Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I called the writing class people and voiced my complaints, and they switched me into another class that started a week after mine. So I'll be a "transfer student" who has to make friends after everyone else has gotten to know each other, but hopefully it will be better. I think the woman I spoke to was surprised at how weak the old instructor really is. I hope other people complain besides me.

I'm a bit shocked, really, at how accomodating she was.


Sorry for wasting two posts bitching about my class. And there's so much else I could be bitching about!

Academy Award nominations shortly - I will have to leave my apt. before they are announced, and get to work when they already have been. The disadvantages of subway commute. Ah, well. Maybe I'll be back to comment on them later.

You've probably noticed that I have not commented on any of the other awards, but I'm honestly not that into them. I especially hate watching awards shows, which are just a bunch of commercials and predictable acceptance speeches and pretty/ugly dresses. I get as much as I need from morning after recaps.

I also, despite my obsession with films, good tv, and other forms of entertainment, hate "celebrity." Shows like "Entertainment Tonight" and "Extra" just drive me crazy, and clearly the E! network is not on my favorites list. It boils down to this: I love the movies, the end product of the creative process, but don't care about the romantic or criminal entanglements of the parties involved. Unfortunately, it's hard to escape a lot of that when you're following the art itself, because the entertaiment media has trouble separating them. And once you know the headlines, you don't really need to read the crappy articles or watch the stupid tv clips, because there is little meat behind the main hook - "Angelina pregnant with Brad's baby!" etc.

So I was disturbed over the weekend to wake up after a vivid dream that Jennifer Aniston had died. I was at work and someone was telling me about it, and I asked how, and they said something sarcastic like, "Well, likely the fall killed her," which I took to mean she'd jumped. And I was filled with sadness, first of all that "Rumor Has It" would be her last movie (although I think she's filmed more by now - isn't she in that Matthew McConaghy living with his mom at 35 movie? Oh, wait, that's Sarah Jessica Parker. Aren't they just swapping roles these days? "Yeah, get me the short skinny ex-tv superstar chick with the long blond hair - no, not her, the other one.") Yeah, I'm being somewhat sarcastic about that one. But I also was sad that her early death would now eclipse her fame for everything else she's ever done or would ever do. Like, I don't know, River Phoenix. And then, I woke up and was half-convinced that it was true. Instead, I learned that Chris Penn had died a few days earlier. Not quite the same, but he was in "Footlose" as SJP's love interest, which is a connection, although only in my addled brain.

Wow, I'm rambling on enough that I might still catch the nominations before I am ready to leave. Is that a justifiable excuse for lateness in the corporate world?

Monday, January 30, 2006


I am sooooo disappointed in my online writing class, and I'm ready to blame the instructor. The level of discussion on the discussion board is practically nothing, but he has really done nothing to promote it. He still hasn't answered my email about whether or not the rest of the lectures will be copies of ones from my last class (with a different instructor.)

When I posted here Saturday, I'd had 3 people comment on my story. Since then? Only two more. The last instructor (who I didn't think was so great, but now is the gold standard) would send out reminders as the week neared its end to all who hadn't yet commented, and would hold off on making her comments until most, if not all, were in. That way she wouldn't influence the peers' reviews. This guy? Gave me feedback after only 5 classmates had commented, a full three days before the week ended. Nobody has bothered to comment since then.

So, I'm not getting valuable lectures, the discussion is pitiful, and I can't even get my full share of comments/feedback. (It's not just me, the others being workshopped this week don't have more than 5 or 6.) What's left? Oh, yeah, the weekly chat. Last week there were two of us, remember? This week - I mean, like, right now - there is just me.

I will definitely call tomorrow to see what my options are for refund or credit.

Baby fish update - still doing fine! I counted 15 tonight, but there could be another hiding in the leaves of the plant. They are livelier today, swimming around the plant and not lying on the floor like yesterday. I gave them food but am not sure they are eating it (mouths too tiny to see motion.) You are supposed to feed them frequently, but I don't have that luxury - I'm gone 12 hours a day.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy Birthday...

Today one of my tropical fish gave birth to a slew of babies. It wasn't totally unexpected - I saw her getting plump and could see little dark dots in her belly (the eyes of the developing fry.) I decided to make a trip to Petco this morning, picked up some newborn fish food, some grassy plants for them to hide in, and a new birthing tank (small plastic contraption that floats in the tank - you put in the mother and the little ones fall through a slit into a lower compartment where she can't get and eat them.) I got home and had no idea how close she might be to giving birth, but decided to put her in it anyway, and sure enough, checked it a few hours later and a bunch of tiny pink-ish big-eyed fry are staring at me! I counted 15, 16, and 17 - they move around a bit, so it's hard to be sure. Now I want to keep jumping up and looking at them. Isn't this how new moms behave when they first put their infants in their new cribs?

Bummer, though, I had to go to Petco because the pet/aquarium store on my street went out of business. I'd bought my aquarium there originally, and almost all of the supplies/fish for it since. Last time I had baby fish, I didn't even know they were coming and wound up running to the neighborhood store to get the baby tank. It was only two minutes away, so there were still some babies when I got home. I used a ladle to scoop them up to safety, although also wound up sending some to their deaths, as when I started chasing them they caught the eyes of the bigger adult fish who swooped in and swallowed them. I managed to save only 4 or 5 that day. Still, if it weren't for the local store, I'd have lost them all! Sigh. I really miss the place - the guys who worked there were really nice, too. (Petco, not so much.)

I would post a picture but I don't want to startle everybody right now with a flash. It's been a hectic day in the tank, and poor mama fish really needs her rest. She's hiding behind a rock now; hopefully I didn't traumatize her too much today.

Wait... Okay, I took some, without flash. Not super clear, but you get the idea.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

One Year Later

So, things have been changing for me. My job is much busier (as was predicted, although with the timing of the holidays, much later than I'd been promised - er, warned.) I'm successfully sticking to my gym commitment of at least 4 visits a week. I'm taking another online writing course, so when I do have free time, I always have homework - reading and offering comments on another writer's work, or reading the weekly lecture and assigned short story in order to join the online discussion, etc. And some good TV is back! So instead of two hours of my personal "Must See TV" a week, I have four. (Yes, this season sucks. But it gives me time for all the other stuff. Or to get caught up on the DVDs I've bought.)

So far I've lost 18 pounds, after 8 weeks of exercising more and eating less. That's just over 2 pounds a week, which is pretty slow and steady. The goal, of course, is to develop better habits which will become my lifestyle, not to do anything radical for six months, look great, and retreat back to my old routine. I'm fitting into clothes I had in the back of my closet, and some of my current clothes (like the four pairs of dressy pants I rotate throughout the cold winter months) are really loose. I feel really good about it, but I have more to go.

The online course is somewhat of a disappointment. The class is far less interactive than last time; the instructor posed a question on the message board last week designed to spark a discussion, and about half the class popped in, posted a response, and disappeared. There were no postings all weekend, and I commented on that on Sunday night, expressing my disappointment, and a few more people jumped in on Monday. Monday night we had our first scheduled class chat, and there were two of us. Out of 16. This week, the lecture and reading assignment are duplicates from the last course I took - my understanding was that different instructors did their own thing. (I've emailed him, and am waiting to hear if this is how the whole curriculum will go - I think it's too late to get a refund, though.) This is my week to get feedback on a short story, and so far it's been pretty good: some decent suggestions for improvement, but also some good kudos. (Of course only 3 have commented so far, but they have 4 more days.)

That's better than my live writing group - they discussed another story of mine this week, and every one hated it. I've never had such a blatant and consistent reaction. It wasn't the writing, which everyone said was good, but what I chose to happen to my character. I'd given them the first half of the story in various forms twice, but the revelation is in the last part, so I think they felt manipulated or cheated or something. I took it in good spirit, I think, but I'm pretty sure that story will just go into the filing cabinet, rather than try to find another angle. I have many more in my head.

And, I'm sleeping badly again. Falling asleep insanely early (9:30), waking up at 2 or 2:30 or 4 and not being able to fall back asleep again. It makes for long, tiring days. I thought exercise was supposed to help your sleep, but I guess not.

Thursday was the one year anniversary of spraining my ankle. I went to the gym before work, just as I had done that morning, and walked along the same route to the subway that took me to my Brooklyn office last year. I always think of it when I get to the corner where it happened, and this time, realizing the date, stepped defiantly off the curb and stood there for a minute, marking the occasion.

So much changed that week - while I was out the first few days, the head of our company "retired" suddenly and was replaced by a corporate favorite. Over the weekend, my boss had a major family emergency that kept her out of work for 6 weeks and led her to put up no fight when the new regime decided to replace her. The new regime, the new manager, the constant change, all drove me to find another job, and now, here I am.

Happier? Definitely.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I am in a bitchy mood today. Everything and everyone is ticking me off. I think it might be hormonal, but the thing is, when you're in the middle of the bitchy mood, you don't care what its cause is. All you care about is how damn annoying everyone is being.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Monday, Bloody Monday

I gave blood yesterday, first time I have been able to in a year and a half. First I was deferred because I went to Belize, but once that time was up, I kept falling below the required iron numbers. Not very far below - nothing my doctor was concerned about, but enough that the NY Blood Center wouldn't take me. (I understand that people think they are unreasonably strict, and that if they loosened up their criteria they could impact the constant blood shortage, but does anyone really want them to loosen up their criteria? Come on.)

So the good news is that on my new eating plan, I am eating enough iron-rich foods to impact my iron levels. Yippee! I've always been a firm believer in nutrients from actual foods, not from supplements, so if a better diet makes me healthier, I'm thrilled.

I also dropped a pound and a half since yesterday morning. I'm not sure how much a pint of blood weighs, but when I tried to google it, I actually found someone asking if giving blood is a good way to lose weight. You know, if you get rid of 1 pint every six weeks, then you're dumping xxx amount of ounces every six weeks, right? Sigh. I don't suppose that idiot realizes that your body makes new blood to take the place of the old, thereby replacing the weight you lost. Otherwise, after giving a bunch of times (I've probably done 25 or so), you'd be pretty dried out.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Walk the Line

I finally saw "Walk the Line" yesterday and really enjoyed it. I grew up in a Johnny Cash-loving home, so listening to his music is very nostalgic. Plus, the acting is just so very good; Joacquin Phoenix is mesmerizing. On the surface it's the same bio movie you've seen ten million times: tragic childhood, struggle to realize a dream despite many obstacles, first success, alcohol/drugs/bad relationships, eventual redemption and further success. I don't often like those kinds of films because they need to cover so much time that they brush along the surface of the main character, spitting out little melodramatic scenes that highlight key points in the person's life, but every scene is so IMPORTANT that it's almost too much. In contrast, "Walk the Line" had many small and quiet scenes, mostly intimate moments with Joacquin. The camera lingered on his face constantly, making it feel like a very personal movie. And Reese? I always love Reese, even if every twinkle in her eye brings back memories of Tracey Flick.

(My Reese/Renee confusion just kicked in as I tried to remember if I've hated any film she's been in, and was convinced that "Just Like Heaven" was Renee Zewelleger. Oops. Sorry, Reese, but maybe you were just tired when you took that role? )

A really good Reese film is "Freeway," a modern-day take on Little Red Riding Hood, with Kiefer Sutherland as an evil psycho (i.e., the Big Bad Wolf), and Reese as a troubled teenager trying to get to her grandmother's house before social services finds her.

Friday, January 20, 2006


I walked home tonight, over the Brooklyn Bridge, all the time kicking myself that I didn't have my camera with me. (Which makes for awkward walking, of course.) I love clear crisp winter nights - everything just seems so sharp and brilliant. Even if it was 56 degrees as I made my way into Brooklyn, not exactly January weather.

I want to try to walk at least one night a week, more in the warmer weather. Today it didn't cross my mind until I was already at work and wearing a skirt that wraps and closes on one side (like a kilt) and already caused me some problems just walking from the subway to the office. (Wind, you see, blowing open my skirt, and not in the sexy Marilyn Monroe on the subway grate kind of way.) The luxury of working in an office complex that is part mall is that I was able to run to the Gap and buy a pair of sweatpants.

Yes, it was 56 degrees, but it was also dark, and there is a noticeable chill settling in. I unzipped my winter coat as I walked, but didn't really feel like shedding it. But when I got a block from home, a woman was walking in front of me in a sleeveless sweater and lightweight shimmery skirt. And fake-Uggs boots. Everybody was staring at her (her entire ensemble, including her grocery cart, was bright orange, so noticeable) and I wondered if there maybe is a full moon tonight.

People on the street can be fertile ground for basing characters on, but I think she is too over-the-top to put in a story. On the other hand, this morning I passed a man in a suit and trenchcoat who was walking along the sidewalk with one hand holding a folded copy of the Wall Street Journal and the other holding onto his toddler son's hand. Another boy, about five or six, walked beside them. Neither of the kids spoke. All I could think was how sad. Dad can't even be bothered to engage them in conversation. He was obviously not a stay-at-home dad, so I'm assuming his time with them is limited. But I guess the newspaper is more important to him.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Kind of a lousy day at work, nothing major, just some boring meetings, feeling like I'm behind on stuff, etc. Took the bus home instead of the subway because I just didn't feel like going underground. The bus adds only about 5 minutes to my commute, but sometimes I just want to be able to see the city as I pass through it. This one goes over the Manhattan Bridge so on a clear night like tonight you can see the Brooklyn Bridge all lit up against the lights of the downtown buildings.

Better mood, got home, picked up my mail, and BEST MOOD. I received an honorable mention in a short story contest I entered. They said some nice things in the letter, too! I'd put the link to their site here, so you could see my name listed, but that would ruin that careful screen of anonymity I've built around this blog.



My job has picked up just as my online writing workshop starts, and I'm still determined to stick with my accelerated gym schedule. This makes me a bit crazed. Granted, this is nothing compared to women who juggle jobs and families, or my brother who works and commutes and barely sees his kids awake each day, yet alone have time to stop at a gym. So once again, I'm spoiled and whining.

Really I'm tense today because I have to speak at a large staff meeting, and I hate that. Public speaking is not my thing. Years ago I won a contest at work and had to give a speech in front of a room full of executives at the Rainbow Room. The next year, I took home second place and I was thrilled because #2 got to go to the luncheon and get the praise but not have to step up to the podium and say anything.

I'd make a great Oscar nominee.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I Hate All the 's

I was up at 5 am again today, so just said "fuck it," and went to the gym. Why not? I'm awake and only going to sit around in my apartment not falling asleep, so why not make it productive? Last week I went to the gym twice before work, which was fabulous as it leaves my evenings free. Plus it's much less crowded.

And the tv options are decent - MTV and VH1 play music videos in the early morning. I know! Can you believe it? Sorry to be so sarcastic but I am a child of the 80's(well, a child of the 60's and 70's, but a young adult of the 80's) who remembers when MTV was about the music, not about reality and makeover shows. Really, though, I'm less depressed about MTV's transformation than I am VH1's. Remember when it launched, as the anti-MTV? Going back to the musical roots of musical television, leaving its elder sibling station to the likes of "Real World" and "Road Rules" and "Beavis & Butthead." Skewing slightly older, which was cool, because it was skewing right along with my advancing age.

Now VH1 is one of my least favorite stations on cable. It seems like all the shows are some variation on clip shows, "I Love the 80s" or "Decade's Hottest Hotties" or some such crap countdown show where F-list talking heads give their opinions on everything under the sun. Who cares? I don't even know who these idiots are, so why do I care who they think is the hottest hottie? Do they even care? It's just a venue for them to try to be the most hip and clever in their 15 second quips, before the next never-known's shiny head appears to spout another opinion. If I wanted to relive the 80's, I'd prefer, I don't know, maybe some actual content from the 80's, not some badly edited clips.

Ah, but VH1 is also home to "Celeb-reality," just in case the networks' toying with shows like "Surreal Life" and "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here" wasn't enough. What's that you say? The networks don't do those any more? Right, because they were BAD and nobody watched. But, hey, don't tell the hip programmers at VH1. Not only have they resurrected "Surreal Life" but have been home to its spin-offs - the show about the Brady dude and his temporary girlfriend, who met on the show, and two separate series staring Flava Flav. I could go on, but the existence of "Celeb Fit Club 3" frightens me, because that means there had to be a "1" and a "2."

Sunday, January 15, 2006

In bed with Opie

Last night I fell asleep to a DVD of "Arrested Development" and then dreamed that I was in bed with Ron Howard. He'd come into my room (although it wasn't this room, this apartment) because he'd heard his voice as the narrator. I started to tell him how weird that was that I was playing that DVD and he happened to walk by just then, but we were both tired and so he just crawled into bed with me and we fell back asleep.

It struck me (the awake me) that three of my favorite TV shows have voiceovers. (In this year of horrendous TV, that's practically a majority of the shows I even watch.) "Veronica Mars," "Arrested Development," "Scrubs." No, "Desperate Housewives," with its dead Mary Alice narration, is not on the list, and that's intentional. I've grown to despise that show.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Rent Me

Last spring, I won a year's worth of free Netflix, so have been enjoying free rentals for months. I don't take advantage of it as much as I might, mostly because I see so many films in the theater, and own a lot of the older favorites. But it is pretty cool.

But today I realized that as much as I like the Netflix recommendations system, I miss the physical act of browsing through a shelf of DVD boxes.

I cleaned out my DVD cabinet recently and had a small shopping bag of things to get rid of: videos that I'd already upgraded to DVD, a few DVDs I bought, watched, and decided I don't want to own (shelf space is tight), etc. I brought them to the cool independent local video store and exchanged them for store credit - $40 worth.

The guy behind the counter asked if I had an account, because he's new (at least newer than my Netflix account) and didn't recognize me, as the oldtimers might have. It's that kind of neighborhood place. I felt bad that I haven't been in there in a while - but why would I, with the free Netflix?

And then I started browsing and it was refreshing to simply pick up a box and decide, "I want this, and I want it now." And know that I could be home in six minutes watching it. It's a nice change from the way those little red envelopes arrive days after I make my decision. They sit next to the tv until I'm in the same mood that I was when I put them in my queue.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

ABCs of Me

Had fun reading others, maybe someone will have fun reading mine.

A - Accent
People always say, you don't sound like you're from Brooklyn. Maybe that's because I grew up in upstate NY? Of course, I've met a lot of people from other parts of the country (& world) who don't realize that you can be from New York and not the city.

B - Breakfast Item
Clif Bar, Toffee Peanut Buzz flavor.

C - Chocolate or chips?
Always salty over sweet. My mom used to put pepperoni in my stocking instead of chocolate because I loved it so much more.

D - Dad's Name
Same as my brother's.

E - Essential everyday item
Chapstick or lip balm.

F - Favorite film
I think we've covered this.

G - Gold or Silver
Always silver. I think gold makes me look crass.

H - Hometown
NYC. I've lived in Brooklyn for 12 years, before that Queens for 5. The longest I'd been in one home before that was 4 1/2 years. Neither of my parents lives in a place where I grew up, so I when I visit them I'm never "going home." Also, some of my ancestors were among those who first settled NYC - there is a statue in Battery Park honoring my ancestor.

I - Icecream flavor
No ice cream, but would sometimes kill for Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked (choc chip cookie dough & brownie) frozen yogurt.

J - Job

K- Kids

L - Living arrangements
Alone, with fish.

M - Mom's Birthplace
Near an army base, where Grandma met Grandpa. He was in Europe fighting WWII when she was born.

N - Number of significant others you've ever had
Define significant. Okay, I've had several good relationships, but I don't think ever "the one." (That's way harder to admit than I'd thought.)

O - Overnight hospital stays
Seven years old, one week, eye injury. I wore a patch and people brought me presents.

P - Phobia
Mice. Heights. Deep water. Oh, did you want just one?

Q - Queer
No, but many of my friends are.

R - Rock or pop
I'm too old for pop.

S - Siblings
Yes - both birth and step.

T - Time you wake up
5:30-6:00, no matter when or where I am. Haven't used an alarm in a long time.

U - Unnatural hair colors you've worn
I don't know my natural color, it's been that long. I think by now it's 100% gray (my mom was gray at 29, so I know where I get it.) The roots definitely come in that way. In the 80's I used a lot of henna and can see now in pictures how horribly brassy I looked in the sun.

V - Vegetable you refuse to eat
I don't think there are any. Not a big corn on the cob fan, but corn is more starchy than most anyway.

W - Worst habit

X - X-rays you've had
Just in the last year: chest x-ray, ankle.

Y - Yummy
Still stuck on Ben & Jerry's. (It's close to lunch time here.) Boys? David Duchovny's my type - tall, thin, brunette, slightly geeky.

Z - Zodiac sign
Virgo. (Isn't it painfully obvious?)

Monday, January 09, 2006


The nutrionist on the online forum I visit is either laughing too hard to make his fingers work on the keyboard, or he's gone out back and shot himself. More gems on how stupid some of these people are:

"Do I have to count the calories in fruits and vegetables, too, when I'm counting my daily calorie total?"

"The recipe I'm following says 'Yield 1 cup.' I see that a lot in recipes and don't know what it means. I mean, I know that yield means to be cautious, so does it mean be careful how much you eat?"

Spelling errors corrected because I couldn't do them justice.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

2005 Films

Yeah, I'm going to do it. I've been throwing my opinions at you all year about the films I see, so why not summarize while all the other blowhards are doing their top lists? There is, of course, one difference between them and me: they get paid to see all movies, and I only see those I think will be interesting. So films like "King Kong" and "March of the Penguins" are not on my list because nothing about them interests me. Other films I want to see but haven't yet, (like "Walk the Line") or missed in theaters but can't yet get on DVD, (like "Junebug," though it's out this week) are also missing.

1. Crash
2. Syriana
3. Constant Gardener
4. History of Violence
5. Hustle & Flow
6. 40 Year Old Virgin
7. Upside of Anger
8. Capote
9. Aristocrats
10. Mad Hot Ballroom (My list is based on what I enjoyed. This is not a great film, but I loved it more than those below it on the list.)
11. The Squid & the Whale
12. Match Point
13. Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
14. Pride & Prejudice
15. Brokeback Mountain
16. Me & You & Everyone We Know (Why do so many of these films have "&" in them?)
17. Happy Endings
18. Good Night & Good Luck
19. Proof

.... we're in mediocre territory now...
20. Rent (Sob! - disappointment - it should be higher. It just wasn't that good; it's only this high because I still love the music.)
21. Melinda & Melinda
22. Everything is Illuminated (Another disappointment. Great book, movie didn't do it justice.)
23. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (Wonka's backstory, which I hated, is what my niece loved best. Oh well. It wasn't made for my demographic.)
24. Fever Pitch (Because Drew Barrymore is always charming enough to make me sit through even the most trite film - otherwise it'd be even lower)
25. Wedding Crashers (Too much hype, didn't live up to it for me)
26. Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (Yawning still)
27. Broken Flowers (Bill Murray, please have an emotion next time, thanks)

...now the really bad...
28. Flight Plan
29. November
30. The Interpreter
31. Spanglish
32. Just Like Heaven


Last year, I repotted my Christmas cactus in a pot with "bloom" written on it. A few months later, it did, for the first time in five years. It bloomed again this year - and has several more small pink buds.

Friday, January 06, 2006

January Blues

My cold has put me in a grumpy mood, which isn't helped when I go to the gym. It's insanely crowded this week with all of the New Year's Resolutioners, who either just started new memberships or vowed to take advantage of those they have been paying for. (I suspect most are the latter.) People keep saying, oh, give them a few weeks, and they'll be gone, but it's hard to be that patient when a usual 90 minute gym visit turns into 115 because of waiting for a spot in the stretching area, for every weight machine, for an elliptical.

The hoards have also come running to the online fitness program I'm in. Some of them frighten me: a man, for example, who can't understand why different salads have different calories, for "aren't they all made from lettuce?" Then he goes on to describe a Caesar salad made with chicken, mozzarella cheese, croutons, and dressing. Maybe he thinks those lose their calories when they come in contact with the lettuce?

Another woman claimed that the meal plan suggestions contain absolutely nothing she will eat, and she knows her three year old daughter won't either. Okay, now, she's three. That means that you're the one in charge of feeding her, introducing her to foods, watching her nutritional intake. So "weird" foods like bananas, peanut butter, whole wheat bread, cereal, yogurt and milk, carrots, nuts and apples are foods your kid hasn't been exposed to? No wonder you're overweight. (I posted a semi-snotty response saying that it was the perfect time to introduce her child to healthy foods and set her on the right path for her own adulthood.)

Then there are the two women who both hate vegetables of all kinds. One says she's told her doctor that and he advised she learn to like them, which she thinks is ridiculous. She says she will vomit if she has to eat any, so what is her alternative? Again, I think I see why you are struggling with your weight. Seriously, how can a person hate ALL vegetables? There are so many very different ones, with different tastes... broccoli vs. green beans vs. carrots vs. spinach vs. asparagus vs. beets vs. zucchini vs. tomatoes vs.... well, you get my point. I didn't respond to her because I want to see what the nutritionist who provides advice on the board will say. It just seems to me that if a person isn't willing to be flexible, to try new things in order to change their lifestyle for the better, then how can they hope to really change?

My issue is very different. I eat really healthy foods, shop organic, am vegetarian (eat fish), have not been inside a fast food restaurant in a decade, etc., etc. My problem is portion control - I have developed the bad habit of eating a lot. So I'm trying to adapt to smaller portions of the same foods, minus some of the "extras" (i.e., butter on my vegetables, cheese on my pasta.) So far, so good. Earlier this week I rewarded myself with sushi - I knew I should just get one roll and a salad, but was torn between two of my favorite rolls, so got both. My usual order was three rolls, the third being a hefty shrimp tempura, and I used to finish them pretty easily (sometimes getting full with one or two small pieces left.) Well, this last time I could barely finish the two, and I should have stopped at one and a half because after I felt bloated and stuffed for hours. Physically it felt bad, but psychologically pretty good.

(Although I think the people at the sushi restaurant now think I've broken up with my boyfriend. They used to always give me two sets of chopsticks, because clearly that much food must have been for two people.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hot & Cold

I have a cold. It's mostly my fault, as I stood here in the office last week and boasted that I only get one cold per winter, and since I already had it, I'm fine til spring. As the words left my mouth, germs from every corner of the floor came rushing toward me to take their place.

But it's also the insanely hot apartment and the uncomfortably cold office. Yesterday for example: I am so sweaty in the morning that while I can rationalize that I'll need more than a light coat and short sleeve shirt outside, I don't care. I'm so hot, I tell myself it's okay if I am cold when I get outside, because it will be a relief from the heat. It will feel good. And, then of course, like yesterday morning, I'm out for a few minutes and it's cold sleety rain with a strong wind, and I have a bare head and the gloves that happened to still be in my pocket, but the wind is turning my umbrella inside out and useless, and I am freezing. Then I get to the office, with its constant a/c, and there I am with damp clothes, wet hair, runny nose.

I am seriously going to look for another apartment in the spring. Although I should probably look now, while it's cold out, so I can judge for myself how the place is heated and make sure I will be able to control it.

Meanwhile, I can find the cold medicine aisle in the nearby Eckerd's with my eyes closed.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Match Point

On Saturday I saw "Match Point," Woody Allen's new film, which is getting rave reviews. I went into Manhattan for an early showing - noon - and it was packed. Mostly older people (older than me, even) but they are good quiet theater companions, especially when it's also a Woody Allen crowd, which tends to be more film-savvy.

How many times can I say "Woody Allen" in one post? I have to keep saying his name, though, because that's how I can remember this is his film. That's the crux of the whole magic - a non-Woody Allen film made by, incomprehensibly, Woody Allen. So here is my quick review: if this movie were written and directed by anyone else, it would be a good fun drama/romance/thriller, but nothing spectacular, but because it's so different for Woody Allen you are constantly amazed that he could manage something so different. The power of the film is less with the actors or the plot (though both are quite good) but with the knowledge that this is a whole untapped side of a director you thought you knew.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who I fell madly in love with in "Velvet Goldmine" and enjoyed in "Bend It Like Beckham," is still delicious, although now that I know he's played Elvis I can't shake seeing the likeness. (Especially when sitting in the second row of a theater with a surprisingly large screen, where faces tower in front of you like at a drive-in.) Scarlett Johansson, she of the puffy lips and perfectly round apple breasts, still reminds me of the little girl in "Manny & Lo," a film she made when she was just 11. It's good, rent it if you haven't seen it. She plays a young girl who runs away with her pregnant teen age sister and kidnaps Mary Kay Place to help them survive. Scarlett's Manny is the heart of the picture and carries it beautifully.

I also can't look at her without wondering if the rumors about her and Benicio del Toro are true. So I never saw "Girl in a Pearl Earring," because that just seemed unseemly, although it's perfectly suitable a thought while watching "Match Point."

Woody Allen's next film, a comedy, is also set in London and stars Scarlett Johansson. Hopefully she has not become his muse - we know what happens to them.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Last Day

Yesterday was a strange day. I was on the subway and a man got on with a dog. Now, you have to understand, people just don't bring dogs on the subway, unless they are 1) seeing eye dogs or 2) little dogs in those vented carrier bags. This guy walked on with his medium-sized dog on a leash, and started prancing down the aisle with him. I don't think I've seen that in 10 years, so I'm guessing they usually are pretty strict about enforcing the no dogs rule. (In this town, anywhere you can get away with having your dog with you, people will.)

At the next stop, a man got on smoking a cigarette. I was on my way out of the car, so just briefly smelled it, but turned as the door was closing and saw him standing there, cigarette in hand. Cigarettes on the subway are just as rare as dogs - people just don't do it any more, at least not on a Saturday afternoon.

I thought I might have wandered into an Improv Everywhere mission. (One of their famous events, repeated each January, involves a group of people getting on a subway train with no pants on. At each stop, they fill the train. Then, finally, someone gets on with a bag of their discarded pants and asks, "Anyone want to buy some pants?")

As I walked up the street, I looked up and saw a man standing on a rooftop talking on a phone. Then, a block later, another man standing on his rooftop. Maybe there was a full moon?

I started thinking that if I filmed these little snippets and had them in a movie, it would set the mood that something odd was going to happen to me, that all of these weird moments were leading up to something bizarre.

And, then, I almost got hit by a car.

Well, a few hours later, after I'd seen a movie and gotten back on the subway to go home. The F train went out of service at West 4th Street, so I got on an A train into Brooklyn and got out at Jay Street to walk home. (One stop away, but if there is no F, it's as close as I can get.) It was snowing big fat wet flakes, and the grown was slippery wet. I checked the bus schedule but had just missed one. So I walked. At the corner of Smith & Atlantic, I had the light, so started into the crosswalk. A car started turning from Smith Street into my lane, but I knew he'd see me and slow down while I passed. You just don't stop when you're crossing because another car would come, and another, and you'd never get across. So I kept steadily walking, but he didn't stop. He sped toward me, directly at me, and I stepped quickly backwards and swore and then he was stopped, maybe a foot from me (though it felt like 4 inches) and I just stood there for a second, dumb. Then I carefully walked in front of him and he rolled down his window and said, "Sorry, I didn't see you."

When I got to the other corner my legs were shaking. People on the other side of the street looked at me, like "Wow, are you okay?" and I just kept walking home.

If this were a film, the image would have frozen just when the car was barrelling toward me, and we would have had a long flashback to my life, the life that had brought me to that moment, all the while keeping the audience wondering if I am going to die right here, in the middle of Atlantic Avenue, on New Year's Eve.

I think I have seen that movie, or more than one like it.
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