Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Treatise on Lindsay's Christmas Spirit.

For those of you who know me well, this statement won't surprise you in the least: I am not a member of the population who gets stressed out by Christmas.  I love Christmas time.  For a few weeks, the decorations, the music, and, if I'm lucky, the snow make the world feel new and magical, full of hope, cheer, and kindness toward others.  Santa Claus, the emphasis on shopping and presents, and inflatable decorations don't sing "Christmas spirit" to me, and I don't see them as part of the same world of hope, magic, and kindness from which I derive such visible joy.  I get excited about Christmas not because it's a time when presents will happen -- but because the vast sea of familiarity presented in new ways every year is simultaneously comforting and exciting.  How will Diana Krawl or Harry C riff on old classics?  What new songs inspire me?  What old Christmas movies will pop up and make me remember something from childhood?  I'm not saying that there aren't sad memories associated with some Christmas seasons.   I'm not saying that I love spending hours shopping. What I am saying is that the joy I derive from watching "Muppet Christmas Carol" heals the wounds of everyday life and the past years' crises.  The whole season is an interior experience for me that I am grateful I get to share some of with others.  

Also, there's the smell of balsam fir trees.  

Yesterday, Dan and I put up our tree.  The last few winters were spent in Somerville, and we got our trees at this cute little place called Ricky's Flower Market in Union Square that was always bustling and bristling with humans and cars.  It was exciting!  And they had quite a selection.  But all I wanted was balsam fir.  This year, we live in Jamaica Plain, and there is a florist down the street from our house (literally!) that we popped down to.  Everything they had was the freshest balsam fir, and for half the price of the trees at Ricky's.  The place had people there, but it wasn't so cramped, and there was plenty of parking.  It was simpler.  

I mentioned the tree was fresh, which means that it was also dripping with pitch.  I'm glad we used a crappy sheet to wrap it up with before putting it in the car and carrying it up the stairs.  My hands got pitchy, too, when we were putting up the lights.  Fortunately, butter removes pitch with no effort whatsoever, so there were no problems there.  We decorated the tree, putting up some ornaments that are older than we are, and some that my brother made when he was in kindergarden -- and some that we bought when we got our first Christmas tree as a couple.  Visible nostalgia.  We watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" before blissfully falling asleep.

This morning, I woke up to snow.  I believe I jumped out of bed and screamed (perhaps screeched) "It's snowing!" and ran around the house opening all the curtains and plugging in the Christmas tree lights.  Then I made buckwheat pancakes and cranberry sauce.  I just get so excited this time of year!

The holidays make me reflect, and that's one thing that I always enjoy the opportunity to do.  At our much-reduced-in-numbers Friendsgiving this year (cozy and full love and warmth nonetheless), there were few enough of us to go around the table and state something we were each thankful for and still hear each other.  I am grateful that I am finally feeling better in time to enjoy the holidays.  A few weeks ago, I woke up feeling WELL.  Not just ok, but well.  I had energy, and I was in as much of a good mood as is possible for me in the morning before 9am, and I felt normal.  That hadn't happened for months.  Between the gastritis, the allergy attacks leading to sinus infections, laryngitis, and visual migrains, I had really been sick for four and a half months.  It's so nice to feel like I have myself back again.  And I have close friends and family to share it with.  What more in the world could I possibly ask for?  

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scrounge Up Cash With Used Gadgets
courtesy of The Boston Globe

Last week, we looked at ways to save money during tough times by refurbishing old computers. Since then, unemployment claims have spiked, companies have announced thousands of layoffs, and consumer confidence fell to its lowest level on record. Still worried about money? I thought so.
Read full article

Sunday, October 26, 2008

No Voice

I am unable to talk.  I was sick from Wednesday of last week through Friday of this week (yes, about 10 days) -- it was one hell of a nasty cold!  Unfortunately, laryngitis was a layer of the virus that I came down with, and I am currently unable to talk without damaging my vocal chords and causing sharp, descernable pain.  I don't like this.  I'm ready to see people, I really am, except that I can't talk.  The worst part of it is that it just plain on takes a long time to communicate, and it's hard.  I'll get better eventually.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I hadn't fallen off the face of the planet, I was just hiding...

No, I wasn't hiding.  It's just been really busy, and I haven't been up to writing at night as much.  Also, no offense meant to any of you who find computers relaxing, I realized that, as stressed out as I've been lately, I need to do things in the evening like relax -- write in my journal, spend more time reading and taking walks, and not being plugged in.  Ultimately, I do not find being plugged in to be terribly relaxing.  

Why am I trying to relax so much?  I think it should be fairly obvious to anyone who reads this blog with any regularity at all: my body absorbs every last bit of the stress to which I am exposed.  Last year, it took the form of tachycardia and palpitations.  This year, it's taken the form of a much longer-term and more daily-life-changing issue, gastritis.  Incidentally, I'm slowly on the up and up, but I saw my GI person this morning, and she said that it's still going to be a few months before I can eat regular food again because the inflammation in my stomach is chronic -- and will take longer to subside.  This gastritis looks like an episode, but is ulimately an expression of long-term damage.

So I've been trying acupuncture!  Try it, guys!  I'm serious!  It's the most relaxing thing in the world.  I love it.  And it also helps my stomach directly while I'm lying there on the table with the needles in me.  First and foremost, I'd just like to tell any of you who have not had acupuncture that it doesn't hurt.  You probably don't believe me, but it doesn't.  Actually, the first session I had was euphoric and spiritually profound.  It is physically amazing -- you're just pumped full of endorphins.  When I walked back into work that afternoon after having my acupuncture, everyone said I looked more relaxed than anyone they'd seen in their life, and/or high.  Yep, it's that good, folks.  Go try it.  It's not cheap, but it's worth it.

This fall has been good so far.  I love the autumn.  It's my favorite season, hands down.  No one can try to talk me into anything else, because my mind isn't changing.  The temperature tends to be lovely, and in New England, the perfect place to be during the fall, the trees reflect light that brighten the sky even on dismal days.  In fact, on our block here in JP, and especially in the Forest Hills Cemetary, some of the trees are actually fluorescing!  It's amazing!

We spent the past two weekends in Maine, and both of them were lovely.  Dan's mother got married, and we sang in the wedding.  The whole thing was so quaint in a Dan's Mom sort of way, and that made it wonderful.  She made all the dresses, too!  I love going to weddings where you really get the taste for the people who are getting married.  It's so much fun.  The weather was gorgeous, and fall was in full swing there.  

This past weekend, we went to Monhegan Island.  Now, this time was different, because we went out a day ahead of the Bogs, who were en route up from New York City.  When we arrived at their place, we settled in nicely...and then noticed that the refridgerator wasn't functioning.  So, we decided we'd gear up to go for a hike on the lovely sunny afternoon that it was, but we'd stop at the Shining Sails, where the caretakers reside.  The caretakers' receptionist took a note for us, mentioned they'd be back later that afternoon, and also said that we should check to see if anything else worked.  If not, that meant the gas was out.  We went back to the house, and sure enough, the tanks were as dry as can be.  That meant no fridge, no hot water, no light (the house runs off gas lamps, which, in addition to being charming, also keep the place  warm at night), and no stove.  So we walked back down the Shining Sails, left that note about the gas being out, and went for a beautiful hike.  

I can't say enough about the beauty that is Monhegan Island.  There's something so raw about rocky cliff-faces dropping off into the violent ocean -- where trees grow - literally! - out of the rocks.  I'll have pictures up on Picasa soon. 

We got back from our hike to find that there was still no gas.  So we walked back down to Shining Sails, where I found out from John that I needed to go to the Fish House around 5:00 and look for Sherm Stanley.  So we did.  And Sherm was just as kind as could be, but he couldn't deliver it that night.  He said he'd be down first thing in the morning.  

Now, that's all fine and dandy, and we were glad we had gas coming in, but everything we brought for food needed to be cooked.  Fortunately, we'd run into some old friends earlier that day who happened to be out on the island.  One of them actually works at the Trailing Yew Inn, and they totally hooked us up with lots of boiling water so we could at least make oatmeal and tea.  Needless to say, we went to bed early that night.  But everything we did that day was conducted by actually speaking with human beings.  Taking a walk down into the village, bumping into people, and talking with fellow humans.  It felt so civilized.  Even though we were alone in our unlit house, there were people around who helped us out.  If we'd picked up the phone and called the Shining Sails, we might never have bumped into the folks who ended up giving us the boiling water!  Boy, I love real communities!

The next day, gas was delivered, and we could cook and shower again, and that night we had gas lamps, and it was so cozy!  The Bogs arrived, and we had a lovely hike followed by a tasty dinner.  I've been craving potatoes, bananas, and parsley lately like nobody's business, so those elements were involved.  Also, for the record, kale with asparagus is damned tasty.  Jon Bog made a big ole' apple crisp, and it was frightfully good.  

What a nice weekend.  See, autumn is wonderful.  This weekend, Dan and I plan on hanging around the Boston area to take in autumn here.  I believe we're going to attempt do to World's End in Hingham AND Lexington Corcord National Park followed by some apple-picking, but I'm not sure how that will all pan out.  I'm on call Sunday afternoon for work -- we've got a big two day meeting-complete-with-workshops we've all been working on together.  

Work, as a side note, has been amazingly ___ lately.  I could fill in the blank with a lot of things, good and sad, but suffice it to say that work has been intense.  We've all been really busy and have taken turns getting sick, so we've been taking turns taking over one another's responsibilities.  Simultaneously, we're undergoing some restructuring and reformatting of what we are going to be spending most of our time doing, so that's been intense, too.  

...and I think I want to be a math teacher.  As I've been studying for the GMAT to apply for business school, I've remembered how much fun I always have doing math.  And I did in high school, too.  And I've always wanted to teach.  Let's face it: an MBA is practical, but I have never seen myself as a high-powered executive.  My body couldn't take it anyway.  But I could really see myself teaching, and it's always been that way.  It had been so long since I'd done math that I'd forgotten how much I sincerely enjoy it.  Let's not also joke around: it would involve some major relearning for me.  I don't remember a large percentage of what math teachers are required to teach.  However, I think that I'd be able to learn and relearn it, and I know I'd have fun doing it.  And it would be a hell of a lot easier to learn it in a classroom setting than it is when I painstakingly re-teach myself using the insufficient GMAT book.  I don't feel bad about spending the $250 to register for the GMAT, because I'm quite certain that I'd never have come to this conclusion otherwise.  

And life goes on.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Google G1 Phone!

Good thing I've been holding out on the iPhone. T-Mobile has just announced their Google phone! Considering that I'm a total Google Whore, the whole idea of this phone has me quite enthralled. Just think: Integrated Gmail and Gmail Chat! Oooh...it gives me shivers.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/23/tmobile-g1-phone-googles_n_128659.html

http://www.gizmosforgeeks.com/2008/09/24/google-g1-phone-announced/

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WeeHouse.

Courtesy of the New York Times:

The Next Little Thing?

Be sure to check out the slide show with photos.

"...Mr. Janzen has become interested in the small house movement, whose adherents believe in minimizing one’s footprint — structural as well as carbon — by living in spaces that are smaller than 1,000 square feet and, in some cases, smaller than 100. Tiny houses have been a fringe curiosity for a decade or more, but devotees believe the concept’s time has finally arrived."

I don't think I could handle living in a space quite that small, but the WeeHouse does appeal to me (averaging somewhere around a much more livable 700 square feet). I have found myself lately not wanting as much actually square footage as more open space -- I don't need more rooms, I just want there to be one big room with big windows and bedrooms off from there. And it just so happens that a lot of other people want that too. I have been keeping my eye on loft apartments (that daN and I will never be able to afford) but it looks like one of these babies could be within our reach someday.

Monday, September 15, 2008

News Center 6's Pat Callahan Interviews McCain

Reaction #1: Go Pat Callahan! You really stood up and asked him tough questions and didn't let him get away with changing what the question was!

Reaction #2: Wow. John McCain is so out-of-touch and past his prime.

Go Maine! Spread it around! There aren't many that real interviews of the presidential candidates.


Watch It Here.
Gastritis.

First, an aside. See, I told you espresso has less caffeine than coffee:
http://www.babycenter.com/0_caffeine-during-pregnancy_3955.bc?page=2&articleId=3955

Someone told me you're not supposed to have more than 200 mg a day of caffeine when you're pregnant, and I was curious just how much that was. No, I'm not pregnant, nor to I plan to be any time soon. However, since I'm off caffeine for a while now until my stomach lining can handle it again, I'm curious about caffeine intake in general and learning about when the next time I might have to go through this caffeine withdrawal process again.

Why am I off caffeine: well, for those of you not on facebook, I have been diagnosed with gastritis, which is inflammation of the stomach lining due to the fact that the mucus layer between the stomach lining and the stomach has been compromised. There are several causes: stress, too much acidic food/drink, bacteria, etc. We're not sure of the direct cause yet. Stress always makes everything worse, but I could have been harboring H pylori (which causes ulcers and some gastritis) and that my stress over the summer made me overproduce acid in such a way that H pylori was activated and then the gastritis hit. Who knows?

My endoscopy included a biopsy, so my GI will be able to tell me the cause in about a week. I'm hoping for bacterial, since that would be fairly easy to treat. However, the likelihood of it being stress-related and complicated is extremely high, especially given my summer. In that case, antibiotics won't help. Meanwhile, she prescribed me the big gun Prevacid, which is helping a lot already -- with my appetite in particular. It's not cheap, but it's worth it. I didn't experience any pain on Saturday at all! I am not allowed to eat tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, alcohol, citrus, mint, caffeine, chocolate, green tea, dairy, and a whole bunch of other stuff until it's completely cleared up, which could take a few more weeks or a few more months depending on what the biopsy shows.

The endoscopy itself was just fine. The conscious sedation kicked in nearly immediately, and I woke up at one point during, heard one of the women say "let's give her a little more" and then at one point I saw the inside of my stomach on the screen. Pretty neat! Only for a second, though. I didn't get it in any detail, because I went "out" again immediately after that. The only sense of discomfort I felt was when they woke me up enough to get me to swallow the camera. It was unpleasant but not unmanageable. In the recovery room, they gave me ginger ale, which I drank, and then fell back to sleep again. daN took the whole day off from work so he could take me home and take care of me. As soon as I got home, even though I'd eaten nothing but half a spelt blueberry muffin since 8:45 the night before, I fell back asleep on the couch again. Demerol and Valium make me sleepy!

In the meantime, it's decaf espresso and Celestial Seasonings herbal chicory root and barley tea for me. I'll tell ya, though -- I miss caffeine.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Potential Ulcer Update

Well, I saw the gastroenterologist (let's call her the GI for short) this morning, she said that my troubles are likely to be either (a) an ulcer, (b) post-IBS trauma acid reflux something-or-other-with-a-really-long-name, or (c) gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining). So I have an endoscopy (where they string a small camera down my throat while I'm under conscious sedation to look at my insides) this Friday, and we'll hopefully find out what's going on.

Happy Sign!

I saw the BEST sign in the consignment store "Poor Little Rich Girl" in Davis Square the other day:
"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm not dead, just busy.

Please excuse me for yet another delay in posts. As you may have gathered, this summer has been busy. It was exceptionally busy at work, and even though I'm running a meeting at work this fall, I think everything will manage to be less busy than this summer was. I was thinking about copying and pasting an email to friends a while ago, but really, let's just chalk it up to poorly timed work travel coming after several short nights of sleep (averaging around 5-6 hours every night) combined with a death in the family three nights before I had to be in Chicago for a work meeting we were arranging, and this has all resulted in catastrophic stress levels that has caused what my doctor suspects to be an ulcer.

Most of what happened over the summer was good -- in fact, the only thing that wasn't good was the death and my stomach problems and work-related stress. Social life as boomin'! We recorded lots of episodes of We Heart Superman (You Should Listen!) and had a 10 year class reunion in Maine. I taught a couple of yoga classes for my old yoga teacher in Cambridge, and we went to a baby shower. I also purchased a few dresses this year, because it turns out that I look pretty cute in the 60's mod shift dress that happens to be in style this year. There are also A-line shirt dresses, so I got one of them too! It's the first time in years there have been dresses on the market that look decent on me, so I've been buying them up.

daN and I also went to California! We flew into San Francisco, got to hang out with Lyrica and her beau Chris, and drove down to LA via the lovely Pacific Coast Highway. In LA, we stayed wit the Bogs. It was so good to see all of them. My impression of San Francisco: chill, but not enough trees. I did definitely get the sense of a slower pace of life during the day and a hoppin' nightlife. The coffee there was FANTASTIC across the Board. My impression of the California landscape: breathtaking. My impression of LA: virtually soulless, with pockets of authenticity. Businesses there don't have a chance unless they have a blinking sign. It is, above all, convenient. And there are great smoothie places all over the place. The fruit is outstanding. For details and pictures, check out my Photos.

On Labor Day Weekend, daN and I did practically nothing. We took long walks in the best weather Boston has witnessed in months -- sunny, warm, dry during the day and chilly at night. Perfect. We hung out at home and did laundry and read and took naps. It was the best weekend and just what we needed after a hectic/good summer.

News: I have my 1970 La Pavoni Europiccola Chrome Lever-Pull Espresso Machine back from the shop! YAY! It works again! I can't express to to you happy I was to have it back. I was like a giddy kid. My boss let me leave work early to go get it. I am SO HAPPY to have it back.

Um, other news: I hope you're sitting down for this one, because it's uncharacteristically practical of me -- I am considering business school. Yes, going for my MBA. I was all gung-ho for anthropology, and all set to apply. I had written the personal statement, arranged meetings with professors and everything -- I just couldn't actually sit down to apply. Now, I have a hard time starting things, but I don't tend to have a hard time finishing what I've started. When I do have a hard time with it, my heart isn't really in it. The whole difficulty with applying gave me pause: did I really want to go through with it? Actually, no. As I have been sitting on the T, in restaurants, overhearing people at parties, the hum continues thus: "My sister is so upset. She didn't get tenure at ____ College where she's been working for years, so now she has to take this position in Missouri for a year because it's the only job in her specialty in the country right now." I just don't want that kind of life! I might really be able to see myself being a professor in the abstract kind of way, assuming that it weren't so difficult to get that job, but I definitely am not willing to move wherever. So, I was thinking about what kind of degrees would open up opportunities rather than limit them, have talked with co-workers and friends, and I'm going to look into an MBA.

Now, I know myself. I might get a certain distance into it and realize that's not what I really want either. And that's a right that I have. But I'm still letting myself be excited about it. The classes would be hard, but at the end of the road, I would have numerous options. And I've got great mentors and supporters at my job. Not to mention that my work benefits would cover a large portion of tuition. None too shabby.

Ah, life is so fascinating.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Post

For the hell of it. So I had a somewhat bucolic weekend in Maine, complete with spending a whole day with my wonderful Mom and Aunt Kimmie (couldn't have been better -- it had been a long time since I'd had a good long visit with them). I saw the progress on the house being built at the top of the hill (they are currently residing in a trailer at the bottom of the hill where there were, conveniently, already electric, sewage, and oil hook-ups). The new house is going to be absolutely beautiful. The only eerie thing was how dry it was there. We were all walking around thinking about how we looked like Pigpen from "Peanuts." Dust was puffing up from around our footsteps. It has rained in other parts of Union, but not there. It's dessicated and odd. Last time I was up there, the whole place was a glorified mud pit! (Nota bene: this information will be important later on in the post.)

The weekend was also spiced by free night at the Blues Festival in Rockland. While I was there, I caught up with all sorts of people -- Seren, Suzanne and Patrick (owners of Rock City Coffee né Second Read), my elementary school gym teacher and his family (I always liked their mom a lot) and a few other members of the community -- some of whom I had bumped into recently and some of whom I hadn't. The music was good, too. There was dancing.

The weekend ended with some sad news, regarding the unfortunate death of a childhood friend of mine, Joel Cartwright. A n MVHS grad, Joel was great friends with one of my best friends' younger brother, and I saw him at their house a lot. Later, I did theatre with him. The whole community is sad for his death.

I also heard of the sad death of someone less known to me, but for whom I have no less sympathy: another MVHS graduate Vinny Galkowski.

And to wrap up the bizarrely sad news of the weekend, just 12 hours after I left Mum's house on Saturday, her porch caught fire and burned off the front wall of their house. Public service announcement: do not put cigarettes or matches out in planters! There is fertilizer in potting soil, which is flammable. The flames stay alive, eventually catch fire again.

At 5:30 in the morning, a random stranger who likes to drive past Mum's perennial garden was driving past it in the sunrise. She noticed that the porch had a huge fire on it, but that no one seemed to be aware of it. Immediately, this woman jumped out of her car and started banging on the windows until Mum eventually woke up and called 911. Kimmie and Mum were outside with buckets and hoses to keep the fire down, and when the fire department arrived and squelched the flames, the flames had just eaten through the 2x4's of the walls. Yes, five more seconds, and it would have been into the sheetrock and ripping through the living room. Not long after that, the whole place would have been up in flames, and a major forest fire would have begun. Everything is OK, and Mum can claim bonified trailer trash now that the front of their place has been burned off and has a big blue tarp over it. They don't have any cars buried under 6 foot grass, but they do have a couple of trucks and a tractor. I'm just glad she's OK.

And tonight, I had my first French class in 11 years. I had fun! I like the teacher. And I think it's definitely the right class for me. A lot of it is review, but it's good to get some of the language down again about parts of speech. And I learned something new today, (or at least, I think I did) so I'm grateful for that, too. I think it will be good. I enjoyed it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Important Articles
Every now and again, something crosses my computer screen that I think I should share. The cell phones article is particularly interesting -- findings doctors don't wish to dignify but begrudgingly know they have to.

The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating
Nutritionist and author Jonny Bowden has created several lists of healthful foods people should be eating but aren’t. But some of his favorites, like purslane, guava and goji berries, aren’t always available at regular grocery stores. I asked Dr. Bowden, author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” to update his list with some favorite foods that are easy to find but don’t always find their way into our shopping carts. Here’s his advice... -- Courtesy of The New York Times

and the public service announcement --
Cell Phones Risky During Pregancy

Unlikely Finding: More Bad Behavior at Age 7 if Mom, Child Used Cell Phone: May 21, 2008 -- Mothers who use cell phones during pregnancy -- and let their small children use cell phones -- increase their child's risk of serious behavior problems by 80%.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Playing with oils


I've also started painting again. This painting is actually about 16x20 in and is the first time I've picked up paint for around ten years. I like it! It's not done yet, but I wanted to share it anyway.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I recognize that this kind of negligence is unforgivable.

So, if I still have any readers left after having neglected to post some real content for this long, I am updating again. I'm going to divide this up by topic.

Heart
Quite a bit has been going on, but notably, one of them has been dealing with my heart. You may recall that I have sinus arrhythmia built into my heart, which means that I have an abnormal heart rate that is just outside the realm of normal. It doesn't pose any danger unless I let my life get out of hand and don't get any down time, in which case I tend to have things bordering on panic attacks in the form of tachycardia (really really fast heart rates above 100 beats per minute).

One trigger is menstruation. Annoying, but there it is. I am on some new hormones, and haven't had tachycardia for the past month, which is great. I had a bout with a medication my doctor wanted me to try to treat the accelerated heart rate, but they only exacerbated the palpitations and had horrible side effects (short term memory loss -- I lost my debit card, forgot my wallet on my desk at work, and had to write everything down or I'd forget it instantly). I decided to stop taking them (they were beta-blockers) given that the side-effects were worse than the reasons I was taking them. So, my doctor recommended that I wear a holster heart monitor again for another 24 hours (which I had done a few years back). Aside from the fact that it was uncomfortable and annoying (YOU try keeping those sticky electrode thingies in place while it's 90 degrees and humid and you sweat as much as I do), it yielded positive results. Whatever is going on with me is not in fact cardiac (based in my heart), so I am no in danger. I think it has to be endocrine system driven (hormone) because of the predictability of its rise around my period, and when I am so stressed out that I go into fight-or-flight mode. I have looked on health forums, and this problem is startlingly common to women. There has been no research done on it, but the good news is that I'm not some freak. Intriguingly, there were some accounts of other people with IBS suffering from these symptoms, so it's possible there is some nervous system connection (IBS is a disorder of the enteric nervous system, also affected by hormones.)

Grad School
No real news there, except to mention that I'm still gung-ho about cultural anthropology and applying to grad school. The plan is to pick out and edit writing samples this summer and visit the campuses this fall (when professors and grad students are actually on campus to talk to) -- and then complete the applications and submit them then.

Summer
Boy, oh, boy -- am I chafing under my lack of time off. I really hate having only 10 days in the entire year. Ten days doesn't go very far when you think need to divide it between going to the RMV, moving, time off around the holidays, and things like weddings and reunions. I even have to take Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve as vacation days! God forbid I should manage to take a little time off for myself. I started crying yesterday morning when daN made a joke about how he needs more time off (he's actually suffering from too much time on his hands since he is trying out being a teacher with no summer job). I hit burn-out a couple of months ago and couldn't do anything about it.

That being said, we're actually taking vacation in August! We're going to California! We'll be flying into San Francisco, and checking out what that area has to offer (Muir Woods and Wine Country are on the list, too) -- and then renting a car and driving south to L.A. to see Kal-El, Gilly, Jon and Judy in their digs out there. Should be a good time. I suspect that I will like San Francisco and not L.A., but I'm trying to be open about what Los Angeles has to offer -- for example, the fresh produce and juice bars.

As an aside, I also plan to take French classes again this summer. It's been a long time, and I need some refreshing.

Last but not least, there is a class reunion coming up -- August 9. Whoa, that's soon!

Rain
The other night I had a profound experience getting caught in one of Boston's latest: crazy thunderstorms every afternoon! I'm telling ya, we're on our way to becoming a rainforest. The climate is changing. The Rain was so intense that I couldn't see and couldn't breath unless I covered my mouth and pointed it downwards so that I wouldn't breathe in water. Breathing through the nose was simply not an option, because I would have got water up my nose no matter what. The Rain came on so quickly! As it has been every afternoon. One second, it's sunny. Ten seconds later, it's dark as 4am. Ten seconds later, there are a couple of large drops of rain -- still few enough to run between. Ten seconds later, it's a torrential downpour like you've never seen. Every day. Streets are flooding instantaneously, and people are getting soaked. Caught in the rain. Umbrellas are defenseless against it.

On this one particular occasion, I was on my way to pick up the car from being serviced at Herb Chambers in Allston. I was one of the few on the train who had been caught in the Rain. The B-line, you might recall, is an old enemy of mine, and it greeted me with all the stops and jerks that it could. It was also air-conditioned. I was freezing. And did I mention that I was wearing white? Fellow passengers looked at me with a mixture of disdain and pity for the whole 35 freezing minutes that I was on the train. When I got off the train, the sky was lighter, but it was still raining. So I ran to Herb Chambers, where I was able to use their bathroom. I was so cold that it hurt to pee. At that point, I was beyond misery. The whole experience had taken its toll on me.

By the time I battled with Boston rush-hour traffic back to our apartment in Jamaica Plain, I was out of words. I got through the door, put my stuff down, and raged. I experienced rage! Once that was over, I showered, and took my time about it. Shaving, hair-washing, ginger body salt, all were employed in my efforts to re-civilize myself.

After showering, I felt a sense of calm that I have not experienced since profound moments at Kripalu during my yoga training. I was quiet. I had no words to share. I had only a sense of peace. I did yoga. I ate. I sat with daN. I walked with daN. And I had been shaken to my core by this fast and furious Rain. And I experienced strong gratitude for the chance to be shoved back to center.

(Incidentally, as I wrote this part of my blog, it went from sunny humid to dark and pouring within three minutes. Rainforest, i'm telling you.)

Architecture
As I was sitting at my doctor's office waiting to have my heart monitor installed, I picked up a copy of the magazine "dwell." I am in love. It was on renovating old spaces with modern interiors. That's perfect! I've always had a fascination with architecture, and have always loved old houses -- at least, the exterior of old houses. The fact is that most old houses are a bit choppy -- each room is blocked off. I've been chafing under such regimented spaces that define how we can use them recently. All our apartments have had quite defined spaces: kitchen, which is a different room from the dining room, which is a different room from the living room, etc. I am not complaining; I love our apartment and think we've really lucked out with apartments in this area. But I've been longing for more openness, more expanse, even without needing the same square footage. On the other hand, I'm also not in love with modern architecture's exterior appearances. Most do not impress me or interest me at all. So this particular issue of "dwell" inspired me. I bought it three days later.

Pie
Last weekend, daN and i were in Maine, and we got the chance to stop by Beth's farmstand in Warren, ME. There, I had the opportunity to purchase fresh Maine rhubarb and fresh Maine strawberries in the perfect quantity to make a strawberry rhubarb pie. Mmmmm! One of my favorites. And I have to say -- I've become rather good at making pie. I finally found a dough that is easy to work with, pieces back together well again after it breaks (inevitable) and is also tasty. Yay! I'm rather proud and happy.

Canoeing
Today, daN and i went to Newton to rent a canoe. For one hour of canoeing, it cost a grand total of $15.75 -- and it was beautiful. Yes, we could have gone to the Esplanade in Boston, but we were trying to get away from the city. And once we got away from that intersection of Routes 90, 95, and 30, it was rather peaceful. Check out pictures.

Espresso
On Tuesday morning, my 1970 La Pavoni Europiccola chrome lever-pull espresso machine wouldn't turn off. And then it wouldn't turn on. Nooooo! I looked all over the internet to find someone in Boston who would touch one of them (since it's an Italian import, they're rather specialized, and most electricians won't go near them), and knowing that the nearest manufacture repair place is in New York City, I was a little saddened.

My internet searches yielded no results, so I decided upon a different approach. I walked down to the North End (read, Boston's Little Italy), strolled into Polcari's, and asked Bobby behind the counter if he knew someone. And he did. He was on the phone before I'd finished my sentence. The guy knew another guy, but he had moved, so Bobby got the new phone number. He called them. He told me to talk to Mary Lou at this phone number tomorrow between the hours of 8:30 and 4:00. I did. The following day, I was at a place called "Espresso Plus" located in the Accardi Brothers building in Medford's ugly Commercial Street district. I left it with them. It will be ready in about three weeks.

I'm sure the repairs will be hefty, but they'll be worth it. Let's not forget that I only paid $200 for this thing, and it retails for $700. Given how often I use it and how old it is, it's due some repairs, and I'm happy to shell out another two-hundred bucks to get it back into mint condition. While they're at it, I checked the "tune-up" box on the paperwork. I figured it couldn't hurt. In the meantime, my friend Patty is being kind enough to let me borrow her stove-top espresso maker so I can still have espresso in the morning. Drip coffee just isn't the same.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We (Heart) Superman!

Well, as you might know, I've been dusting off the acting skills and have been participating in a relatively low-commitment level but highly satisfying radioshow available on the internet!

http://www.spacetoast.net/cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi/podcasts/superman

I have been reading the voice of Lois Lane for a Play for Podcast called "We (Heart) Superman" (linked above). (If you don't have iTunes, there is a link to listen to it directly through your internet browser using Quicktime, as well -- or you can download the mp3).

It's not professional grade, of course, but the project is fun and the writing is funny. I'm enjoying myself.

The first two of six episodes are live and available for listening. We recorded the third episode last night, and it should be live in about two weeks. The shows are short and fun -- designed to run under 15 minutes. The second episode is near the top of the page. For the first episode, please scroll down. If you use iTunes, you can also subscribe to it just like other podcasts.

No obligations to listen to it, obviously, but I thought you might like to have the link. In the interest of full disclosure, the content leans closer to "PG-13" rather than "rated-G."

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sex and the City

pasted from an email to a friend:

last night, patty and i went to see the 10:50 showing of "sex and the city," and it was so much fun! i enjoyed the movie at lot. the characters were well-developed and had sympathetic character arcs. it was obviously over-the-top and ridiculous. if i had to review it though, i'd have to say it was so-so. here's why: while it had a well-developed story line, good emotions, and good tension and pay-off, it was even more saturated with the appeal of material culture than the show was. and get this -- the movie entirely lacked the (albeit small) amount of meta-text level criticism that the TV show managed to attain every now and again that would put the consumerist manifesto in perspective. it made a long movie even longer. i will use an analogy. just as in superbowl, the actual game takes quite a while, but with all the advertisements, the whole deal takes even longer -- the sex and the city movie had a plot that did take a while -- and all the fashion placement extended it beyond what it needed to be, and not with much benefit. nevertheless, i really enjoyed it.

there were an INSANE number of women there all dressed up -- and the theatre was SWAMPED! you couldn't move for lack of room. the movie lines were handled like airport security on a busy friday at 5pm. i can't wait to see what the box office numbers are it are like for its opening weekend. it's just crazy how many people where there. we had to buy tickets quite ahead of time, and i'm glad that we did.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Clear Head and More Excitement than I Can Contain

Well, you're not going to believe this, but I think a light went on that has afforded me some focus in my thinking about graduate school and my areas of expertise. Guess what -- I want to go into cultural and linguistic anthropology! This concept makes so much sense to me that it has left me utterly giddy. This all started when I had a freak-out while I was taking a first stab at getting some words on paper for my personal statement in application to Simmons College. I was having a really hard time coming up with anything more than an elevator pitch about teaching literature and cultural studies (and indeed, I have no desire to teach in a public school, so that was a big hold-up as well). I just kept writing and writing while the stream of conscious was flowing out of me and I put a couple of things together about myself -- namely, that I enjoy studying human beings. How exciting! Don't get me wrong -- I love ripping into a piece of literature, but my true excitement has always been found in trying to get a big picture view of a topic, and to find the symbolic systems at work in a given text, whether literature, a magazine, an advertisement, or any kind of social discourse. -- trying to really understand things like "What does culture mean?" "What is culture?" "How is it produced?" "Who identifies with 'culture,' and who manufactures culture with which people identify?" Given the variety of my interests, I had spent a few years looking perhaps a bit too deeply and failed to see the connection between all of them -- anthropology.

I even know of a few projects that I am interested in pursuing -- refugee communities within already poor rural communities and the interrelated racial and economic tensions (looking at Somalian refugees in Lewiston, ME, for example), and also the relationships between class and cultural identity. What happens when someone doesn't identify with their class, or when part of their class shifts? What is someone's real relationship to class? I am also interested in the economic and social influences of what choices people making in identitying with political parties and party views -- or not. I am interested in doing ethnographic case studies and possibly gaining some quantitative research skills.

This big picture explains so many of the different kinds of issues I was trying to wrap my head around while I was at Hampshire: religion, intellectual history, world views during moments captured in literature, identity theory, Marxist theory, philosophy, etc. I also have checked out various university websites just to make sure that the class selections within anthropology departments match with my concept of what it must be, and it sure does. So, yes. I think this is something I will pursue. I feel clearer-headed than I have in ages.

Anyway, I'm really excited. On that note, I still plan on applying to Simmons' Gender and Cultural Studies MA and MAT program (but it would be social sciences, not English, most likely) because it looks like its foci could still suit my needs. But I am also considering looking at Brandeis and Northeastern look really good to me.
How many times do I have to say, "I'm an idiot to live in this country"???

Work Week and Vacation Variances

Monday, May 05, 2008

I love it when the universe sends obvious signs.

I have been considering new glasses frames, as you might know, potentially (*gasp*) bifocals since my eye doctor had warned me that I won't be able to get away with over-the-counter reading glasses forever due to the extremity of the stigmatism in my right eye.

That all, however, would require calling the eye doctor and setting up an eye exam to begin with, which I have been putting off a bit, because new glasses are expensive. Today, I went to put on the reading glasses I keep at work, and they snapped in half.

I now have an eye exam tomorrow at 2:00.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Beard

Addendum: News flash! If you click on the photo below, you'll be able to veiw a larger image! It's worth being able to see the subtle differences. You won't see daN with a beard any time soon.

At some point in his life, everyone who identifies as a man feels a compulsion to experiment with the length of his facial hair. Sometimes, they experiment with a different style every day, as daN recently did. I particularly like the Cuban drug lord and the Hitler mustache.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Morning Glory

My heart is so full that I could burst. Or at least it was yesterday. As I was walking through the Forest Hills Cemetery, feeling fully the hustle and bustle of spring -- trees stretching and yawning and buds curling out of bed, leaves bursting through buds, ducks and geese bowing and curving and flapping in dances, calling to their mates -- I lengthened along a chair carved from a tree, worn with love and warm with sun, next to my darling daN, and I couldn't contain myself for the universe inside of me. I was so happy -- no -- joyful! Full of loud peace and quiet ebullience. I love spring.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Snippets

I love my new laptop. It's sincerely bitchin'. I couldn't believe how quickly all the programs launch. That's what happens when you get top of the line everything. Also, the large screen makes things a lot easier, and i LOVE having the 10-key number pad. I love it.

I love dancing at gay bars. This past weekend, i met up with my friend Mandi to celebrate Mea's birthday in Portland at STYXX, a wonderful gay bar. For the most part, the hip hop floor was populated with dykes and trannies, and the gay men were primarily in the jungle house room, and i can happy say that i bumped into people from high school in both places. I had a real blast. No ikky frat guys all over me. Besides, I identify as queer even if i'm not in a homosexual relationship. The next morning, Alan, Lee, and I had brunch together at a great cafe in Portland called "Bintliff's American Cafe." It was fantastic and noteworthy for its excellent service and excellent (and free!) coffee.

I love the Pioneer Valley. My friend Patty and I had a bittersweet visit to the Hampshire College campus for a memorial lecture for a beloved professor who died of leukemia. Sad face. His name is Eric Schocket, and the memorial lecture was to speak on topics of relationship of class to race, and the moments where blurring the lines erases discourse around categories of people (i.e. equating black with poor and white with well-to-do leaves many voices silenced, working class whites and well-to-do blacks among them). Too bad that the lecturer, Cora Kaplan, is not a very good speaker. She was delightful in Q&A, though. Nevertheless, Patty and I had a great time there for many reasons, not the least of which was catching up with a few other professors, eating at our Japanese restaurant in NoHo, The Teapot, and soaking in the vibes at Hampshire proper.

I need a vacation. I have been confused lately about what month it is, and have been defaulting to October. Yes, October. Last time I checked, that was the month where I worked until 8 every night getting ready for a big meeting I was helping to run, got really sick, couldn't take any time off, landed in the emergency room for tachycardia and heart arrhythmia, and then my aunt died. Not a good month. The fact that I keep relating to that crazy time is not, actually, a good thing. I need some time off. I might go to Kripalu for a few days to get myself back.

I love our new apartment, and living across from the Forest Hills Cemetery is AWESOME.

I love original Nintendo.

I want to go to Paris, but the American dollar sucks right now.

I love South Park and am beyond thrilled that A#1: it's available to watch online now -- complete seasons! -- on ComedyCentral.com, and B#2: my new laptop can handle it.

I love To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. I've been in a real Virginia Woolf mood lately, and this novel is hitting the spot. The way she writes interior voices is haunting and beautiful, not to mention strikingly forged with delicious feminist subtext without hitting the reader over the head. The desire to remain alone in one's "core-shaped wedge of darkness" and the desire to pull all the loved ones into the act of becoming society vacillate and flicker within Mrs. Ramsay, and I am continually stunned with the narrative structures and styles that Woolf employs to fluidly convey complicated set of emotions -- without even being direct.

I love original Nintendo, and about about to play Dr. Mario or Megaman 2.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Project Virgle

http://www.google.com/virgle/index.html


Google and Virgin partner up on the first corporation-sponsored large plan to come up with a "plan B" for our planet's environmental troubles. Gotta see it to believe it.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Home

This is the first weekend in, count'em, two months that we are neither doing major packing nor unpacking, assembling furniture, having company, or in a different state. First weekend of February was spent packing. Second weekend of Feb, daN's Mum came to visit. Third weekend, we went to Maine (what were we thinking?! but we had fun.) The following weekend, we moved. Weekend after that, we unpacked and bought furniture. Face it: whenever you move, you need to deal with the fact that the systems you had in your old place probably won't fit the space of your new place. Weekend after that, we assembled the furniture. Weekend after that, Kat and Rebecca (college friends of mine) came to visit! YAY! We had a wonderful time. Weekend after that (last weekend), daN and I went to DC to visit Matt and Kathy. Ahead of time, I got an extra prescription med for my allergies, and didn't get sick this time! YAY! My ploy worked. Sudafed works, too, but it also tends to increase my risk of tachycardia, which is bad. I'm not allowed to take it anymore. Anyway, we generally kicked back and went to the zoo, AND we went to see Stephen Colbert's portrait in the National Portrait Gallery. It's so gratuitous. It's awesome.

Yes, this is my first unchartered weekend in two months. It's been great. We went to Target on Friday night to buy toilet paper and then watched the second half of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Yesterday, we slept late, and I did some minor painting on some bureaus I put together a couple of weeks ago, (i'm going to put my office supplies in those), and today I think I'll do laundry and make hamentashen. Mmm. Purim was last weekend, but that's OK.

In other words, I think we're settling in!

I breathe a sigh of relief. Also, excitingly, I did get my tax return, so I spent it on two very exciting things: a wardrobe system from IKEA to actually house my clothing and jewelry in an organized fashion (yay I can find things in the morning!) and a new laptop. Woohoo! I did a lot of research this time, and though I am in the mood to own a Mac again for the first time in years, I ulimately decided against it. I really want a laptop with the 10-key number pad on the right of the letter portion of the keyboard, and Mac has yet to embrace that idea, even in its 17" models. So i went with a Dell Inspiron 1720, and this time I didn't cheap out. I went with top of the line everything (videocard, processing speed, memory, hard drive, etc) so that the new laptop will be able to handle whatever I throw at it for the next few years. See, the current laptop has been a real workhorse, which is a big part of why I have gone with another Dell. But I skimped out because I was really poor at the time, and I found myself in the position where, a year after I bought it, it couldn't handle what became of the internet. I bought this one four and a half years ago when the internet was still basically text in pretty colors. There was no such thing as Youtube or Myspace pages with music AND slideshows. So I had no idea I would want better sound, a faster processor, and a video card to be able to handle what are now considered basic internet functionalities. Here is a picture of what it will look like (note: sexy) -- it's a smaller model than the one I bought, but you'll get the idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Dell_Inspiron_1420.jpg It arrives April 20th.

Anyway, I should get started on my day, but let me tell ya -- it's been nice having the time to sit down, drink my cup of coffee, and write for a while.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

We Moved.

i'm tired but relieved. we moved on friday. BIG thanks out there to patty and razz who helped us on the day of the actual move. daN and i woke up early on friday morning, did some more packing (you're never done) and then went to pick up the truck*, a 15-footer that i drove around all day. biggest truck i've ever handled, and it was quite an adventure. i have a new appreciation for those things, and a newfound desire to stay as far away from amateur truckers as possible when in a normal sized car. do them a favor: don't get anywhere near them.

patty and razz showed up in the realm of 10:30/11:00, and we just started in on loading things up. we kept going until around 12:30 when we paused for lunch (thai take-out and coffee/beverages from cafe rossini on highland ave). around 1:30, we started up again. we filled that 15-footer up, alright, much to the astonishment of dave (one of our old landlords), and set out for JP.

traffic was classic boston-gridlock-terrible. it took about an hour or more to get from somerville to JP, which was fine with me because it meant that i could move slowly in that fully loaded weapon of which i was at the helm. my trucking-in-boston experience was supplemented with four assholes who nearly fatally cut me off (would have been fatal to them if i hadn't managed to get the truck to stop in time), and the true icing on the cake was the guy in the car in front of me on 93 who actually fell asleep and stopped moving.

around 3:30 or 4:00, we started moving things upstairs to the new apartment in JP. getting everything upstairs tuckered us all out, but the real challenge was the couch, which EXACTLY fit upstairs, as long as we took the banister off. the boxspring? it's sitting outside for trash day right now. there was no way it was fitting up the stairs. we gave it the college try, but we knew there was no way. so we're sleeping on a mattress on the floor right now, which isn't so bad. we'll get a boxspring at some point and have someone deliver it with the knowledge that they'll have to hoist it up over the front porch. it's OK that we have to get a new one. this one is older than i am and has been broken since 1999. it's been held up by no fewer than six 2x4's for the last nine years. this move was the final sign that it's time to get a new one.

we finished unpacking the truck around 7pm and drove back to somerville. i stopped to fill up the gas tank and was very proud of myself for navigating in reverse at a gas station all by myself (daN was driving razz home). after returning the truck, daN and i grabbed a quick dinner at anna's taqueria in porter square in cambridge, and then came home to clean** for four hours.

sleeping: we slept in the old apartment in somerville one last night. the only things left there were the curtains to the living room (where we slept), the humidifier and some other overnight bag accoutrements, our cleaning stuff, and the futon mattress upon which we slept (well, and the bedding). we had to pack all that stuff up in our scion xB, which miraculously fit precisely. that took a little time, but that's OK. we bid our farewell to deirdre and dave and drove away... to get me some coffee at the diesel in davis square. man, i'm gonna miss that place (the diesel).

i will miss davis square. i will miss the sunny-ness of the living room in the old apartment. i will miss hearing deirdre greet their little dog pasha when she gets home. however, i love this new place. the kitchen already has me head over heals for it. in this apartment, there is not tons of direct sunlight, but it's better diffused throughout the place so that there aren't the same quantity of dark holes. the cute neighborhood and the fact that both of our commutes are much shorter are big pluses (indeed, the very impetuses for moving). and of course, the fact that this place was insulated last year and is located on the second floor and is thereby warmer without us having to do much about it is ALSO a big contributing factor in our decision to move here. i'm sure i'll come to love JP. but first i have to come to grips with saying farewell to the first place that felt like home since we moved down to boston in september of 2003.

unpacking and settling in: after days of effort, we're finally at that point where we can stop unpacking for a little while because we have unpacked just enough to make room for moving around and living. the things that are still in boxes are OK to remain there for another couple of weeks.

new furniture: we went to IKEA on sunday and spent about 5 hours there (i wish i were joking). the end result was spending close to $1200 for a lot of new things, but not a boxspring (we just got too tired). this list of new things included, but is not limited to, dining room table, stools for the breakfast bar, a stepstool, a couple of small bureaus for my office supplies, curtain rods, and a PAX KOMPLEMENT wardrobe system complete with a built-in jewelry box, a trouser rack, and a full length mirror (that one was the big expense). we were tired by the end of THAT day, too.

on that note, i'm going to bed. this was the first night where i didn't do anything productive at all (aside from make dinner and granola and help take out the trash). and let me tell ya -- it's been nice!


*word to the wise: if you can move during the winter, it's a lot easier to rent a truck.
** today, a colleaguexzsa of mine told me that her tenants have never cleaned the apartments when they moved out. i just wouldn't feel right about that. who wants to live in someone else's filth?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Times Like These...

It's important to remember who really ROCKS. What I love about the Foo Fighters is that they not only rock hard, but they are also legitimately talented musicians who don't need to rely on distortions to make their music sound full. With real musical and compositional skill and a sense of harmony and melody, their music has a mature sound. Though they are definitely a rock band, they push the boundaries of the genre and unabashedly do sweet acoustic renditions of their older songs, not in and of itself unique for a rock band. What makes them stand out is that they notably write several songs meant for acoustic instruments -- violin and piano included -- songs not meant to rock hard. The end result is a band that plays to the quiet and the riot of the human experience. They are, without a doubt, my favorite rock band.

daN and I had the honor of seeing them last night. Now, I had seen them twice before and didn't think twice about seeing them a third time on a Monday night and taking the following day off from work in order to facilitate its ease. They are amazing live. If you don't believe me, just remember that they've won a few grammies over the years, one of which is repeatedly "Best Hard Rock Performance." (This year, they also took "Best Rock Album.") And it IS. For one thing, they are funny. They definitely milked the "two grammies" thing, showcasing their grammy-award-winning triangle player with a great triangle solo.

The Foo paid tribute to what helped them get where they are: their acoustic collaborators who lowered on a stage from the ceiling onto a platform midway through the audience. Rather than having a lot of switching back and forth between instruments, the main band simply played an acoustic subset. The instruments were all set on the second stage; the band simply ran down a raised walkway that joined the mainstage and the supplemental stage, and joined their extra acoustic musicians. IT was COOL.

The whole thing allowed for a show with a nice flow to it. They opened rocking hard, and they closed rocking hard, but they had some quieter and high energy acoustic sounds in the middle.
Another thing I like about seeing the Foo Fighters is that they really do play a good mix of music from every album. Between the variety and the arch of music, the set list was wholly satisfying.

About their rock: all I can say is that they rock. Honestly. I don't know how to say it better than that. David Grohl is a sexy rock god, to quote one of daN's former employers. 'Nuff said. If you enjoy rock, see them if you can. It's worth whatever you pay.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

No Real News

Nothing really to say, except that packing on the weeknights requires a lot more gumption than I had even given it credit for. daN's Mum is visiting this weekend, and it will be great to see her. She's a lot of fun. We're going to Maine next weekend, which should also be a lot of fun. That is, we'll be going into Maine if it's not absolutely shooting ourselves in the feet to do so. We do have about seven boxes packed, but you wouldn't know it to look at our place. We still have a lot to do. But here's the thing: we're not going to pack our plates and silverware yet. That would be dumb!

So it will have to happen the week before we move. And that's that.

In other items, yesterday I went into the Origins in Fanueil Hall to say hi to the girls who work there, and they were so happy to see me! Or at least, they acted it. We had a good little time. And they gave me a facial! I didn't even buy anything. They would like me to spread the word that they like pampering people, and that if you would like a free facial, you should go there. I enjoyed myself. It was a nice little retreat.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Packing, etc.

I'm taking a break from packing by having an afternoon snack and zoning out in front of the computer.

I will say this: there is nothing to make you realize how much you have to do like starting. Nevertheless, this time is easier than in past years because I've done a great job of doing clean-outs and routing weeding as I've gone along. So even though we've been here for nearly three years, it's not as bad as it could be.

The kitchen is going to be a nightmare.

...and when all is said and done, we do have more stuff than we had when we moved here.

P.S. 3:10 to Yuma is a good new cowboy movie. You should watch it. But not just before you are hoping to sleep.

That's life.

In other news, the weather has been very odd today. We had a spurt of sunlight in the morning, and then it rained for a while, and then there was this violent tornado of snow, and then the sun came out again. Now it's back to snowing.

The Weather is having fits. It's fascinating.

But i'm ready for Spring.

Monday, February 04, 2008

What you could call some major updates

It would be really easy for me to focus on any one thing right now, given how much has been going on, not the least of which is the defeat of the Patriots by the Giants last night. That was quite a game, complete with heartbreak in the last 35 seconds of the game when the Giants scored their winning touchdown, in the last minute when Brady failed to complete a pass to Moss in the end zone, when .... i could go on, but I won't. The sting is fresh, but not so fresh that I can't take on some perspective: I am a New Englander. That means that the bitter poison of defeat is a taste with which many of us are familiar, but that poison has been on the shelf this whole season. In fact, we've been lulled into this false sense of security and have grown weak and perhaps more susceptible to the poison's designs since the Red Sox and the Patriots have done so well overall. We, dare I say it, are no longer used to the disappointment, instead got used to winning. *gasp!* Let's have some perspective on the matter: maybe it's just a game and maybe it isn't, but this is what it means to be a New England fan. Many people have come to hate the Pats and the Sox because they are the favored teams. But ya know what? I loved them when they were 0 and 17, not just when they were 17 and 0. And still calling them my team after a gutwrenching game like last night's is why I am a Pats fan. They put up a good fight against those Giants.

Oh yeah, and daN and i are moving on March 1. The last few weekends have been a bit hectic, what with looking for a new place to live, breaking it to the landlords that we're leaving (they took it well, but asked us to stay until May. Fuck no!)

FAQ's
1. Where is it?
-- On Walk Hill Street in Jamaica Plain across the street from a gorgeous old cemetery (quiet neighbors -- they're dead), which also means that our place faces PINE TREES!

2. How long of a walk from the T?
-- It's five minutes or less from the Forest Hills T stop on the Orange Line.

3. So, what's it like?
-- Well, kinda like this one, only with some major "quality of life" differences:
  • It's on the second floor of a house that was insulated last year, so it's MUCH warmer and will be cheaper to heat (and uses GAS rather than us having to fill a Hoover era oil tank).
  • The kitchen is a real kitchen with counter space galore, a breakfast bar, a vaulted ceiling with skylights (Mr. Plant, who has grown tall in recent years, will be happy), and - get this - a dishwasher!!!
  • The rooms: living room, kitchen, dining room, two bedrooms, and a bathroom with full bath. All hardwood floors. Laundry is in the basement. The rooms are all a teeny bit smaller (except for the kitchen), but that is vastly made up for by the more useful floor plan.
  • It has light switches in the rooms, and the kitchen and one bedroom have ceiling fans.
4. What about the bathtub? Last time I took a shower at your place, I couldn't help but notice that my shoulders are broader than your tub, and it makes it hard to face the stream.
-- The tub is full sized, and, from what the new landlord tells me, has jacuzzi features!

5. Wow, those are some major upgrades! Is it much more expensive than what you're paying now?
-- It's only $50 each more per month than this uninsulated, oil heated, first floor apartment with a half-ass kitchen that is a 25 minute walk to the T.

Did I mention the huge back porch?

Given that we have another bedroom, the futon will live in bedroom number two, helping that room to function as guest bedroom. What will it be doing while it's not housing guests? It will be my YOGA ROOM! YAY!

Also, given that futon will function in said guest bedroom, I procured a matching couch and loveseat in cream suede microfiber from a lovely couple on craigslist for a mere $400! You're lucky to get ONE decent looking couch for that price, let alone TWO! Anyway, those will go in the living room, and we'll be able to sit on a real couch when we're watching a movie.

So, we had to rearrange our current apartment on Saturday to accommodate this new furniture for the next month. That's why we were tired on Saturday.

We were tired YESTERDAY because, though it was supposed to be our day of rest prior to the big game and the ensuing week, our toilet overflowed in the morning and was utterly unusable until around 3pm. Yes, I had to go to Dunkin Donuts to take a shit yesterday morning. Then we had to invent errands like buying a $50 super plunger, recycling plastic bags at Stop'N'Shop, and getting air in the tires, all strategically planned around using their toilets. Our landlords were nonchalant about the whole thing: "Just give it a few hours. It will be fine. It's just an old toilet." I have IBS, and I can't just WAIT A FEW HOURS. At any rate, they were right -- it was mostly OK after a few hours. But it ruined my day.

So, I'm kinda tired...but i'm good. It's a Monday night, and I think I'll go for a stroll with my darling love daN. I'm excited to move to JP, though, and sad to see Somerville and this apartment go. It will find new wonderful tenants. In the meantime, I shall keep my eyes on Free Bowling nights at the Milky Way in JP.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pinky?"

Courtesy of an email exchange that took place between myself and Q yesterday. Some innocent things just make the day go by faster.

"Yes, Brain, but don't you think it will be difficult to convince the president that he needs hot air balloons instead of jets?"

"Yes, Brain, but how are we going to get 57,471 pink paperclips in an hour?"

"Yes, but how are all those elephants going to fit into the bottle?"

"Yes, Brain, but how where are we going to store all the donkeys while we're there?"

"Yes Brain, but this time, you wear the tutu."


"Yes, Brain, but wouldn't the chocolate get everywhere?"

"Yes Brain, but how would you get the gerbil OUT?"


"Yes, Brain, but I can't remember where I put the sushi."

"Yes Brain, but why does it vibrate like so?"


"Yes, Brain, but I thought you didn't like acupuncture."

"Yes, Brain, but how will we convince your daughter to eat all those kittens?"

Monday, January 28, 2008

Giants: 'We Almost Beat The Patriots Once, We Can Almost Beat Them Again'

Courtesy of The Onion: PLEASE read it. Especially if you intend to watch the Superbowl.

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/giants_we_almost_beat_the_patriots

Friday, January 18, 2008

"Commodity fetishism just makes me feel better."

I have finally sprung for a really expensive pair of spike heels. No Manolo Blahniks or anything, but I did buy a pair of Italian patent leather Mary Janes that look remarkably similar to those that Marilyn Monroe wore (which currently live at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, by the way... which may have inspired me to seek some out). Here is a picture:

A friend of mine asked me how they are practical. Well, for one thing, they're the most comfortable three inch spike heel I've ever put on. And keep in mind -- these are not for jogging or speedwalking; they're for sauntering around. And they're marvelous for that. And let's not forget the real point here: they make me look sexy. However, I sprung for the expensive ones because, no matter how sexy the shoes, I won't wear them unless they're comfortable for their purpose.

On the thriftier and more practical side, i was getting REALLY tired of using my Moody's Diner apron as my only kitchen apron. It's just utterly insufficient for cooking. It is shorter than any decent apron should be (it was designed only to hold pens and ordering pads) and doesn't have the side coverage. The result: I go to wipe my floury hands on my apron, and end up getting it all over my pants anyway because the apron is just too short. Ten years of that was enough.

Solution: vintage style aprons on ebay! This one particular seller, Sassy Aprons, has a broad selection of wonderful vintage patterned aprons. Here is a picture of the one I bought, for a mere twenty one bucks including shipping.

Incidentally, the quote from the title of the post -- that was me in college talking through my feeling philosophically inconsistent regarding my love of shoes with my college friend and roommate Patty. Being a Marxist and recognizing that the irrational love of shoes is a replacement for missing social relationships in a capitalist society of mass markets where the consumer has no ostensible connection with the means of production beyond the transaction of purchasing, I still meanwhile suffer (and enjoy!) an irrational love of shoes. I sighed. "Commodity fetishism just makes me feel better."

And there it is.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

News Snippets

I have recently (just in the last few days) discovered (well, have been roped into, rather) Goodreads.com. I HIGHLY recommend it. I am having so much fun with it. Maybe it's because I typically enjoy recounting what I have read in the past and getting recommendations from others. Yeah, that's it. Anyway, goodreads.com -- it's grrrreat!

Reflectively: I have really enjoyed being able to work in various locations in Boston Proper and watch how it has changed dramatically over the last few years. It's wonderful getting to see the North End (read, Little Italy) be reconnected to the rest of the city after years of having been separated by I-93. Now that 93 is underground, the area that used to be complex road systems are now blossoming into parks and beautifully landscaped harborside wooden walkways that span the whole of the Boston waterfront from Charlestown to Southie. When I started working at Global Protection a little over 4 years ago, it was an up and coming area of town -- lots of construction, and it looked like a baron wasteland of parking lots. Now, it holds new hotels, gardens, a new Institute of Contemporary Art, little cafes, and the like. Still under construction? Yes. But as promised, it came up. It's been a lot of fun to witness.

Friday, January 04, 2008

2007 was a good year. i'm looking forward to 2008.

year in review: you've heard much of it already, but just to review, daN and i had planned on buying a condo, didn't end up doing it, and meanwhile have decided to move south of the river anyway to facilitate a better commute and possibly and upgrade in apartments. we can keep saving up for buying eventually, but more importantly, we leave ourselves in the financial position not to go completely broke when we each try going to grad school.

for me, '07 was a good year for learning more about what i want and having my hobbies come back to me. i have decided to start painting again,and thanks to daN, i now have the easel to do it! but at the very least i have started in again with pastels. i've managed a full year of financial stability, kept the same job and still plan to, stopped teaching yoga for the time being, and am hoping to take some french classes in the year to come. i've also come to the realization that i do, in fact, want to return to grad school and become a teacher of literature and cultural studies, just not on the same scale as i was thinking last time. i'll be applying for my master's degree in the next couple of years, after daN finishes his classes up (which he hasn't started).

now that time is flying by so quickly, i feel at liberty to make longer term plans because, frankly, 3 years doesn't sound so far away anymore. it certainly used to.

what else? did some light traveling. chicago in february, DC in april and june, denver in may, quebec city in august, and monhegan island in october. i think this year i would like to get off the continent. not exactly sure how that's going to happen yet, but i've got some ideas percolating. i'll tell you one thing though -- having only 2 weeks of vacation really cramps my style. and working in a place that is open between christmas and new year's. man, i'm looking forward to the day i get back into academia. more built in time off. phew! i work hard anyway. if i don't have more built in time off, it's not as though i stop working as hard. i'm a mainer!

what a scattered post!

i read some great books, too! john irving's "until i find you" and alice sebolt's "the lovely bones" are my chart-toppers for the year, but i had fun with tom robbins' "jitterbug perfume" and kim edwards' "the memory keeper's daughter." not to mention reading the seventh "harry potter" book with daN.

i knit a really huge pink scarf that is extremely warm and matches the hat that i knit (and lost and am remaking).

i also got really, really, good at making this one particular bread recipe, and have become much more creative with soups.

mulled wine.

karaoke!

have become more confident in certain arm balances in yoga. experimenting with forrest yoga has been good for me.

had a massage. i want more.

yeah, i think i can say it was a good year for me. thanks for all your help!