Friday, February 28, 2003

This weekend I feel the need to shed, shed, shed. I have too much stuff. I have a pile of crap I plan on eBaying, but at this point I may just give most of it to the Salvation Army. I need to be brutal with my wardrobe, since I don't wear about a third of what I own (which isn't too bad, as I try to regularly weed through my crap). I might end up giving away some of the things I keep because of the memories; a huge orange sweater I haven't worn for ten years, a tie-dyed shirt I haven't worn since college, big overalls covered with paint...

I need to feel more organized and streamlined. I'm currently the main person supporting (financially) my household and that makes me feel out of control (I do not make enough money to do this for much longer). Since I have no control over the money thing, at least I can obsessively sort things and throw stuff away! I'm sure that will make everything better! !!

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Yes, I had (have) all of these, except for the kittens with yarn and scratching post, because I don't think they existed 20 years ago. See the pointy, fragile little tails? Many of my cats were "bobbed."...
My sister and I used to collect these Hagen-Renaker figurines as kids. We'd play with these tiny china animals instead of dolls, constructing elaborate homes for them in the folds of our blankets or legos, having them vacation in a jungle-like cluster of houseplants, sending them flying on Erector-set gondolas suspended on butcher-string zip-lines, building stores where we'd get each other to buy tiny tins (little sliding pill boxes) with surprises in them. We had no idea our china animals were collectibles that some adults were interested in; we were not very careful with them, repeatedly breaking the tails and legs off and regluing them with Elmer's. I still have all of them, insufficently wrapped with Kleenex, in my parent's garage. My thing was to collect all of the Siamese cat figures, but I also had a really cool owl, a couple of seals, some puppies, some horses, rabbits, mice... probably about 30 in all. I remember we stopped playing with them around age 12 (puberty, doncha know), and then a few months later we decided to try playing with them again for old times' sake. But the magic was gone. We were too self-conscious and it just seemed boring and pointless. It's very hard, as an adult, to regain that feeling of being completely engrossed in your own creative world. But I'm going to keep trying.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Today i signed up on the "interested?" sheet at work for an office summer softball team. I have never successfully played softball, and I never, ever played organized sports during school (except during the mandated gym classes). But something about softball appeals to me. I think that if I get over of my fear of the ball, and learn how and who to throw it to, I'll be okay. I know I can hit, since I've actually done that before. But I was the type of girl who went as far into the outfield as I could when my team wasn't up, and then I'd let someone else run to catch the ball if it came out that far. But I am enjoying picturing myself in a sporty little cap, all confident, being all "there's no 'I' in 'team!'," getting nicknamed "Blaze," having my dog become the team mascot, going out for celebratory ice cream afterwards. In reality my RSI will probably become a lot worse, some of my officemates will turn out to be over-competitive abusive soccer-dad-types, and I'll end up being the goat of the team. But I guess we'll see.

Monday, February 24, 2003

I spent Friday in NYC on business - saw a screening of Teacher's Pet, a Disney film coming out next February (though it is pretty much completely done). Liked it a lot. Took advantage of having to be there to spend the weekend in Brooklyn with my sister and my bro-in-law, which I seem to be doing a lot lately. I ended up spending a lot of time in Chinatown, sort of by accident; on Friday I was in town early, having driven myself to Brooklyn and subway'd in to the city, so I met S on Canal Street for lunch. She took me to a vegetarian dim-sum place off of Mott. It was just a hole in the wall, but very tasty. I loves me some dumplings. We resolved to research a good non-veg dim sum place for next time.

Saturday we met up with a couple of girl-friends and went shopping in "Nolita," which I refuse to un-quote because it's such a stretch of a name. We each bought something at a designer's market held in the gym of a Catholic school. Then there was snacking, and more shopping, and then back to Bklyn for take-out barbecue from a new place called Biscuit. Very yummy.

Sunday S and S and I went back to the Chinatown realm for a visit to Pearl River's new location. The store has been completely transformed. It was a slightly dirty warren of dusty merchandise on three low-ceilinged stories. now it's a massive Old-Navy-like huge open space, all clean and well-lit. Same stuff, same good prices, so I was happy. I bought a tremendous amount of crap, including three small beautiful bowls, some men's Pocky for P, coffee-flavored gum, cheap dry noodles and can of baby corn, some "Budlet" powdered face papers, and a cute character-decorated chopstick case with kid-sized chopsticks. Once we were fully laden with crap, we took off for our main destination, a huge, dusty, fabric trim store. It was overwhelming, with floor-to-ceiling shelves of every kind of ribbon, rickrack, piping, cording, elastic, edging, lace... it was crazy. Unfortunately the prices weren't great. Sarah tried to haggle with one of the guys - they were cranky old orthodox jews, and I'd never seen such a real-life stereotype in action, which was uncomfortable to watch - over some plain plastic buttons that were priced at a crazy 50 cents apiece. He finally said "45 each" but then charged her 50 cents anyway. Jeez. I did end up with some edging I want to add to a pillowcase skirt I made, and some cheap cut-out flocked stuff to use in one of my collage boxes.

Anyway. We ended up deciding to eat in Chinatown before I was to go home. Our choice was New Pasteur, another hole in the wall, this time Vietnamese food. It's kind of like Thai but without all the dairy and coconut milk. Loved it, and it was crazy cheap - under $5. On the way back to the subway, we passed a little hut where a man was selling tiny egg-shaped cakes - cooked, and tasted, like mini-waffles - twenty for a buck. Can't beat that. We bought a bag and wolfed them down. They were warm and sweet and eggy and crispy - so good! Damn. We finished them, and then a block later, S and I smelled them again, and immediately started glancing frantically around - "Where? where?" We quickly zeroed in on another little egg-cake stand and bought another 20 for a buck. This time they went a lot faster.

The drive home last night ranks among my top five worst drives ever, and living in New England, that's saying something. I was all happy, starting out at 5:30, that it had stopped raining. I didn't realize that the strong winds were bringing much colder air, and all the puddles would be freezing... I took the Merritt up, because it feels faster than 95, and is twisty and hilly like a roller coaster, which keeps me awake. Right after I crossed into CT, I hit really bad traffic. Really, really bad. I had to put my car in neutral and use my parking brake just so my left leg wouldn't fall asleep. Every few minutes we inched forward 10 or so feet, and then nothing, no movement for several minutes. I figured it was a new accident and it would be cleared soon, but no, I sat in that fuckin' jam for well over an hour. Finally I called my sister and they found out the cause online - a serious accident, due to icy conditions, near exit 31; expect full lane closures, it said. What the fuck? Why should I expect that? Unless they're trying to scrape someone off multiple lanes, they should just rush a tow truck in there and clear the way. I had been between exits for the half-mile or so I'dd traveled so I didn't even know how close I was to it. About 20 minutes later I came in view of the next exit sign - 31. I could even see the turnoff. But it was still parking-lot time. People were getting out of their cars, walking away, or rearranging stuff in their trunks... I decided that even though I was close to the problem, it wasn't going away anytime soon, so I waited until I could squeeze up the on-ramp, took it and got on 15 in the opposite direction. It was nice to get my overheating car out of first gear, but I quickly hit my first patch of ice; though I had watched multiple salt-trucks driving down that side of the road, I still felt some queasy slippage. I slowed way down. It took me about 20 minutes to get to 684 north, and then I was home free, going in the right direction again. I knew it would take me about two hours to get home from there, and it was 9:15. I should have been home at 8:30. I passed multiple accident sites, and they all looked the same; first a line of flares, then a cop car with lights flashing, then a big patch of black ice, then an empty, crumpled car by the side of the road. Eventually I stopped somewhere to get gas and a couple of McDonald's dollar chicken fajitas. By the time I got home it was 11:30. The whole trip felt like a dream where you're running down a hallway and you see the end stretching further and further away from you. It, in a word, sucked.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

I am an idiot. I was so sure Trista was going to pick Charlie that I didn't bother watching the final Bachelorette last night. She picked bland, horrible-poet Ryan! Of course, the main reason why I didn't watch the show is that it was mind-numbingly boring.

From this wonderful site of remixed propaganda posters.
I did not attend the Papmered Chef paarty, though I heard it was fun, and I didn't get to try out my art idea, as I was feeling all carpal-tunnelly. I did watch the film L.I.E., which I loved and recommend. My sis said she started watching Donnie Darko and mentioned the early scene in which Donnie is walking into the high school and the entire Tears for Fears song "Head Over Heels" plays. Man, I loved that scene, mainly because that song is so great. I was holding my breath watching it, it was so perfect. S needs to see the rest of the film for the later scene with "Mad World" in it. In the 80s, when TFF were actually popular, I thought they were kind of corny, but now I think they're great. Excellent songwriting with a nice clear pop sound.

I ran into a new acquaintence at the Haymarket this morning. Apparently she works at the Hampshire College bookstore and does some writing for the Omen (the campus rag) on the side. She was conducting a poll so she sat me down for a mini-interview. Here's what she asked, and my answers to her (completely off the top of my head; I was rushing a little, as I had to get back to work):

1. What would you sacrifice in order to stop a war in Iraq?
I've actually been thinking about this. My car. It would be a big pain in the ass, but I could walk to the bus and the supermarket.

2. What would you sacrifice in order to stop a war in North Korea?
Hmm... wow. Well, it depends a little who the war is with. Is it us? This is harder, because giving up my car for the Iraq thing seems logical because of the oil issue... I guess I'd give up my house, which represents a big hunk of money; unless North Korea was going to nuke L.A. or something. Then I guess I'd give up my life in exchange for all of those people.

3. What would you sacrifice in order to stop a war in New York City?
Whoa. I guess I'd die, though it's tough to say - my sister lives there, and my parents live close by, and I wouldn't want to save them but then not live to see them (interviewer: But you'd be a hero to them.) I guess so. Okay, yes, I'd do it.

So there you have it. If the choice is between my life and levelling NYC or LA, I'd say take my life. But come on - like that would ever happen. I know the point of the poll was to point out that we consider strangers' lives worth less than our own (or our possessions). But it's a little too easy to say "I'd give up my life" when there's absolutely no way that exchange would be made. Now, giving up my car - that's in the realm of possibility, as reducing the amount of oil we buy from the middle east could potentially change things over there. And if gas prices go up to, say, $4.00 a gallon, I'll be much more inclined to walk a mile to the bus stop to get to work. But doing that won't stop a war in Iraq either.

It seems, at this point, that almost nothing will.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I'm trying to decide if I should go to a coworkers "Pampered Chef" party tonight. If you don't recognize the name, just think Tupperware party but with citrus zesters and stoneware chicken roasters. She says she won't pressure us to buy, and she's making yummy food for it, but I'd feel obligated to buy at least one thing or another, and I'm in a mood of discarding things. But I like trying out cool kitchen gadgets. So I'm torn.

I've been thinking about what I could sell in the art-o-mats and I might have come up with a useable idea. The trick is to think of something to make that looks semi-valuable and cool, but that doesn't take very long to make (I'd be getting only $2 or $2.50 per item sold). My image idea is kind of organic, modern, and decorative. I plan on trying it out tonight.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Also - I have no way of proving this, but I totally called the "twist" on Joe Millionaire last night. I even got the amount of money correct. I thought of posting it before the show but I didn't and now I just sound like an ass.
So I have a snow day today! My boss called me last night and said the office would be closed today. And so here I am, wearing the same grungy clothes I did yesterday. I paid a plow guy $40 to do our driveway, which isn't even very large. He did do a good job, and there's no way we could have done it, really, so whatever. I took some snaps of the snow and I'll post one or two if they came out well.

Monday, February 17, 2003

I just came back inside from a snow-shoveling session.

Mother nature and I are no longer on speaking terms.

It's snowing. Again. It almost goes without saying at this point, you know? At least I'm alone today; P has to work at the video store all day. So I can be here and go out every hour to shovel up the four new inches of snow. They're saying we'll get up to two feet.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

I love this woman's illustrations. Thanks to my pal henning for directing me to her site.
I was a bitch to my 16-year-old quasi-step-daughter last night. As usual, she was yelling down from her bedroom for us to be quiet, in that extremely annoying tone of voice that teenagers perfect. I was actually watching Celebrity Mole with T, and we both haad headphones on; it was my laughter that was too loud for her. Anyway, whatever response I gave to her yelling wasn't good enough, so she continued to tell me exactly how I was keeping her awake. I yelled "I get it!! And the only person being loud right now is you!" She yelled something else, angrily, and I yelled over her, "I GET IT! NOW SHUT UP!" She closed the door, and I think I heard her cry a little, which made me feel awful.

Am I a horrible person? I just don't feel like being perfect and patient lately. Nobody makes that effort for me, so why should I do that for them? So I'm saving that mental energy for being good to myself. Yet I still feel horrible. What a mess.
I just found out that a sweet man I was almost set up with has gotten married and pregnant in the past few months. I guess he wasn't the one for me. He was cute, but kind of quiet and nerdy, and by the time I met him I was in love with someone else. My timing is absolutely horrible.

I can't find my nail clippers. One of the ways my OCD represents itself at the office is by my near-daily nail clipping. One nail is a little longer than the others? Snip, snip. Right now my right thumbnail is getting way too long. And it's a thumb nail, so I can't even bite it off properly. And I keep looking all over my desk for my clippers, and can't find them. Maybe someone else in my office got tired of listening to the clip, clip, clip, and stole them.

Oh god, I just found them! Oh happy day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

If you are in NYC, or can get there, please go to the huge-ass peace rally on Saturday on my behalf. I have to attend a party for my boyfriend's mother's birthday (it's a biggie - 70 years old). I'm guessing there will be a lot of counter-protesters there, and they're fun to yell at.

I'm going to try hard to remember to watch the final episode of Celebrity Mole tonight. I sort of accidentally started watching it, and it's hilarious, if only because of Kathy Griffin. She's snarky and skeptical and made for a show like this. Anyway, once this is done, and I see who Joe Millionaire picked next week, I am done with reality shows. At least, I'm done scheduling dates with myself in order to not miss reality shows. I've given up on the Bachelorette because of how extremely boring it was; Trista's blander than Wonder bread, and it's been obvious for several episodes which guy she's gonna pick.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Also from Blue Bloggy: "I'm trying to bring back "Dag," as in "you paid HOW much for that shirt?! DAG!" It was a very popular exclamation in my predominantly black middle school in the mid-1980s."

Funny she should mention it, as I had a humorous time trying to explain to the girls our peculiar preteen useage of the term "psyche!" (which we usually spelled, in passed notes and such, "sike!"). You use it in place of "just kidding!" Example: "You know, I watched that entire Michael Jackson thing last Thursday, and I gotta say, I think he's sexier than ever. Psyche!"

Also, I wish everyone said "word" a lot more. It's like the opposite of Dag: Word is a positive reinforcement of whatever was just said, instead of the bad-news, I-can't-believe-it tone of Dag.


My sister has blogged her response to my 8th-grade journal entries (see below) with a lengthy quote from her own diary of the time. She's written more of an analysis of the event than I have. Check it out.
I just won an auction for "Chu Chu Rocket," a game for my GameBoy Advance; I got a really nice deal. I'm pretty happy about it. Just take a look:

In other news, my dog ate half a loaf of Pepperidge Farm cinnamon swirl bread, I went sledding, and I finally saw Adaptation, which was great.

Friday, February 07, 2003

I watched most of the Michael Jackson thing last night. I ended up feeling very sad. He's just stuck in his hellish childhood, trying to get it right this time by giving "his" children (I don't think that blond kid has a drop of Jackson DNA in him) whatever it is he lacked. I think the kids will be fine until adolescence. Then they'll start becoming autonomous beings, questioning and comparing, and they'll see how intensely fucked up their situation is. Who knows what will happen then.

I did come away from it believing that MJ never touched those kids in a sexual way. He seems completely asexual to me. He's not a repressed gay man, he's not a straight guy ashamed of his urges; he's literally, pathologically stuck in childhood. He's pre-sexual.

I did think the last half an hour on Jackson's plastic surgery was mean-spirited. Also, who cares. It's obvious he's had more than two surgeries on his nose and face, but why spend 30 minutes on it? That one plastic surgeon, the woman, showed way too much glee when going through the tragedies that have been done to this guys face. I ended up just thinking 'what a bitch' instead of 'Michael is a total freak.' Though he is. Just not in a fun way.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

[more from my 1984-86 diary.] [different pen here; must have written this several months later.]

The seventh grade year ended with more pissy fights. W still always had to have her way. Everyone hated her.

The summer went by quickly. W didn’t see any more of F.

The 8th grade year started. People started being meaner and meaner to W. We had notebooks We passed them and wrote to each other. Sometimes we wrote about W. K and DA wrote a story about all of us. W was the villain. W didn’t know about any of us.

We went to see a movie called “Better Off Dead” [kicking off a lifelong love affair with John Cusack]. We were going to tell W off. (K, DA, me, S, K, Sh, M, PL, D, T.) At Burger King [across the parking lot from the movie theater. New Jersey, people. This was what we had for our "downtown."], me, S, DA, K, ran ahead because we wanted the others to follow. W and the others became offended. We asked them why. They said because we ran ahead. W started crying, asking why were we being so mean, what did she do, etc. She laid so much guilt on us that others started to cry. Everyone was saying how sorry they were. I wasn’t crying. W said between sobs, “Debbie isn’t even crying!” So I thought about mean people at school and cried.

The nerve of that shrimp! She wanted everyone to cry for her!

We were all W’s friends again. Almost. I went over to K’s. M was there. I told her I still hated W. K and M said they still did too.

Whenever W did something wrong, she would ask what she should do to be better. She wanted to be everyone’s perfect friend.

Now it’s just a matter of pretending. If she found out we didn’t like her, I don’t know what would happen.

I think W is a lesbian. Seriously. Whenever she sees a big breasted/thighed woman, she says “Man! Look at that!”
[I wrote this before it was cool or at least acceptable to be a lesbian, at least in my town. I didn't say I'd come off well here... ]

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Okay, I'm looking at a diary I wrote when I was twelve, in 1984. I was writing the full history of a shunning perpetrated by my all-girl, all-geek social group the previous summer. I go through the history of my friendship with this one girl, W, which began in first grade, and here we join my journal already in progress. Comments from a 30-y-o me are in brackets:

Chapter 2
The Party
My 12th birthday party. Party people consisted of [8 names omitted to protect the semi-innocent]. PL brought her Duran Duran folder. Everyone was looking at it. I was trying to start a game, but everyone was too enthralled in their faces and facts. W was talking to FA. The next morning, W said, "Well, me and F are getting to be real good friends."
F didn't feel that way.

Chapter 3: The Present
From a month ago to today

W is not popular this year. Everyone woke up and realized what an asshole she was. She was kicked out of two lunch tables, so she went to me for help. We had to let her in. She was really annoying. She has only been there for 4 days and we are sick of her.
Favors: There was a concert. We HAD to take W an hour early. We HAD to babysit her on a school night until midnight [this is terribly unfair of me; she lived alone with her overworked single mom!]. And the latest: Tomorrow night, her mom is going out. She MAY sleep over our house. She called me, and asked if I could play tomorrow. I said no, I might be going to the flea market with my friend. She asked which friend. I said K. She told me to ask her if she could come along! [I know, what a bitch, right?] I called. She wasn't home. S [my sister] called her at 10 o'clock. She asked if she could play. She couldn't S hung up the phone. Before that, S had told her that we had a Quaker potluck and wouldn't be back until 9 or 9:30. Well, W promptly got upset and said, "I'm going to be alone in a house from 5:00 to maybe even 10:00 or 10:30? Why can't I come!"
S asked mom. She said it would be a good time to get W and F's relationship straight [My mom really said that? The hell?]. Mom talked it over with Dad. Yes, she could go. But remember this is a person that thinks quaker meetings are people kneeling in a circle and praying in a church. [God, I was such a snob.] The catch is that W has to do everything she says. And if she's bothering us, I just tell mom.
Finally, today.
Dec. 15. Potluck day. She is sleeping over here tonight. I mist hide this.
I'm back. Nothing happened! We're still all friends. Rats.

[that's not the end of the journal, though. To be continued...]
I know I haven't written any meaty blogs in a while. I'm going to publish something soon for my writing class, but I'm really struggling with it. I can't stop rewriting it. So bear with me, a better read is on the way.

Turning a Digital Database Into Local Radio Wow. Carsol Daly really is a complete tool, in every sense of the word.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Family Fun, serious business Hey look, it's an article about my office in the paper. I work for an unnamed sister publication in the same building, but we're close with the other staff (like, uh, sisters).