Monday, October 31, 2005

Picture time

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 29, 2005

There's no place like...home

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

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

Friday, October 28, 2005

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The good bread

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The S-word

This does not bode well.

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Channeling Sylvia

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

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

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

Monday, October 24, 2005


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Happy happy joy joy

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

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

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

Blown away

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

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

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Brilliance in a bag

The most beautiful words I've heard all day:

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

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

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

Bring it on

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

Free Buffy

Doesn't Fox have better things to do?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Where's the fishbulb?

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

Monday, October 17, 2005

Five by five

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

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

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

Friday, October 14, 2005

Oh, the irony

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

The Friday animal fix

Hooray for cats on a string:

Just hanging out:

OK, it doesn't get cuter than this:

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It's not just us

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

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

Smashing Pumpkins
Van Halen

When exactly did WAAF become a 70s station?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Isn't that good?

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

In the moment

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

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

The Buddha’s Five Daily Remembrances:

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

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

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

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

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

Reading envy

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 10, 2005

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

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

Friday, October 07, 2005

Cats cats cats!

In honor of Blogacatmas Day.

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

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another reason to believe

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

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

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Things that rock my world:

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

Bite me

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

Happy new year

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 02, 2005