Thursday, March 31, 2005

The things we own do not always own us

But sometimes it feels like it. The other day I caught myself swiping catalogs from the bulk mail bin near the front door of my building, catalogs that are not addressed to me, all because the duvet situation had not resolved itself to my satisfaction.

I am Tyler Durden’s worst nightmare. And I don't care.

The stupid duvet would not leave me alone. I was obsessed about bedding--I mean, it felt pretty shallow. And I wanted to talk about it with my friends, as if it were an issue of major concern. But in a way it was, at least to me. It's important that I have something nice to wrap myself in at night, that l like what I see when I open my eyes in the morning and when come home from work at night. It's a way of being nice to myself, of feeling worthy of good treatment. "Just go to Marshalls," my friends said, or "I got great stuff on!" Their advice was perfectly sound, but I had all these gift cards to the Hallowed Grounds of Wedding Registration: Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma. And I wanted to use them rather than shell out on my own.

Two weeks ago, I finally made a decision and I ordered a simple blue duvet with matching pillowcases from PB. Maybe a cool quilt would show up in their summer collection, I figured, and I could round it out with that. But when the box showed up in the mail, I discovered that Porcelain Blue looks a lot different in a catalog and on a website than it does on fabric. Rather than the warm, dusty color I’d been hoping for, it was a cold, icy blue, the kind of stuffy shade that pops in designer catalog rooms but not in a normal person’s space and certainly not in a small apartment bedroom. Martha Stewart could make that blue work, but not me. I tried to stifle the nausea I felt every time I looked at the thing. I washed it and put it on the bed. But I hated it. I used to have nightmares about houses painted that color blue. Hard to explain--colors have always made me feel certain things.

So last night I put the whole set back in the box, and went to the PB store at the Atrium in Newton. I wasn't going to make myself live with something that made me unhappy just because I'd made a misjudgment. At the store, I found a pretty, flowered duvet that made me smile every time I saw it. Smiles are good to have in the bedroom, right? And it was on super deep discount. I picked up the duvet, two shams and a table runner for less than $100, which made the Yankee in me even happier.

This afternoon, I was talking to my boss, a really incredibly, genuine person who has an innate sense of what will put you at ease and make you feel appreciated. I felt silly telling her about my duvet quest as if it were the freaking Holy Grail, but she told me that she did the same thing when she was my age, right after she got out of a bad relationship and was starting out on her own again. It's part of the process, she told me, so don't feel bad about being enthusiastic. Move forward with a smile and feather your own nest.

Straight from the horse's mouth

Wit and wisdom of the ex-fiance. I do not know you, Ms. Cain, but I feel your pain. Men should know better than to be stupid with a writer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A totally random rant on the subject of clubbing baby seals

This makes me so angry I could spit. It's not just the needless killing of innocent animals. It's this:

"Fishermen participating in the hunt, however, blame seals and their voracious appetites for the devastation of Canada's fish stocks, in particular cod, and argue a cull is necessary."

Now, let’s be clear on one thing. Harp seals are not the reason why Canada’s fisheries are in the crapper. Canadian fishermen, as well as fishermen from pretty much every country, routinely overfish and then they protest when the government imposes catch limits in order to allow fish populations to rebound. They also use irresponsible netting/dragging techniques that damage the environment and kill a lot of other sea life along the way. Maybe if the fishermen took responsibility for the way they pursue their livelihood, they wouldn’t be in their current position. They wouldn’t need to deflect blame onto the seals so they can rationalize clubbing some of the cutest creatures on the planet in order to sell their pelts.

If fishermen want sympathy for the decline of their way of life, this is not the way to go about it. Go learn a new trade, something that adds to our quality of life. I'd rather forgo salmon for dinner than patronize this kind of practice.

Idiot Supreme

Even though fame and fortune cause a lot of people to go off the deep end, do mad and crazy things, do immoral or selfish things, or really anything they want to do, it still sucks to find out that one of my favorite Red Sox is a really big jerk. Curt Schilling may be a rabid Republican who’ll say anything that George Bush tells him to, but at least he’s not a deluded philanderer. At least parents can point to him as a role model and not worry that their sons are going to grow up with the wrong idea of how to be a good family man. Steroids, schmeroids, I say.

Buildings with zoom-zoom

Architecture meets carchitecture as car manufacturers ask leading architects to re-invent their design studios.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Brain buzzing before bed

It poured rain today, and when I came out of yoga class, the air and rain felt so GOOD that I walked all the way home in a T-shirt and yoga pants just so I could be outside in the lovely, cool air. I've made a decision to do a yoga retreat in Hawaii this July with a teacher I studied with in LA. For a while I was going back and forth about whether to do the trip because I didn't want a new adventure to be about hanging onto bits of the past, but I don't think it will be like that. I'm going to visit Higgypiggy and Chiztiz in LA very soon, and I'm feeling good about going back to the city and making new memories there. For the first time, the idea of going to LA doesn't make me choke with panic or cry at the thought of not going back to my old apartment. It's time to weave that part of my life into my current existence in a healthy, empowering way. Who cares if Glenn's even in town when I go---this time it's not about him.

I'm feeling really ready to re-enter the dating world, or preferably the relationship world. In yoga, I meditated on opening up to new experiences and I guess we'll see what the universe sends along. My friends and I are hitting the MFA First Friday again this week, and I'm going to check out some other stuff around town. It's time to get out and meet some new people. It still makes me slightly uncomfortable to do it with a sort of alterior motive. Reasons why I will never do 8-minute dating or some such.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter candy addicts anonymous

Hello. My name is Moxie. And I am a jelly bean-aholic.

Since I am single this year and thus unable to celebrate Easter as a pagan holiday of fertility, my sole nod to this day of rebirth is via candy. Lots of candy, specifically of the jelly and the bean varieties.

I've put away two bags of Brachs jelly beans in the past two days. And that's not counting the Starburst jelly beans I knawed my way through last week. Or the jelly eggs I picked up from CVS on Friday. It's the hormones, I swear. That and my body wants the sugar to fuel the growth of my quad muscles, which are bulking up due to the fact that the stadium has defrosted and I'm doing stairs again regularly. That must be it.

Still, the madness has to end. I am hereby swearing off candy forever. Or at least until my sweet tooth kicks in right around when PMS shows up next month. Aieeeee.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Jolly good, old chap

I am re-watching the PBS version of John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga. It's so good that I can't tear myself away and I keep getting to bed late. Damian Lewis, who played Major Winters in Band of Brothers, somehow manages to make me forget he's a hottie with his performance as the odious Soames. And then there's Soames' arctic wife, Irene. When I watched the series for the first time a few years ago, I was totally on Irene's side but this time I am kind of disliking her.

I love old British names. Soames. Swithin. Montague. Winifred. Hester. Jolyon. These are names that deserve a resurrection in modern society, if only to get away from all the current names that are so overused. I know someone named Jolyon and his parents named him after the character in The Forsyte Saga. Discerning parents, his. Maybe it's that I spent so much time in WASP world on the Cape, but I find something seductive and charming about Victorian society, despite the fact that it was so uptight people could barely breathe. The concept of manners is nice in itself.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Temporal displacement

What's the difference between holding onto the past and being anchored by your roots as you move forward in life?

T and I are on the Cape for a few days, staying in her family's summer house on one of the small, semi-exclusive peninsulas off the Falmouth coast. A former boathouse, the cottage is grayed and rambling and full of interesting nooks and crannies. It also houses three generations of memories, embodied by tarnished monogrammed silver, yellowed photos and an overwhelming sense of place. T's great grandparents bought the house in the late 19th century and her family has been coming here ever since. It's just like the book I read last month, which is about a house that's across the bay.

As soon as she walked in the cottage's door, I could see her relax and reconnect with herself, with the person she was when she spent summers running around in her swimsuit, racing Beetlecats and drinking on the beach with the other kids on the island. She knows who every person in every photograph is and she knows their life stories. She knows where she comes from, but right now she can't see where she's going. At the same time, she knows she can't stay here forever. It's too small now.

When I was little, I used to dive into the pool at my parent's health club and see how long I could sit on the bottom before my lungs got tight and I had to get more air. The bottom of the pool was the most beautiful place to me. Blue and sparkling with refracted sunlight, it felt like so safe, as if nothing bad could happen while I was down there. No one could reach me or hurt me (unless they dove on my head). As I got older, I realized that, like the bottom of the pool, the safe places in life can only be visited. You can come home. You can reconnect with your history, but you can never really come back. Even the old haunts have to be made new again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Puss of the Baskervilles

Don't mess with British cats. It must be something in the milk.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Ghosts of childhood TV shows past


I just found out that Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas is Stacy from Kids Incorporated.

Head. Spinning around on shoulders.

I was the biggest, dorkiest Kids Incorporated fan when I was little. I used to dance around the house singing the theme song with a hairbrush for a microphone. Even then I couldn't sing to save my life, but I daydreamed about running up onto that stage and performing with them. There are still songs I automatically associate with that show. "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic." So sad.

And the winner is...

Santa Monica architect Thom Mayne wins the 2005 Pritzker Prize.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

There's no place like home

Sometimes, being in a familiar place feels like you're wrapped up in a great, big, warm security blanket. Everything is comfortable and beloved and safe. There's nothing to discover but also nothing to be scared of, and you know all the shortcuts to get around town.

The Osho Tarot says that "home isn't a physical place, it's a sense of security in ourselves." I agree and disagree with that. I think home can be both, a knowledge of yourself that lets you be at home wherever you are, and a place where you feel so right in the world that there's no doubting anything. Maybe that sounds naive or utopic, but isn't that the nature of home, or at least why it can be comforting? Home is where there's nothing left to run from.

Which is why the following passage from Ann Packer's novel The Dive From Clausen's Pier stuck with me:

I'd been swinging back and forth between staying here and going back---swinging without even thinking about it all that much because thinking couldn't really help me choose as well as seeing could: my clothes, here. My life, here. Was this it? I was still swinging back and forth, though I imagined a moment would come when the swinging would change: no longer a movement between choices, but a movement into memory and regret, and back out again.

**UPDATE** Dawn from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is going to play the lead role in Lifetime's Version of The Dive From Clausen's Pier. Aieee. Do you ever get an image in your mind of how a book's characters should look? Dawn was not what I pictured for Carrie. Maybe Alison Lohman, but definitely not Michelle Trachtenberg.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

LOTR: The Return of the Ring

In which Moxie, having scaled the cliffs of Mount Doom with the help of her trusty friends, flings her engagement ring into the bubbling depths and banishes the Great Eye of Glenn into the misty nothingness of the past.

Or something like that.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything comes full circle, and I think that after today the cycle that began when I first met Glenn has now come to its end. The universe backed me up on this because the day was truly epic, complete with plot and soundtrack.

The day itself, March 19th, would have been our 10-month wedding anniversary. It was a clear, sunny, early spring day. After much weeping on my bed, I got in the car and picked up Carmen, who came along for moral support, and drove downtown. We walked through the Public Garden to Newbury St., home of all that is tony and hip in Boston.

On the way to the jewelry store, we passed a woman wearing the largest emerald-cut diamond engagement ring I have ever seen outside of a magazine advertisement. So big it was vulgar. So big it almost blinded us when it caught the sun. So big it made me glad I was getting rid of my bling. I swear, engagement rings of that size are really just the guy marking his territory.


When we got to the jewelry store, the woman behind the counter clearly didn’t get it. She kept saying Glenn’s name over and over again.

“Connie, have you seen the invoice from Glenn X?”
“How do you spell it?”
“Glenn with two Ns. Last name is XXXXXX.”
“How’s that again?”
“Glenn XXXXXX?”
“Yes, that’s it. From December 2002. That’s right, isn’t it? Glenn XXXXXX bought it in December 2002?”

Yes, thank you. Now please shut up.

She finally clued in when I burst into tears and then she got all sympathetic. She gave me a choice between consigning the ring or getting a check, and I got flustered. She said, “Well, these rings are getting harder and harder to find.” And Carmen turned to her and said, “Just like good men.”

Carmen, you ROCK.

I was still sniffling a little when we left the jewelry store, but I started feeling better as soon as we’d put a block or two between us and the ring. The further we walked, the better I felt.

We hit Legal Seafood in the Pru for lunch. There is nothing in the world that their clam chowder can’t fix. Suddenly, another blinding flash from somewhere in the vicinity of the bar. There was a woman sitting there with her left arm draped around a guy, and on her left hand was a three-stone engagement ring so big that it dwarfed the ring we’d seen in the Gardens. I'm talking giant, down payment-sized diamonds. And she had earrings to match.

People, it’s bad when your ring is so big it looks fake.

I had a lot of Glenn memories in the Pru—we went there a lot. After lunch, we walked by the Vinny Testa’s where Glenn and I had our first date, and where his parents threw us an engagement/going away party before we moved to LA. There was the Copley Westin, where we met for the very first time, and where we visited once a year just for sentimental fun.

After lunch, Carmen and I went back Newbury St. and did some shopping. She wanted to hit Kiehl’s and see if we could get some free samples. As soon as we walked in, they started playing the song that was supposed to be my and Glenn’s first dance at our wedding. At that point, the Glenn imagery was just funny. Clearly the day had a theme and we just had to go with it.

We went to Pottery Barn and I finally ordered my new duvet cover. When it came time to pay, I whipped out my collection of gift cards/certificates and discovered that they were all from Glenn’s family—one from his mother for Christmas, one from his aunt for my shower, one from returning the hideous bowls that his uncle’s girlfriend bought me for the shower (and which Glenn insisted on registering for even though I hated them). The saleswoman smiled and said, “Guilt-free money, hmm?” Oh yes. I feel not an ounce of guilt whatsoever.

As Carmen and I walked through the Public Gardens on our way back to the car, the Arlington Street Church bells began playing their joyful, clanging version of "When I Fall in Love, It Will Be Forever.”

Maybe next time. Meanwhile, onward and upward. The circle begins anew.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The state of Moxie

Glenn sent the ring papers yesterday, in a FedEx box packed with a binder from grad school, my copy of Sex and the City: Season 5 on DVD, and some mail that had accumulated for me in LA. No note. Just the box. And I was fine. It was a relief. No more naggy emails.

Then, badness. My friend T, who's in Germany and whose husband decided last week that marriage just wasn't his thing, is coming home next week. I'm so glad she's coming home. Ending a marriage is sucky enough without having to do it 5,000 miles away from your friends and family. But her pain and her experience are so similar to what happened with Glenn that even while I'm glad I can offer my empathy in a way that a lot of other people can't, supporting her is bringing up a lot of memories that are pretty wrenching. That probably sounds horribly selfish, but I don't mean it that way. It's just very hard to watch someone I love going through something like this. It's not something I would inflict on my worst enemy. I wish i could just take away her pain and save her from what the next year will be like. No one should have to go through this. Hearts are not meant to be treated this way.

The ring and the friend weighed on my mind. Bizarrely, the only person I really wanted to talk to about it was Glenn. I tried to talk myself out of it--I used all the call-deterring tactics I usually employ, like forcing myself to remember finding his emails to the trollop on my computer. But the wanting to call didn't fade. I caught him at work yesterday and it was like we'd spoken an hour ago. I didn't even have to say my name. We just picked up as if nothing had happened. And we talked for 45 minutes, which felt like an eon and nothing all at the same time. He had some interesting thoughts on T's situation--he'd photographed her wedding to her scum-sucking coward of a husband--but the thing he said that struck me most was his admission that our breakup was due entirely to his issues, not mine. No more blaming me for everything. It was a relief, and it was torture. Now that he's fixing himself, some other woman will reap the benefits.

Last night I dreamed that Glenn was asleep in our bed in LA. He was underneath the covers and asleep to the point of unconsciousness. I wanted to wake him up and have sex with him, because I figured that a physical connection would lead to an emotional one. But I couldn't wake him up. I kept peeling back layers of blankets and trying to reach him, but he wouldn't wake up.

Alone in a sea of green

St. Patrick's Day.


All I can think of is Dieter from SNL, sneering and saying, "If St. Patrick's Day were a gas, it would be inert." It's a holiday that sparks not an ounce of excitement in me. And this is hard to endure in Boston, where there's an Irish bar on every corner and more than half the city is of Irish heritage. Every year I try to get excited about green beer and leprechauns but I don't think I'm trying hard enough because it hasn't worked so far. This morning I scrounged through my closet looking for something green to wear--even if I didn't feel festive, I could try to fake it and LOOK like I did--but the only green things I own are an old T-shirt and a cardigan sweater, neither of which were particularly work-appropriate, so I threw in the towel and wore pink instead. At least pink makes me *feel* festive.

For my lack of Irish enthusiasm, I have my mother to blame (or thank, depending on who I ask). She got the attitude from her mother, a steely French-Canadian woman with a flat accent who ruled the house with an iron fist and brooked no celebration of either the Irish or Portuguese cultures. My mother grew up near Fall River, MA, where the Irish, Portuguese and French-Canadian immigrant populations lived side by side but never mingled. She once told me that the worst insult in her elementary school was to call someone a Portagee. There must have been something analagous for the Irish, because when I was little my brother and I never got to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. In fact, my mother refused to acknowledge that the holiday existed, much less allow us to wear green, tote clovers or mangle Gaelic like the rest of the kids at school. She looked down her nose at the Irish and, being young and impressionable, I learned to do the same. Then again, it's hard to be impressed when every boy in the fifth grade is running around at recess screaming, "Erin Go BRA!!" Bra--get it? So witty, those boys. It didn't get much better in college, where the partying hordes hung Irish flags out their dorm room windows and threw dogheads (a drinking event at which participants start drinking first thing in the morning and don't stop until they've hit unconsciousness) where the boys gulped as many live goldfish as possible until they puked. Poor fish--drowned in stomach acid and green beer. Not a great way to go.

This is what I get for being raised a Unitarian of Polish/Russian/French Canadian descent. I won't even get into how much it galled my mother that I was going to marry someone whose heritage and last name were so purely Irish (and whose family was from New Bedford) that there was no avoiding the fact. She'll never admit it but she's so relieved that she doesn't have an Irish son-in-law.

The Unitarian part meant no Easter, either. It also meant no parties for First Communion or Bat Mitzvah. There were a lot of years where I felt gypped out of a good party and lots of presents. But every Easter, my brother and I would go looking for some evidence that the Easter bunny remembered our existence, and every year we'd end up scrounging candy from the Catholic kids down the street, who had chocolate bunnies and jelly beans coming out their ears, and who ate Peeps until they threw up.

Now I appreciate my parent's restraint with the Hallmark holidays. I mean, do potatoes, clog dancing and green beer approximate culture in any country? Eeep. That's my mother talking.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Got to take the good with the bad

Oh joy! KCRW is airing a show on art and architecture in LA on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. Thanks to Archidose for the heads-up. The show's been on the air for almost a year, but it started after I moved, so this is extra exciting news.

And good news is definitely needed after yesterday's Bush extravaganza. His latest round of brilliant initiatives are going to completely fuck this country, the planet, the environment and everything other little thing he can get his grubby, smirking, idiotic mitts on.

Thank you, Matt Baldwin. You made my day.

I want to be militant and pick up the MoveOn torch. I really do. But there are days when it's hard not to feel completely impotent. Resistance is futile--or so it seems. But if Bush is really like the Borg queen, then he has some tiny, hidden flaw that someone will locate, and it will cause him to spontanously combust.

My finger. Is on the button.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The power of Om

Sitting in yoga class tonight, it occurred to me that the "Oms" we chant at the beginning and end of class are more than they seem. It's sort of like a spiritual barometer and tuning fork, all in one. The first round of "Oms" are so telling. Everyone sounds out of tune. They're shifting around on the mat and getting centered in the room. Their exhaustion, their frustrations, their sucky commutes and bad days are audible. Then we do the class. Flow, breathe, sweat. By the end, when we do a closing round of "Oms," everyone is in tune. The sound is rich and full and balanced. Spiritual perfect pitch.

Walking it off

Sometimes the depression and anxiety come crashing down so hard that watching back-to-back episodes of Friends and Will & Grace just won’t help, and the only way to get out of my head is to get out of the house. Thankfully, the sun isn’t setting until almost 6:30 these days and the temperature is hovering around 40, so last night I put on my old running shoes and went for a long walk around town. It’s something I used to do every day during the first few months I was in LA. I call them my sanity walks because by the time I end up back at the house, I usually don’t feel like I’m ready to step in front of a bus any more.

My neighborhood is full of large, graceful old Victorian houses and walking affords a sidewalk-size glimpse of what it’s like to live in that kind of space. Some of the houses have been divided into condos, but most of them are still intact as single family homes and it’s endlessly interesting to see what people have done to them. Makes me wish I knew anything real about architecture, rather than just being a dilettante.

Down by the Charles, spring has already started. The ice is gone and Harvard, MIT and Northeastern had their men’s eights on the water, training for the spring racing season. Rowing is such a beautiful, meditative, painful, amazing sport. I rowed for three years in college, and watching the boats on the water last night made my skin tingle. One of my favorite sounds in the entire world is the deep, almost guttural *thunk* made when all eight oars of a sweep boat hit the oarlock at the finish. It’s a masculine sound, almost sexual in the way it hits me in the gut, especially when the boat making the noise is a men’s eight. Lightweight or heavyweight—it doesn’t matter. It’s a sound full of power and strength, and it only happens when all eight rowers are in sync. Beautiful.

When it got too dark to see, I walked home through Harvard Square. I went straight to the kitchen and made a big batch of cupcakes that I brought into work today. Baking is so appealing to me these days. In the past three weeks, I’ve made banana bread, cherry vanilla bread, brownies and now these lovely, pink-frosted, spring-y cupcakes. Then my roommate and I watched about 4 episodes of Sex and the City and I finished the scarf I’ve been knitting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Revelation in disguise

Oh my god.

Glenn is an actor disguised as a photographer! How could I have been so clueless? Substitute "cycling" for "entertainment industry" and "bike" for "leased BMW" and wa-la--the man (or boy) revealed.

My world is now complete. Well, it will be when the ring papers actually arrive. FedEx?? Hello?

Out and about near LA

Gimpadelic is heading out to LA next week, and he asked me what he should do while he's there. Well, the LA Times fortuitously came out with a list of the top 10 hikes in greater LA today, along with a handy guide to plants you should avoid. Seeing as Gimp is so planty and all.

I should have paid more attention to the nasty plants when I hiked Nicholas Flats with Glenn in 2003.

Poison. Oak. Everywhere.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Would it help if I got out and pushed?

Now this is a man of my heart.

Ways not to impress a girl on a date

1. Show up 15 minutes late and don't apologize.
2. Insist on trying a particular restaurant and then act like it's my fault you don't like the food.
3. Visibly contemplate my offer to help with the bill when YOU'RE the one who asked me out (and you chose the restaurant, so you should be prepared for the bill)
4. Ask no questions about me--am I wrong, or isn't the whole point of dating to get to know one another?
5. Make me carry the conversation for the whole evening.
6. Volunteer to walk me to my street, and then act put out that you have to wait 10 minutes for the next bus.

It was a bad date. And sadly, not the kind that kills the monkey in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Because at least poison dates would have put me out of my misery.

You know it's going to be bad when the conversation starts out like this:
Me: "So how was your day? Did you do anything fun?"
Him: "Not really. My roommate and I got into an argument about whether Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity."

...and continues like this:
Me: "Wow! You travelled all the way around the world! You must have some amazing stories to tell. Did you meet interesting people? What was the craziest thing you did?"
Him: "Yeah, it was fun. I'm just mad that I won't get my PhD before I'm 30."


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Life is full of contradictions

Things I've learned over the last 9 months:

1. That there's a difference between missing someone and noticing their absence.
2. That it's possible to love someone unconditionally and dislike them at the same time. Even people who are not blood relatives.
3. That you can never want to speak to someone again, but still want to hear their voice every day.

Nighttime escape from the winter

Last night I dreamed that my family and I went to San Francisco. I was so *relieved* to be back in the city, but I felt like I had to convince my parents and my brother that the Bay Area was a great place to live. So we drove around and I pointed out all the amazing architecture, the great hiking, and I tried to explain why the quality of life was better. At one point, we had to drive over a really big bridge that was part of the 101s. I was so scared of the bridge because it was very high, very narrow and there were no barriers between the lanes and the edge of the bridge. So I hunkered down in the car as we drove over--as long as I couldn't see the bridge's height or narrowness, I was okay. And I knew I had to go over the bridge in order to get where I was going next.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Things of which we do not speak

started down a long, dark, distasteful road, a road that few people are willing to traverse: the unspoken thing that is workplace bathroom etiquette.

As far as I can tell (or probably any modest, polite person could), the prevailing attitude is "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." But in this case, I'd have to add "smell no evil." Because how else can you face the woman who sits three cubes over when you know she's just done something that stank up the joint? The answer is, of course, to pretend that nothing is wrong and no unpleasant odors exist. Many times that is easier said than done.

My company generously stocks the ladies room with mouthwash, dental floss, tampons, hair spray, hand lotion and, most importantly, a big, fat canister of Citrus Magic that lives on the counter by the sink. It would be gauche to put up a sign about how and when the Citrus Magic needs to be used, but sometimes I think they SHOULD spell it out because there are times when the ladies room smells less than magical. In my opinion, if you've created a need for the Magic, than be considerate and deploy the Magic. Not everyone subscribes to this theory. And it's embarassing when you have to work next to them, and all you can do is think, "stinker!"

A big no-no for curators

A catfight breweth over in the SoCal Craftsman community.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The two-day rule

I'm just not in the mood to play dating games. The weird, unwritten social etiquette suddenly feels totally superfluous. Either you hit it off or you don't. He treats you right or he doesn't. End of story. Call me intolerant or impatient. I just don't have the time or the attention span for guys who want to beat around the bush. Anyone who's been through relationship hell has been to the circus. You've seen the show and you know how it works. My capacity for tolerating bullshit is virtually nil. Step up or step out, capiche?

So I just don't care that the MFA guy waited 5 days before calling last night. My weekend was full before he called, so it will be fun to hang with him but my life wasn't depending on it. We're going to see a play at the ART on Saturday night. He gave away his level of interest when he slipped and told me he'd done research on the history of Carthage and Rome before he called. It was cute. And nerdy. Nerdy and cute.

Did I mention that he rows? I won't mention the cycling.

You know what they say about nerdy athletic guys. OK, neither do I, but I guess we'll find out.

Years ago, my mother gave me a copy of The Rules. I scoffed and threw it in a drawer, and mocked it at every opportunity. But somehow its twisted evil worked its way into my brain--through osmosis? If MFA guy had called tonight, I would have told him I was busy this weekend. It's a matter of self-respect. Yes, I am a walking contradiction, but isn't that a woman's prerogative? We're required to be mysterious, even to ourselves.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The secret's in the meat

Overheard in the cafeteria downstairs:

"Is that all you eat?" (to a skinny older woman who buys the same small bowl of vegetables from the salad bar every day)

"No, I bring some meat from home. But everyone always wants to know how I stay so thin! I don't eat very much! It's not that hard!"

I ristoranti più costosi che un celebrity su Atkins possono contare

My old neighborhood is the place to go for good Italian food.

Wit's end

Why I am at it:

1. My friend T's husband left her this morning and now she's stuck in Germany, trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces.

2. Spring is nowhere in sight. Yesterday the temperature dropped 30 degrees in 8 hours, and the snow blew in every direction except down. I had to stop in the middle of the highway three times during my commute home because I could not SEE.

3. Flagging faith in the universe. I need a sign or something.

Luckily, potatoes saved my morning.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Not a good time to be a cat in Wisconsin


These are not the men you're looking for

All hail Al's brilliant theory about men and the Jedi-like mind tricks they inflict on women in order to get their way without getting called on their shit.

Spoke too soon

Glenn emailed today to tell me he found the valuation papers for the ring and he’s FedExing them to my office. I know I should be cheering-—it’s what I wanted him to do, right? But there's no relief, no joy, no anything---just tears. The broken-hearted voice inside my head is screaming unhelpful things like, "It’s not supposed to be this easy for him," and "It wasn’t supposed to happen this way." Maybe it would help if he included one of his fingers in the envelope, just to show that he felt some pain, too? There’s still a part of me that wants to pick up the phone and talk to him about it, because we used to talk about everything. Just to say, “God, this is weird and awful. I never thought we’d be doing this.”

Now it feels final. Now there’s no excuse for us to be in contact. All material ties are severed once his FedEx arrives. After I sell the ring, all family business will be taken care of.

Still waiting for that proverbial window to open.

Drive-by anniversary

It was 9 months this past Sunday and I totally forgot. Didn't even realize it until I looked at the calendar today.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Upward facing heart

Yesterday I did an amazing 3-hour yoga workshop with Anna Forrest called “Opening the Heart.” It was incredible, intense, healing, rejuvenating. Anna introduced a different pranayama than most of us were used to, and we moved through a series of carefully crafted heart-opening asanas that challenged me in every way. A lot of the poses were completely new to me, and many of the others were ones I didn’t know were about opening the heart.

There were about 150 people in the room and I realized how much I’ve missed classes that size. It’s a little annoying to have so little space because the person next to you is always on your mat, but after a few minutes you just get in the groove. 150 people means 150 times the energy. You get connected to everyone around you, and each person contributes to the energy that feeds the class. I’m not being terribly articulate here, but it was a very cool experience. Anna had about 8 assistants who worked their way up and down the rows of mats. I’ve never had that much assistance in a yoga class before, and it made a huge difference. Some of the assistants were uber hardcore---they were a little like yoga Marines, with the wrist guards and the super attenuated muscles and the body fat in the single digits. They knew every pose inside and out. Whenever I thought I had a pose down, one of them popped up next to me and pushed me to the next level, whether by getting me to stretch further or clench a muscle or adjusting slightly to get my alignment right.

Personal highlights: I did walking wheel. I felt like an insect, crabbing around upside down, and my brain got really confused at first but it was actually very cool.

Today I feel GREAT, great like I used to feel after yoga in LA. Then two seconds later I feel like a beaten dog because I'm so sore. But sore in a great way. I MISS THIS. I used to drive by Anna Forrest's studio on Montana all the time, but never went in because her classes were so pricey. Now I wish I'd taken advantage.

Here’s the workshop description:

There is a demonstrative lack of ability to deal with issues of the heart those emotional wounds, the scarring and shielding that have all developed through a lifetime of habitual pain. Our hearts get involved in one experience after another often breaking, scarring and shutting down. With Forrest Yoga and through heart-opening asanas, learn to get more centered, adept, and wise at accessing and resolving emotional wounds and move them out of your body. Learn to breathe in a way that opens your core and gives the heart the support and counsel of other primary chakras. Learn to strip the emotional shielding from your heart and tone your emotional body by helping your heart and your spirit be more resilient, flexible, and adept at surfing emotional waves. Learn to transmute your life experiences into wisdom.

Marriage is good for your health

I love these little studies. Especially when they contradict each other. Marriage is good for your health, and it can make you live longer. But only if the marriage is a good one. Otherwise, you're screwed and you'll die faster. No pressure.

God, I love being single.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Titian watched me drown in the dating pool

Last night my roommate and I braved the MFA First Friday just to see what it's like in the winter vs. the summer. The answer? Crowded, energetic and a lot less predatory. Or at least predatory in a much more veiled way. There must have been 200 people crowded into two of the upper galleries, and the scene was totally on. All the women congregated in little clusters around the room, clutching their $6 drinks and watching as the men, who ran the gamut from 21 to 65, cruised around and tried to be subtle as they scanned the crowd. We all should have just started mooing and then the meat market metaphor would be complete.

Just to add a little drama, the whole scene took place under what must have been 45 enormous paintings by Titian, El Greco and a couple of other Italian, Spanish and French artists that added a certain je ne sais pas to the evening. Those paintings were a great conversation starter. I mean, how can you not discuss a painting of David holding Goliath's gigantic, bloody head, which happens to have the stone from David's sling embedded smack in the middle of its forehead? Or one of a dead St. Francis looking up at heaven with a terrified look on his face? Talk about icebreakers.

Then the unbelievable happened. I met a genuinely nice guy (my roommate concurred, so I'm not completely crazy). We stood there talking for a good hour and a half, and other than the fact that he's a sometime cyclist, no warning bells went off. We walked around the gallery and improvised a backstory for each work of art. I gave him and his friend a ride to their car because it was positively arctic outside. He had the guts to ask for my number. I hope he calls. Goddamn Swingers for making me wonder about the whole 6 day waiting period for calling a new person. I guess we'll see.

Home; Places I've grown

Places I have lived in my life:

--Jamaica Plain
--East Cambridge
--North Cambridge

Waterville, Maine
New Haven, Connecticut
Florence, Italy
Evanston, Illinois
Washington, D.C.
Los Angeles, California

Places I would like to live:
San Francisco
Seattle (or maybe Olympia)
Florence (when I'm not mooning over an absent, undeserving boyfriend back in the states)

Destined to be a cat lady

A short list of my nicknames for Scully:
Pooky puss
Pukey puss
Ms. Puss
Loud girl
Little love
Scully love
Pooky love
The Kitty

Her nicknames mutate on a totally arbitrary, mostly situational basis, usually because of my mood or her attitude or something she's just done (see Pukey Puss). When I come home from work, she's Little Love. When she jumps on my face at 4am, looking for a snack, she's CAT. When she does sprints up and down the hallway, skittering on the hardwood floors, or attacks her hind foot as if it's trying to stage an escape from the tail end of her body, she's Freakazoid. Lately I've been finding her snoozing on the quilt at the foot of my roommate's bed in the morning, which makes her Traitor Cat. It's an ever-changing lexicon.

I can't imagine what it's like to have a child whose name you can't play around with all the time. But what's really scary is that I find myself talking to my friend's kids like I talk to Scully. When they toddle into places they shouldn't, I wiggle my fingers at them and whistle a couple of times, because that works with a cat. Not so much with a kid. I get lots of interesting looks from people when it happens, though. Cat lady spinsterhood, here I come.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Thank you, sir. May I have another?

Depression is a sneaky, elusive, evil creature. I've struggled with it all my life and despite my assiduous popping of happy pills, it surfaces every so often and rears its nasty head. There are certain things that bring it on, like lack of exercise, bad weather, crappy eating habits, lack of sleep, drinking, PMS, stress and emotional distress. Sometimes it comes back for no reason at all. I'll be sitting at my desk and all of a sudden I'll realize that there's nothing in the world I want so much as to go home, crawl into bed and not come out for a month or two.

Maybe it's the weather or the fact that I've had Glenn dreams almost every night, but this week has been really tough and I had one of those moments today. It's weird how being depressed colors everyday experiences. Suddenly I start looking at utility poles in a whole new way while I'm in the car. Every little decision feels overwhelming and I just can't deal with small responsibilities like feeding the cat and paying bills. I feel numb and raw at the same time. I want to hide from the world and my bed becomes a womb that I don't want to leave. That familiar abyss opens up beneath me and it's a monumental effort not to let myself fall into it. Depression is enervating because it takes so much energy to keep it from becoming debilitating. I remember trying to explain the abyss thing to my parents when I first started taking happy pills after high school, and it was strange because I thought everyone struggled with the abyss and they really had no idea what the abyss experience felt like.

It goes without saying that the Glenn dreams have brought up all kinds of difficult feelings that don't mix well with my normal, seasonal depression. I wonder when my head and my heart will get on the same page. Sometimes my head still spins at all the things that have changed since this time last year. The enormous gap in my heart is still there, it's just getting easier to ignore. But the sense of loss is just as acute as it was last summer, and for the first time in months I find myself wanting to call him. Not that I want to hear about his life, or that I want to share anything about my day to day existence, but just to hear his voice. To look for that rapport. I know he's moved on and I feel pathetic because I'm still stuck in this place, especially since I know the person I love doesn't really exist anymore. How do you excise someone from your life so completely? How does it work?

The hard part is that I know the best thing I can do for myself is usually the exact opposite of what I feel like doing. So tonight, instead of popping some Tylenol PM and crawling into bed at 7pm like I did last night, I'll go to the gym and put in some time on my favorite cardio machine--the rotating stairs that the trainers at my gym have dubbed The Gauntlet. Then I'll go to the supermarket. I'll make myself get out in the world and interact. Maybe I'll bake the cherry vanilla nutbread that I've been meaning to make all week. And I'll cross my fingers that tomorrow will be easier.

My tarot card for the day is, strangely enough, Sharing:

The Queen of Fire is so rich, so much a queen, that she can afford to give. It doesn't even occur to her to take inventories or to put something aside for later. She dispenses her treasures without limits, welcoming all and sundry to partake of the abundance, fertility and light that surrounds her.

When you draw this card, it suggests that you too are in a situation where you have an opportunity to share your love, your joy and your laughter. And in sharing, you find that you feel even more full.

There is no need to go anywhere or to make any special effort. You find that you can enjoy sensuality without possessiveness or attachment, can give birth to a child or to a new project with an equal sense of creativity fulfilled.

Everything around you seems to be "coming together" now. Enjoy it, ground yourself in it, and let the abundance in you and around you overflow.

No love for Hollywood

It's a bad day for celebrity couples. Katie Holmes and Chris Klein broke up after being engaged for almost 1.5 years. And Denise Richards is divorcing Charlie Sheen's smarmy ass. You don't divorce someone when you're 6 months pregnant unless something major, something completely unforgiveable happened. My guess? Charlie cheated. Because if you need to put a cheating clause in your prenup, that's not a good sign.

Katie, I've been there. It's rough. Call if you need a shoulder to cry on.

A month too late

Make your own candy hearts. And then order them from people who will make them for you. Just imagine the possibilities.

Name one other time in life that you get to decide what's written on your heart?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A full-bodied wine with subtle hints of Coppertone, mud slide and cold, hard cash

Not content to let its neighbors to the north or the south steal all the attention, Malibu gets into the wine game.

Death by squirrel

There is nothing like stumbling out the door for work at 7am, garbage bag in hand, dwelling on the 15 minutes or so of car-related snow removal looming on the horizon, and opening the door to the garbage shed, only to suffer a near heart attack when the world's nastiest squirrel chitters loudly and jumps an inch away from your face.

Any and all trips to the recycling bins or the garbage shed involve the possibility of facing off with squirrel attitude. They're mean, they're territorial and they have no fear of humans. Who am I to intrude on their feasting or their nesting or whatever they're doing in there? I swear, they wait until you're totally off your guard before they lunge out of the garbage bins and over the top of the shed. Even though I *know* they're just squirrels, the sudden movement is always so unexpected that I shriek like I'm about to be axe-murdered. And then I have to apologize to whomever is on the sidewalk because there's just no call for loud public exclamations of "Goddamn those fucking squirrels!" at 7 in the morning.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Yoga for Depressives

Carmen's brilliant "Theme of the Month" calendar theme for March is "Popular Positions in Yoga for Depressives." This week's poses:

Up Yours
Downward Spiral
Sorrier One
Sorrier Two

Yay Carmen! You keep me laughing.

Happy March

When I think about winter, or more specifically, when I think about the length of time that winter should last in New England, I always anticipate cold, gray, snowy darkness from about the beginning of November through late March. That's a good five months. There is no earthly reason why winter should last more than five months. Today being the first day of March, I am firmly committed to the idea that the worst of the cold and the snow (and hopefully, of the winter, period) will be over within the next three to four weeks.

Not that the weather gods always--or ever-- listen to me. My friend H and I used to do snow dances in our living rooms during middle school and high school in an effort to induce a snow day. The mandatory snow dance costume consisted of winter parka, snow hat and sunglasses. Once we were dressed in the snow dance costume, we'd dance around in circles with our arms over our head making "ooo ooo ooo ooo" noises that we hoped would attract the attention of the weather gods. I think our efforts got us about 3-4 snow days over the course of 6 years. Not bad.

Five months is more than enough time for winter to come and go, and bludgeon the residents of the entire region into weather-induced depression. I bet that even the most enthusiastic skiers get sick of snow after a while. So weather gods, listen up! You're officially on notice. It's now March and you have four weeks and a half weeks to get winter out of your system and put spring in motion. Chop chop.