Monday, January 30, 2006

Come to me...

I have oft been told I have a Cinderella complex. Baldsug specifies it's actually a Fairy Godmother complex because I don't want to be Cinderella, I want to have a Fairy Godmother come and fix everything. I believe the psychological term is Rescue Fantasy. To this I reply, uh huh, and who doesn't have Calgon take me away moments that distract them while they take out the garbage and do all the dishes and go alone to the Christmas party.

Sure, to some extent that's true of me but to another I feel like waiting to land in the right situation isn't as crazy as it sounds. It's for sure not unprecedented in my life. I'm not great at meeting people, but once I've met them if there's a connection I'm really good at keeping people.

Let me take it from another angle. I've never bought a pet. I've paid for them in vet bills and ruined furniture and breakages of my heart but I've never bought one. They always just show up and seem to belong. My childhood cat, Blackie (shut it, I was 3), was found in the engine of my dad's van. As the story goes dad went out to the parking lot after school and soon found himself pursued by an elderly janitor yelling, "Don' start-a you cah, don' start-a you cah!" He had seen the cat crawl into the engine block and didn't want him to get ground up in the parts. It is unclear whether his concern was for the cat or the van but in any case my dad brought the cat home and there he stayed for 16 years. Even when my family was gone for a year he stayed. I've told you the story of PonyExpress' discovery of Miss Emily. The kittens that I have now are offspring of a cat that was rescued by my next door neighbor in my last apartment. She was a habitual pet rescuer and I had helped her on and off while I lived there but hadn't seriously thought about taking one of her projects on permanently. One day I remember thinking, maybe out loud but certainly alone in my apartment, that I felt ready to have a cat again. Less than 2 weeks later my neighbor told me about a cute cat she'd just rescued who, as the fifth feline to take up residence with her, officially pushed the occupancy of her small studio apartment over the edge of bearability. So, Charlotte. Charlotte was pregnant. Now I have 2 of her kittens, PonyExpress has 2 and my mom has 1 kitten and Charlotte. (She turned out to be more The Mad Carlotta and I couldn't live in fear of my life.) I've got a bunches of stories like that where the animals just come to me. Some people research and plan and compare and fly out to pick up dogs from special places. I know that the time will come when there will be room in my house for another dog (don't even want to think about it) but I know there's no point in doing anything but casually looking at all the cool dogs out there. When the time comes the dog will find me.

The same thing tends to happen to me with people. Suddenly I'll run into someone who has exactly what I'm looking for. Even if I've known a person for ages sometimes a casual conversation turns up why we're together.

Example: I thought once that I was cultivating a friendship with The Jeweler's Son back when we were working on the magazine together. We ate lunch together, we had great conversations, we learned a lot from each other. One night a group from work went out for drinks and he invited his ex, NordicChef. They'd had plans but he felt he ought to go out for the work celebration so she joined us. As it happened she sat down next to me and we started to chat. I don't remember talking to anyone else all night long. We were the last people left in our group at the end of the night. I knew her, something in her, before we'd ever met. We were meant to be friends and, if she ends up getting married in the middle of the desert (a stronger possibility than one might think) and wants me to be there, I'll be there, with bells on (or a burka or whatever I'm supposed to wear).

I haven't seen the Jeweler's Son in over 5 years.

Queen Bee was my next door neighbor when I was 5 months old. She moved away when I was 6 and again when she was 18 and then back again when we were in our 20s but she's always been mine. I thought PonyExpress hated me, we were college friends we sat on opposite sides of an incestuously close circle of people, but then suddenly in a weird drunken conversation it became clear we were closer than we'd ever planned to be. Our parents were friends but it was a Jr. High lunch table that cemented my friendship with ChemE. MKAEP and I slept with the same GUY for christ's sake and somehow it's only made our friendship more important. Actually ditto for Chili. Jesus, maybe I need to stop thinking about love and just clean up my act.

So why isn't it working (or working anymore) for love relationships, this magical conjuring of the right being in the right place at the right time? Why is this such a crazy idea if it's been working for me all this time in every other area of life? If I can't choose a pet why should I trust myself to pick a partner without a little nudge from the powers that be? Maybe the trick is to just say that I'm ready, like I did with Charlotte.

I'm ready.

I'm ready for love.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

This one's for Jennifer Aniston

The last couple of months ought to be more than enough to prove that just because she's a celebrity doesn't mean she's any different than the rest of us. I wish her luck.

My Old Boyfriend's New Girlfriend

By Deirdre Flint

She looks good in black
She looks good in white
She looks good in lycra or anything tight
She looks good in earth tones
She looks good in red
I think she’d look really good with a spike through her head

She’s my old boyfriend’s new girlfriend
Knows tai chi and her legs are waxed
She’s my old boyfriend’s new girlfriend
I got a funny feeling he won’t be coming back

Well when I first saw them together I was more than surprised
She stood 5 foot 8, blonde hair and blue eyes
I said it figured that he’d rebound with a bimbo after me
They said she’s Harvard educated in biotechnology

Well Ok so she can add and she looks good in a skirt
Bet she’s a selfish little princess who treats him like dirt
They said she just bought him a Volvo, she cooks, she cleans
She spent 2 years digging ditches with the peace corps in Benine

Well OK I’ll give her that but I bet their love life is flat
They said she knows the Karma Sutra like the back of her hand
I said now playing the guitar now there’s something I know she can’t do
I heard someone say, your right but frankly neither can you

She’s my old boyfriend’s new girlfriend
Knows her way ‘round the Red Sox stats
She’s my old boyfriend’s new girlfriend
And female intuition tells me he won’t be coming back

When I dumped his butt a month ago he was supposed to pine away
Well he’s looking pretty healthy in fact each time I see him he gets better looking every day
Whoa ho ho ho yeah

She’s my old boyfriend’s new girlfriend
There’s no hope with a girl like that
She’s my old boyfriend’s new girlfriend
And would you like to bet that he won’t be coming back

Yeah she can parallel park without any hassle
She feng shuied the whole Hearst castle
She runs a 10K in thirty oh five
And all her Shroediger’s cats survive
She stopped a civil war in an Eastern bloc nation
She found a 4th planet in the Virgo constellation
On her lunch break
With a magnifying glass

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Pink Floyd tune


It scares me.

I don't ever feel as though I have a handle on it. Do I have enough? What should I do with what I have? Where should I be keeping it? How much should I talk about it? What should I spend it on?

My parents both admit to knowing pretty much nothing about money. And their actions make it clear that neither of them are particularly comfortable with it. I have probably internalized my mom's habits more than my dad's but that's mostly the Capricorn in me. My mom will be extravagant and tell us we're worth the trip, the shoes, the food, the entertainment and so are our friends and she'll spend and spend and spend. 24 hours later she'll be seized with fear and trembling and promising that she doesn't want to be paid back for the extravagance but she'll also be doing weird things like collecting bottle tops and eating peanut butter and talking in a quavering whisper about how much money was spent.

So, I try to make my decisions with the buyer's remorse factored in. To say to myself, "When I start freaking out tomorrow will I still be happy I bought, gave, did this?" Usually this works. There are a few drawbacks to this method. Often beautiful chances are missed. Often I'll have gone out with someone and will have panicked and decided to go Dutch and the next day will think, "You know, I should have treated her." Or I'll miss a sale or find I really needed something that's no longer available.

I'm also prone to weird penny pinching habits. Like if I buy something that I categorize as expensive then I expect it to last, quite literally, forever. Pants from the Gap, $44 about, I don't know, 5 years ago? Maybe a little less. I'm getting a bit, shall we say, rotund these days. My thighs rub together. Which means my trousers rub together. Which means my thighs are about to rub together again now. Which means I need new pants. I am incensed that these pants have not lasted forever. The last pair of similar pants I got for free from someone else and wore them for 7 or 8 years until the knees were all baggy and misshapen and the butt had an actual hole in it and it was still an emotional moment for me to pitch them. My couch? Ought to last until I'm so old I break a hip and need something firmer so I don't have to push my Life Alert button every time I want to change the channel. It's not going to. My cats won't let it. My mattress, however, I have high hopes for.

On the flip side I'll buy a pint of Hagen Daaz at the deli every other night all summer and not think twice about it. That's $3.99 a pop. It took me 3 or 4 years of renting cars to go visit the folks up north to realize that my average rental car expenditure over the course of a year is between 2 and 4 thousand dollars. I didn't think I had that much money to spare! And, you know, I don't. But I have to go visit the fam and the friends, I want to, and I'm not subjecting the dog to a crate and the train and the amount of savings factored with the pain in the ass quotient doesn't win you enough money to do one way car rentals and beg a car off someone else while you're up there, so $2-4K it is, I guess.

Money scares me. I'm pretty much all by myself. Any money I might inherit has been inherited. It was for the most part inherited by my parents and they generously helped me with a downpayment for my apartment. It's money ginormously appreciated and, I know, well spent. But that's it. I'm single, I'm an only child, my friends are by and large in theatre or education or music (as well as so very not responsible for me for cripes sake) so I'm going to have to take care of myself as life goes on. What if I get sick? What if I lose my job? What if my parents get sick and need me to help them? What if my friends get sick or laid off or go round the bend and join a bus and truck tour of Phantom and need me to help them? What if (by some currently unfathomable chain of Narnian events) I meet some sweet guy (or not so sweet), end up sleeping with him and end up having a kid? I'm not sure if you're aware of this but it's really expensive to have a kid. It's incredibly expensive to pay someone else to take care of a kid and it's even more expensive to stay home and do it yourself and if you're single (that's me) then you're sort of fucked in this scenario.

So, I want to be responsible, I want to prepare for these contingencies. But you know, I currently work a job that, while so much better than most jobs of its type, is a soul sucking affair...for me. It's not what I want to do. It's not in the same industry as the many things I want to do. There is nothing about it that screams ME! But it pays the bills and (most of) the people are nice and there's security to it and it gives me some good time off to pursue the things that I do love. It's OK for now but will there not be a cross roads at some point (soon?) where I would like to jump and try my hand at doing the unsafe thing and pursuing only those things I love and trying to support myself with those things? I can't conceptualize what would have to happen financially to make that possible.

I've been trying to get some facts about my spending in order to conceptualize. I gathered together all the proof of my assets and I xeroxed them and I sent them to my uncle/financial advisor. He'll talk to me about my options and he'll give me research and information. What makes him good about this is that he's an advisor, he won't tell me what to do, he'll just give me all the information and have me make the (terrifying!) decision. What I like about him, though, is that he's really good at making me feel smart when I do. The first time I invested any money I asked him what I should do with it. He brought me a bunch of prospectuses and told me to read them through. I did, knowing really nothing of the terminology, trends and practices of the stock market, and I picked the ones I thought would be good. He said, "Yup, that's what I'd have done, too."

I'm not smart about this stuff, though, and that's one of the things I hate about the whole process. I hate making a decision based on the words, phrases and statistics I understand and knowing those are only the tiniest tip of the iceberg. I feel like the fucking Lusitania (they hit an iceberg too didn't they? The Titanic is so done). Since my company isn't actually a company my 401(k) is actually an IRA and I had to set up the IRA account for the money to be added by my employers. At the very last moment before this paperwork really had to be in I was poring over the literature and utterly baffled, truly near tears. I was in a room full of people who work in finance and I was brought to my knees by Investment 101! So I screwed up my courage and gulped down my pride and I asked one of the people, prefacing it with, "I'm so sorry, I feel like an idiot but could you explain this to me?" And he was very kind and he clarified my question and he gave me a lovely 90 second answer with words that I could define. I had no idea what he said when he put them in that order. But, he's a nice man, and he's a pretty good parent from what I can tell so he knows what to do, he asked, "Does that make sense?" And I had to say no. I was able to say why and he went back and told me again and I got the barest of fingertip holds on it and I made a decision. It still feels shameful to talk about, though.

On the everyday front I'm trying to figure out where I spend my money, Hagen Daaz and rental cars notwithstanding. I've been keeping a spending journal. After I've kept it a couple of months I'm going to try and see how it all breaks down and figure out where I can do better. ChemE and QueenBee have told me they can help me learn to budget. I had an interesting conversation with ProfDoc about the budgeting. I told her that while I knew it ought to help me that the whole concept of budgeting and tracking my spending I knew should be good but it just didn't make sense to me. And she asked a really great question (I am not being sarcastic at all), "What doesn't make sense?" I don't know that I clarified my position much when I answered but it certainly helped me to answer.

What doesn't make sense to me in the end, after much more thought and feeling and gnashing of teeth, has, probably, less to do with the numbers of it and more to do with the choosing. I want to look at the numbers and see what I have and what I spend and what I want and what I feel I need and have it add up to a stack of instructions. "BUY SPEAKERS NOW!" "THROW BIG BIRTHDAY PARTY IN COOL VENUE WHEN YOU TURN 40." "SELF PRODUCE LIKE THE MOON IN 2007." "GO TO BAHAMAS AT WILL."

I suspect this will not happen.

The refrain from Chili is, "It's all about priorities." I know that she's right. I know that the budgeters will say the same thing and I know that the budgeters are good at priorites. They know what they want and they know how to get it and they know when to buy now and when to save up and how to pay off and all that good stuff. I have a lot to learn from them. I can't shake the feeling, though, that they won't have a frame of reference for ordering the sorts of priorities that I have.

I have many of the same priorities that "normal" people have (despite the fact my friends are far from normal - in great ways). I don't want to eat cat food when I'm a senior citizen. I want to have pretty glasses and contact lenses. I want to be able to upgrade my kitchen and the electricity in my apartment. I want to decorate my apartment and make it feel homey. I'd like to buy some art, nothing extravagant, but a few nice pieces. I want to have nice clothes and a good hair cut and the occasional piece of nice jewelry and to be able to go out to meals with my friends and buy them good presents. I want to be able to go places on vacation.

But then there's the rest of me. I rented a rehearsal room that turned out to be too small for a rehearsal for my new play. It cost me $73.50 for 3 hours. I still have a 2.5 hour rehearsal and a 5 hour rehearsal and performance day to get space for. That CD I want to record would run $10-15,000. If I were to attempt a full production of the Chekhov there would be a lot more rehearsal space to rent, there would also be performance space and lights and possibly speakers and people to run those things and props and costumes and a set and people to make those things and, you know, actors who might work for free but I would hate not to pay them anything. I'm guessing in the vicinity of $30K. Conservatively. I don't have a clue how much it costs to shop around a novel but that's got to cost something. And, I want to keep performing. So, a cabaret, those usually run me around $5K overall, it's spread out so far that you hardly notice but it's still money that's not going toward the mortgage or the electrician or whatever else. If I'm performing there are other extras that go along with being presentable to have pictures taken, to stand in front of an audience, to meet an agent. A half head of highlights in NYC costs $200. Ideally you get that done every 6 weeks, you could get by with quarterly and you can probably get away with twice a year if you put your hair up most of the time. This does not include hair cuts which run about $60, I already get those done about quarterly right now. It's not Supercuts and it's not The Arden Salon so I'm OK with that compromise. You can usually get away without pedicures if you choose the right shoes but manicures are expected. So, around $15 a pop. Monthly at the least. Good clothes, good shoes, good makeup, good outerwear, nice bag. All part of the package. Oh yeah, and some day I'd like to quit my job and concentrate solely on writing and performing and selling my work of all types.

How do I prioritize all this stuff? How do I know when to spend $300 taking my friends to dinner and when to not go out to eat for a couple of months and buy 2 more bookshelves so the Great Literary Avalanche of 2005 isn't repeated? How do I know when a manicure and some highlights and some new resumes and pictures will get paid for by a job I'll get hawking a dishwashing liquid?

That's what doesn't make sense.

Any ideas?

No, really, I'm looking for any sort of guidance I can get here, lots of input.

Or better yet, a sign.

Moo what?

If I ever use the term "moo juice" please punish me severely.

I can moo like a cow.

I can sing 27 verses of Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

I can even imitate Elmo.

But upon hearing, "Here's your moo juice my cranky wanky little princess." or the like please immediately remove the child from my custody and smack me repeatedly upside the head with a rubber mallet until the problem has been rectified.

Thank you for your assistance.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

1 potato, 2 potato, 3 potato, 4

I'm not a researcher. I mean, I can, I have the tools and the ability but I really don't enjoy it. I prefer to learn things through fiction, literature and conversation. I've learned a lot that way, but not in any sort of linear fashion.

This morning I read Chili's entry about Blogging for Choice and knew that it's something I'd like to do. But first I had to go meet Miflohny. When I met her I mentioned blogging for choice and she provided me with a fabulous piece of information. (She's a researcher, she knows stuff and when she doesn't know it she finds out by whatever means necessary. She's a reliable source.)

Apparently the original reason for the regulation of abortion was the health and safety of the mother. At the time doctors were trying to take over the oversight of the birthing process from midwives. I'm assuming that the reasoning in their campaign was that moving the birthing process to hospitals would be safer for mothers and babies if there were complications. They informed the public that, after a certain period in the gestation, abortions endangered the mother's health and that was why they felt that restrictions ought to be placed on the process.

How very far we've come, huh? Now the restrictions around abortion are entirely focused on the health of the fetus, to the point where legislation can fail to pass when allowances are made for abortion in the case of danger to the mother's health and safety.

Not to be alarmist but that sort of says that it's more important to bring a kid into the world even if their parent won't be around to care for them. And we all know that public services for orphaned or special needs kids are spare, to say the least, so no one cares overly if a child is well cared for upon his or her entry to the world just so long as every effort is made to get that kid here.

The decision to have, to hold, to care for, to bring into the world and then bring up in the world a human being is so very important. The decision to have sex is somewhat less so and is certainly made with far less gravity. There is ample room for error. We live in a country built on principles of individual choice for the common people. The decision to have a child is one of the most important ones we have and it needs to be left up to the individual.

If you're a research type you already know where to look for more information on the topic. If you're more like me let me recommend a novel that explores that period in medical history. The Limits of Enchantment by Graham Joyce.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Glamour Technician

MKAEP passed her state boards with flying colors (88% Practical, 100% written) and is now officially a Glamour Technician.

Can real life re-enactments of Steel Magnolias be far off? I cannot wait!

I am, as always, endlessly proud of her. She's worked her little fingers to the bone to get this far, while working other jobs and keeping up with Oprah's boot camp, too. She's a Wonder Woman, people, stand up right where you are and give her a round of applause, that's what I'm doing.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Roller Girls Made Me Cry

I'm having a maudlin day, people. Luckily maudlin doesn't mean untrue. The truth is that the roller girls made me cry.

When A&E started running the promos for RollerGirls I knew that I wanted to see it. I like hockey, I like girls who kick ass, I'm a big fan of watching weird TV shows, I watched an entire night of competitive eating for cripes sake! But it was on after my bedtime so I missed it. It was A&E, I knew there would be endless reruns.

Today, as I savored the feeling of my ass actually growing roots in the couch, I discovered that there were a couple of episodes of RollerGirls on. So I checked it out, with the newer version of Stephen King's Salem's Lot on last channel. After one episode I knew I liked it but I wasn't going to seek it out. The Roller Derby parts were fabulous but the interpersonal parts had a full dose of the squick that keeps me from watching any reality shows. The bread and butter of reality shows is the uncomfortably intimate and I'm from New England, I can't take that shit. Women are clotheslining each other, they're skating through the pain, they're having so very much fun and then they go and yell at each other for not being there when they were injured or insist that the team hasn't bonded enough. Jesus, ladies, sack up! (Heh, if I lived in Austin my house would so be TP'd and egged by a bunch of well-muscled chicks in poofy skirts.)

So after one episode I was sated but, as I noted before, ass, roots, couch, Sunday afternoon and there was another one right after it so I ended up flipping back and forth to it. They put the bout shots at the end of each one so I was standing around watching that part, which I love, and I hung around for the wrap up. In this episode the wrap up was a montage. And, yes, I know that montages, especially when set to music, are specifically designed to manipulate one's emotions but it works, sue me.

In both episodes the women had talked about how important roller derby was to them, what they loved about it, how they had found a place where they belonged, how much they liked the game and Catalac is on a mission to make it a professional sport that young women can aspire to. So, in the meantime, these ladies are holding down full time jobs, practicing, dealing with their relationships and families, maintaining the rink (is it a rink? a track? I think it's a track), building the stage, promoting the derby, etc. etc. etc. As you might guess this is something with which I identify enormously.

The final montage in that second episode was of a number of the team members doing their regular jobs - receptionist, nurse, mom, fast food cashier, teacher etc. They didn't comment on it at all just showed it and dude, I cried like a baby. Because no matter what job they were doing nobody was the same as they were in practice or on the track or at dinner with the team. They were somehow less than they had been for the rest of the episode, less sunny, less passionate, less connected. And, yeah, this may have been engineered by the footage but I live there, too, and you know what? It's not just the footage.

She's got Moxie all right

Moxie highlighted a watershed moment tonight. I just discovered Moxie and I think I'm going to love her if her she's always this smart and concise and straightforward, not to mention pretty funny.

The moment she points out is courtesy of the always fabulous Felicity Huffman. Who knew it was possible to love her more?

This face

Does this face look 37? I think not.

Today Chili turns 37 and in true Chili style she's still working this morning then going out to eat and then god only knows. Oh, and did I mention that, as is dictated by tradition, it's fucking snowing up there while she does all this.

Let's hope that by this evening she'll be sitting at home, snuggling up with family, cake, presents and, of course, the internet. Head on over and say Happy Birthday to her, please.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I know, but my brain?

My brain, she still keeps thinking.

A month or 2 ago I ran into my friend, Alex, on the street. He was talking to another music guy and explaining this fabulous deal he'd gotten on some equipment. For like $40, a tenth of the regular price, he'd gotten some cool speakers or amplifiers or something, I don't remember. The hitch is that the equipment needed to be repaired before it could be used and whether or not it could be repaired was unclear. Apparently his judgement on this purchase was being questioned.

My comment, "Oh for christ's sake you could blow that on a cab, it's a great deal!"

Alex's reply, "How is it possible that some guy hasn't snapped you up?"

Now, I know that he was giving me a compliment of the highest order. But my brain just keeps playing this over and over. Alex has impeccable taste in women, anyone who has met his girlfriend knows that, so if he doesn't know why I'm still single then what the hell? How am I supposed to figure that out? I thought he might offer some sort of fucking insight and he's just as clueless as I am. Well crap!

It was a nice thing to hear anyway, though.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Dodge This!

I wish I'd had this question to pose at the beginning of DeLurking week.

King Bee is playing in a Dodge Ball tournament next month. It'll be him, another teacher and some HS students*. I'm trying to help come up with a name for the team and it turns out this is a lot harder than it looks. So far we've got a few thoughts but no clear winner.

The Dodge a Lots (from Papermoon)
The Artful Dodgers (which I think is funny but I'm not sure how much of the Dodge Ball viewing public is going to get that)
Ouch (this is my idea of humor)
The Oilers...because we will drill you (current fave, it'd look great on a t-shirt)

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

I thought I might play around with something about the Brooklyn Dodgers or Dodge Ram Tough but so far those avenues are not yielding results. I even tried to make something out of Muhammed Ali's "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" but again, no dice.

*I went to a Dodge Ball web site and found a team whose motto is "Take life by the ball" which I love but it's not really school-appropriate.


Yes, I should be working, thank you for pointing that out. I'd rather be writing, though, and no one is stopping me.

Just 2 brief languagy sorts of things that I can't get out of my head.

1. I don't know if this usage happens elsewhere but it's pretty pervasive in stores here in New York. You make a purchase, you hand over your money and it's not small bills or exact change and you get, "You don't have a dollar?" or the equivalent. If I believe the best of people it's meant to mean, "Do you have any smaller bills, ma'am?" But it comes across as, "I know you have a dollar and you're just giving me this mess so I have to do a whole bunch of counting. What do you think I am? A change machine?" I'm fascinated by how this sort of thing comes into common usage. I wish I could think of another example of that sort of evolving urban language but I'm full of chocolate and not firing on all cylinders.

2. I got a CD of Johnny Cash's concert in Folsom Prison for Christmas and I have three or 4 songs from it in the rotation for my commute. The following exchange takes place right before Johnny and June sing Jackson and it makes me smile every time I hear it.

June: I'm glad to be back in Folsom.
Johnny: I love to watch you talk.
June: I'm talkin' with ma's a'way up here!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Love ya, mean it!

I feel like this post is going to be more of a warning than anything else. Heads up, we're going to be talking about love a fair bit this year. Not puppies and flowers and toddlers and dotting your i with a heart. (Are you sick of the toddler love yet? Sorry, but you'll have to look at her mug for a while now, no matter what kind of love we're talking about. The children are our future, people.) I'm talking about the romantic stuff and the real life stuff and the hot buttered love. (Hi dad!)

We're going to be working some things out, soliciting some feedback, ranting and raving, there might be some crying. I know, I don't like the public crying either but even Pamie will tell you that sometimes it has to happen. This will not be pretty. OK, it might be kind of pretty but it's all happening in real time, just like 24, so it will also be awkward and embarrassing and, while fun, also stupid and strange (tm SortaHappy).

I am not currently in love. Unless you count Viggo, Cusack, Marsters, Patrick Wilson, RDJr., Joshua Jackson, Tom Cavanagh etc. etc. etc. (I'm at work I so do not have time to link to all of them. Google. You will enjoy.) And, they do not require me to have clean towels so I have decided that I can't really count them. (If the right real life boy comes along and he still does not require me to have clean towels we may have a winner. "Ever killed anyone just to watch him die?" "Once, in Reno, it was fun but too messy to do all the time." "Require clean towels upon visiting?" "Oh christ, no!" "Great, welcome to my world, beer is in the fridge and the remote becomes mine at 8.")

For the record I have been in love before. One ended sort of stupidly but thank god that it did. The other burned like something you get from a whorehouse in Deadwood but I've got a cream and after liberal long term application it seems to be almost gone. The scarring, while not minimal, promises not to be crippling.

2006, the year I beat love into submission!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

National De-Lurking Week

I don't have a pretty picture, I don't have a button (found a lot of cool ones here and here but I couldn't figure out how to use them), I'm not even sure that I have an intriguing question to get you all out of your dark corners but it is National De-Lurking Week according to many of the blogs I read so I'd be extremely excited if you de-lurked and let me know who you are and how you got here and why you stayed (if you stayed).

Let's see, questions and topics to choose from:
Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Favorite John Cusack movie?
Best date ever/why one should ever re-enter the dating scene
Most surprising present ever received
Present given over which you are most proud
Favorite blog? (not fishing for compliments here, fishing for new blogs)

I promise that I have de-lurked on every blog I read that has asked me. So I'm not asking you to do anything I wouldn't do.

And, on a related but ridiculous note, am I the only person for whom the "word" de-lurking makes me think, "Captain! Klingon Bird-of-Prey uncloaking dead ahead!"?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Me at 37

I'm 37 today.

OK, I could actually happily just leave it at that. I'm not excited about it or upset about it or really anything at all, I'm just 37. I did manage to make an entire weekend out of it, though.

Thursday: Hockey with my cousin, Mike. Rangers v. Flyers courtesy of my generous boss and his season tickets. I treated myself to a beer and also ended up with this conversation:

"What day is the actual birthday?"
"Monday. I'm going to (insert full list of weekend's activities)."
(incredulous) "You like your birthday?"

Friday: Kept to my new plan of making a specifically timed schedule for my work days at home and got a ton of stuff accomplished, including a nap! Got slightly dressed up, met up with Teddy's Girl and we walked over to Freddy's to see Alex play. He was great and I like the new band a lot. We even walked through the park on the way home and ran into a pack of puppies during the off leash hours. Fun!

Saturday: Rehearsal for the Chekhov. I love these people. It's been a long, long time since I've properly directed anything and it's like trying to walk the dog the day after bowling. Everything is a little stiff and sometimes there's pain in a joint when I try to move it. But I think I'm doing a decent job of it and I'm having the most fun ever. More about how godawful small the rehearsal room was later.

Sunday: BRUNCH AND BOWLING! Bottomless mimosas, people. A cake for which the frosting alone required 27 ounces of chocolate. And there were 3 layers so there was frosting between every one. (Thank you PonyExpress!) I bowled pretty well, too. Came in second to someone calling himself Mayor McCheese but not by too much which was pretty good for not bowling in a year. Then we broke at least one law by cramming 5 adults into a Honda and using a toddler as a lap belt and took everyone home. On the way back to the 'hood we got KFC and sat around on the couch watching the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and letting the dog drool on our ankles in hopes of chicken.

Today: Nuthin', just like I like it. I didn't even motivate out of the house in enough time to catch a movie. Read some Alice Walker, got up late, napped, read the e-mail. The mail, both electronic and snail, was quite lovely. Many birthday wishes and an envelope with toast tongs and lip gloss (thank you Chili!), a CD (thank you M!) and a postcard from Mrs. X. Florida is apparently doing right by the X's. Now, the birthday e-card from JAM, no message, just the card, was totally weird but I guess every birthday should yield a little weird. I'm watching the Gilmores on DVD and contemplating my horoscope.

According to Papa Kizz's phone call today my horoscope tells me to just reach out and grab the ripe fruit of opportunity that will be hanging all around me this year. I'm a little peeved since I think it implies that if the year tanks it's 'cause I didn't reach out and grab right but the thought of being surrounded by everything I want within my reach is very cool.

I went back and forth on posting this picture but I think it's good for me. This is me, showered but otherwise unfixed on the day I turned 37.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Such a little girl

It's LilyB's birthday today. I hope she forgives me for posting the only picture of her I could find on the internet. It's not bad but it's not her at her best, she's a very polished young lady and this is, I think, a face book picture from college. I'm not 100% sure but I think she must be turning 23 today.

I have known Lily since before she was in grade school. Back then the favorite story about her was this:

Teacher: Where did you get those beautiful blue eyes?
LillyB: Bloomingdale's.

Come to think of it, that's still a pretty popular story about her. However, we have a lot more to go on now. I'll just tell a personal one from my experience to commemorate her day.

About 3 years ago LilyB was studying in Paris and her sister, Quewlkat, was studying in Rennes. It was the perfect opportunity to spend some time in France and see them both. I stayed with other friends there but saw LilyB a lot. One day I asked her to help me shop for the people at home, and for myself. She's a whiz at this, she learned to bargain at her mother's knee and she's only gotten better as time has worn on. So we compared and we thought and we tried on and we had clerks call other stores and, of course, we purchased. At one point we were looking at bags and I was, apparently, wearing the wrong coat with which to truly appreciate the colors in the bags in question so Lily made me wear her lovely, tasteful trench coat and then sling the bag over my shoulder to see how it worked. And by bag I mean about 10 bags in different combinations of colors until we were absolutely sure I had the right one.

We also explored. KarenTenK's husband's family used to own a chocolate store so we found it and we bought some treats for ourselves and then wanted a place to sit and keep talking while we enjoyed them. We ended up walking down some steps and along a path to a bench beside the Seine. We sat there, huddled in the slight chill, sharing bon bons out of a paper bag and we talked. I have no clue what we talked about. School, work, her family, my family, life after college, the boyfriends, whatever. And at some point a little voice in my head pulled on my brain's sleeve and said, "Hey! You're sitting here having a regular old conversation with Lily beside the Seine!" And I was. Lily, who I have known since she was 4 or maybe 5 when I had just moved to New York. Lily who has made me happy and proud and has broken my heart. Lily who has been instrumental in teaching me what the truth really sounds like. And here we were in Paris, sitting beside the Seine, just chatting like that was normal.

I want to do it again. And someday I'm sure we will.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A little snippet of the trip

Here's an action shot of Mrs. X and Mama Kizz. We were ingesting copious amounts of sugar at the time.

Mrs. X has just been introduced to this blog and she says she keeps looking for herself and getting disappointed. Now, I've written about her before but she hasn't gotten that far, I guess. So, here's a little something for her. I hope she can come in out of the beautiful weather down there in FL for a couple of minutes to catch this entry.

Isn't her haircut great? Queen Bee's dad, Joe the Barber, did it. There's a long story about that which I'll tell later when I've got more time.

This is a hail, hail the gang's all here shot. OK, admittedly not the whole gang but a healthy portion thereof.

ChemE and I try to take Auntie Blanche out for lunch at some point in our home trips for the holidays. Well, we try to do it every time we're home but the holiday one tends to be a bigger deal.

We sat at this table and talked and laughed and got presents for probably close to 3 hours. At one point Auntie Blanche talked about how glad she was to be at a table where people were capable of conversation. Apparently at the home they mix up the tables instead of having all the wanderers and all the chatters and all, er, those who are non copus mentis at separate tables. I believe that right now she's seated across from a lady who giggles occasionally and that's about it. She's willing to pull her weight and do what she can but it's pretty depressing.

This group more than made up for any lack of conversation she's been having at table. Chalk the Auntie Blanche luncheon up as a Christmas tradition that I love.

And see that cool scarf I'm wearing? Queen Bee knit it herself. How long has she been knitting you may ask. Since Thanksgiving. Yes, she's a powerhouse.

I Found Them!

Aerosoles "On Time" shoes for $44.99 with a buy one get one half off at Fabulous Footwear on 34th Street somewhere between 6th and 8th Avenues. I got them in black and brown. There's a slim chance that if there had been more of them in my size I would have bought a back up pair of each. They are, really, the perfect shoe for me now that no one makes ankle boots in low heel and I'm too old to wear ankle boots with skirts and pass it off as a choice.

I bought them just before Christmas/Transit Strike/Hannukah/Trip Home etc. so they make their debut today.

I just might be in love.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Great Idea Receptacle 2

A memoiresque novella-length piece called A Christmas-Shaped Hole in My Heart. When I couldn't sleep last night I was mapping it out. It'll either be novella-length or War and Peace length.

Update on other goals: I just booked a rehearsal space for this weekend's rehearsal of the Chekhov piece and I am unreasonably excited. I've been putting on plays on my own since I was 11, possibly earlier, so I don't know why this process is suddenly making me so quivery. But it is. I love these actors and I'm enjoying this play and this process a whole bunch.

I was talking to some friends last night about themes for 2005 and one of my themes was Ask...and ask again. It's been so true of this blog as well as in the rest of life. And to prove it I got this great e-mail from Mflohny (am I spelling that right?) last night that offered me information on the actual need for romance novel authors and a recommendation for a record producer, recorder dude. I love that! I love this blog! I love you all!

It's amazing that I'm back at work after a near 2 week vacation and am still feeling this good.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Past, Present, Future

I've been reading Tarot off and on for a year or so. I know it isn't necessarily a specific predictor of the future but I'm also into any help I can get in giving me focus or direction or some idea what the fuck is going on. So today I did a past, present, future reading for the new year.

Past: Ten of Swords (reversed)

Present: The Tower

Future: The Moon

The quick version of how I'm reading it is this:

Past: It's been a little sucky but not nearly as sucky as you're making it out to be, time to get over yourself.

Present: Revelations and changes soon to come crashing down on you.

Future: You aren't going to have a fucking clue what's going on and it's not going to be anywhere in the same country code as your comfort zone.

I'm totally willing to believe I'm being melodramatic about the troubles and issues of the past. I'm sort of looking forward to some flashes of insight. The future, however, is scaring the piss out of me. Which is pretty much how I always feel.

I'm open to interpretation from others, though.

Grown ups and gold beads

I have to say that this might be one of the best New Year's eves of my career. As I get older I'm getting less embarrassed at doing the "not right" thing. It makes me a little weirder and it does sometimes feel uncomfortable but it generally works out for the best.

I went to the party and had a grand time. There was pie and champagne and Trivial Pursuit and presents and a ton of wedding photos. I felt like I didn't make an idiot of myself and was genuinely glad to be there. I stuck to my plan and left around 11:15 to catch the bus to get home and sit next to the dog before the fireworks start. She's old and she doesn't handle loud noises terribly well. So I called the OK kids as I hiked to the bus, took one of my favorite buses down one of my favorite streets into my neighborhood and hit my very own apartment at 11:59, just in time to see the ball drop the final few feet.

All my life I've tended to wear jewelry that has a sentimental connection to a particular event. Tonight I decided to wear the gold beads and the Tiffany ring. Since I'm still wired and I want to wait until the fireworks pass to take the dog out I thought the story of tonight's accessories would make a good kick off to 2006. (Yikes, 2006!)

The ring is simple. It's a gold band with diamonds set into it like stars. My last job had rather substantial bonuses at year end. I usually invested my bonus and paid off debt. Last year, though, I decided that I would use a chunk of the bonus to do something nice just for me, something unnecessary but satisfying. So I bought myself a ring from Tiffany's. It seemed exorbitant but also exciting and I love the ring, it'll stay with me forever. You know, unless I get mugged. I bought it in March while ChemE was visiting, on the main floor at Tiffany's flagship store on Fifth Avenue and it's an experience I highly recommend.

The beads are somewhat more complicated but mean even more to me.

A few years ago Auntie Blanche mentioned that she wanted to give me and ChemE her gold beads. At the time we both said something along the lines of, "I'd be very flattered and thank you so much, you know you don't have to, though. Whenever you think is best." We didn't really know what the gold beads were.

Last week I picked Auntie Blanche up to go to a doctor's appointment and then meet a few people for lunch. While we waited for the doctor she told me that, if we had time, she'd like to go to the bank and get the gold beads out of her safety deposit box to give to us for Christmas. So we did. I'd never been to a safety deposit box before so it was a fascinating educational experience and a lot of fun. She showed me the gold beads and we tucked them in her purse.

At lunch she gave them to each of us and told us the story. Her grandfather and his best friend married sisters. At some point in their courtship or marriage they two men decided to follow popular convention and buy gold bead necklaces for their wives. Given grandfather's nature Auntie Blanche suspects it was her grand uncle's idea. Her grandfather was less loose with a buck apparently. As the years wore on the 2 necklaces were passed down and Auntie Blanche ended up with both strands. She's never worn them. She doesn't think they're terribly valuable but they are over 100 years old. She wants ChemE and I to have them.

And now we do. ChemE will probably have hers restrung as the chain is a bit short and I'd like to get mine cleaned and possibly restrung as well, more to match ChemE's than anything else. We will wear them, because it doesn't make sense to us not to. And we're grateful to be asked to carry these things on.

They're a beautiful, unassuming accessory and they made a perfect accent for tonight, a fitting way to ring in the new year.