who you know won't be there come February. It's like when you're in the roped off lap lane at the pool doing sprints, and someone hops in to "take a nice little dip". You want to shout "This space is only for the people who mean it!"

I guess I shouldn't be so impatient. Now that I give it some thought, that's what people must think of me every summer when I hit the trails for the 2-3 warm months of the year and pretend to be a dedicated runner. I fade in when the sun shines, and fade back out when the chill hits the air. I can't hack running with year-round regularity - it's too intense (and too cold in the Northeast). So I suppose I should have sympathy for the seasonal gym member.

But I'd actually rather not. So I'm going to make a conscious effort to ignore how hypocritical I'm likely being right now and stick to my guns: Healthworks Open House Weekend sucks the big one.


Why it's good to be alive

Two words: reheated spaghetti



Sandbox etiquette

I'm a wizard at candlepin bowling - who knew? Last night after I made Boyfriend my specialty chicken parm and we threw back a few glasses of wine, we decided to go bowling. At first, I totally sucked. Like nothing but gutter balls. So of course I got frustrated, while BF insisted that it's the idea of having fun that's important, not your final score. Yeah. Right. Only losers say that! Or boyfriends of losers, trying to appease their uncoordinated, spastic girlfriends. I can't help it - I'm a competitive person. While BF cheered me on in my suckage, I pouted and stamped my fancy bowling shoes. He bowled well (shocker), but it was really hard for me to get excited. I mean, I could handle him winning the game. But I wasn't even in the game!

We decided to play a second game, because I just couldn't let it lie. Then something bizarre happened! I got wicked hot! It was crazy. A total turnaround. With no apparent explanation as to what accounted for my late bloomer bowling prowess, I became an inspirational underdog story. And BF, in typical BF fashion, was thrilled with my success - he was completely encouraging even as I trounced him. Why? Because he's not a sore loser.

I think it took seeing someone lose like a normal person for me to realize that I'm a horrible loser. I might work on that a little. Because of course BF let it slide, and just seemed happy that I was having the time of my life at Sacco's Bowl Haven once my spasticity passed. But other people might not be so forgiving. No one likes to play with a bad loser - we all learned that on the elementary school playground. Well, apparently most of us learned that on the elementary school playground. Others of us learned it last night.

It always did take me a while to catch on to new concepts.


Saturday on the couch: More thoughts

So I was trying to think of the SCARIEST THINGS IN THE WORLD. This is what I came up with:

1. sharks (clearly)
2. our basement
3. anybody else's basement
4. that kid in The Grudge
5. that kid in The Grudge in our basement
6. that kid in The Grudge in anybody else's basement
7. ticks
8. serial killers
9. serial killers in our basement
10. serial killers in anybody else's...... well, you get the point

The reason I was thinking about this is that Boyfriend and I are going on a cruise in March, to the Bahamas. Yay! Except, since the minute we booked the trip, I've become overwhelmed with this fear of... I'm not quite sure what. I'm not really scared of boats or getting sea sick. I'm terrified of the ship sinking or of me getting thrown overboard. BF says I won't get thrown overboard, but they have this rock climbing wall on the ship and I have this scenario in my head of me getting chucked into the (shark infested) waters as I'm scaling the rock climbing wall. BF says that won't happen either. But, I mean, he's not an expert really, so how sure can he be?

He says he's pretty sure.

I think what scares me most is my fear that I'll be scared. I'm worried I'm going to step foot onto the Majesty of the Seas and completely lose my shit. And that I know for a fact could happen - it happened once before when I went into this giant "belly of a whale" exhibit at the Children's Museum in St. Louis. Complete claustrophobic breakdown. In the middle of a kindergarten class. Not my kindergarten class, because this only happened about three years ago.

It hasn't happened since, but now I'm well aware of the potential.

I've been contemplating asking my doctor for some "just in case" drugs, something to keep on hand in case I have a panic attack as we board. Something potent. BF hasn't argued against this plan, so I think he has more faith that I won't get tossed into the ocean than he does that I'll successfully get my ass onto that boat.

Luckily, since I went to grad school and gained a vast array of useful knowledge and about a zillion dollars in student loan debt, I know which drugs to request to guarantee an unshakable state of calm (psychopharm, baby - all you ever wanted to know about anything that's tempting to take). But I'm not sure that mixing any of them with several fruity cocktails is really recommended, so that's a snag I hadn't considered until just now. Hmmm. Tricky. Very tricky.


Saturday on the couch: Thoughts

I'm reading a book in which the main character crosses her fingers behind her back every time she tells a lie (mostly white lies). I wonder if the act of doing something to physcially represent your deceit cuts back on how often you lie? In her case, though, she seems to lie an awful lot. So maybe not.

It's sheet and blanket washing day for me, and I wonder if it's possible to wash your sheets and blankets without throwing the washing machine off balance. I always end up perched on top of the dryer in our creepy as hell basement waiting for the cycle to finish, paralyzed by the fear that if I walk away bad things will happen.


Jinx: Terror on Norris Street

So last night I had to work late which made me unhappy. I got off the train at Davis around 8:30, and started walking home. When I hit Norris Street, a black cat appeared out of nowhere, meowing. So, animal lover/cat mistruster that I am, I started to walk a lot faster. The cat followed me. Then I got kind of freaked out. Especially because it was all black and looked suspiciously like a bad omen masquerading as a quadriped. It followed me all the way home, so I hurried through the gate and ran up the porch steps, but it was right behind me. I was afraid that if I opened the door it would run inside. As I was plotting my next move, J's voice came from the other side of the front door.

"Is that cat out there?" she asked, sounding about as freaked out as I felt.

Me: "Yes."

J: "That fucking cat."

Me: "How do you know about the cat?"

J: "It harrassed me all the way home! It wants to get inside. Don't come in."

Me: "Um.... okay."

J: "Chase it away."

Me: "What? How? It isn't scared of me."

J: "Well, lure it away."

Me: "With what? The cat treats I keep in my pocket?"

J: "You're the animal lover."

Me: "Okay fine. I'll try to coax it down the street and then you grab my bags and bring them in. I'll come in next."

J: "Okay, but I'm not opening this door until that cat is gone."

Me: "Which sucks for me, because I'm stuck outside."

J: "Yup. Sorry."

So I made cat-enticing noises and jingled my keys and got the cat to follow me out the gate and down the street a few feet, and then called out to J.

Me: "Get my bags!"

J: "Is it gone?"

Me: "Yes!"

J: "Are you sure.....?"

Me: "YES!"

J started to open the door. In a surprise maneuver, the cat bolted around me and made a break for it!

Me (hysterically): "Don't open the door! Close the door! The cat's coming!!!!"


J: "That fucking cat."

Me: "Huh. Hadn't expected that."

J: "I'm not opening this door until that cat is gone."

Me: "Yeah, you said that already. What should I do now?"

J: "Go farther down the street. Yell when you get there."

Me: "Okay. I'll try." Then, "I'm really starting to get hungry you know."

J: "So hurry up."


J: "Want me to throw a PowerBar out the mail slot?"

I walked down the street, cat in tow, this time about a block. I yelled to J. For a minute I thought she'd abandoned this project so she wouldn't miss The Bachelor, but then she opened the door and pulled in my bags. She slammed it shut again.

Me: "Okay, now open the door again when you hear me coming up the steps."

J: "Only if that cat is not with you."

Me: "Just be quick about it, okay? This cat's got moves."

I looked down at the cat and pretended to start walking in the other direction again, farther down the street. Then, in a tricky sleight of foot, swiveled around suddenly and ran at full speed toward our house. This seemed to confuse the cat long enough to give me a shot. I reached the door and started pounding on it - J opened it and I practically fell on top of her.


J: "That fucking cat."

Me: "Totally."

J: "I need to take the trash out - is it still out there?"

Me: "Forget the trash."


All of the sudden I remembered something.

Me: "Hey, you know that flyer that we got? About the lost cat? Do you think that's the cat in the flyer?"

J: "I don't really care."

Me: "Oh my god! I think that's the lost cat!" Suddenly I had visions of myself as the benevolent neighborhood animal rescuer. "We have to make sure it gets home!" I said, all Citizen Goodwill.

J: "If you go back out there you are so on your own..."

I grabbed my cell, fished the flyer out of the garbage (it was buried under lots of gross stuff, by the way), and ran back outside. This was all a result of the animal lover part of me, which temporarily overtook my cat mistrusting instinct. I read through the flyer as the cat came running up to me. Sure enough, it was Jinx. Black cat, tiny white patch under his neck, no collar or tags, green eyes. I dialed the phone number on the flyer. No answer. Shit. Double shit. Then I realized there was an address on the flyer - Jinx's home! It was further up on Norris Street, so I decided to try to coax the cat back to his house.

That was a bit slow going.

It was around this time that I realized I'd forgotten to put my jacket on before I'd flown out the door. But I pressed on - after all, I'm a humanitarian.

When we finally got to the door, I rang the bell. No answer. The lights were on, and by now I was tired, hungry, and ready to be rid of Jinx, so I rang again. Finally, after I'd knocked a few times and waited about two minutes, a woman came up the stairs and flung the door open, and Jinx bolted inside the house.

"Is that your cat?" I asked. "We found him and remembered the flyers..."

Cue the profuse thanks.

But the woman only looked annoyed. "Yeah, that's my cat. Someone found him two days ago. We let him outside everyday now." She shut the door.

What? That's all I get for my trouble? And why, now that you've posted the entire neighborhood with lost cat flyers, pleading for us all to keep a lookout for your vulnerable and defenseless pet, would you let the very same cat run around free with no collar or tags? People are going to be returning Jinx for weeks!!!!!

On my way back home I passed my neighbor and his dog Henry. He took in my dejected apearance and observed, "Found Jinx huh? My wife found him yesterday."

"Yeah," I smiled halfheartedly. "Hi Henry," I walked over to the fence around their yard and bent down for a sloppy kiss on the cheek.

When I walked through the front door, J looked up from her dinner expectantly. "And? Were they so happy?"

"He wasn't lost anymore," I mumbled. "He's been found for two days. He was just out for a romp."

"Fucking cat."




As a lingering effect of my cold, I now get headaches everyday around 2-3pm. That sucks. Also, today I got a huge splinter in my thumb and had to have one of our NPs remove it with surgical tweezers. :( So far, not impressed with this the week's daily average pain index.


Stuck in a moment or stuck in rush hour traffic, depending on how you look at it

So these are the songs BF and I listened to on our drive into work this morning:

Werewolves of London (What is that song about, anyway? Werewolves, or is that a metaphor for something else? BF says metaphor, I say big furry wolfman creatures)
One (Johnny Cash version)
Ring of Fire (We got on a Johnny Cash kick after the first song)
You're Beautiful (My EC kids, in a comedy skit, called James Blunt "a big English pussy", and now that's all I can think about whenever I hear that song)
Laid again (I had control of the iPod and tend toward repeats)

There was a lot of traffic and we seemed to crawl, but when you think about it in songs, it really didn't take very long afterall.


If I go on a plane with a cold, will my head explode?

I'm so sick. I've been completely taken down by the most evil cold. I'm useless. This is my third day home from work, and all I do is lay in bed and blow my nose. I haven't even attempted to go to the gym. It's all I can do to take a shower every day. That and a load of laundry or a few work emails and I'm toast. I can't even run to the store to get my own drugs. My illness has made me temporarily helpless.

And... I leave for Florida TOMORROW! The timing stinks. I'm not sure I can survive the travel. But I'm pretty sure that a few days of sun and sand will make me feel a whole hell of a lot better.