Monday, February 27, 2006

Stuff I dug up while searching for the packing tape

My mother is on a roll this week. Today she called me at work and when I told her that LunchBoy and I moved more of my stuff over to his place yesterday, she got very quiet in that, “I have an opinion but I’m not going to tell you what it is” kind of way. “Didn’t you say that you weren’t going to move in without a commitment?” she asked. Then, when I got a little snippy and said, “Why can’t you just be on my side?” she came back with, “I have always been on your side. I just don’t want you to get hurt again.”

Oy.

She’s right. I did say that about the commitment thing. But I also believe very strongly in letting things develop organically, not according to some arbitrary schedule imposed by one person on the other. And LunchBoy knows this. We wouldn’t be taking this step if we hadn’t covered the territory.

That said, I’m keeping my apartment. We’ve gone back and forth on this issue. My lease is up at the end of May and he wants me to get a subletter because it makes no sense to pay rent for a place where I only spend about 2 hours a week. Financially speaking he’s right, but for me it’s more complicated than that. While keeping the place might be expensive (though I only have one more rent check to write), it’s worth it to me to avoid pressure: Pressure on me to get my stuff out now. Pressure on us to adjust immediately. Pressure from outside parties to move ahead at lightspeed. Moving in gradually gives us the room to make sure what we’re doing is right without making anything irrevocable. And if there’s any similarity to Christina and Burke on Grey’s Anatomy, it’s completely accidental.

Underneath all that, though, is my attachment to my apartment. When I was little and I had a bad day, I used to go home and crawl into bed with my favorite book and read under the covers. My apartment is like a big version of my bed. It’s warm and safe and cozy and vaguely womb-like. It’s where I got back on my feet and started my life again. After leaving LA and living with my parents for so long, it took a lot of work to get my independence back and that’s not something I’ll walk away from unless I know that I’m taking the important part with me into what I do next. Virginia Woolf had a point about the whole room of one’s own thing.

Happiness and fear are a heady mix. My mother worries, I think, that I’ll let the fear outweigh the happiness. Too much Showtime will do that to a person. But I can acknowledge an emotion without giving in to it. I can try to keep my head about me. I can keep taking steps forward.

My Osho tarot card of the day: The Lovers.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Only my mother

Calls me to say, "Oh, I was thinking of you the other day when I was watching The L Word."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Brain fart

There are times when Boing Boing just makes my day and today is one those times. Their post on Diane Duane filled in one of those horribly annoying memory gaps that’s been bothering me for years. I loved her Young Wizards series, especially Deep Wizardry, where Kit and Nita get to transform into whales. And yes, the idea of there being a book about how to be a wizard was seductive in a mind-bending way. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hunt through the library stacks looking for such a book, because how cool would that be? Then I got old and my brain made room for useless celebrity gossip trivia by conveniently blanking out the names of authors like Diane Duane, leading to many occasions on which I banged my head against a wall trying to recall the memory. And now here it is. Boing Boing, I heart you.

Facing the music

You can never see funerals coming, even when the person has been sick for a while and you know it's going to happen eventually. This time it was really out of the blue. LunchBoy's best friend's father. A strapping, healthy guy who keeled over at 57 for no apparent reason. Really scary. We're heading to PA for the wake and funeral tomorrow.

Some people can focus on logistics when things go pear-shaped, but I always process events emotionally first and logically second. Which is why it was only after my heart had broken for his friend's pain and we had made our travel arrangements that I realized attending a wake and funeral meant wearing funeral-appropriate clothing and that no such clothing currently exists in my wardrobe. Stupid and superficial, but true. All my grown-up clothes are work clothes and there's something wrong with going to a funeral dressed like I'm going to the office.

After work I stood in front of my closet and considered the meager options. I'm not sure what more frightening--the fact that I still own the pleated black skirt that I wore to all my middle school chorus concerts, or the fact that, if I pull it up high enough on my waist, it still fits. The shoe situation was even worse.

Something had to be done. Clothes, of course, are beside the point but they keep me busy in a situation where I'd rather be helping but there isn't much I can do. Not that anyone will be looking at me tomorrow or Saturday. I suppose things like this will happen from now on, though, and it necessitates some preparation. At the very least I can prepare for the future sartorially if not emotionally. So I made an emergency run to the mall after the gym. My first stop was the snake pit, Ann Taylor, home of gorgeous grown-up clothing that I can never afford. But I only had an hour before the mall closed and no time before we leave for PA to do more shopping, so I forged ahead.

They had the perfect thing. Of course. The price tags and my practical nature didn't mesh. My fingers found themselves calling my mother so I could ask for approval in the form of encouragement. Emergencies can't be helped, though, so I pulled the trigger.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Icy icy

I know Vance hates those De Beers commercials, where a man showers his woman with major bling and gets everlasting love (or at least guaranteed nooky)in return.

Want to hate De Beers even more? Read this old article from the Atlantic Monthly about diamond cartels. Diamonds might be a girl's best friend but they're definitely a guy's worst enemy.

I kind of always wanted to know where that two-months-salary equation came from, but it's a little alarming to find out how the whole diamonds are forever thing became so pervasive. Subversive advertising--shudder.

Monstah

I’ve given up trying to resist my hormonal urges for chocolate. Someone please tell me why uterine activity gives me a sweet tooth because being a stereotype is really annoying. Usually I can make do with Froot Loops (or jelly beans, gummy bears, gummy hearts, you get the picture) but this morning I was a total chocolate whore. The evil people in my company’s finance department have a candy dish outside their office and they keep it liberally stocked with chocolate crap. Twix, KitKats—gah. Willpower goes out the window. Resistance is futile. After hoovering a handful of candy, I discovered biscotti in my snack drawer and –FOOM—gone.

I can just hear my mother saying, “You’ll ruin your lunch.” Because I did.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More signs that I need to lay off the celebrity gossip

Last night I dreamed that I bumped into Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes at a ski resort. They were trying to check out of the hotel while navigating the hordes of eager fans surrounding them, begging for autographs. Katie was sweet and patient for a celebrity whore in her seventh month of pregnancy, and Tom's teeth were not as big as I expected them to be. Being intrepid, I asked them for a picture instead and they said yes(!) I was going to get camera phone evidence of the TomKat. But the best part is that while dreaming up this scenario, I was mentally plotting how to blog it effectively. But my the camera function on my phone refused to work and they left.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Typical

Girl's night out at Target:

1 bag of Valentine's Day gummy hearts (75% off--I am the bargain QUEEN)
Season One of Grey's Anatomy
Multipack of Tampax
Get well card for a coworker
Nyquil liquicaps
Two V-day red thongs, on sale

Baggage

Yesterday I went back to my apartment and looked around, trying to figure out what to bring over to LunchBoy’s house next. During vacation, we discussed the whole moving in together thing and agreed that it was almost a moot point considering that I haven’t slept in my Cambridge apartment since early December. Still, all my stuff is there. In Cambridge, I mean. And it’s one thing to talk shop but it’s another to do the actual heavy lifting, so to speak.

We both had bad colds all weekend, probably from all the sick people we were stuck in airplanes with last week. It’s been a bad winter for colds and this one has sapped all the energy out of me. Lunchboy looked so ragged after a trip to Target that I left him on his couch while I went foraging at my place.

Once I got there, I stood in my living room and did a 360, considering the options. But something didn’t feel right. This wasn’t how I wanted to start, not just start the process of moving but start whatever might come after. Alone. He would have come along, so it wasn’t like I was mad. I just didn’t want to start off on that foot. Impatience is easy for me to give in to, but this time I fought it. Even though I can’t wait to have all my stuff in one place, I went back to Lunchboy’s house empty-handed. The heavy lifting can wait a week. I’d rather do it right.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ah, Dilbert

"This is how I feel when I'm with you."
"I make you want to run away screaming? How romantic."
"No, it's a compliment. You're perfect."
"Ohh. How sweet. I think."

Double take

Do you ever have those moments where something happens, something strange and shocking, and suddenly it feels like the universe has tilted off-course and the world will never be the same again? In the past few days I’ve had about 5 of these moments. OK, that’s an exaggeration. It’s more like 3. But 3 is enough to make me shake my head and wonder how I got to be (almost) 31 and still be so na├»ve.

1. On the flight to Charlotte on Tuesday, I looked up from my book to see a girl in the row ahead of me reading Maxim. Now, guys read Maxim all the time, though most of them are smart enough to do it in the privacy of their own homes, where no one but the mailman and the box of tissues has to know about their reading habits. But women? That’s kind of rare.

So I looked closer and saw that the girl was about thirteen. My thought process went something like this:

--This is disturbing.
--Am I old and stodgy for thinking it’s disturbing?
--What does she think she’s going to learn from the “Dump Your Girlfriend For Me” column?
--This girl is 5 years away from ending up in Girls Gone Wild and saving the tape so she can show it to her grandkids.
--Even if she’s gay, it’s still disturbing.
--She probably wouldn’t like it if I reached over the seat, grabbed the magazine and gave her a lecture on healthy body image and self-esteem.
--Oh my god, I can’t believe I thought that. I am becoming my mother.


2. I found out that a good friend came close to being acquaintance-raped while on vacation in Florida. She’s a strong, street-smart woman who has no trouble asserting herself in situations that would tie my tongue in knots, so it was sobering to know that this kind of thing can happen to women who have survived their 20s and know how to handle themselves.

3. My college alumni magazine arrived and I made the mortal mistake of flipping to the alumni notes section in the back. Every time I read those notes, I make a vow to myself that I won’t read them ever again and then promptly forget about the whole thing until the next time the magazine shows up and I read the notes and remember why I made the vow in the first place. Because no matter how satisfied I am in my life, that stupid magazine always makes me wonder what the hell I’ve done with the last ten years.

At this point, almost ten years after graduation, it’s hard to remember who anyone is anymore, especially since most of them now have hyphenated last names because they’re almost all married. Many of them are having babies. Flipping through the alumni notes last night, I realized that boys with whom I once did tequila shots and then watched them throw up on the lawn are having children. Men who drank vast quantities of green beer that contained live goldfish on St. Patrick’s Day are now being called “daddy.”

Something about this just rocked my world. Then there was the half-page article on a guy I hooked up with during senior week. Scary mary.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Word cloud


Carmen posted her version of this last week. I just think it's such a fun little tool. It reminds me of refrigerator poetry. Years ago I bought a huge box of magnetic fridge poetry but by the time I had my own fridge to post it on, the trend was over. Le sigh.

Aftermath

Back at work. I never thought I’d be so glad to be back at work. Or back in Boston. But by yesterday morning I was literally bouncing up and down in my eagerness to get home by any means possible, even if that meant renting a car and driving for days, eating horrible roadside fast food along the way. Luckily, that wasn’t necessary. We landed last night and somehow the airline managed not to lose our luggage in the Bermuda triangle that is southwest Florida. I refused to believe that we’d actually get home until I physically set foot inside the door and detached the cats from my legs. Get home we did, though. The cats still can’t decide if they hate us or if they can’t stand to be less than a foot away from wherever we happen to be.

Let me just say that while Scully’s got a bladder that is disproportionately large for a kitty her size—when she pees it sounds like that drunken Tom Hanks scene from A League of Their Own— LunchBoy’s cats are award-winning poop machines. I have never seen cats who love filling up their box more than those two. Multiplied by 9 days, that’s a lot of cleanup work. That’s love for you.

My legs and hips are aching from being twisted up in airplane seats for too many hours. I anticipate carnage being wreaked tonight at yoga, seeing as I haven’t done anything more than paddle around in the ocean for a week and a half. Considering the quantity of fruity rum drinks I consumed last week, drinks strong enough to make me pass out at 4pm on our first day in St. Lucia, there’s going to be some major on-the-mat cleansing.Must. Stay. Awake.

Last night I dreamed about B in San Francisco. He wanted to get together again and I was assertive enough to list all the reasons why I wasn’t interested in his attention. I’m getting better at drawing lines in my sleeping as well as my waking life.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Stuck

It's been a long two days. After blissing out on the beach for a week, we got to the airport in St. Lucia on Saturday and heard about this blizzard thing. Everything going to the Northeast was cancelled. We elected to fly to San Juan and catch a flight *somewhere* today. Except with the blizzard overflow plus the Rolling Stones concert and a big convention in town, there were no hotel rooms within a two hour radius of San Juan. So last night we dined out on flight vouchers at the airport McDonalds and slept on the floor of Gate 2 in the American terminal. When I'm less fried, I'll tell the story of the woman who snored like a dying, flatulent grizzly bear and the nightmares caused by hearing, "Ladies and gentlemen, we would like to remind you that smoking is prohibited in this terminal" every 3 minutes all night.

At 8am, we flew to Miami and then to Fort Myers, where we are crashing with Lunchboy's mom until we can get back home. Our luggage is still somewhere between San Juan and Miami--the airline isn't sure. Right now it looks like we're on a flight back to Boston on Tuesday afternoon, but we'll see what happens. After 24 straight hours of being in transit, I'm just glad to sit still someplace that isn't the airport. Shower, clean underwear, non-airport food. Yay.

Friday, February 03, 2006

En vacances

Off to St. Lucia til next Saturday. I'll try to post some photos between now and then depending on internet access at the hotel. Otherwise, I'll be planted on the beach, daquiri in one hand, Lunchboy in the other.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Neither here nor there

Sometimes you can tell when you’re in transition and sometimes you can’t. There’s the overt kind of change—moving, a job shift, a relationship beginning or ending—and there’s the silent sort, where everything stays the same on the surface but something inside of you shifts gears and goes in a new direction. It’s not black and white. Every choice, every decision is a transition of sorts and they all have their own beauty, their own power to transform.

I’ve been used to the overt transitions, the ones you can’t miss, or seeing the quiet transitions in hindsight after they’ve snuck up on me. Right now, though, I feel like I’m in the midst of *something*. I don’t know what it is, but for the first time in my life I feel present enough to know that there’s a shift taking place. The signs are in my dreams. For the last two weeks, my dreams have been filled with journeys. Every night I dream that I’m ready to leave where I am. There are boxes to be packed and road trips to plan. One night I dreamed that I left everything behind and jumped on a train headed cross-country. Other nights I cram my car full of stuff and then try to fit Scully’s carrier somewhere, because she comes with me everywhere even in my dreams.

I was brought up believing that dreams are important tools for understanding one's inner life, so I don't take the dreams literally. What’s most noticeable for me, though, is the feeling of peace that suffuses the dreams. I’m ready to embark on a new path leading...who knows where.

My new hero

Had I know that there was a World Grilled Cheese Eating competition, my life might have gone in another direction.