Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I'm not sure why I can't sleep. I told Jamaal I feel thrashy, anxious, sad and lonely when I lie in bed. It's kind of pathetic. What I should really do is just listen to my iPod or breathe deeply or count sheep or some shit but instead I lie in bed and think and think and think and I can't stop thinking, and I always think about sad and bad things for some reason. I don't know - maybe my job is starting to get to me? Maybe that is it. Maybe.
I mean I don't meet a lot of the patients I enter into my database, but the world being all wired an internet-ed now, I do manage to track down a lot of personal information about them. Ok, don't get me wrong, I do NOT google patients EVER unless I suspect they are dead but have no record of their death in the social security database or medical record, because I look there first. A lot of times I'll get a short paragraph of an obit if they've died, but recently, I've read such personal things. I found one woman's blog, one woman who I'd really been mentally fighting for, one woman who overcame so many bouts of lymphoma just to bounce back every time. Other work had taken me away from following "my" patients for a while and I recently had to do some followup and came across her name. She had been in remission a year ago, and doing so well, and I was jarred to find her date of death in her medical record. What had happened? She ended up dying from complications of an allogeneic transplant, and it had been a long drawn-out illness, though she was not mentally present for the end, as a weird sort of encephalitis had made her mind wander far far away, to Indonesia, to China, as her husband wrote on her blog. He wrote about her dying too, in their house in Maine, on a dark and stormy night that knocked out their electricity, so she was surrounded by candles. I saw her pictures on the blog, I saw her kids, I felt almost as if I knew her.
It's really too much. It's way to personal. I can't know these things. It's hard enough reading the full page obits. While I hope I am written about as fondly as some of my patients are, I have a hard time getting through them - maybe because I knew how hard they were fighting to stay on top of their disease and to know that in the end they lost - it's so disappointing. I feel as though we failed, even though we really didn't, the hospital did all they could, it's bodies that surrender to illness, I feel the failure. Lately I guess I've had a hard time feeling the victory, which in truth far outweighs the failure. Maybe I am just in that annual state of slight depression that always surrounds New Year's, the passing of another year and remembering all that passed with it?
I don't know. I guess I need to stop googling my dead patients.
I also feel sad about Kenya. I don't know why. I worry about my friends there. Then I worry I'll never see it again. Then I get really really fucking sad. Why would I think this? WHY? There is no reason for me to think I'll never see Kenya again. I'm healthy, I'm young, and I'm marrying a guy with a very healthy sense of adventure and a penchant for making his lady happy. Why would a normal person even worry about never seeing a place that's not home again? I seriously wonder what's wrong with me sometimes when I think about it. I feel this sick feeling - like homesickness but not really because it's not my place. Then I get angry with myself for falling in love with Africa. Why didn't I fall in love with some place accessible, like effing British Columbia? Dammit emotions, dammit.
So that's the sad. The anxious. I have no idea. I'm not too much of an anxious person normally, but lately I've been feeling the gray hairs sprouting on my head. WTF am I anxious about? I don't care enough about work to be worrying about it, and honestly the economy isn't exactly keeping me up all night, because I still make the same crap pay that I made last year and have the same crap bills, plus $600 in loan payment each month, but what are you going to do? It's just life. Actually in a way it's reassuring to know that I can literally pay away more than I make in a week to just student loans and still remain fairly financially solvent. So that's not it. My boss asked me if I'm anxious about the wedding. It's too far away, it's too unplanned to worry about. Who knows. Maybe I'll find the underlying cause one of these days.
The lonely part is by far the most sad and pathetic and I don't even know if I want to write about it. I just lie there in an empty bed and feel this awful sense of singleness and aloneness and coldness. Lots of nesses. It's weird - I get along really well with my family- it's not like where four planets in the solar system, orbiting and trying to avoid each other, we seek out each other's company. Why do I feel this way at night when everyone's asleep (well not Amy, because she is awake and on her new sexy Mac) and I'm lying in bed trying to fall asleep. I guess this is Jamaal's fault. I feel best and most relaxed and happy and not sad/anxious/depressed/thrashy/insomniac when I am lying next to him. I know that sounds uber pathetic and very teen girl and shit, but I can't help it, it's true. It's been nearly four years of dating, I'm starting to need him more (oh SAD SAD female) and dammit, I just want to get into bed with him and fall asleep and feel at peace. Oh, plus I'm cold ha ha ha. I'm serious. I need the warmth.
Thrashy? I don't know why I'm thrashy. Probably just bored.
Humph. I think this may have been a therapeutic post. I wonder if I'll sleep easier tonight.....
Gotta go check the clothes dryer though.
Good night all three of my readers in blogland. Mad love.
I just wrote a slightly ridiculous and very overemotional comment on my entry to win tickets to the inauguration.
Who does that?!
I mean, it was honest, by all means, but you know someone who is processing these emails in some back office somewhere will like, cackle, with the ridiculous emotion of it all.
Good thing I didn't admit to CRYING on election night. Then they probably would've printed my email and tacked on the "Bulletin Board of Tools"
Ha ha ha, I guess the good thing out of all of this is that I can laugh at myself, right?
Bwahahahaa. As we would've sung at Smith "EEEEEEEE-moooootionaaaaallll" (Bjork - Joga)
Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I just want to be done with work for the week and head home to knock of the remaining items on my to do list and hang out and CELEBRATE! I'm like a kid at school knowing that there are only a few short hours until Christmas vacation and I can't concentrate on anything the teacher says because I'm watching that clock.
Of course there is a LOT to do at work. I hate my job most when I have nothing to do and I sit here, useless, reading blogs or updating flickr or some sh*t all day. Then all of the sudden, an avalanche of worked is dumped on me. I do excel under pressure, but when you add the holiday season to it, I feel like my head is spinning around! It's funny because sometimes I feel bad because my coworkers have a steady stream of constant work that may become more or less intense at one point or another, but it stays pretty even. My job has become feast or famine. While I used to feel bad about blogging during the work day (ahem) I don't feel so bad anymore because recently one of my coworkers acknowledged one such "feast" time, asking me "what the hell are you doing that is causing you to sweat?!"
Anyway, the work stuff will get done. I'm here for another 4 hours and I'm pretty optimistic that I'll get an impressive lot done before I leave for the rest of the week (oh happy day!). The trick will be getting Christmas stuff done. Luckily the gifts are done, except friend gifts, but I won't see them til after the holidays. I just have some ornaments to finish up for the family, though they're not really part of their gifts, they just saw them and I think liked them. Well ok, I know my grandma did, she mentioned them a couple of times and asked "sooooo.......who are those for again?" which also means "sooooo....can you make me one?" She deserves it though, more than deserves it, as she made yet another faberge egg ornament for my collection, even though she had a positively wretched spell of health this fall (kidney stones, stomach issues, now gallstones - she's getting her gallbladder resected January 9th - I really hope it helps and the recovery is shorter than last January's rotator cuff repair!) I will have to post a picture of it, it's amazing and the cut out work she did was really fantastic. I keep meaning to make myself her apprentice, and one of these days I will just have to so I can learn the art. Of course she can paint and draw and I can't do that for sh*t, but I think I could design fairly nice stuff if I know the technique. I'll have to ask her....hmm....another to add to the to do list!
So the color-coded to do list was freakin' brilliant. It really helped a ton. Of course I have now gone and added to it, and some green things have become red items, but I am impressed with how well it worked, and how many major things I was able to accomplish, and I seriously credit the list because I think they might have been forgotten otherwise. Now I'm down to some last minute items, making a couple phone calls, scooting down to a stitch shop in Plymouth to buy my mom some last minute things for her Christmas gift (fabric, thread....of course that's just fun stuff, not really a "task") Buy some items for a Christmas centerpiece....I was looking for a colonial design, you know, the old style pineapple, apple, pomegranate type pyramid with cloved oranges and stuff? I had almost no luck. You would think the power of google would've helped with this a bit. I consulted my magazine clippings binders last night as well as my back issues of Martha Stewart Living Holiday special edition issues and came across a contemporary piece with kumquats, blood oranges, clementines, lemons and grapefruit. It rocks. Of course now I'm second-guessing myself about the potential holiday-ness quality of the centerpiece. Seriously? Will anyone except me give a sh*t. NO. But I am stressing over it nonetheless, very typical. Ohhh wellll.
What else is up? Hmm. We have a craft marathon scheduled for tonight. My sister and I plan to be up until the wee hours crafting (she has some stuff to get done by tomorrow night) and I am going to procure snacky snacks. This will be fun. Of course I will probably do the classic Christmas Eve routine: eat too many appetizers, get drunk on Poinsettias, and then fall asleep at 11. I'm cool though, it's one of my favorite nights of the year. Hell, it pretty much IS my favorite night of the year, the only thing missing is Jamaal! Luckily we are spending New Year's together and going out to what sounds like a fantastic restaurant. Their three course pre-fixe menu sounds.......a-maz-ing. Ok now I'm just rambling on......
I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with craft pics!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Anyways, the dreams were too exhausting to relive in detail here, but I do have a summary. Here goes:
1. Mysteriously thrown out of house wrapped only in a comforter.
2. Get in car in comforter because I have to go to work. Never fear! I will get on train, take to Prudential, go to ATL and buy a new outfit. Oh, several actually, because while driving, I remembered I was leaving for a trip to NYC after work.
3. Realize comforter has no pockets. How will I buy clothes with no credit card? Also - will they let me on the train dressed like this?
4. Dream gets fuzzy. Suddenly at work where I am working for a doctor in the lymphoma clinic on Cutting Edge Research.
5. Cutting Edge Research so Cutting Edge that Indiana Jones is here to protect it for us!
6. Get kidnapped by Indiana Jones's nemeses, want Cutting Edge genetic research, willing to KILL ME for it. Indiana Jones disappears. Jerkstore.
7. Taken home, where I am held hostage for Research.
8. Go to bed, I am tired. Hostage holders all around.
9. Get a text from Dr. Brown (doctor I am supposedly working for, who really works at my office) She was kidnapped too, I know this. She has her cell!
10. Open phone. Suddenly has red font and leopard print background. Ugh, hostage takers have infiltrated my cell network.
11. Text says "Ready to be poisoned by dye" Ha ha ha I am punny in my dreams!
12. Go down stairs. My parents are painting pottery with a poisonous dye that will infiltrate the house with chemical gases once the items are put in the oven. My parents want to kill me! Will they profit from Cutting Edge (stolen) Research?!
13. I realize my parents have been brainwashed. My dad still has some of his rationale, tries to stop my mom from painting the pottery. Aww, dad. Someone says "call the police on your cell" but I am like "uh NO the bad guys have infiltrated my cell!!! It will never work! WE ARE BEYOND HOOOOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
14. Just as we're trying to resolve this, I physically feel myself waking up and losing the dream. In the dream, I am so so happy, thinking "sweet. almost done, she's almost awake, coming out of it."
15. I wake up for real and am all WTF?! Then I see the clock and am all WTF?! for real as it is 7! Yikes, late for work.....
16. Get out of bed and immediately fall down because my feet have fallen asleep. Pathetic. I am also dizzy. Probably from the poison fumes, LOL.
So that was that. How deranged. Not surprising I am totally exhausted today. Risked gastrointestinal revolt for coffee because I could not stay awake. I fell asleep on the shuttle before it even left the station! Luckily my prilosec is working awesome because I have not had heartburn (knock on wood) for more than 24 hours. Such a relief.
Anyways. What else? Oh. I am being a bad person and skipping book club. I just am not feeling it at all. I am freakin' tired, broke, didn't read the book, and have a crap ton to do and going out to Cambridge on top of all that hurts my blood. Also my car broke again, and I have to see to that tonight, so I do have a legit excuse. Of course I am overwrought with guilt about it, even though I've made a bunch of the meetings pretty consistently. Mehhhh.
Also, I have to print up a bunch of pictures tonight. I thought they were on my Picasa at work, but I think I accidentally deleted all the picture filed on my computer when I tried to move all my music from my ipod to my itunes (which I did successfully!). Anyways, only one picture came up after a whole computer scan, but it's a nice holiday-ish one I guess, and the stamp that will be featured on Christmas cards:
I love this little guy. I took this probably last January or February out the kitchen window. I have a 2x converter on my camera, but the doubler sometimes fuzzes thing out, and I was surprisingly happy with the clarity on this one. It's far from perfect, but it looked fantastic on the postage stamps, so I'm willing to settle for fantastic postage :)
Monday, December 15, 2008
Anyways, my weekend was only half productive. While I got a decent amount done, hours and hours worth of work had to be put in behind the computer, and that got frustrating - especially when shutterfly logged me out of my account and deleted my entire project. It's cool though, cause I finished and it has already shipped out, thank goodness. I'm not going to go into detail about it because it's for my sister for Christmas and a surprise, but it involves pictures. As I was looking at the final product again today, I noticed I had used this little gem of a shot:
This is the State Police Christmas Party at the Foxborough Barracks, and it looks to be Christmas 1985. Santa would land in a helicopter and come and give us gifts that our parents had bought and wrapped (I was so slow on the uptake too, I always wondered how Santa got the gifts there cause he definitely didn't have them in the helicopter. I believed in magic and sh*t to though, so obviously that was that.)
What I love about this pictures is the expression of pure disdain on my sister's face. My mom is all "Honey that's Santa! He's come to bring you presents!!" While Amy is like "No, this is a stranger in a fake beard, and no, I will NOT sit on his lap!"
Smart kid ;)
I also love her little maryjanes and the hand-knitted cap she's wearing. So cute. The face is what makes the picture though, totally.
I'll have more after Christmas, when the secret's been revealed!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
(from kari on alittlebitpregnant.com's pants contest)
I'd just gotten the assignment I'd been working for: I was going to work for my company's London branch! Woo hoo!
Unfortunately, I arrived a few days earlier than my bags. And I'm American-sized--I'm over six feet tall. But I was desperate--my first day of work was the next day. So I went into Marks and Spencer's and found the first saleswoman I could find.
"Do you have any long khaki pants?" I asked.
The fine fine cultured British woman looked down her nose at me (impressive as she was six inches shorter) and with stiff jaw and nasal sigh, intoned, "I believe you mean khahh-ki trouserrrrs."
Sure whatever, I just need clothes. I found a skirt that would do, but I was confused by her attitude. I asked my new coworkers the next day, and as I got to the part of the story where I asked for the khaki pants, the British coworkers started tittering.
Turns out, the American pronunciation of khaki — sort of like "cack-y" — sounds remarkably like slang for "shit-filled".
And "pants"? In England, those are underwear.
So I had asked for long, sh*t-filled underwear.
Apparently, Marks and Sparks do NOT carry those.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
SO the library. I got stuck on two books last month, thus my sad finish to 100 ish books in a year. I mean I won't do 100 but I am going to come pretty damn close. If only I hadn't been stymied by the Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh and My Sister, My Love. Don't get me wrong, these were great, they were just extremely hard to get into and incredibly complex in style, respectively. I will (WILL!) pick them up again, but my mind is a bit too scattered to follow right at the moment.
Anyways, I consulted Ye Olde Palm Pilot for my list of books. I am really cheap because it will basically take moving a mountain to get me to buy a book - it must meet one of the following criteria 1. I read it and it was so awesome I must buy it so I can read it again and again and again. Notable books: classics (especially Dover Thrift Edition ones) Dogs of Babel, Sea Glass, The Last Time They Met, Poisonwood Bible (read it once a year, feel the need to reread soon), Prodigal Summer (read every spring to welcome in the season), Year of Wonders, Daughter of Fortune, the Nick Bantok Griffin and Sabine books, No. Ladies Detective Agency books, etc. 2. I am going on vacation and need something to read. Notable books: Eat, Pray, Love, The Birds of Costa Rica, The Birds of Kenya. 3. The price is right. Notable books: Beside a Burning Sea, The Audacity of Hope, The Life of Birds. 4. It sounds so fantastically wonderful that I have thought about it the entire time I've been wandering around the book store and now must purchase it before I leave because otherwise the fact that I have not purchased this book will haunt me forever. Notable books: I can't think of any. Which is why the following is important...
I love the library. It's an obsession. Because I am cheap and fickle it is the ideal place for me,and in addition to supporting my local community, my own mother's job, and being raised by a librarian, I use it because I have practically the entire world at my fingertips for FREE.
Sometimes, and this is super dorky, I get into a frenzy when I'm there. Like yesterday, for example. I went in to get five specific books - five because that's a manageable amount to read. Ok, I went to get six, technically, but one was a knitting book. I go to the non fiction craft section to look at the scarf book I wanted and see its companion shawl book. Ooooh bonus. Then I sauntered over to the new fiction. I see the new Jennifer Weiner book and grab it, because I needed some chickie lit. Then I go over to the new non-fiction. Ohhh that sounds good, oh and that! Oh and the book I've wanted to read forEVER! Oh! OH! OH! Suddenly my five books have grown to a stack so large I have to steady it with my chin as I walk to the check out desk. I said to my librarian "Um. Wow. Got a little excited with the books." She laughed and said "Well. You do know they're free, right?" and laughed. I just hope the five I put my name in for don't come too quickly. Oh, and that's another thing. Frickin' INTERLIBRARY LOAN. It is glorious. Of course some libraries are bitchy and protect their newer books, but I can wait as loooong as I need til they're unprotected. I can bide my time for months while all my other holds are filled. I live in a small-ish town that has a beautiful but not huge library. With an ILL system that includes two colleges and World Cat, I am unlimited. Completely unlimited. It totally rocks.
Sigh. Blogging about the library just put me in the happiest mood. As Austin Powers would say "Nerd Alert!" :) That's ok, it just makes me a stronger Jeopardy contestant anyways!
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
The weekend helped. Though I got NOTHING accomplished except spending money on stuff. Yikes! The good thing is that I made it to this point in the week not entirely broke despite my uncertain student loan consolidation process. Oh well.
Now I have big plans for next weekend. Quite a bit of sewing to do, some definite knitting, lots of baking. I'm wondering if I can freeze the gifts for my coworkers and take them out in a couple weeks and still have them taste good. hmmmm. I am definitely making cookies for the blood donor clinic staff too, which should be a hit! I'll be up for my 44th donation on the 22nd, the week of Christmas and the beginning of Hanukkah sooooo that'll be good timing too.
Hurray, I have made it passed the "I am depressed and angry and anxious" hump to "I LOVE CHRISTMAS" LOL. EE, my brain totally needs to be integrated.
Tonight, after I work late because my coworker caught me coming in late, Ame and I are off to Old Navy for our 2nd Annual Giving Tree BuyFest where we purchase incredibly adorable kid stuff for the names Ame picked off the Giving Tree at her office. While some kids ask for toys, we usually pick the kids who need clothes, because as two 20-somethings sans offspring AND rent, it's not a big deal for us to go out and buy a winter coat for a kid, unlike someone with a family and 2+ kids to clothe and feed. Even though the budget is tight this year, Old Navy usually has some great deals and we can get the kid a big ol' pile of clothes for short money. Plus I have my handy Old Navy charge, zip zip. After that, we're heading to $5 night at the movies. Quantum of Solace or Twilight? I have to admit, I am in the mood for a teen film, though I wouldn't exactly say no to Daniel Craig. Yummmmm.
Ok this post is pointless except to say "blah blah I have a plan".....BUT......I HAVE A PLAN! I AM IN CONTROL! AWESOMENESS!
Friday, December 05, 2008
For Christmas she is off to Zambia for a horseback safari.
While I love and adore Christmas in New England, this year the stress, the frenetic commutes from work trying to share a space with crazed commuters, holiday tourists, and the "I travel to the city but once a year to Christmas shop," the demands at work, the demands of family (though none of them unreasonable by any means, simply existing) the commitments and parties, well, they have made me just tired. And I guess a bit forlorn. I want to go home and pull the covers over my head and sleep. And I love this time of year. I'm not a holiday hater that bitches and moans about this part of the season. I've lost hold of my optimism. Hopefully it's only temporary.
Anyways, I became overwhelmed with jealousy at a safari holiday. It just sounds so wonderful and lovely and wild and new.
Maybe I need something new?
I guess I don't really have a point except to say, I'd rather be in Africa.
I think if I won the lottery (maybe I should buy a ticket) the first thing I would do is quit my job and go on a long-ass vacation (SAFARI!), wherein I decide who will benefit from my new found wealth. Hospital in Kenya, of course. Friends out of student debt, of course. Family mortgages paid, land on Bear Island purchased and put in permanent trust under our family's names. Lots and lots of good deeds done. Ha ha my save the world foundation finally in place. I'd spend all my time fixing things. It'd be great.
Ah well. At least I have a pleasant weekend planned. A lot of alone time doing Christmas projects, and then some holiday party socialization that should be fun. Yankee swaps and such. And I'm so not taking work home this weekend! ha!
Signing off from my pointless post now....
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Yep, Ame and I hit up matinee night for Australia.
It was fantastic.
Now don't get me wrong, this isn't a heady and intense film that requires you to think or is even particularly believable. It is 2 hours and 45 minutes of blockbuster sensationalism. After 4 fillings though, I didn't want to have to think. I wanted to kick back, relax, gum some popcorn and candy as best I could and just enjoy the show, and that I did. It rocked. Of course I am biased towards WWII era movies, especially ones that take place in the South Pacific, a la A Town Like Alice and Paradise Road, but those were actually based on fact. In this case, I just let myself just get carried away by the whole story and decided not to question any of the plot at all, and that's what made everything so fun. Is it realistic? Oh I so doubt it. Is it entertaining? HELLS YES. Will I see it again with anyone who may want to go? UM TOTALLY.
If you want action, a little romance, ridiculously gorgeous scenery, a little old style good triumphing over evil type storyline, and even some humor, see it. Just know that you're not going in there to see Atonement. Oh wait, this end better anyways. And as a person who has a penchant for dramas that end badly (usually with the death of the main character, the main character's love interest, or permanent separation from a person or place) I liked a good ending for a change :D
Monday, December 01, 2008
I'm scheduled to have about 5 surfaces of my mouth drilled tomorrow. It's going to suck. I know it's only an hour of my life, but for someone who passionately hates the dentist, it's pretty stress-inducing. My friend EE brain integrated me so I feel less physical anxiety about it, which is great, but it's still a nagging presence.
I've had unreal heartburn for about two weeks.
There's the money sh*t that I don't even want to talk or think about, exacerbated by the additional $300 I owe for car repairs. Yup, more car repairs.
Finally, there's the fact that this weekend, for I swear the first time, Jam mentions his graduation in May. Wha? When did I miss that? I thought his graduation was later, closer to the completion of his program in fall 2009. Normally, this would be fine except it is the exact same day as my cousin's graduation. Four hours later than my cousin's ceremony....and three hours away. So unless my cousin's graduation is an hour long, there's no way in hell I'll ever make it. My aunt rented out half an Inn in NH this past October in anticipation for graduation, and I was all excited about it because it wasn't my reunion weekend. Which meant for once I would not be overextended or forced to make a shitty decision about friends who are like family and family. I was FREEEEE. Then this whole issue comes up.
I feel just awful. I know being all emotional is not like, the MOST mature way to deal with this, but I feel so torn. On the one hand, my cousin and the fam told me first, have paid for hotel arrangements, and have more solid plans. On the other hand Jam is my fiance, my future husband, and how the fuck does it look to everyone that his fiancee can't show?? WTF? On the other hand my cousin come to my undergrad and grad school ceremonies, and I will feel terrible if I just blow him off like that, even though I know he'd probably be cool about it, plus Jam thinks there's a fast track ceremony at the end of the program. But I don't know for sure. I hate this. I fucking hate this so much. I can't tell you how many times I have been stuck trying to make these shitty ass decisions. When my other cousin graduated, it was my two year reunion. I missed basically everything at reunion, but did the "right thing" and was at my cousin's ceremony. I have to choose between birthdays and holidays and it f8cking SUCKS. This is just a decision I do not want to have to make. Jam says he's cool with it, but I can tell in his voice that it's not really cool. I can only imagine the comments he'd get too. Plus all the other students will probably have family and friends there, then there'll be him just standing there alone. It sucks.
Sometimes I hate my effing life and all the shit I have to do. I know I'm really lucky to have all these family members and friends and a great fiance and all, but seriously? These issues are not cool.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
We all know I have mad LimoLiner LOVE. In the 3+ years Jam and I have been a couple I have tried every damn way of getting to NYC (and before we dated, I did fly once to NYC, so I tried that too) and found that the good ol' LL, as expensive as it is, was pretty much the only mode of transportation that would bring me from Boston to NYC and not turn me into a complete raving, frazzled, crazy bitch by the time my feet touched Manhattan soil...er...pavement.
Anyways, I've noticed that the LL is starting to attract a very specific group of clientele - the "even though I am on a bus with 27 other people I am going to behave as though I am the only one here" clientele. I try to be patient because some of these people are legit - like bent old ladies with a million shopping bags. I mean, if my Auntie Elinore were still with us (she'd be um, 97 I guess...or turning 97) and she realized how comfortably she could relive the her life as a buyer for Jordan Marsh, jetting off to NYC for the day to buy fabrics and approve new looks and such, she would probably do it, though she would need the special catering provided by the LL. I'm so not talking about those people. I am talking about the people who, from the instant they arrive, cause difficulty.
On Friday I was waiting curbside for the doors to open and a lady rolls up and cuts in front of me. Whatever, it's assigned seating, why would I even care? Then we have said old lady with her bags. She cuts eveyrone, but I think she's entitled. Then the other woman steps right up. Now the attendant had said "have your photo ID ready." Of course because I am so damn type A I have it in my hand ready to go. This woman steps right up and gives her name. The attendant asks for ID. She starts rifling through her overstuffed purse. Rifle, rifle, rifle. She is about to hand it over but says "oh this won't do, it doesn't have the right last name on it." Awesome, Alias, hand it over and get on the effing bus, no one CARES. She managed to behave until we got to Framingham. People start boarding and looking for a place to stash coats and such. "Is your coat WET???" she demanded of the boy who dared to share an overhead bin with her luggage. Then she asked for more pillows. And a blanket. As soon as we pulled away she started again "will there be drinks on this bus?" yes "will there be food?" yes "what kind?" chicken sandwiches "what about snacks?" WTF, are you not an adult? Bring your own damn snacks!! Then every 5 seconds she needed a drink. Then she took all her prescription medication. Then she put lotion on all uncovered areas of skin. Then she put lip gloss on. Then she *shudder* filed her nails. I mean, this is only the stuff I observed, because then I fell asleep for about an hour. I awoke to her shrill, loud voice on her cell phone. Clearly she ignored the "please keep your conversations to a confidential tone" note that the attendant mentioned earlier. "YEAH" she shrieked like a harpy "I don't know if I'll make the SER-vice. We might run LATE. Oh I know but there just is no good way to make the journey. CALL YOU LATER MY CELL IS DYING!" Sadly, LL has electical outlets, so she had time to charge it. Next thing, I hear her telling the attendant that she is very cold, could the heat be turned up. The attendant, bless her, said NO. "Well" harpy said, "I will just need a cup of chamomile tea and another blanket." She got two cups of tea in the next half hour to "warm her hands." After all that, I later looked up to see her picking her nose. Seriously.
The ride back frankly sucked as we broke down in Connecticut. It sucked before that though because the DB in front of me had a row of empty seats in front of him, he could have sat in any, yet chose to sit right in front of me and put his seat down the whole way. He had to sit up in the reclined seat to drink and eat and get sh*t out of his backpack, yet he didn't seem to care as long as his perfectly arranged to look messy hair did not fall out of place. OY!
Now for the T. This is actually funny.
Yesterday I decided to wear my down commuter coat, forgetting that it's excrutiatingly hot to wear unless it's way below freezing. Oh well. So I trudged from work to the green line, then to the red, where I stood on an Ashmont-bound train in front of a pair of kind of drifter-looking people (not to be awful). They were having some weird conversation about raspberry lime something or other. I had my iPod on and only caught bits and pieces and wasn't really paying attention when the woman tapped me. "There's a seat free right behind you" she said. "Oh no worries," I said "I'm only going two stops." She stared at me and said something. I am frickin' hard of hearing to begin with, and with the noise of the train, I couldn't even hear her. I leaned over and took my earbud out and said "I can't hear you" hoping she wasn't saying something shady. She repeats it, looking at me with wide eyes. I ask her to repeat again and she says "Aren't you having a baby?"
I laughed and said "Oh. Um. No." Her eyes widen in horror. "My coat makes me look pregnant though, I take it." "Oh. Oh God. Uh yeah" she said. I said "It's ok, it's a bulky coat" She said "Oh so you get that a lot?" I laughed again "Well no, it's a first, but now I know what I look like in it!" "Oh I am so sorry - I wondered why you weren't sitting though!" she said. The guy she was with was laughing and said something I didn't catch. They stood to get off at Downtown Crossing and as she stood, the lady patted me on the shoulder and said "Thank you for being so good about it."
It was all I could do to not cackle on the train. I was not offended. As I pointed out to Jam: 1. I don't look pregnant in my regular clothes, so I know it's the coat, 2. it's a huge effing coat that is poofy and bulky as hell and my train posture isn't exactly fantastic so I probably did look pregnant, 3. I don't give a sh*t who on the train thinks I'm knocked up. Whatever. 4. I did very much appreciate her courtesy, though I probably would've dropped it after I offered up the seat LOL. All in good fun. When I look back, it's actually really sweet that the lady had my back. I hope someone's got hers right back!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I had a meeting with a colleague. She's a rehire, so she knows the ropes and weird idiosyncrasies and hierarchies here, but needs training in her new area, so we agreed to meet at 10. She came up to my office with one of her other coworkers who can be kind of difficult, but I get along with perfectly well.
The meeting went smoothly. This coworker will be incredibly easy to work with (see I DO like some of my coworkers) and she is generally just a nice and pleasant person. We did reach a point in the conversation where I said that a program we need to use should be released because we won't find the bugs until we're using it in real time. She completely disagreed. The thing is, unlike most people I encounter who disagree with me THAT strongly, she did not rip off my head, get incredibly defensive, become passive aggressive in her tactics, or give me the silent treatment.
She simply disagreed. She was like "Ah yeah, well I totally disagree with that. Don't release something til it's right." "Oh you're a perfectionist!!" I said. She laughed and replied "No not really, I just hate ineffectiveness and wasting time, and releasing something before its ready is wasting time!" And even though I still disagreed with her standpoint, the whole exchange was incredibly refreshing.
I don't know - maybe I'm used to having it be a "thing" whenever there is a disagreement with the way we operate here. It's always either smacked down or taken to the hallway, whisper whisper whisper. I really appreciated her being totally honest without being defensive or bitchy, two thing that I am sometimes when I disagree with someone at work - usually because I feel the overwhelming need to be one of those things, depending on the company present.
Hmm. Maybe I should ask her where she got her communication style....
In other news, I am anticipating Thanksgiving cooking, cooking for international day at work, and lots of crafting. A friend is hosting a crafty weekend. I don't dare bring over all the sh*t I have to do, I could possibly scare someone, but will it be satisfying to make a dent in the "To Do" list? Hellllls yeah.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Right now there are two pigeons sitting there, feeding and preening each other. It's really sweet. Normally I look at pigeons and think "evolutionary marvel, but bird that eats trash" and don't think of them as engaging in activities like preening and feeding each other, so I have to say, not only is it sweet, but it's also fascinating.
I am off to NYC this weekend. Land of pigeons.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Yesterday I went for my bi-monthly platelet donation. The tech laughed when she gathered the finger prick blood sample because my blood "looks pale." She put it in the hemoglobin measuring machine thing and it beeped the rejection beep. "What the heck," she said "these stupid machines. You're so not that low." She squished blood out of my finger again and was like "well. it does look pale. and you look pale. huh." She got the same reading. "Woah! You're kind of anemic!" When I asked what my Hgb was she replied "11.2" and asked "are you feeling tired?!" I told her I've been falling asleep at my desk every afternoon. She sent me home to take some vitamins (I've been off my spirulina for low-grade anemia regimen and it shows) and try again next week. I have to admit though, it's really nice to have an explanation for the tiredness. My mother seemed not really worried but sort of puzzled by its lowness and I wrote her off saying it was no big deal, but then I thought about the massive amount of carbs and very small amount of iron rich veggies and beans I've had in the past couple of weeks and that pretty much explained it.
In other news, I got an email this morning from flickr saying someone requested to publish my picture. I figured it was on someone's blog or some sh*t and I was like "why do you have to be so formal, just link to my profile already." Actually it was a request to publish a photo in a book about feelings. "Oh Christ," I thought "It's gonna be one of those hideous ones from my 365 days project, one where I'm weeping about school or some sh*t...ughhhhhh" So not the case. It's kind of a cute pic too:I checked out the project's website to make sure the whole thing was legit and that the people weren't fanatics or people with foot fetishes (anyone who has put a foot picture on flickr understands this. It's kind of a miracle the fetish people haven't found the above pic but it's titled "self-indulgent" and is not tagged with anything foot-related).
The project is incredibly fascinating. I could spend a looong time on the website (wefeelfine.org) and I'm happy to share images with something so cool. This will be the third "primate" picture I've had appear in a book. First it was a gorilla in 24 hours of Flickr, then a vervet monkey in Plague and Pestilence and finally me toeses in this book (if it makes the final cut and all, I'm not sure if anything if final though it seems so). Maybe I should quit my job and become a photographer of monkeys, lol. I seem good at it. I count myself in that monkey category too ;)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The only place I am utilizing the skills I learned in my year-long intensive Italian course I took in college is Starbucks.
In a way, I suppose simply being able to pronounce the words properly is better than not using the little Italian I've retained....but seriously, I think my professor had greater hopes for all of us, hopes that we'd become speakers of one of the most beautiful languages on earth and not just be able to say "Graaaanday Cinnamon DOL-chay LAT-te Please."
Some days I have the urge to go back and take some remedial Italian at Adult Ed or something. Of course, I also have the urge to take Swahili so I can speak it at a functional level. I sound like a pro when I say "Good morning, how are you? I am well, very well, feeling very healthy thank you" That's about it. Hmmm. That could be really fun. I will have to look into it. Perhaps that would go a bit more successfully than my foray into ASL, as the only signs I can really remember are animal signs, which did lead to a hilarious slightly drunken night at Uno's where "Dead Turtle Pizza" was signed many hundreds of times. We'll have to see.
*The name of my college text, currently on sale at half.com lol.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I know, I am being slightly dramatica. It all started yesterday when I took the 39 bus to Copley and had to fight the urge to vomit from about Museum of Fine Arts to the beginning of Boylston Street because the bus driver was one of those crazy ones that likes to slam on the brakes and then slam on the accelerator. I should know the signs of motion sickness by now - queasy nausea, feeling hot, feeling like your coat is suffocating you slowly, pounding head. Ha ha this also sounds a bit like carbon monoxide poisioning. Hmmm. Seriously though, I felt so foul, and when I got off the bus I sucked in the not-exactly-fresh air at Copley before I headed down into the abyss for yet another nausea-inducing ride on the green line. By the time I got to South Station I went to the platform even though my train wasn't due to leave for 30 minutes just so I could shake the feeling of having to barf. Thankfully it worked.
Of course our train didn't come til about 4 minutes before its scheduled departure. This always causes distress, angst, and rage amongst passengers. I tend to take an indifferent stance because at the end of the day, all I really give a sh*t about it getting home. I don't need my special seat in my favorite car so I can chat with my train peeps. I mean, I get that some people like that and it's a thing, but not having that as a thing allows me to be indifferent to the ineffective management of the trains in general. Last night though, was a bit exasperating as I followed a small crowd, lemming-like, to a train that had arrived at the station on what is one of our usual tracks. After a few minutes of waiting at the door and enduring the exasperated sighs of the crowd, I decided to turn around and walk back to the end of the platform, where more tracks were accessible. I spotted my uncle and cousin and was like "Oh hey, I'll join you when I can, but I can't right now, I'll be trampled to death for cutting in front of someone!" The gave me a sympathetic thumbs up. When our train did pull in, I felt like an animal being herded to the slaughterhouse as I was bombarded with oversize Vera Bradley totes and leather briefcases, nearly run over by neurotic people who were aiming to claim their seat and nearly tripping over the people who decided that walking to the train in a crowd of hundreds of people would be the ideal time to send a text, and shuffled along, their heads bowed in front of their phones. UGH. I guess the point is though that I got home - and not only did I get home in one piece, but I even got a seat on the train. Still though, it's nights like that that make me understand why people are so damn disgruntled.
Then there's the whole parking issue. The MBTA's whole song and dance is that "the commuter rail parking rates have not increased in xyz years and if we don't increase them we cut service." Oh really? Could the service get any crappier?? Let's talk about the days they send all single-car trains during the morning rush hour. Let's talk about the days I have to stand in the aisle, which is completely and utterly unsafe, not just for me in the case of the training moving in a certain way that could make me lose my balance and fall, but also if there was ever an emergency and we had to exit the train in an organized and timely manner. Then there's the delays, the lack of information given to passengers, the lousy schedule etc. Overall I have to say I'm happy with my commute despite all the bullsh*t - it keeps me from driving, and one less car on the road is good for the environment and my blood pressure, but to put the onus of the T's lousy management on US by raising parking after raising fares not to long ago is really effing obnoxious. The parking lot I park in is a PIECE OF CRAAAAAP. Not plowed (they say you don't have to pay if you can't see your number. I'm sure that argument would hold up if you got ticketed too, ha ha ha. ), not sanded, not protected in any way I can see. My car has been dinged and scratched and bumped (unavoidable, I know, but I am complaining here ;) ) It takes forever to get out of the lot because it's designed badly and only has two exits and no lights. This may be unavoidable too, but it adds to the irritation of having to pay more an getting nothing in return. I mean we're talking about a 100% increase in parking rates. If I got even 5% more service in return, maybe I wouldn't be so pissed, but I know I will get 0% and that's what makes me angry. I'm mad that I pay nearly $200 a month for a pass and will now pay $80 to park and I still have to trek down to the cashier's office every month for a pass because we don't have the tap system and I'm gonna have to shove $4 in ones or in quarters in an antiquated metal slot-box to pay for parking because the T is probably in waaay too much debt to update the parking system - heaven forbid we update a system anyways, right? How long did we have tokens? Right. So I can depend on shoving $4 in the slot boxes for at least another decade before we get a machine that will give us a receipt. Awesomeness.
100% increase in parking fares, but no increase in service. Or politeness, for that matter.
Nevertheless the T will retain riders like me. My parking choices at the office are basically nonexistent, unless I choose a garage for about $40 a day, which definitely won't happen. I guess that's how they plan to make their money anyways, trap the people who have little other choice than to put up with the nonsense. My cousin, uncle and I were trying to think of ways to protest on Monday when we will be expected to cough up $4. One proposal was to pay in pennies. Another was to write the T a check, which is funny, but I don't want them to have easy access to my name and address. My sister suggested shoving an IOU in there. I asked her how much you can deface a dollar bill without getting into trouble (she works at a bank). She said that I could probably go to town since she gets bills that say "F*CK" on them written in red crayon and they're accepted. I'm thinking of taking a sharpie and simply writing on the bills "The T takes my money and wastes it" before shoving them into the payment box. It won't do much, but it'll make me feel better.
Monday, November 10, 2008
While I did not know much about her life aside from the fact that she was banned from South Africa for decades, her songs Malaika and Holili are favorites on the iPod. I think I specifically remember serenading Jamaal with Malaika not too long ago....
I'm sad that this great lady is gone, but I'm happy that she died on stage. That is pretty freakin' badass if I do say so myself.
The whole reason I missed Thursday is because I was writing a data dictionary for a program I am going to be using here at the office. It's insane and is normally NOT the thing someone of my level would be entrusted to do......which was simultaneously badass/awesome/flattering and terrifying. Me? Write a manual? eeek. Then my boss informed me that one of the key players at this meeting is like, the meanest woman alive. My boss called her a bitch!! If you knew my boss at all, you'd know that this is completely out of character. Yeah, my boss has been inappropriate before, but always in terms of questions she asked me, like "should I fire xyz?" or "you're not gonna go get pregnant are you?" Yes, not exactly professional but not the end of the world (to me...especially considering the source) To hear her refer to someone was a "bitch" was completely shocking...and alarming, as I considered what I'd be in for. Eeeek.
Of course my boss was completely right about this lady. Oh what a beast. She argued with us for 45 minutes about the first point my boss brought up, only to sit back and say 45 minutes after the fact, 15 minutes after I was supposed to leave for vacation, "Oh I agree with you completely." Hmmm, could you not have said that 45 minutes ago so we could've moved past item 1 on the agenda? Someone finally remembered I had to leave and I rushed back to my desk to send a shitton of emails demanded by the group and then rushed to pee and then RUSHED to meet my sister who was illegally parked in front of the hospital.
The rest of the weekend flew by in a whirlwind of driving and shopping. We were up in Lincoln for the weekend (which is shockingly smaller than I imagined now that I've read the wikipedia article...not that wikipedia is particularly accurate, but you can't really make up the census). We drove over to North Conway on Friday morning, moose hunting as we crossed the Kancamagus. Amy and I then worked the outlet route, hitting Old Navy, JCrew, some shoe places and LL Bean. Fun times. Saturday was crazy as we made our way down to Meredith and hit up our favorites stores, then went down all the way to Concord for some yarn, then over to Grantham for cross stitch supplies, and ended our journey up in Littleton at Chutter's. Holy crap. The journey to Littleton is worth it for Chutter's alone (I can say this because that's all we had time to see, LOL). It is home of the world's longest candy counter and is AWESOMENESS. Here's a photo from a Flickr user, as Amy's photos aren't up yet:
Mind you this only captures the smallest portion of awesomeness that is Chutter's. We didn't even tackle the chocolate counter during our visit as we were totally overwhelmed by the jars.
After that we hung out with family and made our way home to Mass to find a freakin' minefield of leaves. My dad had done the ENTIRE yard before he and my mom headed to Vegas for a Driver's Ed conference (believe it) and I felt so bad that he'd come home to see his work entirely undone, so Amy and I did the driveway and street. Ugh. It took over 2 hours but it got done. Then we settled back to watch the Pat's game (awesomeness) and two movies.
Now it's Monday again. I feel like this past weekend was totally the calm before the storm. This morning I signed up for cake & pie's Third Annual Ornament Swap and I'm already contemplating my ornaments. Luckily EE is hosting a craft weekend at her apartment in two weeks and I'll be able to catch up a fair amount on my work. I still have three wedding gifts and a thank you gift to finish, then all my Christmas stuff. I may have to reassess the Christmas crafting. We'll see.
I realize now that this post was kinda pointless. Ah well. Maybe something significant tomorrow. Maybe not though :)
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I can't even tell you how excited I am. I have thankfully moved on to excitement, a 180 from last night, which was weeping. I mean happy weeping, but kind of insane and overemotional weeping. It was a couple things, one being that the long long road is over. Another is that Obama triumphed over the ignorance and hatred that my sister and I both encountered in friends and coworkers. Another is the dawn of a new era, the change that's gonna come. And just when I stopped being weepy about all that, I thought of my kids.....my future tan babies. Yeah, yeah, I joke about it. I was even kidding my mom last night when a picture came on the TV screen of a young Barack Obama with a 'fro sitting between his grandparents - 'That's gonna be you some day, Mom!' I cackled. But when California reported and the electoral votes tipped in B-rock's favor, everything became so real. And when that guy on CNN (I don't know who it was) started talking about how he was African-American and his wife was white and how he was gonna go home and tell his kids that they could be president, something he wasn't sure he'd ever be able to tell him, I LOST IT. I think Obama's presidency will be important for all future generations, but when I think of what this means for my kids....holy crap, I can barely keep it in.
So anyways. Enough of that! ELECTION IS OVER!! WE WON!
Without further ado, I bring you
1987 and 1988
Ok first a visit to I think 1986. Here I am on Mother's Day with my mother, sister, Grandma Kitty and Aunt Elinore. Clearly my four year old self embraces grace and dignity as I grab my crotch:Amy looks away in shame. Actually I can't figure out if Grandma Kitty is laughing at me or just the general three-ringed circus that tended to be family outings. I will say that we do have many very nice photos from this day, this one just happens to be the most hilarious.
Now onto pumpkin gathering. My parents always made everything we did seem awesome. Looking back I remember a LOT of fun times, like going apple picking, going to Vermont in a RV, going to Edaville Railroad at Christmas. Then years later you find out that on our way to Vermont we hit a family of little ducks on the highway, Amy vomited in my mom's hands and the fridge tipped over, and all those warm and fuzzy times at Edaville? One year one of us split our chin open and every time we rode the magic Christmas train, my mother clutched Amy as she dry-heaved from motion sickness. I am wondering if this photo captures one of those times when Amy and I figured my parents out - no this is not an awesome pumpkin patch but rather a muddy field by the side of the road and now you're making us pose near speeding traffic with our pumpkins. Not cool.
Snowsuits. Moon Boots. Oversized Mittens. How Moms tortured kids trying to enjoy a winter day. We do look cute as hell though.
This is literally one of the most dorky adorable pictures I've ever found of Amy and me. First of all there I am rockin' the pigtails. And I will say that sweatshirt was the SHIT.COM. It had a design on the inside of the sleeves, so when you were doing some heavy duty work and had to roll them up, you still looked stylish. I almost wish I still had that sweatshirt, just cause I remember loving it so much. I'd just keep it in my drawer and reminisce about all the good times we had together. Then there is my sister, who in her little kid glasses is just the cutest. I love how she's rocking not only a visor with messed up hair but also a turtleneck....the cuteness just kills me.
We posed for a lot of pictures as kids. Here is one that really reflects our personalities. I'm all 'B8tch I am going to get up off this bench because I am SO DONE." Amy is like "I'll just put on a happy face til it's over....."
Did anyone else play with Lady Lovely Locks? Oh we did. I just learned that they were only made from 1987 -1989. I wonder if we still have ours!! Of course I remember having the villain best, the "jealous beauty with raven-black hair!" Perhaps they're collectors items now LOL. Anyways, these delightful toys came with hair accessories called "pixie tails" that could be worn by your 8 1/2 inch doll..................or by YOU. Obviously an inanimate dolls has no use for such a thing so Amy and I adorned ourselves with as many pixie tails as possible. I mean, it's no wonder my parents took pictures of us. I would want to treasure the hilarity forever too.
My mother is a feminist who believed that if a kids wants a Barbie, give her (or him) a damn Barbie. I love her for it, because otherwise we would not have photo evidence of Amy lovingly cradling her Barbie assortment, which apparently belonged to a nudist colony.
First day of Kindergarten. I can't tell what's happening by reading my face. I look like I'm either pissed my sister is doing the Allison's going to school and I'm happy dance, or if I'm like 'yo problem, she has to pee!' Look at those little dresses though. Awwww.
Because nothing screams "formal wear" like a duffel bag. Actually this is my first day of first grade. I'm thinking the parentals hadn't bought me a backpack yet. CHILD ABUSE!!
This face paint job was a subliminal message to my parents. No, not that I'm gay (duh) but that I would be fiercely and ridiculously liberal when I was older, attend a radically feminist college, support equal marriage, gun control, environmentalism.......oh and vote for the first black president....HOLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Um I don't know about you, but what girl DOESN'T require an aerobic sweatband while fishing? I have to say that I am just filled with love for my dad when I see this, because honestly if I took my daughter out to do something traditionally regarded as a "man's sport" and was pushing to sort of break the gender binary and just have some parent-daughter bonding, and my kid insisted on wearing her Jane Fonda sweatband, I'd be like "f8ck. you serious?" He let me do it though. And knowing my dad, he probably thought it had some legit function too.
Well that concludes the show. I am going to try and get some early 90's picture including the pedo pic up here by next week. Happy Hump Day Happy Post Election Day everyone!
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I've been trying to keep on top of the humanitarian crisis in the DRC for a while now. I signed up for V-Day updates back in February, if not before, because I became aware that the worldwide press corps had barely scratched the surface of what was happening. Of course there were the few and the faithful that kept on reporting, but by no means had this crisis come to the world's attention. Eve Ensler's eloquent voice is helping to change that little, by little. I encourage everyone to look at her site and to read her stories.
In the past week, the crisis has come to a head and the American press has got their heads out of there asses (or perhaps out of the economic "crisis" in America and the election) to report on the Congo, and while I have sort of known this has been going on the whole time, seeing live reporting from the IDP camps is just about the most devastating thing I have ever seen, second only to live footage I've seen of the Rwandan genocide. People are suffering, starving. It always seems that women and children bear the brunt of this sort of thing, and that is certainly clear in photos and videos. The UN sits there ineffectively because no one wants to "get involved." No one wants another Mogadishu I guess, which is understandable...but...still though, how can they just sit there and watch what is happening around them? It seems after eight years in the Congo they might have actually reached the breaking point and are looking to engage, looking for reinforcements, but how likely is that to come now, after all this?
I chalk up this lack of action to a number of things - mostly the fact that there are things happening behind closed doors all over the world's capitals that I don't understand. I guess that's the only way I can even accept the fact that barely anything is being done. Eve Ensler wonders the same thing in her recent editorial at the Huffington Post - what is the root of our apathy?
It's funny because during the presidential debates, all I wanted to hear about is what each candidate's plans were for Africa. What would America's policies towards Africa be? I got nothing. Of course the economy is bad, I get it, but what about everything else? What about Darfur? What about the Congo? What about all the people suffering and dying? Doesn't anyone care? Doesn't anyone want to help?
I want to help, but I don't know how. I sit here and watch streaming videos and click through photos and try to absorb as much information as possible to pass on to people who ask me about the crisis (it's strange that just because I've been to Africa I suddenly become the point person amongst family, friends and acquaintences regarding all questions Africa - though I've only been to Kenya!) My mother said to me recently how things were so bad in the Congo. I told they've been bad for years, awful rape, torture, mutilation. Yeah, she said, but it's been really bad this week. I got so frustrated. I was like IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN BAD. Since effing King Leopold. Since the world powers decided Lumumba was too popular and too powerful and had him killed to put Mobutu in power. These things have a long history in Congo and the violence is years old. She kept insisting that it was worse than ever, and while I agree, I'm not so sure she had any idea of how bad it has BEEN. I guess I just want more people to know. I don't know what we can do right now except donate money to the V-Day campaign and other humanitarian organizations trying to help in the DRC, but as an obsessive fixer, I can't help but want to do more. I don't even know where to start though. I just sit here, watching videos, waiting for the one that tells me that a change is coming and things will get better. For now, I will start drafting my letter to Joseph Kabila and tell him he must protect my African sisters.
Thanks for letting me vent.
On a lighter note, watch this. It's about Kenyans and Obama and is pretty hilarious.
Monday, November 03, 2008
In the meantime, if you're looking for a bit of inspiration or are trying to make up your mind, try this old favorite out. You'd think after this long haul I wouldn't still find this moving, but I so do. Check it out, and most importantly
Sunday, November 02, 2008
So as promised, here are pictures from last night's party. Just to refresh I was a vampire, my sister was Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's and my parents were Dog the Bounty Hunter and Beth, aka Mrs Dog. Just in case you've never seen the show, here's a pic of the real Dog and Mrs (far left, second from left):
Here is my parents' interpretation:
It's strangely accurate. I mean we couldn't accurately enlarge my mom's rack, but there you have it, decent.
Here is my vampire, which Amy said was damn scary
I didn't view myself as scary really, more frizzy and kind of messy, but I guess the blood dribble and my tendency to sort of do a scary face/pose made it creepy.
Amy looked cute as hell. She actually bought an Amy Winehouse wig that we neatened up a bit
Of course all this Halloween costume business made us reminisce about Halloweens past, when our mother lovingly made us costumes or made up costumes last minute and was always sure to photo document them. I would have more, but I'm currently in the doghouse for daring to go under my parent's bed to find more pictures, so this is it.
Oscar the Grouch ca 1984. I probably wanted to be Rainbow Brite or a CareBear but I'm sure the parentals just thought this was HILARIOUS. And being the first born overachiever with a near-complex requiring me always to please my parents, my two and a half year old self probably went along with their idea so I wouldn't hurt their feelings.Cat and Mouse. Hmm. I am thinking this is around 1986. We look cute, but I am thinking that this was the last stop of the night because Amy looks about ready to fall off the bar and I look un-effing-amused.
1987- A clown and a cabbage patch kid. How cute is that? I remember not loving being a clown, but loving the blue wig. The scary thing is, I think we might actually still have it in a dress up bin in the cellar. Scary. Amy's wig is yarn on a winter hat and I remember my mother slaving over that thing. I think this must be the year Amy realized that Halloween meant candy because she is pretty damn happy in this shot.
1988 Mary Poppins and a witch! Score, a witch! My first scary costume! Amy carried an umbrella with her costume too, which really legitimized the costume and made her look the part of Mary Poppins rather than one of the ladies in 9 to 5.
Here I am ca 1988 in my bride costume. Jasmine behind me there got red lipstick on it and I remember my mom being PISSED because she made that costume all on her own, the dress, the veil, EVERYTHING. She was all "how could you let some kid get lipstick on you?" yeah cause it was so my fault the eyes in the back of my head were not working that day." Anyways, since this picture was taken at the JFK Elementary school I can't really say bad crap about my mom because it means she showed up to check out the Halloween parade. When I have kids, I am going to find a school that still lets them celebrate all holidays, pagan, religious, stupid- not one of those lame-ass schools that won't even let kids bring in cookies on their bday because one might have a peanut in them and kill little Jimmy who is allergic to effing air and because little Janie has ADHD and can't eat sugar. SUCK IT UP. No one had that sh*t when I was in school and we got to have Halloween parades and it was AWESOME. Those will be my requirements. Jam can take care of the important stuff.
Here we are the same year - this time I'm without my mask (strange for a bride to wear a mask, eh?) Anyways, I remember asking my mother for INTENSE makeup. She'd finish, show me in the mirror and I would ask for more. She'd reluctantly comply - that's how I ended up looking so crazy. Amy looks cute as hell though.1990 or 1991. I honestly can't remember which year I chose to be a "native american." I do vividly remember Amy applying the extensive makeup though. I will say as kind of questionable as this costume now is to me, I do have a legitimate bird feather tucked back there - I collected it from the back yard and claimed it was a hawk feather, though it was probably actually a seagull feather. lol. That headband would be super cute as a real headband now. I wonder if that's in the dress up bin.
Sadly I don't have any more early 90's shots. The pictures I have shoot way ahead to my college days. First we have the costume that landed the attentions of Silent Bob - pregnant white trash beauty queen. My sash and cigarette and beer and blonde wig are missing, but you get the idea.
This costume was so lifelike that one person came up to me at a party at UNH and asked if I should be jumping on a couch and drinking a beer, and then a group of frat boys let me cut them in a bathroom line because it looked like I 'really needed it.' Hey I just remember that some really drunk dude stole the wig off my head and went home in it. Ha ha that was a good night, the highlight of all the time I ever spent with S.B. LOL.
Finally we have the post-college half-assed costume attempts. I tried the witch thing. I mean, I don't even know why I bother because I dress up to distribute candy and we only have about 10 kids ever show up. Not worth it for the amount of time it takes to scrub gray creme eyeshadow off your lips.
The tights kinda rock though. They were from the college free box. hahahah.
Well hope you all enjoyed this Halloween montage. I have a collection of 80's pics for tomorrow. I was gonna do it tonight but I am spent and need to get in the shower and then finish watching the end of the Pats game, so I'm out. Nighty night!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
It's Halloween tomorrow, and I must say, I do look forward to greeting all the neighborhood kids at the door and evaluating costume choices. Amy is pretty sure that there are going to be a lot of Hannah Montana's but she hopes that at least one kid will go with Miley Cyrus. I tend to like the little kids the best though as the whole tween generation kind of baffles me. I mean I was totally there once too, but my costumes for that era were like..uh..."goddess" or "policewoman" or "witch" Never a pop star wearing like, half a costume. Though I totally was an Indian or "native American" in 3rd grade and a bride in 1st. Clearly before my politically correct feminist stage, hahaha, though we did reject gender roles early on as I spent several Halloweens in a row as Oscar the Grouch. I wonder if my parents were trying to send me a subtle message.
This year I'm going to a Halloween party for the first time since Kindergarten. I have decided to be a vampire, which is kind of lame, but there it is. I have all the stuff I need for it now, even the teeth. Even a cape! It should be exciting. My parents are going as well (it's my father's work's party, and should be fun and not lame like it probably sounds right now) and they're going as Dog the Bounty Hunter and Beth aka Mrs. Dog. My poor mother has never seen the show and was sort of like 'ok whatevs' but then googled Beth and Dog and was like 'holy shit.' Amy and I bought wigs for my parents though so at the very least they will have the proper hair. Amy is going as Holly Golightly and has an awesome wig and outfit. We should look rockin. I just realized we'll all be dressed in black too. Ha at least we'll match.
In other news, I have to get my life back in order this weekend. Once again it's been flung into disarray by a combination of overbooking life, getting home late, and getting sick (last weekend). I of course am volunteering this Saturday, which will eat up an entire day since I will be heading down to NEEWS again (which totally makes me happy, but it IS a 2 hour excursion). I am thinking that Sunday will be my day. We'll just have to see.
Yikes. I still wish it was Friday.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
It's driving me crazy.
I read a certain blog - and I really respect the author. She's cool, she's hip, I think she's kind of a rockstar. She was in the Hillary boat for a long time, which is cool, everyone's entitled, and even spoke out against Obama, his record, experience or lack thereof, yada yada. Then she was all aboard the Obama Biden train once he got the nomination. I am even cool with that. Now though, it's become an obsession. Good Lord. You visit her blog and it is filled with anti-McCain rhetoric, what exactly he meant by a certain phrase, and how could we possible ignore and write off his use of the term "that one" when referring to Obama in a debate.
The beauty of this nation and the blogosphere is that you can say/think/believe whatever you want, and you can read or not read whatever you choose - I chose today to leave her blog without comment because it's her space and she's writing very passionately about her own beliefs and I respect that, but this is exactly why I can hardly stand this type of attitude, this let's forget the issues and go full tilt crazy with the trashing and mudslinging of ANY conservative/Republican (or liberal, I assume, but I only seem to visit pro-Obama or "I don't care" blogs!!)
Here's the thing - it's no secret I'm voting for B-rock. I mean I've been planning this vote for months, l0l, before the damn primaries! I will say though, that I've tried to listen to everyone's side of the story. Of course there's stuff I don't like about Obama. Of course he is not the solution to all of our nation's and world's problems. I'm not delusional. To me, he is simply the best choice for our country. There is no perfect candidate, but I believe Obama best fits what our nation needs in terms of economy, diplomacy, security and is a leader that we will be able to trust and look up to for guidance. It's as simple as that. I'm not going to waste my time breaking down piece by piece what McCain or Palin said OR for that matter, suggest anyone vote for Obama because what McCain said was racist or because people voting for McCain are doing so because they are racist and that Obama should get sympathy votes from those who consider themselves not racist. I mean, I don't know, maybe McCain is racist - the point is, I don't really care because I'm not voting for him. I'm going with my beliefs, going with the man who is the best for the job and not wasting my time on words (yet I am blogging about this, LOL).
Like I said earlier, I am a staunch supporter of free speech and thought. Yeah, I didn't have to like the fact that a bride's drunken cousin draped herself all over me (ok she didn't do that, she was just touching my bare leg.....a lot) and said "I'm voting for McCain because I make 350,000 a year and don't want to pay more taxes" Nah, I don't like that for a whole host of reasons, but I fully support and validate her right to an opinion and belief. I'm not going to call her "stupid" for voting for McCain - she's got her reasons! I'd think someone was maybe stupid for voting for a candidate because he wears a flag pin, or because he has a nice smile, though again, we all have a right to vote. You hope a person goes to the polls with some sort of logic beyond superficial qualities, but I'm sure that doesn't always happen.
Finally, I am going to end my rant with the whole stupid/rhetoric/conservative-bashing issue. I belong to a fantastic bookclub in town. I am the youngest person by 25 years, only one who is unmarried, only one without kids, only one who does not own property, so it's been really fantastic to get people's perspectives on the presendential race. Everyone except me and two other ladies voted for Clinton in the primaries. When Obama got the nomination, the bookclub was devastated, as they are all STAUNCH democrats and thought Obama to be ill-equipped. There was talk of casting votes for McCain come election time. How soon their tune changed. The last bookclub was not filled with a discussion of that month's selection "Brother, I'm Dying" (a fantastic book) but rather how any one who liked George Bush was "stupid" and anyone who was voting for McCain was "stupid" and "what was wrong with them" and "the Republicans represent the dark side." WOAH. First of all I have Republican friends. They're smart, they are rational, they are logical. And guess what? We can go out for a beer and have an awesome time and not dwell on the sh*tstorm that is politics in America. Secondly - how is their narrow-minded agenda any better than a conservative one? I am a damn liberal person who choses not to affliate themselves with one party or another (but we all know what that means, you're usually forced into the "Democrat" party even if those representing it are driving you WILD with RAGE at their maddening ineffectiveness!) but I hate, hate, hate narrow-mindedness and the cop-out that is simply calling someone with whom you do not agree "stupid." Aren't we all intelligent enough to come up with a better line of reasoning than just saying "Bush is stupid." Sigh. I want a reason why you think that.
I said that once at bookclub and got no response. Crickets. Finally someone said "I don't like his policies." I said "Me neither." Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. I said "What did you think you had a Bush supporter amongst you? Would that have been the end of the world??!" Everyone laughed nervously. "Here's the thing," I said. "I am an optimist, and always have been, and I think that this country's biggest assest is the ability of an entire country to come together for a cause, the ability for a single person to make a world of difference. We're an amazing group of people and we can really change the world, and we absolutely positively CANNOT rely on politicians to help us do this. It's too late for them - they've lost their idealism and have become something unrecognizable to the "little people" that helped elevate them to their status. I'm personally taking the fight to save the world underground. I'm gonna do it little by little, encouraging people to work together, to change the world around them in small ways. Of course we'll always need the government there in the background, and of course it's still important to be involved in the political arena, it's important to vote and let legislators know what you want and what's important to you, but if we REALLY want to see change, we've got to get out there and do it ourselves. Maybe I can say this because I'm young and I'm not too disillusioned yet, but if you want something done right, you just have to do it yourself, and I am ready to say "Eff off" to Washington and do stuff my own way. Never underestimate the power of one person's goals and ideals and dreams - they could be the person who literally saves the world - that's why I'm out there, I'm sending a girl to school in Kenya, I'm sending books to Pakistan to help kids learn about the world and not about fundamentalism, I'm sending running shoes to Africa, I'm knitting for kids who are cold in Boston - yeah it's small, it's so small people might laugh at it, but that's only because they can't even imagine the scope of people whose lives I might touch and change so that they may grow up and change exponentially more lives."
Crickets again. No one said anything. I sat back.
Then my pro-Obama friend piped up with this:
"Al, you should really run for president one day."
HA! As if.
I said "No way! If I did I'd no longer be an idealist."
Anyways, my point is, stop the talking, start the doing. Go out there on Tuesday and vote for what you believe, then wake up on Wednesday and, despite any outcome, take a vow to start changing the world for the better, a teeny tiny piece at a time.