Saturday, December 29, 2007

Three films: Sweeney Todd, Juno, Walk Hard

Could there be any three more different movies? Understand, I saw them over the span of a week, so this wasn't a bizarre triple bill. "Juno" was first, on one of my days off last week, as an antidote to the shopping crowds. I wish I could say I loved it, but it suffered under the misfortune of having a trailer I'd seen about a dozen times, so the best (funniest) lines were already memorized. Laughter is best served fresh, not repeated endlessly. The rest of the film was less funny than smart and touching, so again, a case of a trailer misrepresenting a movie, plus selling its jokes short. I found it entertaining, though, and you can't beat the chance to see Jason Bateman and Michael Cera on the same screen for a case of wistful "Arrested Development" deja vu.

"Walk Hard" just didn't sing for me. (Oh, the puns we have saved up waiting for weak moments like this.) It did a very thorough job of skewering music bio films like "Walk the Line," but in a way that was almost too much mimicry, not enough original humor. Example: a young boy looks out into the bright sunny day and says, "What a beautiful day, nothing can go wrong today! Surely nothing like a childhood tragedy that will torment me for decades, driving my pain into artistic creation?" That's paraphrasing, but it's basically how the film approached the parody - archly self aware, as if the entire joke is knowing what comes next. I guess I expected more free-wheeling goofiness, over-the-top like "Airplane" or completely sincere like "Spinal Tap."

And then, "Sweeney Todd," which came into the playlist only because it is in the theater across the street with many other films I've already seen. I had only a passing familiarity with the storyline (the big plot points) so it felt fresh and new to me. It's certainly a well-made film, with beautiful cinematography (all is dark and gray and dingy, practically the only color coming from the insanely unnatural red of spilled blood - and, oh, how much is spilled), great singing (the young boy playing "Toby" is wonderful), and acting. Helena Bonham Carter has been in many films since, but she will always be Marla from "Fight Club" to me. It's interesting how she turned her early period film persona into one so well suited for twisted and bedraggled. I think it's that beautifully shaped face, so incongruous next to wild hair and eyes and blood and grime.

When the movie first started, with lines sung instead of spoken, I wondered if I'd made a mistake, musical-hater as I am. But quickly I was caught up in it - either because the music was most of the dialog, and so was essential in moving the plot forward (vs. pausing it to belt out a song), or because it's just better music. (Stephen Sondheim!) I think it also helped that it was, as mentioned above, fresh to me, so the experience was meaningful. (Yes, I know, this didn't happen with "Wicked" so I am hopelessly grasping at straws.) Point is, I liked it, even if I found the blood-letting cartoonish (girls behind me giggled uncontrollably whenever a throat was slit) rather than gruesome, as some reviewers have suggested.

And now I find myself nearing the end, without any mention of Johnny Depp. I don't have anything to say, really - I'm not a huge fan, but have always appreciated his talent (from early days on "21 Jump Street" and films like "Benny and Joon.") I think it's interesting that he's Tim Burton's muse just as it's interesting that Leonardo DiCaprio has become Martin Scorsese's, but to be honest, a Tim Burton movie without Helena Bonham Carter would be more of a tragedy for me. (Neither was in "Mars Attacks!" one of my least favorite movies of all times, although it appears every other working actor at the time was.) I have more than one friend who is a Depp fanatic, and I can't argue with that, but I also can't really get on the bandwagon, either. Ho-hum.

Saturday afternoon, under a cloud

Melancholy. Don't know why. Probably hormonal, as usually, after the fact, I realize that is what it was. Tried to climb out of it on my own but feel foggy. Tonight I have a party to go to so I went and had my hair washed and blow-dried, plus a manicure and pedicure. Bought a bottle of champagne and some fancy cookies. I don't have any idea of what to wear, though, and the weight of that (just a few hours before I need to gather myself and leave for a train) is heavy.

I am tempted to try a short nap, but no matter how nice it sounds, it always leaves me more tired and muddled after. A super shot of caffeine? Maybe I'll pop into Starbucks on the way to the train.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Reason number 19 I need to move.

I was getting ready to leave my apartment this afternoon and saw a dark blotch on the side of my armchair, which looked like a splash of water. Maybe when I came out of the bathroom after showering I somehow - no, not possible, not in that location. I stooped down to see it more closely and it was a huge June bug. Hey, I've seen them in May and July but never December! Ghastly looking creatures.

I slammed it with a rolled up magazine, it fell to the floor and I slammed it again, but when I picked up the magazine (which had fallen from my hands), there was no bug. Shook out the magazine, no bug. Started wigging out, moving everything in sight, where is the bug? Oh god, my boots are in the hallway a foot or so away, one lying on its side, a big safe cavern for the bug to crawl into. How frightening is the thought of sticking your feet into the dark pit of an empty boot, contemplating that?

Much peering into the boot under the living room lamps, crawling on the floor, and finally, a dark lump under the armchair. Looks like the bug on its back, still and silent. Okay, I have ten minutes until the movie I've been gunning for all day starts, and I decide to leave the bug where he is. To die, or finish dying, or something. I'll take care of him when I return.

(Early scene in the movie - Helena Bonham Carter killing big roaches on her pie-making table. My hands trembled each time I reached into the popcorn bag. This was not supposed to be the part you shuddered most at during "Sweeney Todd.")

Home, peeking back under the armchair, and he's GONE. Arrgggh! I look everywhere, and he is nowhere to be found. Can I be sure he was under the armchair? Oh, lord. I just have to assume that he has escaped, gone somewhere else for good to die.

Just now, a few hours later, running back from errands, a big bug greets me from the bottom of the stairs in the hallway. Could it be him? The opening under my apartment door is plenty big enough for his escape (it's big enough for a blustery draft on days the back neighbors leave the back door open) and the armchair is just a couple of feet from the door. I smacked him twice with a rolled-up Entertainment Weekly - did he really recover enough to run out?

Or is the building infested?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Three years in

My very first blog post was on Christmas Eve, three years ago. Three! How could that be? Last night I stood in church, singing along to "Silent Night" and remembered that I'd written about the same moment three years ago:
Standing in church next to people who can sing, makes me feel like I can, too. Especially during Christmas Eve candlelight service, when it's all music and people, the usual and the unusual, and the voices swell around me in familiar all-ye-faithfully-coming tones and for a minute or two, I open my voice and I can sing.
I was in a Unitarian church, where we celebrate, as the minister announced, the birth of a great man, an inspired and inspiring teacher, a man of peace - the type of man or woman whose birthday we should celebrate. This is, of course, the reason I love the UU church: the ability to honor the historical Jesus for the impact he's had on the world, without muddying it with contradictory dogma about his godliness. On Christmas Eve I often wonder about those who've wandered in from the neighborhood, drawn by the beauty of the church's building (Gothic spires! Tiffany windows!) and its promise of candles and music, only to be confused by how little mention is made of their god. I like to think it makes people think, I want to come back here some Sunday.

One of the readings was from Jan Richardson, an artist and author:
Wise women also came. The fire burned in their wombs long before they saw the flaming star in the sky. They walked in the shadows, trusting the path would open under the light of the moon.

Wise women also came, seeking no directions, no permission from any king. They came by their own authority, their own desire, their own longing. They came in quiet, spreading no rumors, sparking no fears to lead to innocents' slaughter, to their sister Rachel's inconsolable lamentation.

Wise women also came, and they brought useful gifts: water for labor's washing, fire for warm illumination, a blanket for swaddling.

Wise women also came, at least three of them, holding Mary in the labor, crying out with her in the birth pangs, breathing ancient blessings into her ear.

Wise women also came, and the went, as wise women always do, home a different way.
I love that.

I sat in church as one of my relatives lay in an upstate hospital having brain surgery. There was no moment (as in regular Sunday services) to go light a candle in the side chapels, but I tried to imagine I could harness the love and good will of the hundreds of people sitting with me and send him that positive energy. The closest I can come to prayer.

Monday, December 24, 2007

And, Christmas Eve

Once again, I sound like a self-centered whiny bitch, who finds herself surrounded by trouble and just wants to escape. Not true. It's hard here because I am anxious not to write too much about serious and real things, out of fear that someone involved stumbles across this and suddenly can see inside my head. But when I make passing references to big things, I sound flip and uncaring. And I care. I do.

Part of what I am also trying to express is that when I am not at the center of something, when I'm not the person who gets hit the hardest, I find it hard to talk about it without feeling like I'm trampling on someone else's emotions. I don't want to co-opt anyone else's story. (At least not here. I'll likely fictionalize the hell out of it when the dust settles.)

Is co-opt the right word? My brain is fuzzy this morning.

Observation: since I had my Christmas celebrations already, I am suffering the post-holiday weight gain before most people have indulged in behavior that will cause theirs. Confession: I have to come to terms with the fact that my little "backslide" in weight loss isn't going to stop easily, and I need to take it in hand and STOP IT. I lost 55 pounds last year and have now gained 20 back - slowly, over time, with a pound here and a pound there, all the while convinced that I just needed to buckle down for a bit and I could control it and get back on track. But those moments of control would be followed by more moments of carelessness, so three pounds forward were followed by four back, and now here I am. New clothes that don't fit, winter coats that are too tight. I can't do this. I need to move forward again.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Christmas Eve Eve

I just returned from an early family Christmas weekend. I don't know how to feel right now - just exhausted I guess. Sad. Guilty for the simplicity of my life. Conflicted over feeling happy to be alone again. Some serious things happened - a relative in another town, rushed into the hospital with a potentially life-threatening condition; a long-feared diagnosis for the future prospects of a developmentally challenged child; a what-can-you-call-it-but-a breakdown by an adult clearly struggling to accept either of those events. (I don't think he would call it that, but when someone is suddenly spouting things in anger that you can sense have been held inside for years, you have to think something is breaking.) I am not at the center of any of these things, yet they touch and torment those around me.

Fortunately, a phone call just now seems to indicate that the life-threatening illness is possibly less so.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So, I've written about the apartment/house dreams, where I suddenly find myself with additional rooms I never knew I had. Another common dream is the "getting home" dream, in which I am somewhere (usually my mother's, although usually not her real-life place) and I have no way to get home. My ride has disappeared, or decided to stick around longer, or changed plans and is going elsewhere before heading home. And I need to get home. There is usually scheming to get to a train station (never a bus or a plane, always a train) because for some reason I can't just ask someone to drive me, I have to go with them when they are going shopping and then suggest they turn past the train station on the way. (It's not like I'm being held prisoner, more like I am an inconvenience and don't want to impose.) Last night I dreamed that I made it to the train station with an hour to spare, and so was sitting around in the crowded waiting room, waiting and reading, and then realized that there was a line forming by the track so I got up to stand there and it dawned on me - I didn't yet have a ticket. I raced back to the ticket windows and the lines were hideously long and I knew that I would never get through the line in time to make the train, which was now coming in just a few minutes. I began to cry, and woke up.

I think the underlying theme is typical - you think you are prepared for something and then you find, at the last minute, that something has derailed your plans, and you have to scramble. It's the fear of being thrown off course. It's the same as walking into a classroom to find out there's a test you didn't study for. Or walking into a room and discovering a party you aren't dressed for. My fears just involve lack of control over transportation, since I don't drive and so am dependent on both the generosity of others, and the whims of public transportation.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Atonement and Weekends

That was a weirdly quiet weekend. I seem to spend so many of them juggling errands, running in and out of the apartment in carefully orchestrated sets of activities ("if I drop off the laundry on the way to the gym, I can pick up groceries on the way back"), and making decisions based on the start time of movies. This weekend? I got things done, but also lay on the sofa to watch an afternoon movie (my excuse was I felt like a nap and figured I'd fall asleep, which of course I didn't) and went into Manhattan and back in an hour and a half just to buy a pair of jeans (which suddenly became a pair of jeans, five pairs of underwear, two long-sleeved t shirts, and a knit dress - thank you, pretty mirror in the Gap fitting room.)

But as usual, it's Monday morning and I begin to notice all the things I want to do next weekend, the things I will not do then, either, like: clean out the bottom drawer of my file cabinet; clean out my t shirt drawer; finally post the rest of my sellable junk on ebay; sort through piano music and knitting books; and pull out the white paint and touch up the bathroom cabinet where I dripped hair color to create what is now a very disturbing-looking brown stain.

I did manage to pack two more boxes - my CDs (though part of me keeps thinking I should purge them, as I have copied them all digitally) and another box of books. (Box #8! And I probably have two more to fill.) I am feeling a bit more confident that this coop deal will go through, although I can't figure exactly what has changed in my head.

Ahhh, and I saw "Atonement" on Saturday. I read the book and loved it, and the movie is a faithful adaptation of the novel, so much so, in fact, that I began to remember what time of year it was when I read it, where I was, and what I was snacking on. (I have pretty strong taste-memories with books. I clearly recall reading the entire series of Black Stallion books while eating roasted soy nuts when I was about 12.) The movie is beautiful, visually stunning, and not in the sweeping landscape way, but in small close camera angles that are nearly poetic. And sound - there is a theme of the clicking of typewriter keys which is echoed in footsteps, the flicking of lighters, the ticking of clocks.

I was about to say the acting was quite good, too, but funny thing is I don't remember it that way. The younger actress playing Briony is very good, and it's eerie how much she looks like the actress playing the older version, not to mention how both of their features are echoed in Vanessa Redgrave, playing Briony in her last years. James McAvoy is nice to look at, and does a serviceable job, and Keira Knightly manages to reign in her bizarre mouth mannerisms enough to make me forget it's her. But unlike some other of my favorite films ("Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," "No Country for Old Men," "Starting Out in the Evening") this one belongs to no one, not one actor, not two. It belongs, it seems to me, to the story itself, and to the storyteller, the filmmaker, the cinematographer.

I suppose it's getting time for me to start thinking about my favorite films of 2007. Everyone else will, if they haven't already. There are a few more I need to see, but I have some days off this week and next. (I was supposed to be on vacation all this week, as I have days I'll use, but a meeting came up for today. It's one I could miss, but politically, it's one I shouldn't, as being invited is in and of itself a career move.)

Oh, it's cold outside.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Frosty the neighborhood

A thin coating of snow, announced repeatedly through the night by the scrape of snow plow blades along the street. It's not snowing now. We are promised sleet, rain, ice - miserable whether you drive or just shuffle along the slippery sidewalk. A day for staying inside, wrapping Christmas gifts, ordering more online, calculating which websites still offer shipping in time for the holiday.

I found something, the perfect gift, and I'm too late. I think I'll do it anyway, as this is a gift I need to ship myself to relatives across the country, and it can follow my other gifts, like a sweet dessert. Check it out. You download their software, which is a basic desktop publishing product with defined templates to create your own books: photo books, travel books, scrapbooks, cookbooks, etc. But the beauty is that you then upload them to the site and order professionally printed copies (in hardcover or softcover) for reasonable prices. And it's quality - I saw a sample at work.

My immediate scheme was to create a children's book for my nephew using pictures that I've taken of him over the years. A story about his adventures in Brooklyn. I think it will be fun when it's finished. It reminds me in a sad, oh-god-I'm-so-old way, of a book we ordered for his father, my youngest brother, when he was about the same age. It was sold in one of those mall kiosks, and you filled out a form with simple information - child's name, sibling's name, street name, pet name, etc. The company then dropped the names into a cheesy looking typed page that was bound opposite generic illustrations. I think it took 4-6 weeks for delivery. My mom still has the book.

I'm rushing to finish this one for Christmas, and I think the beauty is the photographs (mostly nice ones that my brother took at the aquarium, although a few that I took in a local park.) The story itself, the text, is bothering me because it seems boring in and of itself. I used to think writing children's books would be easy, and then years ago I took a course, and realized how difficult it can be. You have few words - both in number and accessibility - to tell a tale that needs to engage a reader with an even shorter attention span than yours.

So I'll finish the book today. And wrap some presents. And maybe do some additional packing - I'm still hesitant to move forward too quickly, because even though things are moving along with the new coop, nothing is yet solid. We're in the appraisal stage, preparation for the bank to issue a commitment letter, and then I can send my application to the board. Then my heart will jump into my throat and remain there until I'm approved.

I want to go to the gym this morning, but I imagine that the weather will slow down its opening (they tend to be late on a perfect day), so am not racing out the door for 8 am.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's got to be the morning after

Last night I had a client event, arrived home tired and cranky at about 9:30, undressed and lay down on the bed and turned on the TV. Mistake. If I choose the sofa, I will eventually get up, pass the bathroom, and brush my teeth. I just zonked out. Falling asleep without brushing your teeth might sound gross, but it is worse for me, as something happens (bacteria? it's all too sickening to think about too much) and causes my acid reflux to flare up, and I wake up a few hours later in intense discomfort. My throat feels like it is closing up, I can't swallow, and I start to choke if I don't prop my head up in a position that doesn't help trying to fall asleep again.

I can get up and brush my teeth, and even take a Zantac, but neither is able to stop what's already in motion quickly enough to let me really sleep. And so the entire night is cat naps, tossing and turning, fitful sleep.

(It doesn't help that my dinner at the event consisted of cheese, cheese, and more cheese; a handful of grapes, and a few hors d'oeuvres (smoked salmon something, goat cheese pastry, shrimp in chili sauce, mini blini with caviar.) Oh, yeah, I'm sure that didn't help. At least I drank nothing but diet soda.)

(Yes, I can use embedded parentheses. In fact, I'm in a very parenthetical mood this morning.)

I have been planning events for a decade and a half and still can't spell hors d'oeuvres confidently. It doesn't help that spell check never recognizes it, even when I'm right.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Three films: Starting Out, Grace, Savages

The last three movies I've seen have all been serious, emotional dramas, with strong performances that transformed what could have been melodramatic mush in lesser hands. "Starting Out in the Evening" accomplishes this with Frank Langella's powerfully quiet performance as Leonard Schiller, a writer methodically completing a novel while disapproving of his daughter's (Lili Taylor) life choices. In comes Lauren Ambrose, a cocky grad student writing her thesis on Leonard, and she turns things upside down in exactly the way you'd expect but at the same time, in ways you would never expect. Frank Langella is sublime, but I also had a soft spot for Lili Taylor's complicated romance with "that guy" (you know, the one who is perfect for you and completely wrong for you, all at the same time.)

"Grace is Gone" is John Cusack's turn to put away the smug boyish grin and make himself into a worn-down father of two pre-teen daughters, and a husband of a woman serving in Iraq. From the first moment he lumbers on the screen, it's obvious that he has absorbed the character physically; his Stanley walks with a near limp, shoulders rolled, shuffling along. Early in the film he gets the news that his wife has been killed, and the remainder of the film is his struggle to give this news to his daughters. Strong performances by the two young actresses, both of whom, according to imdb, are in their first film roles. The movie is, naturally, heart-wrenching, although never preachy. (Mary Kay Place oddly shows up at the end, sitting at the funeral with the family. It made me wonder if she had been slated to play Cusack's character's mother, a woman who is referred to but never seen in the film.)

"The Savages" is a movie that should have resonated with me right now because my family recently placed my grandmother in a nursing home, after her dementia became too much for her to be alone. In the film, Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman are siblings who have to do the same for their estranged father. But sitting in the theater I was more overwhelmed with the thought that someday it could be me and my siblings struggling to find the right care for our own father, a man who has been single since his divorce from our mother nearly thirty years ago. How do you start caring for someone who you never really cared for before? That's a crass way of looking at it, and the film avoids falling into the "he never loved us, let's let him rot" hole, instead delivering a sad and funny story of family obligation, neediness, and loss. Linney is especially wonderful - but isn't she always?

(A strange movie moment: in one scene, Hoffman's character's girlfriend says he always cries when he eats her eggs. Cut to eggs frying in a pan and her serving them to him. Hoffman chews and tears begin to fall, and of course, the audience begins to laugh, because we were set up to find it funny. Suddenly an indignant voice rings out in the theater: "Do you think that's funny? Why are you laughing?" I don't know when I've heard an audience member admonish the crowd's reaction before, although I wish I'd had her balls when I sat through catcalls during "A History of Violence.")

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I had some time between the gym and church today, since the gym had hot water and so I didn't have to go home to shower. I wandered to the block where my potential-new apartment is, wondering if I'd run into the owners. It felt a bit like stalking, just walking past the building, glancing up innocently into the foyer, wondering if they were home.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Toiling away

I have to work this weekend. I have a conference call today at 8 am, about a proposal that is due next week and so I will spend my weekend working on it. Oddly, this isn't upsetting me as it usually would. Maybe because I had a productive week and I don't feel as behind as I often do - or more likely, just on a high from being so productive and getting a lot done. More likely, though, because the person asking for my help is someone I like and respect, and because the nature of this fire drill (last minute rush) is for once, clearly not anyone's fault, and there are five or six of us who are giving up portions of the weekend to make this happen. There is power in feeling you're not suffering alone.

Dream #543.

Another dream in an apartment, this time the coop I am in contract to buy, at least that's where I knew I was, although it wasn't very much like the apartment I'd seen. I had people with me, visiting, nebulous familiar people who were my aunt and brother, mother and sister-in-law, and yet none of them specifically. Somehow we were staying there for a few days, like we were house-sitting, because I wasn't yet the owner and yet they had given us free reign to hang out. Like all of my dreams, the house suddenly sprouted new rooms, including a glassed in porch that I wandered out onto only to discover that the wooden floor was missing slats of wood, with a large gap in the middle about three feet across. I thought this must be why they hadn't shown it earlier, because it's flawed, but now it's just an "extra" with "potential." And then there was another room, somewhat like a second bedroom, although without a door, just a turn at the end of the hallway into a large square space. And out the kitchen windows I could see the kitchen windows of the building next door, mirrors of mine, and then noticed they were not windows but sliding doors, and I opened mine and looked across, and at first we were separated by an alley of a foot or so, but then the people on the other side opened their sliding doors and our apartments were connected, and the walls between us seemed to disappear, and their cats started wandering over and one of their guests came into my side and opened the refrigerator but I didn't say anything because I was just house-sitting - or maybe I wasn't supposed to be there at all. And I tried to figure out how to put the walls back up so we'd be in our own apartments again, and so I could see how much of this suddenly huge massive kitchen was mine.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Which is worse?

Walking into the only available shower in the gym locker room and finding a discarded band-aid on the floor? Or, walking into the showers to find that the gym has no hot water?

At least all of us early-rising women were in the same (frigid) boat. We'd all arrived before the staff put up the "no hot water" sign, so weren't given a chance to strategize (should I cut my workout short so I can go home and shower?) We were stuck, sweaty and dirty, a ticking clock reminding us how late to work we would be if we didn't get into that falling ice chamber quickly.

These are the best times to bond, when you're miserable together. And, a cold shower when it's 21 degrees outside is pretty miserable.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Reason number 24 I need to move.

So, I noticed a leak under my kitchen sink. I pulled out everything I keep under there (cleaning supplies, trash bags, etc.) and discovered that the pipes coming from the drain are wrapped in duct tape. (Yes, I have a landlord who is generous when it comes to not raising the rent, but stingy when it comes to home repairs. )

I don't think I've ever had a plumber in my kitchen during my nearly 14 year tenure here, so I assume the tape has been there for at least as long as I have. I touched it to confirm it was wet, and I felt the metal underneath the tape crumble in my fingertips.

I had a sink full of dirty dish water. After contemplating the hassle of siphoning it out into a bucket (I have a fish tank so am equipped with siphon hose and accessories), I decided to place a plastic pan under the pipe, open the drain and see what would happen.

And the water drained, amazingly with just a little leak, even though the water was basically exiting through a tube of tape, not an actual pipe. Obviously, this is not a permanent state of affairs, and so I must now call my landlord and ask for a plumber. Depending on his mood, he will either be calm and apologetic, or curse me and tell me how expensive plumbers are.

* * *

I hate living here. It's not just the shoddy state of the apartment and the building, although that's a big part of it. Why am I still here? It's incredibly cheap. Over the years, I've toyed with the idea of finding another place, a nicer place that would cost me more, but my family and friends always convinced me that was insane. (Note that both friends and family have also lived in this building at various times, drawn here by the ability to live dirt cheap in a great neighborhood.) They reminded me that I could live here, save money, and then I'd have more money to buy.

Of course, despite being somewhat frugal, my ability to save was outpaced by the boom this neighborhood has gone through in the last decade. And when I finally decide that I am ready, that it will never be the "perfect" time, I find myself looking just when others are halting, when the mortgage crisis is having an impact on the real estate market. Is this the wrong time? I don't think so, but time will tell.

I bring all of this up because it's hard to justify why I am still here, when I am still so miserable here. I feel like I will never be out of this place, and now that I'm stuck in limbo (apartment still half-packed, in contract on another apartment that might also fall through for reasons I have yet to anticipate, and then, finally, the hell of the actual move - thinking of movers bringing my piano from one third floor walk up to another makes me nauseous), it's just that much harder. I want it to be spring, and it all to be behind me.

And I'm scared that it will be spring and I'll still be sitting here as yet another piece of infrastructure in this building crumbles around me.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Had a bad morning at work yesterday. One of the executives in my department insulted me in an email, in a really unprofessional way. It sounds petty, but it hit me in the gut, because people don't behave that way generally. Others were cc'd on the email, and I knew I wasn't overreacting by the way they came to me hoping I was okay. (One even begging me not to quit.) It was okay; of course I immediately went to the internal job postings (almost none of which would remove me from this person's team) but the best medicine was talking to someone else who deals with this person every day.

It's startling how, in a company that is really supportive of its people (not just talking about being supportive, but demonstrating it daily), that one bad apple can drop in so insidiously. I guess part of the reason he stands out so strongly is that it's rare to have someone there who's such a dick. I wish I could believe that his behavior will mean something to people who make decisions about keeping someone like him. I suppose I should go to HR and complain in order to add to the pile of "incidents" in his file, but I don't want to make it into a bigger deal than it is. And I don't want him to take it out on me if he finds out. This, of course, is exactly how they tell you not to think, especially in all of those employment harassment training classes we attend.

Deep breath. Today is another day.

Monday, December 03, 2007

On, Dasher

And now, it's the slippery slide to Christmas. Each week at work is filled with holiday events and parties, (not all mean fun - some of these are ones I am organizing for clients), year end activities, and slowly dwindling numbers of co-workers. This week, of course, there is Hanukkah, and so some will be out of the office, and next week starts the exodus of those making long trips (London! Hawaii! Greece!!)

As usual, my holiday exists in small bubbles, slipped in between that of siblings' in-laws. But I have some family coming down to the city on Christmas Day, for the rest of that week. Although they are not staying with me, I'll go with them to the Nutcracker and likely do some other kid-friendly holiday stuff.

Yesterday's snow has been washed away by rain.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I love waking up to snow falling outside my window. Especially on a Sunday, when it's not wrecking havoc on most people's commutes. I want a cold blustery day that I can spend inside, warm and safe and dry.

This picture is from two years ago, but it's almost exactly what it looks like now.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Another dream

I dreamed I was in my mother's house and it was nighttime and my aunt was sleeping over, but one of my mother's dogs (not her dog in real life, more like my brother's real life dog) would not stop whining and so my aunt called me into the room and asked me to do something with the dog. I brought her back into my room and set her down on the floor, but she kept on sniffing around and whining and looking all crazed at the floor and the walls and under the bed. And then I looked down, the half-dark, and there was some kind of dim shape scooting across the floor and I freaked out, even though I couldn't make out what it was - mouse? bat? frog? (seriously I became fixated on it being a frog) and the dog was ignoring it but instead going after something else in the corner of the room. I knew I couldn't get out of bed because I would have to walk barefoot across that dark floor and risk stepping on something, and so I sat up in my bed calling for the dog. "Rosemary, Rosemary!" (I don't know any dogs named Rosemary. Or any people, now that I think about it.)

I woke up and wondered if I had been calling out loud in my sleep. When you've lived alone for most of your life, you never know if you actually talk in your sleep. My mother does, I've heard her. My niece once told me I do, but I have no backup evidence.

Still... why "Rosemary?"
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