Thursday, May 29, 2008


Blogs are, for the most part, fairly ridiculous. Sometimes they serve very clear purposes, like when you go on a trip and want to keep everyone at home updated on the kooky hijinks that led up to your incarceration in a Burmese prison, or when a company decides that the "hip" way to "be down" with the young people is to paste all their marketing copy into a corporate blog on a biweekly basis. Sometimes blogs are just so damn good that they fully deserve every bit of their bandwidth. (see But for mere mortals like myself, blogging just seems rather self indulgent. It's an uninvited opportunity to go on and on about anything you damn well please (with whatever version of spelling and grammar you like), with some assumption that someone - many someones, even - will want to read it. But fear not. I have no delusions that people want to read my blog. Google Analytics keeps me very much in the realm of reality, so all twelve of you can rest assured that I have no crazy ideas about being e-famous. I can talk a blue streak, is all, and this way I can pretend that someone's listening.

I am, however, curious about who's actually reading this thing. I assume you're all people who know me, and recognize any thinly veiled references I make. But perhaps I am mistaken. Google Analytics gives only certain information, so I'm left to wonder who it is, exactly, that has read my blog from Springfield, IL, or from the Bronx, or from Middleton, MA. I don't even know where Middleton is.

So perhaps some strangers have, in fact, stumbled across this blog. If any of you come back to read it ever again - Hi. I hope you enjoy my eternal rant.

To the rest of you, who know me in real life, I'm sure none of this is news but hopefully it's entertaining. (Otherwise why are you reading it?)

I guess for now I'll continue blabbing into the void, and maybe someday someone (else - thank you, Abby) will leave me a comment and I'll feel heard....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happiness Is.... *

- ...a warm blanket.
- ...a long drive.
- ...a bright moon on a clear night.
- ...a problem well solved.
- ...a good, long belly laugh.
- ...the perfect song coming up on iPod shuffle.
- ...getting into my very comfortable bed at 2:30am.
- ...having such a great night that I completely forget the morning ever even happened.
- ...knowing tomorrow will be just as good.
- ...being continually reminded of the good stuff even in the midst of the bad stuff.
- ...having caring, compassionate, totally awesome friends.
- ...knowing that some things will never really change, just get better and better.
- ...finally seeing the forest and not just the trees.
- ... ...

* with thanks/apologies to Charles Schultz

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Like Riding One of Those Damned Two-Wheeled Things

This morning I did something I haven't done in a long time, and didn't (until very recently) think I'd ever do again, certainly not anytime soon. It made me nervous, going into that room. I wasn't sure I'd remember what to do, how things worked. I was less afraid of making a fool of myself than of discovering 1. that I'd completely lost any skill I once supposedly had and 2. that the whole plan I've laid out for the future, which is predicated on me liking and being reasonably good at this, would crumble into tiny pieces around my ankles.

It turns out I didn't need to worry. Sure, I'm a little rusty. I have a bit of homework to do, reviewing. But I kept up. I didn't get lost. I didn't drown. I even did a little extra, voluntary participation. Now when I go back tomorrow I'm pretty sure I'll be OK. Then again, things are bound to get harder sooner or later, so I should probably keep my life vest handy just in case.

And to everyone who told me so - OK. You were right. Happy?

Monday, May 19, 2008

An Open Letter (2)

To the drivers on I287 approaching the Tappan Zee Bridge this evening around 7:00 (and really to all drivers in the Northeast, and possibly everywhere),

Perhaps no one ever explained to you one of the general concepts behind driving a car, so let me try: You are intended to progress in a forward direction. Occasionally you go backwards, or even stay still, but when you are on I287 approaching the Tappan Zee Bridge you should, indeed, be moving forwards.

I do understand that sometimes you need to change the radio station, or eat a sandwich, or put on mascara, but these things should be handled in such a way as to not impede your forward progress. Because, you see, when you stop moving forward, I stop moving forward.

When I'm on I287 at around 7pm on a Sunday night, I really would rather continue moving forward, and I'm pretty sure the other drivers around would too. So please, even if you're going up a hill, even if there's a car carefully merging onto the road, even if you suddenly realize that you forgot to turn off the oven before you left town for two weeks - please continue to move in a forward direction. We will all appreciate it, including you when I don't decide to drive my beat up old car directly into the back of your cute, brand new car, with as much force as I can muster from a standstill with one car's length run-up.

Thank you, and happy driving.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Time Warp

For a truly surreal experience: return to your hometown, see a bunch of people you haven't seen for a lot of years, and then sort through all the crap you left in your parents' house and forgot existed.

Even better, do this just at the moment when you're preparing to ship yourself far from home to have a second try at something you swore, after the first time, you'd never do again. Just as you're beginning (again) that Last Summer Before Everything Changes.

Even just the beginning of summer is always, for me, the trigger of flashbacks to summers past. There's something about the feel of the air, the quality of the light, that makes me feel a little bit lost in my own historical timeline. Maybe it's that magical summer sense that anything could happen - even waking up ten years ago. Maybe it's the extra hours of daylight that give the illusion of free time like you haven't known since high school vacation. Maybe this year it does seem more that way than ever before, and I'm just letting it all jumble in my brain.

Maybe it's the smells in my parents' house. Maybe it's the lack of obligations for three whole days (which feels like an enormous stretch of time).

Maybe it's an overwhelming desire to twist time into an endless loop, so what's so good right now never gets lost, that makes it so easy to forget what day it is, what year it is.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Now and Then

I am watching "Becoming Jane" (quite enjoyable though inarguably a chick flick), and I'm wondering what it would be like if my friends and acquaintances and I were subject to the social rules of Jane Austen's era.

I can sort of imagine it with some of my girlfriends: our email exchanges would all be handwritten letters, of course, but I doubt we'd be any less cheeky in composing their content. Of course, it would be strange and rather terrible if our lives consisted of nothing more than writing those letters.... and reading, and doing needlepoint. No trips around the country by ourselves, no jobs, no crazy adventures.

It would also be a mighty shame if an unmarried girl weren't allowed to spend time alone with a boy to whom she wasn't related... though perhaps it would be less of a tragedy in a world without all-night IHOPs and good beer.

But it would be funny to watch the same relationships play out under a wildly different set of rules. Would they still be the same, I wonder? Or are even those parts of our lives dependent on our times and circumstances? Would my friends not be my friends if we couldn't have the same conversations, or the same experiences? Then again, would we ourselves even be the same people if we'd lived at a different time?

Idle speculation, I suppose. "What if?" with no answer.

I hope that our circumstances let our stories develop happily. We shall see.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Blueberry Beer

I am attempting to take life less seriously. This is very new for me, and I'm not sure how it's gonna work out. However, it's a Tuesday night (with work in the morning) and I'm sitting around the house drinking blueberry beer, so I think I'm off to an okay start.

In honor of this new leaf I'm turning, I'm going to eschew a structured blog format this evening (my posts have structure? um.) and instead simply share some thoughts with you:

The whole concept of having a job - being employed by another person - is pretty shitty. I mean, you beg someone to hire you, show up when and where you're told to, do exactly what you're told to do, and then someone gives you a cookie. By which I mean a paycheck, except odds are good that the cookie would have more monetary value than the check. What are we, four year olds? circus animals?

Painkillers would be awesome if they worked.

Painkillers would be even more awesome if they actually removed or fixed the source of the pain instead of just tricking you into thinking the pain is gone so you'll continue doing things you shouldn't and just make it worse. (This is theoretical, of coure, since they don't actually work in the first place.)

Craigslist is magical. Thanks to it, I now have one less large craptastic item in my house, I have that much more space, and I have $75. Thank you, Craig, for making your list.

I also have a blueberry beer to drink and a couple of very large textbooks with which I should be making friends. And so I bid you all a fond farewell, until next time....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

At Least Something Good Came Out of Harvard

My mother is not a "where are my grandkids?" mom. She's not a "why aren't you married yet?" mom. However, when Good Will Hunting first came out, she did inform me that I ought to go find Matt Damon and marry him. Or wander the halls of MIT in hopes of finding a handsome, brilliant mathematician working as a janitor, and marry him.

She had a point.

I currently have a borrowed copy of Good Will Hunting sitting on top of my television, acting as the subject of an internal debate: should I watch it now, like I really want to, or should I go to bed, like I really, really ought to? (Borrowed because I couldn't find a copy to buy fast enough to fulfill my need for instant gratification. Yes, I really am that impatient - if I know what I want, why should I wait for it? But I digress.)

I had forgotten how good a movie Good Will Hunting is until someone linked me to a couple of clips (complete with Chinese subtitles) on YouTube. It's brilliant. Even if you find no value in anything else Matt Damon or Ben Affleck has ever done, you have to admit there's some good writing here. (That's if you're being stingy. I'd venture to say that a lot of the script is pretty freaking awesome.) Maybe it's because they were writing what they knew (Boston, Harvard, friendship).... whatever the secret formula is, I am excited enough about watching it RIGHT NOW that I really might opt to start what promises to be a difficult week (leading into a whole set of excruciating weeks) on far too little sleep in favor of firing up the DVD player. I mean.... "I'm gonna fucking sit a room and do long division the rest of my life." Maybe that has particular appeal for me, but come on. And the "why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A." speech? Seriously. Go rent this movie. Or buy it. Or borrow it and forget to give it back.

There really is no point to this post other than to sing the praises of this movie. It is so good (and so timely, for me). And to say that if Matt Damon wants to make my mother really happy, well.....

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Look, Ma, One Hand!

Have you ever tried to live for any period of time without proper use of one of your limbs? In my experience this is hardest when you're short a leg, but having only one functional hand is also a giant pain in the ass.

Picture this: you go to the gym with your busted hand. First you must dress yourself. Shirts aren't too hard, but pulling on a pair of snug gym pants with one hand is awkward at best. And just think of when you try to hook - AND snap - your sports bra. Behind your back. With one hand. Yeah.

So you manage to get your clothes on, slowly and awkwardly. Next you must tie your shoes. Apparently it is possible to tie shoelaces one-handed, but I certainly don't know how. I, instead, am simply grateful I still have my second hand and can wiggle my fingers enough to hold a lace in place while I flail considerably with my good hand and eventually make my footwear relatively unlikely to fall off.

Once you make it to the exercise floor, you have the added fun of an audience for all your awkward one-handed attempts at lifting, carrying, and otherwise manipulating various things. The best might be when you try to drink out of your 50 ounce water bottle, which you can't lift with one hand when it's full.

My parents used to know a woman who could peel an orange with one hand...because she had only one. I have nothing but admiration for this woman. I can't make it through one afternoon without getting whiny about how slow my typing is and how sore my other hand is getting from doing all the work.

I am reminded how very lucky I am to have the full use of my limbs most of the time, though some people would question whether I truly have control over them, considering how frequently I manage to get myself into this position of being short one or another of them....