29 December 2006

singing in the rain

I am pretty sure that I saw a shooting star tonight! Right through my windshield as I drove past a roadside lake. Is that possible? Or even likely?

In any case, I hardly knew what to wish for. More days like today? The blessed monotony of things going well? The general continuation of my good fortune to be reasonably young, reasonably healthy, and gainfully employed?

I know the young thing won't last, but I can at least hope for good health until I require it no more, and god willing I have collected my last unemployment check...

I think I saw a shooting star tonight, but I think it was less of an omen and more of a flourish -- an adorable but extraneous bit of showboating on the part of my somewhat enthusiastically over-the-top higher power.

Like when Gene Kelly does a kick turn off a lamppost, but tops it with a goofy grin and a rakish shove forward of the old chapeau.

Look what I can do! Isn't it NEAT?

26 December 2006

a grand day out

A foggy, rainy day on post-Christmas Cape Cod. Everything about being at home is annoying. The sink is clogged. The cats are unaffectionate. A fifty dollar gift certificate to the bookstore is burning a hole in my pocket.

Too many other people have the same idea, so it's off to the back roads to avoid the traffic. It's getting foggier. I find myself in Eastham, meandering around abandoned cranberry bogs and empty beach houses.

At times like this I usually go to Fort Hill, but today I turn towards Coast Guard Beach. Haven't been here in years, I know, but as I approach the main house:

coast guard beach 001

I realize I haven't been here since my fifth grade class spent a week living in this building. I remember clam chowder in the dining room, dune jumping with Mr. Monaghan, and that cute boy Alex Boyers breaking his rib on a rock while playing touch football.

I try to find the rock.

There are tourists here, but they are the quiet, reverential type, and we give each other a wide berth as we cross paths on the beach. Some boys are surfing further down the shore. the waves are high and it is loud.

I realize it is a day for making a large batch of quahog chowder, for standing at the kitchen sink and shucking clams, for licking the clam juice off my fingers and nibbling on smoked bluefish and crackers while the potatoes simmer.

The waves crash around my ankles and the cuffs of my jeans are now wet. Sockless, my feet are crusted with sand from the winter beach.

A pleasant, low drone of silence enters my mind, breathes, expands, and forces out the chatter that had been rattling around for days. Waves crashing, clam broth simmering. A briny, windy peace.

Coast Guard Beach

20 December 2006

class conscious

This is not a post about my haircut.

It is, however a post about what happened when I got my hair cut just now. Vital distinction.

I went to the same place I've been going to for about four years. The gal who used to cut my hair moved to Florida about six months ago, so I had to switch over to a New Stylist last time. I liked her, so I went back to her tonight.

She clearly did not remember me, which I totally don't hold against her -- it had been a couple of months and it was the first time she had seen me. I know I don't have to tell you, I'm just not that spectacularly fascinating.

I'm a little fascinating. But not spectacularly.

Last time I went to New Stylist, it was a Saturday and I was wearing Saturday clothes. Maybe ever so slightly schlubby. And she did a fine job on my hair, gave me a nice little wash in the sink, chatted, and trimmed my locks right good.

This time I went straight over from work, dressed in full business regalia -- a black business suit (jacket and pants, natch, and a black v-neck T-shirt). Because I had a To-Do at work today with Important People, I was also wearing pearls.

Was it a conicidence that this time I got a distinctly more royal treatment this time than when I was in sweats? That she solicitously inquired whether the water was too hot as she washed my hair, that she shampooed not once but twice, and slowly, slowly, worked the shampoo in, with a little extra temple-massage thrown in?

That she wondered aloud whether I wouldn't like to try some color next time, and did I know she did pedicures, and WHAT lovely skin I have!

Either I suddenly smelled like money today, or she developed an astonishingly rapid and powerful crush on me.

15 December 2006


I am really tired!

All of a sudden I am working just about as insanely hard as I was at the height of the summer, only this time I did not see it coming. It's OK, I really like being busy, which I guess is why I somehow feel compelled to go back to school with all the hours and hours of leisure time I so clearly have. I must like to be really, really busy. We'll see.

One reason I am so tired is probably because I started going back to gym again after a couple of week's vacation that I awarded myself after running my first race like a goddamn rock star. My present to myself for running that weeny little race was a fancypants heart rate monitor. I waited until it came in the mail to go back to the Y. Seemed the right thing to do.

And I went back with a new game plan! No more bashing my knees in like I hate them worse than Hitler! No more pushing my heart rate up to the part of the chart that reads seek medical help now. It's there. Right above aerobic conditioning for the insane.

I've made a commitment to go every morning five to six times a week and exercise for at least an hour every ne of those days. And to stay within my very modest, very moderate heart rate zone with the help of my awesome new toy. I had no idea that it would know how to talk to the computers inside the treadmill and stationary bike! I feel so connected! So hooked up! So... monitored!

So it's just possible that my sincere desire to fall into bed before 8 pm tonight is partly due to having worked out more in one week than I used to in two. Maybe.

Also I have finally started watching what I eat again, and so I am pretty much weak with hunger by 8 pm anyway, and everybody knows you're not supposed to eat just before going to bed, so...

I was talking to a friend of mine today about how I hadn't done a lick of Holiday shopping yet and didn't really intend to, and he sounded so shocked and also kind of pitying that I am considering digging into my Sacred Untouchable Savings in order to buy trinkets for my family and friends. I wonder if this is the right thing to do.

Perhaps I will sleep on it.

10 December 2006


A couple of weeks ago I knit my first glove.

OK, actually I knit my very first glove in October while on vacation in Vermont. But that was just a test glove, a starter glove, a trial glove.

It's a bit of a Frankenglove, actually, because I bought the pattern on a whim in a twee Olde Towne General Store for five bucks, and tried knitting it with whatever size needles and whatever yarn I happened to have brought along. AND I had to substitute a different yarn entirely for the last two fingers.

The pattern called for me to seam it up the sides of each finger, and since I am less crafty and more knitty, I am not so much of a fabulous seamstress, and each finger came out with a jagged, bulky seam on the side. Not. Optimal.

But since I am an avid sock knitter, I tend to think everything should be knitted in the round anyway, so the next time I just altered the pattern to eliminate all that nasssssty sewing of seams. The first one came out great! And just in time for cold weather!

I've been wearing the new one with the Frankenglove until I finish the other one, because
a. who cares
b. it's what I have.

Also, they are both knit in somewhat similar colorways of Noro Silk garden, so they kind of want to match. In a wink-nod, non-matching kind of way. Whatever. They are warm!

But the second glove, the one to match the new one and to make the Frankenglove obsolete, has proved somewhat more problemomaticalistic. I have had to rip it out and restart it FIVE TIMES already. Annoying! I never have these problems with socks.

And look at this sock!

Totally my next project. Which is maybe why I am having a hard time finishing this glove. In my heart, I have already moved on.

In other news, I got my new heart rate monitor in the mail yesterday! This was my gift to myself after finishing my first 5K a few weeks ago. The few people I've enthused to about my new acquisition have mostly just looked concerned, like I had a medical problem, or alarmed, like I was about to have a medical problem right then and there.

So I will tell you, oh five people who read this site, and you will understand.

a. it is a gadget!
b. it will help me lose more weight (I haven't mentioned that I have been losing weight. I might discuss it more now.)
c. It has electrodes!
d. I can swim with it on!
e. it is magical and mysterious new technology for me to master!

I have been feeling kind of fed up with the Y, because sometimes I wish my gym experience wasn't quite so barebones and crowded. The equipment sucks, but hey! at least I have to fight cranky senior citizens for it!

So yesterday I took a tour of another gym nearby, one with a spa and a sauna and flatscreen TVs and attractive, clean locker rooms, and yes it is way more expensive but I might join in the new year anyway, because they also have several of the fitnessy type classes I have wanted to try. Also they have a sauna.

HOWEVER I will stick with the Y for now because

a. it is cheap
b. I am broke
c. I haven't started christmas shopping yet.

I'm a-gonna swing by the Y this afternoon to set my awesome little heart rate monitor calibration settings so it will be all set up for tomorrow. And then I'm a-gonna go grocery shopping so I don't buy lunch at the deli every damn day this week.

And then I will launch another attack on the Glove of Infamy, the Glove That Dare Not Speak its Name, the Glove of Doom.

02 December 2006

the life i've had could make a good man bad

Year in review meme, via Joey Michaels.

Post the first sentence of the first post of each month in 2006.

The best part about it being New Year's Day, besides being one of a handful of people on the planet not hungover today, is that we can all go back to normal now.

The most important thing I can tell you about bra shopping today is to stay away from department stores.

I am trying to innoculate myself against another case of the Friday Night Crazies by going out tonight.

It might not be the wisest move, but I have opened the windows.

Sorry I haven't written.

Getting dirt out from under one's fingernails is less work than you might imagine, if you have the right tool.

Oh my stars and as I live and breathe, but home repair is a rewarding pursuit.

OK then.

Is there a more fitting end to summer than a cold, wet and rainy labor day weekend?


We (finally) bought a new computer today.

I am waiting for the angry red line of thunderstorms that has been progressing rakishly across the northeast to finally make its acquaintance with our side of the state.

I did just fine on the test. they tell you your scores right away nw, didja know that? Well they do!

I scored 20 points higher than I did on the practice exam last week, and I was cool with how I did on the practice exam. I was slightly more than meh on the practice exam. So I did 20 points better than just above meh.

And that works for me.

It was odd to be in the same room with all the other kids, all of whom were clearly just out of college, and to see the anxiety and panic in their eyes as they approached this test.

I realized that I was more lots more sanguine than they were, probably due to the apathy that comes with age (and people think kids have cornered the market on apathy! Well, let them. Who cares).

At the end of the day, I already have a job, a career, a place to live. These kids are taking this huge scary test and trying to take care of all those other things. I so win.

On the other hand, at the end of the day, they are still 22, and I am still 35.

I'm not sure who gets the bell on that one.


I have now officially done every single disgusting AND odious job in the house.

OK, the gutters. I didn't do the gutters. And I meant to.

Technically, those aren't in the house. ahem.

If I had been at all clever I would have taken before and after photos of the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, and the bedroom -- all of which are unrecognizable from their appearance at 8 am this morning -- but that would have required forethought, and that was one element that was conspicuously missing from this little housecleaning bonanza.

I started off with a modest desire to replace the bleach puck in the toilet tank, as I was awoken last night by a sinister aroma wafting over from the bathroom. I have a very sensitive nose, ever since I quit deadening all my nerve endings with various toxins, both liquid and inhaled.

So trip to the store for a toilet puck turned into an eighty-dollar spending spree on cleaning products. I just can't resist all those pretty promises on the over-specialized detergents and scrubbers.

I returned home with my bundle of OCD joy and set to work. I quickly discovered that the toilet had some serious, serious issues that had been heretofore unknown to me, and were, in a word, ghastly.

I will spare you the details.

BUT it involved hacking away at layers of grime with an old, long-handled screwdriver that seemed to have been secretly custom-built for the job.

Oh, it was disgusting all right. But goddamn if it don't look like a brand new throne by now.

Of course, I have permanantly altered the chemical balance in the local water table with the amounts of bleach I have used this afternoon, but you know, omelets and eggs...

And that was, of course, only the beginning. I made TWO more trips out to the store over the course of the afternoon, once getting stuck in a massive traffic jam that was due to the immanent arrival of Santa Claus by helicopter.

This clearly traumatized me, because I have no other explanation for the mission-style end table I somehow ended up with, when all I set out to buy was a lousy two dollar shower curtain liner. Helicopter Santa is clearly to blame, and I dare you to deny it.

Careful readers will remember that I am driving up to Boston to take a test tomorrow. I suppose you are thinking that this was all an elaborate way to avoid studying the quadratic equation like I was planning on doing all day.

You would be correct about that.

01 December 2006

sponge; or splunge

I am waiting for the angry red line of thunderstorms that has been progressing rakishly across the northeast to finally make its acquaintance with our side of the state. I had a phone date tonight with my friend who liveth in the western part of the state, and she didn't call. I can only attribute this failure to communicate to a loss of either power or affection on her part.

I fear it is both.

But I have learned to embrace change. To see it as an opportunity for growth -- or shrinkage, in terms of long distance phone costs.

But the task at hand tonight is not reconciliation, the task tonight is to wait out the storm and to see what it yields.

I have lit candles as an antidote to losing power (if I light them, the lights will stay on) and made a bowl of popcorn, the better to watch the show.

And now I have fulfilled my bloggy duty, should we lose power for days.

One excellent reason why I have not written for a few days is that I have been alternating between re-reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers and watching the last episodes of The Civil War on Tivo'd PBS. So my inner monologue is an ugly trash heap of antique words and outdated grammar, with a fair bit of incomprehensible slang from another century thrown in.

Not that you would notice the difference, right?

In summation, Sayers rocks, one should use the word one more often, Shelby Foote's voice haunts my dreams, and I think I have a crush on Ulysses Grant.

And I'm taking the GMAT on Sunday, and it includes an essay section. It's gonna be awesome.

25 November 2006

like the wind

Holden Race

24 November 2006

forecast: sunny, scattered anxiety attacks

Tomorrow, oddly enough, I am running in my first ever race. It's a 5K. Just over 3 miles. A measly, minor, scant, short distance. However, it is still the furthest I have ever run without my brother chasing me, and I am, predictably, spectacularly flipping out about it.

Granted, my adorably quirky manner of flipping out mainly involves the grim, silent repetition of obsessive behavior -- no tantrums or screaming matches for this proper little WASPgrrrl. So unbecoming.

I spent much of yesterday refreshing the weather.com local radar screen, waiting for them to announce that the soaking rain and driving winds wouldn't let up until Saturday afternoon. And that all outdoor activities had been strictly forbidden by the governor. Which would make it the first time our Mormon-face governor had done anything remotely in alignment with my wishes.

No dice -- the forecast for tomorrow is still sunny and clear, a little windy, maybe, but pretty pleasant, all in all.

Then, the slight stiffness in my wrist I've been experiencing over the last couple of weeks flared up into actual pain (after a couple of marathon knitting sessions to finish a pair of socks I was sick of looking at -- moral: don't buy yarn you don't want to make out with for the next month. This was some seriously grody acrylic dreck that I am so happy to see the last inch of. Bleck. Now back to sensuous, silky Noro yarns. oooh, baby yeah).

So I spent the last couple of days trying to figure out a way that a sore wrist could possibly exempt me from running 3 very slow miles with hundreds of other, infinitely faster people. I couldn't think of anything, and my best friend only offered up embarrassing speculative stories about how I really injured my right wrist, through very different types of repetitive movement.

So I have filthy-minded friends, but still no alibi for the race tomorrow.

Let's not forget that I have told my boss, my co-worker, my father, my friends, AND THE INTERNET that I would be sprinting down this particular primrose path tomorrow. Some of them have even professed an intention to watch the race.

Listen: if you plan on seeing me cross the finish line, I suggest you bring a book.

I also spent an unseemly and uncharacteristic amount of money on running shoes three months ago, with the expressly stated purpose of starting my running career, in this race, tomorrow. I filled out my entry form that very day.

So. Back to sublimating my frantic avoidance strategies through obsessive-compulsive behavior.

After lunch today I drove out to where the race is being held and drove the 3.1 mile loop about five or six times, just to get the feel of the place. OK, maybe a few more times than that. Maybe the dog-walkers in that particular neighborhood considered calling the cops, I was so clearly and ineptly casing the joint.

I have laid out my clothes. They are the exact same t-shirt, warm-up pants, and sports bra I have trained in since I bought the running shoes three months ago. Yes, they have been washed. At some point. In the last three months.

I have dithered over my choice of socks. (no logo, medium thickness, ankle height, white. These things matter.)

I have made arrangements to meet a friend who lives near the course and who has actually run this race before. Who has actually run any race before. She will brook no backing out.

Anyway, my Race Day Socks have been chosen. I consider that alone to be binding, and final.

Maybe I should check that radar screen one more time.

21 November 2006

sunset boulevard

I have a friend who is some hot-shot photographer and sometimes he takes photos of events that I am at. He even gets paid to do this, if you can believe. On really special occasions I muscle my way in front of the camera and -- apparently -- mug like a baboon.

I just had the delightful opportunity to see what an unattractive, dishevelled, bloated dung beetle I looked like at the last event we had. Even when I was smiling.

Gah. ESPECIALLY when I was smiling.

Note to self: emulate Mona Lisa.


I feel like digging up old photographs of myself and pinning them up all over my office, on my car windows, the front and backs of my shirts... to provide evidence that I have not always looked this bad.

For Christ's sake! I've even been jogging something like 10 miles a week for the last three months! You would think I could get SOME relief from dry flaky skin that takes on a winsomely red and blotchy shade under florescent lights. Or get a break from looking like I eat Crisco straight out of the can as a light pick-me-up afternoon snack.

Like there's anything wrong with that!

So I've sent up the batsignal to my fabulously stylish and effortlessly beautiful friend who does my hair and asked for an emergency appointment, although no offence to her in the slightest fat lot of good it'll do me unless she knows where the reverse switch is on the Big-O-Beam I appear to have been zapped with.


You know, not for nothing, but I AM running in my first ever 5K race this weekend. Do I get no props for this, universe? None? Not a bit?

Stupid universe.

18 November 2006


No really, how many times since I started writing in this blog have I suddenly been stricken with searing eye pain due to prolonged and/or idiotic use of contact lenses?


Let's see... I've been writing for almost three years (cool!) and I seem to be afflicted with this type of pain, discomfort, and embarrassing eyeball redness about, oh, say, once every four to six months! (Boo!)

It's like having a sore throat. When you have it, you can't think about anything else. there is never a moment when your brain is not saying oh man does my throat hurt!

And then later:

Yep! Still hurts!

It's annoyingly monomaniacal, and you start to long for those innocent days of, say, last week, when you were unconcerned by thoughts of the subtle differences between the sensations of sandpaper, cardboard, or gravel lodged in your throat. Back then, you were saucy and carefree and could move about the world without wondering how many more cough drops you had in your purse and how much honey was left for your tea.

It's all-consuming. But at least you can buy those things at the store! Cough drops, honey, lemon tea are all readily available for short green at many convenient locations across town!

In contrast, when I fail to clean my contacts rigorously or regularly enough -- OK, at all -- I have to pay serious money as a grievously uninsured person (did you know there is a football player with the first name of Grievous? how great is that?) to make an appointment with my supercilious optometrist and listen to him lecture me about the importance of taking proper care of my contacts and eyeballs blah blah blah before he finally coughs up the eye drops that will make it all better.

And these eye drops -- they do! They make it all better, like, in five minutes! It's a modern miracle, and I am deeply grateful for it! I just wish they sold the damn drops at Brooks so I could forgo the lecture.

As I age and mature, certain things become clear to me. Certain undeniable truths about me that I have accepted and ceased to deny.

I will never be good at math.

I will never enjoy doing the dishes.

I will never take proper care of my contact lenses.

Someday, I am sure, I will just break down and get The Surgery. They will point laser beams at my eyeballs and I will pay them to do it.

Until that happy day, just hand over the damn eye drops.

17 November 2006


So I find myself once again needing a review of basic math. Or "maths" as my Brit friend Tony would say, which is a lousy way to say it if only because it is hard. To say. Or does that make sense, somehow, to make the word itself hard, as the subject matter itself is obtuse.

OK. Struth - I'm the obtuse one.

I wasn't kidding before when I said I couldn't quite remember what an integer was. I mean, it's a type of number, sure, but how exactly does it differ from a real number? See? You don't really know either.

So I swear that I have learned actual new material during my review of basic maths information -- information that was never covered when I was in the room, at least. Of course, back in high school I was always getting pulled out of math and science classes to go to extra band practice or compete in the one-act play competition or serve as an extra in whatever travelling sketch-comedy-with-a-moral group was giving us a hamfisted presentation in assembly later in the day...

I guess I always thought that because I only skipped classes with teacher permission -- and for such insanely geeky purposes -- that there would be no comeuppance.

There is always comeuppance.

So now I am relearning the difference between a mean and a mode, and all so I can get back into school so I can get an advanced degree that will make people think I really know my shit.

Except I suspect it will not fool the other folks walking this earth with the same fancypants degree, because they probably had to remind themselves how to find the standard deviation before taking the test, too.

At least I hope they did.

Of course because I am a geek who has been secretly dying to go back to school all these years, I am very secretly having fun boning up. I mean, c'mon! Boning up! ahem.

Granted, the test is only two weeks away and I am still reviewing algebra, which means I still have geometry to go. But I always kicked ass at geometry. It was only when calculus came sauntering along that things went south for me and ol' maths. And boy did they go south in a hurry.

Whenever I get overwhelmed during this review of seemingly arcane knowledge i just go and take the study test section on sentence correction. Then I take it again, just to keep the ol' ego inflated that extra bit. Then I go back and let the word problems punch me in the throat a little more.

Isn't it time for band practice?

13 November 2006

thank god it wasn't the ron jeremy dream

Last night it was so deliciously warm that I threw open both of the bedroom windows to let the sweet night air in, knowing that it won't be long until the night air gets seriously more bitey.

It was great and I slept the sleep of the just except then I had a nightmare during which a friend of mine was trying to make me do a certain drug and I was OF COURSE staunchly having none of it, but that didn't stop me from having a totally psychosomatically runny nose all day. My body is such a poser.

Perhaps one reason for having such a messed up dream was that I was simultaneously being awoken by the sound of chainsaws RIGHT OUTSIDE MY OPEN WINDOWS. My neighbors, who are clearly upset by how the spiffy new doors and awesome fresh paint job on my house put their wussy little ranch house TO SHAME YOU LOSERS, have decided to up the ante and replace the fence that borders our properties.

Some people are so competetive!

Apparently, the best practices method these days for removing an old wooden fence that is falling down so shabbily that a five-year-old could wrench the posts out of the ground and play pick up sticks with the cross bars, is to use a huge enormous and also VERY LOUD chainsaw.

I missed this memo from the Hunky Yardworkers Association of America. I wonder if they have my new email address. It's about time for the new Hunky Yardworker calendar to come out.

So anyway my morning was loud, nightmarish, and fake-guilt-inducing. This is why I was forced -- FORCED -- to buy myself some high-octane jet fuel coffee at the coffee shop on the way in to work, even though I am supposed to be saving money for something. I forget what.

Do they let you get an MBA even if your checking account is overdrawn?

12 November 2006

it's only a model

Well I'm all knackered out by my adventure in the big city yesterday.

Drove up so early it was still densely foggy amid the marshes and cranberry bogs along route 3, threaded my way past joggers and baby strollers in the leafy suburbs and on up to campus, where I was treated to some surprisingly good coffee, given a nametag, and escorted into a simulated classroom experience with about fifty other applicants.

We loosened up after a few off-color jokes from the professor and started bantering smoothly about fixed costs and value chains. Not the most riveting subject matter, perhaps, but what can you do. It was just a simulation.

Sure was fun pretending I was in grad school, though. I could totally get used to being in school again. I pretty much love school.

Problem is, I can't decide exactly which progam I want, so I sit in front of my computer for hours, comparing curriculum lists and credit requirements and changing my mind every half hour.

And now I have a headache, which I am certain is the result of a sudden overexposure to people who say "b-school" instead of grad school. And I'm all sore all over, like I'm coming down with something, so I am taking the day off from running the world. Even my retarded little world.

Someone is about to make me breakfast, which is nice, and then he is going to do the dishes, which is miraculous. Then I plan to curl up on the couch with the Sunday New York Times and hog the crossword all to myself and drink vats of strong coffee.

Later, I will make cookies. Then I will eat them.

I will also try to find time in my schedule today to knit a stripey sock in front of the latest episode of The Civil War. If I do not get around to it, however, I will not sweat it.

A nap with cats might well have to take precedence.

10 November 2006

energy efficient

It is way too cold in my house. I am all wrapped up in two blankets with my fleece pullover pulled over my chin. I keep trying to convince my boycat to come sit on my feet to warm my toes but he is having none of it.

It's that awkward time of year when I still want to have some fresh air in the bedroom at night but I also want several quilts on top of me. I can't stand for there to be too much heated air in the bedroom. Fills me with puritanical guilt.

I grew up in a drafty old Victorian house that was lovely and well maintained when we inherited it from my Great Aunt E, but was rapidly and irrevocably trashed when we moved in with five Newfoundland dogs.

Aunt E had all this beautiful old mahogany furniture -- claw footed secretaries, marble topped end tables, drop leaf tables with elaborate scroll work that was an utter bore to dust with pledge every year when company came over for the holidays...

Now all that furniture has deep claw marks at all the bases, broken handles, missing drawers. I'm always seeing similar items on Antiques Roadshow and saying yep, ours would be worth a lot of loot, too, if it weren't for how we destroyed all that.

The house had no upstairs heating. Still doesn't, and Mom still lives there. To go to bed in winter I used to put on two pairs of long underwear, a flannel nightgown, two pairs of socks, a hat, and mittens, then dive under as many of Aunt E's gorgeous old quilts (trashed) as I could pile on me and run in place (you know? like, you run? On your side? tell me you've done this) under the blankets to burn up some frictive heat.

My nose was always cold. Always.

You would think that this chilly childhood would have turned me into a thermostat-cranker, but I'm actually pretty happy with the heat at a nice, moderate 70 degrees. It's just times like this, when the heat was turned down all day because it was a lovely 60 degrees today while the sun was up, but now it is 39 degrees, so I came home to a bit of a frosty abode, that I start to feel the panic rise.

Fortunately, my house is the size of a small peanut, so it takes less time than than you can imagine to heat the place up. Three-room cottages rock that way.

So now it's a bit more tolerable in here, and my nose is only a little cold. Let's move on.

I've got an interview at one of my fancy schools tomorrow. The fanciest, as a matter of fact, unless I decide to really splurge and also apply to that kick-ass school in the Back Bay. That place is even fancier. All their photos have rooms with oriental rugs in them. It costs even more than Harvard.

This place costs almost as much as Harvard, but what the hell. That's what grants and scholarships are for. Like I've always said: it's only the fancy expensive schools that have the money to pay for you if they want you. I went to a top-notch private college and paid less than my friends who went to UMass did.

Show me the endowment. Show me!

Anyway who knows. All this is very theoretical. It's best to not project to the future, to remain in the now, keep your head where your feet are.

And you know where my feet are?


Who needs grad school when you've got that?

06 November 2006

goal oriented

So anyway.

Our computer went toes up a month ago, and what with all the other pressing household expenses we were facing at the time (new front and back doors, exterior paint job, new bed and couch, vacation in Vermont) we decided to bite the bullet and wait it out until we had some more dough.

It was less tough on me because I have a fancy big city job where I sit at a computer all day, but that doesn't mean I can read or write blogs while at work, because I have no desire whatsoever to get dooced.

So I have no idea what anyone else has been up to all month. And you, in turn, have an unaccountably low level of transparency into my life of the past four weeks. Mainly, I have to load my Vermont pictures and regale you with ribald tales of studying for the GMAT in between writing admissions essays that use words like "synergy."

Also, I have been sticking faithfully to my plan for training for my first 5K. Yes, as a runner. This is all and only so I can hum Wolf Parade's I am a Runner over and over as I pulverize my already weak and long-suffering knees. Last weekend I made it 3 miles, which, if you didn't know, is pretty much 5K. The race is a turkey trot, held right after Thanksgiving. I am so ready.

I figure once I get over that hurdle I can go back to swimming laps for the winter. I've always wanted to be a runner, and it's kind of like when I was 30 and realized I was gaining weight and was unlikely to ever look awesome in a two piece swimsuit again. I was already too chunky to feel totally at ease baring my midriff, but I said fuck it, it's not going to get any better than this and bought a black and white two piece and swam all summer in lakes across the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, luxuriating in the feel of cool lake water across my bare, bulbous belly.

I'm glad I did it then, because even with the jogging and the swimming and the whatnot, I am unlikely to do it again. Until I am well and truly old, and say fuck it all over again. And I won't need no stinking red hat to say fuck it either.

So it's kind of like that. I am unlikely to ever be in any better a position to rationally take up running, so I might as well do it now.

I am not being nearly as disciplined about studying for the GMAT. I am scheduled to take it on December 3, and I am still slightly unclear on what an integer is. Obviously, I am not breaking too much of a sweat about the written and language portions of the test. It's that whole if the train from Albany leaves two hours after the train from Buffalo, then calculate the square of the hypotenuse expressed in rational numbers part.

But my whole attitude about my proposed second flier through grad school (I once got an almost master's degree in geology) is kind meh...take me or leave me.

I'm smart, I kick ass, and I'll pay. Now hand me the goddamn calculator.

05 November 2006

brief, yet meaningful

We (finally) bought a new computer today. I'm back.

However, I'm also exhausted.

More anon.

08 October 2006

semper ubi sub ubi

I guess I do sort of live in paradise.

Went for an impromptu stroll along the jetty today with a friend -- I think it's morally reprehensible to live amid all this beauty and only rarely soak it in. Which makes me a criminal, but makes most of the people I'm surrounded by hardened felons.

By which I mean to say, I may suck, but I suck less than most.

I should translate that into Latin and put it on my family crest.

west dennis beach 004

04 October 2006

brain cramp


Applying to grad school is haaaaaaaaard.

But at least it's expensive!

And everything is submitted online now, so I'm not currently icing down my writer's cramp like I did when I applied to college and had to write it all out in my lovely flowing cursive handwriting... ten whole years ago.



Does that mean I get a senior discount on my application fee?

27 September 2006


Dear Technology Companies,

When you're done patting yourselves on the backs for being all "revolutionary" and for "redefining" the "paradigm" -- whatever that means -- and you're not too busy plotting where to put the next climbing wall at headquarters to promote "synergy" amongst team members during "trust training" or whatever the hell corporate trainers are promoting these days, do me a favor.

Everybody all get together and decide on one -- ONE! -- cable design for connecting all my gadgets to an outlet, and another one for connecting them to my computer's USB. Developing a USB was nifty and all, but it doesn't do me a fly's eyelash worth of good if all the other ends of those nifty "universal" cables are as individual -- and as special! -- as snowflakes.

I'm talking all MP3 players, digital cameras, and cell phones. One cable to connect each to an outlet, if that is how they charge, and one to a computer, if they like to make talky-talk with computers. These universal cables must work for all my devices. All of them! I am sick! of! this!

With every new gadget I buy, I add another garden snake to my drawer full of gadget cables. And then I have to go through the embarassing ritual of inspecting the shape and size of each device's lady parts so I can see which cable-y doinky goes in the hole.

YES I AM SEXUALIZING MY GADGETS. Seeing as their lady parts get far more action than mine do, I think it's only fair.

If there were only one type of cable none of this would be necessary. Get on with the revolution, please.

And with your bad selves. Thanks for all the cool stuff, keep it coming.



23 September 2006

the rain in spain

I just had the most lovely conversation with one of my favorite people on the internets, Tony. He lives way over in the UK, and some months ago he talked me into getting a microphone so we could chat over the computer wires, a feat which I am still amazed and flummoxed by. I can hardly believe that we are able to do such a thing, never mind that we don't get charged for it!

How cool is it to talk to somone in another country for free for a few hours? Man, I am so easily impressed by technology. If technology keeps improving at the same rate it has been, I am just going to spend the rest of my life with my eyes all wide, silently mouthing the word "cool" all the time.

Tony and I used to write weekly columns for the same website, and sometimes I secretly think he actually looks something like his old avatar there, which was kind of a squished up Tony Blair face, which is really nothing like how he looks at all, and even less how he sounds.

So I gave him my best My Fair Lady impression and he asked me why I was dropping the "haitch" off of my "haitches" -- like that makes any sense in the world.

At one point I yawned ever so slightly (so rude!) and he assked me if I wanted some whore licks, which I thought was perhaps even ruder than yawning, but it turns out he meant this which, if nothing else, is pretty much the slickest website I've yet seen. Really. The product itself is probably pure evil, probably liquid heroin or something used to control the masses, but the website kicks serious ass. Check it out.

So yes, Tony, I believe I do need some whorelicks. Bring on the whorelicks.

In short, he's just adorable. Also, he has long lashes and green eyes. So I'm going to start writing for him here. Unless he has some other website in mind, with webcams and nefarious eBay items for sale and all other manner of whatnot, in which case I might need to renegotiate my pay.

Right now I'm going to bed, but soon -- maybe tomorrow! -- I will start writing for him on occasion about sports and books and regional accents and why I have such a posh one.

I'll keep you posted. Right now, I'm knackered.

17 September 2006

the queen of refuse, the queen of filth

How did I ever allow my life to be filled with such trash?

Literally! I just went into a totally unscheduled cleaning frenzy on the back porch, which, granted, we use as a mudroom and trash/recycling center, and I ended up hauling TEN LAWN-SIZED TRASH BAGS TO THE DUMP. And that's not even counting the extra load of broken chairs and dead keyboards and cd players and cardboard and packaging materials from all the crap we bought recently.

I can't even begin to understand how I -- hater of all clutter and disorder -- could possibly allow things to get so bad!

I married a slob and a pack rat, that's how. And I'm usually too damn passive to make things stay the way I like them.

There seems to be some kind of planetary alignment conducive to chucking shit out, because we've been doing it at work, too. And I don't just mean that unfortunate person who just got "eliminated," either. We have been routinely carrying huge trash bags full of crap to the dumpster at the end of every day, and every day we wonder where the hell all the crap came from, and why we were content to live with it for so long.

I am renowned in my professional life for (1) wearing black all the time, common in other places but less so here in the land of the pink and green whale-print pants, and (2) keeping an immaculate office. I straighten all the items on my desk before I leave for lunch, not just at the end of the day. I have all my pens facing the same direction. I buy perfectly shaped and sized plastic containers at Staples for all of my various files and storage needs, and keep things sorted and tied down like we were at goddamn sea.

I am widely suspected of being a practictioner of secret feng shui rites in my office, so free of clutter and disorder is it.

I was known in college for having a dorm room you could waltz in, so enamored of clean, open space was I.

Why is my house a mess?

My car is not a mess. My office is not a mess. I am less of a personal mess than I have been in the past.

Well, at least my porch is, for now, in order.

Porch, east

Porch, west

10 September 2006

princess and the peahead

I came down with a most strange, unidentified virus this week that impelled me -- against my will and all prior training -- to spend great towering piles of money on home furnishings.


It started with my growing displeasure with our continued use of a fifteen-year-old futon as a couch. The damn thing was so uncomfortable to sit on that I usually opted for the floor directly in front of the futon, and only found the futon itself only useful as a backrest. Sure, the cats liked it -- they ought to, it smelled so strongly of them.

In the manner peculiar to such left-over-from-grad-school furnishings, the thing was covered in several layers of blankets and tapestries, so as to cover the proverbial multitude of sins. This meant that the several layers of fabric had to be yanked back up over the frame several times a day, as they tended to sag.

So I finally got the momentum behind me to buy a real, honest-to-god couch. Amazing what having a real, honest-to-god salary will do.

I flirted with CraigsList for a while, but discovered the truth of the axiom you get what you pay for. There is a reason some couches can be sold for only $20. An icky reason.

So I made friends with our local purveyors of brand new furniture and made my purchase. Now, although the futon makes a lousy couch, it makes an outstanding bedframe. So, once my glorious, brand-new, ultra-deluxe couch was delivered, I chucked the raggedy old double bed I had been suffering with for five years and replaced it with the futon.

The idea was to put the old queen size mattress I had in storage at my mother's house on the frame to make it more like a real bed, but close inspection of THAT mattress proved hazardous due to large colonies of MOLD. So I slept for a couple of nights on just the futon frame and fifteen-year-old futon mattress, spinning fitfully and wondering HOW THE HELL I USED TO SLEEP LIKE THIS ALL THROUGH COLLEGE AND GRAD SCHOOL.

Honestly -- for a long time, I slept with just a futon mattress on the floor! Sometimes I engaged in significantly more energetic pursuits than just sleeping on this torture device! This is now unfathomable to me.

Back I went to our local purveyors of fine furnishings. Just like in those awful Hummer ads, PING! went my elegant little forefinger towards an ultra-luxe, premium-thickness, 600-coil, memory-foam, queen-size mattress.

PING! went the cash register! RIP! SLAP! I wrote my check and whapped it down on the counter, using all my feminine wiles to connive the fine young Brazilian manager to deliver TONIGHT not TOMORROW but alas! I was doomed to one more night on ye olde futon.

Sick at heart at the thought of one more night of being forced, through searing back pain, to accept that I am so very much not nineteen any more, I pulled out my trusty old air mattress/guest bed and inflated that on top of the bed of nails I used to call a futon.

The next night I had my premium mattress securely placed under my premium ass.

And hey! Turns out you also need to scheck out fifty more clams for a proper mattress pad! Who doesn't know that?! Everybody knows that!

And what the heck! While you're wandering aimlessly and somewhat embarassed around that section of the department store, dollar bills simply BULGING out of every orifice, don't you REALLY NEED new curtains?

And heavens! what luck! The very bedside lamp you've been looking for!

And what ho! A sale on 400-count sheets, you say! Lay on, MacDuff!

I stopped myself just short of the marble-topped mission-style vanity. I think I pulled a muscle, I stopped so short.

03 September 2006

she wishes for winter, some past, some future

Is there a more fitting end to summer than a cold, wet and rainy labor day weekend? I think not.

If it were sunny and bright and warm, how much more wrenching it would be to say goodbye! As it is, it is evident that summer has already fled, and we are all just loafing around needlessly, hanging on to something that is long gone.

Like that time I waited until the very last day before Christmas break to leave campus, not wanting to miss a minute of relaxing with my friends after finals in our toasty dorm living room, huddled in front of the fireplace, desperate to put off going home to my embarassing family with whom I no longer had anything in common, and their suddenly profoundly irritating ways.

But by the time the last day of semester dawned, all my friends had already left, perhaps blessed with more congenial family lives and a less burdensome sense of self. I wandered disconsolately across campus as if it were the moors of Heathcliff, wrapped in wool and moods, obstinately waiting out the final hours I was permitted to remain on campus before catching the last depressing greyhound bus back to Cape Cod.

Cape Cod in those days was even more achingly empty and bereft of young people then than it is now, and I can remember vainly trying to recapture some of the magic of my favorite off-campus coffeeshop in Northampton by thumbing through the yellow pages for a cafe in which I could sip thick black coffee and muse over my class schedule for the coming term.

I ended up in a Dunkin' Donuts in Hyannis, harshly lit and shared only with off-duty cops and construction workers.

The next day I fled my family and sought out what I considered to be my people by escaping to Provincetown for the day, which was, not surprisingly, even more desolate and boarded up than the relative bustle and hum of the mid-Cape. But it seemed to me a splendid desolation, and I bought a styrofoam cup of kale soup and a fresh sweet bread roll at the Portuguese bakery near the wharf, wrapped my wool scarf about my face and carried my lunch out to the pier where I munched and sipped amid the shivering seagulls and noisily tethered fishing boats.

I have since learned to revel in the isolation and solitude of Cape Cod in the winter and, like many year-round residents, to welcome it. I buy yarn in Harwichport all winter, when there is barely another soul to be seen either on the main street or in the parking lots near the shuttered chamber of commerce welcome center.

I love shopping at that yarn shop in the winter.

It's easy to forget how close so many of our main streets are to the water, having ceded the shoreline to our cherished seasonal guests all summer long. But the yarn shop is a mere brisk stride or two from the Atlantic, and there is a bakery nearby that is favored by locals -- their hot buns are far too sweet for me, but their soups are first-rate -- and one can easily take one's newly purchased wool and scarf pattern down to the shore with some coffee and a cardboard cup of soup.

There will be some chilly-mannered seagulls there, squinting into the offshore wind and pretending, badly, to ignore you. They will share some of the blessed quiet and splendid isolation that has been reclaimed with the coming of the cold and gray winter. You may share with them your roll.

28 August 2006

met her on a monday

Now that the crazy busy portion of the year is just about behind me, I think it is time I did something about what's behind me.

Namely, my behind.

Turns out that two months of not exercising and eating delicious turkey-and-bacon clubs on toasted marble rye makes one really embarrassingly grateful for elastic-waist pants.

I do this sort of research, folks, so you don't have to.

So I was out eating lunch one day last week with a cute guy-friend, flattering myself --hilariously, in retrospect -- that I was looking semi-cute too, when in walked some skank ho in low-cut chinos with a penchant for twitching her bony little ass all over the place. I think she was applying for a job, although her size zero chinos cost more than a waitress there would make in a month. What do I know. Maybe she was just chatting up the line cook.

Anyway, old bonybutt is waving her freak flag out by the fry station and my buddy and I are transfixed by the frequency with which she is flexing and twitching her good thing, which she CLEARLY thinks is one heck of a GREAT thing.

My boy opines that it ain't that great of an ass. Unconvincingly, I might add.

But I am looking at it and I suddenly know with perfect clarity that both of her pale, pimply white cheeks could fit into one of my stretch denim hip pockets and still have room for a flirty little twitch every time some sexy line cook happened by. I look glumly down at my lunch -- yet another bacon-centric sandwich -- and know the game is up.

It is time to return to the gym. And make out with the salad bar.

AND LO. I stayed up an extra half hour laying out my slimmingest spandex ensemble and my treadmill-friendly sneakers so I could get up a half-hour earlier and haul my ladylike saddlebags into the widening bucket seat in my car and drive to the Y for a little jaunt on the treadmill.


You see? You see what fickle fate deals me on a regular basis?

What am I supposed to do? Pretend bacon just DOESN'T EXIST all week?

25 August 2006

planning, onomotopoetically.

I'm really inordinately happy about it being Friday night, like let's have a goddamn party muthaf***ers happy.

This is the first weekend since The Big Event that I have felt fully recovered, like I can actually enjoy the weekend, rather than use it as a desperately needed chance to catch up on sleep. And I want to party!

What I'd really like to do is go cd shopping, then get some nasty-ass chinese take-out, come home and dance around like a goombah to all the awesome new tunes whilst slurping noodles and mauing on fried egg rolls.

Doesn't that sound like fun? Like the only good, honest, and appropriate thing to do?

mau mau mau mau mau.

22 August 2006

money: it's a hit

I am thinking about going back to graduate school. For an MBA.

Did I really say that?

Is this really me, seriously weighing the pros and cons of Harvard Business School (full-time, two years, omychristharvard) over Boston University (nite school, two years, wellBUisnicetoo) as compared with Babson (weekends and online, 18 months, nice campus)?

Much like my dear friend So-and-So from college who was unhappily working at a chamber of commerce outside Portland, Oregon, for about 20K one day, and suddenly found herself attending law school at UVA and leading the debate team and is now THE West Coast expert on Gay and Lesbian Family Law AND RAKING IN THE DUCATS, I find myself wondering how, HOW has it come to this.

More precisely, why, WHY didn't I think of this sooner?

Am I really ready to throw off the mantle of my adorable little liberal arts degree and instead shrug my padded shoulders into the pinstripes of power?

Not really, since I still want to keep my job and stay in my field (non-profit). In fact, getting an MBA would make me considerably more kick-ass at my present job. And you know, much like that FANTASTIC Johnny Damon, I do look mighty good in pinstripes...

So the idea is to somehow manage to find an MBA degree program that would allow me to keep my job, not take forever to finish the degree, and not die of exhaustion in the process. And also? I could really use a full scholarship.

Sadly, I think they only offer that degree at the University of Magical Rainbow Ponyland.

And that is one hell of a commute from here.

19 August 2006


I am reading an absolutely fantastic book that takes place during the Blitz in London. I am almost at the end, and there is quite a lot of bombing going on. People are getting blown to bits, literally.

Oil bombs and incendiaries all over the place. Shelters full of Londoners taking direct hits. The city skyline aglow from the massive fires and explosions.

One of the characters is in prison, and feels trapped.

One of the characters is an ambulance driver, and just found out her block was hit and demolished by a direct hit, along with her lover.

I am loving this book, it is by one of my favorite authors, and I am deeply, deeply engrossed.

However, as of about ten minutes ago, I suddenly leaped off the couch, opened the curtains, and peered anxiously around the street. I am now agitated, restless, and totally, if irrationally, terrified.

Stupid fireworks.

12 August 2006

auto erotic

It's a beautiful summer day! Fuck the beach! Let's go to the car wash!

O how I love the car wash.

I shiver with anticipation:

car wash 001

All signs point to yes:

car wash 002

and to hell yes:

car wash 010

oooh that feels good

car wash 009

mmm baby yeah

car wash 005

a little to the left

car wash 007

that's the spot

car wash 008

maybe I need to get out more

car wash 004

or maybe I just need to get laid.

11 August 2006

...in bed

OK then. The only thing I can say without totally blowing my anonymity is wow that was one hell of a weekend and man am I tired.

Work is a lot of work sometimes.

But it's all over now and I have my first honest-to-god day off in three weeks tomorrow.

Three. Weeks.

I just wanted to check in and say hi.

And that I should be able to post with more regularity again now that that weekend is behind me.

And to let you know that if you need me, I'll be in bed. For a few days.

The good news is that I seem to be back in my biannual cycle of nightly vivid and awesome mm--chika--mm-mm dreams. So I got that to look forward to.

What the hell am I doing still awake with that to look forward to?

Let's get this (imaginary) party started!


29 July 2006

virginal, pure

My underwire bra has gone all freaky on me again. They always do this eventually -- somehow the wire pokes a hole through the fabric on the end near my sternum, and before I know it I am sitting in a meeting with what looks like a very long, curved matchstick peeking up from behind my top shirt button.

Usually by the time a bra reaches this stage it has attained Favorite Bra status, and I am heartbroken to see it go. Not so this time. This one was a desperation purchase a few summers ago when I needed to wear white for something and needed a non-black bra to go under my clothes.

Since I am widely known for prefering to wear all black clothes, excepting the occasional blue jeans, it is not surprising that all my bras are black.

So I had to buy a stupid, mundane beige bra, which is nothing but serviceable. I'm almost glad to see it go.

Except that now it is the middle of summer, and I have an event next weekend.

To which I must wear white.


24 July 2006


Maybe it's because that sexy beast Kevin Smith has been all over the universe with the press push for Clerks II and my old friend/roommate/moocher extraordinaire Paul always reminded me of Kevin Smith, with his similar penchant for wearing short pants and telling off-color jokes.

Whatever the reason, I've been thinking about Paul lately, and his most goddamn brilliant joke, universally referred to as The Sick Clown Joke.

I first noticed Paul when we ended up on adjacent bar stools at my old favorite haunt in grad school, a place called Taps (it had been a funeral parlor once). Something of a monologuist himself, Paul talked my ear off and at closing time convinced me to slouch around the corner to his house to watch So I Married An Axe Murderer, which I had never seen at the time.

I think we watched it twice that night.

Not much of a flirt, but one hell of a drinking buddy, Paul had long black hair and a visible affection for beer by the pitcher. Although he and I never had any chemistry, I ended up involved with one or two of his friends over the next few years -- mostly crazy cute goth boys with sensitive souls. Yum.

Paul was also known as the guy who woke up in the middle of a late night party once, having passed out early on in the middle of the living room, sat up straight and inquired, "Are there... 'EGGS?'"

By the way he said it, you knew he wasn't wondering if we had any in the fridge. He was seriously wondering if eggs actually existed, or if he hadn't just dreamed it all.

Paul could tell an amazing number of jokes and tell them well. As a person who can only remember one long joke at a time, I was amazed at his repertoire. Midget jokes, blonde jokes, quadraplegic jokes, bestiality, pedophilia -- do you see the Kevin Smith connection?

He had a sidekick -- Gary I think was his name -- who would constantly ask for The Sick Clown Joke at times like these, when the jokes were flying fast.

Paul would invariably look dismissive, or modestly down at his shoes, or hush Gary up by indicating that the crowd was too mixed, or the hour too late, the drinks too strong -- whatever. Some story about why he couldn't possibly be compelled to tell the greatest, best joke he knew. It was only, he said, for very special occasions.

C'mon, please! Gary would plead, and usually the rest of the drunken gang would too.

But Paul would not be moved.

After a few years of this I became convinced that the joke was a figment, a ruse, a masterful piece of PR, nothing more. When I accused him of this, Paul was struck dumb, then lashed out at me suddenly, with a furious, accelerated rattling off of the set-up to a very long, very complicated joke involving a clown, some spooky woods, and a little kid.

Then he abruptly broke off, waved a disgusted hand at me, and turned away.

Unbeliever! he said.

If you don't believe there's a Sick Clown joke, then you don't deserve to hear it.

I ran after him then, apologizing and assuring him that I did, I DID BELIEVE!!!

Like he was goddamn tinkerbell or something.

He never told me the rest.

I still think he was lying.

21 July 2006

hey ladies

Does anyone need a sticker peeled off?

Or an itch scratched?

Or perhaps a tricky little knot pried loose?

Well too bad.

Because I just filed my nails right down to the quick, and that is always when I need to do those things.

On the bright side, I am now primed and ready for:

playing a little ragtime piano

thrumming my fingers in an expression of ennui

pleasuring the ladies in a special way

BUT since I would be more surprised than I can possibly say to be called on to perform any of those duties, I am left simply wondering why I got so damn carried away with the nail file.


20 July 2006

you never write you never call

I am thinking of you. Honestly I am.

It is just that I am deep within a dark cave of a very long stretch of working 14 hour days and pulling together an entirely insanely huge project.

It's actually going pretty well, no one has pulled anyone else's hair out yet, and I am still getting eight hours of sleep every night.

And it will be over soon.

So just in case you're interested, and desperately missing your daily habit of reading my writing and NEVER COMMENTING NOT ONCE YOU LURKERS YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE EAST FALMOUTH I AM TALKING TO YOU AND NORTH CAROLINA IT WOULDN'T KILL YOU EITHER YOU KNOW

then you can also find me writing at the Dead End these days. Check out the links on yon right side of screen.

Otherwise, let's have us a nice, long chat come August, mmkay?

I'll even wear that pretty dress you like so much.

14 July 2006

allons enfants

Holy busy.

I am just now emerging from a two-week period of consecutive 12-hour work days. I even had to get up and do worky things on Saturdays and Sundays, and they usually fall on the weekend, and in the early morning! On the weekend!

Sleep! Sleep! All I want for my birthday is sleep!

...and a pony.

So... it's my birthday today!

AND... I finally got to go home from work today AT FIVE O'CLOCK SHARP.

So I went out to dinner with some friends who I didn't even know at this time last year, after coming home from my outstandingly awesome job that I didn't even dream I would have at this time last year, and now I will drink some tea and sleep the sleep of the just.

I always love my birthday. I am not shy about broadcasting the fact of my birthday to the world and to strangers. I have had some entirely amazing birthdays in my time.

This one beats them all.

I'm 35. My early thirties were a bit of a rough time for me. Things have turned around for me in the last twelve months in a way that is nothing short of a miracle. I am infinitely blessed and insanely lucky.

AND... I got treated last night -- by utter and complete surprise -- to a ball game at Fenway.

No really. Does it get any better than this? I might explode.

04 July 2006


I'd been suffering from a low-level headache all day. It really settled into my brain at about 1 pm, when I felt it necessary to lie down for a nap, this being a national holiday and all. I'd been drinking nothing but herbal tea all day, had had a nice, decent breakfast, and was otherwise feeling pretty hale, so I was mystified and ever so slightly resentful that I should be so afflicted.

I realized I was being a big baby, considering how I had run into an old acquaintance from high school just the night before, who eventually revealed that she had had a brain tumor.

She had trouble remembering my name at first, and I made a show of being self-mocking and hurt that anyone could forget such an estimable personage as myself (I was, shall we say, high profile in high school. Drum major of the band, drama club diva, conspicuously well- behaved and high acheiving. I think I even did the goddamn pledge of allegiance over the PA system my whole senior year. I think I would hate me then.) to which she responded that it was hard to remember things these days, what with part of her brain having been removed and all.


So my hothouse flower act over what was, after all, only a minor headache, was wearing a little thin. But there it was anyway. Just because you know that you are acting like a jerk doesn't mean you are sufficiently motivated to give it a rest.

So I lay swooning dramatically on my bed, having fitful dreams about weeding my garden whilst snow covered the ground. Eventually I had to get up and go to a gathering of friends -- woe is me -- so I fluffed up my hair, wincing at the pressure on my brain through the agitation of my follicles, and went out.

As soon as I walked in the room, I knew.

I smelled the unmistakable aroma of fresh coffee brewing, and my very synapses cheered with relief.

In the course of a normal working day, I consume vast quantities of coffee. On my days off, I am usually running errands, and so somehow manage to stumble across a latte or two in my wanderings. Today, however, errands-running was out since everything is closed on Our Nation's Birthday. So I had sat at home, unwittingly suffering withdrawal from my one remaining chemical dependence, caffeine.

So here I sit, gratefully sipping hot coffee at nine o'clock at night, knowing I will be awake until three a.m. as a result, not caring, not caring, not caring.

So grateful.

01 July 2006

they should at least find you handy

Oh my stars and as I live and breathe, but home repair is a rewarding pursuit. I'm telling you, I haven't even spent a dime yet and already I feel like a responsible, thoughtful, home-owning Woman of Means.

And what this Woman of Means means is that I've resolved the burning question of whether or not we really need a new front door.

The answer is NO.

But I will still indulge everyone's overpowering urge to spend a fair bit of money and to shop for new and brightly shiny things, because we have decided to compromise and buy new STORM DOORS. The idea is that these will protect the architecturally-important original doors from further damage.

Hooray for Compromise! Especially when it is Me Getting My Own Way, thinly veiled as Compromise!

So I went shopping for storm doors today at the local home supply shop, and HOLY COW what amazing strides mankind has taken in Storm Door Technology since I last researched the subject, which was approximately never.

Really, did you know they have doors now with screens that can self-retract, neat as a pin, inside the door itself? HONEST TO GOD THEY DO.

I tell you, we live in miraculous times.

Now I can spend endless, needless hours on the web, researching storm doors! A new obscure thing to be geeky about!

Perhaps next I will get up on a ladder and clean out the gutters!

Do not hold your breath!

27 June 2006

this old house

Although I was allegedly successful a while back in my search for a decent house painter -- allegedly because the guy is supposed to show up some time before my birthday, and that day is fast approaching -- my work has only just begun. These home repair projects have a way of snowballing.

I'm currently barreling down a very slippery slope of home repair -- one that began as a simple Screen Door Issue. By the time I'm done, I fully expect this project to have snowballed into a three-storey neo-Georgian facade, an arts-and-crafts-inspired laundry room, and a four-acre formal garden with orgy-worthy fountains.

One can only hope.

Just as a healthy reminder and reality check, this is the house in question:

Garden plot, before planting

Yeah, I know. The gutters. I'm on it, OK?

Now they say I need a new front door. I am skeptical about this, but let's assume for now that this is true. So my Dad, who still nominally owns the house, called Some Guy (it's always Some Guy, whatever needs doing around the house) to take a Looksie and give us an Estimate.

So Some Guy showed up while I was at work last week and dropped his card off. I called him back the next day to impress upon him that I Am The Decider, and that he should not act on anything door-related until he hears from me.

Because, see, my Dad thinks I want a front door with windows in it. Little beveled glass windows, he says, to let in the sunshine.


Dad craves sunshine like a cat. He has seasonal affective disorder, or at least that is what he shouts as his train pulls out of the station every spring as he hightails it to New Orleans to whoop it up for a few weeks at Jazz Fest.

Dad and I have a lot in common. The origins of our shared affection for New Orleans, however, are illustrative of some of our differences.

Dad likes Nola because it is considerably friendlier with the equator than Massachusetts is, and because it annually wraps him in a warm, sunny embrace each spring, stuffing him silly with crawfish po-boys and zydeco-dancin' wimmin.

I prefer to think of New Orleans as a place known primarily for its loose reputation as a headquarters for allegedly fictional vampires.

Does someone who still admits to liking Anne Rice sound like someone who likes cute little cut-glass windows in her front doors?

My other fear is that Dad would choose a strictly utilitarian door of the industrial steel core, gun-metal gray variety. Since my front door is also the inside of my living room, I would tend to vote against this sort of aesthetic decision as well.

So I've decided to stand my ground as a conservator of an important architectural landmark. This house is one of the last untouched, unrehabbed, unapologetic Cape Cod cottages, built to last in 1950 by my very own grandfather. It must be preserved, as a proud testimony to the pre-McMansion days of yore.

But you know, I really wouldn't mind a laundry room.

17 June 2006

but nobody ever does anything about it

... and in go the window fans.

It's cursedly hot now, thanks to all the fervent prayers of rain-haters over the last couple of weeks. Is anyone else annoyed by the de rigeur whining about the weather that goes on?

Waaah, it's raining. Everyone hates the rain, right? Wrong. So happens I love the rain and fog and chill. Turns out I am becoming less and less tolerant of the general public's assumption that I feel the same way they do.

Fact is, I don't happen to think everyone else hates the rain, either. They're just sheep, conditioned to think that they do. baaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Now they will complain about the heat, forgetting entirely that they brought it upon themselves, if you believe in the efficacy of prayer, which I do. I think God listens to our prayers, and sometimes the answer is a sharp stick in the eye, if that is what you happen to need at the time.

So I think sometimes we get the weather we deserve, and heat is never the object of my prayers, or at least only more than occasionally in the sense of perhaps a little body heat between two mutually affectionate people, fer christ's sake. Like that's so much to ask for.

But not in this heat. Gah.

Of course, this is nothing -- it's barely broken 85 degrees. People inland are dropping like flies, no doubt. And I do always have the option of jumping into the sweet waters of the mighty Atlantic, should my collar become too damp. But that is an escape hatch that I like to save for the real deal, the serious heat, the shoot-me-now heat wave that comes in August.

That's when I will put on my suit and march down to the seaweedy edge of the water -- after five pm, of course, when all the gatekeeper sorority girls are safely at their keggers and the tourist families are hosing down their salty, sandy children and hoping to god they will pass out from heat exhaustion before the mosquitoes start biting -- at that magical twilight hour when the beach is my own as sure as if it were bleak November, that is when I will walk calmly and resolutely into the waves at high tide and be reminded of why it is good, and right, and proper to sweat.

Because it will eventually end in my happily drenched head and shoulders bobbing slowly above the salty waves of the sea.

Until that late summer day, in go the window fans.

10 June 2006

Undertow, underfoot

My best friend and her wife are coming to visit tonight -- they were supposed to go to the Sox game tonight, but the monsoons are getting in the way of that. So they will be here in time for dinner, instead of at one in the morning as planned, which is good for people who like to eat dinner out with best friends.

Hey! That's me!

Since my house is the size of a hip pocket, they will be bunking in the only available space: the computer room. So I will be unable to fritter away a few days of my still-young life by staring at this screen. We'll be cruising up to Provincetown tomorrow anyway, since they have never seen Provincetown before. Of course they will love it, but since they live in Northampton they might be a little underwhelmed. As in "meh, seen one gay mecca, seen 'em all..."

Which would simply mean that I had failed as a host, that's all that would mean. Provincetown is its own thing, that's for sure, and I intend to show it to them. I also intend to take them swimming at Race Point, which is maybe a little unfair, since even I am a scaredy cat when it comes to dipping my toe in at Race Point. Once I get out past my knees I am convinced I am about to be swept out to Portugal. And, of course, I am right.

I just walked down the street to make sure the street sign at the end of the road is still standing, as it periodically gets knocked over by drunk/confused drivers. It's still there, which means they should have no trouble finding my house.

As I was trucking back on home I spied my favorite springtime treat in the woods at the side of the road, and snapped a snap with my awesome new cell phone that magically takes pictures (and video! I tell you! I'm living in the future!) and I will now share it with you.


More photos will, I am sure, ensue from our adventures in Provincetown. I love showing people Provincetown for the first time. I used to skip school and spend the day in Provincetown all the time in high school, so I feel a little proprietary about it.

Bye-bye computer! I'll miss you!

06 June 2006

cat scratch fever

I came home the other day and scooped up my awesome cat, as is my habit, and after a minute or two of contented purring, he suddenly dug right in and launched himself off my clavicle.

Hooray for bleeding!

So since it is entirely too warm for turtlenecks, I am resigned to flashing my battle wounds at work and at play, as my neckline of choice is v-neck. Oddly enough, a fair number of people have hinted that it was kind of hot.

I'll let you be the judge.

Cat Scratch Fever

Hot or not, is it my lot.

04 June 2006

I had a farm in Africa

Getting dirt out from under one's fingernails is less work than you might imagine, if you have the right tool. My secret weapon is a pot scrubbing brush I bought ages ago for a grill pan. Although I rarely use the grill pan, the brush has thoroughly proven its worth as both pot-cleanser and me-scrubber.

And thank god for it, too, because I appear to have taken up gardening. I am beginning to think that I might be a teensy bit competetive, because I can't seem to take up any new hobby, skill, or acquaintance without hounding it to the ground, beating it senseless with attention, and finally smothering it in my attempt to master it.

So I started gardening for the first time in my life exactly three years ago, and the American Horticultural Society has YET to take notice of my contributions to the field. The establishment is always so slow to embrace new genius.

I began my adventures three years ago with an abounding enthusiasm for heathers, so I now have this corner garden in my sunny yard with several varieties of heather who have yet to live up to their potential. Slackers.

Of course, my enthusiasm for heathers was partly fueled by my understanding that "drought-tolerant" means "you can ignore the watering hose all summer long, don't sweat it, we know you have more important things to do."

Gardening instructions are notoriously difficult to decipher, but some things just come naturally to me. It's a gift.

So today I went out there and, with much meaningful rolling of my eyes and pointed sighing, started taking better care of them. I moved them closer together, planted some new lovelies where mysterious gaping holes had appeared, and then, yes, watered them.

I'll be expecting my certificate of accomplishment in the mail any day now.

There are all sorts of things that my grandmother planted back in the 50s that aren't looking half bad these days, so I took a few snaps for you.

I am also, you see, a master photographer.

(Scroll though the "garden" set for the before and after shots.)

Ella's Rhododendrons

31 May 2006

sensory swoon

Somebody asked me tonight what my favorite painting is. I was both embarrassed and perturbed to find that have no idea.

Perhaps I am just not the kind of person who has a favorite painting. I do not know.

I like a lot of paintings; some of them are famous and in museums. Some of them are not. Some of them have given me goosebumps. But I don't remember ever thinking to myself, that is my absolutely favoritest one, unless and until something more amazing/moving/stunning crosses my path.

There is one painting that my father-in-law owns that I have tried several times to nudge him toward loaning me, that depicts a house as seen from the outside, in a violet-blue dusk, with one warm yellow window in the rear of the house aglow from the inside. I enjoy this painting a great deal. But then, I enjoy seeing those tiny glimpses you sometimes get, passing in a car, inside other people's houses at night. This painting reminds me of this. It also makes me smell woodsmoke, and wool.

I am just not all that visually oriented. I fixate on favorite smells and textures more than on images. Like lately, for instance. This spring that has been so fervently watered by the rains of May. That smell! Of new leaves and newer flowers! It just makes my head spin. And then you add the fog that creeps in every evening around sunset, and a faint breeze from the sea, and it is almost too unbearably delicious to breathe.

It makes me want to wander the streets all night, gulping in the seawater-saturated air and suspended fog molecules, all laced with freshly opened rhododendrons, newly laid cedar mulch, and fading lilac blossoms.

The smell of my cat's fur after lying in the sun all day.

Woodsmoke from an unidentified chimney.

Someone else's bath towel, still bearing the scent of soap and warm, wet skin.

26 May 2006

eschew obsfucation

As an editor, one of the automatic changes I make to any piece of writing is to change unnecessary big words into perfect little ones.

Don't get me wrong, I love the big ones! Sometimes big fancypants words are just and precisely the only way to say exactly what you mean!

But sometimes they are just gewgaws and fripperies. Extra lace and bows and chintz pillows when a pure and bare Shaker chair is what's called for.

The big one that seems to be in vogue these days -- and sportscasters, I'm looking at you -- is utilize. There is just no call for this word whatsoever. It means USE. It means nothing MORE or LESS than USE. Use works great, whereas utilize is the kind of word that gets dressed in a suit every day and says it is going to work but has actually just been going to the park and feeding the birds all day FOR MONTHS. Until everyone noticed. When will everyone notice???

Use use. Do not utilize utilize.

Another favorite of dumb people pretending to be smart is to insert the pronoun "I" into places it doesn't belong. Like most sharp pointy things, "I" only belongs in certain mutually agreed-upon locations. Not ever when you get all fancy and say "she spoke to my sister and I" or GOD FORBID when you think you should say "between you and I."

Ever. OK? Just don't.

Me me me. It's one of your favorite words anyway, so go ahead and use it in all of those pleasantly precocious little prepositional phrases. Not that you would know what those are, you were too busy writing eye heart ewe and Duran Duran Rules on your acid washed jeans in pink ballpoint pen the year we covered prepositions in class, so just never you mind.

Recently I've also noticed an uptic in the use of simplistic when people just mean simple, which is pretty ironic actually. And I know someone who uses whom in any possible circumstance, when it is actually only correct to use this word when speaking to 120-year-old English teachers, to whom you should always say whom because it maketh their little hearts sing for gladness.

And if you've never wondered if you are using comprise the wrong way, then you probably are. It's easy, and there's a trick to remembering.


22 May 2006

social whirl

Yeah so anyway. Don't look at me like that, eyebrows all raised at me like I never post anymore. Shut up.

So I've been a little busy, ok?

It's a really good busy, actually, a kind of busy I wouldn't have been able to CONCEIVE of this time last year, in which I go to work early and leave late every day because I love it, I swim a half a mile most mornings (now that I am done with the being sick nonsense), I have friends with whom I do social things at night and on weekends, and there are also all these baseball games to watch...

There is also my new niece whom I don't see often enough but who got baptized last weekend, water streaming down her red, red hair and into her green, green eyes, as she merely looked on, curious about why we would want to do such a thing when it was clearly such a lovely morning for a nap...

If you wonder why all these things are so fresh and new, take a gander back at the archives to the right -- back a couple of years ago when I was a hermit freelance editor, never leaving the house except to pick up my editing jobs and the (very) occasional paycheck at the post office and maybe buy a little ramen at the store. Every little thing I do today is a huge change from then, and most are changes I wouldn't have thought I would welcome back then.

I was wrong.

What? It happens!

15 May 2006

Dorothy Parker was right

Ok, so my voice is mostly back. As long as I don't overtax it like I did tonight, going out with a friend and eating fries and gabbing about which celebrities we'd like to spend a few intimate minutes on the couch with. And not in the psychotherapy sense.

At the end of that conversation I could feel my tonal register rising a tad, but it's OK now, I'm safely back home with a pot of tea and no need to speak until tomorrow morning. Ooof -- I just remembered -- at which time I will be delivering a speech to a gang of professional type important mucks. At eight am.

Meh, I'll be fine. I'm well and truly out of the Mickey Mouse danger zone, and back down into the you want fries with that? kid from the Simpsons, where my voice only occasionally breaks for comedic effect.

It's a good thing, too, because of course now there is something else wrong with me. I had a problem with my contact lens today, it was all hurty, so I switched to glasses and got an emergency appointment with my eye guy, and of course it turned out to be $120 worth of "this will get better on its own in three days." Thanks eye guy!

So it's still a little hurty, but I now have some fancy pants new contact lenses to put on in three days that are my first new prescription in three years, so the world will suddenly look all gorgeous and juicy, like the produce aisle right after the water jets spray down all the leafy greens. I love New Prescription Day! Everything looks so suddenly crisp and sharp and delicious.

Of course I have no idea how all this FOG is going to manage to look crisp and sharp, it is by its nature kind of soft and mushy around the edges, but that's OK, I love the fog. I'm not complaining. I can't afford any new spring clothes yet, so this rain and cold is super fine okey dokey hunky dory avec moi.

Except I kind of hate the way it fogs up my glasses.

12 May 2006


I appear to have lost my voice. It has taken me a few days to figure this out.

A week ago right now I was descending into the jaws of the worst cold I can ever remember having, not counting that airplane sickness I got coming home from Amsterdam. Airplane sickness always kicks serious ass. Everything about this cold was worse than anything else: the body aches were the worst, the coughing was insane, etc. etc. etc.

For the last few days I have been feeling pretty OK, just a little left over coughing and hacking. But my voice has been strangely elevated for several days now. No sore throat. Just... no access to the majority of my vocal chords. At first i just figured it was the last throes of my cold. But I have slowly come to accept that I have just simply gone and lost my damn voice. Like a rock star.

I've been slamming down the tea with lemon, getting plenty of sleep and all that malarkey. But it just seems to be getting worse. I sound like Mickey goddamn Mouse over here.

Now I think that the only thing that will return my voice to its formerly sultry self is forced inactivity. I am going to try... try... to not speak all weekend. They say that it is the only thing that really works. I do try to do as I'm told -- after exhausting all the other possibilites, of course -- so that is what I will try.

Does this get me out of calling my mother on Sunday?

08 May 2006

Tired of your guff

As a creature of habit unto the point of ritual -- I'm frankly impressed that I don't light candles and incense to mark every damn thing I do -- I am fairly predictable in my post-work behavior.

Say hello to the cats, change into play clothes. Put on the kettle for some tea. While the water is boiling, wash the dirty dishes left all over the place from Matt's breakfast and lunch.

Yep, that's it right there. That's the part I'm writing about. Couldja tell? Couldja see it coming from a mile away?

I have discussed before the House of Filth I grew up in, with five newfoundlands who were laughably housetrained and never washed or brushed, and two brothers and a mother who were indifferent to housework unless company was coming. Thankfully, this only tended to happen once a year, at which time we would all spring into action to carve away another year's worth of grime off the old homestead.

So I have cleanliness issues. You would too.

It's important to me to have at least the common space -- the space visible to visitors -- clean. This especially applies to dishes, as my family of origin was wont to leaving food out on counters and dirty pans in the sink for days.

So, I wash my dishes as I go. Always. I have usually washed my dinner dishes before I sit down to dinner. It only takes a second, for god's sake, and the pan isn't really that hot. Try it. It's not that hot.

So it burns me and riles me and builds up huge crusty piles of resentment in my black little heart that my husband does not share my cleaning disorder. So, every evening, an important part of my ritual is to mutter and curse and deliver silent ultimatums about the Importance of Cleaning Up After Thyself.

And you know what? Tonight I realized that I am sick to death of my grousing. Man, what a pain in the ass I am to be around for those few minutes every day! Jesus, me, get over it, will ya?

It only takes a few minutes, I have to wait for the damn water to boil anyway, and also just shut up. Honestly. Shut up. No one wants to hear it.

No wonder my cats don't really warm up to me until after I've had my tea.