Thursday, November 30, 2006

Last gasp

There's a tree near Back Bay station that hasn't lost its leaves. I walked out the door today and was struck by the unexpected blast of green in the midst of all the winter gray and brown. The leaves are clinging stubbornly to the branches with a defiance that I have to admire. Maybe those leaves know more than we do about how warm this winter will be. Those leaves are not giving up.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I won't lie. I was kind of dreading the holidays this year. There was so much family tension around who was doing dinner with whom and where people would be for meals. Thankfully (no pun intended), the long weekend went smoothly. Our two families met and our parents got along, even if there were a few awkward gaps in conversation. We somehow averted a salmonella outbreak after a massive, accidental spillage of turkey blood all over the kitchen floor. I'm still not sure how the cats missed out on that one but they did so there was no cat illness, either. There was some new catnip, though, and a lot of silliness as a result.

It's almost December and it's still warm enough to run outside in shorts. The invitations are almost done.

If you are in the mood for something uplifting, don't go see Little Children. I read it with an old book group years ago and forgot about the dark story line. So it's kind of my fault that I ended up having nightmares for two straight nights.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Felinus Nintendoica

Scully lets us know what Nintendo system she prefers.

And just because it's been a while:

Griffin gets immodest while measuring her growth against the closet door.


Today Lunchboy and I were interviewed for a CNET story on fantasy football leagues and how they drive traffic to sites like Yahoo, ESPN, and CBS. The reporter was endlessly amused by my less than subtle obsession with my team, as well as the fact that 3 of the top 5 teams in our league are run by women who've never played fantasy football before. MeanG is second. I'm third. The men in the league who have been playing for years are a little bitter but also, I suspect, kind of turned on.

Who knows if what either of us said will make the article, but if it does I'll post it.

If we're talking about technology, what CNET really should have interviewed Lunchboy about is the Nintendo Wii. He is intimately familiar with everything about the Wii except actually owning it, and that's only because it was a toasty 37 degrees outside on Saturday night and he couldn't convince himself to stand in line/camp out all night when he could theoretically wait a week and get one in a nice, warm store. His logic lasted until Sunday morning when he found out that his best friend scored a Wii after waiting at midnight up at the Toys R Us in Peabody. Then the envy set in hardcore.

Here's what conversations in our house have been like for the past few months:

LB: What do you want for dinner?

M: Pizza maybe? I could also go for pad thai.

LB: You know what I could go for? A Wii. Can I get one of those to go, please?

M: If you can wait a month, sure.

LB (channeling Cartman): C'mon!!!!! C'mon!!!!!!!

I'm all for the Wii acquisition if only because it'll mean we don't have to have this conversation another 40 times.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


There is no excuse for Newark Intl. Airport. None. It's a black hole, an extension of the Bermuda triangle, a place of darkness and depair. Apparently, it's a running joke among consultants that every flight to or from Newark will be delayed at least 2hrs. Infamous for its scheduling inconsistencies, it's part of that grand New Jersey tendency to make every little thing as confusing or difficult as possible. Can you tell PMS is making me cranky? Can you tell I'm not a big Jersey fan? Sorry, Magpie, the tomatoes just don't make up for it.

Right now Lunchboy is stuck in the Newark airport where, he reports, his flight is delayed indeterminately. The air conditioning has gone out, the post-security food stations are out of bottled water, and none of the airline staff can tell anyone when the flight will depart. All this because it's cloudy outside and that automatically means the entire airport gets shut down. You'd think Newark was in the deep South when a whole inch of snow shuts the place down.

Stupid Newark.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Weren't these the most fun ever? I had neighbour friends equipped with four or five of them, mostly with handles shaped like animal heads. We used to bounce around their back yard pretty regularly, until the time I accidentally bounced over a wasp’s nest and got stung 13 times. That pretty much put a stop to that.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Wherefor Lechmere?

When was the last time the MBTA surveyed their rider’s usage patterns? It’s pretty clear that they haven’t figured out how well-trafficked the Lechmere stop is, judging from how few Lechmere-bound trains there are during rush hour. In the morning, as long as you get to Lechmere before 10, you’re good. But in the evening, if you don’t get to the T by 5pm or 5:15pm at the latest, you’re out of luck. Six or seven Government Center trains—mostly empty--go by in a row before there’s any sign of a North Station train or the even rarer (and always packed to overflowing) Lechmere train. Why aren’t there more Lechmere trains when Lechmere-bound riders need them most? Not everyone is going to Government Center, and some of us need to get to Lechmere in order to catch a bus home before it gets so late that we end up waiting 25 minutes for a bus.

So when I heard about this, I was really excited. Maybe building up Lechmere means that the MBTA will put more Lechmere trains through to serve an increased Lechmere-area rider concentration. Given how perceptive the MBTA is about rider needs, though, it
will just mean more people waiting for fewer trains that can’t handle the increased capacity.


Or, you know, ovaries.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

There but for the grace of God

N: "We're having people over to my place. I'm making a big pot of chili con c---."

Lunchboy thought she'd said chili con carne or chili con queso. But what she'd actually said was chili con cocoa.

Specifically, tofu chili with a tablespoon of cocoa powder and 6 cups of melted Hershey's kisses.

I begged off the dinner, pleading exhaustion. Lunchboy went, however, and reported back that chili and chocolate are two dishes that should never, ever be combined-- information he shared after he got out of the bathroom.

Take that, peanut butter bacon bread.

With this ring

Saturdays in the Jewelry Exchange are busy. Outside, the Veteran's Day parade was going by. Inside, an endless parade of happy, hopeful young couples rode the elevators, bouncing between jewelry stores, juggling a desire for the best price with the ability to maintain stamina. There are a lot of jewelry vendors in those buildings. Having a successful day there requires a game plan--the kind we didn't have, similar to the kind you need to shop the Wrentham outlets without literally dropping from exhaustion.

Other than the fact that all the stores seem to have the same inventory, and that Barmakian heats their showroom to tropical levels (perhaps hoping that customers will become so incapacitated by the temperature that they'll buy something just to get the hell out of there), what struck me was the attitude of the salespeople. Generally when a salesperson wants you to buy something, they're nice to you. In the Jewelry Exchange, not so much. Sullen, impatient, pushy, resentful, annoyed--yes. Helpful or nice, no. And if you don't want the biggest bling possible, or if you don't want to break 4 digits on the price, god help you. Going on what we encountered in 4-5 stores, we were not worth the salesperson's time.

Buoyed by emergency Starbucks, we visited 8 stores and ended up getting rings at the very first place we'd gone. Isn't that always the way it works?

Friday, November 10, 2006

And it was in the summer, too

Last night I dreamed that it was our wedding day and we were totally unprepared. Our ceremony officiant backed out and some stranger was going to marry us. We hadn’t rehearsed anything and hadn’t confirmed any of the vendors. My dress was poofy. I forgot to pack the right shoes, and no one could find them for me because I’d stored them somewhere that only I knew about. Neither of us had had bachelor or bachelorette parties. I sat at the end of the aisle instead of walking down the aisle. Scully was there and I was chasing her all over the place trying to keep her from eating the flowers, even though no one was supposed to see me in my dress yet. The hotel was huge, the size of the resort where Lunchboy’s ill-fated company retreat was, and there were weddings going on all over the place. All the other couples were prepared. They had beautifully set tables, gorgeous flowers, perfectly outfitted wedding parties, and flawlessly coordinated receptions. We, however, were just trying to pull our wedding off without the whole thing falling to pieces.

In reality, we finally booked the honeymoon: ten days in Hawaii— I cannot wait. This weekend: rings and invitations. Lunchboy, glorious consultant that he is, created a Gantt chart tracking all the remaining wedding tasks so we know when things are due and who’s in charge of getting them done. Brilliant. Such organization should really keep the anxiety dreams at bay but I am me and given an opportunity to freak out, in waking or sleeping life, I will take it because that is, apparently, how I roll.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New Day

In 2000, I was living in Washington, DC. I spent election night at a huge DNC party at the Mayflower Hotel, where there were young, drunk people everywhere, scarfing up free hors d’oeuvres and watching what seemed like 50 TVs that were stashed on every available surface. The mood was positive and upbeat until Florida flipped for the first time. And then flipped again. That night I couldn’t sleep. I woke up every 15-30 minutes but was too afraid to turn on the TV to find out what had happened. What if I the news said that Bush won? No, thank you--I preferred my state of sleepy, anxious ignorance.

Last night I couldn’t sleep again, couldn’t turn off CNN because I didn’t want to wake up and learn that the House and Senate were still Republican strongholds. That would mean endless newspaper images of Bush’s smirking face and more years of badness. But oh happy day!!! For the first time in 6 years, I actually want to read a newspaper again.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Taking care of business

Voting felt momentous today. It felt like a bigger deal than usual, even though Massachusetts is not really at risk of going red. I saw a good friend and a couple of our neighbors while I was waiting in line. There was a line! At 8am! That seemed like a good sign.

Voting is fun. Flu shots? Not so much. My company had a clinic at work today and I decided to get pricked. I’ve been told that this is responsible but I also know that flu shots ensure at least one day of feeling flu-y. I suppose that’s a good tradeoff considering that the full-fledged flu lasts for a week. Still, I’m such a needle wuss. Needles are right up there with sharks and ticks as things that make me scream and writhe. I once bit a nurse (accidentally!) when she jabbed me with a really big needle. What can I say? She put her arm right across my face.

I keep checking news sites for voting results but of course it’s too early. Gah!

Monday, November 06, 2006

I like his style

On the T ride home tonight, the train stopped between North Station and the Museum of Science and sat on the tracks for a good 5 minutes. Finally, with no oncoming trains in sight, the conductor opened the door, stepped out onto the tracks, flipped a switch on the wall, and got the train moving again. It was nice to see someone take charge.

Usually the full moon has me all in a tizzy, but this month I feel grounded and balanced. Happy. Present. I kicked up into handstand and held it in yoga. Five times. I managed a phone call with my mother without losing my patience. There's so much to do but tonight..I can handle it.

The shower was wonderful. My best friend has a new house near Groton and it's a homey house, the kind that makes me want to procreate immediately after walking in the door because it's a place where you want to have a family. And we did have family--30 people showed up with food and drink. We ate, we drank, we played only one silly game, and we opened gifts. Amazingly, everyone seemed to get along, which is always a miracle when you're mixing people from 5 different worlds. I'm always struck by the people who make an effort, the ones who are there through thick and thin, even if you don't talk to them every day. I wish I had pictures to post but the batteries in our camera died almost immediately after the party started.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I will crush your skull like a clam on my tummy

The dawn of the sea otter. Sometimes a little South Park is all that's needed to get some perspective.

I got cider doughnuts at the Copley Farmer's Market today at lunch. Lunchboy and I meant to get them on our pumpkin/apple excursion a few weeks ago but couldn't find any. Tonight there will be doughnuts and Borat.

The cats have become heat seeking missiles. They follow me around all evening until I go to bed and then they attach themselves like burrs to whatever appendage suits them best. Scully on one arm, Griffin on my feet, Cringer under the covers along my left side. Resistance is futile.

Tomorrow--shower!!!!! SO EXCITED!!!!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What are the chances of that?

That dream I had? I told my friend J about it and he shared a piece of news:

Glenn's getting married. On February 24th.

The married part honestly doesn't bother me. But the fact that it's happening on the same day that Lunchboy and I are getting married kind of blows my mind.

All the things I've been denying and trying to ignore

My best friend is throwing us a Jack and Jill wedding shower on Saturday. Yesterday LC asked me if I was excited and for the first time I realized that guilt has replaced happiness, a realization that made me feel even more guilty. In the best of circumstances, I hate being in the spotlight and parties like this are all about focusing on the couple at hand. I don’t feel like I deserve the attention. After all, this is the second time I’m doing this, the second shower. The happiness I felt the first time around didn’t exactly bode well, so maybe it’s a good thing that I feel more scared and guilty than ecstatic. My friends and family are doing this for the second time, too, and I worry that I’ve put them through too much. Too many ups and downs, too many parties and gifts, too much hope that got dashed. I wonder if they resent this second round of festivities, if they wonder whether this one will stick, if they think I’m defective or demanding.

Lunchboy is the best man I know, the best I may have ever known. He is on a different plane than Glenn was and there is no comparison between the two of them. In my brain, I know that Lunchboy is not the leaving kind. When he says he’s here for the long haul, I know he means it. I trust him implicitly. But in my heart, which still bears scars that pop up in dreams I cannot control, I am scared that getting too excited about the wedding will end in more heartbreak. I’m scared that it will happen again. And I have to find a way past the fear because I can’t let the past color the present. I can’t let it affect Lunchboy’s experience of the engagement because this is his first time and it’s not fair. This is our time. So when I wake up in tears from a dream that came out of the blue, I am glad that he’s on the road and can’t see the fear in me. I want to put it aside for his sake, for our sake. And I’m hoping that writing this all down will help.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Monster mash

Until last night, I’d forgotten how great it is to live in a neighbourhood with excellent trick or treating. I haven’ t been trick or treating in 16 years, the dressing up and hunting for candy being one of the first childhood pleasures to get dropped in the name of adolescent holier-than-thou angst. Then came college and the dressing up to attract boys (but no candy—not a great trade), and the lean post-college apartment years in neighborhoods where sane adults didn’t let their kids out of the house at night, much less let them ask strangers for candy. Last year I lived in an apartment building filled with grad students and couples who didn’t have kids. Needless to say, no one rang the doorbell.

Last night I walked home from Kendall and my street was filled with kids and parents going from house to house. Three of the houses on our street had huge, inflatable Halloween decorations on their lawns and one of our neighbors threw a Halloween pizza party for parents on their lawn. Everyone was out, even the extremely private neighbors whom we suspect are the owners of Dali but aren’t really sure. Wearing my Wonder Woman T-shirt (my grown up replacement for my old Underoos), I manned the door, wishing we’d done more decorating so parents knew it was ok to try our house. Best costume: a 3-year old Curious George who roared like a lion. Worst costume: a 10-year old gypsy who ran around the neighbourhood screaming, “I’ll dance for money!” God, I hope someone told her to stop saying that.

Watching the kids go parading down the sidewalk, I had a moment of nostalgia for being young enough to think that people will mistake you for whatever you dressed up as—a pirate, a princess, Lemon Meringue, Spiderman. It’s the only time you can really get away with pretending to be someone else and that’s still cool.