Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Expiration Dates

Here's the thing. I believe that not all friendships are meant to last forever: people change, circumstances change, lives change. Sometimes it's the loss of the thing that brought you together - a job, a class, a favorite bar - and the friendship either adapts to a new climate or fades. People grow and evolve at different speeds, and you might still be in your partying days while your former last-call buddy turns in early because she has early morning work obligations. I don't think there's anything wrong with letting a friendship slip away if it's no longer working. The problems come when one person needs to hold on longer than the other, or when both keep going through the motions way past the friendship's optimal expiration date.

So, yeah, the loss of my friendship this weekend was not pleasant, but it really was overdue. I'm still less bothered by missing her than I am by missing the idea of having a friend. I don't have very many, I'll admit, so it's hard to let them go even if I know deep down I'm not getting much out of the relationship any more. Especially hard, I think, because I've had several key ones end in the last couple of years and not many replacements. Harder still being a single person whose ability to make friends is all her own - no extended friendship opportunities through a partner's.

Am I feeling sorry for myself? Maybe, a bit.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Movies I didn't see

Another weekend without seeing a movie! I'm losing my momentum. I did make a few weak attempts, such as going into Manhattan on another errand that would put me fairly close to a theater near showtime of a film I wanted to see. Timing was tight, though, and the ticket line long. An elderly man in front of me rummaged through his wallet and dropped his metrocard. Nobody around him responded, and he went up to the ticket window with it still lying there on the ground. I jumped out of line, scooted it up, and tapped him on the shoulder. I'm not a hero or anything, it's just a stupid metrocard, but why did nobody else make a move? There were probably a dozen people between us. I don' t know. I went back to my spot in line but I couldn't remember where I was standing (it was one of those lines that fold back and forth between velvet ropes) so went back to the end of the line. As the clock tick-tocked towards showtime, I gave up. Something told me it wasn't meant to be and I went home. (This sounds like a stupid reason not to see a movie, but indicative of how I really wasn't that convinced I wanted to see it. Any little thing could have changed my mind; it just happened to be this. On the way there, I'd even told myself if a certain light didn't change in my favor by the time I reached the corner, I'd skip the theater.)

I thought I'd hit a later film in my neighborhood theater, and arriving home with 2 hours til showtime, decided to read a bit. Naturally, I dozed off, but not completely, just enough so that I would periodically open my eyes, check the clock, calculate how much longer I could nap, then close then again. This continued to within 10 minutes of the movie's start, and even then I was convinced I had enough time to get out of bed, put on my boots and coat, grab my wallet, and dash across the street to the theater. It would take just four minutes. Zzzzz. I can do it in three. Zzzzzz. I can do it in two. Zzzzzz. Do I need to see the previews? Zzzzzz. Hey, this is a subtitled film, is it a good idea to attempt when I'm groggy? I might be exchanging a nap in bed for a nap in a dark theater. Zzzzzz. I'll go see it another day.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

An ending.

So I think I just ended a friendship. A 15 year friendship. Not that it's been all wine and roses, there have been great spans of time (years) when we've not been in communication, but wow, I think this was the camel's back splitting in two. We went out for a goodbye dinner because she's moving away, and somehow the conversation veered into politics/war/global warming. I am not sure what her opinion is on any of those, except that she thinks my opinions are inflexible and "righteous." Dinner conversation devolved into the two of us debating, one other at the table agreeing with me, his partner and her husband remaining silent, she arguing no matter what I said. I won't bore you with the details except to say that maybe I am overbearing in my opinion but that's because I believe in it, and she had nothing to say to cause me to reflect differently. It was pretty painful, and honestly, overdue, as it is one of those friendships that should have died long ago. When we left she didn't even come up with a goodbye, turned her back as I was bidding her companions farewell outside the restaurant. The guy who was backing me up in the "debate" said he looked forward to seeing me again, which is silly because there's no way we'll cross paths again, considering.

I don't know. I'm not sad. Mostly I'm rewinding arguments in my head that I should have made to her. She had the audacity to say she didn't believe in global warming, that it was all a hoax, but had done no research or had no science behind her position other than a "feeling." When I suggested she see Al Gore's movie, she pooh-poohed it as a political statement, even though I said that she'd at least be exposed to some of the science behind the theory. She went off on a tangent about how the polar ice caps were biggest when the Titanic melted, as if that lent weight to an anti-global warming position - honestly, I'm exhausted just trying to retrace the steps.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Welcome Home

Yesterday I was in a meeting at 5:30 (I know, ugh) and was thinking about what I needed to do when I went home (as were most in the room, I am sure) and my heart jumped a bit thinking, oh, my computer could be waiting for me. I mailed it on Saturday, DHL delivered it on Monday morning, they said "3 to 5 business days" which conceivably could mean the repair was completed on Wednesday, and if it were shipped overnight back to me, I could see it on Thursday. Right? Or not, since when do I have that kind of luck?

Apparently, this week I do, because sure enough, my little Gateway was waiting for me last night. Fixed! Welcome home, baby.

Now on to the fun task of re-installing software and files... I took care of some of it last night but will finish up today. I planned on working from home today anyway so this will allow me to multi-task (answering emails on the work computer while letting installation disks run on the home one..)

It's 9 degrees out right now, colder with the wind chill. Working from home isn't such a bad idea (although I plan on going out to the gym shortly and may hit the Tea Lounge later on as well...)

I'm very excited for the gym - my iPod is loaded with new podcasts for the first time since Christmas Eve. That's four weeks of NPR shows!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


A co-worker has photos from her sister's sonogram hanging up on her cubicle wall. Big, 8 1/2 x 11 photos that are visible as you pass. Am I the only one who finds this odd? Not exactly offensive, maybe not distasteful, but... definitely off-putting. I mean it's one thing if it's your own uterus, but posting pics of someone else's? No, I think that either is weird to do in a place where others work.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My head is hunted.

HELP. A headhunter called me yesterday, and left me three messages before I finally gave in and called her back. She had my name from another woman I worked with on a project last fall, met once, and barely interacted with. The headhunter said she thought I might know of someone for a position that I was "much too senior for." The problem is, she knows nothing about me. She mentioned a salary that is 40% higher than mine, and said, "I know this is too junior for you." I think it's a sales strategy - butter me up, get me interested, etc.

That job isn't even in my field, but I made the mistake of agreeing to stay in contact, said I'd email her my resume just to get her off the phone. She's called me twice today (I don't pick up now when I see her on caller id) even though I emailed her earlier to say I'm out of the office and will call her Friday. She seems to think she has an opportunity for me. But I don't think she has any idea of what I do, or what my experience is.

I hate aggressive sales people, but if they are selling you, maybe it's not so bad! Of course, I am perfectly happy in my current job (for the first time in years) so this is just a lark. But who wouldn't be curious to know if I could really make 40% more??

Monday, January 22, 2007

Book Morning

I finished "The Devil Wears Prada," and am sure that this is a case where the subject matter trumped the writing talent in getting this book published, purchased, and read. She's not that strong a writer. Period. A good example is structure: almost every chapter ends with a near cliff-hanger, or at least a moment of transition, but then the next chapter starts firmly in a moment in the future. For a few paragraphs we inhabit this scene and then there's a long flashback to fill us in as to what transpired between the end of the last chapter and now. That's not a bad approach, used sparingly, but in nearly every chapter? Dreadful. It's like someone slept through most of their college writing courses and only can remember one writing exercise.

Another brilliant moment is when the character, a fictionalized version of the author, says something about the importance of good grammar, just pages after she writes that she "felt badly" for someone. It doesn't say much about her editor that it wasn't caught, but as we all know, it's "feel bad" not "feel badly." ("To feel" is a verb like "to be" and takes an adjective, not an adverb; you'd say "I feel happy" not "I feel happily," just as you'd say "I am bad," not "I am badly.") (Should I just throw in the towel and write a "Grammar for regular folk" blog? I feel a theme.)

As I felt early on, this is a great example of a film outshining the original book. I seriously want to rent it now, if only to wash the taste of the written material from my brain.

I am now reading "Never Let Me Go," by Kazuo Ishiguro. I fell asleep last night on chapter one, so will reserve comment for a bit.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Children of the Unknown White Male

"Children of Men" is edge-of-your-seat, lip-biting, hand-clenching drama, a film that flies by fast because the action doesn't stop, like a big-screen episode of "24" without commercials. Although one of its most promising features is a solid foot in reality; grit and grime cover the locations and as time goes on, build in realistic levels on the characters as well. For example, Clive Owen's character is woken in the middle of the night and forced to run into the night without his shoes; during the remainder of the movie, the lack of appropriate footwear is subtly woven into the plot. (I was especially thrilled to see this, as one of my many issues with "Titanic" was how the hell Kate Winslet's character, after hours floating in the ocean, endless time swimming through the flooding levels of the upturned boat (or did it just seem endless to this viewer?), running through flooded hallways, is rescued with her shoes intact and on her feet. )

I love Clive Owen; he was the only bright spot I could find in "Closer" and he's deliciously grubby and hot (yes I said it) here, too. Julianne Moore plays a much smaller role than the trailers would lead you to believe, but she did manage to do that same thing that annoyed me in the terrible (terrible terrible) "The Forgotten," which is to go on the run with her long red hair flying free and noticeable. Wigs, hat, hair dye, really is it so hard?

I know I read the book by P.D. James that this movie is based on, but it's one of those that I made myself give away after reading, so as to keep my bookcases from bursting at the seams. I didn't remember it very well as I was watching the movie, but came home and glanced at a few pages on Amazon, and think I do remember, but the book covers more time and explores the political arena more closely. The film, set in 2027, doesn't feel like that distant a future, really, and the sets are designed to feel like a time that we ourselves could reasonably still inhabit. I think the book felt more like "1984," with more political structure and society restrictions, while the movie is pure anarchy. I'm talking out of my hat, though, since I will need to read the book again to even know if my memories are real.

Ah, memories: I rented "Unknown White Male" and watched that this weekend, too. It's a documentary about a man who finds himself on a subway in Coney Island with no memory of anything. Who he is, where he is, anything. His entire 37 years of life, of memory and experience, wiped clean. The film follows him (with footage he himself shot, and that of one of his childhood friends, who made the documentary) as he tries to re-learn everything again, even the simple pleasures of how Italian food tastes or what the ocean looks like. It's interesting and a bit unnerving, as the doctors never do definitively pinpoint what caused his amnesia, nor does it reverse itself during the course of the movie, even as doctors predict it will eventually.

Both are definitely worthwhile.

Notes on a Sunday

My baby is gone! I sent my laptop off yesterday afternoon, feeling all empty-nesty after I left the box at the DHL drop-off location, which is anonymously housed in a tiny storefront copy store just a block from my apartment. I've never been in there because it looked, well, seedy. But DHL listed it on its site as "authorized" and Gateway chose them as the prepaid carrier, so there you go, even though I felt like I had dropped my teenager off in a badly lit parking lot on the outskirts of a college campus and told her to "find your own dorm room." Thank god for online tracking, which confirmed that the DHL truck picked up my package as promised, and it's safely on its way to Houston. I signed up for an email notification of its arrival, just like a nervous mom's "Call me when you get there so I know you're okay."

I have my work laptop home this weekend. It looks odd on my desk. Interloper. I just noticed that I'm automatically signed into Windows Messenger. Not surprising that I am the only one in my contact list who is online at her work computer at 7 am on a Sunday morning.

I finished reading "One Good Turn," and it continued to be a good decent mystery read, but not with the "wow" power of Kate Atkinson's last, "Case Histories." So, yes, I was disappointed. I am cleansing my palate with "The Devil Wears Prada," which I had not read before seeing the movie, but feels borderline trashy enough to feel about right for my mood right now. It's not great, but enjoyable. I think if you have seen Meryl Streep bring the character alive already on the screen, she's doomed to be flat on the page. A case where I believe the film outshines the book (admittedly as I'm just halfway through it.)

Remember how I likened "Notes on a Scandal" to the trashy side of "Hand That Rocks the Cradle" and "Fatal Attraction"? Well, "Fatal Attraction" was on this morning (5:40 am, yes, I know, I need to figure out how to sleep in.) There is a scene I'd forgotten: during a business meeting after they've first met, Glenn Close's character quietly gestures to Michael Douglas's character to let him know he has a bit of his breakfast on his nose (cream cheese?), which is played out almost identically in "Notes" when Judi Dench's character alerts Cate Blanchett's to a bit of latte foam on her nose during a meeting. (It's repeated another time in the film, as well, to indicate a pattern of behavior.) It must be a homage, although I wonder how many people would get it right away. It's not like Judi boils a bunny or tries to nurse Cate's child or anything.

I need to see a movie today. I'm going through withdrawal. I tried watching a Netflix rental last night and it skipped madly in the first few minutes so had to give up. Frustrating!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Random Acts

Yesterday a friend and I took a walk at lunchtime. Even though it was cold, the streets were fairly crowded. Just as we crossed a street, a man came running around a corner, grabbed another man, threw him to the ground, and started pounding on him. Our first instinct was to get as far away as possible, out of range of swinging fists. Not to mention the possibility that either would pull a knife or a gun. Some other guy shouted, "hey, stop it," and finally the one doing the assaulting got up and ran across the street and away. The other guy stood up, saying, "What did I do?" as if he truly didn't know, although it was hard to tell if the attack was completely random or he knew the guy but didn't understand the source of his rage at that particular moment. He (the victim) was dressed like a food delivery person, with a thermal food bag.

The sudden unexplained violence shook us; suddenly, our afternoon lark lost its sense of "playing hooky" fun. I kept turning back to look at the victim, who stood alone now, leaning against a wall. It bothered me that no one, not even me, was there, making sure he was okay, asking if he needed anything, offering to call the cops. If it had been me that was attacked, would that also be the case, or would it automatically be different for a woman anyway? Yet even as I worried that he was standing there alone, something stopped me from going back to help him; a fear that the other might come back maybe? Or just cowardly fear.

My friend pointed out that he had stood up, didn't appear to be badly injured (no blood), and he was surrounded by other people if he needed to ask for help. Chances are someone (the guy who shouted "stop"?) had already called 911. She was as shaken as I was.

For the rest of our walk I jumped when I saw any man with a hood pulled up over his head, no matter that the aggressor's hood had been brown: my stomach did flips if I saw a man in a red or green or blue hood. Even hours later, when I was walking home on my own street, a man passed me, head peeking through his down coat in a camouflage-colored hood, and I felt my legs turn to jelly.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Perplexing Question #43 and 44

Why is it that when Jack Bauer steals (er, "borrows") a cell phone on "24", everybody suddenly knows the number and can reach him?

And why does the real owner never get any calls while the phone is in Jack's posession?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

So sue me (or don't)

I don't get This.

Insurance covers someone's fuck-up? Seriously? And he has the balls to sue because they aren't paying off his stupid mistake quickly enough for his taste? He's damaged a piece of art causing its worth to drop by millions. So he won't make as much of a profit off of it now that he's selling it. Too bad, so sad. He fucked up! Why is he being rewarded? Where has personal responsibility gone?

When I was young and working in retail, I stepped backwards in the stockroom and snagged my brand new suit on a rack of clothing. I didn't have a lot of money then, so it was a tragic error. I went to the operations manager and asked if I could have the store tailor fix it for me, since the accident had occurred while performing a work task, in a work location. He asked me to describe the incident, then informed me that no, the store wasn't responsible. Because I had "zigged where I should have zagged," I'd made a personal choice that resulted in my hitting the rack and tearing my clothes.

I've never forgotten that. "Zigged instead of zagged." It feeds my constant bewilderment at how quickly people will sue one another, personal responsibility be damned. When I stepped off a curb into a slushy puddle and sprained my ankle, I was dismayed by the number of people who suggested I sue. For my own clumsiness? For zigging instead of zagging?

A long time ago, I was sitting in a park near my Albany apartment, reading a book, letting my cat enjoy a rare opportunity for outdoor sunshine. She was on a leash, and after a bit of wandering about, settled into my lap for a snooze. We were almost completely alone in a quiet grassy corner of the park, just across the street from my apartment door. Suddenly a dog rushed up to us, barking madly. The cat, startled, did what came naturally - looked for an escape route, which turned out to be up my face and into the branches of the tree above us. As the dog continued to bark, a man with a leash came running up to us. He grabbed the dog and offered to drive me to the emergency room but I told him I needed to rescue the cat first. He seemed puzzled by that, but went and put his dog away while I coaxed down the cat. He pulled up in a car without the dog and came into my apartment with me, waiting while I went into the bathroom to wash up. In the mirror I could see that blood was pouring down my face and I understood his sense of urgency for the first time.

He drove me to the emergency room, waited until someone could see me, and then took my name and phone number and left. I was somewhat in a state of shock, but remember being glad that he had taken care of me. I received 26 stitches in my face, which sounds more dramatic than it really was, as they were split between four spots - my chin, on my upper lip, along the inside of one eye, and on my hairline. (You can almost visualize the journey of her claws up to safety.) When the doctor was stitching up the cut near my eye he told me to lay absolutely still, as it was dangerously close to my eye and a slip with the needle could be disastrous. In the bed next to me was a boy who had stepped on a nail attached to a board, and just as my doctor was telling me to not move, he was screaming as they pulled the board from his flesh.

The dog man called me the next day to make sure I was okay. He asked if I thought I'd need plastic surgery, but I assured him it wasn't that bad. He apologized, and said goodbye. I never once thought to ask his name or phone number and he never offered it. It never occurred to me that he was fearful that I'd sue him, but after all, there was a leash law in that park, so he was clearly at fault. But, you know, it happened and it was terrible, and I couldn't go to work for a few days (I had black threads sticking out from my face, which was swollen and puffy - my boss asked me to come in on the second day, took one look at me and sent me home again) but I had available sick time, and I had health insurance to cover the medical bills. Why would I need a lawsuit? To punish him?

I've already gone way off track, but there is more to the story, as when I was very young I was the victim in an incident that resulted in a lawsuit that turned out to be a farce. I'll tell that story another time.

"Star" power?

The early morning local news just showed a clip of Donald Trump getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The irony is that on his TV show, one of the upcoming challenges involves contestants giving guided bus tours of Hollywood, and, according to a leaked You Tube video from a participant on one of the tours, sharing the "shocking" statistics of which superstars do not have stars. Like Julia Roberts. It kinda puts your "achievement" into perspective, doesn't it, Donnie? (And don't say that it means you're "bigger" than Julia Roberts. It's common knowledge that requirements include a payment of $15,000 and a determined publicity team, not necessarily the most inspired career.)

Hmmm. Speaking of publicity, this is probably all a huge ("yooge" in Donald-speak) publicity ploy to increase ratings. Look, Trump gets a star! Did you see that illegal You Tube video from "The Apprentice"? Wow, that episode is airing this Sunday night! I have to watch!


Let me continue on what, for anyone but me, is an endlessly tedious topic: my computer repair! You see, I've finally made my decision, and will pay $244 to have this one repaired rather than replace it with a new one. The price includes shipping to Gateway, all labor and parts (a new motherboard.) Of course this is far more reasonable than shelling out $1000+ for a replacement notebook, although if I had found a new model that I simply loved I'd probably have bought it. But things have not changed so much in 2 years, and really, most of the available ones are bigger anyway (I like the 14 inch widescreen.) There was a time when 2 years meant your computer was obsolete, when things were moving at such a fast pace you could never keep up.

My biggest challenge will be missing it while it's "in hospital." Of course I will be able to check email and surf the web at work, and can even bring my work laptop home every night if I so wish. (We're encouraged to; in fact, it was only a year ago when they changed the policy from "you must bring it home every night.")

This is my key computer time - early in the morning, eating my breakfast, slowing easing into the new day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Evidence #54 that morning talk show hosts are stupid.

Matt Lauer, to Helen Mirren, on her winning two Golden Globes for playing Elizabeth I (TV miniseries) and Elizabeth II (Film): "Gee, she's been lucky for you."

To her credit, instead of alerting him to the fact that the two queens were not one and the same, Mirren replied, "Oh, yes, I see, you must mean the name 'Elizabeth,' which has been lucky for me. I suppose if I have a child I'll name it Elizabeth."

Do you think he knows there have been two President Bushes?

Good morning

A small plane crashed into someone's driveway last night about 8 pm. The TV reporter just asked, "Imagine if you're sitting home with your family, say, watching TV, and a plane crashes into your yard?"

I'd like to think they were watching "24."

I did. I think. I thought I'd seen both hours that aired last night, but just read recaps and missed a MAJOR PLOT POINT. Did I doze off near the end of the hour and not notice? Jeez.

Monday, January 15, 2007

On the street

Three times this afternoon I ran into someone I knew on the street: one current co-worker and two former co-workers. Two of them live in my neighborhood but I haven't seen them around in months and months. The other was at Bed Bath & Beyond in Manhattan, and when she asked where I lived and I said, "Brooklyn," she expressed surprise that I had come into Manhattan just to shop. Seriously, now, it's Brooklyn, not Boston. It's even possible my subway ride to BB&B is shorter than hers, since I live right on the very same F line and she comes from somewhere on the upper east side, complete with transfers and walking. Sigh.

But three different people!

So there is some kind of weird karma around me today. But I also was crossing the street and a strange man punched me in the arm. He appeared to be drunk or crazy or something, and I kept walking past him but turned around when I reached the curb and he was at the other curb, staring back at me and swaying unsteadily on his feet, so I just kept walking away. Because what do you do in that situation? Engage him and drive him to real violence? Ignore him?

I don't know.

My Fave Films... (and more)

It took me awhile to get to this, but here are my top films of 2006.

1. The Departed
2. Half Nelson (as much as I think Ryan Gosling deserves an Oscar nomination for this, that field is already overcrowded... I'd love to see Shareeka Eps, the young girl who plays his student, recognized in the supporting category)
3. Sherrybaby (Maggie Gyllenhaal rocks)
4. Dreamgirls (go Jennifer Hudson)
5. Inside Man (saw this early in the year and it's fading from memory but was really a strong film)
6. Little Miss Sunshine
7. Wordplay
8. Babel
9. Volver
10. Hard Candy
11. Borat
12. Thank You for Smoking
13. The Queen
14. The Devil Wears Prada

I watched 42 movies in the theater during the year (not counting a few in early January which were "catch-ups" of 2005 films.) I'll save you the boredom of the middle films, but here is the bottom of the list.

32. Rumor Has It (sleeping with the guy you think might be your dad... fun!)
33. For Your Consideration (it breaks my heart to have to place it here, but, really... bleh.)
34. Marie Antoinette
35. Keeping Up With The Steins
36. Running With Scissors
37. The Last Kiss (yawn)
38. Bobby
39. The Breakup
40. Scoop (why is bad Woody Allen so much more depressing than bad almost-anyone else?)
41. Trust the Man (this film convinced me to drop my practice of seeing "everything David Duchovny is in," which is why "House of D" isn't on this list, although chances are if I'd seen it, it'd be here in the 40's)
42. The Black Dahlia (I almost forgot how bad this was... shudder)

I won't watch the Golden Globes tonight, as the irony is I hate watching awards show, though I love hosting Oscar parties. Watching them alone, though is just so... boring. Too many commercials and not enough snark. Also I don't watch many of the nominated TV shows, whose stars will draw a long series of "who cares" from me every time the camera pans over their eager faces. ("Grey's Anatomy"? Never saw it, and am not convinced I'm missing anything.)

Also, "24" started last night and will have another 2 hours tonight. Once again the first few episodes have drawn me in, although if history repeats itself, I'll grow restless about episode 10 or 11. My boredom comes when the initial conflicts are resolved and spin off into new ones that are resolved and spin off into new ones that... zzzzz. So far, so good, though.

Rainy Days & Mondays

I finally forced myself to attempt the last at-home remedy to fix my computer: a full system restore that would wipe out all of the programs I've installed and re-install windows and the few that initially came on the computer. I did my own backup of files and photos and music, but theoretically lost all of the TV shows I've bought through iTunes that are not currently on my iPod. (We'll see what happens if I ever resolve this and try to copy my iTunes library from the iPod to a newly installed version of iTunes.)

Anyway, it didn't work. Still no USB port functionality. I knew it was a hardware issue, but if I were wrong and it only meant the windows reinstallation, that would have been a relief. And, if I send it to Gateway for repair I'd have to backup all of my files anyway, and I'd likely lose all of my additionally installed programs. So I'm not rushing to re-install anything, but will call Gateway tomorrow and start the process. I'm nervous about not having a computer at home for a week or two, but I can always take my work laptop home each night. Things are not so bad, really.

It's strange though to have only Outlook Express and Internet Explorer on my desktop. And, iTunes - I downloaded that again just so I can sit here and listen to the radio and download my podcasts. My music library remains empty. I don't even have MS Office, since it didn't come loaded on this, so I can't do much of anything: no writing (Word), no food diary (Excel), etc.

* * *

I have not been to a movie yet, and it's already Day Three of three-day weekend. I've seen everything playing in my neighborhood theater, except "Pan's Labyrinth" which I have no desire to see. I really don't like fantasy/sci fi movies. I never saw any of the "Lord of the Rings" movies and don't regret that. When I was young, various friends of mine (including my best friend) were huge LOTR fans and I tried, but the whole thing left me cold.

I may try to get to one in Manhattan later this afternoon; I have another bag of stuff to take to the thrift store. (This time it's old mis-matched wine glasses, since I replaced them with a new set on Saturday, and assorted knickknacks I've set aside in my slow, gradual apartment cleaning.) But there really isn't anything I'm dying to see right now.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


A three-day weekend, the last one before the deadly trudge toward Memorial Day. I need to make a plan to go somewhere, get out of town, do something fun, in the coming months.

* * *

My last writing class ended with a whimper. Half the students didn't participate in the last few weeks, the instructor didn't post a last lecture so we could all address topics he'd missed (only two of us bothered to post), and the last story I workshopped received only 7 responses (vs. the initial class roster of 12.) Unlike my last two online courses, nobody suggested we stay in touch or continue sharing work with each other. Oh well.

* * *

I'm reading "One Good Turn," the new novel by Kate Atkinson. I tried, but couldn't hold off until it came out in paperback, so I'm hauling around a hardcover. I really enjoyed "Case Histories," and this one features several of the same characters. After I read "Case Histories," I started reading her backlist and loved her writing. I'm not loving this one as much, but maybe it's the high expectations. So far it's a great read, but reminiscent of so many other British women mystery writers I've enjoyed, like Ruth Rendell or P.D. James or Josephine Tey. "Case Histories" had a uniqueness about it, a quirkiness that managed to entwine an intricate mystery in literary goodness. I'm possibly being too hard on it, and am only about 100 pages in, so will reserve further comment until I finish.

* * *

I decided this was the year to bring back my annual Oscar party. Although it is 6 weeks away, I've sent out invites and started shopping online for party decorations and recipes. I bought two plastic Oscar statuettes, one to give to the winner of the pool, and the other to keep to myself. The company who makes them informed me that it's against copyright laws to inscribe "Oscar" (or any term like "Best Actress," etc.) on them, so I had to settle for "Award Night Party." Funny. I also bought a gold "VIP Entrance" sign for my front door, a star dressing room sign for my bathroom, toothpicks with gold stars, and confetti of stars, film strips, and mini cameras. Oh, and mini gift bags with gold and silver stars, which I intended to use as my own version of the VIP swag bags, only to get them in the mail and discover they are 2 inches tall. (Guess I should have noticed the "mini," or the size, which was listed right there where I ordered them.) I'm also going to take photos of people as they arrive, all paparazzi style. I can get a roll of red "carpet," too, but our building's hallways are so filthy I'd rather not.

* * *

Last weekend I completely forgot about the Open Houses I wanted to go to. I woke up Sunday and did some errands and then forced myself to carry two heavy bags of books on the subway, to the used book cafe/thrift store in Manhattan. A task I've been putting off, but once I was there I realized I wouldn't make it back home (because of course I didn't have the address or details with me) in time to go to the Open Houses. There don't seem to be as many good ones this weekend. When I say I'm taking my time doing this, I'm clearly not kidding.

* * *

I won't mind if it's a gray and dingy weekend. I want to get things done inside.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

"Two Nice Girls"

I received my copy of "Still More Stories for Girls." It has been a rush reading the old stories that I used to read over and over. They were written in the early 1970's, mostly published in Seventeen magazine. (An early dream of mine was to win the Seventeen annual fiction contest. They had published Sylvia Plath's first short story, so there was a built-in cache perfect for a girl in her angst-ridden teens.)

I remember being slightly scandalized at the subject matter in some of the stories, although maybe it's because I was 10 or 11 reading them, not 15 as expected. (17-year old girls didn't read Seventeen, it was for their younger sisters who aspired to be as cool as a 17-year old. I believe that's still the target audience.) In one, a girl is protesting against her school's dress code, which has announced that "No boy shall wear jeans or work pants to school." It never crosses the Principal's mind that a girl would attempt to do so, so the story's heroine shows up in jeans in support of her male classmates. When the principal accuses her of breaking the code, she replies, "It says 'No boy.' I'm a girl.'" And she sticks out her chest. Shocking, for me who didn't yet have her own breasts, so was unfamiliar with that power, and couldn't believe how cavalierly she used it.

The other story that has stuck with me concerned two freshmen women in a southern college. One is white and the other black, the first student to be accepted into the school under a new affirmative action program, (although they don't call it that. In fact, the girl is offered a full scholarship, but her family turns it down as they are well off and don't want the favoritism.) The two discover they have much in common, wind up having tea one afternoon in the white girl's room (drinking from her family heirloom china), and talking about all kinds of subjects: religion, dating, family, philosophy, poetry, clothes, and eventually, racism. They have similar feelings of superiority - the black girl refused to participate in a protest outside a five and dime lunch counter because she would never want to eat there anyway, no matter that they wouldn't serve her. The white girl laughingly repeats something her father said about her family housekeeper, but hesitates before referring to her as a "servant," something the other girl picks up on and questions. The white girl admits he'd said "negro," but claims she didn't repeat it because she has been taught that it's not a term you use in polite society, not because of whom she was talking to.

At the end of the story, the black girl leaves, but turns back to say something and notices the white girl picking up the tea cups to wash them, then stoppping and lifting them up to the light to determine (by the faint lipstick color) who had used each. She sets them down far apart, looks up and sees her friend. Immediately she realizes that the other girl knows that she is doing this because she intends to wash the dishes separately, and both are horrified. The story ends with her chasing after the other girl, neither addressing the incident directly but sharing a "moment" where they recognize in each other remains of their traditional southern upbringing and all of its faults, and a desire to act differently. And they go off to the black girl's room together.

The image of those teacups held up in the light comes back to me again and again, over 30 years later. I think I connected it to my own budding-liberal white guilt, my hope that I never do anything inadvertently that would be misinterpreted or offend anyone. Like when I'm walking down the street and pull my shoulder bag closer to me because it's annoyingly bumping up against my leg, and look up to see I've just passed a black woman who gives me a dirty look. Teacups, teacups.

I wonder what would have happened to those girls, if the story continued. I can't seem to find any other writings by that author. Maybe I can find a way to tell the next part of the story, my own way, without feeling like I'm plagiarizing. Because it never felt right to me that the girls just looked at each other a certain way and all the obstacles to their friendship fell to the wayside.

Left with thoughts about Lefty

I don't get it. This morning the Today Show was talking about twins, and some of the recent discoveries in prenatal behavior that have been made by observing multiples in the womb. Meredith Viera threw out this idea that there is a theory that left-handed people are actually the surviving single from a set of twins, where one embryo was lost/absorbed into the body early on in the pregnancy.

Now, I've heard of the lost twin theory - there was an article about it in the New Yorker years ago, and it fascinated me. The idea that I could have had a possible womb-mate, someone who disappeared without anyone even knowing of her existence... I romanticized the idea, identifying myself with the author of the article, who had always felt that he was "incomplete" without having any idea why.

But what I don't understand is this. For the left-handed theory to be true, wouldn't every set of living twins have to contain a lefty and a righty? I don' t think that is true, is it? Or is the theory based on something about the residual grief of losing your embryo-buddy that causes a chemical/biological reaction that makes you left-handed?

Ah, Meredith, you puzzle me.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I hate dust and I hate noise.

I tried explaining to a friend why I'm purposely ignoring apartment listings in neighborhoods near where the new Atlantic Yards is being built, even when they seem less expensive than the neighborhood I'm in. This article, in the New York Observer, discusses the impact the approved Atlantic Yards construction is expected to have on those living nearby:

Then, as the arena, the train yard and five other commercial and residential buildings get underway late next year, as many as 470 trucks will make deliveries each day during the peak period, in winter 2009, according to the final environmental-impact statement issued in November. An average of once or twice a week, workers would be on the job until 11 p.m. For 10 months, one of the lanes of Atlantic Avenue would shut down. Side streets would close for longer periods, some of them forever. The levels of fine particulate matter—soot and dust—would exceed the threshold level that the Environmental Protection Agency considers dangerous to human health along two different stretches around the construction site (including down the street from Newswalk) for year-long periods.

And the equipment would be noisy enough that, even with various technological (electric, not diesel) and geographic (move them farther away) mitigations, Forest City is planning on buying and installing air conditioners or double-pane windows for nearby residents in sensitive spots—a move that even ur-booster Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, told the state economic-development agency “is not a solution for these problems, only a way to mask them while residents are inside their homes.”

Although the articles goes on to say that if you plan on living beyond the 5 or 6 years of construction, it would be worth it, I still am not jumping aboard. Personally, after it's all completely finished, I wouldn't be that thrilled to live close to something that draws hoards of basketball fans anyway.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Smells & such

Interesting - since natural gas has no smell, they add a chemical to it that has a smell. So it's possible that it wasn't a gas leak but a leak of that additive...

Once when I was in college there was a burning smell in our sorority house so we called the fire department and it turned out to be a worn belt on our vacuum. Oops.

But if you were a fireman in a small upstate college town, wouldn't tramping through a house of 23 young women be the highlight of your day?

Sounds like the start of a porn film.


Who wouldn't be concerned if your entire city reportedly smells like a gas leak? (I cannot confirm, as I am inside, having arrived prior to whatever didn't happen didn't happen.) Maybe it's a huge dead rodent? We once called the gas company because of a gas-like odor in our building, only to be told (after they showed up and investigated, thankfully) that it was likely a dead mouse caught in the walls, because as they decompose, they tend to smell like gas.

Meanwhile, downtown Austin is plagued by dead birds?

This is why I don't know if I can watch a movie like "Children of Men," because the thought that our world is falling apart around us is too frightening for me. Because I can believe it to be a possibility.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Notes on a Scan

(Well, that's what it says on my ticket stub, and it's as clever a title as I'm apt to come up with.)

I'm not going to pretend I loved this movie, even though it has a strong rating of 85% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. I felt like I was watching a British version of "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" or "Single White Female," both of which were enjoyable films but really not what I'd expected with the Oscar buzz around Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. There's something trashy about the film, and not just the misbehaviors of the characters, more the rise and fall of overly dramatic moments that scream at you from the screen - literally at points, as the score has those horrific "dum de dum dum" musical announcements to let you know what you've just seen is IMPORTANT. (Nice to see it wasn't just me; more than one review points to the failure of Philip Glass's score. I don't know if expectations are higher with someone who's more well known, but I didn't remember who the composer was as I sat there cringing every time a heavy crescendo of sound interrupted my ability to process what I saw on screen.) Bill Nighy, playing Cate's character's husband, over-acts so terribly in one scene that it verges on camp. Blanchett and Dench are fun to watch but definitely above the material.

Having said all that, I wouldn't say it's terrible, it's just not as wonderful as I wanted it to be, or thought it would be, based on reviews and acting pedigree. It's fun to watch - Cate Blanchett is her usual luminous self, with a dirty side, and Judi Dench is deliciously witchy (especially in her humorous voiceover narration.)

* * *

Maybe I was distracted, because waiting for me at home was a new TV, a gift to myself that, by chance, I was able to purchase and have delivered to my apartment within three hours yesterday. This necessitated moving some things around in my apartment, which is helping my need to "redecorate." I've even succeeded in filling three large shopping bags with books to get rid of, although sadly that still doesn't mean my bookcases can hold all of my books. I also need to ban the purchase of new book, because I now have 41 books that I have not yet read, a combination of ones I've bought, received as gifts, bought at used book stores or stoop sales, or simply found on the street. (People around here have a habit of leaving books on their stoops or on the sidewalk, something I'd consider but I think I have too many.) So no more new books until I read at least half of these! And if nothing in the unread stacks (now relegated to stacks by my bed) interests me, I vow to get rid of them, unread.

The TV was on sale, but of course, not cheap, and I still get a bit queasy thinking about it. It will turn out to be a bad idea if I wind up finding an apartment to buy soon and need all available funds, but I can't let that dictate my every move or I'd do nothing. Who knows how long it will take to find a place, and in the meantime I'm still saving money every month toward what I'll need. So what if December's savings are zip? There still is January and February and...

I slept in the living room last night so I could keep watching TV. That's how much nicer it is to watch - although strangely I'm more enamored by the surround sound than the larger more vibrant picture. Oh, I really like both, but the sound is cool. When your last TV is over 20 years old (how is that possible???), it's a dramatic improvement.

* * *

It was 70 degrees yesterday, so people are even more obsessed with talking about the weather (which they are anyway, most of the time.) What do they talk about in southern California, where the weather is pretty much always the same?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Long ago, not too far away

So, here's the story of my one-and-only internet "dating" experience. After all of the buildup, it's bound to disappoint, but then again, that would be fitting - oh, I'm getting ahead of myself. But be advised that none of this is exaggerated or made up. Really.

I had a friend that was deep into the online dating scene, going on a fresh blind date practically every week. (We've lost touch but I recently heard she's married and has a baby - I am dumbfounded as I swear it's only been 2 years since I last saw her, but I supposed that's enough time. I wonder if she met him online? But I digress.) She convinced me to give it a shot, so I put up a profile on a fairly innocuous mainstream site. I didn't receive very many promising responses to my ad, likely because I didn't have a photo up (out of personal privacy/security fears, mostly, although also not convinced I had a strong enough photo.) One guy flat out told me unless I posted a photo, I'd get no serious responses. Another was more friendly; we exchanged emails for a week or so and he seemed interested until the question of religion came up and I learned that "former Catholic" can run the gamut from "still recovering"/atheist to "still drop by on holidays"/"of course my kids will go to Catholic Sunday School, why would you ask?" (Me: the former, he: the latter of course.) I told him I wasn't interested in setting foot in a Catholic church until gays/women/married men could be priests, and I never heard from him again. Now I know better; get that shit out up front.

But he's not who I'm here to write about. During this time, I began surfing "men seeking women" profiles, as you do. I didn't respond to very many, but stumbled on one who professed to being a writer. At the time, my writing workshop was looking for a new member, so I contacted him. We exchanged a few emails, but he wasn't really interested in joining a group - he was a fairly novice writer who hadn't gone through a workshop experience, wasn't sure wanted feedback during a first draft. Not an uncommon position, and since it's more beneficial to the group to have someone with workshop experience (giving constructive critiques to the other writers is as important as sharing your own material), we mutually decided that was a dead end. But we'd established a basic friendship, so he suggested we meet, no strings, just for fun. After all, although I was two years younger than he was, I was still "too old" to be the woman he was looking for because, of course, he felt strongly that he needed a gal with young ovaries. (Sometimes I think these guys should just write in their ads, "If you're too old to be an egg donor, you're too old for me! Next!")

He suggested a meeting place where we could have some fun, too - a coffee bar on the upper west side that had their own on-site singles dating service. I just tried to find it online, but it appears that the original location is no longer open. The idea was that they kept binders of personal profiles for browsing, sorted by the usual gender categories. You paid to add your own, but browsing was free. If you found someone you wanted to contact, you'd notify the staff and they'd arrange it for you for a small fee. (I can't remember if it was email or phone or you left a note.) Most people, of course, would choose to have their initial meeting in the same cafe. It seemed like a great business model, but maybe they closed because they were unable to successfully integrate an online component. Or just lost their lease.

Anyway, I've mentioned how I didn't recognize him because he looked about 10 years older than his online photo. Still we had a pleasant time, going through the binders and jokingly offering each other advice on who to contact. It was fine, and fine, too, when after that, we started talking on the phone alot. He was lonely, depressed, and struggling to make a career change. He'd taken a writing course, hence the decision to write a book, and was getting certified to teach. He'd finally thrown in the towel after a long attempt at an entertainment career (in which he seemed to have earned some success, but not enough to sustain through middle/old age, and retirement.) Most of the time he was funny and good to talk to - we met a couple of other times for dinner or coffee and it seemed like I had found a friend. Then he got comfortable enough to call me when he was in seriously dark moodes, often after drinking. He would be angry, incoherent, suicidal. After one one of these particularly frightening calls, I told him that I couldn't be that kind of friend. He was hurt but stopped, although we still maintained a low level of contact.

I don't really remember exactly how it happened, but at one point I told him that I hadn't meant that I wanted to stop being friends altogether, and he jumped on it, going immediately back to calling me daily to unload. I let him, because I'm a wimp. And why not be there for someone who clearly needed a friend? Well, then he got into some trouble. He was teaching and had somehow managed to get entangled with a teenage female student who had a crush on him. Although no sex was involved (he claimed), there were private emails, visits in his home, threats from her boyfriend, and an investigation by school authorities. What got me was that he didn't seem to understand how his own behavior had contributed to any of it, just saw it as another instance of the world out to get him. He started arguing with me, defending himself. It was frustrating and I just gave up. I told him that I honestly didn't think that the friendship was going to work, and didn't want him to call me any more.

He went ballistic. His anger was so forceful that any doubts I had that what I was doing was selfish disappeared. I received one more call from him - a voicemail to my office number left in the middle of the night, in which he preceded to tell me all of the things that were wrong with me - including the fact that he'd been "embarrassed" when he'd invited me to dinner with a group of his friends because I'd been so shy and quiet. (Funny how of all the mean things he said, all the vicious things he called me, that is the one I remember most, because it hit hardest. I am shy, especially with a large group of strangers, and I was really anxious before that night. I thought after that I'd handled myself well and was making strides at becoming more socially adept. I like to think he knew that and brought it up just because he knew it would hurt me most, not because his friends really had asked him what my problem was.) His voicemail was so awful that I started shaking and crying. I called another friend and she made me feel better, reminding me that he had way more problems than I was equipped to handle, which didn't make me a bad person.

I worried for a short time that he'd contact me again (although he didn't have my address, he had my phone number and email) but that was it. Sometimes I wonder if he's still alive (he'd always claimed he'd not make it another five years.) He's probably married to a twenty five year old (or that high school chick), father of three, teaching in suburbia somewhere.

Hmmm.... maybe this story isn't as interesting as I thought it was.

Friday, January 05, 2007


I'm working from "home," which once again translates to working from the Tea Lounge. When I arrived here 90 minutes ago, it was deadly quiet - just me, two school crossing guards on break from the middle school across the street, and another woman with a laptop. Now the mommies and strollers have arrived, the non-corporate work-at-home types, and a trio of suit-clad businessmen (are they lost?)

I readily admit that my intention today was to take it easy. See, work has been slow still this week, and sometimes that can be soooo excruciatingly BORING. I couldn't bear another day like that in the office, but at home (or here) I can distract myself with, well, non-work tasks. Oh, the honesty I'm displaying here! You surely admire my moxie.

Distressingly, the Internet connection (via free wi-fi) is spotty today, so I'm not sure how long I'll be able to stake my spot on the couch here. Not like I can complain, of course since it's free.

* * *

I am going to an open house on Sunday for a coop that I might even be able to afford. I know I keep saying I'm going to start the process, but this time I mean it. I'm itching for a change - I'll be in this same apartment for 13 years next month. The longest I lived in one place prior to this was 5 years (6-10th grade) so this is a big deal. I used to regularly move the furniture in my apartment around, even going so far as swapping bedroom for living room, just to refresh my environment. It makes it feel new and clean, even if it's the same old stuff. I can't do that much at all any more, since I've accumulated enough that it's difficult to move, and much of it has very specific spaces it needs to be (i.e., the DVD cabinet, which is the only piece of furniture strong enough to hold the larger aquarium, needs to be near an outlet in order to plug in all of the aquarium equipment; the sofa, which was delivered in pieces to fit through the narrow living room door, cannot be moved elsewhere without professional help.) I think this contributes to my boredom and restlessness.

Last week I discovered the CD player on my "boom box" stereo wasn't working. I hadn't really tried to use it in months, as I play CDs on my computer in my bedroom; in the living room I'm focused on the TV or the radio. Plus I can play CDs on my DVD player (although I never do; speakers are not that great.) So I decided to put the stereo out on the street with a "free" note (clarifying that the CD part was broken, but radio and cassette fine) and, within minutes, someone took it. I moved another radio from the bedroom into the living room (a replica of an old wooden radio) and it's amazing how clean and nice my living room looks just with one visual change.

And naturally this translates into I must move... for fresh new everything. The financial circumstances which have impeded my buying a place are possibly (no jinxing!) about to improve, so it may actually be feasible to buy this spring. Now I just need to discover the reality of what I can afford - or more accurately, where I can afford. I know I can't afford this neighborhood but if it can at least be tangential... Sigh.

* * *

I think I'm buying a flat screen TV this weekend. I have been pricing and comparing, and am pretty sure I know what I want. It seems that most local retailers will deliver via truck (vs. UPS or Fedex, who won't come in and climb two flights of stairs or unbox and remove packing, etc.) I am not able to reconcile this with the very real possibility that I'll have to replace my notebook (still no USB access! and still no call back from Gateway!) Or admit that dipping into my savings just as I'm contemplating buying a coop (with all the attendant expenses - moving, lawyer, broker, closing fees) is foolish.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


When I was a teenager I had a book of short stories written especially for girls. I read it over and over and over. I still remember some of the stories; details from them will pop up at the most random moments.

Finally, one of those memory flashes occured while I was sitting at a computer with some spare time, so I researched (based on my recall of just one title in the anthology) and lo and behold, I think I found the book. I just ordered a used copy through Amazon. I'm pretty freaked out about it, although trying not to be too excited, since who knows how long it will take to arrive (it's coming from one of their used book store partners.)


I just had a major brain fog. I forgot where the "@" was on the keyboard.

* * *

The gym today was dead quiet. I think it had a lot to do with a large handwritten sign at the reception desk that said "Sorry for the inconvenience, but showers and water fountains are not working." I decided to tough it out and just go back home after to shower before work, delaying my arrival in the office (which isn't a major issue since it's still pretty quiet for me this week.) However, when I got back to the locker room after my workout, there was the comforting sound of running water. Yup, showers were working. Is it wrong to be glad that the outdated sign scared away the crowds this morning?

* * *

I had expectations of immediate increase in workload as soon as people poured back from vacation. Not happening. It's almost eerie. Maybe it will all hit next week? I just had two meetings cancelled for tomorrow, so I'm thinking of working from home.

* * *

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

A new year. It's raining. I love rain on a morning when I don't have to do anything. It helps me sleep in, makes me feel warm and safe.

* * *
I'm not into making resolutions. I started my exercise/weight loss program in early December 2005, so I suppose that was my big change for 2006. I lost 50 pounds. I've gained a couple back in the last month which is depressing, but I have made a lot of excuses (family holidays, lunch at work with friends, etc.) I need to be more realistic on how far I can go on those "exceptions." Last night, for example, I went to dinner with friends and ate a good rich meal. That should have been enough but instead, I came home and helped myself to frozen yogurt and then some chips and then more wine. Because I knew I wasn't counting calories for the day (too complicated due to the dinner) so I could pretend that none of it counted. That kind of circular thinking is dangerous.

My goal this year is to go on at least one date. That sounds pitiful but I'm at the stage where meeting one new guy socially would be a big deal. Even with my half-hearted attempt at online dating (a quickly written profile and still no photo) there is one guy who sent me his email address. He looks like a nice guy, is a bit older, but seems okay. It dawned on me that I could answer and actually wind up meeting him and maybe it wouldn't be so bad. We might wind up with nothing in common but it would still be a big step to get out there (wherever "there"is.) Someday I'll write about my one online-dating experience so far. (I know, I keep dangling that carrot, but I don't have the energy to get into it today. He was a real scary case.) **

* * *
There's a whole new social dynamic in communications, which puts me at a loss. Several of my friends/family only have cell phones, no "land lines," which means that you don't have to figure out when they are likely to be home when you call, because, of course, you can always reach them. But that doesn't mean that every time you call is a good time to chat, because they aren't just sitting at home with time to talk, but can be on line at the grocery store or driving down a highway or pushing a kid on a swing in the park. I always feel like I'm interrupting, although they have control over whether to answer or not. I suppose it's the same as it ever was - when you call them at their house they could be washing dishes or doing yoga or taking a nap, but somehow it feels different. Maybe because I personally don't like talking on my cell phone in public (having overheard too many weirdly personal things from passersby) so I don't like being on the other end of a call in the same situation.

I bring this up because yesterday was someone's birthday and I knew that she was away for the weekend so didn't make my usual birthday call. I meant to leave a message on her home voice mail but forgot. This morning I realized that "Oh I knew you weren't home so didn't call" is silly because I could have always reached her on her cell phone.

* * *
I could lie around all day in bed and listen to the splashing of puddles as cars pass by my windows. I have to turn in a story to my writing group by Wednesday, and this is the prime time to get it done, although my usual procrastinating nature (procrastinature? I like that) means I'm more likely to be sitting here Wednesday night finalizing it. It's harder for me right now because my usual process is to write a draft longhand, type it into a Word document (while expanding on it), print out the Word doc and hand-write edits and changes, and go back to the computer. Unfortunately the loss of USB connections means I can't print at home, so I can only work on it right here, which stifles me a bit. (I've done some of my best revisions standing on a subway car or sitting in a park.) Twice this weekend I've gone to the Tea Lounge with my laptop, but it's been really crowded this weekend and will definitely be more so today because of the rain.

I have my main character walking into a hotel bar to meet her husband for dinner during a business conference. She witnesses him talking to a female colleague, before he notices she has walked in, and immediately knows that he is having an affair, just by his expression, body language, etc. I'm just a few paragraphs away from completing this section but am moving really slowly because I don't want it to be too schmaltzy, which is an obvious pitfall.

* * *
I planned on the gym today, although it would mean I've gone all three days of this weekend, (my usual pattern is two days on, one day off) but I would prefer tomorrow to be my day off. I dread the influx of well-meaning New Year's resolutioners who vow to start using that gym membership they've been paying all year, and flock to the gym in droves. I'm not sure which day will be worse - today, which is the first, but also likely a day when people will sleep in, or tomorrow, which would be the symbolic start of a new week/routine.

And a movie. I'd like to see something else - "Dreamgirls," because I saw it Friday afternoon, seems so long ago.

** Funny, I can't link directly to that post because it's a new month and archives are by month, not date of entry. I did a search to find it but once I put the search string into this blog, this blog suddenly contains the search string also so it's also becomes a result! Talk about circular reasoning. The carrot-dangling reference is to the second post on that page, titled Wimp
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