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.