Wednesday, April 30, 2008

With the pigeons

I am on the roof deck of my building, eating lunch on a working-from-home day. It's gorgeous today - cooler than last week, but sunny, and clear. (Although slightly overcast would mean I could see my computer screen better. (Midday overhead sun is not helping.) But I can get wireless up here! I'm on my work laptop, which hates my home network (something to do with the security settings - it connects but with limited connectivity and I'm too lazy to figure it out because I can easily connect to someone else's for free), but if I could access my own, I'd get excellent strength (which I will, on my personal laptop.)

I received many compliments on my apartment at and after the party. I know I am very happy with it, but it's still nice to know that others think it's great as well. We came up to the roof deck that night, too, but it was too cold. Still, you could see the lights of downtown Manhattan very clearly.

I am not getting much work done, but technically this is lunch time.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

After the party

Did I say "a little hungover?" Yeah.

I had my long-anticipated (well, by me, if not by you) party last night. It worked out well - a good mix of friends from different points in my life that combined into the right number for an apartment my size. A little cross-conversation, but mostly people stuck to their native associations. (Suddenly I'm an anthropologist studying my own friends.) Many people brought wine (I have enough for several more parties) and a few brought housewarming gifts (which I'd tried to dissuade - nice, lovely thoughts, but not necessary.) I made enough food to keep people happy, but not so much that my refrigerator is crammed with leftovers (my usual mistake.)

One of the best parts was when everyone left and I did a quick cleanup. I filled a garbage bag and tossed bottles into a recycling bag and carried them down to the street. I loaded the dishwasher and turned it on and went to sleep. Woke up and almost all of my cleaning is done.

I had this grand idea of drinking only diet coke, but no, I had several glasses of wine. Not many, although I found myself half-awake much of the night, feeling like I needed to drink water but not having the energy to get out of bed to refill the glass on my bedside table. I think some of my hangover is lack of sleep.

But the rest is wine.

Come back, little medusa

Netflix has sucked me in again. I'm sitting here, a bit hungover, listening to light rain fall outside my window, thinking how nice to have a Sunday with no expectations. I can lie on the couch and watch TV all day if I want to. (I can feel my fingers wrapped around the remote as if I'm already there.)

So into my inbox pops a "We want you back" email from Netflix, promising that it will be better this time, that it's changed, that things will work out if I just give it another chance. I quit when I switched to the DVR and my home-viewing options expanded, especially since I was seeing so many movies in the theater that my Netflix queue was pitifully empty of all but the most obscure foreign documentary or ignored indie comedy, none of which even I had the desire to watch. (The other part of it is that I am someone who wants what I want when I want it; the urge to see a film based on a review or even the blurb on the back of the box disappears by the time the red envelope makes its way into my mailbox two days later.)

But I am trying to save money, and $4.99 a month is much less than a full-price movie. So maybe I'll slow down my in theater consumption and sprawl out on that couch more often. I filled my queue with films I missed in the theater (yes, there were some!) and added some I want to see again for good measure.

Now of course, my interest is up and I don't want to wait. Sigh. I should have just walked to the video store and paid my $3.25.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Odds, ends, and others

It must have been windy last night and this morning, as I was serenaded again by the melodious wind chimes above my bedroom window. It didn't bother me as much, possibly because 1) I'd taken a sleep-aid or 2) I decided not to let it bother me. (We'll see how long that lasts.)

* * *

I finished reading "The Uses of Enchantment" by Heidi Julavits, and was disappointed. I wanted to like the book, which is a novel told in turn through three different narratives: in the "present" there is a young woman returning home for her estranged mother's funeral; in the past her therapist relates what happened during their sessions 14 years earlier that led to his losing his license; and further in the past, her description of what "might have happened" the night she disappeared as a teenager. Theoretically these three unite to create a full story, with the essential mystery of the truth capture somewhere within. Instead, I found that the layers of unreliable narration were more annoying than anything else - it was one of those instances where the structure overpowered whatever story lay beneath it.

* * *

Did I mention that I really loved "Sarah Marshall?"

I am stuck upstate in a conference center, on the night between the two days of a two-day planning meeting. It's not as bad as it sounds. Well, actually, it's worse than it sounds, but I knew it would be, was dreading it for weeks, and finally this morning woke up and vowed to not let it get to me. So I've been consciously upbeat and pleasant and trying my best to remain alert and awake, even if it's to check my treo for email surreptitiously or scribble random story ideas on the conference center notepad. I smile when the head of the department looks at me, and volunteer answers to questions when I know them. I even cracked a few jokes (successfully.)

I've been here before. Over eight years ago, because I'm that old, although it feels like yesterday. When I was here, for a meeting when I worked for another company, I met a man from an office in another city, and we hit it off. Something started, here, that lasted several months and left me with a broken heart. Being here is odd.

And I think, wow, I never would have thought on that trip that I'd be back here, eight years later, still single, not having spoken to him in seven years.

But where will I be eight years from now?

* * *

I need to sleep.

Thank You, Sarah Marshall

I feel that the last string of movies I've seen have all resulted in mediocre reviews, and maybe it's not so much the films as it is me. Maybe nothing will satisfy me any more. Maybe my movie-love is broken.

And then, I saw "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," and friends, I loved it. I even laughed out loud - once so much that I started to cry. (Paul Rudd is a genius.)

More later.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Smart People

I haven't given you the privilege of hearing my take on last week's movie choice, "Smart People." I know that you wait breathlessly for my opinion before paying to see anything, and I apologize for this spring being such a disappointment - but let's be honest, nothing is going to match last year's 62 film record. It's not just the move and new apartment taking up time, but the reality that with my increased monthly expenses I really shouldn't be dropping $100 a month at the movies.

(Don't panic; there is a solution. The neighborhood theater has matinee showings - even on weekends - and I don't really need to buy the popcorn and soda. I can smuggle in a bottle of diet coke and some low-cal, satisfying snack. Right?)

Man, I love popcorn.

"Smart People" was a disappointment, okay? That's why I'm procrastinating about writing about it. I think it partially collapsed under the weight of its own buzz - poised too neatly to be the next indie darling, with the added advantage of having cribbed stars from two of the most recent (Thomas Hayden Church from "Sideways" and Ellen Page from "Juno.") And Dennis Quaid, who is a solid, enjoyable actor, and of course, Miss Sarah Jessica Parker who has her own devout following (beyond the Gawker commenters who knock each other down to come up with another way to liken her to a horse.)

I loved "Sex and the City" in its heyday, but I have not loved an SJP movie since "Miami Rhapsody" where she did a near pitch-perfect female Woody Allen, complete with Mia Farrow at her side (albeit as mom, not lover.) Throw in Antonio Banderas as a sexy nursing home nurse and the always fun to watch Carla Gugino as a cheating newlywed, and you're off and running.

But when I think of SJP's post "Sex" career, it's "The Family Stone" (one of the most disappointing romantic comedies of that or any year, with SJP as an uptight city bitch so over-the-top she wears a business suit and high heels to her husband's family holiday) or "Failure to Launch" which boasts an entire film overshadowed by the sight of Terry Bradshaw's naked ass. (Not a metaphor, sadly.)

And now we put SJP and her heels and her black bra in a doctor's white coat. (Apparently, that bit in her "Sex" contract about not showing her breasts which resulted in playing every sex scene still wearing her bra is still intact, as she rolls away from Dennis Quaid and there are the damned black bra straps. Seriously, there was no risk of boob flesh in that shot, so the straps were just distracting.) I actually heard an interview with SJP where she claimed that she liked doing roles like the doctor, where she could dress like a "normal person" and not Carrie Bradshaw. Honey, small town emergency room doctors do not wear tight sleeveless dresses and four inch pumps. (Unless they are in a porn film.) Just because you aren't wearing the big fake flowers or the gold "Carrie" necklace or the short-shorts, doesn't mean you are dressing like Everywoman.

Oh, the film itself? You know, I think it suffered unfairly in my mind because I happened to watch "The Squid and the Whale" on cable the night before, which is another film about a distant snobby intellectual professor struggling with relationships with his children. It's a very different film, I know, but close enough that I kept accusing Dennis Quaid of doing a Jeff Bridges impression. And yet Quaid is still decent, as is Page as his daughter and Church as his adopted brother, but the film itself just doesn't hang together, and at the end you're wondering why anyone bothered to make it. Not good, not bad, just blah.

Friday, April 18, 2008


So in the past few days I've gotten three calls from companies who claim I signed up on their website for more information on their services. One guy even laughed at me when I started yelling at him that I was on the "Do Not Call" list and he'd better not call me again, because he said he was sitting there looking at the form I had filled out. (He didn't seem to understand that just because it was filled out, doesn't mean that it was me.)

Today when one called I asked her for more info, explaining I hadn't signed up for a call about a home security system, but that I needed to find out more so I could try to press charges for identity theft. She read the mailing address (my old one) and an email address which was my full name at And of course, my current (and old) phone number.

I tried looking up the gmail address - according to google, it isn't a valid email address. So at least this person has not created an email account pretending to be me.

Instead, they've just taken time to visit random sites and fill out forms so I'll get annoying phone calls. Is this the 21st century version of ordering a dozen pizzas to be delivered to an unsuspecting someone's house? Have I been punk'd?

Who would do this to me? (And should I worry that there is more to follow, like real stuff, like accessing bank accounts and credit cards?)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Was Sunday night was exceptionally windy? Because I don't hear the wind chimes any more, and they are still there. My theory now is that, since they are hanging from a telephone wire, that the first night the pigeons kept landing on the wire or knocking into the chimes themselves as they passed through the alley, but now their behavior has adjusted and they are gone. If so, bravo, it worked, and only caused one night of inconvience for me.

I don't know. I'm stumped. But sleeping better.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Am I Just a Freak?

Last night I woke to the sound of wind chimes - loud wind chimes. I thought maybe a tornado was sweeping the block, rattling the ones I usually hear gently swaying in the distance. No, not the case. These are new, loud, right outside my bedroom window. I moved into the living room to the couch.

In the morning, I still could hear them. I stuck my head out the window and there are the offenders, dangling just outside the window above mine. Brand new, shiny, metal, big. I'm guessing this is maybe a way to scare away pigeons? I hate pigeons on my windowsill, but I hate being unable to sleep more.

It's clearly not bothering the neighbors who hung this thing outside their own window. But I need to say something. Surely I am not the only person who would be bothered by the sound. Am I?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Good morning

Now that I have given up a TV in the bedroom, I'm pretty good at falling asleep to a book, and it's only more and more rare that the urge comes to fall asleep with the TV one. When I do, I pull open the sofa and sleep in the living room. Last night was one of those nights - I stayed up for most of SNL and slept soundly until 8 am this morning.

But I'm never happy. Although sleeping until 8 is a luxury I wish I could indulge more, I still am sitting here re-calculating the timing of my day. I wanted to be at Target when it opened.

Oh well.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

As random as it gets

My new bed has a box spring, something I haven't had in many years. Seeing it peek out from under my quilt, I was reminded of the reason that bed-skirts were invented. No problem, I had a Macy's coupon, and found a nice plain white eyelet-edged one on sale. Trouble is my bed now looks like its slip is showing.

* * *

For years I have kept a fuzzy videotape of a TV show I loved, "Flying Blind," which aired in 1992 during the early years of Fox. It starred a pre-Duchovny Tea Leoni and a pre-Ellen Clea Lewis (my god, get that woman on a new comedy series), and featured quick-fire comedy dialog that I've yet to see since. (Typically along the lines of, "I haven't been so embarrassed since the guy I was dating made me hide in the shower when his wife unexpectedly came home early when her girls-night-out was canceled after the Hot Stud strip club was closed for serving minors.") (Not a real bit, I made it up, but that's the rhythm.)

It was canceled after one season (apparently viewers couldn't buy the premise that the hot Tea would stay with the geeky guy played by Corey Parker), and has never been on DVD. But every now and then I search, and recently found someone who is selling DVDs of the series, which he illegally created from videotapes. So I bought one, and it's as you expect - the quality is all over the place, often nearly impossible to see, sometimes pretty clear. (Watching on a large screen LCD doesn't help.) But the jokes are still there, and the haunting theme song ("A Million Miles Away" sung by David Byrne"), and the memories.

* * *

There is a blind man on my block, with a seeing-eye dog. His dog doesn't seem very good. He's always asking it to do things that it doesn't seem to understand (like "find the entrance.") I feel strange just walking by when it looks like he is having trouble, but I think it's one of those situations where he needs the dog to learn so that it will do it right next time. I know that when a seeing-eye dog is with its (sighted) trainer, you are requested not to speak to or touch the dog, since he's working. I imagine this is the case here.

On the other hand, the guy might really just want someone to jump in and help.

* * *

The pigeons on my air conditioners are driving me insane. They dance and strut as if they like the sound of their talons striking the metal. (Note: I don't.) They call out to each other in that moaning wail that sounds like they are dying. I may have to buy plastic owls to set on the tops of the air conditioners.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Waiting, waiting

Not a good sign when you walk into your doctor's waiting room:
All seats are taken.

Another bad sign:
The woman sitting next to you is not only sound asleep, but snoring.

But, let's play detective, and search out more clues:
The receptionist is so tired of being asked "How much longer?" that she's busying herself making random calls around the hospital, making idle chitchat. "What are you having? Okay, I'll have the penne, too." This is not her usual behavior (nor, obviously, your first time in the office) as she is always very professional and serious, if a little timid.

The stack of patient files in the "Waiting" rack is so thick that she's had to pile some on the chair next to her.

You get up to use the restroom and your seat is taken before you finish flushing.

You have a cold and only brought four tissues with you, and you've used them all up.

There are no magazines here, but the colorful pamphlet entitled, "What is Hepatitis C?" (in both English and Spanish) has made its way through most of the other patients' hands.

One woman reads the entire thing while muttering to herself out loud.

Your consultation time with your doctor winds up being 2 hours and 7 minutes shorter than the time you spent waiting to see him.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Reality check

So, there's this woman I work with. She was dieting when I was, two years ago. She lost a tremendous amount of weight and has kept it off. She's now engaged, a few months away from a wedding date. I don't know if she was dating him before, or if she met/fell in love post-weight loss.

But I still feel like a failure.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Okay, so you know the coop that I was in contract on, and whose board turned me down? It was listed shortly after with a new broker, on the market for awhile, lowered its price, and then went into contract. I stopped checking the listing, but wandered by out of curiosity today, and found that it's back on the market! An open house is scheduled for Sunday. So, did the board turn down another prospective buyer?

I feel really sorry for that buyer, but I still feel a little happy about it. I think that's okay, right?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Thing #31 I don't understand

Why do people buy baseball caps and leave the shiny metallic sticker on when they wear it? Isn't that some kind of point-of-sale thing, like a price tag, that is meant to be removed?

Is it a status thing?

Home, sweet

Away from my new apartment for a whole weekend! I always enjoy returning home from a few days' away, and last night it was even better than it used to be. It's a good apartment for Sunday night relaxation/preparation for busy work week: calm, quiet, clean, mine.

(There are, of course, noises I could live without. Now it's the sound of the upstairs bed creaking. Is this really how apartment living is supposed to be - you know whenever your neighbors are getting it on? Or do I really just have bad luck with neighbors who are unusually loud? (Or, in this case, have extraordinarily loud beds?))

Friday, April 04, 2008

Matchmaker, matchmaker

I think I've mentioned that I signed up at a singles website, years ago, a hippy-green-organic one, that was supposed to be my remedy for the terribly-materialistic ones out there. Only of course I discovered that I am not hippy enough, that I fall into a weird chasm that doesn't fit well with either. The hippy guys are just too weird for me.

And, apparently old. I haven't received an email from that site in months (I don't have a picture or a paid membership, so men can only send me a "hello" message which I have to accept in order to have a real dialog), but one came in last night. A 67 year old man. Now, that's older than my mother. The same age as my father - wait, no, checked the photo again, and it's not dad. But come on. I know that 40 year old men think that they should be able to get 22 year old women, but don't they ever grow out of it? I guess not, or we 40-something women would be up shit's creek.

Oh, wait.

Ah, cynicism. But seriously, I just checked and the previous two emails I received were from men 57 and 55. I guess that's better, but... why is it so difficult to find an age appropriate man whose okay with my (which is the same as his) age? I don't know any 20-something women (and I work with many) who think that a 40-something man is ideal for her. In fact, they grimace and do some of the same math I did above with Mr. 67 (hi, dad!) So what gives?

I have to update my profile, add a photo, post it on another site. There must be one that's more middle of the road. Maybe I'll say I'm looking for 20-something men - now that there's a hip name for that ("cougar!") and Demi Moore made it cool and sexy, maybe I'll score.

PS My father is currently dating an "older" woman. I don't know how much older, but since he has taken pains to announce it, I'm guessing he's no stranger to the notion that his playing field extends significantly below his current age, according to online (real life) expectations.

PPS Sigh.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Working from Home

I went to the gym, and then came home and turned on my computer. I haven't showered or combed my hair, although I did take off my sweaty gym clothes and put on pj bottoms and a sweatshirt. I've gone in and out of the apartment three times to do laundry in the basement (which requires walking outside.)

I figure I save on subway fare, dry cleaning costs (and soap and shampoo, haha), but I wonder if it's offset by the amount of electricity I am using to power this computer.


One if my neighbors has had me confused, as I've seen him coming and going in two different apartments, and was half convinced there were two guys who just looked a lot alike. But today I saw him leave one apartment and unlock the door to the other. He emerged with a little dog on a leash. A dog-walking neighbor! Now that is a perk.

Makes the thought of getting a dog that much more of a possibility...

Cubicle dilemmas

Suddenly one of my co-workers has decided that I am a person she can go to for advice on handling difficult people. I don't know where this came from.

It would be painful enough if she just asked my advice in passing, but she comes into my cubicle and settles in and tells me a long story while I'm hyper aware of my idling computer (unanswered emails, unfinished spreadsheets, half-composed invitations) and the fact that neighbors on all sides can overhear. But there's something about her delivery that makes me think she is fully aware that people are listening, that it's part of the reason for her visit. Sometimes it's almost like she's testing me, to see what I will say, which is clearly my own paranoia, but still creeps in there.

I never have a straight answer, because the simple truth is that she and I are very different people, with extremely different styles, and anything that works for me will never work for her.
Some of the situations she finds herself in would never happen to me - I am not that aggressive or forceful or bold. Of course I still have personality conflicts with people at work, but they aren't in the same vein has hers, and so it's like asking a long distance runner what she thinks is the best way to hold your breath under water.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Reality check

I am in a vicious cycle. Each morning I pick out clothes that are too tight on me, and admonish myself for my bad eating habits the day before. I vow to do better, make my healthy lunch, pack my low calorie snacks, and head out the door. By noon my resolve is slipping - if an alternate lunch offer arises, I take it. If someone brings cookies back from a meeting in the afternoon or leaves an open box of Belgian chocolate on top of the file cabinet, I indulge. I tell myself it's not going to kill me. I go home and begin to make my dinner, realize how far off the track I've gone during the day, and decide that since I've already blown it, I should just eat whatever and start fresh on calorie counting the next day.

I am angry and annoyed at myself. I don't know how to break this - by coming here and announcing it, am I doing something to take a stand? I am no longer the girl who lost 55 pounds. If I don't stop this madness I will be the girl who gained it all back, and that's not going to happen.

I am slapping myself into reality.
ring logo
Writing Desk Webring

Join | List | Random
Previous | Next
Powered by RingSurf
Locations of visitors to this page