Sunday, September 30, 2007

This is Miss Rebecca

It's from many Halloweens ago but it's a great picture so I got permission to use it. She's dressed as The Wizard of Oz, not the character, the whole dang movie.

Let's start from the bottom:

1. Ruby slippers, striped stockings and black skirt from the Wicked Witch of the East.
2. House-corset that fell on the aforementioned witch.
3. Grey scarf = tornado
4. Rainbow tiara and I believe rainbow eyeshadow as well.

Like I said, she's a smart one.

Just Hit Send

I just hit send on my submission to the first, quarterly Fray book. Within moments I received this nice reply:

Thanks for your submission to Fray's Busted book!

Rest assured that it has been received and will be reviewed by
Fray's editorial team. We know your work is important to you, and
it is to us, too. Thank you for taking the time to submit it.

Submissions will remain open until October 7. Feel free to submit
more if you like, and please spread the word! Tell your friends
to submit, too.

We will be responding to every submission by the end of October.
Please be patient!

Thanks again,

-- Derek

So, consider this me telling you (again, sort of) that you can and should submit. Even if you don't submit I suspect you should read the book when it comes out. I'm really interested to see what gets chosen.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Question of the Day, My Pretties

Which is stronger, my cat's determination to resist swallowing liquid antibiotics or my fear of treatment-resistant bacteria developed when people fail to use the full course of any antibiotic?

I have ingenuity on my side but she has claws and she fits under the bed.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Today, yeah, well, huh

I was looking for an image for this entry. I was image googling a bunch of things: death, dead like me, death warmed over, headache.

Do not google that last one. I am actually for once not kidding. Do not. Even if you aren't squeamish it's just a no.

So, again, no photo. However, that story is enough to sum up my day and I could just post this and you'd know as much about how I feel today as if I'd gone on.

But, as I said before, what fun would that be?

I got up this morning and I felt like one of those search terms I talked about above. My legs hurt and my head hurt and my face hurt and my mouth was dry and I was butt ass tired and even a little nauseated. None of this combined in that particular way to indicate an illness, though, it was just a combination of no sleep this week and weird exercise and worry and atmosphere.

As I tried to board the bus to get to dance class it was crowded in the front and roomy in the back and no one was moving. I muttered relatively loudly, "You people are fucking stupid!" In retrospect at that point prudence might have dictated that I turn right around and head home and back to bed for a bit. I, of course, told Prudence she could go fuck herself. That bitch!

The thing is, in an effort to force myself to go regularly, I have woven class attendance so tightly into the support structure of my week that it's virtually impossible to skip class on short notice and not fuck up the entire coming week. (If any one of you told me such a thing I would totally make fun of you for being uptight. Just know, next time I do that, that I'm a fucking hypocrite.) I go to class and then I get nice, fresh, short shelf life groceries at the store downstairs from the studio so I can keep up with my weight loss program and then I go home and put them away because some of them need refrigeration. I could have gone to the afternoon class today but I'm going to see Janel Moloney's play tonight and I wouldn't have been able to get the groceries home and get back to the theatre in time so that would have left me with no healthy, low point food for the week and I'd be all discombobulated.

I am the kind of person I disdain.

After I put away my food I had to write my state assemblyman because the management company for my apartment complex is more incompetent than Mr. Roper for cripes sake. I had to wash all of the clothes and sundries that had cat pee on them from last night's odyssey (I apologize fun, hipster new jean jacket, believe me when I say it hurt me as much as it hurt you). My head still feels like it's screwed on too tight and I think my legs were taken apart and put back together wrong. I think that procedure was executed by one of those geniuses who always has leftover parts when they repair something and the leftover parts were put in my neck and shoulders, making them a pretty cozy fit.

Food, water and aleve have been administered. A dog walk, a shower, ice cream and possibly a nap will be administered soon. Also more water and probably more aleve.

Upon recovery I will provide you with last night's saga, the saga of the night before, a picture of Miss Rebecca for your reference, a new post by her with more funny pictures, a review of the play from tonight and maybe, just maybe, the final stupid installment of my reunion story.

You've paid for the whole internet, but you'll only need the edge!

Yay! New Feature!

A couple of weeks ago I sent an e-mail to Miss Rebecca. She wrote back to rather sheepishly inform me that she'd moved and quick to explain that I shouldn't take offense because she'd told no one before she left. I had known the move was on the horizon but hadn't kept up with the schedule. At the time she was with family on the first leg of an academically inspired migration all the way to the other side of the continental US. I am very interested in what she's doing there and awfully proud of her for her commitment to forging a brand new path in her field so I could go on and on about what she does and why she does it but, really, what fun is that?

A few days ago she sent an e-mail that started off like this:

This is actually from last week, but it occurred to me that you might find this little series interesting as well. I have considered starting a blog of my See-town adventures, but I don't think I can be counted upon to update it faithfully. Bloggy rules still apply- it is to be perused at your leisure and requires absolutely no comment or reply.

Since I'm always looking to lure someone over to the dark side that penultimate sentence weighed heavily on me for days. I didn't want to be pushy, I mean, it's really poor form to be a nudge to someone who has uprooted their whole life to move somewhere entirely new in pursuit of the dream/plan. Then yesterday, in the middle of a very disjointed day, I had an inspiration.

Guest Blogger!

The invitation was extended and accepted so here's the first installment of "So I Moved Cross Country Without Telling Anyone" by Guest Blogger Miss Rebecca.

I took myself sightseeing today. I went to Pike's Place Market. It's, essentially, a farmer's market that's been invaded by little touristy booths of handmade jewelry and t-shirts making fun of the weather.

Still, it's neat and fun with beautiful produce and flowers stretching for two blocks.

I think it was rather brave of me, considering that a.) I'm easily overwhelmed by crowds and b.) those crowds are gathered primarily to see the guys at the fish stand throw the fish to each other, and, potentially, the fish buying public. (ed. note: I harbor a secret desire to go watch the fish throwing. It might be the only reason, aside the recent addition of Miss Rebecca, that I want to go to Seattle.)

I did not buy fish. I did buy a bouquet of the most beautiful dahlias for S. and C., who are making me dinner tomorrow.

Much love to all,
Miss Rebecca

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What I Did Tonight

So, I had plans for tonight. They involved ice cream and friends and an early bed time. Before that blissful bed time I would have written some bon mots for you, gentle readers.

Yup, didn't so much turn out that way.

I came home to discover (stop reading now if you're eating or not feeling well or are squeamish in any way) bloody diarrhea in the cat box and copious amounts of vomit outside of it. Planning mode kicked in, Gar was downstairs waiting for ice cream so he was enlisted and was more helpful than I can express.

That was about 6:30. we got home at 10:45 and had to clean the car, wash the urine-soaked cats and have just eaten some yummy Chinese food while watching the series premiere of The Bionic Woman. I am tired. And I have to clean the cat box, medicate the cats and walk the dog again before I can sleep.

Please pardon my absence and my lack of photo. There are cable dudes outside my window doing maintenance and in 2 minutes they're having an outage so I want to hit publish before it starts.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rubbing Elbows

I just walked by this guy on the street. (Sorry for the horrid photo, a quick search of the internet did not turn up a serviceable and nice photo of Peter Gerety.)

I saw him crossing the street toward me and I thought I knew him. Fortunately I knew that it was TV knowledge not real life knowledge so I started rifling through civil servant shows. Rescue Me? No. Third Watch? Nah. Rescue Me? Still No. Law & Order? Everyone in New York has been on Law & Order but that's not it. Rescue Me? It's not Rescue Me for cripes sake, that was the other guy, the one that's all bitter! OK. OK! Homicide! Yes, Homicide. Whew.

I've been watching a lot of Homicide reruns lately, a practice that will have to be quickly curbed now that premiere week is upon us and if I were housebound I would still never run out of things to watch.

Anyway, by the time my thought process got to jackpot he noticed that I was staring at him and he gave me a cold, hard, detectivy stare. So I went right up and introduced myself.

Oh no I did not! What are you, new? That is not the New York way. I flipped my eyes front and kept on my way without a second thought. Well, without a third thought. My second thought was, Cool, content!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Food = Emotion

This is not news. I realize this.

The thing is, with this "new lifestyle" of food I plan my food even further in advance than I used to. Back in the day when I was young and green and Izz and I could spend every day together we would round up a group and head out to a favorite restaurant. On the way there as the others chatted or read or whatever we were thinking. We saw the menu in our minds and we tasted what we wanted on our tongues so that when the waitress arrived at the table we were always ready. This boggled Coot's mind on more than one occasion and caused JAM to develop a technique where if the menu seemed overwhelming you just pretend they only serve burgers. If Izz and I knew in the morning where we were going for dinner that night it could be an all day discussion.

Now I can plan days in advance. Hell, months if you count how long I waited for lobsterbake. So when we, hypothetically, plan on a Sunday to hit the yummy ice cream place on a Tuesday this figures heavily into my discretionary mental time for the intervening days. So that when, hypothetically, that plan dissolves, for what I'm sure is a very good reason, it sends me into a minor tailspin.

Hello, here I am, tailspinning. Pudding is not enough and that is making me angry.

I'm an adult, at least chronologically, you'd think I'd have some measure of control over this but I don't.

Want. Ice cream. Now.

Let's See...

Let us see if I have 10 things in my Google Reader's Star File to give to you today:

1. Hockey Fights. Now, a fight in hockey is funny. I'm telling you, nobody gets hurt and everyone is having fun and it's downright stupid. Hockey goalies fighting? Frakking hilarious! Click that link, check out the the video, watch the 2 goalies circle each other for minutes on end trying to get their gloves off so they can get down to it. I almost peed myself laughing.

2. Teen Years, Then & Now. Flea is remembering some things she did as a girl, things I didn't even think about doing but that surprises me. It's painful but so good to read.

3. Judaism. I have always been drawn to this faith and Derek's explanation of this period between the high holy days really speaks to me.

4. Bowling. Good god almighty I want to go bowling at this place! I love bowling. If I were rich in an unlimited way I would totally have a bowling alley in my basement.

5. Saga of the Stinky Cheese. Do you find the Saga of the Stinky Cheese funny? Reading it I don't really but I can totally see how it would have been funny if I were there and part of it, you know?

6. Blog Action Day. On October 15th we should all blog about environmental issue, 'kay?

7. PARK(ing) Day. Which I totally missed. It was Friday. Seemed cool, though. Maybe next year we'll get together and do it, what do you think?

8. Tree Hangers. I so want these frivolous little items. They aren't available yet, though, and, if you have to ask, you can't afford the price.

9. This boy reminds me of The Athlete. I worry some for both of them but more for one than the other.

Turns out I only have 9 things in my Star File so I'll round it out with one thing from my day.

10. Bomb Sniffing Dogs. The 2 streets that flank the building where I work are blocked off for UN events. Today was a first, though, in front of the sandwich shop was the staging area for the sniffer dogs. As I walked to my largely fruitless errand I saw 4 military haircut dudes in cut rate golf clothing playing cards under a little white tent hemmed in by 2 minivans with huge dog crates in them. (I was too afraid to try to take a photo.) On my way back from the aforementioned errands they were searching a car. Both dogs were shepherd mutts. I was surprised they were mutts. The little one was very pretty and looked like she truly could care less about sniffing anywhere but if the dude insisted she'd give it a quick whiff. The other guys were taking the trunk apart. I think they even removed the back of the tail light casing.

Did you see anything weird today?

Oh, btw, I spent $76 yesterday on my monthly metro card.

Monday, September 24, 2007

So, This Time Not So Much

I had rehearsal tonight. Since I don't have a rehearsal partner it's just me in a room for a couple of hours. Remember when it went so well and I was all walking on air and whoop de doo and all that crapola?

Yeah, not so much tonight. Bit of a slog. Frankly not nearly as much fun as this sort of thing is supposed to be. I was, in short, woefully short on inspiration.

Can I borrow some of yours, please? What do you have for me? Quotes, songs, pictures, funny dances, a ridiculous third grade joke, anything at all? Please?

All mojo gratefully accepted.

What's That Stone In The Road?

It's a milestone.

I have as of now lost 20 pounds, which just happens to be the weight of this lovely, patriotic sculpture.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Coming Clean

In all the excitement I haven't been keeping up with the budgeting. Sigh. I'm going to try to reconstruct, it's mostly a matter of memory by this point so it'll be imperfect but I'm going to be OK with that. Excuse the lengthy accounting herein. I give you a picture of our fair Clooney for compensation, wish him well in his hour of ouch.

Groceries: $7.48
Pet Food: $27.07

Dance class: $15.50
Groceries: $42.20
Movie Ticket: $12.50
Concessions: $7.75
Taxi: $16

Beer: $10

Pet Food: $9.74
Groceries: $8.81
Tip: $3

Misc (stuff I know I've handed to people for my share of things but not kept track of): $30

The Justification Begins

I suspect this will become a new series here.

Here's another reason that I need an iPhone.

I was walking the pooch in the park just now. Usually the big field in the center of the main park area is given over to an ever-evolving pick up soccer game. The soccer players have self-decreed right to that area and they play every day. Today as I crested the rise I heard a cheer and looked over to see if one of the regulars had scored a goal. No, indeed, not one of the regulars because someone had supplanted the regulars! There was a game of cricket going on. A serious game with a hoard of onlookers gathered at the edge of the bowl that is the field. It was very cool.

Too bad I don't have a picture of it for you, isn't it?

I had my cell phone with me but I didn't want the extra weight of either one of my cameras so I didn't bring them, after all I walk that route almost every day what could be new to see?

If I had an iPhone this wouldn't have happened.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's All This Guy's Fault

Last night I went to a wrap party for a horror film and didn't get to bed until 2am.

Check the time stamp on this post.

Who do I think I am? Hell, how old do I think I am? I didn't do this shit when I was actually young enough to recover from it. Let's all keep in mind how long it's been since I ingested any caffeine. It's an amount of time measured in years.

Totally worth it and totally unavoidable. Gar is in town and his relationship with time is He hasn't been to town since JAM and The Other Izz were married and that was almost a decade ago. He's the same, though, and we're having bunches of fun.

More later, I've got to get some shuteye.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Somebody Look Into This, Please

ProfDoc and I were fantasy casting the new, as-yet-mythical Lauren Graham project today. We came up with a number of brilliant thoughts - Enrico Colantoni, Jason Ritter, Maren Hinkle, Anne Ramsay - and final came around to a woman we've fantasy cast in pretty much everything, Janel Moloney (at left).

Apparently last month she was in a show Off Broadway (curse me for not reading the Times' Arts Section regularly) but we haven't seen her on screen since the West Wing waved its last. Someone cast this woman in something, please! She's a delight and has so much to offer that we don't see every day.

For my part I promise to read the Arts section regularly and not miss her live work again. Sorry Janel, my bad, totally, won't happen again.

Other Writing

I think I've said before that Derek Powazek and Heather Champ are sort of internet royalty. Being late to the party I'm not sure exactly what they've accomplished but I know that they've been at the root of things as far-reaching as Flickr. I, however, have only recently become a follower and last week Derek really strummed a chord for me. He's resurrecting a site he put on hiatus a few years ago and through it will be publishing a book around the holidays. Submissions are being accepted now and I'm writing something to submit.

I've been having some trouble getting my off-blog writing jump started lately and Powazek's prompt, "True stories of getting caught in the act" really spoke to me. I've had fun writing the first draft which I completed this noon on my lunch break. I hope that I'm able revise it to my satisfaction in the next few days. The submission deadline is October 1. (Eep!)

I really want to get accepted but I'm aware that it's a long shot. If I don't I'll post the piece here for our enjoyment.

Are you writing anything off-blog these days? Wanna tell us all about it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If I Grow Up I Want To Be Her

Guess who got herself a development deal with the Peacock?

If all goes well we'll have her back in our living rooms in 2008.

First, here's a bit of trivia from her imdb page, "She can't leave home without a book to read in case things get boring." Me either! We're totally soulmates.

Check out her comment to the press about the deal, "I'm thrilled and flattered to be working with NBC. I am impressed by Ben Silverman's taste and vision for the network, and grateful to have had Marc Hirschfeld's support over the years. Also, after having spent so many years representing the frog on The WB, I am especially comforted to be part of the only other network with an animal mascot." Do you see what she did there? She played it just like Bull Durham and then snuck in a line to make sure you remember her.

Don't worry, Pretty Girl, you're a lot harder to forget than you might think.

I'm So Gonna Cave

It has begun.

Between spending a week with the younger generation (courtesy of Zelda) and repeated fondlings of the iPhone I have begun to research text messaging plans. If I can't justify an iPhone I can at least take a step in that direction by entering the texting world. You just know I'll be addicted in a heartbeat. I know the basic iPhone plan is a bit over $60 but I'm already paying about $55 a month for a plan where you pay for all your texts. Perhaps it wouldn't be too too terribly extravagant?

OK, so my information gathering is one part justifying a new phone and one part trying to talk myself out of same. What can I say, I'm a complex woman.

Will you be part of my information gathering, please?

Do you text?
Do you pay for texts on top of a regular plan or are they included in your plan?
How many texts a month are included?
How many do you usually use?
What company do you get your service from?
Do you secretly wish you had an iPhone?

Arrgh, thank ye matey! (Still Talk Like a Pirate Day)

Yo Ho Ho, Here's Yer Treasure

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day. I haven't participated nearly enough. I promise to have pirate themed dreams to make up for it.

Mmmmm, pirate themed dreams.

In all the excitement over a hot shower and those tickets to Young Frankenstein (Woo Hoo!) I forgot to record my spending. Oopsie daisy.

2 Tickets to Young Frankenstein (for which I think I will be reimbursed when I cash in on a Christmas present): $183
Pet food ($15 of which was for Pony Express so I was reimbursed): $30.25

Total: $213.25

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wish I'd Thought Of That Earlier

Too bad I only just now realized that my theme song for the day should have been Slide Some Oil To Me from The Wiz. If I were more technically savvy I'd embed an MP3 of it here. But I'm not, have some lyrics!

(Sung by Nipsey Russel & The Dixieland Band)

Slide some oil to me
Let it trickle down my spine
If you don't have S.T.P.
Crisco will do just fine

Slide some to my elbows
And to my fingers if you would
Slide some oil to me, girl
Whoo! Don't that feel good!

Slide some oil to my feet, look
I got toes again
Come on and slide some oil to my knees
And let me see if I can bend

Slide some oil to me
I'm beginning to feel just fine
Slide some oil down my throat
And let me lubricate my mind

Slide some oil to me
go ahead, hit my shoulder blades
Those who don't have to lubricate
Sure got it made
Slide some oil to me
Let it slip down my side
Laying there in one position
Sure does make me tired

Now watch me dance!

And let me lubricate my mind

So Many Lists So Little Tuesday

10 Things I Hate
1-10. Not having hot water

10 Reasons I Don't Go Camping
1. No flush toilets
2. No hot water
3. Pitch blackness
4. Snakes
5,7,9. No flush toilets
6,8,10. No hot water.

10 Reasons I Don't Even Watch Survivor
1-10. See above re: Camping

10 Things That Could Easily Grease the Wheels of, well, Anything
1-10. [Insert any of my body parts - ooo, dirty! - no, really, very dirty]

10 Reasons That I (and all of my co-workers in our tiny overheated office) Deserve a Public Apology From The Maintenance Guy On Call
1-10. No hot water in the morning for 2 days running

10 Things I Could Whine About Endlessly
1. Josh Jackson not being single
2. Life not being fair
3. Weight Watchers
4-10. No hot water in the morning

OK, for real now, here's my 10 things list:

10 Things About Today (with ratings!)
1. No hot water this morning - BAD
2. Voting - SILLY (insofar as a civic duty can be silly)
3. No hot water this morning - STILL BAD ( I checked the water temp every 15 minutes from 6:05 until I left at 8:00 as I'd been told it's a problem that takes 45 minutes to resolve)
4. Trains were messed up - BAD, but not my train
5. Getting a seat on a train despite the mess - GOOD
6. Having that train go exactly where I needed it to go - VERY GOOD
7. Fondling Pony Express' new iPhone - VERY, VERY GOOD! SO MUCH FUN AND TOTALLY ADDICTIVE Now when I call her instead of ringing the phone barks.
8. The searingly hot shower I just took - HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN ORGASM? KIND OF LIKE THAT ONLY CLEAN
9. Getting tickets to Young Frankenstein for a Saturday Night less than one month after opening night - I FEEL LIKE A MIRACLE WORKER
10. Those tickets are not together so ChemE and I won't be able to nudge each other throughout - SO NOT QUITE A MIRACLE BUT MORE OF A REALLY COOL CARD TRICK LIKE THOSE ONES HARRY ANDERSON DOES (Who cares! We're going to see a show ChemE is going to love on the exact night we want to go!)

Apparently I'm Live Blogging the Vote

So I put on my (cranky) sweatpants and I got my voter card and my keys and my jacket and....I don't know how to say this but, I brought a book. I was heading out to vote at 6:18 in the am and I brought a book, you know, just in case the line was too long or something. See how deep the psychoses dwell? God forbid I should be somewhere with nothing to do for 30 seconds.

I walked by both guard booths and listened to ID which security asswipe/guard had hung up on me. I suck as an ear witness.

I hit the voting booth. Didn't get a chance to read my book. No line. Surprised? I think not.

For reference it took about 3 minutes for the nice ladies to get me signed in. (Note: Why would any voters be required to show ID? How exactly is that legal?)

Turns out that my election district is deciding between 2 women for Surrogate Judge.

That's it.

All that vast space, all those little levers and I only got to flip one. If I was in there for 15 seconds I'll take a cold shower...well, at least a tepid one. There is now some tepid water. I have high hopes for a warmish shower in a few minutes. My office mates may not know it but they should be thankful.

I Know That You Aren't Obligated Or Anything

I know that just because I asked you to cross your fingers for something it doesn't mean that you have to do it and I know that even if you do cross those fingers (or toes or legs or hair or even leg hair) it doesn't guarantee that it'll work but...

I don't think you were crossing hard enough.

No hot water this morning. Security guy hung up on me. I'm really angry.

Also stinky.

What will I wear today? I'm guessing my crankypants.

Going to vote now.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Perils of the DVR Love

I don't like to get overscheduled, both in the long and the short term. I don't like to have every night of my week spoken for or every weekend of my month. I don't like to have only the exact travel time available in my day and nothing more. I like things padded, contingencies planned for, I do not get a thrill from running through the train station with the tails of my bag flying behind me like flags.

Today was a flag flying day, though. I had inconvenient plans in far away places. It couldn't be avoided.

Finally, everything done, I was hoofing it up the famed Park Slope in hopes of catching my twice-an-hour bus and bemoaning my fate. It was 10pm and I was tired and had no idea when the bus was coming. For distraction I forced myself to look at the buildings I passed and I seemed to be passing a school. I could see that a room was lit up, it was a gym with one short person moving a row of large things. I couldn't tell what they were, perhaps some sort of sporting equipment.

Voting booths!

Since I have the DVR I don't watch commercials and therefore don't get those news updates in the commercial spots. Tomorrow is a voting day and I almost missed it entirely.

So, gotta get up early and vote tomorrow morning. Must have pudding and take care of a couple of quick housekeeping items and then hit the hay. Please cross your fingers that I have hot water tomorrow stark contrast to this morning.

Cable bill: $113.91
DVDs (The Sure Thing for me - no discount, and Season 2 of Mad About You for Pony Express - 40% off): $42.24

Total: $156.15

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Goody, Goody Two Shoes

You know, I want to be a bad girl. I used to be a little, well, badder but I seem to have lost my touch. I'm not having wild sex or drinking to excess and today I didn't even spend any money.

When You Say "Back In The Day"...

I keep thinking I'll just write this/eat this/watch this/clear this and then I'll go to bed.

But then I don't.

This is the last thing.

No, really. Except for the end of this episode of Bones.

I'm not 100% sure but I'm 90+% sure that today (yesterday as of about 3 minutes ago actually) was my first day of living in New York City in 1987. It might be the 17th, and Pony Express remembers it as being a week or so ago but I really think she's wrong, I think it was the 15th of September 20 years ago that we arrived and moved in and tried to figure out how this place worked.

After my parents left I freaked out a little. A normal reaction, I know, but also my anxiety was even worse then if you can imagine that. My father had told me horror stories of fearful college freshman unable to leave their dorm rooms even for classes who were eventually expelled and possibly institutionalized forever and ever amen so I decided that I had to get out of the room as soon as possible. Fortunately I had forgotten to pack my toothbrush so I strapped on a purse (women in New York carried purses, I thought, so even though I never carried one at home I used one here), asked at the front desk for directions to a drug store and headed out the front door and onto the street. I still remember turning the corner from 5th Avenue onto 10th Street and looking at every shop and home along the block to University Place. I felt like I was walking through a TV show or a movie, everything was larger than life and yet it was my life now and I couldn't have been happier.

Despite peaks and valleys I still feel overall the same way here and now 20 years on. I'm so glad I walked out that revolving door and started to print my shoes on the pavement of this city. I'm also so glad that I celebrated this past week by turning Madchen over to the cult of NYC love. The city loves her back, I'm sure of it. I just hope her stressed out feet recover. I'm also looking forward to celebrating tomorrow with 2 of the people that I went to college with. We're going to wander the San Genarro Festival which just happens to be the first NYC specific hoopla I enjoyed during orientation week when I arrived at NYU.

This place is scary and thrilling and fun and maddening and delightful and I cannot wait to see what the next 20 years bring.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Precious Girl

The girl has hit a new plateau of older dogdom. She can't jump up on the bed 9 times out of 10. Through the kindness of a number of almost strangers I have a beautiful custom-made ramp that she can use when she so chooses. She likes the result but dislikes the ramp itself. She has to rest between the mini-flights up the stairs to the apartment and you can see the strain of getting herself up the last step of the flight.

This has brought on a fit of nostalgia for me. I remember when she never slept. These days she sleeps well, often and for lengthy stretches. She's chasing rabbits in her dreams as I write this. Back when we first got her, though, she was on perpetual alert. She was afraid of people, dogs, things with wheels, loud noises, quick movements and pretty much everything else you can think of that makes up the world. She's a living being so she had to sleep, right? We thought she did but the slightest rustle of movement, a cough, a change in the wind would have her bolt upright on all 4 legs, ready for fight or flight even when a moment before she'd been limp, relaxed and breathing steadily. In that house dogs weren't allowed up to the bedrooms so it was a few days before we discovered the secret. I wish I could remember who it was, I'd like to say it was me but I can't recall, but someone lay on the couch and Em got up with them. Before you knew it she was asleep, full on paw-racing, dream-barking asleep. For years she only really slept when she was touching a person she trusted.

She could sleep curled up under your bent knees or with her chin on your toes or wound into a tight ball between 2 tv watchers but my favorite was the sprawl. She would lie down on her back, paws in the air, with her body absolutely aligned along the length of mine and her head on my shoulder and she would sleep for hours.


It didn't turn out like I thought it would. I was supposed to see an opera on a boat but I got the dates mixed up and I should then have gone to either a theatre company's benefit or a tupperware party but I didn't end up at those either. I got some laundry done, talked to mom, did some cooking and some cleaning and watched a couple of movies. Until today I didn't know how much I didn't know about the Nixon administration.

Chocolate milk: $2.50
Laundry: $1.25
Groceries: $6.97

Total: $10.72

Vibrate For Me

I need some good vibes people. Not for me, mind you, I don't want to be greedy, but for my Aunt Rena. She's my mom's mom's sister and she's in her 90s. She lives by herself in a house that she had built many years ago (for $17,000 by the way) on top of a hill in a defunct mill town in ME. She wants to keep living there.

She's the one who took care of her mother while she was dying. She chose to do that even though it put the kibosh on the only marriage proposal she ever had. She took care of her brother-in-law and then her sister as they died, too.

Now she battles a couple of forms of cancer, brittle bones, essentially non-existent knees, some memory loss but not too much, paranoia, anxiety, congestive heart failure and some other things that I'm sure I'm forgetting. Before you tell me not to worry for her since she's clearly right at the end of her rope I will tell you this: she's had all of these things for a minimum of 5 years. When my grandmother died almost 6 years ago we all thought that the grief would kill her within a couple of years. That's where a little atheism will go a long way. She's sure that after you die there's nothing at all and she's petrified of that so she's determined not to do it.

Mom called from Rena's house tonight. They're headed to the family reunion tomorrow and will be the only 2 representatives of our branch. I am seeing that it may have been a mistake for me not to go this year, despite the cost. Rena is using 2 canes now, which makes it almost impossible for her to cook, not a good feeling for a lifelong home ec teacher. Her language is a little garbled and her anxiety has ramped up, which I wouldn't have thought possible. She either didn't go to bed until 2 this morning or she went to bed earlier and got up at 2 to get ready for my mom's arrival and their subsequent trip to the reunion, I couldn't tell which one.

I'm not asking for long life vibes. She doesn't need those, she's had a long life already. I'm looking for good end of life vibes. I fear for her living on her own now. She is adamantly against nursing home life or hospitalization, she's certain that the doctors killed my grandmother on my family's orders and she thinks that will happen to her if she goes to live in any sort of institution. However, I really think it'd suck for her to fall down the stairs (there are lots of stairs in her house) and lie there for hours suffering before someone finds her. Either situation is unthinkable.

I don't have any idea what a good end of life would be in her mind but I hope for it. Hope with me, please?

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Sproing In My Socket

I keep wanting to say sprocket instead of socket.

The past few weeks after floor barre I've had joint pain, my hip is all out of whack. I've been worried about it but I think needlessly. Today all of the joints in my right leg and the left hip are just wrong. I think I've figured it out, though. I think that I'm hitting a new learning plateau in floor barre and I'm doing my turn out work nearer to properly which is changing the way my legs work. Unsurprisingly teaching your body to do something brand new isn't totally comfortable. Sitting on the ground to watch a play for a couple of hours tonight was also possibly not the best therapy either.

Gerry asked why I started with the budgeting. The short answer is "because it's good for me." The more complete answer can be found here.

Floor barre: $15.50
Groceries: $42.98
Dog food (enough for 12 days) and biscuits: $13.80
Pizza (freaking HUGE piece of pizza): $4.75
2 tickets to Mettawee River Theatre Co. production of Peace (me + Pony Express): $20

Total: $97.03

It's Not Real, It's Just Me

Let's just say hypothetically that you were producing an evening of women's theatrical and musical work (with perhaps one solo man just because you're weird like that). Would you call it:

a) The Exception Proves the Rule: An Evening of Exceptional Women Doing What They Do Best
b) Proving the Rule: An Evening of Exceptional Women Doing What They Do Best
c) Something else with that theme
d) Something else without that stupid theme

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm A Good Girl

I didn't spend any money today.

Since my inability to budget can't amuse you today I send you to this post, which turns out to be about me! At least partially. The internet is tiny, only about 700 people using it and it turns out we all know each other.

Think Of Me As A Springboard

I had a little time on Tuesday to read people's entries but not enough time to post about them. No time like the present, eh?

For me Sars' entry, For Thou Art With Us, is required reading this time every year.

However, I humbly request that if you read none of the other links in this post that you do read this other entry from Sars and see if we can find Don for her. I have just had living proof that we're never more than a breath away from someone we know on this nutty intarweb so I know we can find Don.

Over at Child's Play x2 there are some thoughts and a link to a beautiful tribute to a friend lost in the collapse.

Marit briefly recapped her story on Flickr. Since some of my family is from Maine it's really odd for me to hear what people were thinking in that state on that day.

Chookooloonks uses the inflated value of a picture over words to say something important. (I can't link to the specific picture, you'll have to click back through the photos until you get to the one from Tuesday. It won't be a hardship, I promise.)

Chili talked about an episode of Third Watch that I also watched recently but hadn't been able to work into my post about telling our stories.

Rich describes the complete disconnect of synapses that happened while watching the news unfold.

I don't always check out Derek Powazek's links but he linked to a site of stories of 9/11 and slowly I will try and read them.

I have been talking about telling our stories and the importance of remembering but I haven't talked about forging the link to the next generation. Jon Hickman came face to face with that on Monday night.

Kath is the person I know best who was closest to being swallowed in that cloud of dust. She is fine, thank goodness. She posted a picture and some thoughts.

For most people the day of remembrance was flashes through a pretty normal day. Or not quite so normal, in the case of Lesterhead.

It's hard for me to imagine the impact of 9/11 on other parts of the country. It's not hard for Schnozz. This year, however, she finds her feet about how to commemorate.

Rob has always had a strange and compelling relationship with the incidents of that day. He speaks well of that relationship even now.

Sometimes the day marks a number of different things.

Perhaps the weirdest link on this list is from Gypsy. The people who do TMI Tuesday did the regular questions but tacked on a bonus "pertinent" one.

Tense Teacher feels bad about her observance of the day. She probably shouldn't.

I've got to say I was surprised by Blue's sentiments. I feel more like we need to be ever-vigilant against the crazies in our own back yard.

Gerry is, as ever, both beautiful and eloquent.

For my part I'll tell you this:

Zelda's group had a number of...divergent personalities. We spent the better part of the week juggling their needs and desires. Tuesday was the 26th birthday of one member and we planned to go out. A fine time was had by all, despite all our plans being changed last minute pretty much all day long. As we stood outside The White Horse Tavern before hailing cabs and sending them off to their hotels and sublets and friends' apartments I noticed the lights that represent the lost towers (lost? it's not like they were misplaced! we know where they are) reaching up into the midnight blue of the sky and I nudged Zelda to point them out. Zelda and Madchen were staying at Chrome's in Queens. As they crossed the bridge to leave Manhattan Zelda looked out the back window and saw the lights over the new skyline. She told Madchen to look. Madchen watched for a while, turned back and said, "I think that's my favorite part of this trip."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And they're off!

It was a good trip, very possibly a great trip. I sent Zelda and one girl off to Chrome's house to pack and shower and get ready to get up at the crack of fanny tomorrow. I miss her but I feel great about our time together. She does my heart good.

I am, however, exhausted so I'm going to make this quick and get back to you tomorrow with more words.

Breakfast for 2 at the Edison Diner (classic!): $21.50
Ticket to Curtains with David Hyde Pierce (I cannot recommend this strongly enough, it is a glorious production): $60
Jean jacket, trousers, Brooklyn Bridge t-shirt from Sarah Jessica Parker's new affordable clothing line: $37.94
m&ms: $1.50
Dinner at the Deviled Egg of the Day Place: $26

Total: $146.94

Because Otherwise I'll Forget*

*Out with Zelda and Chrome and The Youth of OKC tonight we came up with the perfect post title. Apparently beer and young protogees and frat boys are not conducive to memorization so I've forgotten the title entirely.

So, a quick budgetary entry before I (hopefully) sleep since I'm meeting Zelda for a full day of fun tomorrow by 10.

Groceries: $6.49
Dinner with Zelda who loves me in what might be a (financially) unhealthy way: $0.00
Drinks for me + my happily donated share of the birthday girl's evening: $30
Taxi home: $19

Total: $55.49

All in all, dollar for dollar, a bargain!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More Than 10 Things

I haven't been able to assemble the photos I thought I'd use for today. I cast about for something to take their place.

Miflohny commented that she felt that the most important part of any memorial of 9/11 is the reading of the names, the very part that most memorial planners try to cut short.

I thought I might choose 10 names among the many.

Then I thought that was ridiculous.

Here is a list of everyone who died on September 11, 2001 in a bombed building or plane. It includes profiles and pictures and it does seem a little overwhelming.

As well it should.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oh no, not that

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that I'm down on myself about holding steady on the weight thing. The sad clown thing was meant to be more a funny sort of point up of how utterly anti climactic it is to have no loss on the scale. I'm fine with it. A little perplexed since I didn't do anything super naughty and I walked my legs to veritable nubs over the past couple of days but whatever. I'm going out for fondue with Zelda and her girls tomorrow and I'm going to eat whatever I freaking like. I can buckle down again when she's gone home and I'm missing her.

Money isn't bad today:

Cat food: $10.41
.Mac annual subscription: $99.95

Total: $110.36

The Ends of Things

Whenever the subject comes up, and it comes up strangely often, I group together the string of deaths of my grandparents with 9/11. It's an intellectual exercise, apparently, because I just put together the emotional impact this summer.

I've been a little edgy the past month or so. The information about the memorial makes me angry, the news about Iran and the US government is too full of tension for me to read or watch, the snake dreams, the drowning dreams, the piecemeal sleep have all been signposts. Gradually I realized that it's this time of year leading up to the anniversary of 9/11 that helps to set me on edge. Utterly understandable.

Almost seven years ago my grandfather died. This led to my grandmother being sent to a nursing home and the homestead being sold. A month later my other grandmother died leading to some serious angry grieving by my great aunt and the selling of that homestead. We celebrated one last Christmas/dead grandfather's birthday in the first homestead. The day after Mother's Day my last remaining grandmother died. In early September we interred my other grandmother. Pony Express and I left the pooch in my family's completely empty house in Winslow, ME with a bowl of water and a treat while we attended the interment. We changed clothes quickly, gathered up the totally freaked out dog and drove back to NYC. It was September 9, 2001.

I was working as a temp at the time. I was grossing about $300 a week if I did a full 35 hour week, which was hard to come by. From the time my grandfather died I was paying probably my rent consistently and other things as often as possible. $300 a week. That means that this last month the amount I overspent was almost 6 weeks of my 2001 salary.

The loss of my grandparents and all the things that went along with them amounted, for me, to a loss of stability. They were all the sort of people who, in my lifetime, stayed put in one home, had steady, reliable jobs or incomes, habits and traditions. Losing them all was like being a balloon that a little kid lets go of in the parking lot. The 7 hour ride back to New York with Pony Express we were giddy and free and young. We laughed and joked and talked and enjoyed what, for me, had been almost a year of free fall into a phase of adulthood I was ill-equipped to grasp.

I honestly don't remember a whole lot about the fall of 2001. I don't remember how I paid bills. I don't remember how or when I started to get work. I don't remember being worried about either of those things. The only thing I was worried about was being made to leave New York. I was afraid that someone would require me to leave and I wouldn't be allowed re-entry. While it felt like other people were departing in droves for short or long term stays I was firmly rooted in the group that found the idea of leaving far more frightening.

It's only now that I realize what that represents. I've known since a clear fall day, much like today, in 1987 that I love New York and I want to live here. One of the many thousands of reasons that my live-in relationship tanked was my firm grasp on this city. He loved it but felt he'd do better if he left, he needed to keep moving. I told him to feel free to go, I wouldn't be going with him. New York is a constant in my view of the future.

In September of 2001 everything about this city changed in some way. Subways didn't work the same way, streets were impassable, landmarks were gone, many people were dead, many more people were carrying guns and patrolling public places, there was the inevitable loss of a feeling of safety. For all it moves and shakes New York has a feeling of permanence, at least for me. It can survive any of us leaving because it will be here doing what it does and it doesn't need us. All of those things were shaken up like a snow globe and rained back down in the wrong order.

I rode in a little Honda with one of my best friends speeding away from all that which had meant solid ground to me as I grew up. We fled the fear and uncertainty there for our city and I could not wait to be wrapped in its firm embrace of light and sound and action. Remember "gools"? It was the safe place when you were playing tag as a kid. You could race to "gools" - a tree or table or porch - and be safe as long as you were touching it. New York City was gools and I felt a breath away from being tagged as I reached every cell of my body toward it.

Two days later gools disintegrated around us. All the rules changed. It completed the cycle for me of sanding away the permanence I yearn for and keep being taught to live without. It is, I know, no wonder I have what we lovingly refer to as "a wiggins" at the end of the summer now.

Heaven knows I'm not alone.

Sad Clown

See that picture up top?

There's no picture you say?

Yes, well, that's because you can't take a picture of nothing and nothing is what I lost this week.

Still steady at 134lbs, a 19lb loss.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Another liesurely day

It's no wonder I don't think I'm accomplishing enough in my life. I keep having these free and easy days. Today was brunch club, a stroll through the bookstore with Carmencita and Alita, cup of cocoa in the coffee shop with the cute waiter, meeting Zelda and her crew, a walk through Chinatown, a walk through the San Generro festival, a stop at the design market, trip to the TKTS booth for them to get tickets to Rent, dropping them off at the theatre, home again, walk dog, puttering and as soon as I hit publish on this I'll give the dog a quick pee, move another fan into the bedroom and hit the hay.

When I list it like that it doesn't sound so leisurely. It was nice, though.

Chili asked why the chocolate milk was integral to the weight loss. It's easy to drink in the early part of the morning and it has some protein in it so it tides me over. I drink just a half cup of it before I leave for work. I don't like to eat a lot first thing when I get up but around the time I'm ready to leave for work I do get hungry and by the time I get to work I'd be ravenous if I didn't have something. So I take a little treat of chocolate milk every day and I'm not uncomfortable, it starts me off on a day of small meals in approved portion sizes. Well, except lately where my lunch is of approved portion sizes but it's all cukes and peppers and beets with a little chicken or shrimp for the protein. But I have a huge bowl of it, all the cukes I can eat!

Thrilling, eh? Tune in tomorrow morning for my weigh in. Will that half portion of gelato derail the steady small weight loss? Will all that walking result in a larger loss this week? It's edge of the seat excitement here at 117 Hudson this Sunday night!


Brunch: $17
Cocoa: $5.41

Total: $22.41

Saturday, September 08, 2007

It's a Big Breath Out

My girl is here.


I have walked my feet off today both before I met up with her and after. I have met new people and planned things for them and helped them to learn the city, because I am an eensy bit obsessed with convincing people to love this city as much as I do. I am bushed, truly.

Home again and feeding the pets I almost wept with relief because she's so close. I'm going to see her tomorrow! If push came to shove I could go see her right this very second. She'll be right there in Soho when I walk over there after brunch. I love that.

Now, though? Sleep. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Bagel & Veggie Cream Cheese: $5.25
Sushi Dinner: $25

Total: $30.25

Notice the lack of chocolate milk on this fine Saturday. The Dairy is doing Farm Aid tomorrow so apparently they were saving most of the good milk for the concert people. I hope Willie Nelson enjoys my fucking milk!

Ways in Which I Could Save Money

Cancel DVR
Reduce cable service
Cancel cable TV
Cancel cable entirely, including internet (ha!)
Reduce Netflix
Cancel Netflix (dude, have you seen the length of my queue)
Quit Weight Watchers
Quit trying to eat healthy (truly, junk is both cheaper and yummier)
Give away the pets
Feed the pets store brand, low end food (which I'm guessing will result in increased vet bills)
Change health insurance (where? to what? gah, insurance sucks my little left tit!)
Never eat out again (which amounts to rarely if ever seeing friends)
Eat but don't drink when I'm out
Always bring lunch to work instead of allowing myself one slip per week
Budget number of times per month it's OK to dine out
Only go out before 11pm so it's OK to take public transport home
Never leave the house except for work (frankly so appealing but I've worked so hard to get myself out of my shell)
Quit film photography
Limit film photography
Buy SLR camera (investment!) to reduce cost of photography
Stop working on a new theatre piece (no rehearsal space cost)
Make all gifts (probably will increase spending due to materials needed)
Sell TV
Sell apartment
Get part time job
Book Shakespeare show (anyone know a HS who'd like an enrichment program?)
Stop going to Floor Barre (I hated going to this class, sometimes I still do, but yesterday the teacher stood up in front of the whole class and talked about how hard I'd worked and how much I'd improved and how my body had changed)
Stop going to see shows/movies/music
Marry rich

Feel free to add stuff to the list, I'm sure this will be ongoing.

My Timing is Atrocious

Why am I experimenting with cooking now? Why didn't I try to learn how to wing it stove-wise years ago when I was living with twentysomething boys who would eat anything? Seriously, if I had served actual shit on a shingle they would have maybe (maybe) said, "Needs more salt" without halting the maw shoveling. The following day I would have come home thinking, "I could really go for that left over Shit on a Shingle" and the cupboard (and pantry and counter and fridge) would have been empty.

Now I live with just me. I'm a kind of picky eater! I hate it when I make stuff that sucks!

Live and learn, live and learn. Next time I live with a couple of twentysomething boys I will serve stove experiments every night.

Friday, September 07, 2007


I've been watching Saving Grace. They had me at Holly Hunter, of course. They kept me from leaving by frequently removing Kenny Johnson's clothes. OK, partly but not solely that*. It's like Joan of Arcadia but for grown-ups.

The part that they don't talk about in the press, though, at least not the press here, is that it's Rescue Me for Oklahoma. RM was the first show/play/book/movie based on people who experienced 9/11 that I found watchable, nay compelling. It's a character thing, sure, but it's characters living lives that were shaped by that day rather than a fraught re-telling of the incident. Saving Grace is Rescue Me in, what, 10 years? Grace is a police officer who was a first respondent to the Oklahoma City bombing.

I know some folk from the OK. I'll be spending as much time as possible with some of them this week. We've talked a tiny bit about our respective bombings but not extensively. I wonder what they think of Saving Grace, if they're watching it, if it is even getting special press in OKC. I think it's worth it but I'm waiting, interested to hear from the ones who lived it.

*Dear TNT, this is not to imply that it's OK to cut down on Naked Time With Kenny J. Please feel free to keep airing out my boy's pretty, pretty skin. Thanks. Love, Kizz

Ah, Beloved Miscellany

A big thank you to everyone who has read, enjoyed, and even commented on the Payday entry. I realized last night that the 2 entries I'd written were more thoughtful and detailed than what I've been writing recently but of the 2 I didn't expect that one to be the more intriguing. I'm really glad it spoke to you, thanks for speaking back to me.

Despite the fact that I've got plenty of reasons to go out on the town lined up for the coming week I stuck to purpose and got my ass clothed, up made and out of the house to a very hip party tonight. I saw cool stuff, ate yummy food, had a couple of drinks and met a very cute boy. I thought the boy was gay. Then I saw him fondling the hostess. Either way I was home on the couch in my undies by 10:30pm. Yay for local social opportunities! Also yay for Kath & Alex who let me tag along as a party partner.

I got paid today. I also spent money:

Dance class: $15.50
Groceries: $33.24
m&ms: $.85
cleaning supplies: $16

Total: $65.59

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Payday (not the candy bar)

One day many years ago I was gently browsing a B&N with a male friend. It was several years prior to the birth of his lovely daughters but also several years after he had decided that he wanted children and he wanted to stay at home and take care of them himself. It was midafternoon and we were on the second floor. There was a glass partition surrounding the escalator so that you could stand and watch people slowly creeping up to meet you. A young man, about 18 months of age, peeled off from his nanny in the middle of a less-than-riveting Thomas the Tank Engine and pressed his nose against the glass, fascinated by the shiny, moving steps. The nanny levered herself off the floor and not too aggressively but absolutely unwaveringly insisted that the boy sit down and finish the story with her. My friend became incensed. I could feel him quivering under his skin and he said, "I will stand with my kids and watch the escalator if they want to watch the escalator. That is what being a kid is about."

And now, I'm sure that is what he does.

A couple of days ago I started reading a collection of essays called Mommy Wars: Stay-At-Home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families. ProfDoc sent it to me in a package of books she thought I might be interested in. Don't worry, it's not that I've changed my stance on being a mom, it's just my continuous character research and interest in writing. One of the essays I read today, incidentally the one so far voted most likely to make my head explode, quotes a psychiatrist as saying, "The currency of love is time."

I immediately thought of my friend and I think it fits. It really is.

Think about all the ways that people have spent time on you and you on them lately. Has someone called you? Have they e-mailed you? Have you had dinner with someone? Did you attend someone's concert or play? Did you comment on a blog? Did you walk a dog? Did someone send you a postcard or forward you an article with relevance to you specifically? Did someone pick up dinner for you? Did you bake cookies for someone? Did you stick a post-it in someone's lunch or book a dentist appointment? Did someone stop when they saw you on the street to chat for a bit? Did someone check on you if you were sick? Did you send off a check-in text to someone with a particularly difficult task to complete?

The currency of love is time.

Time is something we don't have a lot of these days. Every instance someone spending even a little of it on you I think should noted as a privilege. Love isn't something that always gets paid back kopek for kopek, franc for franc, or minute for minute. Sometimes it really shouldn't be. It should, however, be appreciated when it is lavished on you in whatever increments.

The second person I thought of when I read that phrase was Mrs. X. ChemE and I first got to know her because of the value she put on time. She hired ChemE, and later me, to babysit her daughters so that she and Mr. X could have a weekly date. They rarely did anything far out of the norm, sometimes they'd just walk long the river in the park but every week they spent time together, just the two of them. For years and years after that ChemE and I made a point to visit her and whatever bits of her family we could corral every time we went home. This was a tradition long before she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Our particular joy was the time we spent at Christmas, despite it also being the busiest and most visit of the year for each of us. Sappy as it sounds the scant hours we carved out each holiday season to sit on her living room floor and laugh were both the cheapest and most expensive gifts we both gave and received. Every time we started the scheduling process Mrs. X would say, "Oh I know you girls are busy, you don't have to visit us if you can't fit it in. We'll see you next time." She knew the value of that time and she didn't require us to spend it on her but when we were there she enjoyed us fully and we her. By giving us the option she also helped us learn to value the time we gave and to prioritize accordingly.

This week a friend has spent time on both cooking and eating with me, friends have e-mailed me and commented on my blog, someone has forwarded me a very funny joke, a friend returned my call and listened to me rant and vent for an hour, a friend is sending me a package, my mother called and put me on the phone with Auntie Blanche. Right now a friend is thinking that she ought to be packing because very soon she'll be traveling a long way in part to spend time on me. This week alone it seems I have been very expensive, time-wise and for that I am supremely grateful. If I can't pay it back I promise I will pay it forward.

Feel free to share in the comments some way in which someone has spent time on you this week.

Pot Roast*

*OK Rich, now I'm just fucking with you.

I had a weird moment today. I really missed mom's Old Man Friend, Jake.

This is unusual on a number of levels. It's a regrettably well documented fact that I'm not a huge fan of the people my parents chose to move on with. I mean, I deal with plenty of the crazy with the family I was born into so asking me to deal with more crazy in already highly awkward situations just chaps my hide. Yes, I know, this is ridiculous coming from someone with as close a relationship to the crazy as I have. I mean, look at the friends I have chosen and please don't look at the romances I've pursued. You'd think crazy would be like water off a duck's back for me. Here's the little piece of wisdom I'll give all of you who have or intend to have children: Speaking as somebody's kid (a couple of somebodies actually) I can tell you that we do, honestly, at the heart of it want you, our parents, ultimately to be happy. However, we would vastly prefer it if you could manage to be happy conveniently. Good luck with that.

Anyway, so Jake died in April, April 27th as matter of fact, which I can tell you because it was the day before my father got married. It was sad and it did, of course have an impact on my life (if you're new search for the "mom" tag and check out what I did for a week in June) and it really sucks for my poor mommy. On the other hand he wasn't someone I grew up with and we didn't have much in common so it wasn't quite as devastating as it might be.

Today I was reading Suburban Turmoil and she mentioned pot roast and my mouth started to water. When I used to be able to stay with my mom she would stock foods I liked before I got home. Well after the point when it was good for Jake to do so she would wheedle him into making me pot roast because, despite a few faults, he made the best motherfucking (heh) pot roast ever to grace this planet. He'd do boiled dinner with it with potatoes and carrots and turnips but I don't like turnips and I really like carrots so the proportions got tweaked as time went on. I read the words pot roast and my thoughts went something like this, "Ooo, pot roast, I could really go for some pot roast. God I can't eat pot roast on this diet. Maybe as a treat or if I got a very small one and ate very small portions. Gah I don't know the recipe. I'll get mom to ask J....oh. Oh. Well then." And all of a sudden I got really sad.

Part of it is perfectly selfish, of course. I mean, if you'd had this pot roast with the slightly charred bits on the outside and the perfectly tender insides and the gravy from a pan deglazed with sherry and not quite mushy steamed carrots perfect for dipping in gravy you would be mourning too. Sometimes I just stood in front of the open refrigerator pulling pot roast out of a tupperware with my fingers and dipping it into another tupperware full of congealed gravy and sucking it down.

Most of it, though, was because it was that moment after someone dies. Often it happens a few times. There's a moment where you've done all the work and you've put your nose back on the grindstone and then something relatively insignificant throws up a sign in front of you that says, "GONE" or "NEVER AGAIN" or "THIS IS WHAT DEAD REALLY MEANS" and something shifts in your chest or your belly and you drop rather abruptly down to a new plateau of realization that someone has died.

So, we all knew this already but, guys? Jake's dead. So there won't be anymore pot roast.

Cha Ching

What the heck did I spend money on today? Oh postage, that's about it. What category will that go into? My lunch date (the delightful, and this week beleaguered, Norse Chef) had to cancel so I saved a little dining out cash there, which was good. Not getting to see my girl, though, was bad, very bad.

I tweaked the projected budget. I got to a place where I moved the numbers around to reflect what I think I will/can/should/need to spend and I think it bears a certain resemblance to reality. All I can do now is wait out this next month of spending and see how it compares to the projected budget. I have a feeling that this process is going to be a lot like the beginning of the weight loss thing, I'll be thinking about it a lot and hating it and generally ranting against the unfairness of the world and then eventually I will resign myself to my fate and work harder than I feel like working and you know, shit will work out.

You know, I feel I should say that I do realize that this isn't the end of the world. I have a job that doesn't seem to be in jeopardy, I have savings, I have some tiny investments, no one is, you know, trying to screw me (without a polite dinner beforehand) out of a company into which I've put my blood, sweat and tears. It'll be OK. But I'm going to piss and moan some more before I get there. Just, you know, fair warning and all.

So, here's the tweaked projected budget:

Month Target

Mortgage $750
Maintenance $690
Investment $150
Dining Out $100
Groceries $200
Craft $100
Transportation $115
Phone $55
Cable w/internet $114
Health $1,055
Entertainment $100
Household $30
Pets $100
Misc. $50
Gifts $27

Total $3,636

Stamps: $8.20
Credit card bill (finance charge, what do I categorize that under?): $4.06
Mortgage: $750
Laundry: $6.75

Total: $769.01

Huh, well look at that, it wasn't just postage after all.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Curry in a Hurry

I have been a busy little bee tonight talking to a friend and mending fences and e-mailing and setting schemes in motion and, most exciting of all, getting my laundry together for quick washing tomorrow. As a result you're getting this slap dash cash entry for now.

Health Insurance: $990.80
Co-op Maintenance: $684.72
Phone: $52.36
Hot Dogs: $5.69
Photos (3 rolls): $32.48

Total: $1,766.05

I Thought This Exercise Would Make Me Feel Better

Surprisingly I was able to sleep last night but not much. Every waking moment my brain is trying to figure out how in holy fuck I am supposed to do the things I already do and want to do on what I'm making. It's not like I'm vacationing in pretty places or going to clubs every night.

My insurance isn't $1000, it's $991. Huuuuuuuuge difference. Er, not. It's not a contribution to a family plan because I am my own family. I'm thinking about changing insurance but it's really hard to find an insurance that does individual plans and that works for someone as inept/inexperienced with the medical system as me. Miflohny has suggested Oxford and another friend suggested Freelancers Union or another group like that. I don't know any other groups like that, do you? The thing about that is that the guys I work for pay me the exact amount of my payment (goes into my salary pre-tax) and whenever it's gone up they've upped their payment without question. If I reduce the payment by more than like $100 a month I won't feel right not telling them and they may or may not decide to reduce their payment accordingly, you never know with these guys except that I do know that honesty is the best policy. The other thing is that I've already paid my deductible on prescriptions (the only deductible for this plan) and I'm almost certain that any other plan will have a deductible so I'll be paying that for the 3 months of this year left if I switch now. I'll research through the end of the year and make a choice for the beginning of 2008.

I realize I didn't add in my floor barre classes to that estimate in the health section which means that I'll have to squash some money out of somewhere else. I can't reduce the eating out this month because I've got friends coming in from out of town. There's not extra room here, Christmas will come entirely out of savings.

But I do get a bonus at the end of the year usually. Where did that go this year?

What about the rehearsal space and the show I want to do? Is that all coming out of savings now? I guess it can but I'm not saving enough now am I, next to the eating out my $150 of investment seems paltry....

And the pets? I'm budgeting them for the bare minimum, really wishing I hadn't bought those special treats for the dog but they're supposed to help her back legs which aren't working but they're unbelievably expensive. They all need to go to the vet again, where does that come from? Savings again? It's not that they're not worth it but...

I don't need new clothes.

I guess I'm not getting those pictures framed.

Just wait and see.

Just wait and see what? My money being sucked out of the proverbial hole in the airplane?!

This is just a sample of what is going on in my mind. People? Budgeting is about to change my mind about whether I should medicate my anxiety.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

2 Different Things That Are Basically The Same

I made a projected budget. It's relatively slapdash but frankly there wasn't a lot of wiggle room. Please let me know what you think. Am I kidding myself given what I found out about last month? The total amount available has been raised slightly because I got a raise to cover the boost in the cost of my health care.

Month Target

Mortgage $750
Maintenance $690
Investment $150
Dining Out $150
Groceries $200
Craft $100
Transportation $150
Phone $55
Cable w/internet $114
Health $1,000
Entertainment $100
Pets $100
Misc. $50
Gifts $27
Total $3,636

Here's the damage for today:

Pet food: $16.38
All the mussels I could eat + tax & tip: $12

Total: $28.38

Christ on a Three Day Weekend, is it Tuesday already?

I would have done this earlier but they were serving all the mussels you can eat for $10 at a local restaurant and with a minimum of arm twisting Pony Express convinced me to see exactly how many mussels I can eat.

3 bowls.

Yeah, really.

Hey, at least my 10 Things Tuesday wasn't #1-10: Bowl of Mussels.

It was gooooooood.

Anyway, so I was callous this morning, I know you're not surprised. ProfDoc said, "My news for this morning: Heath and Michelle have split." My first reaction was not, "Oh poor them." or even "Oh that's awful for the kid, I wonder what the custody will be like." no, no, it was, "Huh, I wonder who's getting the Brooklyn house."

10 Places I Would Like to Have a House (notice I didn't say places I would like to live full time)

1. Right here, in my apartment and never pack a box or move ever, ever again.

2. Another place in Brooklyn, preferably quite close to here but with some back yard space for breakfast eating and safe dog lounging.

3. In NH near the fam. But not too near. I'm thinking a cottage of some sort near the beach. While the best economic reason for such a place is to be able to bring the pooch with me when I come home and to have a place to stay when I'm there the real reason I want this cottage is for Christmas. I want to have an all day open house every Christmas Eve. People can come to me.

4. A bungalow in LA. This is because in the fictional life where I can have all these houses I also do the sort of work that would require me to spend time in LA. The very thought of LA makes my nerves jangly. I think it would be easier to take if I had a place of my own to sleep.

5. A small place in Greece, preferably on an island. I've only been there once but I really loved it and I wasn't even there in the awesome season. Beaches, warm water, pretty white buildings and some of the best food I've ever put in my mouth.

6. Edinburgh, or really just outside of Edinburgh in a village of some sort but not too near the family I have up there. This is almost entirely so that I can have a place to stay during the Fringe Festival. I also love Scotland I think I'd be happy to spend more time there.

7. An apartment in London, really nothing big is required, just a place to lay my head and store my chocolate covered ginger snaps. Theatre. That's all, just for theatre. I probably wouldn't stay there much but when I did I'd see as many shows as I could.

8. I can't narrow this one down but I do know that I'd like to have a place to live in France. I waffle between the Riviera and Paris. Maybe I'll leave it up to QuewlKat since I'd ask her to be the caretaker while I was away and I'd want her to be my guide when I was there.

9. Can I have a magic house that becomes the place next door to wherever my friends are? Whenever I need to be with someone the house can just click its proverbial heels and we'll be next door. It would have a wrap around porch and a restaurant quality blender.

10. This is one of those ones that I jumped into with no idea whether or not I'd have 10 choices. This is cheating, it's not a place to have a house but I think I could, quite cheerfully live in Joshua Jackson's bed. There'd be everything I need to sustain life there, right?

Monday, September 03, 2007


I've been watching political movies lately. I prefer the fictionalized, the re-telling rather than the news coverage. I need a remove to be able to process.

On the other hand once I am there, once I stand on whatever ground I choose, the chances of me leaving it or forgetting the cause are very slim.

Tonight I watched Bobby. I am ashamed to say that I didn't know anyone else had been shot when RFK was shot. I knew he'd been shot in the kitchen of the hotel. I knew to expect that because I was working a gala in a hotel where President Clinton was speaking many years ago and the security measures made our schedule very tough but someone explained that they were because of the RFK shooting and because no one wanted that to happen again.

Last week I watched The Guys. It's based on a play by Anne Nelson that was written right after 9/11. The playwright, through a series of chance connections helped a firefighter to write eulogies for the men his firehouse had lost on 9/11.

The news reports here in New York are about the 6th anniversary of 9/11, coming a week from tomorrow. Or they were the last time I could bear to listen to them for any length of time. The people who are re-building the structure that will stand on the footprint of the former World Trade Center have asked the families and friends of the victims to move their memorial to a different location this year. I haven't, or I couldn't or perhaps I simply wouldn't listen to why or to what the resolution has been. Not knowing makes me no less incensed.

I find it difficult to talk about my thoughts and feelings about 9/11. It's not because my experience of the day was particularly more or less intense than anyone else's but because my experience crosses that of so many other people. Everyone has different opinions, different rules for how they observe the day or what they choose to say about it. To follow one's own rules is often to break someone else's. The Guys talks about this, it addresses the feeling of inadequacy we feel for our stories when faced with someone whose story we quantify as more, more important, more painful, more worthy or just some unnamed more. Nelson then goes on to emphasize how important it is to keep telling our stories, regardless, that to forget is to dishonor those who died or to smooth over a conflict that hasn't been solved.

I've heard that message before. Generally I've heard it from people creating questionable artistic monuments to their own minor experiences of the day in a multitude of media. If the construction of that sentence doesn't make it clear I'll just tell you that I've had no small amount of disdain for those monuments. I'm sorry for that because this conflict over the memorial proves how right Ms. Nelson was about the importance of every single story. Every voice here counts because already, a mere 6 years from the event, the first instance of the anniversary being on a Tuesday, as was the original act of violence, people are forgetting and dishonoring. A week from tomorrow we'll have gone to work on a Monday, it may well be a sunny day with crisp blue skies that starts out cool but warms up to perfect walking weather, we will take the subway to work and we will, we hope, take it home again at the end of a relatively uneventful day. Six years ago next Tuesday we did most of those things.

Almost every time I see a fire truck go out these past 6 years I watch it for a moment. I look to see the face of a guy in the truck. I resist the childish impulse to wave and sometimes I don't win.

About a month ago I was in the grocery store and a couple of firemen cut in the line next to me which seemed odd because they're usually super polite. Then I noticed that the older woman bagging that checkout was waving them toward her speaking loudly, "My heroes, my heroes!" She was about my height, black with an island accent and her face smushed against the t-shirt of the lanky, greying white fireman when she hugged him. She reminded the cashier that FDNY gets a 10% discount at this store before bagging his things up quickly. She remembers. Maybe she doesn't. Maybe they are her heroes for some completely unrelated event but I suspect she remembers and she knows that remembering is all she can do for them but at least she's doing something. "My heroes," she said again as she waved the pair on. I realize that's why I watch the trucks go out. In my head I'm always saying, "Be careful" as I watch them go, even though I know that people with a tendency to be careful don't generally become New York City Firefighters and that no amount of care could have saved the 343 souls from their ranks in that particular fire. But I can't stop thinking it.

In the last couple of weeks 2 firefighters were killed and another 2 wounded in two separate instances at an ex-bank building near Ground Zero. A combination of shoddy building practices, safety measures to protect citizens around the construction site and the difficulty of using safety equipment when trying to save lives contributed to the losses. So near 9/11, in the midst of the controversy over the memorial service these guys had 2 more die and I thought about how little we notice them.

One day last week the squad near my job was pulling out as I came back from lunch. One guy without his coat or helmet was stopping traffic while the truck maneuvered out, he was briefly replaced by another fully suited guy while he got his gear. The first guy turned his back to me as he swung into the truck and I noticed his name in bold yellow across the bottom of his jacket. I read it twice or three times and I looked back to catch his face again in the window. I wanted to be able to identify him if his face came on the news later that day. Initially I'd felt foolish stopped on the sidewalk staring at a regular occurrence but I wanted to know that I hadn't passed by him without looking. I can tell you that his name started with a D and ended with an A, it can't have been more than 7 letters but, sadly, I can't remember it. I'd probably know it when I saw it and I'd certainly remember his face.

It's not OK to move the memorial. The thought that anyone who has spent any time at that site can ask to have it moved is unfathomable to me. If you were there that day, if you lived in or were visiting New York that month, if you have worked to restructure that site then you have breathed those people in. In whatever small amounts you have that dense smell of burning concrete and melting flesh inside of you. They are part of you and whether you agreed to it or not you must honor them by remembering. They are still in the asphalt and stone and dirt that is being shaped into something, something we won't know until we see it, something I'm not certain I want to see, and their presence makes it sacred.

Someone asked me a while ago why it mattered where one was buried. "You'll be dead, what do you care where you are?" As usual for me I had the perfect answer three days later. When you choose your place of burial you choose how you want people to remember you. They don't have to come and they may not get out of it what you would but they know they're there because of you. 2,819 people did not choose to be buried amongst the particles of hotly contested real estate in lower Manhattan but it is where we remember them and they deserve to be honored with a time of rest and reflection in that space each year. Their families and friends deserve that small comfort. We as a nation, especially given what has come after that event to divide us deserve a moment of coming together.

Anyone can see that, can't they?

At the end of Bobby a brief wrap up is written on the screen. It says, "Robert Francis Kennedy died at Good Samaritan Hospital on the morning of June 6th, 1968. His wife Ethel was at his side." I had a moment of wondering why the director, Emilio Estevez, would point out something so obvious until I realized that it's something that happened outside of my lifetime, if barely. The cast is star studded and likely to draw a number of younger viewers and they probably wouldn't know the end of the story.

What's more, I'm finding, some people just forget.