Saturday, December 31, 2005

Auld lang syne

"What was your worst New Years?"

"I had to drive a bunch of mean hippies to a party. It was full of more mean hippies. We couldn't leave until 2am or 3am and I didn't want to ruin my date's night so I didn't say anything. You?"

"Sitting in some stranger's smelly basement in Springfield watching bad TV and listening to the strangers talk about babies. Or the time my ex-boyfriend's a cappella group went to perform at First Night in Providence and he told me there was no room in the car for me, but I found out later that night that all the other guys had brought their girlfriends."

Which is why I've accepted the suckiness of New Years and have come to terms with my inner introvert. No matter what I do, it always feels like everyone else is doing something cooler and more fun for New Years. Also, champagne gives me a headache. So this year we're cooking silly things and watching movies and ignoring the fuss. Purrrrrr.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Passing time

Christmas was fast, fun and, for the most part, painless. I spent Christmas eve and Christmas morning with my family. Miraculously, everyone liked their gifts and no one was grumpy. We ate waffles for breakfast--that's our little tradition. Presents and then waffles and then carb-induced napping. Then off to the airport to catch a flight to Florida for a few days of sun and fun with Lunchboy and his fam.

Florida time went something like this: wake up, go swimming in the pool, eat, go to the beach and hunt for shark's teeth, eat, read and nap, go running, eat some more, and then crash.

On our last day, we went to the beach earlier than usual and got to the parking lot just in time to see a couple of news vans pull up to cover the release of a sea turtle that had been rehabilitated by a local marine rescue organization. It was pretty exciting--not something you see every day:

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Love that dirty water

Sometimes it's nice to be reminded why every once in a while.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Not a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world

There were many years when Christmas was a disappointment due to my parents’ stubborn refusal to allow a Barbie doll into our household. When you’re 6 and all your friends have like 5 Barbies and 2 Skippers and an actual drawer full of Barbie clothes, it’s hard to understand the whole body image thing. I just wanted a Barbie, dammit. But my parents would have none of it, although to this day my mother says she doesn’t remember me ever wanting a Barbie.

“You never uttered the B-word,” she said. “I never thought they were healthy but I suppose if I’d known you really wanted one, we would have bought you one.”

Instead, I appealed to my grandmother. My wonderful Jewish grandmother who would do just about anything for me, including gifting me with plaid underwear with lace ruffles on the butt that she bought on a seniors tour of Scotland. Cooking was not her forte, but shopping—she knew from shopping. So one Hanukah, I opened a suspiciously Barbie-shaped box and, lo and behold, I was the proud owner of my first and only Barbie doll.

My mother was about as pleased with this gift as my grandmother was about the presence of a Christmas tree in our house, but I was young and oblivious and too entranced with my leggy new possession. Up to that point, my favorite toys were a small fleet of yellow metal Tonka trucks and my growing collection of Matchbox cars. Is there anything better than Tonka trucks for playing in the garden? I think not.

Needless to say, it took about 3 days for me to lose interest in Barbie. Yes, her clothes were fun to put on and take off, but she couldn’t do anything fun. Give her a truck to push and she looked stupid. Lean her against the wall and she fell over. My brother’s GI Joe action figures were too small to be decent playing companions, and her smile—that horrible, frozen, insipid smile. She bothered me and then bored me to tears. So one day I gave her a Marine buzz cut with my mother’s sewing shears and then pulled her leg off.

Apparently I wasn’t the only girl with destructive Barbie tendencies.

One look at the mutilated plastic stick figure in my trashcan and both my mother and my grandmother vowed never to give me another plastic doll again. I pleaded and begged—because in all honesty, Barbie was fun to pull apart—but no dice. A year later, my mother relented and gave me a more acceptable Barbie placeholder—the Darcy doll. Darcy was bigger than Barbie. Her limbs were more proportional to a real girl’s and her clothes covered more flesh-colored plastic than Barbie’s did. Sadly, this meant that Barbie’s flashy clothing didn’t even fit over Darcy’s plump thigh, much less over her badonkadonk. I grudgingly accepted the substitute and played with her for a few years, mostly on long car trips when it got too dark to read. And now I hate Barbies with a passion. But when you’re six, what do you know?

What Brown can do for me

They can kiss my ass is what they can do. And maybe deliver my freaking packages. UPS is holding all my Christmas gifts hostage somewhere in Kentucky.Maybe this is why.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bite me

I love Trader Joe's cat cookies. Habit-forming and oh-so-tasty, they are the Moxie equivalent of the perfect snack and, occasionally,the perfect meal. I am unashamed of the fact that I eat them by the handful. Until now, my world was complete with the vanilla and chocolate varieties but TJs has seen fit to bless us with ginger-flavored cat cookies.

*insert Homer Simpson sound of hunger here*

So addictive. Cannot...stop...eating them.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Check it out

It's not just us! And for some reason, knowing this makes me feel so much better.

Things that we’ve put to the tune of “My Humps”:

Scully’s big butt
The random crap I cleaned out of a cabinet
Everything every time one of us gets out of the shower
The groceries in the trunk of the car
The round dishes of rice at the Elephant Walk
My ass, while doing squats at the gym

Worst, most addictive song EVER.

The more I talk about it, the less I do control

Parties can have impact.

Somewhere between the mini crab cakes and the oyster tray, the chicken pastry puffs and my second or third lemon drop/green apple from the martini bar at my company holiday party on Saturday night, I realized how much has changed over the past year. It seems like 2004 sucked for pretty much everyone, but 2005 has opened a few new doors and windows. It’s nice to look back and smile instead of wanting to open a vein.

I remember sitting at a table with the rest of my department at last year’s holiday party, the only person without a date. No matter how hard you try to ignore being single, sometimes it’s just lonely and it was lonely that night. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lunchboy walk in with his then-girlfriend. “He’s so hot,” I thought. “Too bad he’s taken.” This year we went to the party together.

After four years of nonstop change, I feel like I’ve finally found my rhythm. I’ve had the same job and the same apartment for a year—what a concept. I found a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to change me. I found out what I need in life and finally got a sense of who I am regardless of who I’m with. I found out who my friends are and who they aren’t. I watched my friends do kickass things with their lives. I got some direction. I got my self-esteem back.

This time last year, I was still having random crying jags. Now I finally understand the concept of contentment. Ok, it’s hard not to feel pretty damned good after three martinis, a shot of vodka and a glass of champagne (except the next day, when everything is kind of fuzzy), but it wasn’t just the alcohol or the cheesy end-of-year sentimentality. Things aren’t always going to be as good as they are now, so I’m grateful for what I’ve got (that includes my controversial roommate, who pays half the rent and keeps things interesting!)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Cleansing the palate

Moving on…it’s Friday and therefore time for extreme cuteness. Prepare thine eyes for a cute overload.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Things I REALLY didn't need to know

My roommate uses a Keeper. How do I know this? Because she left it on top of the toilet to dry after she washed it. The TOILET.

Now, I don't care that she occassionally leaves her Nerve book of positions out for all to see. And I even don't mind when she leaves her sex toys on her bed and then keeps her door open. While discretion is certainly appreciated in shared living situations, we're all adults here and as long as she doesn't make me watch her USING the toys, it doesn't faze me. But the Keeper. That's just gross.

This or this would be great Christmas gifts for her. Were I to get her a gift. Which I won't.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Like a virgin

Do it early. Apparently it's good for you, more so than abstinence.

Cute overload

She's done it again. I'm not sure what's better--the cuteness of the kittens, or that the owner calls herself The Kittenmaster.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Power of...spermicide

Moxie: Check this out. I like the idea but can't see it in practice. You're walking down the street, feel threatened, stop and insert condom?
Carmen: holy crap.
Carmen: what if you put it in wrong?
Moxie: yeah! What they really need is a diaphragm with a smart card or something.
Moxie: you carry a button in your purse and when you press it, the nasty stuff deploys inside you--in the right direction
Carmen: that's great until your purse is stolen.
Carmen: "hey, quit it!"
Moxie: ouch...Wristband? I don't know.
Carmen: maybe it could work like wonderwoman's bracelets, and when you clink your wrists together, out comes the spermicide.
Moxie: oh that's good
Carmen: We should start a company. We could call it “Activate!”

Embrace the Grinch

Two weeks ago my parents sent out their annual email asking my brother and me for our Christmas lists, thus initiating the Moxie Family Christmas Present dance, in which we all submit a list of things we want, knowing full well that the likelihood of actually receiving anything from that list is small to the point of being miniscule.

I don’t say this to be horribly greedy and materialistic. We are lucky to be spending Christmas together, and to have the resources for gifts in the first place. But you’d be a little bit bratty, too, if you had to deal with my family’s Christmas politics.

Admittedly, there’s a mercenary feeling to submitting a detailed Christmas list. It removes any element of surprise. But because my family knows itself well (and we all know how disorganized my father and brother can be), we determined many years ago through trial and error that sending out lists early in December worked a lot better than mentioning gift ideas off-hand and hoping for the best.

Still, something always ends up happening between the sending of the lists and the purchasing of the presents--like the synapses just don’t connect. Perhaps it’s my parents trying to add the element of surprise back into the equation. Or maybe they look at our lists and think, “Well, if Moxie says she wants this particular thing, maybe she’ll REALLY like this other, semi-related thing that I saw yesterday at the mall.” But somehow it all morphs and mutates, so that, for example, I end up with a book by Edith Wharton, but not the book about her Italian gardens that I specifically requested.

The really funny part is that my father, the former Brooklyn Jew who resisted my mother’s Catholic Christmas traditions for the first 6 years they were married, has become the king of the passive-aggressive gift exchange. He hearts Christmas and all the presents that it brings, even though his birthday is right after New Years. Every year he makes his Christmas list more and more vague, with the unspoken intention of testing the boundaries of our love and understanding of him. His list requires all kinds of interpretation and assumption, and it’s completely maddening. This year his list looked something like this:

--a backpack
--a technology toy
--exercise clothes

Don’t bother asking him to be specific--what books? What kind of tools? A backpack for what? Because all he’ll do is frown in that “if you knew and loved me, you wouldn’t have to ask such vulgar questions” kind of way and say, “Surprise me.” Which leads to lots of exchanges like this on Christmas morning:

“A brown belt! Thank you!”

“Do you like it?”

“Well, I really wanted a black one. But this is very nice.”

This is why he gets a lot of gift certificates from me. And why I have learned to appreciate the wonders of, provider of all things that I don’t have to go to the mall to buy. Because if the stress of shopping for my family got combined with the insanity of malls during the holiday season, my head might literally explode.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Like a blister in the sun

Once again, New England weather has exceeded expectations. To say it "snowed" yesterday would be an understatement. The term snow thunderstorm might be more accurate, although really it was a nastyass blizzard that had some thunder and lightning thrown in just to keep things interesting.

After a day of hibernating on the couch while the apocalypse descended in the form of snow blanketing the house and 60-mile per hour winds blowing the new grill cover to parts unknown, I needed a little pick me up. It's not even the middle of December and already there are drifts, people. So after dousing my insides with an appropriately large quantity of harvest pumpkin soup at ABP (they're still serving it, thank GOD), Lunchboy took me to...the tanning salon. Or what we jokingly call the cancer tubes.

Now, tanning is not something that comes naturally to me--I'm either white or burnt to a crisp and somewhere on the painful path back to normalcy I occasionally pick up some color. While I love the outdoors, I'm one of those pale-skinned people who has to slather on the SPF 40 or risk certain melanoma. So the concept of toasting myself ON PURPOSE was a little odd. The closest I'd ever come to a tanning salon before this was when I interviewed with a trade magazine in LA that was all about the tanning industry. The editor in chief's bottom line was that I couldn't be anti-tanning. "Tanning is like food, " I remember her telling me. "If you do it in moderation you'll be fine. But some people think tanning is evil." I just though that tanning wasn't necessary for survival but food was. I didn't take the job.

Today, the nice lady behind the counter of the salon seemed very excited about the fact that I was a tanning newbie. She cheerfully selected a booth for me--standing versus lying down in a pod--and informed me that I'd have 6 minutes to soak up the rays and 4 minutes to get ready before the lights in the booth went on. Then she walked me over to a room that was empty except for a small chair, a garbage can and a chamber that looked like something out of Doctor Who. Tall, cylindrical and lined with what looked like the long fluorescent light bulbs that are in overhead office lights, the booth made me feel like I'd walked into an old Arnold Schwarzeneger movie--Total Recall or maybe Running Man. Either way, it made me glad I'm not claustrophobic.

Equipped with coconut-scented moisturizer/tan enhancing lotion and those tiny little tanning goggles that you see in movies (but that I never really though existed), the salon lady left and closed the door behind her, leaving me to strip and slather myself with the tropical-smelling Bearly Legal skin stuff. All I could think was, "It puts the lotion on its skin." Then I pressed the little blue button and *zing*--all the lights in the Doctor Who booth turned on. Naked, lathered up and wearing the pseudo-swimmer goggles, I stepped in and closed the door behind me.

It was warm. And bright. And loud. And kinda sweaty. But most importantly, it was very, very warm. After a few minutes, I felt toasty on the inside, the way you do after a long day at the beach. A few more minutes later and I felt like I'd been hiking all day in the sun. It was lovely. How could I have missed out on this for so many winters???

Afterward, I felt happier and more energetic than I had any right to. I felt like I do during the summer, except outside people were scraping mountains of snow off their cars. My face is a little pink but it's hours later and I still feel warm inside. I am totally going back.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I'm a 617 honey

It's official. New cell phone number, new Massachusetts license. I'm no longer a Cali girl on paper.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


An example of why, on my first night in LA, I snuck into the premiere party for Legally Blonde 2 just for the gift bag.

You're not ready for my jelly

My pants don’t fit anymore.

I bought them last winter and now they are too small. So I’m walking around the office trying to hide my ass underneath a big sweater, all the while attempting to convince myself that I’ve gained muscle, not fat. It’s not really working.

Shame spiral.

There are few things that make me dislike myself more than when I start to have body image issues. During the winter, it doesn’t matter what I eat or don’t eat, how much I work out or how often I sit on my ass—I always gain weight. Turning 30 + winter = Moxie’s metabolism slows to a crawl. I cannot even get into how frustrating it is, not just the acquisition of extra padding but the futility of fighting the inevitable, even at this time of year when, you know, you're supposed to get fat. It’s like the Pear-Shaped Fairy showed up and, despite my attempts to bribe her with salads and yoga and running, she decided to gift me with 5-8 extra pounds. Merry fucking Christmas.

When my clothes start getting tight, I feel unsexy and insecure. My self-esteem becomes non-existent. I start asking Lunchboy things like, “Do you still find me attractive?” And then I want to slam my head into the wall because *BAM* I’m a cliché and I didn’t even see it coming. I refuse to do things like go to the ballet because the dancers are lithe and fit and I am not. So I go to the gym and end up reading magazines filled with pictures of stupidly thin people who look amazing and I feel even worse. Somewhere in my head I realize that I’m not being sane, but that voice of reason gets flushed down the toilet when my jeans stop fitting right. Shallow and idiotic, maybe. But there it is.

Being comfortable in my body has always been important to me, not just in terms of shape and weight but mostly in terms of fitness. I started gymnastics when I was 4 and competed until I was 14, when I quit after getting burnt out and switched to springboard diving. I dove competitively for two years and then got into middle distance running. I rowed in college and began practicing yoga about 5 years ago. Many of these sports involved wearing things like leotards and swimsuits, which are not what I’d call forgiving. I was anorexic my sophomore year in high school. Even after I started eating again, my relationship with food and exercise was less than normal. During the summer of 1992, I worked as a chambermaid at an inn on Nantucket. At night I’d sneak down to the kitchen and snack on the Ziploc bags of leftover breakfast goodies, but I wouldn’t actually swallow anything. I’d chew up mouthfuls of orange scones, morning glory muffins, lemon poppyseed cake and raisin bread. And then I’d spit them out into the garbage. I obsessively ran 4 miles a day. And then I went back to school in the fall and everyone told me how great I looked. Whoo.

In LA, I lost 18 pounds, dropped two clothing sizes and was in the best shape of my life. It’s hard to come back from that in a stable way. Sometimes being “healthy” doesn’t feel either healthy or attractive, especially when my clothes just keep getting tighter no matter what I eat or how much I exercise.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


So I’m sitting on the (newer, cleaner) couch last night watching TV and my roommate comes home. We haven’t been in the apartment at the same time for almost a week, which explains why the sink is filled with dishes and the kitchen is grimy. She dumps her bags on the floor and says, “My car got broken into last night.”

“Where? Here?” Our neighborhood is generally super safe.

“No, I was at C’s (her skanky boyfriend) near Copley. They smashed the driver’s side window and took my laptop, the new one.”

OK, first of all, why was her laptop in the car? Hellooo? Stupid much? And, it wasn’t even her laptop. The computer belonged to the school where she teaches.

“Why was your laptop in the car?”

“I had it in behind the passenger seat on the floor, underneath a bag of groceries.”

So it wasn’t even in the trunk. She seems mildly perturbed but much more laissez-faire than I would if my work computer had been snatched and my car window smashed.

“Will your insurance cover it?” I asked.

“No, I don’t have comprehensive coverage. I have to pay for the window.”

“What about the laptop?”

“I don’t know. I have to talk to the school about it. They weren’t sure what to do.”

I don’t know, fire her? Except then she wouldn’t be able to pay rent. She still owes me money for last month’s utilities.

Five and a half more months.


I bow before Max McCalman. He is the god of cheese. Him and Ihsan Gurdal. But Max has held forth on the perfect holiday cheese plate and I had to share. My dream is to eat at Artisanal, where I hear you can have a 5- course dinner that is entirely composed of cheese. Drooooooooooooooooool. Dinner at the French Laundry or Chez Panisse wouldn’t be that bad, either, but a girl’s got to get her priorities straight and in the land of Moxie, cheese holds sway over all (even over caramel).

Like disco lemonade

Last night I dreamed that I was dating Eminem and Lunchboy at the same time. Maybe it was the Tylenol PM I popped last night before bed. I still don’t know who the real Slim Shady was.

My brain picks some strange ways to process stuff during sleep. I’m still scarred by a sex dream I had when I was 17 that involved Mick Jagger. For the record, I think Mick Jagger is vile. Dream crushes can mess with my reality, though. During college I had a doozy of a dream about a guy who lived on my floor in the Heights. I couldn’t stop thinking about him for days, so I tried to chat him up. He thought I was a nutbag.

When I saw how much it hurt Lunchboy that I was dating someone else, I ditched Eminem. Even though it was just a dream. And it was Eminem (yum). You can take the dream out of the girl but you can’t take the girl out of the dream.

This is what I get for reading Sandman.

I woke up today with this song in my head.

Monday, December 05, 2005

First snow

There was a time about 15 years ago when my mother was obsessed with colors. Not just colors for the sake of themselves, but getting her colors done so she’d know what looked good with her skin tone and hair. She went to Clinique and consulted with one of the counter girls or makeup technicians or whathaveyou, and discovered that she was an autumn, which meant that she didn’t look good in half of the colors she loved. It also meant that she became religious about shopping only for clothes in colors that were flattering, a habit that she persists in to this day. Because I was her daughter and therefore female, she insisted on getting my colors done as well so that we could have a lovely, girly mother-daughter experience, and because she thought that getting me to the Clinique counter might help convince me that makeup was not the eighth greatest earthly sin.

In one of the more ironic twists of my life, I found out that I’m a winter. I have very dark brown hair, dark brown eyes and a pale complexion. A few weeks ago, two friends told me on the same day that I looked 1. Irish and 2. Jewish, so who knows what the hell is going on. But the fact that I have any element of winter in my body is a strange, semi-surprising discovery. I say semi-surprising because I have struggled with depression for my entire life and so I wasn’t completely shocked to learn that my nature tends toward the dark, quiet and austere, even if we’re just talking about color schemes. There are few things in the world that I hate more than being cold. And yes, I know I’m living in the wrong place for that but what can I say—Boston’s home.

Still, winter is not my time. Some people thrive in the snow and cold—I am not one of them. I’ve always known that the months between November and March were dangerous for me, but it took living in a warm place for a year to understand how much strong sunlight and temperatures above 50 degrees can impact my mental equilibrium. It took me 28 years to grasp the term Seasonal Affective Disorder and accept that it encompassed the fatigue, hunger, hibernation tendencies and the deep depression that smack me in the face every year after the autumnal equinox. People who don’t have SAD or don’t deal with depression find it easy to say, “Oh, just buck up. Spring will be here soon.” I wish it were that easy. Until I bumped up my antidepressant dosage a few weeks ago, my brain was in a chemical whirl and all I wanted to do was go to sleep, no matter how rested I was. Winter is a four or five-month long battle against sliding into an abyss that opens up under my feet once the leaves start to fall from the trees.

This year I started plotting my winter survival strategy before summer was even over. It helped that the weather stayed warm enough for me to walk home from yoga in flip flops until just a few days before Thanksgiving. I increased my dosage of happy pills. I’m going to Florida for a few days after Christmas and we’re doing a week somewhere tropical in February. I work out regularly, watch my food intake and force myself to be social even when all I want to do is stay home on the couch. I may even hit the tanning booth to see if a concentrated dose of heat and light will help. Lunchboy’s learned pretty quick how to snap me out of my whiny winter moods, and his company is making all the difference this year. But this morning, as I scraped snow off my car and blasted the defroster for the first time this winter, I realized that spring is 18 weeks away. And I almost put my head in my hands.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Glory days--yeah, they've passed him by

In the blink of a young girl's eye:

"Don't rule out a reunion of New Kids on the Block. That's the word from velvet-voiced Jordan Knight, who's back with a solo CD called ''The Fix." The former NKOTB, who'll be at the FYE store in Danvers today, said there's a chance he and Donnie Wahlberg, Jon Knight, Danny Wood, and Joe McIntyre could still get back together. ''We'd need new material and all new steps," said Knight, who revealed that Donnie's the most interested in a reunion. Knight's new CD is produced by boy-band Svengali Lou Pearlman -- the brains behind Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync -- and the first single's on Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary chart. Knight said Bobby Brown and New Edition were his idols, but they didn't get their due. ''Race does matter when it comes to this stuff," said Knight. ''They were a boy band, they were a black boy band. We were the Great White Hope, and this is a white country."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cold front

Stack them two by two

I’m not usually much for industrial chic but this concept is so cool. It actually looks livable and, when used for projects like rec centers or refugee shelters, is adaptable, affordable and innovative. A whole house made of shipping containers!! It’s like a real-life twist on the Box Car Children.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Kiss off, you fitness nazis

Today I learned that Healthworks is raising its fee by $10 per month, and I am incandescent with rage. The current fee is $79 unless you’re a student, so I’m now officially taking it up the butt from a place I dislike so much that I rarely even GO.

I joined Healthworks under duress last winter, when I was desperate for a gym within walking distance of my apartment that wasn’t Bally’s. I’d just exhausted a 2-week guest pass at the super-swank Healthpoint BSC club and was so glad that Healthworks had this one particular machine (that rotating stair machine that the HW organization dubbed “the gauntlet”) that I sucked up the exorbitant rates without a second thought, figuring I’d quit as soon as spring came around. But then summer was really hot and I was lazy, and then it was cold again.

I loathe Healthworks. They turned down half of the magazines that Carmen brought in, probably because the reading material wasn’t glossy or gossip-oriented. The first time I worked out there after I joined, I tried to use one of the elliptical trainers. One of the butch, ever-alert attendants curtly let me know that I’d forgotten to sign up for that particular piece of equipment and therefore had to relinquish it to someone who had.


If you live in Boston, you know that there are two types of women in this town: those with an unconditional love of Healthworks, and those who think the place is overhyped.

The Healthworks lovers are almost evangelical in their ardor. Get into a conversation about gyms with them and they will brook no criticism of their beloved house of fitness. “Oh my god, I LOVE IT there!” they say. “I live for their classes!” One woman I know once told me, “I don’t know what I’d do without Healthworks. I’m here every day.”

The women who don’t love Healthworks are a large and motley crew. Any woman (and it has to be a woman because Healthworks’ claim to fame is that they are a woman-only gym) who can’t afford their exorbitant fees or, if they do belong, can’t deal with the snotty attendants, doesn’t think the classes are all that, or finds the book-thick list of rules to be cumbersome—these women fall into the latter group. I am most definitely one of them.

They lure you in with their upscale, aesthetically pleasing ads on the T and in the Improper. And their facilities are nice. They have lots of equipment. The locker room in the Cambridge gym has a whirlpool that the resident lesbians love to congregate around, and the bathrooms are full of fliers advertising jewelry shows and expensive exercise training sessions. You can rent a towel for $1.50 or buy water for $1.50, and unless you remembered to bring your own water, you don’t have a choice about shelling out because the water fountains have been broken for the past three months.

I’ve sat through the “hour ride” spinning classes in which the instructor implored us not to push too hard. I’ve stretched through the “advanced vinyasa flow” yoga class, which was neither advanced nor vinyasa nor flow (it was a decent Iyengar class but they didn’t call it Iyengar, did they??). The instructor came over to me in the middle of a pose and had the gall to say, “I can tell that you have an advanced Ashtanga practice but we don’t do that here.” I’ve battled it out for the Gravitron machine, the situp mats, and the gauntlet machines (when they’re not broken), and I stuck out my complimentary personal training session with a male trainer who could clearly care less about building a clientele. And they are never open on holidays.

Somehow I rationalized the $80 monthly fee because the place was so convenient. But after today they can kiss my finely toned ass. They can shove their price hike and their upscale image.Bally’s might be ghetto but at least they don’t put on airs. I’d rather deal with crowds and older elliptical machines than put up with the Healthworks attitude any more.

The love molecule?

OK, the Italians are the last people I would have picked to be scientific about love and take all the romance out of it. Still, they’ve now proved that the honeymoon period doesn’t last longer than a year. Way to kill the buzz, guys. It's like analyzing a good book to the point where it's not enjoyable anymore. Why can't you just leave it be????

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

You don't belong here anymore

The cousins who hosted Thanksgiving are one of those exceptionally happy couples who have been married for a few years but still act like they just met yesterday. Their house is filled with wedding memorabilia--framed invitations, formal portraits, handmade house gifts, piles of photo albums. On the wall of the foyer is their seating chart from the reception, framed and calligraphed, another memory preserved. After handing over my coat, I scanned the chart and before I even saw it, I knew what I would find. There it was--Glenn's name next to mine. How annoying! He'd bitched and complained about going to that wedding, had snarked about my cousin's economies of scale and taste, had criticized their photographer for being piss poor and had generally been a pill. What right had he to have his name on their foyer wall? I wanted to take the chart down and erase those letters, delete his name like I've deleted him from my life and my family's life. He had no place in that house, even if it was just a name.

If only. Later, after the big meal, when my cousin's wife's mother and her partner were lounging around the family room asking questions about history, I stood on the fireplace hearth and looked up at a group photo my cousins had taken on the steps of the church where they'd married. There I was, grinning (I had been so cold), and there he was beside me in his cycling sunglasses, his receding hairline and Irish smile out there for all to see. All I could think of were those episodes of the X-Files where someone would fade out of a picture whenever they died or were dissappeared, and how much I wanted that to happen. Or maybe I could cut and paste a picture of Lunchboy in there. It was irritating. Glenn's face is the last one that my cousins should have looking down on them in their home. He has no place there or anywhere here. They are permanent and he wasn't.

Not for the faint of heart

My mind and my mood go in strange directions when my feet are up in stirrups. This morning I thought about:

--how, despite the elastic band that’s permanently around one of my wrists to get my hair out of my face, I’ve gotten whipped cream, mouthwash and pecan pie in my hair over the past week. Don’t tell me that my nipples are perky for a woman of my age unless you want me to spit mouthwash all over you. That’s just how I roll.
--I’m reading a book right now that’s all about the intricate workings of the female body and yet I didn’t know that there’s an area of the female anatomy called the vestibule. Is that where visitors are supposed to leave their coats and boots before entering the house? The things you can learn from the anatomical charts on the walls of a doctor’s office.
--Thank goodness some people know how to write about this stuff well because otherwise it’s so cold and clinical, or just bad.
--Why aren’t there more warming trays in the world?
--Why did the tradition of the red tent go out of style?
--Latin is pretty, especially when used in unexpected places.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Message CM-32

Earlier today I wasted 30 minutes arguing with a Cingular customer service rep about:

1. Needing to change my Los Angeles number to a Massachusetts number (for some reason, everyone in the 310 area code will have to add a two-digit prefix to their number within the next two months—blech)
2. Needing to upgrade my phone and
3. Wanting a phone offered on the Cingular web site but which the web site wouldn’t let me order online and, in fact, told me to call customer service about

It would have helped to get the right person on the phone, so I wish I had found this sooner. I want to give this guy a medal. Because I still have neither a new cell number nor a new phone.

They made a monkey out of old King Kong

I walked into my cousin’s house on Thursday and saw my brother first. He took one look at me—a critical once over complete with raised eyebrow—and said, “Do you want my lint brush?”

So much for saying hello.

Thanksgiving dinner was at my cousin’s house in Rhode Island. There were 14 of us there, which was sort of overwhelming at times but also a definite blessing because it meant that it wasn’t just my nuclear family being dysfunctional at home together. Last year was so bad that I swore I wouldn’t do it again----my brother was in top hyper ADD form, my mother was being her worst know-it-all self and my father was barely functional. My family needs buffer space. So when my cousin sent out an invitation for this year’s meal, I almost collapsed in relief.

Still, my father spent the whole day playing with my cousin’s baby son and giving me the occasional “So will we ever have grandchildren?” look. My mother got ahead of herself about Lunchboy and tried to be the center of attention, and my brother refused to drink anything except the bottle of Bordeaux that he brought with him. After all, this is the boy who once showed up 3.5 hours late for Christmas dinner, carrying a huge bag of lobster and steamers from Legal Seafood that he wanted to cook. Immediately. He didn't understand that 1. he'd missed dinner 2. we'd all eaten and 3. seafood for Christmas dinner was the last thing my mother wanted. He got offended by our “You did this why?” response because he'd spent $80 on the food, so we had to cook it and eat it. Such is the way things happen in my parent’s house. So I am very thankful for cousins. Even when they say things like, “I could never live in the city. Where would I put my firepit?”

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Colon blow

Carmen is going to have the best Thanksgiving ever. My friend Laurie had turducken at her wedding and it was to die for (isn't that so much more fun than filet mignon or chicken piccata?) Suddenly turducken is everywhere. National Geographic just did a feature on it. I want to make it for the Super Bowl. Although I think the boys might want the tur-pork-hen. Just...ew.


Last night I dragged my tired ass to Baptiste for the first time in weeks. The studio was incredibly crowded and everyone was buzzing, but I was too out of it to think about why until the instructor walked through the door--and it was Baron. Baptiste classes are always challenging but while I've heard people describe his style as "boot camp yoga," I never really understood why until last night. By the end of the class, you could have wiped the floor with me.

It was sort of funny, though. Baron's class felt like he was saying the same things he says in every class. And he kept getting things mixed up--like saying dandasana instead of danurasana, or drishti instead of ujai, or anjali mudra instead of samasatihi. I know it's snarky but it's not meant to be. I was just like, "Are you phoning this in?" That said, I'll go back tomorrow night because the workout was amazing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rocks in my shoes

The weird dreams just keep on coming. Friday night brought an epic saga that made me wish I had any kind of fiction writing talent because on a scale of 1-10, the level of strangeness was 11+. I know there’s nothing more boring than reading about other people’s dreams, but if you’re into secret alien colonies that are trying to impregnate unsuspecting women who they then turn into procreating zombies, let me know and I’ll be happy to elaborate.

I’m not sure what was scarier—-being hunted down by strange dream men who wanted me to bear their alien progeny, braving the Burlington Mall on Saturday or surviving the chaos of Stop&Shop last night. Somebody give me some eggnog (or a caramel crème latte from Dunkin’ Donuts spiked with…anything) because I’m not sure I can deal with the whirlwind that is the holidays. This is supposed to be a time of thankfulness and familial warmth, but the idea of dealing with people in any way, shape or form right now makes me want to hide.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Things certain people have always wanted to say

Overheard at the mall today:

"Now my fingers smell like Britney Spears..."
(after sniffing Fantasy and Curious at the Macy's perfume counter)

(A couple standing in front of the Batman ornament selection at a Christmas ornament kiosk)
"I OWN that already!"
"And you're proud of this?"
"I have the whole collection."
"That's because you're a DORK!"

Friday, November 18, 2005

Blue moon

It’s a full moon and I'm in a funk. Not the good Funkadelic sort, either. I wore my tall black boots to work today in an effort to add some zing to life, but no dice. The moon makes everyone sort of ungrounded--at least that’s what my yoga instructor said last night. At first I thought she was saying that the full moon was next week and that’s when I realized how ungrounded I felt. Full moons are weird. Things have felt off-kilter all week—just unbalanced enough to cause discomfort, even when I wasn’t awake. My dreams have been epic sagas replete with unprocessed emotional crap that only a full moon could dredge up. Broken friendships, old homes, childhood dramas, places I miss but suddenly can’t remember clearly. I wake up after sleeping hard and find that I still feel unrested.

Despite the lack of grounding, I came through tittibasana and bhakasana from my totally hack supta kurmasana for the first time in class last night. It wasn’t pretty but it was there.

L and I went to see Derailed on Wednesday and it was terrible. In the middle of a particularly violent scene, a man got up from his seat behind us and started yelling at a cinema employee in another row. It was so jarring that an older couple gathered their coats and left. I wanted to leave, too.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The cherry patch

Talk about strange fruit. In a very weird way, I'm happy she's doing this. Not that I plan on partaking, but it's nice to know that all those bachelorette parties in Vegas will have some new options.

Right back where we started from

Last night I dreamed about the Santa Monicas. I was hiking in the foothills and suddenly I began to cry when I realized how much I missed the mountains.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

AIM no more

For some unknown reason, my company decided to block access to all instant messaging programs last week, a move which has frustrated me to no end. Yes, AIM was a total time suck but it also made the days where I have nothing to do go by much faster. Believe it or not, I actually used the stupid thing for business purposes from time to time so blocking AIM is actually counterproductive on many levels. Alas.

I just bottomed out my 4th bottle of Robitussin this week.

Cheeeeeese, Gromit

The Wallace Effect hits England!

Monday, November 14, 2005

The new monogamy

New York Magazine's annual sex issue looks at some interesting concepts, including the way some couples are opening the door to outside experiences.

"For much of human history, monogamy (or, at least, presumed monogamy) has been the default setting for long-term love. Hack the system, goes the theory, refuse to forsake all others, open the door even a crack—and the whole relationship will crash. Any dissenters have been pathologized as delusional idealists or worse. But now a new generation of couples is employing a kind of homeopathic hypothesis: that a tiny injection of adventure will ward off the urge to stray further—as long as it’s all on the table and up for discussion. (And just as with homeopathy, a healthy percentage of the population considers this premise bunk.)"

I kind of think this is a load of crap. Clearly there are people capable of having this kind of open relationship and more power to them. But let's not get all excited and make it out to be a trend. Maybe I'm just too traditional to be hip. I like the idea of a relationship strong enough to go through changes of all sorts, including the desire of one or both partners to branch out at whatever level is acceptable to them. I want the kind of openness in which everything can be put on the table without judgment. But at the same time, I feel like if what you really want is to screw around on a regular basis, why bother being in a committed relationship at all? I guess I'm just a one-man woman at heart.

The article's authors make the point that maybe being bisexual is the new requirement for being the perfect girlfriend. I hate the whole "perfect girlfriend" thing. It's a pointless, deadly trap that keeps you from ever being yourself, except when it's convenient or pleasing to your partner. Like Ariel Levy's book asserts, it looks like relationships and passion in general have become very consumerist. Levy, herself a New York Magazine writer, looks at the mainstreaming of raunch culture in light of how women are getting in on the act and participating in their own exploitation. Basically, Levy says that smart, intelligent women are buying into sexual stereotypes to make themselves feel more liberated and come off as supercool to their boyfriends.

Not that I'm saying monogamy is the only way to go, or that women can't be empowered by their own sexuality. I just question the motives behind the way these things are sometimes expressed.

Thank you

To whoever left a bag of sick supplies on my doorstep last week. My roommate brought them in and left them on the table, and I thought they were hers until tonight, when she told me someone had dropped them off. So I'm sorry it's taken this long to say thank you. THANK YOU!! I owe you a big batch of chicken soup or a good dinner. You're a lifesaver.

OK, it's time to put down the celebrity gossip magazines

On Friday night I dreamed that I saw Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson in the airport. I was on my way to Philadelphia (for no apparent reason) and they were sitting on the floor in a corner, trying not to be seen. They were fighting. Jessica was wearing some horrendous multicolored gypsy skirt and cowboy boots, and Nick was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. In the dream, I had some weird connection with them, like we’d been friends before they turned into fame-bound ho bags. When I saw them, I walked over and asked if there was anything I could do to help them get over the fight they were in. Then I offered them my Honda Civic so they could leave without being pounced upon by the paparazzi. Instead, Jessica invited me to this German class she was taking (at the airport)? I said yes and when the class was over I couldn’t find my luggage.

Friday, November 11, 2005


It is Friday after all...

My surrogate kitties:

Scully puss!

Shelter cuteness:

And the parking nazi holds sway over all

Let me just say that the Somerville parking police can kiss my ass. I got to my car this morning to find a ticket tucked under my wiper blade, despite the guest parking permit prominently displayed on my windshield. The $40 ticket was for “guest permit abuse.” Apparently it’s not kosher for me use my guest permit to park at Lunchboy’s house more than two nights a week.

Hence the “kiss my ass.” I used to think the Cambridge parking police were hardcore but this is insane. I live in Cambridge and if you have a parking permit in your car, they let you park wherever, whenever. My old roommate had a guest permit in her windshield for a year and a half and never got nailed for “guest permit abuse.” It’s a total load of crap. There’s never a lack of parking on Lunchboy’s street, so it’s not like I’m taking up any resident spaces. Most of the houses there have driveways anyway.

My theory is that this particular parking nazi lives on Lunchboy’s street. Why? Because he strikes at any time of day or night and he has no mercy. One friend parked there for a half hour in the middle of the afternoon when he came over to help set up the new grill and he got slapped with a ticket. Another person got ticketed at 10pm on a Friday night. Last week I got hit at 6am. This guy is nothing less than territorial. His boss must love his ass for pulling in so much revenue from tickets.

There are a couple of solutions to the problem. 1. switch guest permits; 2. park on the next street over where there are no permit restrictions; 3. bribe the parking officer; 4. get a Somerville parking sticker. The latter would require me to reregister my car in Somerville and change my address so I’d have proof of residency. Option 4 is what we like to call “forward-looking.” While there is some anxiety involved (because, well, you never know), even Mr. Spock would agree that it’s the most logical choice in the near term. I’m at Lunchboy’s house anywhere from 4-6 nights a week. We do our laundry, dry cleaning and food shopping together. My magazines are mailed to his address because someone in my apartment building started stealing them from the bulk mail bin. On the weekends I only go back to my place to get clothes and feed Scully. At some point we have to stop playing semantic games and face up to reality. Not that we haven’t discussed it—we have. But we agreed not to bring it up again until the spring. So in the end we’ll see. I’m still in no rush, though clearly the parking nazi has other ideas.

This, however, perked up my day. Whenever I tell people that I was Princess Leia for Halloween eight years running, people (ie boys) always ask, “Did you wear the gold bikini????” No, I didn’t but maybe now I will.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What I need

Even my girls couldn't poke through this.

From SFGate. It's the Warm Biz Bra, the latest in environmentally correct lingerie, in Tokyo. The soft, cushy bra lifts, separates and most importantly, insulates. I don't know if it fits under work clothes but hey.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A few of my favorite things

I am addicted to the cotton boyshorts underpantsfrom Target. Especially the Supergirl ones (why don't they have them online???). They speak to my childhood love of Underoos. Plus, they are super comfy and sexier than Hanes Her Way. I think Magpie once told me that boy shorts get rid of VPL but they kind of don't. Who cares--I heart them.

Digital ghosts

"The real secrets are not the ones I tell."--Mason Cooley

Everyone has secrets. They are a weight we all carry--that's just a fact of life. No matter how benign they are or how hard we try not to think about them, secrets are never a light burden. Holding things close to the vest is part of human nature, of individual identity, and it's ingrained in the ego because secrets make us feel certain ways that are secret unto themselves. Whether it's titillation, humiliation, pride, guilt, satifaction or despair, the things we don't tell anyone have emotional repercussions that lead us to do things we might not otherwise do. You might think something is secret but those who know you well can feel the veil of concealment behind what is said or unsaid. No matter how deep they are tucked away, secrets can be as tangible as lies.

Which is why secrets have a tendency to work themselves out into the open, whether it's by anonymous submission, subconscious oversight, or surreptitious investigation.

We all have things tucked away that we don't want anyone to find. Photos, letters, emails, IMs. Conversations that crossed a line but were too fun to cut off. Pictures that are inappropriate but impossible to delete. Doors that are kept open because it feels good to know you have options, to know you're wanted. Boxes of ex-boyfriend/girlfriend memorabilia that don't mean much anymore but that you can't let go of.

My friend T found lascivious videos of a coworker on the computer she shared with her ex-husband, and that's how she knew something was seriously awry. I found Glenn's letters to the trollop on the desktop of our computer because he didn't work very hard to hide them. The emails I had to go digging for, but I only dug because I knew there was a reason to do so. Another friend found suggestive photos that her husband's "friend" had been sending him just to keep things spicy, because that's the kind of connection they had.

When you have trust issues, it's hard not to go searching for the things you don't want to know. But it's imperative to hold back. I've only given in once and felt terrible about it afterward. Still, you have to draw the line between what's appropriate and what's not, what's acceptable and what's not. Some secrets are not okay, no matter how fun or flirty they might be.

My shrink calls it being hypervigilant--that overwhelming need to constantly be aware of whatever's coming down the pike. It's from the fear of being the last to know something, of having the rug yanked out from under me again at the last second. It's not fair or rational or logical. But how do you reconcile secrets and trust? How can you place any weight on words when you know there could be evidence to the contrary? Of course, it goes both ways. At some point I just have to let it go and have faith, so that I can be trusted, too. I have to shut my brain off because otherwise past pain ends up poisoning the present. But I do think that trust requires some level of evidence. Otherwise talk is cheap.

This is what I get for taking too many flu drugs and letting my thoughts run wild.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I'm home sick with the flu. Everything hurts. I can't get comfortable anywhere--on the couch, in bed, on the floor. Scully is no help. Animals are supposed to be empathic and supportive when their people get sick, but Scully is perfectly happy to nap on the other side of the apartment from me. Forget the fact that I provide her with food and love--she can't be bothered with my squirming around.

Because I'm never home very much, I have no sick food in the house. There's a random box of crackers and some strawberry jam for toast but otherwise I'm relying on my roommate's stash of chamomile tea. Oh, the packaged soup, soda, and saltines--they are so close and yet so far away. Brooks is around the corner but I can't seem to get further than the hallway before I need to sit down again. Everyone has their own sick food. My old roommate liked plain white rice when she was ill. An old boyfriend needed ginger ale and alphabet soup. I like chicken-flavored ramen and saltines with strawberry jam on them. It sounds gross but it works for me.

My mother would sigh and tell me to buck up and go to the store. If only I could let myself be a baby about being sick, but I always just feel badly for being a wuss. Unlike every man I've ever known--what is it about men and their ability to turn into complete drama queens when they're sick. It's like no one in the world has ever had a cold before. Instead, I'm perched uncomfortably on the couch and watching bad daytime TV. When exactly did it get to be this bad?? Somehow I found a Star Trek: TNG marathon on Spike, but while I was flipping channels, I passed a Who's The Boss reunion, some bad reality crap and about 17 different soap operas. When I was 11, I got into a couple of soaps and the scary thing is that Days of Our Lives STILL STARS the people who were on in 1986, and they don't look any older. Ah, the wonders of Botox and liposuction.

OK, I need more Tylenol.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Fleeing the shark tank

A bunch of us took my friend T out to the MFA First Friday last week. It's been about 7 months since she and her husband split up and she decided that she was ready to put her toe in the dating pool. We offered to be wingmen. Or wingwomen. Whathaveyou. But it was something of a disaster. I used to look at people who brought their SO to the MFA and think, "Don't mess this up for us single people!" It's hard enough trying to tell who's a normal person there without having to wonder if they're attached. But it's just as icky going there as a couple because then you have to watch your SO get hit on. Even when you're crazy happy together and you can think, "Ha ha, I'm going home with them," that's never a fun experience.

It was really loud and crowded. The shark tanky behavior of the men didn't make T feel attractive, it just made her sad. Lunchboy stepped up and tried to take her on a scouting mission, but they ended up retreating to the America's Cup exhibit because T loves boats and the boats made her happier than the men upstairs. I think she expected to meet someone that night because when your heart's broken you can't help but hope for a knight (or night) in shining armor, but the MFA isn't really the place for that. I felt badly for making her sad. Boston is a tough place to be alone.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Bow before her

Megan deserves these shoes because SHE PASSED THE BAR. Mean G, you're a rock star!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Running blind

Over dinner at Redbones tonight, I talked to my college roommate's sister about relationships. I wanted her advice. She's younger than me and has been married for four years. She and her husband have a spectacularly good, solid relationship. For some reason, dinner made me need to know how a good relationship works. Because I'm not sure I know how anymore. I know how to start off good, but then it always seems to trail off into months of need and expectation and distance. That's not the case right now, but I don't want it to be the case ever. So I asked how they made it work.

"When you really love someone," she said. "You don't ever want to hurt them. You'll do anything to keep from hurting them. So even when you fight, you don't get spiteful. You don't use what you know about that person that's hurtful. It's a really thin line but it's a line you don't want to cross."

She talked a lot about the importance of making sure you keep the foundational basics in mind every day: trust, honesty, respect, communication. If you respect each other, you'll never be afraid to open up with the person, she told me. You'll always feel safe.

"Did you ever read that book, He's Just Not That Into You?" she asked me.

"No," I told her. I haven't. I refused to read it because when it came out, I was in a place where I really needed to not distrust every guy I met.

"It has some good points. If you really pay attention to the little things a guy does, his unconscious behavior toward you, you can tell exactly where you rank in his life,"she said. "It has to be more than saying something for the sake of saying it. Love isn't just words, it's every day actions. You can say you respect and value someone, but if you act the opposite way, it's clear what's really going on."

I don't know why I needed to hear this from her tonight of all times. Maybe corn fritters and hush puppies make me want to know the way of things. Sometimes it's just disorienting to know that there's no logical path when it comes to the heart. You can't say, "If I do this, than this will happen."

On my way home, I rubbed my eye and found an eyelash on my fingertip. Eyelash wishes lost their power for me a while ago, but I blew on it nonetheless. I don't know why I'm feeling so skeptical about life, the universe and everything tonight but I am.

Beautiful and deadly

The Golden Gate Bridge is getting a lot of press these days. Lots of people want the bridge to have a suicide barrier, but a lot of other people think it would be aesthetically unpleasing to have a net or something up there. I don’t live in San Francisco so I’m not going to make judgments about the issue, but I can say that every time I’ve driven over the Golden Gate, I’ve thought about Tad Friend’s story in the New Yorker.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mouse serenade

Birds do it. Whales do it. Bats do it. Now scientists have discovered that mice sing when in the presence of their mates.

When I think of mice singing, all I can picture are the mice narrators from Babe.

Look at your watch now

Last year I was a gogo girl for Halloween. This year I was a Gwen Stefani fan—same gogo boots but with a teenybopper attitude. Gwen was amazing. She pogoed in hot pants. She put the Black Eyed Peas to shame. Her Harajuku Girls were sassy dancing fiends. It was B.A.N.A.N.A.S.

The show kicked ass but Boston was not ready for La Stefani. From our nosebleed seats way up in the top balcony, we had a clear view of the floor and no one down there was dancing. No waving arms, no jumping on chairs, no gyrating. They just stood there, as if dancing to “What You Waiting For?” was the most uncool thing ever. Seeing as they were all about 17 (we were the oldest people there with the exception of the parents who were chaperoning their kids), their sense of cool was probably more well defined than mine, and apparently screaming and sending text messages to the giant screen next to the stage are cooler than dancing. But still--how do you not dance to “Rich Girl?” Gwen picked up on the audience apathy pretty fast. By the end of the second song, she was like “What’s up with this town? You’re all shy!” I was like, welcome to the land of the puritans, honey.

Today my feet are torn up from dancing in gogo boots, and I am definitely not a rich girl after dropping $80 at the T-shirt stand, but it was worth it.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Picture time

…and after the snow, we got a beautiful, sunny, 65-degree day. The weather here is schizo.

The Ansel Adams exhibit at the MFA is amazing. I highly recommend. It’s one thing to see Adams' photos reproduced in books or posters, but it’s another thing entirely to see the originals in a lovely, curated show complete with lots of historical context. The photos are so achingly beautiful that I couldn’t do anything but be grateful that some people are gifted with that kind of perception.

Yosemite is now very, very high on my Must Visit list.

The exhibit was also excellent people watching because there were many, many women there who just wanted to be seen looking at the photographs, rather than going to the show to look at the photographs. The show’s been running for two months, so there was no need for the kind of couture clothing appropriate for an opening. But the flashing of the major jewelry and the vintage Kelly bags was a show unto itself.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

There's no place like...home

Snow is falling from the sky. Not just flurries, either. We came out of Target to find a steady fall of heavy flakes coming down in wet splatters, thereby bringing an early end to fall. I've spent the rest of the day curled up in a lazy ball, reading and napping with Scully, who's comfortably ensconsed in Lunchboy's house due to the fact that the heat didn't come back on in my apartment until late last night. It's not a permanent arrangement but I'm enjoying the fact that we're all together under one roof and I don't have to feel guilty about leaving my kitty alone all weekend.

While we were at Target being domestic, I came upon a pair of shoesthat I had to have. They're technically for little girls but I found them enchanting. Now, whenever the weather gets bad, I can click my heels together and wish myself somewhere warm. Because I'm already home.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The good bread

I don't think he's responsible for the harvest pumpkin soup, but his work speaks to my stomach in that oh-so-special way.

As the temperature drops, my fixation with food gets stronger. Eating is not a problem for me but, as my friends and family know, cooking has never been my forte. I've been, shall we say, cooking-averse for most of my life. Raw food and its preparation always bored me to death.

Not these days. I’m not clear on what's changed—maybe it’s the fact that it’s more fun to cook for and/or with someone who doesn’t count calories like Scrooge McDuck counts his gold—but lately I am having fun in the kitchen. Over the past few weeks I've made a couple of soups, some banana muffins, an apple pie and last night I baked a big loaf of banana nut bread. It's certainly not gourmet but it also didn’t kill anyone, so that’s progress.

I can't even tell you how happy this has made my mother, who spent years trying to teach her only daughter to cook and, after watching me mangle such simple dishes as macaroni & cheese, despaired that I would ever be able to feed myself, much less a spousal unit or child. Somehow my aversion to all things culinary meant that she'd failed in her duties as a mother (that’s my theory at least). The day I cook a full Thanksgiving meal is the day she'll get down on her knees and thank god for saving me from a life of spinsterhood and Trader Joe's frozen chicken nuggets. Because she equates the two in her head. She'll never admit it but I know it's true.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The S-word

This does not bode well.

On the upside, I was just informed that Hostess is now making caramel HoHos. My winter might be saved.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Channeling Sylvia

My roommate's solution to our apartment's lack of heat is to turn on our oven and open the door. If we had an electric oven, I'd be okay with that. But we have a GAS oven. And all our windows are closed because it's cold outside. So I came home from work last night to find our place reeking of gas. My roommate and her boyfriend were happily camped out on the skanky couch, reading and eating dinner.

When I opened the door and got a whiff, I half expected to walk around the corner and find bodies, both human and feline, splayed lifeless on the floor. I'd already started to reach for my cell phone when I saw them on the couch.

The real kicker is that they decided to go back to her boyfriend's house for the night because he has heat, so I got stuck with the gassy apartment. Which of course became icy cold after I turned the oven off. Gah.

Monday, October 24, 2005


The heat in my apartment building is out. I’d say that this is not cool but puns are not my thing. Last weekend I came home to 5 fire engines parked on my street, firefighters bustling around in a very purposeful way. Instantly I had mental images of my roommate leaving a candle burning or putting a tapestry over one of her lamps and causing our entire place, cats included, to go up in smoke.


The resident gossips were standing on the stoop, though, and they were only too eager to share the news.

“You missed all the drama,” said Cornell, an obese woman who’s lived in the building forever and who likes to know everyone’s business. “When they turned on the heat yesterday, they forgot to clean the boiler and the whole thing went up in smoke.”

“Literally,” said Kathy, a freelance graphic design writer with two yappy dogs. “There was this vile smell that filled the building and all the fire alarms went off.”

“Wonderful,” I said, edging past them to avoid getting sucked into their angry-sounding conversation.

The hallways did indeed smell awful—that nasty metallic odor that you get when you accidentally microwave metal. But my apartment and both cats were fine. I fully expected complete feline panic when I opened the door, but both of them were camped on the couches with this, “What’s the big deal?” look on their faces.

The net net, however, is that the building’s boiler is dead and my apartment is REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY cold. Like, bundle up in sweats and blankets cold. Getting out of the shower in the morning is bracing to say the least. Poor Scully has created a nest in my down comforter so her paws don’t get cold during the day.

I called the landlord today to find out when they intended to turn the heat back on, seeing as the temperature at night now hovers somewhere between 35 and 45 degrees.

“It’ll be fixed by Thursday,” the guy told me. “We’re working on it. Replacing a boiler of this size takes time. Just be glad it’s not February.”

I am glad it’s not February. But I HATE HATE HATE being cold. Maybe it’s time for a space heater.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Happy happy joy joy

Yesterday was our 6 month anniversary. Kind of amazing. How can six months have gone by already? It feels like it's been a lot less and a lot more, all at the same time.

Measuring relationships in months feels so 7th grade, especially since so many of our friends are married and measuring their relationships in years and kids, but that's how it goes. Time is an arbitrary measurement when it comes to love, though. It's not like being together for a certain amount of time guarantees that a relationship will work. And so I try not to measure at all. We are what we are, and what I am is happy. Completely, nauseatingly, mindbendingly happy.

I love being with him. I love who he is. I love the life we're building together. Griffin is curled up on my chest, purring like a helicopter preparing for takeoff, and Cringer is singing on the bed because that's what she does after she's successfully hunted one of the milk bottle tabs. Lunchboy is at the gym and I can't wait for him to come home. We're going to watch the big eights races at the Head of the Charles today (assuming the rain holds off) and there is nowhere else I would rather be than right here, in this moment.

Blown away

On Friday night, Lunchboy and I went to see "Carol Mulroney" at the Huntington Theater with a group of work friends. It was a fun play, a witty, smallish workshoppy production set on a city rooftop. The actors really seemed to relish their dialogue, especially the swear words that were dropped in just to show how hip the characters were. That was all fine until a monologue in which one of the female leads held forth on her desire to burn her current self into a small pile of ashes so that her spores, specifically her cunt spores, could blow away in the wind and be swallowed by some unknown man, who would then love her completely because he'd ingested tiny pieces of her crotch. It wasn't supposed to be funny, but it was--I was trembling with silent laughter. The people in the row behind us were offended, though--they gathered their coats and left. The cunt spores drove them away.

We'll be calling everyone a cunt spore for at least the next year. The play was worth it just for that.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Brilliance in a bag

The most beautiful words I've heard all day:

"Dual controls on queen and king sizes for personalized comfort."

Translation: a blanket that allows for the fact that men are coldblooded ice machines, while we women, we need the warmth when we sleep.

At last, an end to the winter-time bedroom fan addiction.

Bring it on

Last night I bumped into an old crew acquaintance while I was walking down Mass Ave. It was appropriate, considering that this weekend is the Head of the Charles. This guy used to coach at BC. He made a special effort to mention that a mutual friend, a man I happened to have a one-night stand with a million years ago--had gotten married. It was so calculated, the way he dropped it into conversation and waited to see if I’d have a reaction. I didn’t. I haven't thought about that incident in years. All I could think to say was, “That’s really wonderful for him. I hope he’ll stop screwing his underage rowers now.” Then I grabbed a burger and walked away. For the first time in my life, I actually came up with a comeback BEFORE it was too late.

Free Buffy

Doesn't Fox have better things to do?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Where's the fishbulb?

For Bligh and Curt and Rob. And Megan & JD. And Dave. OK, this is getting scary. Anyway, a list of all the made up words from the Simpsons.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Five by five

I got my hair cut on Saturday. I never remember until it’s too late that I can't be chatty with my hairdresser. She works miracles with the highlighting foils, but if you get her talking while she’s wielding scissors, you end up with hair that’s a lot shorter than what you’d hoped for. She’s sort of like my college roommate, who can’t talk and drive at the same time or else she slows way down and weaves between lanes. Matilda’s been doing my hair for 4 years but every time I visit her I have to shut up and listen to all the other good conversations going on around us, or risk looking like a soccer mom at 30.

The upside was that I got to hear all about the party my flamboyantly gay eyebrow guy is throwing for some close friends at the Versace mansion in South Beach. He always makes my day. But I wonder what the hell he’s doing at a salon in Arlington, MA, a town that doesn’t allow liquor stores and prides itself on its bedroom community-esque atmosphere. Because something tells me that no one else in Arlington is dishing about Carmen Marc Valvo dresses or the black-and-gold mosaic tile near the pool at the Versace mansion.

Lunchboy and I went to see “March of the Penguins” later that afternoon. Yes, we’re months behind everyone else but by god we were not going to miss those penguins. Is it humanly possible to not coo over the incredible cuteness of the penguin babies? Or the silly belly flops the adult penguins do when they’re too tired to walk? I have a bad history of crying at nature movies and, predictably, I lost it during the scene when the mother penguin finds her baby frozen like a feathery popsicle on the ice after the last big storm. It wasn’t pretty. Somehow Morgan Freeman’s voice made it all better, though.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Oh, the irony

My mother is unreasonably excited about the fact that the dress shop in LA named my dress after me. It should come with a tagline: the dress for women who get out in the nick of time.

The Friday animal fix

Hooray for cats on a string:

Just hanging out:

OK, it doesn't get cuter than this:

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It's not just us

It’s nice to know that Boston isn’t the only city suffering from this kind of thing. The new Franz Ferdinand CD just came out and already the first single is driving me batty. Why can’t they just leave it alone??

In addition to the staples of our “Call It” radio game, Lunchboy and I have added the following bands to our list of cutting-edge groups that Boston radio stations are spinning into the ground:

Smashing Pumpkins
Van Halen

When exactly did WAAF become a 70s station?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Isn't that good?

The New Yorker is serializing Truman Capote's In Cold Blood (again) before Capote comes out later this month. Being a derelict reader who hadn’t read the book before, I was unaware that it isn't the kind of thing you can read in chunks, at least not without losing your mind. I read the first section online yesterday and got so sucked in that my evening plans got rearranged just so I could go to the bookstore and get my fix.

I hit three different bookstores before finding it at the Coop, all the while feeling lame because I was asking for a book that was about to come out as a movie. That's like going to a concert and wearing the T-shirt of the band you're about to see. In the immortal words of Dross, "Don't be that guy." Except I was.

There's also the sad fact that, as a former journalist, I should have read In Cold Blood years ago.

*thwack* *thwack* *thwack*
(that's the sound of my mental self-flagellation)

The other day, my officemate and I were talking about how rare it is to find a book so compelling that you can't stop reading at night. For some reason I feel like that happened a lot more when I was young, but these days not so much. So finding a book like that is satisfying on a level I can't even find a good analogy for. It's better than biting into food you know is going to be delicious. It's almost as good as hopping into bed with someone you know is going to rock. But really it's on a level all its own.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

In the moment

One of my favorite yoga teachers in LA liked to end his classes by reciting the Buddha’s five daily remembrances. They've been on my mind lately.

When I first started taking his class, I thought the remembrances were kind of weird. Why spend mental energy reinforcing what seemed like overt negativity? But the more he recited the remembrances, the more they started to make sense. One of these days, I'll learn how to start a real mindfulness meditation practice--really, I swear.

The Buddha’s Five Daily Remembrances:

I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

Reading envy

Due to the complete lack of space in my apartment, my book gluttony has gone underground and is now manifesting itself in my ginormous wish list. It's big and getting bigger, and sometimes I wonder how big the biggest wish list really is. But then the question must be asked: is there really such a thing as a wish list that’s too big? I’m acquisitive when it comes to books. Libraries are fabulous, especially when the bank account and the shelf space are constricted, but generally I like to own what I read. I love finding room on the shelf for a book I just finished. Also, I have a memory like a sieve, so having books on hand helps me remember what I’ve read versus what I’d like to read.

The weight of books, the texture of their covers and pages, the way they populate a room—it’s one of the most soothing things in the world. Someone once asked me to define what makes a home and three things immediately popped to mind: books, cats and love. Cheesy but true.

Lately I’ve been missing my books. I brought one box of them to my apartment when I moved in last year, the rationale being that I wanted to travel light and there is nothing light about multiple boxes of books. But I miss having bookshelves that actually hold more than pictures. It’s a sort of rootless feeling, like being adrift without a reference point. Yesterday Renate and I were emailing about Sylvia Plath and I instinctually started looking for my copy of Ariel before remembering that it’s in a box in my parent’s basement, along with every other book I own. Grrr. I hate walking around a bookstore and hesitating about buying a book because I don’t know if I already own it. I tried to explain the book envy to Lunchboy and he said, “What books are you talking about? You don’t have that many.” I was like, “Oh, you have no idea.”

My life, like the life of any other habitual reader, can be traced in books. The ones my parents read to me when I was little, the ones I grew up reading, the ones my mother had to take away from me because I read them to tatters. The high school angst books, the summer reading, the college English references, the required course books, the books I dreaded that turned out to be revelations. I took a contemporary American lit class at Yale where we read 16 books and it was like Christmas every week. Everyone has their milestone books, the ones that were thought-shapers, defining every step you took after you finished the last page.

After college, I went on a book spree. The remainders room in the Harvard Book Store should have just garnished my wages and formalized the arrangement. The result: a mountain of boxes that my mother can’t wait for me to get out of her house. Somewhere in my future is a renovated Victorian house stacked to the ceilings with built-in bookshelves. Until then, or at least until I get to a living space with storage, my Amazon list will have to stay virtual. My boxes will stay in Sudbury and I’ll just have to go visit them.

Monday, October 10, 2005

In the words of Cher, I felt impotent and I hated feeling impotent

Today is one of those days. I get paralyzed by the number of things that I want to do, and so I end up accomplishing nothing. What I did do was leave my ATM card in the ATM machine, so now I'm praying that the machine ate it and I can get it from the bank tomorrow. I didn't realize I'd lost the card until I was standing in line at CVS trying to get my prescription for my happy pills, and arguing with the pharmacist because my doctor forgot to call in prior authorization (fucking HMOs) leaving me without happy pills for 3 days. I signed up to do the Tufts 10K for Women, but it poured and my running buddy bagged on me, so I lost my motivation and stayed in. Now I'm hesitant to go food shopping because the supermarket will probably be out of what I need or I'll get hit by a car in the schizo Porter parking lot or something. So I think I'll lie low until yoga tonight. So much for being productive on my day off.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Cats cats cats!

In honor of Blogacatmas Day.

And then, just because she's my awesome girl...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another reason to believe

I never win things. Like, ever. If there’s a lottery or a contest of some sort, odds are excellent that my name will not be drawn. I can say this with confidence because that’s the way it’s gone down for the past 30 years---until today. We had an office lottery for Red Sox tickets and my name got picked. So if our boys make the World Series, I’ll be there on October 22nd. GO SOX!

Since my luck isn’t great, I have to wonder whether being picked means that the Sox won’t get that far, but no! I will not give into that kind of negative thinking. Must focus full attention on willing team to win….

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Things that rock my world:

--the first night of sleeping under flannel sheets and my down comforter.
--buying new fall clothes that I can't wear yet because it's still in the 70s.
--contemplating two containers of harvest pumpkin soup: one for lunch and one for dinner.
--being part of Red Sox Nation, whether or not I watch all the games.

Bite me

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who hates her.

Happy new year

The Jewish holidays are always sort of strange for me, like there’s something important going on that I need to remember but forgot about. I guess that’s what I get for being raised in a melting pot of religions—I’m never sure which traditions I have any allegiance to. Is there such a thing as a genetic predisposition for matzoh balls? Or kugel? That would explain a lot. Not that I grew up with any kind of model for good Jewish cooking, or for consistent tradition for that matter. But Jewish food is comfort food and I guess I like that I can dabble in the parts of the culture that actually strike a chord.

My mother converted to Judaism when she married my father. It wasn’t a popular match. My mother’s parents, staunch French Canadian Catholics, almost didn’t attend the ceremony, especially when they found out that my mother was leaving the faith. My father’s parents were equally unthrilled that their precious first son was marrying a shiksa. Her conversion went a little way toward assuaging their shock, but not much. My parents were not religious and my mother’s conversion lasted a few years at best. When they had me, my collective grandparents saw a great opportunity to get their progeny back on the good road, like if they got me board my parents would follow. Every time my mother’s parents babysat, they took me to Mass and made it clear that Catholicism ran in my blood. Likewise, my father’s mother would whisk me to temple and whisper, “You’re Jewish, darling” anytime the issue came up. It was very strange. Going to the Unitarian church helped with the identity issues, but made me wonder why my grandparents cared so much about what I was.

My mother never cooked Jewish food. In fact, I remember her making a lot of pork chops and shellfish. My grandmother cooked but she did it badly. There was a lot of salty soup and underdone gefilte fish. Then, in middle school, I met the ex-best friend. She came from a family of Superjews and they knew from food. To this day, H’s matzoh ball soup is still the best I’ve ever had. They had me over for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur (the part where they broke the fast), and every other holiday they could possibly celebrate. I babysat with H at her temple, attended services with her and my other Jewish friends, and generally enjoyed the side benefits of being half-Jewish without any of the religious obligations. But it never felt totally comfortable to me. Maybe it was the way H’s friend refused to date me because I wasn’t fully Jewish. Or the fact that I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do or how to eat. In the end, religion just wasn’t my thing.

So now, with the Jewish holidays here, I feel like there’s something I’m supposed to be doing, but I’m not quite sure what or how. Maybe tonight I’ll go to Zaftig’s and have some kugel.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Friday, September 30, 2005

Always take the weather with you

I could see my breath in the air when I left for work this morning. Everything was crisp and the dry leaves on the ground smelled so good. In honor of the cool weather, I broke out real shoes. Something tells me flip flop season is over, though by god I will keep wearing them until the snow arrives.

On a different topic, yerba mate tea tastes and smells like hay.

It was a weird morning. There were lots of men being obnoxious in different ways. The garbage truck kept blocking my car and I would have racked it up to garbage day and parking in the wrong direction, but the garbage guy who jumped off the truck sneered at me like I’d done something wrong. On the way to work, a guy in a minivan cut me off and then tried to pick me up by blowing kisses in the side mirror, waving out the window, wiggling his eyebrows and then honking when I finally passed him. Then I got glared at by some guy in the hallway when I bought breakfast in my building, as if my buying yogurt had somehow inconvenienced him in some way. Maybe I didn’t look uptight enough carrying the yogurt back to my desk. Who knows.

I tried the Manduka mat in class last night. It intimidated me—I just haven’t been practicing long enough to do the black mat yet. Somehow it feels like the domain of the hardcore Mysore ashtangis, and my three practices a week are not hardcore.