Monday, February 28, 2005

The groundhog is gonna get it

Lots more snow predicted for Boston.

Am at my snow limit. Insanity looms.

One more storm and I'm going back to California. Either that or I'm taking to my bed until spring arrives.

Oscar hangover

I have one question: does Chris Rock have a friend left in Hollywood today?

LA LA land

Last night I dreamed that I was in LA for a few days on business, and I was staying at a hotel in Manhattan Beach, although in the dream Manhattan Beach was north of the 10, sort of in the vicinity of Mar Vista. I was so proud of myself for going to LA and not melting down or calling Glenn, but toward the end of my last day there, I realized that if I rushed, I could go by our old apartment and get the ring papers from him in person before he left for work. In the middle of rushing, my parents showed up and tried to stop me from going back to Darlington Ave. I insisted, though, but when I got there, the awful California storms had completely wrecked the street. All the trees were blown over and broken branches blocked the sidewalk. I had to bushwhack through storm wreckage to get to the apartment building, and once I stood in front of the gate I remembered why I had decided never to go back there again.

Heart. Breaking. All. Over. Again.

Luckily, the dream transformed our old apartment into a dingy, cramped, dorm room-like space that Glenn was sharing with three roommates. As soon as they saw me walk in, one of them ( a petite blond girl) went running into the bathroom to warn Glenn (who was showering) that I was there. My first reaction was, “Who the hell are you to be busting in on him in the bathroom? That’s MY job.” Then she and I had a talk. I asked if she was dating Glenn and she said, “No yet. We’re just flirting. I’m biding my time.” I told her she was total trailer trash and proceeded to give her a huge black eye. Then Glenn emerged from the bathroom and we went into his room. He was impressed that I kicked the crap out of the blond girl, but when I asked him about her, he leaned in really close (like, hugging me with his mouth in my ear) and told me that he was playing it close to the vest. “If I play my cards right,” he whispered, “After you leave and call me later all upset because you still have feelings for me, I’ll have her to fall back on and it won’t matter to me at all.” Knife in the gut. I couldn’t believe he was such a conniving, calculating asshole. But then we snogged anyway.

Today I've got the morning-after dream sadness.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Still no ring papers. What the FUCK?

Do we really NEED to know what a duvet is, in the hunter-gatherer sense of the word?

I am in bedding HELL. Whoever said that buying new bedding is easy has clearly never dealt with the pressure of bedroom perfection as depicted in the latest Pottery Barn/Crate & Barrel catalogs. Either that or they married a designer. Quilt or blanket? Do I buy a patterned duvet or a solid color duvet and a patterned blanket? Do I try to find something that matches my flannel sheets, even though it's almost spring and I'll have to buy new cotton sheets soon? Do I get a cheaper duvet from C&B that I can replace in a few years, or invest in something nicer from PB that will last but that Scully might destroy with her hawk-like claws? AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

All this because I decided that the next step in bringing new energy into my life (and specifically into my bedroom) is to get some new bedding. I bought my bed from the girl who used to live in my apartment, so it's new and has no bad Glenn feng shui energy whatsoever. All the jointly owned sheets and blankets got left in LA because, well, EW. Since it's winter, nI've been using my favorite lavender flannel sheets that Glenn hated (witness the stain from the ink he "accidentally" spilled on them) and my wonderful down comforter that he hated even more (he thought it was too heavy--I think it's the perfect weight). The old duvet cover has seen better days, however, and I'm flush with gift certificates from returning shower gifts that people insisted I keep, so I figured it was time to up the thread count and fluff the nest for myself.

But I'm incapable of making up my mind. I blame my Yankee upbringing. And my total lack of design skills. Maybe the right duvet for me is out there somewhere and I'm just not ready to find it yet? For chrissakes, I can't even get my bed out of the past--how the hell is the rest of me supposed to move on, too?

Drunken theatrics

Last night a few of us went out to dinner theater in Andover for D's 30th birthday. We had such high hopes! I mean, dinner theater is all adult and stuff. We were being cultural and sophisticated (ie not spending the evening watching Adult Swim on the Comedy Channel). In the end, we were just suckers. It was $55 worth of theatrical badness. You know it's a bad scene when the actors are counting on the audience to get fall-down drunk so they don't notice how bad the play really is. It was a murder mystery with no plot and TERRIBLE acting, $6 drinks and, despite the whole "dinner theater" sobriquet, there was no actual dinner, just hors d'oeuvres like baby quiche, spanakopita and chicken on a stick. A man with scallops wrapped in bacon made one round of the room and we never saw him again. There were ten of us and we hatched a brilliant plot of our own to take over the kitchen and rustle up some real food, and the poor catering people began to avoid us because we emptied their trays whenever they came by.

In my Cosmo-induced drunken haze, I decided to seduce the actor playing the psuedo-Jude Law role in the murder plot, but I downed my drink too fast and ended up collapsing on the floor because we had to stand up for like a half hour and listen to drunken guests interview the actors for clues to the murder. But then--miracle of miracles--the Jude guy sat down on the floor next to me. I am not invisible to men after all!!! After some scrambling, he managed to drop his faux British accent and we talked. He sort of reminded me of a guy I dated after college who tried to impress me by making a Caesar salad in a garbage bag--flaky and deluded (during our talk, I found out he's an aspiring actor who does guerilla marketing on the side. Judging from the acting I saw last night, he should stick with the day job), but still fun to flirt with. Sadly, he never asked for my digits and I've decided that any guy who isn't ballsy enough to ask isn't worth the time, dammit. But I'm getting my groove back, baby.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

What happened? We ran into a couple of old friends.

I know I'm supposed to leave the past behind me and concentrate on being present in the moment, but that gets kind of hard when the past keeps smacking me upside the head. Recently I've reconnected with two people that I knew in grade school who reappeared in my life in completely random ways.

My mother called me on Wednesday and asked, "Did you know a boy named J- in high school?" Did I know him??? He was my first grade boyfriend. He sent me love notes for a year when we were 6 and after that we drifted apart, but we went to school together for 12 years, so the answer is yes, I did know him. And why is she asking? Because J- now does sales for an internet publisher and he pitched my mother on Tuesday. She gave me his email (and was really not subtle about her motives). So I emailed him a short, innocuous note and he wrote back, saying he was living in NY with his wife and loved his job. Sorry mom--no Nicholas Sparks ending for me on that one.

Then, at my first ballroom dance class last month, I bumped into M, a girl I knew in high school but whom I hadn't seen since we saw each other at a crew regatta during college. We've hung out a few times and I am very glad to have her in my life again. We are in very similar places and situations, and our similarity of thought can get downright eerie sometimes. Tonight we met for dinner and ended up sitting at Starbucks and dishing about the people we knew and hated in high school.

I won't even get into the bizarre conversation I had with my ex ex ex boyfriend's mother when we sat next to each other at a restaurant right before New Years.

I don't think the past can ever be left completely behind. We live with it every day, processing it and pondering it and sometimes reliving it when we haven't learned the lessons we need to learn from our experiences. The difference lies in whether we are determined to live NOW rather than live in memories, and if we decide to learn from the past rather than bury it like a bloody trophy of war. The past can really only bite us in the ass if we never accept the fact that the best is yet to come. Maybe it's the wine talking. Or maybe I'm just being too naively optimistic.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Can you dig a cellar in just one day?

My favorite children's book has been made into a musical! When I was little, I took Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel out of the library so many times that it almost fell apart, so my parents had to buy me a copy of my own to destroy at will. My dad says I uttered my first full sentence--"How does he do that?"--while he was reading Mike Mulligan to me for the umpteenth time. I can't really picture Mike, Mary Anne or the residents of Popperville singing, but who cares. Screw ages 4-10! I am so THERE.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

It's all about the pinot--sort of

Santa Barbara wine country is experiencing a post-Sideways boom, and as much as I’m glad that the vineyards there are getting the attention they deserve, I’m a little apprehensive at what all the media attention will mean for the area in the long run. Napa and Sonoma are really spectacular, but they’re also full of attitude and they charge a fortune for tastings. One of the reasons I love Santa Barbara wine country is that most of the wineries there are very down to earth. Sure, you’ll pay for tastings at most places, especially the big wineries like Fess Parker, Gainey and Firestone/Curtis, but they charge $5 a head for 6-8 wines and you get to keep the glass. There are still a lot of little wine shacks tucked off the roads where you taste some really delicious wines for free (and the wine comes without any attitude).

Glenn and I did a couple of trips up to Santa Ynez, and we found some amazing places. A couple of my favorites: Beckmen Vineyards, Bedford Thompson Winery, Zaca Mesa, Kalyra and Babcock. The last time we were at Bedford Thompson, the owner’s dog stuck his head in the car as soon as I opened the door and led me over to the tasting room. Both of the owners pour wine for tastings, and they treat all the guests like old friends. They don’t charge and you can hang out at the picnic tables for as long as you want. It’s totally idyllic. Whenever I hear people touting Napa, where we paid $14 per person at each winery to taste 3-4 wines, I tell them to try the Santa Barbara wine area and, before Sideways, they had never heard of it.

A Bialy Eater

I’m sitting at my desk eating a toasted bialy and all is right with the world.

There are few things in the world that recall my childhood than bialys, especially warm, freshly baked bialys that smell like dough and onions and tasty goodness. When I was growing up, my paternal grandmother lived in a high rise on the Lower East Side, and every time we visited her, my parents would make a trip to Gus’ Pickles on Essex St. and Kossar's Bialys on Grand St. We’d get two or three bags of warm bialys and eat them over the course of a week (the longest a bag of Kossar's bialys ever lasted in our house). I ate the bialys toasted with a slice of cheese, dipped in jam or plain. They were just so GOOD.

Almost no one seems to know what a bialy is. They’re small, round pieces of dough that look like flattened bagels but instead of a hole in the middle, they have an indentation filled with chopped onions. Not only are they delicious, they are much healthier than bagels—one bialy has about 80 calories and 20 grams of carbs. I know this only because a couple of supermarket chains have started carrying generic bialys and they list the nutrition information on the bag.

Bialys are a true part of my family history. My father’s side of the family is from Bialystok, one of the old, traditional Jewish cities in Poland where the bialy was invented. His great grandparents, who spoke only Yiddish, immigrated to New York before Bialystok was systematically destroyed during World War II, and settled in Brooklyn during the 1920s. My father grew up running around Flatbush Avenue listening to doo-wop music, eating good Jewish food and Nathan’s hot dogs, misbehaving at Coney Island and skipping school to play in pool halls. When he was little, his immediate relatives all lived within three blocks of each other. Since then, they’ve mostly moved to New Jersey. My grandmother died about 6 years ago and we haven’t been back to New York in a while.

So when my parents picked me up in Midtown on Sunday and I discovered three bags of Kossar's bialys in the backseat, I almost levitated. Life is good! I have the best bialys in the world at home in my fridge and now I can eat them for breakfast until they run out. And then I can order more because now Kossars takes orders online…..

More Gates hilarity

Riffing on The Gates is becoming a cottage industry! Today's installment puts peanut butter crackers in a whole new light.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Somerville Gates

Update: The NYT gets tongue-in-cheek with the anti-Christo.

One man's Central Park is another cat's apartment maze. Boston will never be on a par with New York, but clearly we win the humor-as-small-scale-public-art contest. Scully approves.

In other news, someone finally mapped the feline brain.

Monday, February 21, 2005

White out

UPDATE: Instead, I went to yoga and then hung out with my friend L. We sat on her couch and ate sushi and watched about four episodes of Sex and the City, from when Steve moves in Miranda to when Carrie starts dating Aidan. Then I drove home through the snow and fell asleep in fresh, warm flannel sheets with Scully snuggled up against my leg. It was the BEST night.

It's blizzarding again and I just want to go home, eat everything in my pantry and curl up in bed.

Notes from New York

The Gates in Central Park are fascinating. When J and I first walked into the Park, I was non-plussed. There are lots and lots gates. But as we walked through the Park, you can see how the Gates undulate and weave through the trees, creating a map of pedestrian movement that's both static and dynamic at the same time. The color is very festive, too. I felt like we were part of an Asian celebratory parade of some kind.

New Jersey, on the other hand, was just bizarre. Not funny bizarre, like going to the Paramus Mall and finding a great bargain in a store that never has sales. I'm talking Twin Peaks bizarre, complete with talking log and psychic midget.

My father, who grew up in Brooklyn and worked as a cab driver in New York City for several years, could not locate our hotel in New Jersey. We ended up driving around 17 in circles for a good half hour while my mother screamed and kvetched in the passenger seat, and my father and I looked fruitlessly for the Doubletree amid the endless mall sprawl. When we finally found the place, the guy at the desk put us in rooms on the second floor but couldn't tell us where the elevators or the stairs were. The next morning when we came downstairs, there was some sort of meeting going on in the hotel ballroom. It sounded like a Portuguese Baptist revival, but it could also have been a very energetic AA meeting being held in a foreign language. I couldn't tell. Then, every few minutes, a woman would walk down the hallway escorting a retarded child to the front door. Every time she went by, she was with a different kid, but there wasn't a van or anything waiting outside, so for all I knew the children were being vacuumed up by some sort of UFO as soon as they stepped outside. It was just WEIRD.

Then there was the bar mitzvah. I had no idea that bar mitzvahs had gotten so elaborate. Every bar or bat mitzvah I attended in middle and high school was at night, so I knew they could get swanky and slightly over the top, but this one took the cake for sheer entertainment value. My cousins threw their son a gala party following his bar mitzvah service. They did exactly what the parents of every other Jewish 13-year old boy and girl in the nation are doing, but it was an example of how pumped up the party racket has become.

1. The Location: a pseudo-French Chateau-style restaurant/function facility in a New Jersey strip mall.

2. The Theme: Casino Night. There was a mini-casino above the dance floor, with fake money and visors that had flashing lights on the brim.

3. The Food: Three buffet spreads and a seated 3-course dinner. In the space of four hours. The initial buffet, which I foolishly assumed was lunch, was followed by a second buffet of fried finger food for the under-13 crowd, a plated salad, pasta dish and choice of salmon, chicken or steak for the adults, and a final dessert buffet with cake, pastries and a sundae bar. The bar mitzvah was two days ago and I'm still full.

4. The Entertainment: A DJ/entertainer brother act that kept the room pulsing with "Sweet Caroline," "Hey-ya" and, later, Harry Connick Jr. renditions of Sinatra songs. There was no point during the afternoon at which I did not need to scream in order to conduct a conversation with the family members sitting at my table. The entertainer half of the duo, a 5'6" gay man in a tight black T-shirt and pants, was clearly on speed. It's an odd thing to watch a man who is clearly a gentile shrieking, "Let's hear it for the MOTZI!!!" at the top of his lungs. He led the kids in the money dance, some Irish step dancing and something involving toilet paper, plastic leis and a stopwatch. He did not one but two rock star leaps off the sizeable speakers set up in front of the DJ booth. He screamed into his microphone so enthusiastically that he turned red and veins stood out in his neck. He was born to be the entertainment director on a cruise ship.

If you're standing in a room having flashbacks from The Wedding Singer, it's a bad scene. I'm not trying to be snarky because my cousin and his friends had fun, and that's really what matters (so does the fact that his parents probably dropped around $15K on the party). It was quite the experience, though.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Mazel tov

This weekend I am heading to the Bermuda Triangle that is New Jersey for my second cousin's son's bar mitzvah. It's the kind of family event I could have skipped without retribution before last summer, but since the entire New York/New Jersey side of the family was going to hoof it up to Vermont for the wedding, I am now embroiled in a strange sort of tit-for-tat family event political situation, and attendance at the bar mitzvah is mandatory.

I haven't been to a bar mitzvah since high school and I have no clue what to wear.

This is also the first time that I will see my father's side of the family since the un-wedding, and I am very glad that my cousin's son will be the center of attention. Hopefully that will minimize the amount of, "So, how ARE you? Really." that I'll get from relatives who mean well but won't know what else to say. They are all good people but I am one of the few cousins who wasn't raised Jewish and who doesn't live in the greater New York metropolitan area, so we only see each other at bar mitzvahs, weddings and funerals. I'm thinking of having a T-shirt made that says, "I'm fine. It's in the past. Let's talk about my cousin," and make things easier for everyone.

I have a hard time accepting concern/worry/pity from people, even when I know they love me and mean well. A couple of relatives sent cards out of the blue last summer and fall, and I was honestly touched. But I grew up with a mother whose motto in life is, "No wusses," and that hard-nosed French Canadian stubbornness resulted in a complete inability to admit weakness or emotional need in any form. In fact, that's been one of the biggest lessons for me over the past year. There are times when you have to lean on others and that's okay, when you HAVE to ask for help because you can't do it on your own. Someday I will have a conversation with my mother about it and see what her experience was.

On a completely different note, I am really looking forward to some good Jewish food! MMmmmmm.

Other plans for the weekend: having a swanky sushi dinner with my friend J, who's in town from San Francisco; going to see the Christo gates in Central Park; catching the Rubens show at the Met.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

A moment of clarity

"Once we accept the fact of loss, we understand that the loved one obstructed a whole corner of the possible, pure now as a sky washed with rain"--Albert Camus

Yesterday I had a brief email exchange with Glenn about the fact that he hasn't sent me the paperwork for the ring yet. I resented having to ask him for the papers a second time. Throughout our entire relationship, he insisted on doing things in his own time and that made me the nag, usually because the things he didn't want to do involved our home, our future or something I needed. Just this once, why couldn't he step up and save me the emotional energy of having to bug him?

As much as I wanted the email to reflect my annoyance and residual anger, I somehow managed to keep it light. He wrote right back and apologized for not mailing the papers sooner, and he asked how I was doing. He said he hoped everything was going well for me.

I know he was just being polite, but it would have been easier if he had been brusk and mean. Then I could have deleted his email without feeling anything. Instead, it brought up the old feelings of love and loss. I wanted to write back and say "What I really meant is I love you and I miss you," but of course I didn't. Instead, I just cried silently at my desk. I sat there wondering how long it will be until stupid emails won't make me cry anymore. How long until I don't want to say--don't even feel--the love or the missing him? It's why I didn't want to email him in the first place, why I don't talk to him anymore.

But after the tears came a moment of clarity, when I realized what a small part of my life is taken up with anything Glenn-related now. It used to eat up every moment of the day--now it's peripheral at best and only sticks its tweedlenose into the picture every so often. I'm at peace with the way things are--I've even accepted that the trollop played a necessary (if shitty) part in the whole thing. If it weren't for her, Glenn and I would probably be married and he would have found an even more painful way to express his feelings, but after the fact, when everything would have been more complicated.

My shrink says that I'll always have a place in my heart for Glenn and I think she's right. At least I can feel the twinges and know that I loved him thoroughly, completely, with absolute trust. I put it all on the line and I lost everything, but what I have now is extra meaningful because I got here on my own terms. And I didn't need to nag anyone along the way.

Sperm count

Thanks to Carmen for putting the best ever headline on Alan Cumming's new cologne, Cumming for Men. If that's not enough for you, he's also launching a line of body products. I suppose if you've got the name, flaunt it!

Britney Spears, consider yourself trumped.

Let's hug it out, bitch

Oh happy day! The first season of Entourage is coming out on DVD.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Making life more super fantastic

I cannot imagine the world before the Manolo.

If you build it, they will come..and criticize

Tonight I'm going to a lecture by the Boston Society of Architects and the Boston Public Library on contemporary California architecture. There's a lot of interesting design going on in SoCal and it will be nice to learn more about how it evolved and where it's headed. I remember seeing some really good design, some really bad design and some stuff that was, well,....remarkable.

Here are some pictures of canyon houses around LA.

Major props for USC. Not only are they appreciating the excellent work of Higgypiggy, they've created an archive of materials from Greene & Greene, the MASTERS of Arts & Crafts architecture. I worship the ground that Greene & Greene trod upon.

More pictures of interesting buildings around LA.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Chicken soup for the roommate's soul

Scully made her feelings on the topic of Valentine's Day quite clear by throwing up on my bed while I was at work. Poor puss--I don't blame her for booting, but now I really wish the laundry machines in my building were big enough to handle my down comforter.

The best part of Valentine's Day being over: discounted V-day candy!! Bring on the gummy hearts, baby. Bring them ON.

My roommate's boyfriend is *still here*. He's a nice enough guy but he and his computer have been hogging the couch for 5 days now and I want my living space back. Being sexiled in your own apartment gets irritating after a while. I want to walk around in my pajamas without worrying if I'm flashing my headlights, and watch my trashy TV shows without his silent judgement. Plus, he uses my bathroom products and leaves the toilet seat up. That's cute if *I'm* dating the guy in question, but otherwise it's just sort of rude.

It's jarring to coexist with the casual intimacies shared by a couple. It's been a long time since I lived with someone who HAD a significant other. None of my roommates after college had boyfriends who came over very much. When the boys stayed over, it was sort of fun and exciting to have everyone under one roof. It meant we were sexually liberated adults or something. Now it feels different. My roommate and her boyfriend have been very considerate, but I watch them talk in the bathroom and make dinner together and cuddle on the couch, and it forces me to acknowledge an emptiness in my life that I prefer to avoid. I miss living with a guy. My single life is fabulous, but sometimes it just creeps in on me.

Osho Zen Tarot card for the day: Guidance

You have to look for guidance because you don't know your inner guide is hidden inside you. You have to find the inner guide, and that's what I call your witness. That's what I call your dharma, that's what I call your intrinsic buddha. You have to awaken that buddha and your life will shower blessings, benediction. Your life will become so radiant with good, with godliness, more than you can possibly conceive. It is almost like light. Your room is dark, just bring light in. Even a small candle will do, and the whole darkness disappears. And once you have a candle you know where the door is.You don't have to think about it: "Where is the door?" Only blind people think about where the door is. People who have eyes and the light is there, they don't think. Have you ever thought, "Where is the door?" You simply get up and go out. You never give a single thought to where the door is. You don't start groping for the door or hitting your head against the wall. You simply see, and there is not even a flicker of thought. You simply go out.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Who spiked the Kool-Aid?

It's pretty clear that the people over at Sperling's were snorting crack (or sniffing AXE Deodorant) when they ranked America's Best and Worst Cities for dating. Springfield, MA belongs on no one's top 10 list of anything, except maybe the top places to get shot while visiting the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Single is the new sick

If Yahoo Personals is to be believed, today is officially National Call in Single Day.

I can just picture the look on my boss' face if I called her and said, "I can't come to work today, I'm single."

When I first read the headline, I thought "Hey! Someone came up with a national excuse for avoiding all the obnoxious, work-inappropriate rose deliveries and conspicuous cross-cubicle flashing of Hallmark-inspired bling!" But no. Instead, all of us single types are supposed to "take time to focus on ourselves and find our needle in a haystack."

There are so many things wrong with this concept that I don't know where to start.

First, I cannot simultaneously focus on myself (ie drop huge cash on a spa weekend to avoid my roommate and her boyfriend having loud sex in the next room) and look for my needle at the same time. Also, I do not *want* to look for my needle, particularly on Valentine's Day. Nor do I want to call him my "needle," unless we're being creative about penis nicknames and even then it's creepy.

Second, why does focusing on myself mean looking for a significant other? I may be single but my sense of self does not revolve around whether I have a man in my life. This is yet another reason to blow off Valentine's Day.

On the upside, bad kissers can now go to kissing school.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

An Oxy girl in an Oxy world

When people told me that the whole Glenn experience would change me, I didn't think they meant it would change me physically. But it did. In some weird, lovely and not so lovely ways. On the plus side, I lost 20 pounds and managed not to gain it all back. On the down side, my body chemistry shifted back about fifteen years, which took me a while to recognize as a direct consequence of the fact that I went off the Pill last July. So I was completely mystified when my deodorant stopped working and my skin broke out as if I'd stepped into a belated adolescence.

Hormones are funny, funny things and when you haven't had to think about them for a while, they can play nasty games on you. I went on the Pill eleven years ago, during my freshman year of college, and never went off it. I started because, for reasons known only to my uterus and ovaries, I began getting my period twice a month. Two periods a month is bad for your underwear, your sex life and your mental sanity (as well as your hematocrit), especially during college when very few people are concentrating on taking good care of their bodies. Eleven years is a long time, and I totally forgot about the way ingesting hormones of any kind will play with your system. When I went off the Pill last summer, I went off because I couldn't get my act together about transferring my prescription from LA to Boston. Also, I was suddenly having no sex whatsoever and going to all that trouble only so I could be reminded of my now-dormant sex life every night before bed didn't make much sense.

Two things happened almost immediately. I dropped another five pounds that I didn't know I had to lose, and my moods suddenly became as even as a balance beam. All of a sudden the grief stopped being so debilitating. Bonus!

A few months passed and suddenly I started getting these nasty little zits along my hair line. My deodorant stopped working and I realized it was because the PH of my body had changed. Then the zits spread to my chest and along the back of my shoulders. After another month, I began breaking out like a teenager. My face looked like a pizza, at least to me. I never had skin problems even when I WAS 15, so this was extra disturbing. When it became clear that the acne wasn't just going to vanish on its own, I broke down and made a trip to CVS.

Buying Oxy when you're 29 is embarassing. I felt like a failure as a female, like I wasn't reading enough magazines or taking good enough care of my skin. Thankfully, the stuff did the trick. I should note that I went back on the Pill right after Christmas, so that probably helped. But what the Oxy people neglected to tell me (or what I didn't read on the box) is that Oxy isn't nice to fabric. It bleached my nice new towels, my new flannel sheets and the back of my new Victoria's Secret pajama top that I bought to wear for B on my last trip to SF. I suppose it's a small price to pay for normal, healthy adult skin. Lesson learned.

Friday, February 11, 2005


The yoga/Pilates/dance fusion movement has officially gone over the edge.

Daily dharma

My Osho Zen tarot card of the day: Consciousness

We come from the unknown and we go on moving into the unknown. We will come again; we have been here thousands of times, and we will be here thousands of times. Our essential being is immortal but our body, our embodiment, is mortal. Our frame in which we are, our houses, the body, the mind, they are made of material things. They will get tired, they will get old, they will die. But your consciousness, for which Bodhidharma uses the word 'no-mind'--Gautam Buddha has also used the word 'no-mind'--is something beyond body and mind, something beyond everything; that no-mind is eternal. It comes into expression, and goes again into the unknown. This movement from the unknown to the known, and from the known to the unknown, continues for eternity, unless somebody becomes enlightened. Then that is his last life; then this flower will not come back again. This flower that has become aware of itself need not come back to life because life is nothing but a school in which to learn. He has learned the lesson, he is now beyond delusions. He will move from the known for the first time not into the unknown, but into the unknowable.

More Daily Dharma. Though sometimes it's weekly.

Confirming what everyone already knew

Even though his design got him voted off Project Runway, Austin's Grammy dress is bidding higher than Wendy's or Kara Saun's.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Notes in honor of V-day

Prince Charles is finally making an honest woman out of Camilla Parker Bowles.

How a broken heart is like a heart attack.

Preppy brides, take note. JCrew has launched a wedding collection.

And Glenn's trollop will be performing the same dance we saw her do almost a year to the day after she entered the picture. How the world does come full circle.

A day in the life

I’ve discovered the hard way that if I take a shower any later than 7:45am, there will be no hot water left in my building’s hot water heater. Apparently everyone in my building takes a shower at the same time and our synchronicity drains the hot water reserves, so if you’re not in the shower before 7:45, you’re out of luck until about 10am. This fact always escapes me on days like today, when I’ve hit the snooze button three or four times and am so bleary when I get into the bathroom that I can barely see the faucet. Maintaining a Zen attitude about cold showers on a rainy Thursday morning is difficult to say the least, especially since the radiator-type heaters in the apartment are constantly jacked up to tropical levels and I can’t help but wonder why some of that heat can’t be transferred to the water tanks ahead of time. That way, lazy cranks like me won’t feel like the building is taunting them for sleeping late by withholding hot water privileges.

When I’m not in complete morning grouch mode, I love the place I live. It’s one of those post-war brick piles so typical of Cambridge, the kind that’s been subdivided so many times over the years that you can trace its layers like a tree. There’s a seven-inch gap between my front door and the hallway wall where you can see four or five different pieces of wall that have been tacked together in a sort of time capsule of renovation. I won’t even get into the creepy, maze-like basement that feels like something out of a horror movie.

The building is primarily populated by graduate students at Harvard, Tufts or Lesley, which means that it’s basically a glorified dorm. Considering how overpriced the apartments are, I can see how the laidback atmosphere would drive your typical Pottery Barn acolyte insane (even though everyone has progressed past the point of throwing loud keg parties). But for me it’s extremely comforting. The walls are so thin that I can hear my next door neighbor playing his guitar, and the couple down the hall blasting their stereo, or the people two floors down laughing at an episode of Sex and the City. Even when I’m home by myself I never feel alone. When I walk in the front door at the end of the day, the hallway always smells slightly of pot, which in some ways is as welcoming as the scent of cooking food or laundry in the dryer. My roommate and I haven’t figured out who the smokers are but when we do, you can bet we’ll be knocking on their door looking for a handout. It’s the Cambridge equivalent of the duplex in Singles (although I have yet to find a neighbor as cute as Campbell Scott). People in the building borrow each other’s snow shovels, visitor parking permits, sugar and flour. We bonded in the street after the big blizzard snowed everyone’s car in under 4 feet of snow. The dog owners all know each other, and everyone with a pet has posted a cute picture of their furry friend on their front door so that, if there’s a fire, the firemen will know to save the animals, too.

More dreams

Last night I dreamed that I was still living with Glenn in a house on the suburban street where I grew up, not in our apartment in LA. Every time I tried to talk to him or get his attention, he was distracted and distant, and he wouldn't engage on any level. It occurred to me at that he had stopped being in love with me somewhere along the line. At one point he sat down and I climbed into his lap and asked him if he still loved me. I needed to hear the answer out loud. He hesitated before answering and then gave me one of his typical circular answers. “Well, here’s the thing,” he said. “I don’t love you anymore right now but everyone is telling me that I’ll learn to value you more down the road, so I don’t want to let go.” I climbed off his lap and told him it was over and left the house without looking at him again. I knew in my gut that what he said was true but hearing him say it flicked a switch in my brain. Later in the dream, a good friend offered me a bit part in a play he was directing and I ended up playing multiple roles, which made me so busy that I didn’t have time to think about Glenn anymore.

The twisted wisdom of Celestial Seasonings

So I walk into the kitchen at work today and discover that our resident Tea Fairy has left a box of Celestial Seasonings' latest herbal creation on the counter. It's called Peach Apricot Honeybush.

Am I the only one whose mind is stuck in the gutter?

Apparently no one at Celestial Seasonings has an inkling of the subtext here because the top of the box proudly states that the tea is “100% Natural Honeybush.” Exotic South African Honeybush no less.

After I finished considering the possible financial upside of making a case for sexual harassment in the workplace, I turned the tea box over and discovered that Celestial Seasonings has gotten into the business of dispensing spiritual guidance. Here's what the Honeybush had to say:

--Striving Upward--
"When we were young and so keenly felt our lacking, we saw the others high above us and thought, “If only we could reach them.” Now here we are, up in childhood’s ether, and we know a thing or two. Yet still we strive upward, as if for some exotic fruit hidden among tangled branches. Some would say, “Be happy where you are!” But we are happy, you see. Besides, it’s not a question of happiness, it’s a question of human-ness. Whether on a mountain path or open sea or printed page, we must always press on. We expect no miracles. After all, it is only ourselves we hope to find."

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves—William Shakespeare

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Driven mad by that Banana Republic ad


Sorry--I'm still in shock over Austin getting booted off Project Runway in favor of evil, bitter Wendy. Does anyone else out there feel like the studio execs made this decision and not the judges? I foresee much drama and bad design coming our way. Austin, next time I make the red carpet, I am so hiring you to design my dress.

Today was such a mixed bag. The woman who sits next to me at work just got her pictures from her fabulous beach wedding in Mexico and my entire department descended on her desk to ooh and ahh over them. Loudly. Very loudly. And then they decided to share all the tasty tidbits from their own wedding experiences. Again, loudly. Some of us were actually trying to do some WORK. I swear, it was like a scene straight out of Steel Magnolias. I was less irritated by the topic of conversation than I was by the decibel level at which was conducted--I was tired and cranky, and I finally retreated to the marketing manager's office just to get five minutes of quiet. Disclaimer: my job rocks, my coworkers are generally great, and the woman who got married is a complete doll. I do not begrudge her a single thing. But I do think that I lack the biddy gene most women have ingrained in them. I also lack the makeup gene, the shoe gene and anything that causes women to sign up on either The Knot or The Nest. This would explain why my mother spent the evening of my senior prom chasing me around the house, eyeliner in hand. I kid you not. God knows what she would have done at the wedding if it had actually happened. *shudder*

Just when I have a moment of nostalgia about life in LA, the universe reminds me that I'm really not missing that much. Then again, we did get some cool swag at the DVD magazine I wrote for there.

The day improved immeasurably when I discovered the lunchtime yoga class at the gym down the hill. It kicked my butt, it was cheapcheapcheap and the instructor rocked. Yoga in the middle of the day is better than Diet Coke--I spent the rest of the day being super productive and bopping along in my chair while listening to KCRW online.

On a completely random note, I have to say that Trader Joe's has hit the goldmine with its TJ-branded ripoff of Pirate's Booty. It's cheesy crack in a bag.

People need to throw more parties

Tonight I had my second internet date. Have you ever met someone who is clearly gay but hasn't come to grips with their sexuality? It was like that. The guy bore a startling resemblance to Sean Hayes, but less like Jack on Will & Grace and more like the evil, chicken-hoarding hermit in Pieces of April. Needless to say, I won't be seeing him again.

I'm seriously thinking of bagging the whole online dating thing. Everyone in the world knows someone who met their significant other online, but it's just not my scene. Meeting people online is awkward and forced, and it feels too virtual to connect with anyone in a meaningful way. How has our generation become so cut off from the kind of community our parents grew up with that we have to rely on digital networks to meet likeminded people? After signing up with the dating service, I started reading a great book called Urban Tribes, which is about how young people are forming their own urban families to replace the community structure that somehow got lost over the past few decades.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Giving up the ghost

Today I dragged my ass out of bed at the crack of dawn and hauled myself over to the Massachusetts RMV, where I formally re-registered my car, thereby relinquishing one of my last ties to my former life in California. Now all that's left is my CA license and my LA cell phone number. I don't know why I'm so reluctant to give up my California citizenship. The idea of putting down roots here in Boston, where I grew up just feels so....small. Boston is full of history and California is new, unexplored, full of possibility. Living in LA changed me in some fundamental ways that had nothing to do with Glenn and everything to do with my sense of self, my priorities, the way I want to live my life. So coming back here felt like an admission of failure, a retreat of sorts. It's been a lot like trying to shove my feet into a favorite pair of shoes that no longer fit. For the past 8 months, Boston has been an incubator and the longer I stay here, the longer it feels like I'm still recovering from something.

My boss and I have been talking about the possibility of relocating my position to the company's west coast bastion in Mountain View. At first I hoped that we could make the move this summer, but now it's looking like it will happen at the end of 2005. When she told me in our meeting last week, I almost cried. Another year here? Another year of waiting to advance my yoga practice, another winter to deal with. But I've decided to change my attitude. If I live every day of the next year to its utmost I will have no regrets when I move to the Bay Area. Looking back, I've rushed through so many experiences by focusing on the futute instead of living fully in the present. Then, when I get where I was so eager to go, I look back and realize how good I had it before. And then the nostalgia hits because I didn't take advantage of good moments when I had the chance. I've spent years trying to leave Boston but I always end up coming back because I never realized that the answers I was searching for in other locations were really things I had to find in myself. Trite but true. It's a cycle that I'm stopping as of this moment. If, in a year, I still want to make the move out west, it will be because I've wrung every last bit of love out of Boston and I'm ready to relocate for a good, long time. No more bouncing around like Happy Fun Ball.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Bellyful of brownies

I have found my knight in shining armor and his name is Duncan Hines.

My apartment is filled with the smell of freshly baked brownies, only half of which are left because I ate half the pan as soon as they came out of the over. Baking was my answer to the sudden, random meltdown that happened as soon as I walked in the door tonight after dance class. I wish I could rack it up to PMS, but seeing as I just finished my period, I don't get off that easy.

It's just that sadness is sometimes a subtle, silent companion that only makes itself known when it so desires. What it comes down to is that I'm lonely. It's not an easy time of year to be single and nursing a broken heart. Every freaking store in Boston is full of Valentine's Day decorations. I live around the corner from The Paper Store and their windows are decked out with arty cards declaring, "All You Need is Love...and paper," and pretty displays of wedding invitations to weddings that actually happened. As if that isn't enough of a punch in the gut, almost all the invitations are to weddings in the greater LA area. WHY?? Then there's the mannequin dressed in a wedding gown made of white paper. It's the Paper Store's special way of saying "fuck you..with paper."

I had to email Glenn last night because his insurance company sent me my copy of our renter's insurance policy. Clearly he never bothered to let them know that I don't live with him in that apartment anymore. He wrote back today--a short, impersonal note, the kind that's a smack in the face even when you think you know what's coming. I wonder if he thought about me during the Superbowl, or thought about the fact that I wasn't there watching with him. I wonder if he notices the Valentine's stuff around our neighborhood in LA. I wonder if he's dating someone and can't be bothered to remember me anymore.

Ballroom dance wasn't fun tonight. So far I haven't cared about not having a partner, but tonight it got to me. Lately I've been feeling invisible to the universe and to men in particular. On my way out of work today, I rode the elevator with the cute new guy who sits down the hall. Rather than talk or even acknowledge my existence, he popped in his iPod earphones and zoned out. Men I pass on the street look straight through me as if I'm transparent. Even the dance instructor didn't notice me standing against the wall while the other couples practiced swing turns, and I get tired of having to stand up and make an effort to get noticed. The T was full of couples. My roommate's boyfriend is coming to visit for 4 nights this week. B hasn't called since I got home from San Francisco and I know he won't call anytime soon, if ever.

Long story short, I opened my front door and burst into tears. It's been a while since I've cried like that and I'm just glad that my roommate wasn't around because I couldn't deal with being polite about the way I was feeling. I stood in front of the fridge and couldn't see anything I wanted to eat. The pantry was full of food from Trader Joes that reminded me of the life I don't have with Glenn anymore. Stupid, stupid little things like the way the R on the Roche Bros.-brand food looks like the R on Ralphs-brand food. All this equaled me curled up in a ball on the couch, wishing something good would happen to pull me out of the moment. People are starving in Indonesia and I'm feeling abandoned by the universe because I'm lonely. It's all a matter of perspective.

Then came the brownies. Sometimes comfort food really does bring comfort. I'm still curled up on the couch, but this time my stomach is full of chocolately goodness and I'm watching a rerun of last week's Battlestar and suddenly the world isn't quite so bad. We'll see how I feel tomorrow morning when I wake up (and when I get on the scale).

What does it have in its pocketses?

Heidi Klum, listen up. I think the next assignment for Project Runway should be designing women's pants that don't bell around the pockets. I mean, it's ridiculous. What changed in pants design over the past three years that resulted in baggy-pocket pants???? Did the clothing gods decide that we'd all gotten so fat that they had to make a little extra (and incredibly unflattering) room in the butt area of pants? It used to be that you could find a decent pair of nicely cut slacks at Banana Republic or the Gap or JCrew. If they were wool, they had a nice lining inside so you didn't have to spend all day scratching at your legs, or deal with that horrible thick leg feeling that comes when you have to wear tights underneath your pants. Either way, no baggy pockets. Then, one day, someone decided to change how they cut their ready-to-wear pants and here we are, doomed to a closet full of pants with bad, messy, nonaesthetically pleasing lines. Sometimes I buy pants that don't LOOK like they will bell around the pockets, only to get to the office and find that they BELL when you actually wear them outside the changing room!! It's bad design. It's tacky and ugly and a total personal pet peeve, right up there with parking tickets, bad customer service and people who can't use "myriad" properly in a sentence. I'm anal, I know. But why must it be so hard to find pants that FIT?

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Eight months today.

Two years ago today, we watched the Superbowl with Glenn's family in Connecticut. One year ago today, we watched the game at our friend Steve's house in the Valley. This year I am ignoring the game altogether. It was a spectacular day today--sunny, 50s, clear and spring-like. I went for a really long run and tried to do stairs at the stadium but it was still iced in. The upside of being single right now is that I'm under no pressure to waste all or part of the day in front of the TV. My sports fanaticism burned out this past fall after the Red Sox won the World Series, and I couldn't care less whether the Patriots win the Superbowl. Again. Maybe it's just that I don't want to deal with a room full of testosterone. I miss testosterone.

This past August, I had dinner with Doug and Annie, a young, hip couple who somehow ended up living around the corner from my parents in suburban hell. Doug called off an engagement years ago (before meeting Annie) and he said it took him almost a year to stop feeling like he was defined by the experience. At the time, I felt like I would never reach the point of not being defined by my breakup with Glenn and the pain it entailed, but I think I'm getting there now. I don't know quite when it happened, but now when I wake up in the morning, I don't wish like hell for the day to be over so that I can put one more day between me and what happened. When people ask me about my life, the fact that I called off my engagement isn't what comes out of my mouth first. I'm actually tired of talking about the breakup. Every new experience is a fresh topic of conversation, another addition to my life a semi-well rounded single person. In a weird way, it's like when I was 12-year old Bluebird (the hippy-dippy version of Girl Scouts) and everytime I learned a new skill, I got a patch or a bead that my mother sewed on my blue felt vest, Individually, the beads and patches didn't add up to much, but after a while the vest got full and it looked like I'd actually accomplished something with myself. Except there's no official club for Almost Brides or people who get their hearts broken.

Higgypiggy once told me something about the nature of loss that really stuck with me. He said that you never really get over life-altering loss, you just learn to integrate it into your daily life in a way that doesn't shatter you. When he told me that, I was still one big, open emotional wound. I felt as raw as chopped meat. Today, there' s still sensitivity but it feels more like I'm wearing a few internal bandaids over a lot of new, pink, healthy tissue. I don't know if my heart will ever be whole in the way it was before I met Glenn, but I can hope that the person I've become because of him will open me up to new, better, more wonderful experiences. I guess we'll see.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Clean slate

Today I finished the journal I started last July. Those first pages are filled with pain and the page I just finished is brimming with hope. Finishing the last line felt so meaningful. Now I can really close the book on that part of my life. As Anne of Green Gables said, tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes. Every time I start a new journal, I'm filled with a sense of possibility. Who knows what will happen between now and the very last page? What will I read when I leaf through this book in a few months? No matter what, it will be a completely new chapter in my reality and I'm doing my best to stay open to whatever might come my way. Somehow I've survived the hardest thing I've ever experienced and emerged on the other side a different, stronger person. God, that sounds horribly cliche. But in some ways, finishing that journal was more of a New Years celebration than anything I could have done last month. I feel like I'm on the verge of *something*. I have no idea what, but I can't wait to find out.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Shout out to J.Lo

It's that time of year, the time when Almost Brides take their bling to the bank and move the fuck on. Word on the street is that J.Lo took her pink rock back to Harry Winston. She's no longer Jenny on Ben Affleck's block. You go girl!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

It's the little things that get you

The universe has a way of kicking you in the gut and reminding you of just how humble your heart is. It always happens when you least expect it, usually right around when you think you're impervious to all things ex-related. Right when you think you're strong enough to break out the CDs that used to remind you of him, for example, or watch sappy movies without packing an entire box of tissues. And it's always the things you never see coming down the pike.

Today someone at work left a package of Madagascar Vanilla tea on the counter in the ktichen. Innocuous, yes? NO. In a completely reflexive, sentimental move stemming from years of attuned to another person, I reached for the phone to call Glenn and tell him I'd found his favorite tea. It was a moment not unlike the one a few months ago, when I was standing in Trader Joe's and looked down to find that I just put six bottles of the seltzer he liked into the cart without even noticing. Knee-jerk doesn't begin to describe it.

Glenn was on a neverending quest for the perfect Madagascar vanilla tea. When we lived in Boston, he worked at a bike shop in Cambridge that was across the street from a tea cafe that served a particular vanilla tea blend. He would not shut up about that tea. I ended up buying him a pound of it for Valentine's Day the year we left for California, and ever since we left the east coast he's been searching for a comparable blend.

I actually reached for the phone before I realized what I was doing and stopped myself. Then I felt pathetic for having the urge to call him in the first place. How do people get into your system like this? How can you love someone you don't even like anymore? Do they ever stop being a part of your life?

Toe in the water

One thing that really sucks about ending a long-term relationship, especially one that you thought was going to be permanent, is the realization that you have to go back on the dating scene. Let's be honest--dating SUCKS. You have to try all these people on for size and just hope that one day you'll find one that fits and doesn't chafe in weird, unexpected places. You have to worry about what underwear you're wearing out on dates and whether you remembered to shave your legs that morning, and if your jeans make your butt look good. Dressing up for someone you love is fun, but for me dressing for dates is like going back to high school--I can never do quite the right thing.

So a few months ago, I signed up with an online dating site just for the hell of it. I was stuck in the suburbs, where eligible, sane men dared not venture, and it helped me feel less isolated from the world of normal people. Meeting people online cut down on the number of awkward dinner dates and fashion-inspired anxiety. This way, I get to wake up in the morning and see which men out there think I'm hot. Are they worthy? Are they freaks? Now I can judge from a distance and cherry-pick the good ones, all while protecting my fragile ego. Why couldn't we do this ten years ago????

I have gone on a total of one date with someone I met on the site. He was very nice, extremely normal and exactly what he said he was in his profile (apparently this is rare?) But we had zero chemistry and ended up spending a very long hour trying to make conversation until our omelettes were eaten. If that's the worst that online dating can offer, I'm down with it.

I have, however, emailed extensively with a few guys on the site. Emailing rarely leads anywhere, but you get to find out some interesting things that might otherwise have taken months to surface. People's profiles give away a lot of secrets. Can they spell correctly? Do they use vernacular, smiley faces or acronyms? Have they read a book in the past year? Are they self-involved,lacking confidence or too into their toys?

One man I chatted with has a tube in his brain from a childhood cerebral illness and he doesn't drink because his doctors told him it could kill him. Another bragged endlessly about his film company and completely forgot to ask anything about me, which sort of negated the whole "getting to know you" thing. Then there was the 35-year old self-employed cyclist. I almost gave myself whiplash from slamming the computer shut. Only one guy sent me naked pictures, so I count myself lucky.

Right after I signed up for the site, I got curious about who I could have met if I'd stayed in LA, so I ran a search in my old zip code and guess who I found? My heart sank and I felt like I'd been suckerpunched--Glenn had already re-entered the dating world. And his photos were kickass. The downside of modern dating is finding your ex-fiance's profile on an online dating site. I cried for two days, but then I forced myself to read his profile closely and I discovered that, while my profile contained a little bit of information about who I am, his profile encompassed ALL of who he is. Read that profile, know Glenn instantly, Women of LA, beware. He likes to steal olives from the olive bar at Whole Foods and he'll make you wait until 5pm on a Saturday to hang out because he's too busy riding his bike. Have fun

The scaffolding comes down

Last night, as I reached for a book to read before bed, it occurred to me that I haven't read a self-help book in almost two months. Talk about shock and awe. Those things were my crutch for the longest time. If the mountain of books with titles like, "Surviving The Loss of a Love," "Getting the Love You Want," "When Things Fall Apart," and "Dark Nights of the Soul," had toppled over on me while I was still staying with my parents, it would have killed me in my sleep.

Then I realized that I haven't been to the forums on TGTB in a really, really long time. And I haven't even heard from the people in my old support group since December. I didn't notice their absence until now. I guess everyone has healed to a certain extent and moved past the point of needing that support network. Life really does go on, and at some point the scaffolding that goes up around a damaged person comes down piece by piece.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Tampax, I bow to thee

Today I rejoined the ranks of single women everywhere when I partook in a ritual that's rarely spoken of--the incredible sigh of relief that comes when you get your period after sleeping with a man you do not want to have children with. Protection or no protection, Aunt Flo really is every woman's little red friend. Even if you know you've been super duper safe, you can't help but drop your head in your hands and thank the goddess for the reprieve.

I love The Pill.

That is all.

Cat of Divorce

Scully misses Glenn. It's terrible to see. For some reason, I can't bring myself to hate him for his actions towards me but I abhor him for breaking my kitty's heart. Her little white ears still perk up whenever someone whistles and she always looks to see who's coming in the door the way she did when we were a little family unit. When she gets feisty, she still wants to get scratched on her back but I can't do it the way he did it and she gives me these sad looks, as if I just don't measure up in the scratching department.

Glenn, you will never again get to come home and see Scully run out of the bedroom to greet you. You'll never get to whistle at her from behind the door and hear her miaow in excitement. You'll never get to chase her around the house and tackle her onto the bed, or give her rough scratches when she flops down at the bottom of your dresser. She'll never roll around on the floor and chase her hind foot for you again, or show you her silly shark face when she's in a playful mood. You'll never find white fur on every piece of your clothing, or take the huge mat of cat fur out of the lint drawer in the dryer and smile.

When you get up in the morning, you won't get to give her treats or have her keep you company while you get ready for your morning ride. She won't sleep wedged between your legs or jump on your nighttable when she has a 4am hunger attack. She won't purr for you when you've had a bad day, or rub up against your toes when you're sitting on the couch. You'll never see her do sprints down the hallway again, or chase the string in a circle on the bed, or rip the brown paper grocery bags to shreds with enthusiastic delight.

And she doesn't know why you're not around anymore. All she knew was that there was tension and crying, then I was gone and then you were gone and then she was high as a kite on kitty tranquilizers and we were flying back to Boston. She spent 6 months in a house with three other cats and whenever you called, she came running. You were her daddy for 3 years and you abandoned her and I hope you rot in hell.

Must be in the water?

A year ago, all my friends were happily married and I thought I was about to join their blissful, nested ranks. What fools, we. Now three---count them, three-- of my very best friends are in the throes of major marital conflicts and I am in the extraordinarily twisted and bizarre position of advisor to the lovelorn. Even Alanis Morrissette couldn't come up with irony like this. Except it's not funny in the least, nor is it fun for any of the people involved. My friends are my family (well, my family is my family, but at least you get to choose your friends, and my friends are a lot easier to like than my family), and the only thing in the world that I wish for them is happiness of a scale that cannot be measured. What can I say--I'm fiercely loyal.

There's A, who's my best girlfriend from middle school. She met her husband in college and they got married at age 22. They were my first friends to get married, buy a house and have not one but two children who are so cute that they frequently reduce the most stubbornly unsentimental adults to cooing, rapturous idiocy. A's husband has always been a solid, dependable family man and they were rooted firmly enough in their domestic womb that I honestly thought they led the perfect married life. But now A is realizing that sex after 10 years together isn't what it was in college, and her husband has been spending all his free time building his new business, and suddenly A woke up one day and realized that she'd spent the past 10 years living her life for everyone but herself. Enter the couples therapist, stage left. My illusions of married life are being shatted in teeny, tiny bits, the kind that fall into your eyes and skew your vision for years to come.

R hooked up with her husband the same night I hooked up with my college boyfriend (actually, in the tent across the way from ours). Things didn't work out for me and my guy, but R and her husband dated all through college and grad school, lived together and then moved across country and got married. Now R is realizing that her hubby doesn't listen to her needs, and she feels like she'll never have exciting sex again. Enter individual therapist, stage right.

T was my college roommate and she met her husband right around the time when I met Glenn. They had a wild, whirlwind romance, a spectacular wedding by the ocean (which Glenn photographed beautifully) and then they moved to Germany so T's husband could do a post-doc in Hamburg. They basically got married, moved in together for the first time and moved to a foreign country where T had no job and didn't speak the language. The problems started forthwith. Somehow her husband morphed into Glenn's evil twin, complete with pre-marital activities with a grad student, except all this came to light post-wedding so she didn't have the option of vacating the premises without incurring legal complications.

What is going on:?????????????

Maybe men really are from Mars. Is is a generational aversion to responsibility? 50% of all marriages may end in divorce, but this is way out of control. These are the people we all knew would make it in the long run. R, T and A are amazing people who just want fulfilling relationships in which their needs are met. If that's too much to ask, then I'm sticking to life with cats. At least they don't complain when you put your cold feet on them in bed.

For the first time since last summer, I really, truly feel lucky to be single. I hate that this feeling comes at the expense of my friends' happiness.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Another field trip to the box factory

My mother's birthday is today and so I went home to have dinner with my family in the suburbs. Having lived in my parent's house for 6 painful, claustrophobic months, I now avoid the place like the plague, but you can't avoid the birthdays. Half of my life is still in boxes in their basement and so every time I visit, I end up rummaging around looking for something that's suddenly started haunting me with its absence. Tonight it was cooking utensils. My new roommate doesn't cook (which is one reason we're a good pair) and this means our kitchen, which she populated with dishes, pans and a startling dearth of useful appliances, often lacks something I took for granted in my old apartment in LA. Such as spatulas. Or the neat little roller thing that takes the skin off garlic. Or a hand blender. The other week I tried to make banana bread and I almost burned out the regular blender trying to get the stupid dry stuff to mix with the wet stuff. So on this trip home, I dug up my nice whisk and my mother's ancient hand blender, which dates from the 60s but still works like a charm.

The pile of boxes in the basement is a monument to past, present and future. The day the movers delivered all my stuff from LA, I refused to leave my room and so my father had to make sure that everything was there and that the mover got paid. I just couldn't watch them take my things off the truck. There was something like a time warp going on in my brain--I could not grasp that my dresser was now in the basement and not in our bedroom in LA. It was just so wrong. Everything about it was wrong. I wanted it to go back. I wanted to go back myself. What had I done? Had I left too abruptly and made a panicked snap decision? My life was in LA and what the hell was I doing in Boston? Poor Higgypiggy endured about two months of teary phone calls that revolved around whether I had done the right thing. What it came down to was that as long as my stuff was in LA, I could still go back and nothing was really over. As soon as it arrived, EVERYTHING was over and beginning again all at the same time, but the new thing wasn't something I wanted anything to do with. My life, my love, my job, my friends, my volunteer work, my stairs and yoga were all 3,000 miles away and now my stuff was in Boston and my world was chaos.

For a long time, my furniture sat in the garage and I could not look at it. Literally could not look at it, much less move it somewhere dry or out of the way. Then, when I finally got up the courage to open some of the boxes to get some tax paperwork, it was like opening a time capsule. There was the box full of my desk stuff from work. There were the DVDs I'd hastily grabbed from the mantel. There was the candle that belonged to Glenn but that my mother had accidentally packed. There was the picture of us sitting on top of Sandstone Peak, smiling like we were on speed and bathed in the late afternoon sun. I had to go through those boxes a lot before I moved out, and the first few times were prolonged paroxysms of grief, where I'd open a box and double over in tears before I could actually sort through the stuff. How could this have happened? Nothing made sense.

It's been almost 8 months since The Breakup and now those boxes are nothing but a huge pain in the ass. My mother packed most of them and now I have to do serious rummaging in order to find anything. But I have realized exactly how little I really need in order to get by, and come spring I'm going down to that basement and Cleaning House. I spent 3.5 years nesting and now I don't want any of it. When the time comes to nest again, I want to start from scratch. I want to be box-free.