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April 15, 2008

Flightiness

Last night I accidentally set a toaster oven on fire.

This morning I put in fresh contacts, but cialis professional my vision was still blurry. Took out the contacts, then removed the old ones that I forgot to take out last night.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:20 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

November 29, 2007

Birthday Surprise

Flowers from my sweetie

Here's to growing older and wiser, and maybe, just maybe, less of a wiseass.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:36 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

November 21, 2007

New Haircut

New haircut

It's been about a week now. I've been bored for a while, and that is dangerous when it comes to hair. So far, so good.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:48 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

November 12, 2007

Remembering to breathe

I'm hoping not to overextend myself as we head towards buy cialis professional the end of the year. Despite this worthy goal, within the past week I have had plans every day since Wednesday, which included movies (Blade Runner, Darjeeling Limited), a craft show hosted in someone's home, dinners with friends, and a birthday party for a one-year-old.

Today I have a reprieve, then over the next few days I have book group, a book group discussion featuring my writing teacher's books, and a haircut which unfortunately is going to clash with this month's blogger gathering. Another free evening, then Saturday we'll see some friends who are passing through on their way to spend Thanksgiving with family. (T-day is next week, already???) And while they're only going to have a peek at our place, I've been in a bit of a panic about my lack of progress with unpacking and getting rid of things. So that's been going on as well.

And now I have two dates marked for holiday parties, with at least one more to be added.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:41 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

November 10, 2007

Peeved

What will I be doing for my birthday? According to the condo association, I'll be spending the evening at our annual meeting. Rude rude rude.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:47 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 15, 2007

Spring is near

It's been so temperate here that I slept with order cialis professional the windows open last night. And by temperate, I mean that it was nearly 80 degrees in the condo, which for me is closer to being unpleasantly warm.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:21 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 28, 2007

A little too ironic

Tuesday the 16th was only slightly out of the ordinary for me. I had a long overdue doctor's appointment, the kind that involves wearing a paper gown and sticking one's heels cialis professional mastercard into stirrups. With that obligatory unpleasantness out of the way, I drove back home and took the train into work.

That weekend I received a message from Stylefeeder that I had won their daily random drawing for Tuesday, the 16th. Stylefeed allows you to build your own wishlist as you browse the web and come across items that strike your fancy. I noticed Paul's Stylefeed on his blog, and decided to try it out. So thanks to Stylefeeder and ultimately to Paul, I am now the happy owner of a brass handcuff lariat necklace, designed by Erica Weiner.

Getting home from work Friday night, there's a letter from the city police department, telling me that I was ticketed for turning on a red light. There are pictures of cialis professional online the car, turning while the light has been red for .77 seconds, completing the turn in under two seconds. I check the date and time in my calendar, and realize it was Tuesday the 16th, when I'd gone in for my appointment. In my rush to get home to park the car to get on the train to go to work, I turned just after the left turn arrow had disappeared and now I have my first ticket. Arrgh.

So in one day I have been ticketed and won a necklace featuring tiny handcuffs.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:32 PM | Blogos , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 11, 2007

Dipping in (as opposed to diving)

Life has settled down a bit. We were able to close on our home at the end of November, and we moved into the condo straight away. There was a lot of packing. Now there is a lot of unpacking, but we'll get there.

The living room has been painted a blue (Cosmos) and the office has been painted green (Sea of Grass). There's more painting in the works, but right now it's time for buy cialis professional touchups and for getting some bookshelves from Ikea. We still have our storage unit, so the sooner we can get the shelves the sooner we can get rid of the unit. Maybe this weekend, since I'll have Monday off for the MLK holiday - hurrah!

I've been reading a bit, catching up on shows like Entourage, Extras and season 3 of Battlestar Galactica (yessss!). Thank goodness for rerun marathons. Our fourth Tivo has been working - so far. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

As for blogging, the break was nice, but it's nicer to be back.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:23 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 19, 2006

Irresistible Force, Meet Immovable Object

Boo Hiss the First: The closing, set for the end of October, has now been extended to December 30, due to construction delays. There was the hope buy cialis professional that we'd be able to close and move into our new place at the end of November, but it's not happening. This wouldn't be a problem, except for...

Boo Hiss the Second: Our landlord, who doesn't want to be in town during the holidays to get the place ready for new tenants. So we will be officially homeless as of December 1.

And a big "You suck" goes out to: One of my sisters, who's renting a four-bedroom house but can't help us out for a month. (The rest of my family is allergic, so living with my parents and other sister isn't an option.) Granted, one of the bedrooms is reserved for the owner, who's letting someone store their stuff there. And she has her dog, who will not deal well with cats. My thought was to keep the cats closed off, but I'd need two order cialis professional rooms or spaces that can be closed off. And I was even willing to pitch in for rent. But no, my sister's gotta have a guest room available, while I need to find a temporary living situation for us and two cats.

We're looking into short-term housing. Also, we have already received offers of a place to stay or stash our stuff, including the most generous Mr. and Mrs. Minch, who have their own modest place, their own cat and yet are willing to take all of us in. (I'm not sure everyone who's offered realizes we need to account for our cats.) So it's not all bleak. It's just incredibly @$#%! aggravating.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:07 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 18, 2006

A good phone call

One of my sisters called me at work this morning to say she's gotten engaged. She's still on vacation in Florida with her boyfriend fiance. He's a good guy. I was surprised to realize they'd been dating for some six years. This is the good sister, the one who still lives at home instead cialis professional mastercard of living in sin with her boyfriend fiance.

Our mother, who was quite upset that one of her 30-year-old unmarried daughters was going away with her longtime boyfriend for a week, is now quite happy that she will come back home with a more respectable status.

As for me, I'm hoping the wedding is in a year so I have time to order cialis professional shed some weight. I don't want to be singled out as the fat older sister.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:19 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 09, 2006

How it goes

Work has been busy. So much so that sometimes I am head in hands. Or walking down the hall and forgetting why I was doing so.

But life has not been all work. In the last few weeks I have been to a bead show and a bead shop with Mrs. Minch, and we made necklaces. Or rather, I contributed my vision and Mrs. Minch put the necklaces together for me, having the tools and know-how. We also celebrated Mr. Minch's birthday with slabs and sides at Fat Matt's Rib Shack, followed by pool at the Independent.

Yesterday Mark and I went to a members' preview of the Louvre exhibit at the High. We got our picture taken with the King and Queen, or rather people dressed up like French royalty. There were some really wonderful pieces. It's hard though, going through a crowded exhibit. I hate feeling rushed through the exhibit and dizzy from navigating the crowds. I think I may become a member of the museum so I can go when I feel like it.

Just learned that the closing on the condo is postponed again. Hopefully we'll be closing next month, but it could be end of December, which doesn't make me happy. But I'd rather the place be in good shape than slapped together.

Just finished reading The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. I liked it, but it feels a bit slight. Hopefully I can think of something more comprehensive to say in book group tomorrow night.

Racing through season two of Battlestar Galactica. The new season is being Tivo'd so I'll be able to keep up. Same with Veronica Mars.

Went to a baby shower over the weekend. I was one of two women to include detergent as part of the gift - the mother-to-be was really appreciative of the funny yet practical present.

Saw The Illusionist as well. Everyone did a good job, most especially Paul Giamatti. Looking forward to The Prestige when that comes out.

This weekend we'll be in Tampa to join friends and family for a tribute/memorial for Mike Simanoff. Friday would have been his birthday.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:33 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 05, 2006

Sightings

While having dinner with friends at the Flying Biscuit in Midtown, we spotted a man walking his pig. Not one of those wee pot-bellied pigs but a pig-sized pig, cute wiggly tail and all.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:18 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 22, 2006

Let there not be a real evacuation today.

Yesterday was the annual evacuation drill for my building. For those of us who were willing to do so, we could walk the emergency stairs all the way down. Those of us not inclined could take the elevators. I chose to walk from 55 all the way down to ground level - which is more than 55 flights of stairs, incidentally.

Today I'm shuffling around like an old man. I feel like I'm in that Brady Bunch episode where Mike and Carol trade parenting jobs and find that at the end of the day, they are equally exhausted and having to hold onto each other just to stay upright.

For many reasons I hope I don't ever have to evacuate for real. Without many people in the stairwell I can get down to ground level in approximately 22 minutes. But with the whole building population taking the stairs, it would take much, much longer.

At present, I especially, most fervently hope there isn't an actual evacuation, because today I would be one of those slow people I was stuck behind yesterday on the stairs.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:55 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 19, 2006

Ebb and Flow

I've been troubleshooting the DSL connection at home. It's very frustrating when things don't work and you don't really know why. Actually, the DSL is working now, but it's restoring the network that is now the issue. Working on this stuff - and being unable to fix it - makes me sorely vexed. I just want things to work, dammit - is that so much to ask?

Lately I've been of two minds about blogging. Granted, there's never really been much focus here, but I've been floundering of late. I need to rethink what I'd like to do in this space.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:48 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 10, 2006

Where I've Been

Laying low, mostly. Finished Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Me Talk Pretty One Day. Currently reading Magical Thinking. Getting caught up on season two of Veronica Mars. Currently watching the semifinals and finals of the U.S. Open on the Tivo. I already know who's won the tournament but it'll still be good to watch the matches.

Was in Philly for part of Labor Day weekend while Mr. Arkadin was at a conference. Had a cheesesteak at Pat's King of Steaks. Went to the Rodin Museum, which was wonderful. Great art reminds me that there is still beauty and humanity in this world. Which was good, because getting through airport security these days turns me into a misanthrope. Forgot to pack my cosmetics in my checked luggage. I wish that the confiscation of my mascara really did contribute to national security, but it's just a stupid, pointless exercise.

Work's been busy. It seems that certain attorneys consider me their particular librarian, and they've all been calling me for help. It's flattering, but at the same time alarming. It's like, holy crap, they trust me to find what they need? Thank goodness for my colleagues, who let me run my ideas by them.

Went thrift store shopping yesterday with Mrs. Minch. The economy must be slowing down, as there were slim pickings for anything decent at the Junior League shop.

Stopped by to have a look at our condo that's supposed to be ready in two months. So far not much seems to be in place except for the gleaming bathtub. Not too worried yet. I should go check out paint samples in the meantime.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:42 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

August 10, 2006

Just lucky I guess

I was getting ready this morning, walking about the apartment when I heard bits from the radio. London. Heathrow. Transatlantic flights. The news didn't really sink in at first. Then I felt relief that things had been stopped in the nick of time.

I'd been disappointed that I didn't have a few more days in London after my tour, but I'm grateful that I kept such a tight schedule. The inconveniences I experienced are nowhere near what people are going through now. I'm concerned about friends who are still traveling and caught up in the delays, so I hope to hear from them soon.

In my toiletry kit I carry a hair cream product called Secret Weapon. Somehow I don't think that would have been too amusing to security officials.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:50 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

August 08, 2006

There and back again

It was pretty hectic in the weeks leading up to my trip, and then I was on the go from day to day, with little access to the outside world. Will definitely fill in the details, but just wanted to say that I'm here.

And how are you?

Yours, &c., LC at 11:31 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

July 25, 2006

Mad, and soon for England

That's "mad" in the dotty, zany sense. I'm in much better spirits now that last week is finally over, and that tomorrow I get on a plane and leave for the mother country.

I still have packing to do. But thanks to Mrs. Minch, I have a hanging toiletry kit as well as a second opinion on what clothes to bring. So I'm practically there. A little more laundry and I should be set.

I shall have a day in London where I shall meet up with friends and check out the new Tom Stoppard play Rock 'n' Roll. v.v. excited about that. I hope I can pick up a copy of the play at the performance.

Better finish packing, or else I won't get any sleep

Yours, &c., LC at 08:50 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

July 20, 2006

You know I love you, don't you?

Late last night or early this morning I dreamt that I was in a big music store, maybe a Tower Records. A friendly, blond middle-aged man in a red vest sidled up, wanting to see if I needed any help. It was Howard Jones.

I went off and found a copy of Howard's latest release, bought it, and came back to him for an autograph.

I have no idea what this means, but while the past few days have not been as strained as Tuesday, I am so ready to be done with this week. Tonight I shall have a large, potent cocktail that will knock me out. Perhaps Howard's career will have made a major comeback in my next dream.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:35 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

July 04, 2006

4th of July

Mr. Arkadin ran the Peachtree today. Considering he had knee surgery earlier this year, that's quite an accomplishment. I cheered him in spirit; after dropping him off at the Marta station, I went back to bed.

Tonight we might go see the fireworks in downtown Decatur.

Life is good. Generally it's been quiet, although it's certainly been momentous for the past couple of weeks. We've reviewed different mortgage programs and we're in the process of applying for one. I have booked my ticket to England and have started putting together supplies for the trip. It's been a bit hectic at work; I find that I can really focus and buckle down when I have to - yesterday was my last day before vacation. I'll be home for a few days, then we head to Myrtle Beach to take a splash in the ocean and see my in-laws.

Things have been on an even keel. I work on enjoying life in the moment, on being self-aware and living in a way that makes me feel good about being in my own skin. I try to be more patient and accepting, which means that I don't get as worked up as I used to about things that are beyond my control. However, I'm more choosy about how I spend my time and with whom I spend it. I'm grateful to be surrounded by good friends and family, near and far.

Perhaps the most significant event is that my therapist and I have called it a day. Because of my progress, it's a subject we'd discussed for sometime. So it was a thoughtful, mutual decision to conclude our sessions. Overall it was a good, positive experience, made possible by awesome health insurance. (Another plus to my already good job.)

On this Independence Day I am thinking of independence in a more personal way, but I am also glad to be in a country where personal freedom is still an important value. I hope it remains an enduring one.


Yours, &c., LC at 03:47 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

June 28, 2006

Backstory: Finding Our Home

Floorplan for Our Condo

Click here for the larger image.

It's been a bit of whirlwind lately for Lady Crumpet. Just days after signing the contract for our condo, I learned that I'll be going to England in a month for a Jane Austen pilgrimage. (Chatsworth, Lyme Park and Chawton House, here I come!). More on that later.

Our condo is situated in a converted apartment complex. Basically the buildings are being gutted and completely renovated. We picked a 2-bedroom top-floor unit (see illustration). We were pretty bowled over by the model - (see living room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom). Hardwood floors in the main areas, tile in the bathroom, carpet in the bedrooms. I am very, very excited about the kitchen. I will have room to work and places to put things!

Our closing date is set for late September, provided all goes according to schedule. This is what my building looks like at the moment.

In the past week or so we've been shopping around for a mortgage. We've decided which one to apply for, so now we have to fill out the application and gather financial papers together.

My realtor has so far been really wonderful. He served us ice cream when we first met with him - the same day that we went out and found the place that we wanted. He was with us when we went to sign the contract. He sent us a note of congratulations - and to my great surprise, yesterday I received a delivery of flowers from him! So if anybody is looking for a real estate agent in Atlanta, I have someone I can recommend.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:56 PM | Slice o' Life

June 27, 2006

Small creatures 3, Ulysses 0

We rented a cat trap from the county for about a week. On the first day that the trap was set, Ulysses got caught. We freed him and he was smart enough to avoid the trap for the duration. If Tabitha came around, she was too smart to make the same mistake.

Ulysses hasn't brought us any "gifts" but I've seen him hunt. The first time, a foul black bird came into the house through the chimney. We managed to shoo the bird into the kitchen, planning to open the back door to let it out. But the bird flew too low and Ulysses managed to nab him. He ran around the house with the bird in his jaws. There was an eerie, low moan coming from the bird. We shooed Ulysses out of the house. He ran about for a bit, but then he paused and slackened his jaw. The bird managed to fly off, which was a relief.

The second time, I came around to the back yard. Something brown skittered across the grass - a chipmunk. Ulysses was right there and pounced. I tried distracting him, flailing my arms and clapping my hands. I called to him, yelling "Hey! Let it go!" He put it down, intending to bat it around a bit, but the chipmunk ran around the corner and got away.

Today, as we got out of the car and walked towards the house, Ulysses dashed towards us with something in his mouth. Some kind of bird. The agitated chittering of other birds filled the air. I ran at him, yelling and clapping. "Buddy! Let go! Let go!" He dropped the bird - a robin, who sat on the grass, stunned. It regained its senses quickly enough and flew off. I don't know how injured it was. Hopefully the bird is ok.

The score is arbitrary, of course. It's probable that Ulysses has caught critters when we haven't been around to try and stop him.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:15 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

June 16, 2006

The Quick and the Dirty

We met our realtor on Wednesday, having only spoken before by phone and email. That day he showed us four properties and we reserved a condo that we really liked. We saw one more yesterday and drove past a few others, but it became clear that the first place we saw was first choice. It means we can walk to public transit, walk to shops and restaurants, walk to the library, the post office, and jury duty if need be.

Tomorrow we go to contract! As first-time homeowners!

Yours, &c., LC at 05:39 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

June 09, 2006

Stupid cat still at large

I haven't seen Tabitha in days and I'm worried. Lately I've seen a small raccoon come and eat the food on the back porch, when it isn't the gray cat Ulysses. We keep trying to point Ulysses to the bowl of food on the front porch but if he's out back he doesn't see why he shouldn't eat the food on the back porch.

I finally made some calls. Apparently I can rent a trap from my county animal control for $20 for 7 days. They have to deliver the trap and set it up, and I have to contact them if something is caught. I guess I should try it but I'm worried that everything except Tabitha will get caught. I don't want Ulysses to get caught 'cause he might get taken away by Animal Control. My county is fairly notorious for putting animals down really quickly.

Stupid, ungrateful one-toothed old cat who ought to know better and come home. Maybe I'm the stupid one for being the softie.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:34 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

May 24, 2006

Curses!

Tabitha continues to elude us. We catch glimpses of her, but she runs away whenever we try to get close. Last night, she was lounging on the front porch railing. I got out of the car and sauntered towards her, but she knew what was up.

I wonder if it would be possible to catch her with one of those traps the humane society uses to catch feral cats. Would she be gullible enough to walk into one if I put in an open can of cat food? Or would one of the other strays walk into it?

It's only been a week now. Trying not to worry. Mainly I'm just aggravated that she foils us again and again. For a fat aging cat with one tooth, she is pretty spry.

Yours, &c., LC at 06:15 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

May 16, 2006

Something Isn't Quite Right

We came home and found Sheba walking in the grass, then saw that the back door to our apartment was wide open. Someone had jimmied the lock.

Sheba came when I called, dear sweet cat. I picked her up and brought her into the house. I called for Ginger but she didn't answer. Eventually I found her huddled behind the futon in our office.

Tabitha is somewhere in the back yard again. Hopefully when she's hungry enough she'll come around and we can catch her. Our neighbors know to look out for her.

The dvd player is gone. But the Tivo was intact, as were our computers, and basically everything else. The person(s) pulled out drawers and tossed their contents onto the floor. Nothing of any real value was taken, possibly because the apartment is in such disarray that it's hard to look for stuff that's easy to steal, easy to fence.

We called 911 and then our landlord. An officer came and we showed him around. He was frustrated because there weren't any good surfaces that could be fingerprinted. We pointed out the smashed window in the other half of the duplex - our landlord's apartment when he's in town. Doesn't look like anything was stolen from over there.

So we have case numbers. There will be repairs. Tabitha will come home, if she knows what's good for her. I think I'm still a little too surprised to be rattled, but I guess for a sucky experience it could have been much worse.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:06 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

May 04, 2006

Wax 'n Facts Fostering Kittens

Read here about the kittens that were found in a bricked-up crevice between Wax 'n Facts and The Vortex in Little Five Points. It appears that someone may have abandoned them by dumping the kittens - determined to be about 4 weeks old - into the crevice! Apparently there's enough interest in finding homes for the cats but if anyone wants to chip in money for their vet care, a PayPal link has been set up.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:27 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

April 10, 2006

Miscellany

I loved Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. It's been a while since I laughed til it hurt. It's wonderful, although I wonder if adults will enjoy it more than kids. You must watch the credits - look for the bunny pairs that rub noses! Mrs. Minch and I went gaga every time we spotted them.

Robert is a very large rabbit. That thing looks bigger than my cats. In fact, it looks like the General rabbit out of Watership Down. Which is kind of frightening.

In the past few weeks, I have received postcards from Paris, India, Madrid and St. Moritz (Switzerland). Thank you to my friends who think enough of me to send a postcard.

I'm co-admin of a Flickr group. You're invited to participate. That said, perhaps I ought to contribute something myself.

I went to a high-octane beer tasting party in East Atlanta over the weekend. I like Chimay, a Belgian brew. There were twice-fried frites and grilled brats - never was a girl so happy. Thank you to our lovely hosts and to Mr. & Mrs. Minch who were wonderful company.

Went to the Dogwood Festival. My favorite part? The exhibition featuring dogs catching frisbees. Those border collies are sharp, even the ones who couldn't quite catch the discs (whom Mrs. Minch dubbed Butterfangs).

Last week my sister took me to see Cirque du Soleil. It was sweet, especially being in a company suite.

I have houseguests this coming weekend. Which means the frenzy of housecleaning has begun.

I had a brief annual review. I'm getting reference work under my belt, and a raise. Yay! Of course after taxes it won't be much, and it will be going straight to the DCCB (Damned Credit Card Balance). But more is good.

Yours, &c., LC at 06:42 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 22, 2006

Small changes

I just finished reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. One of its ideas is that a small change can make a great impact. For instance, the Broken Windows theory asserts that if you take care of problems like lighting, litter, and graffiti, you can reduce crime in a neighborhood - even in a big city. (Gladwell discusses the revitalization of New York City as his example.)

So I'm trying out a few things:

Making the bed. - Not profound, is it? I made my bed as a kid, because I had to. Now I'm doing it because it feels good to turn in for the night and have a pocket of serenity waiting for me in the form of my nicely made bed. I've made it really easy for myself too. There's no flat sheet, just a duvet to shake out, spread out, and tuck in. I've even figured out how to make the bed around the cats. Tabitha wants to be there to "help" while Ginger is perturbed by the disturbance to her repose. I just get them to move to another part of the bed, adjust the duvet and pillows, and then let the cats settle back to their chosen spots. I think they like a fresh-made bed too.

Shining my sink. - I learned about a site called FlyLady that helps those of us without a clue establish a housekeeping routine. Daily reminders, "missions" and testimonials are sent by email. I haven't kept up very well to date but it's not about pressuring yourself, it's about just taking small steps in order to make life easier for yourself. So for the present, I scrub and rinse dishes and set them in the dishwasher so I have a fresh sink, ready for the next use. I use a dishcloth to dry up the sink after I'm done using it. At night, before going to bed, I spritz some glass cleaner and wipe down the surface so it's nice and shiny. The idea behind this act is that by maintaining one small area, you'll be inspired to tackle other areas...eventually establishing a routine so that the household runs more smoothly and your time is freed up to pursue other activities. At the same time, it's not about being perfect - it's about just taking a step, and then another step, and so on.

I feel dragged down by having my home space in disarray. It's hard to relax, being surrounded by papers to file, books or cds to put away, and running out of room for things. (That's a whole other can of worms right there.) I'm too embarrassed to have anybody over for a visit. So for now, I'm just going to do these two little things and see where it takes me.

At work - In my department, there's a little trash can in the printer/copier area, as well as a huge paper recycling bin. Whenever we print to the network printer, there's a cover sheet to identify the owner of the print job. It seems so wasteful, but it is useful when we're all sending print jobs and trying to find our documents.

Now and again I've found my colleagues trashing their cover sheets in instead of recycling them. I don't understand this - the bin is right next to the copier. It's not hard to use the right disposal bin. So far I've just plucked sheets out of the trash can and tossed them into the bin, thinking that would be a subtle clue. I could say something, but I don't want to be annoying to my colleagues - who are all senior to me.

So I just moved the trash can under the small table by the copier. It's still available, just less obvious. And so far the move seems to have worked. I'm now seeing discarded cover sheets in the recycling bin. And it wasn't much work. It just took a little thought and a little action to solve a small problem.


Yours, &c., LC at 12:30 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 20, 2006

Tomorrow is another day

First thing this morning, my neurotic cat Ginger peed - AGAIN - in the laundry basket that was - AGAIN - full of clean clothes. The day hasn't really gotten any better, especially having found out that tonight's Magic Numbers/Elected show has been canceled.

But I did have a great weekend, full of fun & friends.

Friday: We had Mex with Marco, then swanned over to the private party celebrating the opening of Inman Perk, the new coffee shop over on Elizabeth St. in - you guessed it - Inman Park. It's a cool loft-like space, free wi-fi, tasty drinks and yummy desserts. I am already a fan of the raspberry mocha. And Marco is the first artist to show his work there. His show opens next Saturday - so come check it out!

Saturday: Mellow day. Brunch at Sun in My Belly. Grocery shopping. A long afternoon nap. Dinner at Savage Pizza. A quick dash into Criminal Records for a Snow Patrol ep, but they were out of stock, so I picked up a Magic Numbers cd instead. (It came with a free ticket to tonight's show, which has now been canceled. Oh well.) Then a late late night with Mr. & Mrs. Minch, playing Uno and watching Eddie Izzard on BBC America.

Sunday: Slept in, brunch at the Biscuit. A stop at Full Moon Records, where the clerk gave me a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah poster that he had saved for me. Found some David Bowie and Rufus Wainwright cds. Laundry (some of which must be redone now). Another long nap. Then to Buckhead Diner for dinner with Daniella, who was briefly in town for a presentation. Poor Mr. Arkadin had to sit with a table of instant girlfriends. Holly let me taste some of her crab cakes, and she had a bit of my (shhh) veal & mushroom meatloaf. And then Mr. Arkadin and I split a chocolate cake sundae. I am more plump today than yesterday.

Yours, &c., LC at 06:14 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 10, 2006

Weekend!

This week is finally over and I am very happy for that. My brain feels like stretched-out Play-Doh.

Tonight: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Variety Playhouse

Saturday: Going up to Athens with Marco & Wayne to pick up their new pug, Miss Joy, who has not only gained new owners, but an adoring aunt? dogmother? Anyway, that would be me. I am SO excited. The next best thing to having a pug of my own is to have friends who have a pug of their own that I can come visit.

Sunday: Flying Biscuit. Also attending a gathering of people who all share our last name. Distant, far-flung relatives perhaps? I suppose I can always disown them if they turn out to be as "colorful" as the relatives I know about.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:54 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 03, 2006

On raiding the Valentine's candy leftovers

One of our vendors gave my department a little bucket of Valentine's candy. Along with the candy there were trinkets. So now I have small purple and pink rubber balls to throw around and a squishy bubble-gum pink rubber T-rex - to squish, I suppose. He's very pink and feels fleshy and clammy. How that spells romance, I do not know.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:29 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 28, 2006

Staying Busy

Mr. Arkadin is having a arthroscopic surgery today (on his knee). I left work at noon and we drove up to the facility. He checked in, and almost immediately the nurse was there to get him prepped.

We decided it would be best for me to go back to work instead of spending hours in the waiting room. So I have work to keep me busy instead of worrying (too much). Things should be fine, but surgery is still surgery.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:26 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 12, 2006

Late night out

Lenny's. Total dive bar. A benefit for some biker co-op (as in ten-speed, not Harley). The draw for us - Hope for Agoldensummer. The band was last in the lineup, so it was a bit of a wait. I smell like a carton of cigarettes. A good show, although I could do without stupid little hipster girls yipping and yapping during the music.

I learned a joke tonight. Want to hear it?

Q: How many indie rockers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: [sneering] What, you don't know?

Yours, &c., LC at 01:25 AM | Music , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 07, 2006

Wishes sometimes come true

I brought healthy things to eat today. Turkey sandwich, yogurt, an apple, Sun Chips, and a fruit and grain bar. Lunch and some snacks if I felt like it. I longed wistfully for something sweet, something unhealthy.

One of the receptionists just walked past my door, eating a cookie. She alerted me to a whole giant tray of cookies and brownies just sitting out on the library's main counter.

I'm off for some coffee to go with my brownies. (Note the plural.)

Yours, &c., LC at 02:13 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 29, 2006

Making the Weekend Last

Sunday nights are bittersweet. After playing the night owl since Friday, I pay for it come Monday when the alarm rings.

It's been a typical weekend, perhaps more restful than others.

Saturday: Brunch at the Thumbs Up Diner. Took three pairs of pants in for hemming, which will expand my wardrobe options tremendously. Never did get around to taking in the dry cleaning. A quick, productive jaunt at a used bookstore. Laundry. Read Zadie Smith. Met up for Indian food with Herr und Dame Minch and a friend of theirs, followed by a marathon round of Trivial Pursuit, which came to a conclusion around 1 a.m. I suck at the sports questions, but I won a pie piece for naming Gary Cooper in answer to "Who was the pride of the Yankees?"

Sunday: Happy Lunar New Year! Slept in until 9. Brunch at the Flying Biscuit. Picked up and dropped off prescriptions. (Hurrah for meds!) Grocery shopping. Laundry. Filled recycling bin. More Zadie Smith. Burgers at Fuddrucker's. Found some bargain dvds (Donkey Skin, Before Sunset) at Movie Trading Co. More laundry. Made arrangements with a woman about a bit of furniture (another Craigslist transaction). Laundry and Zadie Smith. Stopped over at my friend Marco's for some setup for his forthcoming website. Coffee, semi-watched The Ninth Gate, checked email and blogs, and now putting myself to sleep with this post, as I'm sure you must be, Reader, if you're still with me.

Off to Bedfordshire.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:58 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 19, 2006

For Immediate Release

We would like to announce that after a number of years together Scott and I have decided to formally separate...our Netflix queue.

For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any of the speculation reported by the tabloid media. This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration.

We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another. We ask in advance for your kindness and sensitivity in the coming months.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:52 PM | Film/TV , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 11, 2006

Civic Duty, &c.

What kind of person would be happy to get a jury summons?

Oh well. It's not until next month, and I can call the day before to find out if the court needs me to show up.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:45 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 01, 2006

Last Day/First Night

Spent New Year's Eve Eve eating a fine beef stew, watching Emma (the Gwyneth Paltrow version) and splitting a bottle of a Portugese douro with Mrs. Minch.

Slept in, due to the douro. Brunch at Sun in My Belly, and then a long afternoon nap.

Dressed up, made it on time to a dinner party. Champagne cocktails and potent egg nog. Antipasto, rare roast beef, twice-baked potatoes, zucchini sauteed in olive oil.

At a quarter to midnight, we made our goodbyes and zoomed over to the house of good friends A&S. Were briefly lost, due to the street names in the neighborhood being all disturbingly similar, but we found the house and arrived at the door just at the stroke of midnight. Our hostess came out with glasses of champagne and we were there for the balloon drop from the upper balcony down into the living room.

Afterwards there were sparklers and bottle rockets!

Yours, &c., LC at 05:07 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

December 27, 2005

This year's booty

Presents for my family:
Chocolate for dad
Dallas seasons 1 & 2 for mom
Kate Spade organizer inserts for sisters
Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. cd for sisters, plus pins that say "This Sh*t is Bananas"
Golf in the Kingdom for Scott's dad
Sudoku and Kakoru puzzle books for Scott's stepmom
The Historian and Brazilian coffee for Scott's mom
Al Franken book and sudoku book for Scott's grandmother
Mixed nuts for Scott's other grandmother and aunt
March of the Penguins for brother-in-law and his family
Tepper Isn't Going out and chocolate for brother-inlaw
Casserole cookbook for sister-in-law
Dinosaur pop-up book for nephew 1
Eric Carle picture book for nephew 2

On the receiving end:
Surprise! - An Idiot Girl's Christmas by Laurie Nataro from Paul F.
B&N giftcard from boss
Godiva truffles from coworker
Xmas dish towels from coworker
Mixed nuts from coworker
Silpats and wooden utensils,plus company cookbook; down throw from sister
Pen & business card holder, Bodum teapot, Field Guide to Stains, cookbook, Zagat guide from other sister (some of these she meant to give me last year)
Senseo coffeemaker from my parents.
Organic tea (earl grey, raspberry) and lavender body butter from Scott's dad and stepmom
Pullover for Scott from his dad and stepmom
England calendar for me from Scott's mom
Chicago and Jazz calendars for Scott from his mom
Coffee and white chocolate truffles from Scott's mom
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer from Scott's mom
Pocket money from Scott's grandmothers

Going to Chicago next week, so some of these presents haven't been given yet, and I imagine we'll get some from Scott's brother and his family.

I do like presents, but I would be fine if we all just gave each other little things, or even just one thing. As it was, on Christmas night I was a bit anxious, wondering how the time with my family would go. But everyone was in a good mood, we had a wonderful dinner, my sister's bulldog posed for many pictures with his new dog toys and costumes. We visited with each other and it was a pleasant evening. The most inspired gift was giving my mom the Dallas dvds, as she's always loved that show.

Otherwise, a nice long weekend. Got to see King Kong, which was loads of fun. Raced through disc 1 of season 1 of Veronica Mars. Went for a walk with my friend Mark, took a trip to the farmer's market, had brunch at the Flying Biscuit. And lots of sleeping in, surrounded by small furry bodies.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:29 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

December 25, 2005

May Your Heart Be Light

I finally saw "Meet Me in St. Louis" a few years ago, and I look forward to catching it on television this time every year. It's a musical, so things end well. But in the interim, there are some tough moments. I had no idea that "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" could be such a heartbreaking song.

I'm not sure why there seems to be so much hypersensitivity about the holidays this year. Whatever you celebrate, whether it's for your religion or for the time you spend with loved ones, I wish you my best for peace and love and joy.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:11 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

December 21, 2005

Solstice

I finally have DSL and can load up pictures more regularly. For instance: my recent trip to the aquarium.

Tonight is dinner with family, more cards to write.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:20 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

November 29, 2005

Must! save! room! for! dessert!

And you may ask yourself What is that beautiful house? And you may ask yourself Where does that highway go? And you may ask yourself Am I right?...Am I wrong? And you may tell yourself MY GOD!...WHAT HAVE I DONE? -Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"

Time seems so formless; we have to create structure in order to make the best of our days. But structure doesn't imply rigidity. It's about making time work for you, so that you spend it well, so that you don't look back and wonder where the time went. It's an issue I struggle with regularly - to spend time in the here and now, with the people and on the things that matter, instead of being held down by the past or worrying about the future.

It's said that to make each day memorable, so that time doesn't just rush by in a blur, you should do one thing to make the day stand out for you. It doesn't have to be anything extraordinary or grand, just something that you do for yourself, whether that's calling a friend, going to yoga, or sitting down for a cup of coffee or tea.

So tonight, I'm going out to dinner for my birthday.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:22 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 31, 2005

Halloween Weekend

Got up early on Saturday to help some dear friends move in together. Unlike me, they didn't have boxes and boxes of books and they were incredibly organized and got other people to help as well. They have the cutest little house and I will be visiting regularly for their company and high-speed internet. ;)

In the afternoon, we hit Little Five Points for some costume ideas. In the end, I didn't find anything. I did have a backup idea, which I ripped off from reading in a gossip column: The Light at the End of the Tunnel. I would dress in black and tape a big white circle to my torso. Scott picked up a black robe for his costume as Harriet Miers, which ended up just being Next Supreme Court Nominee since he didn't find a gray wig and some brown paint for his nose. I came away with a Jane Austen action figure and the Avenue Q soundtrack.

Later, I went out with the Mingaling who had a spare ticket for the Death Cab for Cutie concert at the Tabernacle. Many thanks to Lori for inviting me and to her sister for giving Lori the tickets for her birthday. By the time we got there, Stars had already started their set. Apparently the Tabernacle is all about shows beginning on the dot, which in this case was 8 o'clock. Great, great show, so awesome. Both bands were more about playing the music than interacting with the crowd. The crowd, which sat during the Stars set in the balconies, stood up once Death Cab took the stage. We stood in the uppermost balcony and leaned against the rails - much better than tiptoeing for a glimpse behind people's heads. People were definitely into the show, but it was all intensity. People clustered together, leaning towards the stage. Some head-bobbing, singing along, with eruptions of applause at the end of each song. Much less startling than when I once saw Tori Amos and the young women would scream "I love you Tori" hysterically.

The evening didn't end there. Lori and I met up with Scott and then we walked over to the biggest, craziest Halloween party I've ever been to (which hasn't been many). People went all out with their costumes. Dogs were roaming, including a giant rottweiler named Samuel that sported devil horns - he was very friendly, but his size made him daunting.

There was a live band, kegs of beer and a full complement of liquor, as well as all the stuff in the fridge. I sampled a sugar-free Red Bull, which was ok. I was more of an observer in all the revelry. Out back in the enormous back yard there was a bonfire. People were playing bongos and costumed women were dancing to the primal rhythms. At several points a woman would trot out a flaming hula hoop and spin the hoop around her waist, around her neck, kneeling back at an angle, and even lying down and twirling the hoop about her wrists. Ran into Hollismb as well as Scott and Lisa, who came as King Kong and Fay Wray (excellent!).

We left around three a.m., just as a cop showed up to investigate. Later we heard from our landlord that he saw somebody passed out in the yard later in the morning, with a bottle of something clutched in his hand. Good times.

Yours, &c., LC at 06:55 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 13, 2005

Today

I got a ten-minute chair massage. It was a treat provided by the office, except I hadn't scheduled an appointment. I kept stopping by the conference room to find other people waiting. But I did get one eventually, and the very nice man, a chiropractor, worked the tension out of my upper back and lower back. Ahhh.

The building is removing equipment from the roof. Being directly underneath, we have been subjected to mechanical sledgehammer-like sounds ALL DAY. It's supposed to go on for THE NEXT TEN DAYS. I think I may go postal.

In the meantime, my long weekend begins now. Off to visit old friends for a few days. I've got friends looking in on the cats, including that gray bastard who scratched up my right arm yet again and also sunk his teeth in, breaking the skin.

Yours, &c., LC at 06:22 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 06, 2005

Dead and nearly dead things, and thoughts about dying

Leaving work yesterday, I found a small bird that lay dead on the sidewalk, its tiny feathers fluttering in the breeze.

At the train station, just before I passed through the turnstiles, there was a dragonfly flattened on the pavement.

In the night I woke up, hearing some noise from the kitchen. Figured it was the new cat exploring and making a ruckus and so I went back to sleep. While feeding Ulysses this morning, I saw a bird, coal-black, flying around the kitchen in desperation. Ulysses, in hunt mode, jumped up on the stove, trying to get close. Before we could react, the bird had fallen down the side of the washing machine, and Ulysses leapt down and came out with the bird in his mouth. There was a low, terrible moaning sound.

Ulysses dashed around with his prey, then hid under the bed. Scott grabbed a broom to get him out, and we managed to shoo him out the back door.

After a while, watching through the window, I saw the cat open his mouth to check out his catch. The bird suddenly sprang and flew off. Ulysses ran close behind. I hope it got away.

Tonight I'm going to stop by our friend's mom's house. I will clean litter boxes, fill up the food and water bowls for the cats, see if there's anything else I can do to make things a little easier for her. I will pretend to be cheerful. I will try not to be distressed that there's only so much I can do. I help not because it makes me feel good, but because to not help, even a little, makes me feel bad. I grit my teeth and try not to think about questions that have nothing to do with me.

I don't think I've ever been afraid of death. It's the dying part that scares me. How you live your life can have an awful lot to do with the way you'll leave this world. Sometimes, anyway.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:44 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 04, 2005

Cats in Need of Good Homes

I'm helping a friend whose mom has been seriously ill. She's a cat lady and would help find homes for cats and kittens. Now there are too many of her own cats to care for. There are about 7 adult cats of various ages. We're also looking into no-kill shelters. I've put up photos on Flickr and will update as soon as I can manage to get pictures of the other camera-shy cats. If you're interested, feel free to get in touch.

September 28, 2005

The last few days

Sunday: We've taken in another cat. Her name is Sheba. She's black and white and when she makes utterances she sounds a bit like a duck. Very sweet and affectionate, though not a lap cat. Playful too. She's in her own room for now.

Not sure if Ulysses is going to fit in with us but I'll keep an eye on him. I think he wants to be in a one-cat family.

So now I'm really a scary cat lady - 3.5 cats! No more. Really.

Last night: Serenity preview screening. A friend of mine gave me a pass. I haven't finished watching Firefly but I really liked the movie.

Tonight: I'm going with one of my sisters to see Coldplay and Rilo Kiley.

Thursday: Empty out head with therapist.

Friday: No plans as yet. How lame am I? ;)

Saturday: Bad Movie Night, courtesy of Weird Babe.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:20 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 22, 2005

Donations Needed for Animal Rescue Volunteers

My friend Kambri Crews and her friend Keith Fernbach are going to be in Lousiana October 6 through October 12, where they will volunteer at local shelters that have taken in animals rescued from Katrina. You can read more from Kambri here; she has a PayPal link set up. Beyond donations they are paying for everything else out of their own pockets.

I wish I could take a week and join them myself, but at least I can give them a little something to help with their work. Kambri is a tough, sassy gal with a good heart, and I'm proud of her for finding her own way to help in the wake of Katrina.

September 21, 2005

He Thinks We're Ok

This morning Ulysses (the big gray cat) left a dead mouse on our porch before coming in for breakfast. I didn't have to see or dispose of the gift, but I appreciate the sentiment.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:12 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 19, 2005

Wastrel Weekend

-I succumbed, briefly, to a cold. I have to admit, it was really, really nice to sleep into the afternoon. Hopefully I did not share my germs with the people I ran into this weekend.

-I did not win the $250m lottery. Oh well.

-I love breakfast. I celebrate this on the weekends when we can go to the Flying Biscuit or to another place, with such charming names as Sun in My Belly. I ran into a professional colleague that I've met at various functions. It was really nice to see a friendly face so unexpectedly. We're close in age, and she seems so cool and so interesting that I hope to be friends, not just people who say hi at the latest luncheon.

March of the Penguins. I've wanted to see this documentary all summer and finally made plans with the Ethers and the Weird Babes for an outing. I expected fun, silly moments, an onslaught of cuteness, and even peril as brought on by Mother Nature. I really liked it. I didn't expect, however, to come out feeling kind of depressed about it. The penguins go through so much for the sake of perpetuating their species. They cross great distances across the ice to find their mates, take turns to protect their precious eggs in brutal, polar conditions, cross back to the water to gorge on enough food for themselves and the future chick, back and forth, back and forth until the chick can fend for itself. Every step along the way is fraught with peril. The elements, predators, timing - everything and anything could go wrong. If the penguins were humans, I think they'd be characters out of a Solzhenitsyn novel.

The ability of the penguins to survive, despite such incredible conditions, is amazing. I should envy them - by instinct, they know their purpose in this world, in this life. Things are less complicated when life is a matter of endurance, of survival from moment to moment.

What else? Chocolate cake, Battlestar Galactica (the miniseries), Target, feeding cats, re-reading Dragonsinger, finding new books and music, detaching myself from all the bad news that's in every day of the paper.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:44 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 14, 2005

Six cats from New Orleans

Here in Atlanta, a friend of a coworker is housing her brother and nine other people from Nola. Her brother managed to rescue his six cats, who now need foster homes because the house is already too full of people.

I don't know if they've checked with the local humane societies, who have been sheltering both evacuated animals and owned pets of evacuees.

I'd like to help. I'm not sure though if I can manage extra cats without traumatizing the ones that I already have. But if you're interested, let me know.

September 01, 2005

Overheated Brain

I've started to hear from friends about their parents and grandparents in affected regions - mostly that they are safe, but not necessarily out of the woods yet. But some are still waiting for help - my thoughts are with you, D, for your family and friends. Hang in there, sweetie.

My firm has offered to match employee donations to the Red Cross, for which I'm grateful. Now my donation will go a little bit farther.

In the meantime, trying not to read too much of the news and commentary, because then my brain wants to implode. But the following are of note:

Waiting for a Leader [NYT op-ed] "George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed."

What did we do to deserve this guy for President? Oh right, "we" voted for him. Well YOU who voted for him deserve this administration. Unfortunately the rest of us are being pulled down with you. Still, I'm perversely pleased that the assholes driving around in Hummers in metro Atlanta are having to pay fortunes for their gas, because it's what they fucking deserve.

Yeah I'm pissed.

To the lady in the Ferragamo shop on 5th Avenue who told off Condoleeza Rice: (R)amen, sister! Whoever you are, you're a true patriot. Granted, Rice is Secretary of State, so this domestic disaster is outside of her usual jurisdiction. (Which is probably a blessing.) I appreciate the whole wanting to hit the town and go shopping. But goddamn it Condi, could you try to keep a low profile? It looks kinda bad when one of the top African-American political figures is out shopping for expensive Italian shoes while poor, elderly, sick or frail American refugees (including a lot of African-Americans) are trying to fulfill basic needs like clean water, food and shelter.

I will be posting my belated BlogDay entry. Just had to unload.

August 31, 2005

Gas Prices Have Shot Up

Two pipelines that run through Louisiana and Mississippi and provide gas to Georgia are out of commission due to Katrina. I called my friend Marco, who was out driving after work. He's seen prices for unleaded between $2.89 to $3.99 per gallon, with lines of cars spilling out into traffic.

August 29, 2005

Sleep-deprived but hearty weekend

My friend marco stayed over Friday night after a pasta and pesto at Little Azio. I recruited his artistic sensibilities for a quick rearranging of the living room, an activity made more pleasant with bottles of Guinness, Anchor Steam, and strong cider.

Rose early on Saturday, dropped marco off at the airport. Breakfast at the Thumbs Up diner - a crowded place even first thing in the morning. Went for the fried catfish & eggs plate, which was really, really good.

Dropped off several bags of clothing at Goodwill. Returned a pair of pants at Macy's. There was nose-pressed-against-the-window-shopping at the Container Store, the Apple Store and Anthropologie. A trip to Whole Foods for some Tiger Chai and Vanilla Ginger Spice Chai ice cream and a fine portion of organic boneless skinless chicken breast.

We went over to Tessa and Dave's to cook dinner together and otherwise hang out. We cut vegetables (broccoli, carrots, onions, snow peas, Japanese eggplant, bamboo shoots), made a red curry sauce, baked tofu basted in the curry sauce, and sauteed the chicken (sprinkled with turmeric and chili powder for color). Served over rice, it was really really good, and I'm eager to try making it again.

A marathon Trivial Pursuit session followed, along with a viewing of Rock & Roll High School and much conversation. There were zany photographs. Sometime around 4:30 am, we made it home for some sleep.

Watching the Weather Channel Sunday morning we learned about the Category 5 status of Hurricane Katrina. Maybe I should call my friend Herman in New Orleans. Nah, he'll just think I'm fretting.

I called anyway. He answered, saying I shouldn't watch so much television. He was getting things together, his plan to bunk down at some university facility. I extended an invitation to Atlanta, and after a brief consideration, he agreed to make the drive, bringing along his cat.

One of the good things about having houseguests is that I make the effort to clean the apartment. So after a nap I clipped shrubbery, scoured and swept, took out trash and recycling. We did laundry, picked up some groceries and extra pillows.

Made it to my book group, where we talked about Choke and ate some great food at Eclipse di Sol. I went for a spinach salad and wild mushroom galette. Also had a lemon mint julep - verrry nice indeed. I kept jumping up from the table to provide directions on the cellphone to Herman, who was only a little lost. (I had given him a wrong turn and had to reorient myself from his perspective.) Fortunately he found the house, Scott was there to receive him, and I joined everyone soon after. Alas, the poor cat was not in a mood to receive visitors, so we did not renew our acquaintance at this time.

I had intended to pick up some beer for my friend, who undoubtedly needed it. (On Sundays you can't buy beer in Atlanta.) There was one bottle of cider left in the fridge, which came in handy. After Herman had settled in and made some calls, we stepped out so he could get a decent burger and brew at the Vortex.

Still tired, but here at work. At least I didn't have to spend my weekend escaping a hurricane.

July 25, 2005

here

I could vent my spleen (terrorists, Karl Rove, John Roberts - whose wife does pro bono work for Feminists for Life, the energy bill which would double ethanol production even though it takes more fuel to make ethanol than the amount of ethanol actually produced, that I can't dial up at home because my computer won't connect anymore).

I could tell you more about my trip to San Francisco and Sonoma and my subsequent visit with family in Myrtle Beach.

I could post the results of the latest web quizzes (my power color is red-orange, I am a Type B+ personality, I was a Portugese sailor in a past life).

I could tell you about the latest cool stuff I want but don't need, like a wristband that says "scalawag" or "candyass."

It's not like I don't have things I could post, I'm just in a sort of
blogging malaise, like what's the point. I'm not chick lit, I'm not a political activist, I'm not much of a librarian blogger or a devoted Austen/shopping/crafting/foodie/reading/music/film blogger. I am a commonplace commonplace book (redundancy intended), a mote of dust in the blogosphere.

I feel cranky, and even to my own mind I'm being annoying - willfully blindered and small-minded.

Because I could also tell you of talking Star Wars with my older nephew. That my younger nephew, who was nearly ready to walk when I last saw him, has started walking. That I've had great laughs and a great mojito care of Weird Babe. That I stuffed myself silly over food and a full-out viewing of all five hours of Pride & Prejudice with my friends Tessa and Dave. That we and the LTR saw a really sweet, wonderful improv play written by my friend Clunky Robot. That the gray cat, whom we've named Ulysses, is coming in for overnight visits and likes to make biscuits on me in the middle of night, purring at full throttle. That between therapy and Paxil (fuck off, Tom Cruise) my life is a whole lot better. I still have work to do, but I accept that there will always be work to do - and that it doesn't have to be unpleasant. My world isn't bleak and I don't let assholes have power over me anymore.

So yeah, I haven't felt like I've had anything worth saying. One of those phases, but it will pass.

July 15, 2005

Wherever you go, there you are!

You know what's really nice? Making new friends.

You know what's even better? Finding out you have friends who are the older sister or brother you wished you had.

This post is dedicated to B. Huggeroons!
Yours, &c., LC at 01:22 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

July 12, 2005

Back

Got in late last night. Trying to remember the warm sun that settled into my bones in Sonoma, the fog surrounding the Golden Gate Bridge on the way back to the airport. It's been a glorious week. The not-so-glorious bits were few and far between.

More to come.

July 01, 2005

Would you like a postcard?

I am going to San Francisco and Sonoma next week. Any suggestions for what I might do? Here's what I know so far:

I'm staying in the Mission District. I hear I should have a burrito.

I'm going to meet deano and deb. deano's going to show me around for a day and I will get to see his koi and the San Andreas Fault.

I'm gonna see my friend Bill and maybe meet his gal. I haven't seen Bill in forever, it will be really nice to see how California's been treating him.

I'm going to Alcatraz.

I've found a place to take afternoon tea.

My main goals are exploring and eating very well. And maybe checking out some famous bookstores or indie music shops.

In Sonoma I will join up with a few women from Pemberley for a long weekend of fun, laughter, drink, and women-food. It should all be quite pleasant, especially if I make sure to drink some good wine.

If you'd like a postcard, send me your address.

June 28, 2005

Girls' Night

I went out for tapas last night with a few women. For dessert, we split a chocolate flan creme brulee, as well as bits ("nibs" according to the menu) of chocolate shortbread in which fois gras was used instead of butter in the recipe. Tasty, but butter would've been just fine.

One of the gals just turned 30. Her boyfriend gave her a car for her birthday - a Lexus SUV. The rest of us were agog, especially when we went out into the parking lot to check it out. The remote controls for the power windows and the back door elicited oohs and aahs. But she's not materialistic - she was totally surprised by the gift. Couldn't have happened to a nicer person.

I got a set of wheels for my last birthday, too. This summer, I plan to break them in.

June 27, 2005

Weekend roundup

Several enjoyable late nights in a row, with more social outings this week. Somehow I'll fit in chores and errands. Highlights:

Meeting up for drinks, followed by Land of the Dead with Mr. Arkadin, messages from the ether and friends. I had a few good sips of a tasty coffee mixed with several liqueurs, then proceeded to knock it across the table. *sigh* Movie was followed by a nightcap at Bucket Shop.

Brunch at Highland Bakery - I really love their toast. However, I don't think I really like soysage, but I'll continue to explore vegetarian options.

Wimbledon coverage. Watched the Roddick-Andreev and Sharapova-Srebotnik matches. I am not a mellow tennis fan; I love the game, but I watch anxiously and find it hard to contain myself. I would love to attend a match at Centre Court someday.

A serendipitous Peruvian dinner, followed by four six-packs of assorted brews (no we didn't finish all of them), and hours of spirited conversation with friends Tessa and Dave. I also tormented their alternately sweet/wild cat with relentless affection. We sampled homemade pickles, and I was surprised with a lovely handmade necklace that Tessa thought suited me better. (I love it, thank you again!) I also got to hold a gorgeous parlor-sized guitar and I learned two chords, A and E. Apparently my childhood longing to play guitar has been teased to the surface.

Brunch with the LTR at the Biscuit, followed by Batman Begins. Excellent. Highly recommended.

June 23, 2005

Whatever will be.

Books Stir Discussion on Lost Friendship [AP] "Friendships blow up and fade out all the time. Sometimes it's a fight. And life changes - a move, a marriage, a baby - can get in the way. Then there are those times when you just look at your friend and realize you don't really have much in common anymore...."

The Friend Who Got Away The book's official site also has a blog which accepts submissions of links and personal stories on this topic.

I've read some eloquent takes on this subject. It's been on my mind of late, try as I may to stop dwelling on the loss of a girlfriend. Things are different than this time last year. I still feel sad, but there's little point in hanging on. There are things I should have, could have done, but I didn't. At the same time I don't shoulder all the blame for what went wrong. Hopefully I've learned enough not to make the same mistakes. Now I am more resolved to be the kind of person people like to be around, and to surround myself with such people as well.

The other night I was on the phone with one of my oldest girlfriends, talking about how the end of a friendship can hurt as much as a breakup. There was a time when we had our own falling out. She had written me a Dear Jane letter. Instead of letting it go, I called her up and we settled our differences. (Many tears were shed.) We are different friends than we used to be, but there has to be room for each person to grow. We're no longer the same people we once were. Thankfully we are still in each other's lives and we can talk to each other about things both important and frivolous.

June 22, 2005

Checking my dignity at the door

While the gray cat was busy eating last night, I quickly stuck my hand under its tail and felt around.

I think it's a boy.

Yours, &c., LC at 08:32 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

June 21, 2005

The Weekend

which began early...

Thursday night: Dined on pesto with wheat spaghetti at Little Azio. Mmm. Met up with Scott & Lisa, Mary & Andrew, and assorted other folks at Piedmont Park for a screening of The Birds.

Friday night: Made a Whole Foods run before settling in to watch Calendar Girls. Garlic & chive hummus, sour cream & onion Kettle Chips, a liter of fizzy water, and a bit of spinach salad with gorgonzola. Oh, and a pint of some soy-based ice cream. It wasn't until the credits that I realized that the man who played Helen Mirren's husband was Ciaran Hinds(!?!). Captain Wentworth has gone all jovial and jowly and generally shapeless. *sigh*

Saturday: Tried to sleep in, but the cats insisted on being fed. (This includes the gray one outside, who knows the feeding schedule now.) Have been in nesting mode lately. Last weekend we rearranged the living room to better suit the loveseat/ottoman. Got caught up in a few episodes of Trading Spaces, then I went out and picked up a small desk and chair - my second Craigslist find. Another nice girl with a very helpful boyfriend helped me load it up in the Saturn.

One of the TS episodes mentioned that it was bad feng shui to have your back to the window, so I started rearranging the bedroom. Something I've picked up from my parents is to make sure that the head of your bed points east or north, never west or south. Those latter compass points are reserved for the dead. Maybe it doesn't mean anything really, but I feel better for doing it. Using towels and some padded plastic discs, I moved the bed and the dressers about the hardwood floor, kicking up dust and cat hair. I had to stop every so often just to sweep.

Eventually I had to stop the bustling and met up with some old and new friends for Thai food at Ma Li. We then did drinks at Mary's in East Atlanta to kill some time before heading over to our ultimate activity, seeing the band Hope for a Golden Summer over at eyedrum. Mary's happens to be a gay bar, and they have karaoke. Wayne got up to sing a couple of songs; the rest of us had absolutely no inclination. Or so I thought.

I flipped through the binder of songs out of curiosity (lots of Elton John, but only three Kylie songs and two Erasure songs?). There was a large Madonna selection, and while I looked over the list I suddenly felt jittery. What if I got up to sing? No way, I could never do this. Then a new, opposite thought: I should do this, just because it scares me. I filled out a paper slip as Lady Crumpet and waited distractedly for my name to be called. We were hanging out on an upper balcony, so I could see quite clearly that the bar had gotten quite crowded with its usual clientele.

After a few songs from other people, they called my name. My friends cheered me on as I clapped my hands to my ears and slouched over, walking downstairs to the lower level of the bar. I took a microphone off one of the stands and suddenly felt very small and close, too close to the crowd. "'Angel' in the style of Madonna" appeared on the screen. Oh god, I'm in a gay bar and I'm about to sing a Madonna song. I haven't even heard the song in forever, what am I doing here? My friends stood at the top of the stairs but I couldn't look at them, or anyone. I stared at the screen and waited for the music to start.

Why am I standing on a cloud
Every time you're around
And my sadness disappears
Every time you are near...

At first I wasn't sure the mike was working, because I couldn't hear myself. So I just kept singing and hoped for the best. In junior high my friends and I kept lyric books for our favorite songs and I just LOVED Madonna. I remembered how the song went.

Oooh, you're an angel (3x)
In disguise
I can see it in your eyes

Without thinking, I started to sway in time to the music. I saw someone dancing. Finally, home stretch. Final verse, repeat chorus until end. I sang, pretending that no one else was in the room.

Now I believe that dreams come true
'Cause you came when I wished for you
This just can't be coincidence
The only way that this makes sense is that
Oooh you're an angel...

The song ended. There was friendly applause. Shyly I rejoined my friends, who told me they didn't know I could sing. I did pick a Madonna song, though, which is a good choice for doing karaoke for the first time.

We swooped out of the bar and went on to eyedrum, a multipurpose art space. It was midnight and the fashion show was still ongoing. We ran into the band and Wayne introduced us. They told us about their first tour, which went really well. In New York they weren't even headlining and the crowd asked for an encore, and the stage manager let them do one more song. An hour later the band finally got to play.

It's hard to explain the sound of Hope for a Golden Summer. It's really striking, raw folk-art music, with unusual percussion (like empty Coke bottles) and instruments like accordion, cello and one of those musical saws. The harmonies of the sisters, who trade off on vocals, is just wonderful. The music is haunting and gorgeous. They've got some mp3s on their site - check them out!

After dropping off one of our party, crawled into bed around 3 am.

Sunday: Slept in, despite cats. Introduced my friends Tessa and Dave to the miracle of brunch at the Flying Biscuit. Thankfully the cheese grits did right by them, and all was good. Then it was more nest-shopping - a trip to Lowe's and Target, followed by more furniture moving at home, until it was time to pick up Mr. Arkadin at the airport, who arrived just in time for dinner.

June 17, 2005

What to do, what to do

I am on my own this weekend, Mr. Arkadin having gone off on a manly man trip with some college friends. They will be manly men going whitewater rafting, bonding over beer, probably being smelly and unshaven together.

There are things I should do, like wash those dishes in the sink. Get a start on filing my personal papers. Put away laundry. Figure out how to run telephone wire along the baseboards and doorframes to the computer which has been moved across the living room, away from the telephone jack. (No, not very wise, but there was a better place for my computer desk.) Pack up stuff to take to goodwill.

Then there are things I want to do. I have dvd rentals at home of Calendar Girls, Vanity Fair, and Wives & Daughters. I could have my own British movie marathon. I need to get a travel guide for my upcoming trip to San Francisco. I have that book I need to finish for my book group. Maybe meet a friend for coffee or a movie, if I can (cough, cough) interest anybody in going out.

We'll see what happens. First, though, I'm off to get something decadent for dinner.

Q: What's the magic word? A: NOW!

"MRRROW! MRRROW!"

Somewhere beneath the covers: "Ok, ok. Just give me three minutes, ok?"

Two minutes later... "MRRROW! MRRROW!"

"Wha...?" Looking at the clock. "Arrrgh."

Seven minutes later...

"MRRROW! MRRROW! MRRROW!" Insistent, persistent, high-pitched feline whining. Flinging back the covers, I erupt from the bed to feed the cats.

Stay tuned for this evening's performance, wherein your heroine must battle these lovable fat furballs for some pillow real estate.

Yours, &c., LC at 08:43 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

June 16, 2005

Projecting much?

I was going to leave a comment elsewhere:

I'm trying to learn the difference between when a person just wants to bitch and moan - whine whine whine while you listen - and when a person actually wants some advice or encouragement. But I'm no longer friends with the person who does this. She'll have to find other people who will tolerate her hand-wringing and her lack of willpower to do anything about her problems.
And then I realized that this very thing could be said, perhaps more accurately, about me.

Oh.

I didn't post the comment, but it's here as a reminder that I shouldn't be so quick to judge when my own glass house needs to be put in order. I'm not going to condemn myself and remain stuck, frozen in blame, in self-recrimination. I'm pursuing improvement behind the scenes. It's slow going, but it's happening. It's necessary to believe in yourself, because sometimes that's the only support system you'll have. And while that may not be the case typically, it's still something to keep in mind.

June 13, 2005

Birthday Boy

Today is the birthday of Mr. Arkadin. Happy birthday, sweetie.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:19 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

May 31, 2005

Craigslist virgin no more

Occasionally I check out the local "For Sale" boards at Craigslist, just to see what's out there. A gal in Buckhead was selling a dark olive loveseat and ottoman. It looked incredibly comfortable and had nice, clean lines. Simple, modern, unpretentious, well-kept - and surprisingly inexpensive. Made a few calls, one of my sisters borrowed our dad's SUV and brought along her boyfriend. Between us, my sister and her boyfriend and the woman and her boyfriend, we fit the loveseat into the SUV - barely but successfully! - and the ottoman sat on its side in the backseat of our Saturn. The woman was friendly and supernice and it turns out she's a graphic designer moving to the Upper East Side and couldn't take everything with her. All in all, a very pleasant exchange and it's the first furniture that I've ever been really excited about. At one point I was stretched out on it with a cat curled up by either side of my head, so clearly everyone is pleased with the acquisition.

May 13, 2005

The Sharpest Claw

I've started to let the big gray cat come inside and walk around for a bit. This disconcerts the other cats, and so there's usually not much wandering for long. At any rate, I'd need the cat checked out to make sure it didn't have anything it could pass on to the tabbies.

This is a big cat, the size of a small dog, really. It might be a Maine Coon. It's got really big paws and some serious teeth. It's friendly enough with me, certainly insistent about wanting to be fed. But I'm more cautious with this one than with the other, more domesticated furballs that go about the backyard. It's got a collar, but no tag, and I'm beginning to think it's been abandoned.

I wasn't so cautious last night. After making the rounds, Big Cat leapt up on the bed and purred away, pretty as you please. I leaned in a little too close and it got spooked and swatted me on the jaw. After a judicious cleansing with Betadine and application of Neosporin, I should be okay.

Apparently we're still on friendly terms; it's just that there are limits. The cat tilted its head up and let me pat its head before it ran out the back door and into the night.

For those who want a less painful, more remote feline fix, check out The Daily Kitten.

May 02, 2005

I am...a librarian!

DON'T PANIC I've been promoted. Trying to apply the excellent advice on the back cover of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (Fun movie, by the way).

Not much has changed yet. There will be more reference work, learning by doing. In the meantime, still doing my current duties until someone is found to take on the clerical work.

I haven't let myself get too excited about it yet. Part of me wonders when I'll be found out, because I certainly haven't got a brain the size of a planet.

Still, a raise is a raise. My credit cards and I are due for a reckoning. (We'll just count the iPod as a prescient promotion purchase.)

April 12, 2005

This is to say...I have nothing to say

When having no information is too much information - Why must bloggers keep us apprised on days when they have nothing to say? [Alan Greenblatt, San Francisco Chronicle 4/10/05] Going by the title, I thought this article would take a harder stance on bloggers for posting about having nothing to say, being busy elsewhere, etc. but the author discusses the full spectrum, noting that such posts are the modern equivalent of letters that begin with "I'm sorry I haven't written in so long, but...."

And what's my excuse? I've found another web toy to share. I have pictures to post. Just haven't done it yet. Currently in damage control mode. I'm not sure if I'm putting out fires so much as keeping them from becoming conflagrations as I try to develop better life management skills. Sorry to be obscure, just trying to be mindful of unloading TMI (that would be Too Much Information, not Three Mile Island, which is one of Taco Mac's offerings for hot wings, as well as that nuclear incident from a few decades ago).

Yours, &c., LC at 12:35 PM | Blogos , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

April 11, 2005

Around

I've been out of town. Briefly:

-The car was rear-ended, on the way to the airport. No injuries, but the car needs to get checked out. Great. *$%#@! Atlanta drivers.
-My current favorite architecture is Frank Gehry's pedestrian bridge in Chicago's Millenium Park.
-Sin City - big on style - a visual treat, but not so much on the other stuff. But I'm not asking for my money back.
-Taxes have been done. We owe. Ugh.

April 05, 2005

Your designed identity makes success everlasting

A recent spam subject line - sort of like a fortune cookie message.

I've been laying low. One reason: installing, uninstalling, reinstalling TurboTax and downloading updates. I will move into the world of high-speed internet, someday. I'm wondering if the tax refund might not be better used towards an updated computer, instead of a Tivo or DSL connection. Or I could be practical and pay down some debt. At any rate, first I need to find out if we'll be getting a tax refund.

I read somewhere that if you work towards becoming who you ought to be, instead of thinking about a fantasy life, that you'll be much happier, more content with yourself. That's because you're working towards goals that are someday attainable. Makes sense. Not that we can't dream of having better lives - but if something matters enough, then the dream has to be translated into reality. Action has to be taken, change must be pursued. Maybe you'll find that the dream wasn't what you really wanted. But no matter - it's important to appreciate the pursuit, because sometimes just making it to the next day is its own reward.

I've been putting in some extra time at the office; makes me feel better to get things done. Setting aside things to take over to Goodwill. Reconnecting with friends I haven't seen in a while. Unexpectedly meeting people who read the Armoire. (If I were a superhero, I've done a poor job of protecting my secret identity.) Mundane things, like laundry, making sure I don't skip lunch too often. Thinking, writing, attending my weekly appointment - unloading the junk in my head.

Oh, and listening to Crowded House. Talking to other fans on mailing lists and message boards. We know how strange it is to feel as we do, so it helps to talk to people who seem to understand and are also trying to make sense of the loss of someone we admired.

I'd forgotten, briefly, that I have another personal Paul Hester moment. When the band played in Atlanta in 1994, right before "Sister Madly," the guys got a little playful. Neil hung the microphone over the audience and those of us who dared took a chance to express ourselves. I said "Tell people 'I love you' all the time!" and in response Paul yells out "I love you I love you I love you."

I don't know if it quite came across, but what I meant was that you should tell the people that you love that you love them - tell them those very words, because it's important that they know how you feel. But that was a mouthful, so I ended up saying an abbreviated version. Years later, I had the bonus disc to "The Best of Crowded House" playing on the stereo. I listened, absently, when the sudden jolt of recognition hit me. Wait...that's me. That's my voice! Omigod, that's me! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Suddenly there just wasn't enough air. Then I ran around the room screaming in delight. Fortunately I was home by myself so no one had to witness this firsthand. Then I wrote to the mailing list to share my discovery. This wasn't a moment of bragging - it was just utter shock and excitement, giddiness that out of all the recordings that were out there, that this moment, special as it was to me personally, was also worthy enough of making it onto the live disc. It was so gratifying that people on the List understood. Now that Paul's gone, that moment of brief connection means a little bit more.

It's still important to tell people that you care about them. And it's important to know that life is too short to dwell on the past, to stay in one place, to be afraid of change. I feel like a broken record, but if I say it enough then I'll start to believe it, to really take this belief into my heart and become the person I ought to be.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:05 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 28, 2005

Spring

Besides the change in the light and the healing warmth from the sun that I can feel in my bones, we've also gotten some torrential rain in the past few days. It's the kind that soaks you to the skin in less than a minute, should you lack an umbrella. Even then you don't remain dry when the wind blows the rain every which way.

The thing that surprises me, although it shouldn't, is how you can wake up one morning and suddenly everything's green and beginning to bloom. I love the new spring green of the baby leaves that start growing again on tree branches; I love that contrast of the tender, delicate silky-smooth green with the dark, rough, wet brown of the bark. That's my favorite bit, I think. Even though it's raining today, that just makes the green pop out and makes you notice it more.

My spider plant seems to be willing to recover, despite my lack of attention. I set it out to soak up the rain last night. I'll have to start over with the ivy.

Trying to think about life, about rebirth and renewal, even as I'm reminded once more how suddenly it all can end.

March 25, 2005

Flattened, but it's only temporary

I never wanted very much but the chance to learn from my mistakes
funny how you never learn but know them when they come around again...

This is from an Echobelly song that I learned about from Stuart. You know that expression kicked in the teeth? That's a bit how I've felt this week. I have that sick-stomach feeling that tells me I've just gone around again when I thought I was moving forward.

A few nights ago I went out with my friends Marco and Wayne for some excellent pineapple curry and conversation. They knew stuff was up but left it to me to talk if I felt like it. In the end I didn't, but I knew they were there for me if I chose to say anything. Later I got to chat with Steph, who filled me in on the latest developments in the summit between Mike's cat and Steph's little girl. (Some {{{hugs}}} for you, sweetie.)

There's a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you'll never see the end of the road
While you're traveling with me

("Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House)

This time, though, I'm wondering if one road has come to an end. I'm not so much distraught anymore as disappointed. Just tired and sad and less hopeful. I don't know if this particular battle is lost for good, but I have to retreat for now. There are things I have to do.

Here's a thought: am I the one leaving or am I being left behind? Is there a difference? Does it even matter anymore? Not really, I guess.

So I can remain here, lying (perhaps wallowing) in the dirt, so to speak, or I can pick up, dust off and get going - again and again and again, as many times as I have to. But now I must direct myself more purposefully, choosing the battles that are worth the fight.

I still have my teeth, at any rate.

March 23, 2005

Just So We're Clear

I'm very troubled about the Terry Schiavo matter. I keep wondering when the right's naked grab for power is going to fall on its face, when people are going to realize just how far we've swung, in large part because of the last election.

We have a system in place. For Congress to dictate to the courts - how is that not a violation of federalism, of the separation of powers? This case has been exhaustively run through the courts. Just because some of us don't like the result doesn't mean the system has failed. There is always a losing side in a court case (see Bush v. Gore.) It doesn't mean congressional and executive activists (that would be people like Tom Delay, Bill Frist, and the President) should write up run-around legislation to get the federal court to intervene. If the Schindlers had had a strong case, then they should have been successful in the state courts.

So the 11th Circuit Court (here in Atlanta) has denied the Schindlers' appeal; they're now requesting a review by a full panel of judges (rehearing en banc). Then it could go to the Supreme Court, if it chooses to take the case. I suppose it would have to, given the bloodcry from the right-wingers. It's appalling how far this has gotten, what a circus this has become. Now we have politicians invading our personal lives and telling us what to do.

In light of this, I've been thinking about putting my legal arrangements in order. (Yeah, we both have worked in the field, so it's ironic that we don't have such things established yet.) I don't want to be comatose, lingering for forty years. I don't want to be a vegetable. If my mind is gone, then I'm gone.

March 18, 2005

You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you

We're walking out of Mellow Mushroom with our leftover pizza. Just outside is a group of people talking. One of them, a woman, has a dog, a brown miniature dachshund. As is often the case when I'm around other people's dogs, I was all lovey-dovey and squealy, especially when I realized that the woman's husband had another mini dachshund with him.

The little boy dog practically lunged at me with giddy excitement. It might have been because I was holding the box of leftovers. But he was just so adorable and affectionate, trying to climb up on my knee and lick me as I bent down and cooed over him. The other dog wanted in on the lovefest as well and came over, tail wagging just as furiously.

I asked the owner for the boy dog's name. It was Darcy - Mr. Darcy.

No wonder it was love at first sight.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:20 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

In The Sound of Music, after Rolf and Liesl sing and dance in the gazebo, Rolf gives Liesl a smackeroo of a kiss and she's all dazed and caught in the rain and she can't contain herself any more so she just squeals out a high-pitched "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

I just got my iPod. I ordered it Wednesday, paying for it straight out of my checking account. It shipped out from Shanghai. I thought I'd get it next week, but here it is! I knew exactly what it was when the woman from the mailroom brought me my 0.9 kg package of cubic joy.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Just this morning I ran into Clunky Robot on the train and showed him the case I'd bought at the Apple Store the other night, so I'd have something tangible to hold in the meantime - as well as to have it ready, of course, to protect the iPod when it arrived. Dork that I am, I pulled it out and showed it to him, and he, being an iPod man himself, was quite receptive to my giddy anticipation.

So what am I waiting for? The box is sitting right at hand and what am I doing first? Writing about it here, because I simply can't yet bear to let go of this "before" moment.

I am quite a happy dork. This is not the meaningful, soulful variety of happiness. This won't solve my problems, I know that. I'm doing something nice for myself because I'm tired of being so hard on myself.

love this life
don't wait till the next one comes

March 17, 2005

Fortune Cookie

I had a late lunch and picked up some food court Chinese food. You can get a free fortune cookie from the open bin but I normally don't bother. Today I decided to take one.

My fortune: The most powerful are those who have power over themselves.

I wonder if the lottery numbers that are also printed on the slip of paper are just as relevant.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:07 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 13, 2005

To Do List

Feed cats
Writeup of yesterday's hike
Despam Mike's blog
Shower
Breakfast
The office
Target
Whole Foods
Petco
T-Mobile store (?)
The Apple Store (?) (We qualify for an education discount, one of us being in academia)

Yours, &c., LC at 08:30 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

Taking a Hike

I forget that the Chattahoochee River really does run through Atlanta. We have parks and lots of trees everywhere, but Atlanta seems less like a city than a vast network of suburban sprawl.

We drove up to Norcross, which isn't very far, although definitely OTP (Outside the Perimeter, or Highway 285), which roughly defines the city limits. On the radio, the news broke that the guy who killed three people at the Fulton County courthouse yesterday had been caught at an apartment complex on Satellite Boulevard. There's possibly a fourth homicide, a U.S. Customs agent, which would bring in the feds. I think the local law & order community is going to be in perfect alignment in handling this guy.

We met up with some folks, Marco, Wayne and Adam. Marco's lumbering, lovey, loping hound came along as well. The forecast promised 70-degree weather, although it was still a mite chilly. Fortunately Marco lent me his spare shirt. We were pleasantly hot soon enough in the bright midday sun.

There was a trail, not much greenery to speak of, it still being technically winter and all. We were communing with nature, spotted hawks, deer (a buck and his harem of does) and herons. And what did we talk about? The new Tori Amos album (not too good alas), the merits or lack thereof(!) of Kate Bush, Desperate Housewives, Dead Like Me, and what kind of iPod I should get. My friend Adam is an Apple-man - to the core (heehee). So he was eager to convert me and we spoke with great animation and obsessive detail, probably much to the chagrin and amusement of everyone else, especially Scott, who's been a captive audience for my obsession in the last few days.

Adam's also one of those people who fills me in on the newest music I should check out. For better or worse, I must be doing a better job, because I'd actually heard of a few of the bands he mentioned, like The Fiery Furnaces and Iron & Wine. Must remember Spoon, though.

I would've totally pestered Mike about all this stuff. I've found myself wanting to call and say "Hey, what do you think about..." before realizing that I can't. *sigh*

About halfway through, we sat down in some shade with our snacks and bottled water. All of us were well-provisioned, maybe a little more than necessary. It wasn't like we were going to be stranded in the wilderness. But we likes our wasabi peas and oranges and sandwiches and trail mix and peanuts and beef jerky, my precioussss....

It was a great way to spend the day, a good reminder of how much I like being out and about with friends. Must do more of that.

March 10, 2005

Assorted Thoughts

  • Sometimes I wish I could dye my hair hot pink like Gwen Stefani did a couple of albums back. But then I'd have to have a job that would let me get away with hot pink hair. And I'd have to be pretty darn cute like Gwen besides.

  • How do you gracefully say no to some very nice people who assume that you want to give up your entire weekend, again, to hang out in a conference center surrounded by cats with better grooming regimens than your own?

  • Is it worth it to buy a cheap CD player to replace the two I've recently had in my possession (one was dropped, the other was left on a plane, probably never to be seen again)? Or should I put in towards a starter MP3 player while I save up for a better computer so that I can then save up for an iPod?

  • I've never been one to think too far ahead, to plan or dream about my future. I think I need to start having visions of a bigger, fuller life - and then start to pursue that. Otherwise, I remain stuck in the present, which all too soon becomes my past, with not so much to show for it.

  • In case I forget to mention this elsewhere, I have now seen Neil Finn's belly-button and can vouch that he wears boxers. (This is what happens when you don't fully button your shirt, mate. Now the whole internet knows.)

Crumpet & the City, Pt. 1

Last Thursday (3/3):

Ride into City. Drop off bag with my friend who's meeting me later for the Finn show, then walk into Central Park, to see The Gates, at least the ones that haven't been taken down yet.

Head downtown. Espy four Japanese girls with cameras trained on the WTC site. Consider the potential for a good meta-picture, then walk on, not wanting to linger.

Meet Zeebah for lunch, touring her library. We eat in her cafeteria with a gorgeous, light-filled view of the harbor. I took in a lot of that view, as we talked about things great and small. That's Z - one of my dearest.

Killed some time, found a funky belt at Century 21, more out of necessity than the need to shop. Then off to Tea & Sympathy for a lovely sit-down with Stuart. I totally missed a potential Lucy Liu sighting, but that's par for the course with me. Good thing Stuart was more attuned and at least got to wonder "wasn't that...?" I went for the cream tea - scones, clotted cream and jam, washed down with a pot of typhoo, while my more health-conscious companion went for a pot of Yorkshire Gold and a creamy celery soup. Although it was our first meeting in real life, it didn't feel like that at all, which pleased me.

Afterwards, scored a pink tweedy scarf on clearance at Mxyplyzyk. Why is it that when I'm shopping for someone else, I always find things for me?

Because it was so bleepin' cold, I ended up in another coffee shop to thaw for a bit. Then worked my way down to the Canal Room to wait in line for the Finn Brothers show. It was about 6 p.m.; the doors would open at 7. In warmer weather the line might have been longer sooner, so I was relieved not to have been so fanatic as to get in line earlier....

Worth a Listen

I mentioned this on the Remembered page yesterday, but I thought I'd also point out here: via deano, a web stream tribute of songs the mildly-opinionated mrw liked muchly, as he was wont to say.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:08 AM | Music , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 09, 2005

Small Blessings

I don't know if it's the return to routine, to the everyday, to the Stuff I Have to Deal With, but I've been feeling brittle. Like I just have to think somebody's looking at me wrong and then I have to run away and hide out in a bathroom. And I can't even explain why, not even to myself.

I think I'm just tired too from the hectic pace I was keeping. My back is protesting from several nights of sleeping on futons and air mattresses - although I slept quite solidly and thoroughly enough. I just stopped seeing my chiropractor, so maybe she put some voodoo on me to make me come back.

I'm taking a research class for the next couple of weeks and realized I was double-booked for tomorrow night. Because of my schedule last week I didn't see my therapist. Thankfully she has an alternate opening for tonight at 5:30. And the city sighs with relief, safe from one twit, at least for another day...

There are plans for going out with friends Friday night. Looks like we'll be having Ethiopian food for dinner. And then Saturday, if the weather's nice, there's talk of going for a hike by a river.

Actually, I think I know why I'm feeling like this today. Have got to throw myself into my work, make a dent into my backlog. I think too much sometimes, and not enough at others. But today is a good day for not thinking, at least about some things.

Yours, &c., LC at 08:45 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 07, 2005

Back

V. tired and v. glad to be back in own bed. If I could be in bed right now, I would be v. happy. But there's that whole employment thing.

More later, hopefully with pictures. The whole moblogging thing hasn't been worked out yet. Posting via cell phone is quite annoying; I'd have to upgrade to a device that's better equipped for web and email. And having heard how often I "um" and "uh" I was too leery to pick up the phone and speak off the cuff. Must remember to write up index cards for my next performance, 'cause otherwise there would have been probably lots of silly audio, like "Omigod I just went to the in-store and got my cd and setlist signed and Tim SMILED at me and I was SO happy!" A version of which did happen; I wasn't a scary stalker - on the outside, anyway. But you wouldn't have known that, if you'd heard me squeeing into the phone immediately afterwards.

Ok, more later.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:06 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 03, 2005

Lost in Transit

I really should go to sleep, especially after that lovely glass of red wine.

Am being sheltered for the night by the lovely John and Daniella, after being en route to NYC. When I finally made it to the train station, I knew I was in New York when a nicely dressed, normal looking woman said "Excuse me, are you interested in salvation?" as if she were asking me for the time. I just looked at her blankly and headed towards the train.

Technically, I've already been saved. When I lived in New York as a kid, my parents finally let me walk to and from elementary school by myself. Once, on the way home with friends, we stopped by the newstand to get some candy, and we were stopped by evangelists. Thinking I was supposed to be polite, I let one of them, a woman, talk me into declaring my devotion to Jesus Christ. Afterwards my friends tried to shake some sense into me - the whole not talking to strangers and all that. Since I got home a little late, I had to tell my mother what had happened, and my dad ended up calling the police. (Yes, really.)

I suppose that it technically counts, but I question the validity of saving somebody who doesn't really understand what it is she's committing to, and when, really, she's only trying to be polite.

Coming into LaGuardia, I was flooded with thoughts of how this was supposed to play out. He's supposed to be there, waiting to pick me up. Knowing that wasn't a thought to dwell on, I raced my way through the terminal, out to Ground Transportation.

I am here to see the Finn Brothers at the Canal Room and at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett. There's an in-store performance at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square on Friday, so I may go to that - might as well be a full-on groupie, right? Otherwise, hanging out with friends, old and new.

Not sure if I'll have much access to a computer while I'm here, or time for that matter, since I'll be doing the real-life thing. But I am considering a revival of my site on Blogger, where I've worked out posting from my cell phone with both audio and email snippets. So I may be using this in the future. It's very early and experimental at this point, so no promises.

Off to Bedfordshire.

February 26, 2005

Sortie

Friday: One automobile, two planes, one bus, and one subway ride later I was in Central Park, walking through The Gates. I loved all of it - the saffron, the play of light and texture, the ruffles and ripples as the wind caught the fabric. The reflections on the water. The changes in topography and how the gates widened or narrowed depending on the path. Sometimes I saw the larger scale - gates gates and more gates. Sometimes it was just one gate, and I would look at the cloth rippling and rustling against the blue of the sky and the dark outlines of branches.

Walking through the park in this context, the experience was more like a journey, maybe even pilgrimage. I found myself really living in the moment, taking time to slow down, to look up, to pause, to think. Some moments were breathtaking, others were more prosaic. Sometimes I watched as people experienced the Gates, talking and taking pictures. One interesting comment I overheard: Wouldn't it be great if they could somehow gift-wrap the entire park?

Other moments were harder. I wasn't supposed to be here, after all. Waves of saffron seemed to blur and swim together, mixing with everything else around me as my thoughts turned inward. Then I'd remember to breathe, and the world began to look normal again.

Eventually I headed down to the Overlook, for my relatively last-minute decision to hang out with New York bloggers/friends. Mike probably would have disliked being the focus of attention. It's ironic that the bar of choice wouldn't have been accessible to him, there being a step up into the bar, and a step up in the back by the pool table, where we ended up congregating.

At first we seemed to be scattered. Thank goodness for cell phones, so I could tell Steph and Jonathan where to find me. Daniella and John showed up, and by then we'd run into Christine and Keith, Steve Silver and his girlfriend, as well as Matthew, who also flew in to be amongst those of us who knew his brother. Daniella supplied name tags, so when I next went up to the bar for a refill, the bartender read my tag and presented my drink with a flourish to "milady" - and a very nice man wouldn't let me pay for it, especially once he learned why we bloggers had gotten together.

I made the effort to mingle. So I chatted with Kambri and Brian the 646 Guy, and met Laren, who writes food entries over at Gothamist and has her own site as well. She's a big fan of Elvis Costello; Mike would have liked meeting her. Eventually caught up with Paul Frankenstein, met the wonderful Linus, and wended my way back to Stephanie and Jonathan and John and Daniella (who has a more coherent writeup and pictures as well). Somehow I don't look as puffy-eyed and red-nosed and snotty as I thought I would. But mostly I managed to maintain good spirits, better than they have been. It definitely helped to be among mutual friends.

As much as it's great to connect with people through email, through the blog, through the phone - none of these can substitute for being with people, in person, so you can see them and talk to them and hug each other and make each other laugh even though you were feeling awful just a minute before.

Afterwards a few of us cabbed it to downtown for some a late dinner, and then later, having had some lovely dessert wine, I was asleep in the guest room at John and Daniella's, surrounded by sweet, pudgy cats.

Today: More planes, then straight to a casual dinner party with Scott upon arrival. Again, I had to work on being in the moment, on making the effort to talk to people when I felt boring and shy. But the evening turned out okay. The sight of so many toddlers brought by other guests probably exhausted me more than the whirlwind pace of my trip.

Pretty worn out. Eventually the hectic pace will end and I will have to get back to the routine, to the everyday business of living. It's something I look forward to, but I'm also afraid of it. But there's nothing to be done, except to keep going.

February 24, 2005

Try a Little Cheekiness

WARNING: This is a completely frivolous post. Racy content and exceedingly bad musical taste directly to follow. As in IMMEDIATELY. So just spare yourself, now. As for the rest of you, whoever's still reading...I did warn you.

Sordid scribblings after the jump. (That would be the link below, for those of us, such as myself, still new to such phrasing.)

One of the sillier moments, of which there were many, during my road trip was hearing some random stuff on Marco's iPod, including a lounge-lizard version of that 80's classic "Baby Got Back." If memory serves, I believe I've posted about the song before. Ah yes, here. I must get hold of it, but in the meantime, here's a preview, performed by (oh dear) Richard Cheese. (right-click, save as)

Another moment I recall was when a bunch of us went out to Mellow Mushroom the evening after our wedding. Marco and I sat in the backseat, stunned, when Scott and his best man knew ALL OF THE WORDS when the song - the original version - came on the radio. That was a definite sidesplitting moment.

Such tender memories were called to mind because I'd gotten an email newsletter about the video premiere party for Bubbles, the "butt boosting lingerie." Their site includes a "Baby Got Feedback" page including comments from happy customers.

The party is tonight at Bazzaar (654 Peachtree Street, at the corner of Peachtree and Ponce de Leon, 404.885.7505), if anyone is compelled to go. I am perhaps a little curious, I confess. I don't know that I want to walk around worried that people are judging my state of sag, though.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:55 PM | Music , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 23, 2005

Catching a Break

In the last 48 hours:

Did some cleanup on Mike's blog. Damn comment spam. But it's good to be useful.

Met up with Holly & Cassie for sushi and cocktails. Several pastel-colored martinis and a pint of cider later, and yours truly was a bit of a blubbery mess. I vaguely remember walking at an angle and falling into bed. Still woke up way too early. Clearly am not drinking enough.

Tonight, Marco and Wayne came over with Chinese takeout and we caught the Project Runway finale. One of my girlfriends called and I was in the kitchen, chatting away, when I looked out through the back door. I'd started setting out some cat food, only to find some other cat nibbling away. I registered that there was a cat, and then saw a familiar tabby pattern. Astonished, I told my friend to hang on a moment, and opened the door warily.

Tabitha was too busy eating to run away. I snatched her up, brought her inside and yelled "I got her!" The damn cat strolled around blithely, as if to say "Hey everybody, how's it going?" Tonight it's been pouring and wintry temps are soon to return, so I am much relieved. It won't happen again, but someone needs a collar with a tag, pronto.

Someone else is unhappy. It's only been about five, six days, but Ginger is clearly disappointed. She's been hissing and emitting low, strangled growls whenever she sees Tabitha. Poor dear - she was the good cat and stayed inside, and now she loses her only-cat status. She's gotten some catnip for her trouble.

February 21, 2005

"Excuse me but can I be you for a while..."

I'm well awake long before I glance over at the clock and find out it's still too early and I ought to be asleep. One of my sisters has offered me a week's worth of pills that would knock me out and help me get back to a normal schedule. Aside from the mental crap I know the insomnia has to do with my not eating much or very well, staying up too late, lack of exercise, etc. Like any of that is new.

Tabitha's been sighted. She's been hiding out in the seemingly endless crawlspace of the triplex next door. Scott's got filthy clothes and bruises on his knees - battle scars from trying to reach a cat who clearly has no interest in coming back inside right now. We tried again last night but she didn't seem to be around.

Despite being old, fat and practically toothless she's probably already formed a gang of cats who find food for her or maybe she's found some soft-hearted sucker (as I have been) who will set out a little something for her. Enjoy your grand adventure, cat. What do you care that we're worried about you. Frickin frackin ungrateful minx.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Ginger is clingy and demanding. She seems to think my every waking moment is dedicated to her. Just guess who is sitting on my lap right now, enjoying her current status as the only cat in the house. Fortunately she's more of a lapcat and doesn't interfere with my keyboard/mouse activity.

The office is closed for today's holiday, although other people I know have to go to work. I'm tempted to sneak in for a few hours. My desk is awash in Many Things to Do.

On the ride to and from Nashville we also listened to lots of Margaret Cho. She's funny enough to cut through the fog in my head, and I laugh until it hurts. I wish I could be that fearless. Anyway, she talks about dieting in a performance from her Revolution tour. She gave all of that up after her last really bad fad diet. (It was really, really bad, and she explains, in excruciating detail, what that entailed.) She says she's now on the "Fuck It" diet, which goes really well with the "Fuck That Shit" exercise plan. That became a recurring joke during our trip as we ate lots of junk, washed down with strong drink.

But now I'm back home. There's a cat who needs to be dragged back in, laundry to do, lots of clutter to do away with this calendar year. A job that needs more attention than I've been giving. I need to be more involved in my major relationships - my marriage, my friendships, my family. I need to resist impulsiveness and reacting from extremes and accept that there is merit - reward, even - in commitment, responsibility, moderation, and self-control. I can't just say "fuck it." I don't get to be young and stupid anymore. In one sense, I kind of mourn that - like growing up means giving up. Growing old. But change doesn't have to be negative, and not all loss is painful. I'm trying to believe this, even though things really suck right now. (Feeling sad and angry now. Is that progress?)

But as one friend put it to me recently (thank you, J), you change from one moment to the next - you don't mourn the loss of yourself from five minutes ago. So in mourning for Mike, we keep him close by remembering him. We can miss him but we must still find a way to keep going. It's what's supposed to be done, even though it hurts so much to even think it.

I can't afford to stay frozen, incapable of doing anything. Inaction - being able to do something, but unable or rather unwilling to act, which is itself a choice - is like a living death. To live is to act: to think, to choose - but also to do.

February 20, 2005

Hmmm

Trying to be more self-aware, but it's hard, being a little too close to the subject. So I'm not entirely sure how I came off in my last post - did I capture a balanced snapshot of the evening, as I experienced it? Or did I lean too far and dwell on the negative, as I've been wont to do?

Really, the overall experience was a good one. It's true that there have been better ones. But my friends and I did enjoy ourselves; we're glad we could take this trip together. Do the annoyances really matter? These are things I shouldn't hang onto; they take up space in my mind when instead I could be thinking about positive or more important things. It's not worth it to be worked up about some moron, when I could take a moment to think or do something more worthwhile. Not something that's necessarily deep and profound; life can't be intense like that all of the time. But I don't need to waste my time on things that don't matter, on people who don't matter. If I've learned nothing else, I know that there's never enough time, and I have to make the most of whatever I've got left.

Well enough of that. I think maybe I'm feeling kind of guilty because with each day that passes I have to move forward. Move on. Learn to make my life worth something. It's what I'm supposed to do.

A momentary slip. The feeling will pass - eventually. Just have to pick myself up, and keep going.

Road Trip

It's been an ideal road trip - an easy drive from Atlanta to Nashville with good friends. I asked Scott if he thought I should still go, but he told me that he would work on trying to find Tabitha. He told me to try to enjoy myself and forget everything else for a while. When I first made plans, months ago, Scott had already opted to stay home instead of coming with us. It's fortunate that he's been able to do the few things one can do, looking for a lost cat, while I've been away.

Still here for a while, staying with friends of friends. It's been really nice, and although I still feel a bit guilty for doing it, I have made the effort to be present and enjoy the moment. I know traveling to see a musician I love is exactly the kind of thing Mike would have done, and has done.

I'm not one for singing in front of other people. My voice is passable, I guess, for singing alone in the car or in the shower. Driving up, though, we put in a copy of Woodface and I found myself singing along with my friends, even though sometimes I still wanted to cry. It's been music, and the company of my own good friends, and talking to new friends and hearing their stories about Mike that have been most comforting. Religion hasn't done much for me, although I wish it could.

I find myself surprised by the extent of people's capacity to reach out, to show compassion because of how much we all love Mike. It's because of our regard for the man that we're all trying to look after each other. It's quite humbling. I have to allow myself to be open, to be willing to accept from, and to give, the same to others, even though it's been ingrained in me for too long that I am too flawed, too undeserving, too much of a fuckup to be worth such kindness and generosity. I will never heal, I will never be happy if I don't learn to forgive myself, if I don't accept the opportunity to change. To become the kind of person I admire, someone who is worthy of other people. I wish this lesson didn't come at the cost of Mike's passing, but I didn't have any choice in the matter. But I do have the power to make other choices, and I have abdicated that for too long.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:39 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 18, 2005

Celebrate Mike

Spreading the word, as Daniella requested:

...We are holding a Celebrate Mike party on Friday, February 25th at 7 PM at the Overlook Lounge, located 225 East 44th St, between 2nd and 3rd Aves in NYC. You are all welcome, whether you knew Mike "in real life" or only through his blog. A bunch of us will be swapping anecdotes and raising a glass to our friend. This will be night of celebration---because that's what Mike would have wanted us to do. Please join us. I would also appreciate it if you could help spread the word....

Finally, if you would like to make a donation in Mike's name, his parents suggested the March of Dimes. You can click to send a donation here.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:10 AM | Blogos , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 17, 2005

Aural bits

Today I remembered that Mike had done a trial audio blogging post. I'd done one too, having learned about the service from him. So I checked to see if the post was still accessible, and it is. You can still hear the sound of Mike's voice. It's still so him - funny and self-deprecating and incredibly sweet.

I also saved a copy in case the original mp3 becomes unavailable. It's available here. (right-click, save as)

February 15, 2005

Ok, Enough Now

I'm getting tired of myself being like this. I'm afraid I'm becoming maudlin and excessively self-indulgent, which isn't at all what my friend would want.

The funeral was today. We went, it was hard, but it was closure.

The best thing I can do to honor Mike is to follow the example of how he lived his life, with integrity, honesty, dignity, enthusiasm, a never-ending sense of wonder and adventure, and most of all, a tenacious, loving heart.

February 14, 2005

Backup Plan

I know, it's been all-death, all-the-time around here.

When I was in the middle of my last host-change, shifting files over for the Armoire (and bitching up a storm), Mike told me that backing up my site was no big ordeal - and then did it for me to show me how easy it was. But then he said that I shouldn't get so worked up anyway, it's "just" my blog.

I thought that remark was odd coming from him, a fellow blogger. Part of the panic about losing my site had to do with the blog being a part of my identity, that this was something I was personally invested in. Losing the site, I explained, would be like losing a part of myself.

He still wasn't convinced. I think he even told me, teasingly, that if that's what I really believed, it was kind of sad.

Do you still think that's true, Wheelz? Am I really so wrong?

Considering the sadness we're going through right now, with people posting comments to Mike's last post, checking the site in the hopes that we'll somehow see something new from him, I think it's safe to say that blogs really do give us the sense - and the presence - of someone's identity. And even if one were to say that Mike's site doesn't fully capture his life and experience, it still contains some of his essence, which explains why we want so much to make sure his site doesn't simply vanish.

So it occurred to me - right now no one else has admin rights to my site. What would happen if something suddenly happened to me, or to one of my other friends, or someone that I only know virtually? That certainly has been the experience for not a few of Mike's readers.

In an episode of Coupling, a British sitcom, some of the guy characters explain that they are "porn buddies" - meaning that if one of them were to die, the other would make sure to rescue his buddy's porn stash, thus preventing embarrassing post-mortem revelations to his buddy's family, as well as having the added bonus of inheriting his buddy's porn collection.

Do guys really do this? I don't know. But the idea is there, regardless of the specific content. It's an archival question, on a personal level. Considering how fully I've embraced blogging, I'm certain that I plan to continue the Armoire for the long term. I don't pretend to think that my site is a record worthy for future generations, but it seems to me that it would be a good idea to have designated blog buddies - people you trust who would be willing to preserve your site in some fashion, for the sake of the rest of us who will miss you, desperately, once you're gone.

Addendum: Hmmm. I never thought I would write something connecting death, blogging, librariana and porn but I guess there's a first time for everything. Or maybe, probably, this isn't even the first time someone has had this thought.

February 07, 2005

On Being Prepared

Although one doesn't normally plan on getting stuck alone in an elevator, even if it's only minutes, even if those few minutes suddenly seem much, much longer than one would have expected...it's a good idea to stop off at the loo.

Since I wasn't stuck for long, this thought only occurred to me afterwards. Fortunately my bladder is made of stronger stuff than my nerves. I reported the incident (the elevator, not the state of my bladder) to reception and to the security desk in the building lobby. Later, I got an apologetic note from building management along with a coffee shop gift card. Not particularly necessary, given my so-called plight, but it was nice. I'll just wait to sip my drink when I'm not in the elevator.

Yours, &c., LC at 07:57 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 04, 2005

Jumper

The office administrator sent around an email regarding traffic congestion here downtown. Someone at the intersection of Spring and Alexander is on a ledge somewhere. On the verge.

People are going to the windows here in the library to see what they can see. Some streets are blocked off. Helicopters are milling about.

I don't think I could do a final dramatic gesture. I guess I'd just want to go to sleep and never wake up.

Please...whatever it is, it can't be worth your life. You want to kill the pain, not yourself. You can't escape the pain of life...but not all life is pain. Please. Please.

The Reluctant Consumer

My book group's next selection is Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons. It's checked out or on hold at the library. (Through my connections, I've checked several library systems and still no luck.) Used copies aren't available yet at the usual bookshops I haunt. So I'm stuck and had to buy it last night.

I'm trying to keep an open mind about the novel, but I can't help thinking it's going to be an old man's hysterical rant about hypersexed youth. I might take Wolfe more seriously if he weren't so consumed with maintaining his image, wearing a white suit everywhere he goes.

Right now Border's has it for 50% off, meaning that the book is around $15. I made a deal with myself to buy something I really wanted, to make up for having to buy the Wolfe book. (Never mind that there is much media at home, awaiting further exploration.) After a bit of aisle-roaming, I picked up an album by The Long Winters that a friend highly recommended: The Worst You Can Do Is Harm. If I have to give Tom Wolfe his royalties, I can at least give royalties to someone I want to support. Border's isn't the most affordable place for CDs, but the album was more reasonably priced than some of the better-known stuff. (Nope, still not gonna pay $20 for The Life Aquatic soundtrack.)

Happy Friday.

February 02, 2005

Here and Now

I was out shopping for some work clothes. I'd found a few things and waited for the shopgirl to ring up my purchases. She turned away to process my debit card.

At that moment, the opening bars of a George Michael song began to play on the in-house stereo. It was something I hadn't heard in a long time, something I don't go out of my way to listen to, unless I'm in a dark place.

But something I just can't explain
Something in me needs this pain
My eyes suddenly welled with tears, the jolt of old memories resurfacing. I blinked several times in succession, and in the split second the cashier had turned away and turned back, I managed a semblance of composure. I signed the slip, thanked her brightly, and dashed out the door.

Lately I've been thinking about the past, about ghosts. About being a ghost to others, about the ghosts of the person I used to be. It's important to know my past, to understand how I got to this point, to understand the person I am today. But I am not the same person now that I was ten years ago. I am no longer the little girl who yearned for escape, for a life free from the family's iron thumb. I don't have to think and act as if I were still my younger self. I don't have to stay ingrained in old patterns and ways of thinking that hold me back.

Now everybody's talking about this new decade
Like you say the magic numbers
Then just say goodbye to
The stupid mistakes you made
Oh my memory serves me far too well
I have made mistakes. I carry around a lot of guilt, a lot of regret. Then again, I shoulder more burden than I should. I feel anguish over things that don't matter. And for the things that do matter, there are limits to how long one can beat herself up. There's no room to learn from mistakes if the time is wholly spent on self-flagellation. Yes, there should be introspection, self-reflection. But no amount of hair-rending and teeth-gnashing can change the past. As a friend of mine once put it, "It's what you do AFTER you fuck up that allows you to prove your character."
The years will come and go
Some of us will change our lives
Some of us still have nothing to show
Nothing baby
But memories
I don't envision myself as a butterfly exactly, but I seek transformation, to grow and change for the better. Either I break out of the chrysalis, or it becomes my tomb.

right-click, save as

"Waiting For that Day" - George Michael

So every day I see you in some other face
They crack a smile, talk a while
Try to take your place
My memory serves me far too well

I just sit here on this mountain thinking to myself
You're a fool boy
Why don't you go down
Find somebody
Find somebody else
My memory serves me far too well

It's not as though we just broke up
It's not as though it was yesterday
But something I just can't explain
Something in me needs this pain
I know I'll never see your face again

C'mon now
I've got to be strong now

Now everybody's talking about this new decade
Like you say the magic numbers
Then just say goodbye to
The stupid mistakes you made
Oh my memory serves me far too well

Don't you know that
The years will come and go
Some of us will change our lives
Some of us still have nothing to show
Nothing baby
But memories

And if these wounds
They are self-inflicted
I don't really know
How my poor heart could have protected me
But if I have to carry this pain
If you will not share the blame
I deserve to see your face again

C'mon now
You don't have to be so strong now
Come back

Come back to me darling
I will make it worth your while
Come on back to your baby
I miss your kiss
I miss your smile
Seems to me the peace I search to find
Ain't going to be mine until you say you will
Don't you keep me waiting for that day
I know, I know, I know
You hear these words that I say

You can't always get what you want...

Yours, &c., LC at 01:35 PM | Music , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 30, 2005

Dialing into Regret

The New Social Etiquette: Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk [NYT] [Bugmenot]

[D]runk dialing usually limits itself to times long after the close of business and beyond the daily commute. It is in those dark hours of late night and wee hours of early morn, when most people have retired their cellphones for overnight charging, that intoxicated revelers flip open their cellphones and dial into regret.
I'm not sure this is the kind of thing that belongs on the NYT Op-Ed page, but interesting nonetheless. I'd heard a while back about Virgin Mobile offering a service in Australia so people can prevent themselves from drunk dialing. Have never committed it myself, but then there's been very few times in my life when I've gotten horribly drunk. Dialing sober while depressed, however, is another story. In either case, intervention is definitely in order.

January 29, 2005

Nothing to See

More ice than snow, really, although it took a lot of effort to go to the gym this morning. Scraping the ice off the windshield (without gloves - not smart), warming up the car. I was about to give up but I'd put so much work into getting the car ready. Then what's normally a five-minute drive became longer as the main road was blocked off and I had to go around. It's kind of sketchy, driving on ice. I went slowly, but I could feel the resistance, and the potential of sliding in an unintended direction.

All this effort meant no slacking at the gym. I tried running today. I think my heart rate was near 200 at one point - I probably pushed myself too hard. But I'm still here, so my heart didn't give out. I guess I'll live for another day.

Saw Sideways this afternoon. It's one of those films that still lingers with me, hours later.

Yours, &c., LC at 06:55 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

Comparing Notes

Marco: What is it, something about being eaten by Alsatians?

Me: I think it's "dying alone and being found half-eaten by Alsatians."* That's from Bridget Jones, you know.

M: Is it?

Me: ...You know what Alsatians are, right?

M: People from Alsace?

Me: No, German Shepherds.

*The full line from the novel: "And having lived a life where my major relationship was with a bottle of Chardonnay, finally die fat and alone and be found three weeks later half-eaten by Alsatians."

Yours, &c., LC at 01:53 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

Crying into my Chai Latte

The sweetheart of my dear friend Marco is telling a story about his roommate's grandparents. The grandparents had gone to downtown Columbus (southwest Georgia, near the Alabama border) to check out the town's newest performance hall. Apparently the hall is outfitted with an organ that cost a million dollars.

Said the grandmother to her grandson, in her deep Southern drawl, about their instrument at home: "I wish your grandfather's organ was worth a million dollars."

Had I taken a sip of my drink, I would have choked. Instead I cover my face; I'm shuddering. I am convulsed with silent, full-bodied laughter. I have such a dirty mind.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:21 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 28, 2005

Panic on the Streets of Atlanta


Atlanta Weather Forecast

People are going home early. I'm betting the supermarket will run out of bread and milk (I have neither at home, damn it). Granted, there are lots of trees here, so maybe power lines could go down, and icy roads are not fun. But come on, people. Don't speed, don't hoard the provisions. Although it would be nice if I didn't have to go to work on Monday. Ain't gonna happen, though.

January 23, 2005

Nola Roundup

I went to New Orleans a few weeks ago, tagging along while Scott attended a conference. My friend Herman lives there, so it was an opportunity to visit him as well. I really like the town, but I think it will always be a place for me to visit. Like zydeco, a little Nawlins goes a long way for me.

I wasn't quite so armed with reference material as I was last year - maps, guides, etc. But I cobbled together enough from brochures, and one resource that was truly helpful came to me at the spur of the moment. That would be John & Daniella's Guide to New Orleans, courtesy of the lovely Daniella, who was sweet enough to overnight one of her spare copies directly to my hotel, the wonderfully named Queen & Crescent. An amazing, excellent resource, punctuated by sweet details of John & Daniella's courtship. (The guide had been prepared for guests of their recent wedding.)

Having been to Nola before, my goals this time were more modest. When I'm on vacation, I swing between cramming as much activity into my schedule as possible, and complete utter slothdom. So I tried to take it a little easier on this trip. I slept in, ventured out, came back to the room and took naps. I often overwhelm myself because I try to consider all the possible things I could do, when really one has to pick and choose, and not give thought or regret to other options once a decision has been made. (This has always been a problem, never more so than when I lived in New York.)

The weather was fairly warm, so I didn't pack a coat. Not the wisest move, seeing as I became sick the next week. Wandered around the French Quarter - one map I did pack, a crinkled, worn flier really, of the Antiquarian & Second-Hand Bookshops of New Orleans. The bookshops I like best: Librairie Books (823 Chartres St.), Dauphine Street Books (410 Dauphine St.), Kaboom Books (915 Barracks St.), and Crescent City Books (204 Chartres St.).

Stopped by an excellent music shop - Magic Bus Records & CD's (631 Toulouse St.). Found some used stuff I'd been looking for, such as albums by Divine Comedy, Swing Out Sister, and Stars.

One possible subtitle for this post: The Crumpet Who Ate New Orleans. Having good food was important. This included oyster & artichoke soup, followed by crawfish and pasta in tasso cream at Gumbo Shop (630 Saint Peter St.), washed down with a glass of rosati. Not one, but two visits to Cafe du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait. Walking uptown to Uglesich's (1238 Baronne Street), which is only open on weekdays. We got there around opening time, around ten-thirty in the morning, because Herman had warned me that going around the normal lunch hour would result in an hour's wait in a line around the block. Had the divine shrimp and grits - the grits were served as a cake, cooked like a crisp but chewy polenta, and the shrimp was dressed with a creamy, spicy sauce that had to be completely sopped up to be appreciated. Also the Shrimp Uggie ("Marinated in vegetable oil, crushed red pepper, hot sauce, onion, bell pepper and sauteed. Spicy. Served with new potatoes") and a dish called Muddy Water ("Pan fried trout, topped with muddy water sauce, chicken broth, garlic, anchovies, gutted jalapenos, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Not hot or spicy."). Bottles of both the dark and amber local ale, Abita. I felt somewhat decadent for having a beer before noon.

Herman was able to get reservations at Emeril's (800 Tchoupitoulas St.), so we went there to see what the fuss was about. We all sampled each other's plates, which included:

  • Homemade Andouille & Creole Boudin Sausages with Beer Braised Onions, Mustard and Homemade Worcestershire Sauce (Note: boudin is a blood sausage, and it was incredibly tasty. It had the texture of a fine stuffing, which I did not expect)

  • Warm Wilted Spinach Salad with Three Nut Crusted Goat Cheese and Emerils Homemade Andouille Sausage Vinaigrette

  • Crispy Blackberry Scented Quail with Lentils, Frise, Serrano Ham and Maytag Blue Cheese (this was my selection, mmmmmmm)

  • Grilled Double Cut Snake River Farms Pork Chop Tamarind Glazed and Served over Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a Green Chili Mol Sauce (the pork chop was the size of a small loaf of bread)

  • Roasted American Rack of Lamb with a Creole Mustard Crust, Rosemary Creamed Potatoes, and a Rosemary Lamb Jus

It was all very good, and we were all very full. Herman and I also split a bottle of an Italian red, so I also got the warm and fuzzies I get when I am well-plied with drink. Alas, we had no room for dessert, but it was a pricey meal as it was. Delicious, but not something to do on a regular basis.

Excellent pastries and outstanding coffee can be found at La Boulangerie (625 St. Charles Ave., among other locations). I had the French breakfast blend and drank it black without realizing it at first. Once I did, I still drank it black, the coffee was that good without my usual cream and sugar.

Venturing uptown, both on foot and by streetcar, we eventually made our way to the Camellia Grill (626 S. Carrollton Ave.). I had heard of its excellent omelets and burgers - and this also had the benefit of John & Daniella's recommendation. It's a tiny diner, situated in a modest little house that could use a fresh coat of paint. It's completely counter service; the counter winds around the room. People waiting for seats get to sit on banquettes along the wall, or wait in line outside. This isn't the place to wear low-rise pants, as several women revealed a lot more about their choice of underwear than they probably intended. I probably should have gone for a straight omelet, but I was intrigued by the omelet served with chili. The egg is light and fluffy and seems to melt in your mouth. I have it on good authority that the burger was excellent as well.

Although I walked about with my digital camera, I didn't really come away with a photo record of my trip. However, I wish I had whipped out my camera in time when I spotted the bright-orange General Lee passing by me on the street near my hotel (apparently a chase scene was being filmed for the Dukes of Hazzard movie).

Going to and from New Orleans resulted in TSA checks. In Atlanta the staff is polite but brusque. The woman who wanded me left me standing with feet splayed and would have forgotten me if another security person hadn't asked her what was to be done with me. (Fortunately it was not straight to Guantanamo.) In Nola, the TSA folks were much friendlier and apologetic for pulling me aside and swabbing my carryon bag for dangerous substances. I bore it all, with fortitude, and some nervousness, but so it goes.

January 20, 2005

The Flabby Diaries

So one of my resolutions is to get into the gym at least three times a week. I hate to say this, but I can't wait for people with less willpower to drop out so that my gym won't be so crowded. But whatever, we can all co-exist. Not like my willpower has been so great these last few months anyway.

Tonight I'm going to take a class called Ab Challenge. The challenge: finding my abs. The class is only half an hour. That's good, right? But maybe it's only half an hour because by the end of class I will be doubled over and curled up on the floor, mewling in pain.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:38 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 19, 2005

On the Mend, or At Least Around the Bend

I've been sick - nothing alarming, but I'm never happy to be ailing. Maybe some exotic strain I picked up in New Orleans - fever, sore throat, stuffy nose, coughing fits, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, broodiness. Well, I suppose that last one reflects my state generally. But perhaps I should see this in a Bridget Jones sort of light. Nothing like illness to make the pounds melt away. As for the remaining flab, I'm back in the gym. Along with everyone else, apparently.

January 01, 2005

New Year: 2005

Plans for a dinner party fell through. I figured I'd ring in the new year asleep on the couch. New plans came about. A trip to the package store for some quality beer - party crashers are always welcome if they arrive bearing gifts, right?

Actually, we did know the hosts. They'd just bought a house and hadn't even moved in yet. That didn't stop them from throwing a party, though! We all got the grand tour, mixed and mingled with tasty cocktails. Outside we watched neighborhood fireworks, then scooted back inside just in time to see the ball drop on television. (Regis is a poor substitute for Dick Clark.)

This morning it was breakfast at the Flying Biscuit. Southern scramble (eggs, turkey bacon, collard greens, onions and cheddar cheese), grits, and the signature biscuit. The bonus was a serving of Hoppin' John, which I'd never eaten before.

Later, it was an impromptu screening of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I was thoroughly charmed. (The soundtrack beckons.)

Best wishes for you in 2005.

December 29, 2004

News

So my dad's cousin got in touch with his sister. She was away on business in Vietnam and her husband was in their house further inland from the resort. But their family and extended family - many relatives lived and worked at the resort. Some of their bodies have been found, others are still unaccounted for.

I didn't know them. I didn't know all those other people either. Regardless, it's all very sad and tragic, and my heart is heavy for all the families and friends who loved these people. I hope that the world can be generous in helping the survivors.

December 28, 2004

A Remote Connection

I've been reading the news reports of the tsunami. I mean, just yesterday the death toll was at an already shocking 20,000 - today, the papers are saying it's 44,000. And it could become higher, as more people are found or become sick because they don't have access to basic necessities, like clean water.

I have extended family in Thailand. I wasn't worried about them, not really, because most live in Bangkok, which is towards the middle of the country, or further to the north. I figured I'd probably get a call from one of my sisters if there was something to be worried about.

So I called anyway, to find out if our family had heard anything. Turns out my dad called his cousin in San Francisco. The cousin's sister owns a resort in Phuket, one of the areas hit by the tsunami. He hasn't been able to get through to her, which could mean anything - hopefully not the worst. I hope for his sake that his sister and her family are ok.

December 26, 2004

Holiday Brunch

Typical. I decided practically at the last minute to try my hand at brunch for a few guinea pigs friends. Hopefully the sister I didn't see yesterday will come over (and supervise my cooking). This is the original menu, which will probably be edited as we see how the cooking goes. If this fails miserably, we can always pop over to the Flying Biscuit, where they expect to see us practically every weekend.

French Toast sandwiches (cream cheese and raspberry jam filling, coated with chopped pistachios)
biscuits
scrambled eggs
hash browns
cheese grits
spicy Italian chicken sausage
apple sage chicken sausage
mimosas

Guess I better start preparing, so I will look amazing and effortless once my guests arrive.

December 25, 2004

Happy Christmas

Originally my sisters and I planned to meet for dim sum in order to spend Christmas together. Our mother had said that she didn't want to do anything for the holiday. I didn't realize how sad that had made me until I got a call from one sister saying that our parents wanted to meet for lunch on Christmas Day after all. The other sister couldn't make it to the house until later, having made prior plans, but to our great relief that wasn't a source of discord. (Never mind who's in the right, my family is quick to get bent out of shape for its own sake.)

Bites of homemade sushi and steamed shumai (sp.?) dumplings that left us quite full and sleepy. I had made a batch of Loving Cupcakes, because Daddy loves all things chocolate. For Mama, I brought a dozen orange-red roses I'd found at the farmer's market. We exchanged a few presents and then vegged in front of the television for a while. It was a nice, quiet day and everyone was in a good mood. It was an unremarkable afternoon - which was absolutely wonderful.

Later, we met up with the LTR for a screening of The Aviator. An epic movie spectacle. Leonardo was quite good; Cate Blanchett was striking as Katherine Hepburn. And yes, if you keep your eyes peeled, that is Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation) who has a small part but in a pivotal scene.

December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve

On Blackened Alligator at Six Feet Under

Lady C: This tastes like pork, doesn't it? Oh wait...

LTR (who is Jewish): Uh...I wouldn't know.

************

Over Three Kinds of Dessert at Murphy's

Lady C: I didn't know it was possible to love both Kylie Minogue...

LTR: ...and Jesus.

December 13, 2004

"Cooking" With My Sisters

As in, I hang out with them and they tell me to "sprinkle the sugar" or "I need two tablespoons of butter" or "If you keep eating those you won't have enough to give out to people." My sisters are so much more at ease with cooking than I am. Then again, our parents had them doing prep work and helping out in the kitchen since they were younger. What was I doing? I probably hid out with my nose in a book.

Over the weekend we made a variety of treats to be packaged up as food gifts for friends and coworkers. Peppermint bark, chocolate truffles, candied nuts, and pumpkin rolls. We met at one sister's apartment. We were pretty ambitious for starting late in the day, but it was nice to hang out and actually enjoy each other's company.

Everything but the pumpkin rolls turned out well. You really have to work on them one at a time. You really need to use regular cream chesse, not the fat-free. You really have to spray the sheet pan with Pam really, really well. Oh, and it helps to not let the cake burn either. The rolls were still quite tasty - they just weren't good enough to give out as gifts. Guess who got to take home four rolls? Whether a certain someone deliberately jeopardized the cooking process in order to get some baked goods of her own, we'll never know.

Besides, the coworkers will still get their candied nuts.

December 10, 2004

Reunion

I signed in, slapped on my name tag, and then I heard a familiar voice. I whirled around, and my professor and I were all smiles and hugs and "I-can't-believe-how-long-it's-been!" I was then introduced to one of the program administrators, and then began what was an unintentional running joke - to my great chagrin.

"Dr. So-and-So, this is Lady Crumpet. She wrote this brilliant sonnet about her crush on Dr. What-his-name...." To which I tried to demur - but my professor has always been most generous and praiseworthy to her students, almost to the point of myth-making.

Later, I ran into one of my professor's former grad assistants. She introduced me to her husband. "Oh, this is Lady Crumpet, brilliant student, just brilliant. Oh! You're the one who wrote that poem...."

For all that I make myself sound like a lush, I'm just a social drinker. A glass or two of something and that's it. Still, I felt more secure, armed with a glass of red wine while I navigated these friendly channels. Between my genuine excitement and nervous energy I managed to wend my way and found one of my classmates. We filled each other in on our lives. I got to see pictures of people's children. We talked freely and easily, as though the interim of a decade had never been. To my great delight I learned that one of my friends, whom I'd always regarded as the older sister I never had, also has a passion for Jane Austen and for Colin Firth and for seeing movies. A girls' night is definitely in order!

Then all too soon, it was time to leave. We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and talked about digging up our old photos for the program's archives. My professor's parting words for me: "We'll get you back into literature yet!" I don't know, though, seeing as I've squandered my brain here on the blog. Besides, I don't see how I can ever surpass the brilliance of that poem.

December 09, 2004

Hi, My Name Is...

I'm going to a college reunion of sorts tonight. It's for people who attended one of the college's study abroad programs, so there will be people from different terms, most of whom I won't know.

As for those I do? I remember faces, but not all the names. Good thing there will be name tags. I'm actually nervous - what else is new? It's been ten years, and I haven't really kept in touch with anybody. I was totally amazed when my professor left me a message a few weeks ago at home. She says she still has a poem I wrote around that time, having been inspired by the experience (and needing to turn something in for writing class). It's not a bad poem really, but I hadn't thought of it in years. Thinking about it, my cheeks still burn with a mix of embarrassment and pleasure.

I wonder how we'll look to each other. I wonder if we'll have enough to talk about. (I wonder how many of us have blogs???) I wonder if we'll simply meet again and fade away back to our own lives. I hope not, but it will be nice to see old friends again and see what happens.

There better be something stiff to drink. Lady Crumpet is always merrier with a bit of spiritual assistance. ;)

December 06, 2004

Surprise!

An unexpected package was sitting on the porch when I came home tonight. It contained The Runes of the Earth, the newest Thomas Covenant novel from Stephen R. Donaldson. It's one of the items on my Amazon wishlist. There was a packing slip with a name and address but no message.

Are we acquainted, kind Sir? Are you a fellow blogger, perhaps a random visitor, or even a regular reader? I'm merely curious as to whom I owe my pleasure and gratitude for such a lovely gift. A proper note will be posted to you soon, but I simply had to share this pleasant surprise here. Thank you!

December 05, 2004

Quicker Than I Thought

If you're reading this, welcome! Hopefully the moving of the Armoire was completely uneventful for you.

I just transferred my domain name to the new host, literally minutes ago. I can't explain how it works, but it appears that I did the things I was supposed to do, so ladycrumpet.com now points to the new host server. There will be some back-end stuff to do to reflect the change, but I won't go into the boring details. I will also have to re-import some entries of the last few days to reflect more recent versions which contain comments and other edits. [Update: DONE.]

However, I'd like to apologize for some of what I wrote in yesterday's post. In my own mind, I knew that I was being over the top in bitching and moaning about moving my site. What I didn't realize, until I got some of your comments, was that I had gone too far in trying to be flip and funny for the sake of an otherwise technical, dull post. In pretending to be a jerk, I became one instead.

I feel horrible - this is exactly the kind of thing that gets me into trouble with people. I can't just say what's on my mind, I have to try and be funny about it. Usually I'm brutal at my own expense, which is ok. But then I apply that same level of sarcasm at others, and it bombs, because being on the receiving end when you don't know where I'm coming from isn't fun. Moreover, even knowing I meant to be funny doesn't always mean that what I said or wrote still wasn't mean or hurtful to say, especially at someone else's expense. Maybe I'm even fooling myself, telling myself I'm being funny, but using that as an excuse to say things I would never say with a straight face - to someone's face. Really, I should know better, especially here, of all places!

I immediately apologized to my friend, mrw, for saying these things. He said I only had had to ask for his help, instead of blowing a misunderstanding out of proportion. Yeah, I was frustrated at having to move the site, at having to do the work of installing MT. Ultimately the experience was worth the aggravation because now I know more about the innards and can do more to maintain the site myself. I should know how to do these things, instead of imposing on others. But my being frustrated and obsessed wasn't an excuse for taking it out on my friend. (Yes, fortunately, he still thinks I'm worth his time.)

This is a lot of self-flagellation for what is ultimately a molehill situation. But it's become increasingly clear that I could save myself a lot of grief if I could learn to speak more openly with others, instead of always being ready to make a quip, regardless of the situation. Instead of connecting, I'm using humor as a wall between myself and others. In trying to be likable, by being entertaining (at attempting to be, at any rate), I end up alienating people. Why do I have to perform? Why can't I just be a nice person? Why can't I just be myself?

December 04, 2004

Moving Notice & Other Pronouncements

I'm going to deactivate comments temporarily, for several reasons:

1. Fucking Comment Spam. I wish MT had a better interface for deleting comments. I wish MT had a button that let you zap and electrocute the asses that do this for a living.

2. Moving This Weekend (12/3-12/4). I will most likely move the site THIS weekend, meaning that the URL www.ladycrumpet.com may not seem to work for a heart-clutching 24-48 hours to possibly longer (lord, I hope not). So DO NOT PANIC, dear handful of regulars. I shall return. You can find me at www.ladycrumpet.ORG while we all wait for the .COM address to finish propagating. Of course this notice might have been more helpful a few days ago.

2a. Still MT for Now. No, I don't want to hear about why I should move to a different platform. I've installed and re-installed Movable Type too many times in the past ten days to contemplate something else at this point, even though it would probably mean the restoration of my sanity. But I have gone from knowing squat about MySQL to setting up databases, dumping and importing them, and also using SSH to work basic Unix commands, including removing whole directories with stuff still in them. *gasp* Those of you with real computer skills can just quit laughing now. Pretty please. I find that it helps to work in small chunks of time on discrete tasks. That sometimes one needs to step away in order for the simpler solution or idea to present itself.

2b. All By Myself, If I Do Say So...Myself. I did this practically on my own, without much input from certain people who promised to help and then jilted me once I joined their recommended host and ran off with their referral bounty, leaving me, after ugly bouts of self-pity, to SUCK IT and DO IT MYSELF. That's ok - I found the anonymous love through the support forums at DreamHost and Movable Type. This time I have a binder, with tabs, containing manuals and copious notes. This time I haven't rushed anything. Well, when I did, I made mistakes and had to figure them out and fix them. It didn't kill me, so I am stronger, I guess.

2b. Favorite New Phrase: "Suck it" - thanks to LTR for sharing this most useful sordid expression - and for not directing it at me. Sort of a variation on "suck it up" but slightly more crude and potent, which so appeals to my inner cretin.

2c. Bad Form. If I'm overdosing on the ALL CAPS and swearing a bit too freely, it's because I'm a little loopy being up so early, being unable to sleep. Also I've been reading John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, whose title character speaks in ALL CAPS, ALL THE DAMN TIME. I'm trying to decide if I want to bother finishing the book. I am just not that excited about it, and it's not like I don't have things I want to read, like returning to Jonathan Strange.

3. Oh Well. There was going to be another point, but I forgot what. Maybe it was one of the above.

November 29, 2004

Sometimes You Can't See That All You Need Is One Thing

It's my birthday. Last year was a lot of melodramatic buildup signifying nothing. This year, I'm like, whatever. Go figure. Not so much a sign of maturity as indifference, I guess. Besides, the big news is Julia Roberts giving birth to her twins, Hazel and Phinnaeus(?!?), right?

No big plans - it's Monday, after all. I'm meeting my book group tonight (no, I haven't finished our selection) at a local gastro-pub. I did, however, get a facial over the weekend, mainly because I needed one and I had a coupon. If you're on enough mailing lists, retailers love to help you celebrate your birthday with promotions. So what the hey. My esthetician is really nice and has gorgeous skin herself. She also did my brows last Monday, so I like her and trust her.

Today's Word: Promethean

I don't know what the "good" astrology sites are, so here's a selection.

My horoscope from Free Will Astrology:

Sagittarius Horoscope for week of November 25, 2004

You can't get what you want until you ask for what you want. That's always true, of course. But in the coming days, Sagittarius, it will be even more intensely true than usual. Your life will be a desolate wasteland of frustration if you expect everyone to telepathically guess what you're fantasizing about. But your life will be an overflowing cornucopia of delights if you state concisely, without any whining and without any attitude, precisely what it is you desire. Oh, by the way, here's a corollary to this week's Main Rule: You can't get what you want until you know what you want.

From Horoscope.com:

For those of us born on: November 29
Happy Birthday: Prepare to take advantage of the creative opportunities just ahead of you. Don't let anyone discourage you from following through with your dreams. This is the year to discover who you are and what your potential really is. Believe in yourself.

Today's Chinese Proverb: "Think before you speak but do not speak all that you think."

Today's Wisdom from around the World: Those who lose dreaming are lost.
Australian Aboriginal Proverb

November 28, 2004

Notes from a Long Weekend

My sister was in the capable, if smothering, hands of my parents and other sister. After all that could be done was done, I became superfluous. So despite the long, anxious hours of Wednesday night, I still managed to head out for a planned holiday trip to visit my other extended family. It was as I expected - a lot of hanging out in front of the tv, lounging and taking naps, eating and overeating, and long, drawn-out rounds of dominoes. We also fit in a boat ride on the lake. It was fun.

By Saturday, though, I'd hit my limit on family time. The same little things bug me every time we get together, and I've got to get over this. A lot of these irritants are really a reflection of larger, unvoiced issues that I can't do anything about. So the only thing I can control is my response. In practical terms, this means keeping myself from lashing out like a hissing, spitting cat. In my own family, we are way too prone to exploding needlessly, so I'm dealing between two extremes - denial and outburst. It's frustrating to be unable to do anything, but I can't fix people's problems for them. I have enough of my own, anyway.

By Saturday afternoon I was back in town. My sister was resting up and I even managed a small flurry of housekeeping. (There's no way I can possibly shed as much hair as the cats.)

Also spent long hours working on the host-changing for the blog. Mainly it's slow going because I'm having to learn what I'm doing as I go along. But, I've managed to successfully install Movable Type on my new server, using MySQL instead of the default Berkeley database support. Hurrah! But now I have to somehow convert my current data first. But that's a headache for another day.

November 25, 2004

Being Thankful

One of my sisters was in a car accident today. She called me at work, from the scene. Air bags had deployed. She said her face hurt, and her knee too.

Nine of us showed up at the hospital, family and friends. She was in a neck brace and strapped down to one of those boards to keep her immobile until x-rays were done. Action was easier than waiting. One of us was on the phone, calling police departments and towing companies, trying to find out who had jurisdiction and where the hell my sister's car had been taken. One of us headed over to her apartment to take care of the dog. We compared notes, trying to piece together from what my sister said, what happened, where. Did she hydroplane? Was there a blowout?

Others went to make phone calls or drive along the highway, looking for the vehicle that didn't yet appear in a police report or in the custody of a towing company, even though the accident was hours before. The vehicle sat on I-75 for three fucking hours. Where the hell was the Atlanta PD? Why did an off-duty federal officer have to handle everything and wait around for city cops to show up finally to assign a case number and set everything in motion?

One of us ended up alone in the waiting room while others took action, or waited with my sister (only two were allowed at a time inside the emergency area). One of us minded the tote bags we brought straight from work, holding the shoes my sister didn't want to wear while she lay strapped to the board. One of us, desperate for other voices, made phone calls and sent text messages, to bide the time, waiting for more information.

The x-rays came out ok; she's going to be sore for a while, but that's the worst of it. After a couple of hours, she was released from the hospital. I held my little sister's hand while she leaned on me and my mom as we walked out to the parking deck.

She's staying with our parents. Painkillers have been prescribed. Four of us went to the towing company yard and it took all of us two trips to clear out the stuff in the vehicle, bound to be declared totaled.

Somehow, on an interstate highway in a metropolitan area teeming with dense northbound Thanksgiving traffic, my sister's SUV managed to avoid hitting other cars when the tire blew out and the vehicle crossed multiple lanes, eventually hitting the wall. Somehow my sister merely will suffer splitting headaches and soreness from whiplash, but remain otherwise ok.

For my sister to be ok, I give my thanks. For those of you I bugged with my inane blatherings, thank you for listening and being a help.

November 22, 2004

Tapped Out

Late last Friday, I sent around polite but harried emails to the local listserv asking if anyone had a particular book available for borrowing. No responses. I needed to get it by noon today for an attorney. After maybe twenty phone calls, no luck anywhere. I even called libraries in other counties. Finally, I find a specialty bookstore that has it available and I place an order and arrange for a courier. Just after arranging for Absolute Rush Delivery (And Step On It!), I find out the attorney needs it for his meeting...tomorrow morning. Love those fake emergencies. I'm exhausted from all the stress.

I woke up early to make a green bean casserole for the office potluck. When the recipe is on the side of a soup can, I can't really take credit for the cooking. But I made a wicked discovery - those French's fried onions are really good, straight out of the can. But to my pleasant surprise, by the time I came to the conference room to fix myself a plate, my casserole was totally gone.

Of course, maybe I wouldn't be so tired if I hadn't stayed up late re-learning how to install Movable Type on my new host. I think I've totally effed it up and will have to start from scratch. And I was so close too. Feh.

But I get to leave early today. No longer will I have furry caterpillars for eyebrows. I've been good, I haven't tweezed for, like, thirty whole days. And oh, how I was sorely tempted. Maybe I'll go for some dramatic brows, not the super-skinny pencil lines, but perhaps more diva than simply natural. We'll see.

November 15, 2004

Waiting for the Elevator

Usually I pace the pattern along the edges of the carpet in the elevator lobby if I have to wait too long. I was on my way to grab a late lunch. Glancing out the window, something caught my eye. A large bird - a falcon, I think - perched on the ledge of the adjoining balcony, looking outward. We both took in the downtown vista until my elevator arrived.

November 08, 2004

Best in Show

Whatever one's obsession passion, there is a community to support it. I was at a cat show this weekend to support a friend's mom who was showing her housecat. He's an easygoing fellow, very appreciative of attention. He's gorgeous and in great shape for being 14 and a half, a detail that came up again and again. (There were six rounds of judging over two days, intermingled with judging for the pedigreed animals as well.) He ended up winning Best Household Pet. The cat was unflappable; his mother hooted and hollered so that the entire exhibitors' hall heard her. She swears up and down that he knows he's a winner, but he looked about as excited as I felt being there. But it was his time, after being shown for years. I'd like to think he'll have a nice retirement, but I suspect he'll be back.

I envied the cat for having a place to curl up and sleep all day. His mom, however, was really, really, really thrilled his victory. As she should be, given that she's dealing with breast cancer and recent kidney failure this year. I don't know how she managed to keep up over the last two days. I'm reasonably healthy, and I'm still exhausted. Which is weird - there's not a lot of physical activity. You set up the cage - meaning that you decorate it. (People go all out.) You sit around most of the time, unless you get up to walk around and look at the other cats, or to head to the judging rounds. There's lots of time for cat grooming, although there's always that last minute flurry right before going to the judging ring, cleaning ears and butt, combing and using a chamois cloth to rub down the cat.

I didn't really do anything that her husband couldn't do. He's actually quite good at handling the cat and presenting him when the judges would ask the owners to come up and talk about their pets. I felt obliged, because I really haven't done much to help them beyond a few things here and there. So I came along as moral support, as a companion, as a momentary ease to my conscience. Giving up my whole weekend was the least I could do.

It wasn't all work - I enjoyed seeing unusual breeds up close, and cute kittens, and what new kitty tchotchkes were on the market. There is a lot of tacky stuff out there. You'd think that the glittery pins with flashing, strobe-like, stroke-inducing lights were bad enough, but there was worse. There were cool cat trees though, including some made from actual tree branches. A big hit with feral cats, I understand.

Which brings to mind a funny overheard conversation. A woman talked about trapping and taming some cats that she was trying to get adopted. She said she got help placing them from some "feral people in Alabama."

It was surreal, though. In some ways I feel like the world has spun off its axis. Being at the show, surrounded by people completely consumed by their cats, and later, having dinner in a sports bar, surrounded by people watching college football, I was thinking "What the hell is wrong with you people?" Then again, if the election were to be held at that bar, or at the cat show, the results would've been the same, or perhaps even more slanted in the wrong direction.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:49 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

November 03, 2004

Hangover

I changed train cars last night because of an asinine conversation between a woman and a homeless man. She took the opportunity to complain how Marta has no money to maintain the system, evidenced by our train being held at a station, and he complained about how Marta needs to make sure the bathrooms are open more often, because "when you got to go, you GOT to go!" Then she asked him whether he voted. He said "For who? For what?"

At this point I got up and moved. I just wanted to ride home in peace and quiet, especially on this day. I didn't want to hear pointless discussions by people who think they're all enlightened for talking to lecturing a homeless person when they have absolutely no interest in helping that person. Shut up and quit being an asshole.

This morning it was really quiet on the train. People seemed pretty glum and resigned. Or maybe it was just me, trying and failing to hold back tears.

November 01, 2004

At the Carwash

I'm not so great at car maintenance. Yeah, big shock there. I've had bumper stickers I've been wanting to put on, for like, years, so after getting a neat new sticker from Clunky Robot, I felt compelled to give the car a good scrubbing.

Oftentimes I have the idea to do something for a long time, but I never get around to it, until I just get fed up with myself and do it. Oftentimes it's like giving myself a kick in the pants - but there's got to be a better way to motivate myself to do things other than being pissed off enough, to give myself the energy to shake out of my usual torpor. It's not pleasant for me, nor for those around me, when I'm in these sort of moods.

It's one of those DIY places. Six quarters to wet, scrub, and rinse the car using the nozzles and brushes available in each stall. Maybe I can be quicker next time, but I had to throw in another $1.50 because the car was all soaped up when the time expired. Didn't help that immediately after paying I dropped the rest of my film canister with spare quarters on the ground. Good going, loser. But it was a nice afternoon - 70-degree weather at the end of October. A lot of people had the same idea - we were all washing and scrubbing away.

Afterwards, I moved the car over to one of the vacuum posts. Years of dirt got sucked up by the giant nozzle. My sister had loaned me a couple of containers of special wipes to use on the car's interior - kind of like those Clorox or Lysol disposable wipes. I don't know how many I used - each piece was filthy. But after it was all done, I felt good, that I had done something useful and productive. I looked forward to putting on my bumper stickers later.

I had a weird sighting though. At another vacuum post a woman was cleaning out her Volkswagen Golf. The guy who was with her sat in a fold out chair, listening to his music and reading, basically hanging out while she worked on her car. Don't know how the guy was related to her - relative or friend. Don't know the circumstances, either. Maybe there was a good reason he sat on his ass, not helping. The woman moved her car to another vacuum post, maybe to work on the other side of the car (the hoses are only so positionable as you get to the far side of the car). Again, he sat while she worked on the car. It was big of him, though, to help put his chair away once she was done and ready to go.

Sheesh.

October 23, 2004

Tomorrow is Another Day

As a good friend of mine once observed, it would be nice if we had an Undo key in real life. To take it a step further, I think it would be great if we had Ctrl-Alt-Delete for the really big foul-ups.

Feeling like a screwup in a lot of ways recently. Nothing earthshattering (I hope). I find that making sure that my thoughts and what I actually say are the same thing is surprisingly difficult for me. Usually I express myself better in writing than in speaking, but not lately. It's not always good enough just to say something; one has to say the right thing. Of course, not all thoughts are meant to be disclosed, either; here's hoping I can recognize the difference before and not after the fact.

Sometimes, though, it's like trying to find the best patch of glass that will least bloody your feet. Some days simply existing feels like cause for offense. That's when you keep your head down, think through your each and every move, and fervently look forward to starting over the next day.

October 22, 2004

What to Make of This?

This morning, right before I woke up, I dreamed that I played hooky for 15 minutes at the Five Points MARTA station and that a friend of a friend offered me hippopotamus sausage. And it was good.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:05 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 20, 2004

Standing at the Corner of Blog and Main

Usual morning. The alarm on my phone rings at 6:45. The alarm clock rings a few minutes later. Ginger, the unofficial alarm, pounces up on the bed, onto my person, and begins yowling plaintively, indignant that she has not been fed already.

I don't like getting out of bed, even though I always regret being the last to get up when I'm scrambling to get ready. Inevitably I forget something. Lunch went unmade, makeup went unapplied (but I remembered my sunscreen!), my book was left on the nightstand. I've got to speed up my routine if I plan to stay in bed until the last possible minute. Or I could start getting up sooner. (Ha.)

Hop onto the westbound train, scoring a spot by the doors that will only open once, meaning I can stand there for the rest of the ride. (All the seats are usually taken by the time the train gets to my station). Get out on the right-hand side and head downstairs to the northbound line. Walk towards the northern end of the platform; if I am lucky it will be a long train and I can get into the first car, which is never as as crowded as the middle cars. Unless it's a short train, and then you're stuck cheek by jowl. But I'm lucky, as I just have to suffer one stop and then I can escape the sardine can.

Usually I have my nose in my book. Today I'm stuck without, so I'm just waiting. People-watching, given that's all I can do. On the opposite platform, there's a guy who looks awfully familiar. Is that?...Nah. I look away. Then, Wait, what's that bag he's carrying? Is it...why yes, it's a messenger bag made of duct tape! I'm not one for shouting and waving and bringing attention to myself, so I just opt for saying hello in the train car. Hello, how are you? I hear it's going to be 79 today.... Transitory chitchat, because a) we're on a crowded train, b) I've only got one stop, c) we're probably both in need of caffeine and d) we're still new acquaintances both in blog life and real life. A pleasantly weird intersection, which I'm obligated to post here! ;)

P.S. Being mildly obsessed with bags as I am, I totally forgot to check out the product in person. Some other time, perhaps.

P.P.S. Clunky Robot was equally inspired to post.

October 08, 2004

The Week That Things Were Settled

Well, I still have lots of backlog at work, which is pretty much my own fault. However, this is the week when several bizarre situations apparently have been resolved:

1. We've had trouble getting our issues for a particular publication on time, since at least 2002, going by the history of our unusually thick vendor file. In fact, it got so bad that we never received a single issue for one of our multiple copies during the entire year of the last subscription period. I made calls; they were never returned. (My predecessor faced similar non-responses, according to her copious notes.) About two weeks ago I sent an email spelling out the ugly details. I made a phone call to the appropriate person on Wednesday, asking that she call me back that day. I didn't have the will to call her back, even though I'd promised my boss I'd crack some heads. Miraculously, she called me back today. We had a businesslike, professional conversation, during which I got our copies consolidated under one account number AND a year-long extension on our subscription, which I'd just renewed. I would hop up and down, but I'll have to wait and see if we get all of our copies of next month's issue first. At least I got the publisher's concessions in writing, so that will be the piece of paper I wield when I next go on the rampage.

2. Yesterday, I discovered that a book order that I thought was pending had actually been delivered at the end of August. To our office, signed for by someone in the mailroom, but not delivered to the library. WTF? was of course my first thought, as I very sweetly and slightly desperately asked the mailroom to find it, like, NOW. Today, I thought to check with the partner we'd ordered it for. Apparently the mailroom delivered it directly to him, even though the publisher confirmed for me that the addressee was the library.

3. In the personal arena, I'd bought a Neil Finn bootleg on eBay. In late August. The guy shipped it on 8/31, well within the acceptable timeframe. After not seeing a package for all of September, I notified the seller, who said he would refund my money or send another copy. I told him I'd wait a bit longer, although I wasn't hopeful. It arrived this week. Yippee!

October 02, 2004

The Crumpet Who Went Up A Mountain and Came Down a Mountain

It's actually beginning to seem like fall around here, at least in the evenings. During the day, we've had temperatures in the 80s - still hot to me. But I've turned off the air conditioning, hopefully for good this year.

We went to Stone Mountain, where there was a chili cook-off. There was good chili and not-so-good chili, which we sampled like shots from tiny plastic cups. There were at least 300 different booths; there was no way we could try them all. After we had our fill of chili and the beer-soaked crowds, we headed over to walk up the mountain, which I'd never done before. It was a bit of an effort for me, as the afternoon was hot and I should've worn something more breathable and looser-fitting than jeans. Once we reached the top, the view was a bit obscured by smog. We sat down for a bit, taking in the view with all the other people who arrived either by walking or by taking the skylift. It was nice to lay back on the rock and just see the sky overhead.

The walk back down was much easier. Still, need to resume regular visits to the gym. We went ahead and got a year-long parking pass - that way we can come back and walk on the trails. And maybe the next time I walk up the mountain, I won't be quite so winded.

Sidenote: The laser show has to be seen to be believed. It's cheesy, but it's one of those Atlanta things that ought to be experienced. The show runs on Saturday evenings for the rest of October, and then that's it for the year. So if anyone wants to go....

September 29, 2004

Finally!

I have more pictures and a writeup of this year's DragonCon.

I mention it in that post, but I'll also note here that Todd McCaffrey has a blog. I sent him a message through his site, and he wrote back. (It's the one titled "Letter from Lady" - which was actually signed Lady Crumpet, but no matter.)

Yours, &c., LC at 05:19 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 28, 2004

Around

...just haven't been feeling up to writing, or much else. I guess I just haven't been feeling committed to much of anything lately. Just not wanting to deal, and so I'm feeling kind of stuck. Like I'm just getting by.

I mean, I have been doing stuff. Like I'm in the middle of trying to get my papers organized - color-coded hanging folders, printed labels, a pile of papers to shred. After the initial methodical rush I've reached a mini-plateau and have been dallying too long, reluctant to get to the next step[pe] of going through the remaining boxes of miscellany. Meanwhile, the creeping piles of paper are reappearing like weeds. There are baskets of clothes to wash or fold, floors to sweep, dishes to wash. I just look around me, and I feel exhausted and discouraged before I've even begun.

I don't know why I have this instinct or need to hold onto every little thing, to go out and collect, even when I don't have the space or time to invest. I'm worst with books and music. But I'm weighed down by other belongings too. I envy people who can live so simply, who can shed their physical and mental baggage. My sisters are like this too - probably a sign of something. Our stuff being our identities, a resistance to our inevitable mortalities. Nurturing ourselves through acquiring things we think we need and deserve. (My therapist would be so proud.)

I suppose if I can convince myself that I don't need so much stuff - either holding onto things or acquiring more - then I don't have to be responsible for so much either (storage, maintenance, etc.). Wouldn't that be nice.

My situation just screams "Yard Sale" doesn't it? Or at least Goodwill or Library or Dumpster, given my lack of motivation.

September 14, 2004

Another Day, Another Commute

Scene: Tuesday morning. Everyone in the train car is quietly preoccupied with their usual activities - reading a book or a paper, listening to music through their headphones, staring off into space. A man's voice loudly breaks the silence. After a moment it becomes clear he is speaking into his cellphone. (He is seated somewhere behind me.) I am reading, but quickly pull out my notepad, grateful that it comes with a miniature pen. As I scribble I can feel the smirks and hear mild snickers from the passengers around me.

Man: Steve! There's a little skinny white guy coming....No! Not that one - there's another skinny little white guy. You got to watch him too. Ok, I'm en route, I'll see you soon.

September 09, 2004

Evacuation Drill

A firm-wide email was sent yesterday mentioning that my building was having its "annual (post 9-11) evacuation drill." The city fire department may participate, so I might actually see Atlanta firemen coming up the stairs as I walk down some 50-odd flights. Free ice cream will be handed out afterwards. [Update: No firemen, but I did get a frozen fruit bar, yum.]

The last time I had to leave a building through the emergency stairs, it was the summer of 2001. ConEd accidentally cut some cable that provided power to my building's elevators. My legs were kind of rubbery by the end, and I was a little surprised to see some of New York's Bravest hanging around in the lobby - but they were there for anyone needing help to get down the stairs. One of my coworkers was at the full term of her pregnancy and she didn't want to wait for the guys to come get her. So she walked with some of the secretaries and a guy from the mailroom, who all kept watch on her. It wasn't a surprise that she ended up having the baby a day or two later.

In the days or weeks after 9/11 I heard that my office building was one of those evacuated because of a bomb scare in or near Grand Central. But by then I was going to school full-time and looking for library work. In my downtime I would walk around aimlessly, the smell of scorched chemicals and dust strong in the cool crisp air. Flyers for the missing were taped everywhere. Every so often I'd pass a firehouse. I didn't gawk, but it was impossible to miss the flowers and candles and the dark swags of fabric draped over the archways. In the end, I have no personal tragedy, no dramatic stories to tell about that day. And that makes me damned lucky.

The thought occurs to me: If we concentrate and focus our collective mental energies - could we will Dick Cheney's heart to burst into a thousand flaming pieces? Although I think he deserves a slow, debilitating, long-suffering, excruciatingly painful death for many reasons, what he said in Des Moines on Tuesday is appalling. From a Washington Post article on 9/8/04:

Cheney went beyond previous restraints to suggest that the country would be more vulnerable to attack under Kerry. "It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again," the vice president said, "that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind-set, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we are not really at war."

There are complaints about overreaction to the remarks, about the lack of context, etc. etc. No, I think I read and heard it pretty plainly: If you vote for the wrong guy, you're going to die. My apologies to the people of Des Moines, but terrorists don't care about you - not enough to set off suicide bombs on your little Main Streets. You can afford to be glad and smug that you don't have the glitzy international prominence and symbolism of New York and DC to make you an easy target.

Now, of course, Cheney's in clean-up mode, helping us to understand what he really said. Right - because we're too stupid to understand. We're all just hysterical liberal media (but owned by the conservative, right-wing elite - Rupert Murdoch, anyone?) and leftist pinko handwringers who need the paternal condescension and wisdom of our Republican elders to guide us through these black, apparently never-ending days of fear and terror. To quote Mr. Big Time! - "Go fuck yourself."

Cheney: Kerry Victory is Risky [Washington Post] [bugmenot]
Cheney Spits Toads [NYT] [bugmenot]
We're Just Glad They're Not Using 9/11 for Political Purposes [Wonkette]

September 07, 2004

DragonCon Highlights

Adult Swim Panel Cute Aliens Holy Batfolk! The Fantastic Two Hedgehog with Stormtrooper Escort Lion Cub Anne & Todd McCaffrey Reading Muppets Muppet Heads Mystique Ladies

Excessive details after the jump (or, click on the link below).

While waiting in line for the Anne McCaffrey signing, David Carradine cut across and brushed past us with nary an "excuse me" - you could have slipped a piece of paper in the space between him and Scott. I recognized his hair (gray and thin) but my first thought was the old Margaret Cho joke "Hey, that guy's not Chinese!" (He was the star of the tv show Kung Fu, a role that probably should have gone to Bruce Lee.) Incidentally, during one of her panels Anne said that she thought Carradine would make a great Masterharper Robinton.

Met up with Little Toy Robot for the Adult Swim panel. Quite possibly the most fun event I attended during the weekend. Cartoon Network people threw swag at the audience, and we stood with arms outstretched in the hope of receiving unidentified flying booty. Just as we sat back down empty-handed, Scott stuck out his hands reflexively and caught something before it otherwise gave him a concussion. Am now in possession of a wrinkly Futurama t-shirt. Woo! Settled in with a few hundred other people to watch and cheer previews for the new season lineup.

Afterwards, we made the acquaintance of Clunky Robot, who served admirably as one of the panelists and is one really nice guy. Special thanks to his ladyfriend (not at all clunky!) who took pictures. Perhaps we'll see you in the neighborhood.

Attended a number of panels on the Weyrfest track (devoted to the worlds of Anne McCaffrey, but mainly focused on Pern). Anne and Todd did a Q&A session the first day. I guess I've been to enough of these, or read enough, that there wasn't too much new information. I ducked out early to go wait in line for their signing session, which took place afterwards. During another panel they read a chapter from the forthcoming Dragonsblood, which featured emotional material. Anne's voice broke a couple of times, as did Todd's, and by the end everybody in the room - authors and audience - wept and sniffled. (Todd joked that it was revenge for his mum's getting him to participate in a reading from The Ship Who Sang, which he says had him bawling in public.)

Todd also did smaller panels on his own and tried to discuss what he'd be writing within the Pern universe without spoiling things for us. Also, the US cover for Dragonsblood doesn't hold a candle to the UK edition. I would link to it, but the cover image isn't yet available in Amazon. In the meantime check out Todd's entries for 8/3 and 8/16 and see if you don't agree. [Note: Apparently Todd's new to blogging. He doesn't have permalinks nor archives yet. He's using Blogger, so I don't think it would be difficult to set up. Anyway, I sent him a note, and he answered it! See his Letters page. Mine is the one that says "Letter from Lady" (I'd signed it Lady Crumpet but he must have cut and pasted in a hurry. No matter. Thanks, Todd!).]

What else...attended some Tolkien panels given by Dr. Anne Petty. One covered Tolkien's dragons and another on the Finnish influence on Tolkien, particularly the Kalevala. She has a new book, Dragons of Fantasy: Scaly Villains and Heroes in Modern Fantasy Literature; it's about dragons as they're represented in fantasy literature.

Also attended a panel about electronic voting machines. I learned, to my great dismay, that even if I complete an absentee ballot, somebody at the county board of elections office has to input my vote using a Diebold machine. But I'll still vote by absentee ballot because at least there will be a paper trail.

Sat in on a blogging panel called "My So-Called LiveJournal" which ended up being pretty LJ-specific. I suppose it depends what interface you're introduced to, but LJ seems way too fussy for me, even though it has interesting features like setting privacy levels. Turns out we knew one of the panelists, Zeppo, and went up to say hi afterwards.

There was probably more I could have done, but I kept pretty busy as it was. In my downtime I'd planned to start reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell but my attention span was too flighty. So I'd just wander around, taking photos, taking in the scene. I probably should have skipped the last day, as that's when things wind down, people are no longer in costume and leaving town. But there was a panel about music with Anne and Todd and the people who did the Masterharper of Pern cd, so that was a little more time in the company of McCaffreys.

It's weird though. I went to a lot of these panels on my own, and though people are generally pretty approachable, I found myself remaining aloof. I guess some of it was just being tired, not feeling very "on" after hours and hours of panels and weaving my way through the crowds in the dealer's room. Some of it was feeling shy. But some of it too was not wanting to mix with people who even in this subculture (where outsiders and misfits are celebrated) are way too obsesssed and lacking in social skills. I was at panels during which people in the audience kept interrupting Todd. He's actually really nice and interacts well with the fans, but that doesn't mean you can just blurt out your thoughts while he's in the middle of a reading. Being a huge fan doesn't excuse bad manners.

Anyway, overall a really good year. Hopefully I'll make it to next year's.

September 06, 2004

DragonCon: Some Costumes

More of a writeup later, as I am completely drained by hours and hours of convention immersion. (Don't worry, it is possible to recover and resume a semblance of normal life.) In the meantime, some photos (click on the thumbnails for larger versions. Like, duh.). I have to confess that the Elvis Stormtrooper is a personal favorite.

Elves More Elves Fairy Wings GI Joeboys

Elvis Stormtrooper Mata Hari

September 03, 2004

DragonCon 2004 Day 1

Anne McCaffrey and Lady Crumpet (Click on image for larger version; not that it's significantly better.)

One of my favorite sci-fi authors, the great Anne McCaffrey. (My image editing skills aren't very good, so I'm sure this could look much better. Didn't help that the picture had to be taken twice because my digital camera is really small and befuddles people (arrgh).) I asked her to sign my copies of The White Dragon and an advance reader's copy of Dragon's Kin (which I'd won in a raffle at last year's con and had already been signed by her son, Todd McCaffrey). Todd gave me a signed bookplate for his solo Pern book, Dragonsblood, which comes out January 2005.

Addendum: Thanks to mrw for his Photoshop tweaking. Bless those who know what they're doing with computer graphics programs.

August 20, 2004

Really - No, thank you

Typical morning commute. I wait on the station platform, reading.

A man's voice addresses me. "Excuse me, ma'am? Do you have twenny-fie or thurdy-fie cents you can spare?" The guy is wearing a clean baggy t-shirt and clean baggy jeans. He's got headphones around his neck and carries a CD player. Doesn't appear homeless. I shake my head curtly and return to my book.

"How about your phone number?"

I shake my head again. "No, thank you."

Do guys really think this approach works? That women just stand on subway platforms waiting to give out their phone numbers on the basis of no acquaintance, to men who mumble and wear sloppy baggy clothes - in general, let alone on a weekday morning? At least this was a more comprehensive exchange than the one where I'm sitting on a bench at the same station, and the guy says something unintelligible to me. After asking him several times and explaining that I don't understand him (between the mumbling and the Southern drawl) - I figure out that he's asking me "You gotta man?" Classy.

August 12, 2004

Tabitha Goes to the Dentist

Well, the vet. And as someone who wasn't me remarked, "they took out half her teeth." Which isn't so dramatic when you realize that our poor kitty had only two teeth left to begin with. But the appetite remains the same, and she is still the larger of our two large puddytats.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:47 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

Get Well Soon!

Mike Wolf has been in hospital for a few days. Rest up, dearie.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:54 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

August 02, 2004

Good Words

Jenica recently wrote about Pessimism v. Optimism. The bit that really speaks to me:

...the ability to spot that darkness, that network of malicious disrespect, is a choice. It's a choice to move into that dark distrustful place. It's a choice to look to find things that I myself don't see. It's a choice to take them personally. Because these two [people] are equally capable of enjoying the moments of small joy, of ascribing the best of motives to the world and of living on the bright side. The trips to examine the dark side, then, are a choice.

And it's a choice I try hard not to make. I don't want to live in the darkness. I don't want to hunt for scraps of evidence to support theories of malice. I don't want to live each day waiting for the darkness to move in, looking for the shadows.

I suppose I do fall into the habit of making that choice, without even really thinking about it. It's not a happy way to live, being skeptical and cynical about people - thinking that at best they're indifferent; at worst, intending to hurt you. It's a protective strategy, or so I convince myself. That way I can be pleasantly surprised by the kindness of others, the love and joy they share simply by being themselves.

Making such a choice also makes it easier to enage in self-defeating, unproductive, even self-destructive behavior, in little ways and in big ways. Bad habits and poor decisions already interfere with my own life. It's bad enough to be careless with myself, but when my choices hurt other people, it's time to deal. To deal with my life, to engage it, not to retreat within - to hold back and hold out on people.

I've known this for a long time. But it's one thing to know, and another to act. I'm tired of just scraping by on minimal effort, knowing that I could do better. It's time to be responsible for myself, despite the inner voice that mocks me for being, well, a square. Crossed t's, dotted i's, coloring inside the lines - I want order in my life. Maybe because I grew up with a strict, orderly environment I felt I had to blast my way out of that mold, taking perverse delight in cramming for exams and doing all-nighters for last-minute papers, leaving clothes on the floor, papers strewn everywhere, paying bills in a scramble. In more important life matters, making poor or less-wise decisions because at least they were mine to make.

But it's more exhausting to pick up the pieces, to recover from the aftermath, than to stay on top of things - and not necessarily as perfectly as possible. It's the doing - and the finishing - that matter. Words aren't always enough, nor meaning well but not following through.

There is gentle progress in the really horrible blowup that happened between me and a friend. There was one difficult, voice-cracking, sob-wracked phone call, an opportune meeting that worked out. Subsequent friendly phone calls to reestablish neglected ties. Making similar efforts to reach out to other friends and family. I spent a good part of the weekend sorting out boxes, readying my office area so I can go through my papers. I'm going to the beach for a week with family, so I'm actually getting ready - laundry, cleaning house - although some of the impetus is that dear Marco is going to come cat-sit for me, and although I tolerate slobbiness for myself, I don't want to inflict that on my friends. When I come back, there will be appointments to make with the optometrist, the dentist, the GYN, the veterinarian. I'm also going to find a therapist; again, there's only so much I can inflict on friends and family, and trying to sort things out for myself hasn't been enough. At work I'm going to make the effort to do things as they come, not let the piles of paper stack up so that I'm scrambling at deadline.

Today it's finishing up packing and making cupcakes for the sweetheart who added me to the list for Finn Brothers soundcheck. Waiting in line by mid-afternoon, meeting new enthusiasts and hanging out with old friends. Tonight I will cheer until I lose my voice, enjoying some of the best music I've ever known.

It's all baby steps. Life is a work in progress, sure, but that doesn't mean I can't get things done if I set myself to it. But the point to getting things done is so that I find the time to enjoy life, and fortunately I get to do that this week. I get to go to the beach, splash around in the Atlantic, laze about in the sun (with SPF and big floppy hat).* See my nephews, including one I'll be meeting for the first time. Eat too much, laugh too much, hug too much, stay up late talking into the night. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Have a good week. xoxoxoxoxo

*Provided Tropical Storm Alex doesn't become Hurricane Alex. I hope I get to go swimming!

July 23, 2004

The Sum of All Fears, Color-Coded

WTF? I just got my new Marta card, and it has the damn homeland security color code scheme on it. So now every day when I commute next month I have to look at this thing. Why don't we just do away with the blue (Guarded) and green (Low). We will never be at those levels. We seem to veer between yellow and orange, especially when it seems politically convenient. When I was in New York it was always orange, even when the rest of the country was at yellow. So does this chart even mean anything?

Yours, &c., LC at 01:14 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

Too Good to Be True?

So even though I've updated my address with the registrar, I continue to get mailings from my grad school forwarded from my old address. Most of the time they end up in the "circular file" - though getting my diploma was a big plus.

Last night I got what suspiciously looked like a check. Couldn't be, not from the seriously expensive grad school with the maddening, aggravating administration. (Note: Really liked my department. Couldn't stand to go rounds with the registrar, and even worse, the bursar's office, which has earned its place as one of the innermost levels of hell.)

But it was a check. Made out to me, accompanied by some cryptic description. It's enough to buy a smartphone, or put towards a Marc Jacobs bag, or even cover most of next year's trip with the ladies of Pemberley (in Sonoma - ooooh). But between student loans, the credit cards I lived on and the paltry NYC salary that was somehow supposed to cover two people, this would be a shovelful towards Lady Crumpet's Big Ass Debt (LC-BADTM).

Now I need to call the school to make sure this isn't a mistake. 'Cause boy do I want to deposit that dough, pronto. But I don't want to be hassled if and when the school decides they want the money back because they fucked up.

Ugh. I hate being responsible.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:43 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

July 19, 2004

Back

Nothing like being away for a couple of days and finding 1026 items in one's spam folder. And that's just one of my accounts. (Note to self: must consolidate accounts now that we have fabulous gmail access.)

Have pictures to load, moments to write about before time slips away. V. tired but now it's time to get caught up. If only I could afford to be idle.

More later.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:24 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

July 02, 2004

No Rest for the Overwrought

I haven't been sleeping well. I do sleep, it's just not been restful. The workings of a guilty conscience, I guess. My dreams haven't offered peace or resolution. I don't remember them well, just snatches here and there. Getting a virus on my cellphone. My internet browser freezing up; something to do with Autorun and the Russian mob taking control of my computer. I'm in a tiny, elevated room, looking through a doorway, and watching a Madonna concert in the distance. Then I'm looking down through the doorway, and Madonna is smiling up at me beatifically from the floor below. She has dark hair and is dressed in bright filmy gauzes like a Hindu goddess. She's in a wheelchair with light gray tires, like the kind on a dirt bike. She offers her pale, bejeweled hand - in grace, benevolence, forgiveness? - I don't know, but I take her hand into my own, like a supplicant.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:33 AM | Slice o' Life

July 01, 2004

Huh? Well.

So we're having Mexican with Marco. When the waiter arrives to take our orders, he tells me conversationally "You look just like this guy - I can't remember where I have seen him, but the hair, the face, everything - you look just like him, like you are his brother - er, sister."

I mention that I only have sisters, so we are no relation, this random guy and I. Scott tries to save face for me, asking the waiter jokingly, "Well this is a pretty guy, right?" But the waiter was suddenly uncomfortable, perhaps realizing the awkwardness of the moment. Maybe he didn't want to admit that the guy of whom he spoke was on the pretty side. Or that the guy wasn't particularly pretty, and therefore, neither was I.

I am no great beauty. I know this. My mother once said that I was plain, but as long as I took care of myself, I would look OK. (Thanks, Mom. I guess.) So I've never had the illusion of being able to coast through life on my looks - hence my descent into books and nerd-dom and a wiseass personality. Never mind the tremendous insecurity of wondering if I can ever be good enough.

But it was a passing conversation; I know ill will wasn't intended - it was just poorly expressed friendliness. We were hungry, the food was good, and we got to hang out with Marco. It was generally a good evening. Sure, I'm kind of embarrassed, and yes, my pride is a bit stung, but I couldn't not write about it. Otherwise how would you know the outrageous things people really say to each other, and think nothing of it?

Yours, &c., LC at 11:37 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (2)

June 18, 2004

Mistress of the Oblivious

A courier came by to pick up a book we were lending to another firm, but no book had been set out on the counter. Total aging bike messenger/skate punk vibe, ruggedly cute and scruffy. He reminds me of someone...wait, he looks just like the guy I saw on Sex & the City last night, the guy Carrie went out with who owns a comic book shop on St. Mark's Place but lives with his parents on the Upper West Side. He waited while I made phone calls to the other firm and we checked our shelves for the title.

I was so focused on sorting out the problem that I didn't notice the finer details of his person. We made eye contact while he observed that for being so high up his Nextel wasn't working, and I mentioned that I never got good cell signal up here either.

Turns out we didn't have the book, so he left. Afterwards, my boss came up to me and said she couldn't look at him in the eye because she kept staring at his ears. The blank look on my face astonished her.

"You mean you didn't see the holes the size of dimes in his ears?"

So naturally I had to tell her the story of how I'd passed a dead body on Canal St. and didn't know it until my sisters told me.

I really should try not to have such tunnel vision. But then again, at least I was able to talk to the guy and see him as a person. Even if I did miss the giant gaping holes in his ears.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:59 PM | Librariana , Slice o' Life | Comments (2)

June 17, 2004

The Girl Who Couldn't Say No

I'm on my own this weekend while Scott is out in the wilderness for some male bonding. I could do errands. I could go to the gym. I could go shopping. I could watch a bunch of cheesy romance flicks without the unappreciative male point of view.

But no. Because I know I ought to be a better person, I am going to be out in the Georgia heat and humidity building a Habitat for Humanity house. I ought to have volunteered because my veins overflow with the milk of human kindness. But no - I volunteered because there weren't enough people signed up to work this Saturday. Apparently if you can't bring enough of your own office people (and their friends and family), the Habitat people have to come work on the house, which is rather pathetic. So I'm doing my part to save the firm's pride.

So, anyone want to come with me? (Don't worry, I'm only kidding.)

Yours, &c., LC at 04:36 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (4)

June 13, 2004

Happy Birthday

It's Scott's birthday. We've tended to be low-key with celebrating these things, but it's been a nice weekend, I hope!

The concert at the Fox was a mix. It's a terrible venue for a concert. Rose Royce is down to two old guys and one woman singer - too young to have been in the original lineup, but they did some of their biggest songs. The whole Ohio Players set was one big soundcheck - I could hardly hear the singing, and the bass playing pumping out of the speakers was physically painful. People couldn't get into the set because the sound was just awful. Things were worked out by the time Teena Marie and Rick James took the stage. The crowd went wild for Teena Marie, who was just awesome. She's still got a great voice. Rick James has seen better days, but they did do "Fire and Desire" which was really the highlight of the show. Discovered to my dismay that either I need more practice with my digital camera, or it's really not very good for taking non-flash pictures at a concert.

Caught a few screenings at the Atlanta Film Festival: a Danish film, Reconstruction; a Japanese film, Bright Future, and a French horror film, Haute Tension. I should have probably caught Stephen Fry's film Bright Young Things but there was a time conflict, and I thought I ought to see Haute Tension before it got tamed down for its American release. I should know better; I was watching the film behind my hands and trying to decide if I should just go wait in the lobby when the twist was finally revealed. So I'm glad I saw it, but my apartment is going to be filled with light for the next couple of weeks.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:55 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

June 11, 2004

Waiting for the elevator

The lobby walls are some kind of granite - light gray, with flecks of pink and black and white. It strikes me as familiar for some reason (besides seeing it every day going to and from work). Then it hits me: Oh, it looks just like Corian. Pathetic, I know.

I had the elevator to myself. I scowled at my reflection in the shiny walls. I tried to mold my expression into one of friendliness and approachability - after all, it's an important skill to have as a librarian, whether or not I should be smiling as I'm walking down the street. I ended up just making faces. That must've been a riot for the guys at the security desk manning the elevator cameras.

Yesterday I decided to walk up the train station escalator, whether I felt like it or not. I saw that Kind Lady was already on it, looking around. Maybe she realized she weirded me out and wanted to apologize, or maybe I'm just imagining that. Having committed, when I walked past, I said "Hi" and tried to smile, she said "Good morning" and I hauled ass for the rest of those steps.

I think I've flogged myself enough this week. Tonight Scott and I are going to see Teena Marie, Rick James, The Ohio Players and Rose Royce at the Fox. Scott knows their music far better than I do, but it promises to be an amazing show of old-school funk and R&B. So you jaded hipsters will just have to sigh while I boogie like there's no day after tomorrow - from my orchestra seat in Center Stage, Row G. My friend in Accounting has made me promise to tell her all about it, so I've still got credibility with somebody.

And yes, I do wonder if the man himself will declare "I'm Rick James, bitch!" (For those of you who don't know the comedy of Dave Chappelle, this is actually a funny punchline that unfortunately is now overused by those who are neither Rick James nor Dave Chappelle.) If you're interested, check out the clip - it's the second one labeled "Rick James."

Yours, &c., LC at 03:12 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

June 10, 2004

Excision

From today's Liz Smith:

ENDQUOTE: "An unknown address, friends they knew before they were famous, and people who love them enough to tell them they are full of s- - -."

That's Sharon Stone, telling Premiere's Brantley Bardin the three things every movie queen must have.

Good advice for drama queens of the non-movie variety too.

It gets really personal here. So you shouldn't continue, because it doesn't get better.

It's never easy to hear and accept criticism. How do you listen, really understand what is being said, so you can do something to change, instead of taking it personally? How do you not shut down, blocking out everything, including the truth, in order to escape the pain of hard words?

So I've been told recently that I'm full of it. That the person here in this space isn't nice. That I am using the blog as a "substitute for a personal relationship." I didn't think I was; but then again, I've been fairly diligent about updating here when I could've easily been on the phone to see how things were going, especially when it mattered.

I convinced myself that people I knew, who knew about this place, could choose to visit or not. I tried not to dwell much on who came to visit, particularly if they chose to leave. It was easy to do because it's hard to know who doesn't care for this, unless they bother to tell me.

It's too late now to wish that I had been more circumspect, retained more of a separate identity between this persona and the person behind the keyboard. But even if I had, the criticism still stands: I "act smug and snarky and too-cool-for-school." Sure, this could be said of the average Jane or Joe blogger and one can just blow it off as a generalization. But it's different hearing this from a friend. Former friend, I mean. I guess when you're going to let someone have it, you bring in everything else you ever wanted to say, because you've written them off from here on out. But I did ask, and now I know where I failed. That's something, I guess.

This is incidental, however, to the situation in which I'm really at fault. It's true - I really, really blew it. I glossed on the surface, caught up in distractions. I said painful things without even realizing it. I wasn't around when I was needed. I'm beginning to see that this is something of a pattern. Now I'm having to face up to this, having known the truth in the back of my mind. I'm finding out that there isn't always a second chance, that forgiveness doesn't have to be an option. No amount of explanation or apology will ever be enough. Having begun the first cut, I am now cut loose. Excised.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:31 AM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

June 09, 2004

A Tap on the Arm

I was on the up escalator, leaving the train station. I didn't feel up to walking the seventy-plus steps. Someone behind me gently taps me on the arm. It's a woman with a pleasant, open face. She seems nice.

"Hi," she says. "I've seen you on the train, with your husband."

"Oh, yes," I say, trying to be friendly. Do I know you? Are you from my office?

"You never seem to smile. You always look so serious. You have such a nice smile - you should smile more," she says.

"Oh, thank you." I smile...and then I turn around. I get off the escalator and leave the station to walk to work. I don't look behind me.

I should have introduced myself, asked her name. She was very nice - she had a nice smile - and she was giving me, a total stranger, a compliment, and a suggestion. But this was too weird. People are more friendly around here, they will say hello when you cross paths in the neighborhood. But I am still not used to, nor expect people to talk to me, let alone telling me I should smile. I'm used to thinking I'm invisible, beyond or beneath notice.

When I was five, or seven maybe, my father told me something very similar. He said that people would ask him why I never smiled, and he said I should smile more. At the time, I thought, how can I just smile, how can I make myself do something if I don't feel like it?

I didn't finish the story. While it was a very kind thing for the woman to say to me, they were exactly the wrong words. When I turned around I had to try to keep it together. One doesn't feel so invisible trying to hold back tears.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:57 AM | Slice o' Life | Comments (6)

June 01, 2004

Funny Ideas

At thirteen I had romantic notions about finding kindred spirits and soul mates. I thought that if I simply could express my True Self, I could forge deep, profound bonds with people. I must have come off as really pompous, or in the case of a boy I was crushing on, totally psycho. How else to explain giving him a birthday card telling him Exactly How I Feel - in the cafeteria, in front of his friends, without any thought to the major embarrassment afterwards? My craving for connection, for comprehension, made me profoundly, stupidly reckless. I was intense, volatile, awkward and lonely, with a vocabulary gleaned from bouts of reading that made my peers wonder how I knew so many words. (Really, they would ask.) It wasn't surprising that the person I could confide in, who never ridiculed me for these thoughts and feelings, who was emotionally grounded enough to handle students like me, turned out to be my English teacher. I couldn't wait to get older ('cause it gets so much simpler, right?).

Sometimes I wonder if I'm regressing. Writing as I do here on the blog, am I blunting my sensibilities for what is and isn't acceptable to reveal, and has that spilled over into how I interact with people in general? I often turn to saying important things in writing, because writing gives me the chance to try to make sense of what I'm thinking. Does that mean I should impose by sharing those thoughts? It's possible to be too honest, too revealing.

Electronic communication allows for immediacy and intimacy, but that can be problematic. It's too easy to hit "Send" or "Publish" before really thinking things through. More often than not, it's better to proceed with deliberation, to not force things. And yet sometimes I still have this notion that if I just get things out there, we can connect. And yet the more important the relationship, the harder it seems to be so open, because you don't want to hurt or be hurt by what you could say to each other. You can't really take it back; you can only alleviate the sting.

This question has been on my mind after having seen Eternal Sunshine. Knowing there could be pain and anguish, you have to take the chance that there could be pleasure, satisfaction, happiness. Otherwise you have stagnation, obsession over what could be - or worse, what could have been.

If only it were so easy to know when it's right to take that chance and when to give something time or let it go. If something or someone is important enough to you, you have to try. Even if it means walking away from a table of boys who think you're psycho.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:17 PM | Blogos , Film/TV , Slice o' Life | Comments (2)

May 26, 2004

On Getting Ready For Work

Me: So this shirt is OK? Not too see-through?

Scott: Yeah. But the light's not very bright in here.

Me: Well I just won't walk down a red carpet in France.

Yours, &c., LC at 08:54 AM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

May 25, 2004

Parking Spot

Sister: Oh! My! God! The other night there was only one space left by my building and I couldn't park there because there were two cats were going at it! In the parking space! When I tried to park, they wouldn't move!

Me: I guess they were kind of busy.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:35 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

In Theory

In theory, I know how to change a flat tire, having watched it being done a couple of times.

In practice, I am in the parking lot of my gym, having just pulled up after a fellow driver pointed it out to me. I am asking the poor receptionist if she can help because I've never actually done it. She's a good sport and comes out to help me, even though it's totally not her job. Apparently she had to deal with a flat on her car not too long ago.

Wouldn't you know it - there's instructions on the wooden board that covers the spare tire in my trunk! Together we figure it out, but I don't want to get her in trouble by keeping her away from the desk. Fortunately, she finds another gym member who gallantly comes to my rescue. Guys can be so nice.

Mind you, I wasn't totally without resources. I would've called my insurance company for Roadside Assistance, but I thought it would be quicker if I could find a good Samaritan. And I found two!

For future reference: HOW TO CHANGE A FLAT TIRE

Yours, &c., LC at 10:58 AM | Slice o' Life | Comments (5)

May 17, 2004

There and Back Again

Just had to get away for a long weekend. Will post a picture or two.

Lady Crumpet's Shadow on the Beach

Beach Bag Tableau, Gulf of Mexico

Just needed some sun and sand and seafood. And I didn't know it until I tried it, but cheesy grits casserole too. Will have to learn to make it.

It's good to be back, but waiting for various people to return my messages is such a pain.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:01 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (4)

May 05, 2004

Ride Home

It's hot and crowded on a train that's a few cars short. We're sitting near some young engineering students who are proudly making Star Wars references, and a mother and her hyper little boy who's maybe five years old. I manage to tune them out for most of the ride home.

As we get up to leave, the little boy says loudly, "Somebody gonna get beat down - and guess who it is?"

Those engineering geeks don't stand a chance.

Yours, &c., LC at 07:42 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

Mild Epiphany

Sometimes you don't realize you have a question until the answer presents itself. Over the weekend we went to a faculty party and I ended up chatting with the head of the department. Maybe it was a trick of the light, or something about his profile which made me realize: He looks like Captain Murphy from Sealab 2021!

Fortunately, Mr. Department Head is a far more sensible man.

May 01, 2004

Word of the Day

Asshat \'as-'hat\ n : a person who exhibits ridiculous, immensely aggravating behavior -- to have one's head up one's ass : to be foolishly stubborn, willfully dense syn ASSCLOWN, DUMBASS, ASSHOLE mean a stupid, incompetent, or detestable person. ASSCLOWN implies a ridiculously stupid or incredibly incompetent person. DUMBASS suggests an average, bone-headed stupid or incompetent person; a doofus. ASSHOLE stresses a exasperatingly stupid, incompetent, or detestable person, a real jerk with few redeeming qualities.

It's a choice word that I've learned from Zeebah, who has to contend with a garden-variety Asshat of her own. I will try to use this word more often. It makes me laugh, instead of wanting to cry or punch a hole in the wall when faced with asshat-like behavior.

Sadly, we are not the first to use this expression. Asshat has an entry at UrbanDictionary, which offers audio pronunciations and suggested definitions provided by regular people. My favorite: "A foolish person, as one who would wear an asshat."

Joel at The Evolving Word does some further tracking of this delightful term. Unsurprisingly, several URL variations have been claimed - including this one.

Sample usages:

I tried to be supportive, to give useful advice and positive encouragement to a friend of mine. But instead she bit my head off, because she's an asshat.

I am an asshat for thinking this person was my friend.

However, I am an assclown for spending way too much time writing this. Thanks, Z, for making me laugh instead of cry.

April 29, 2004

Hands

A small, blue-gray room. It's stuffy, overwarm. The single decoration on the far wall is a cross-stitch of a dog opening its gaping, oversized jaws and sticking out its tongue for the doctor.

Five hands - three sisters, the veterinarian, the assistant - hold or caress the tiny, lifeless body of the old miniature dachshund lying on a pale blue formica table.

One hand slips the stethoscope under the green cotton infant-sized t-shirt. "It's over," says the kindly voice. There are mumbled thank-yous and then we are left alone, three grown women and their dog.

Sightings

1. My dog taking a nap in my lap, snoring like the old man that he is. It's good that he's snoring, because that means we know he's breathing despite the fluid in his lungs. My sisters and I had hoped that one day he just wouldn't wake up. But he has to be helped along.

2. On my way to the train this morning, a blue/gray/charcoal-colored cat, with pale green eyes, is hanging out in the parking lot. I call to it, thinking it won't come to me, but it does. It rubs itself against my legs and I give it a few friendly strokes, but I have to make my train. There's cat hair all over my black-trousered shins. I'm going to keep an eye out for it this afternoon. 'Cause I need more little heartaches right now.

3. Waiting for my connecting train, I see yet again a certain guy. Every time I see him, this is how he's been dressed: tan-colored tweed blazer, with dark blue jeans that are almost too long, and tan suede shoes. His dark brown hair is stylishly mussed; he looks like a hipster cockatiel. He never carries a work bag - if he did it would probably be messenger-style, maybe one by Jack Spade. He looks pulled together, in a Salvation Army vintage kind of way.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:33 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

April 28, 2004

Out of Time

You know it's pretty bad when even the parasites have no interest in you as a host.

My sisters are going to take our dog to the vet tomorrow. I won't be able to go with them, so I'm going up tonight to see him.

I know where this fits in the grand scheme of things. But he's been our little guy since I was 15. So he's had a long, pampered life.

I knew this was coming, but damn it!

April 27, 2004

Hello, Little Man

We have another nephew, Nicholas. He was born early Saturday morning (4/24), good sized - some 8 lbs, 6(?) oz. If I were a better auntie I'd know these things. But I couldn't resist buying the kid a wee t-shirt. He's going to have tons of hand-me-downs, so I thought he should have at least one shirt of his own.

He also has two middle names, named after his two uncles. I guess Genghis Khan, which was our other nephew's suggestion, didn't make the final cut.

April 19, 2004

On Reproduction

Our duplex has new owners. Instead of agents coming around with prospective buyers, now our landlords have contractors working on our their house. One of my neighbors was asleep when the men began work at 8 am, talking loudly and using their tools to do loud noisy things to the window by his bed.

Contractor 1: Ah say, she proDUCE! She only twenny-FI'E and she a'ready got SIX of 'em. Ah think she proDUCE ev'ry tahm she lay down!"

C2, C3: Cackle, cackle, cackle.

Later, upon recounting the story to me and Madcap Shoelace...

Me: Nice!

J: I know, right? I was, like, this cannot be happening.

[Shamelessly ripped and mixed from J's original post.]

Yours, &c., LC at 02:21 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

April 15, 2004

Vacation

I haven't slept well all this week, so why start now?

Airport Woes. An early morning flight after a major holiday, during the spring break season, in addition to regular business travelers, is a nightmare. AirTran's checkin line was horrendous. Fortunately the line for their kiosks was shorter - but you still had to get into another line to check your bag.

The security line, however, was a shock. It went past the ropes, through the atrium, all the way back to the rental car/baggage claim area. If you've ever been to Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, you might realize just how utterly fucked you are when your flight is leaving in less than an hour. Once you get through security, you have to take a train to get to your terminal, then you have to race up crowded escalators, run down the corridor to your gate. Only to find out the flight is closed and the plane that is in plain sight might as well have left. I nearly threw up from the stress, but we were placed on the next flight, undoubtedly taking the seats of people who were still going through security.

Naturally, our checked bag went missing. It should have been on the flight we missed, but we didn't get it until it was delivered at 12:25 pm the next day. The man we first dealt with was incredibly helpful and conscientious, but the rest of AirTran's Chicago baggage office at Midway can go to hell. Their lack of followup and mixed messages did much to aggravate the situation.

The Visit. We weren't really in Chicago so much as the suburbs to see Scott's mom. Sadly, it seemed much of our visit involved waiting for the suitcase while watching episodes of Deep Space 9 or reading the Trib and ranting about current events. But we still had a great time hanging out with her. We had a great Italian dinner, capping it off with a chocolate layer cake that used cannoli filling between the layers. If churches used this instead of communion wafers I would so become a Christian. (Ok, just kidding.)

Cubs Fans. On the 9:20 train to the city, we ended up sitting with a full complement of baseball fans. They were lively, especially after starting in on their cases of beer. They sassed a couple of White Sox fans who were passing through to the next car. But they were nice, offering to share their beer with us. We demurred, saying it was a bit early, prompting one girl to shout "That's what I said until I started drinking!" They also had blackberry brandy and Jagermeister, but again it seemed a bit much so soon in the day.

Phone calls. In the last few days, I got hysterical calls from each of my sisters. Our family dog has just been diagnosed with advanced liver cancer. He's too old for surgery and even medicine at this point would do more harm than good. I drove straight up from the airport to come visit. Today was a good day for him. He was alert, and willing to get up several times to pee (which is all he can do) and drink more water. But he's so skinny and frail, and he has a constant shiver - I don't know if he's cold or if his body is just losing control. It would be kindest to let him go before he suffers any more, but nobody else wants to admit it yet.

I know they have to be ready to admit it, but it pisses me off that they are thinking more about themselves than about what's best for the dog.

April 13, 2004

Off to Bedfordshire

I only have to get up in a few hours to catch a train to catch a plane to catch another train. I'm only gonna be gone a couple of days, and yet it took me forever to pack my carryon. Doubtless I'll still forget something. Oh well.

When I was in second grade I made sure that my school supplies were all carefully arranged in the StrideRite shoebox I used for storage in my classroom desk. Whenever we had a fire drill, I'd tuck the box under my arm and line up in size order with the other students to leave the building. So in case I had to escape a blazing inferno, my beloved pens, no. 2 pencils, erasers, Elmer's glue and other mundane trinkets were easily transportable.

Fastforward to today, and I am still trying to be prepared for every possible contingency, like Calvin packing a map of Montana into his backpack just to play in the yard with Hobbes. Do I have enough music? Is one book enough? What if I'm stranded in the airport coming and going? Because you never know when you're going to need something.

April 12, 2004

Henry G. Rogers, II (1949-2004)

Jenica's dad passed away suddenly. She wrote a beautiful, moving tribute to read at the funeral last week.

Thanks for sharing, J. Even to a stranger, your dad was a wonderful guy.

April 05, 2004

On Eating Two Chocolate Croissants in One Sitting

I had a good weekend, really I did. LTR spills a little more bean than I have about our recreational activities.

Have been feeling dull, so the postings have been trivial and I-centered of late. I did promise to be more substantive, to look outwardly - only to falter and come up with self-absorbed twaddle. And here I am, writing about me me me all over again.

I'm doing things - going to cooking demos, the gym, the library, the movies, out with friends. Should be doing more around the house, should start reading my next book group selection, should be eating in more often, should be starting my taxes. All these shoulds, and they're seeping into my subconscious, like this morning, when I dreamed about work.

These are only the lesser things. I'm frustrated by situations I can't fix, things that are beyond my control. Broken hearts. Unhappy relationships. Illness. Shitty jobs. Bad breaks for no other reason than life can be horribly unfair. And this is just among friends and family, never mind what I read in the paper that makes me wonder how there can be so much evil and stupidity in this world.

The easy response is to not deal, to just lose oneself in the trivial and the ephemera, to treat everything like a cosmic joke because it hurts too much to care.

April 04, 2004

Once More Unto the Gym

Have fallen off the wagon. Only went twice this week.

In the meantime, have consumed squillions of calories, many of them alcholic, chased with Krispy Kreme. Have not yet determined the proper ratio of drinks/pool-playing skills. But I can pull together a mean list of tunes from the jukebox - was not the Charlie Brown "Christmas Time is Here" inspired?

Um, ok, maybe that's just me.

My chariot...er, treadmill, awaits. Maybe the rowing machine, if no one's around to laugh.

March 28, 2004

On Buying Lemon Drops at Manuel's

Scene: A bunch of librarians have gotten together to celebrate a friend's birthday. Rawbrick has offered a round of shots with the birthday boy. Having also agreed to partake, with my pint of Hefeweizen still on the table, I have gone to help carry them from the bar.

While we're waiting, it occurs to me that this isn't the first time I've had a drink today. Earlier, I went to a cooking demo that also featured a wine tasting. Feeling a little lightheaded, I thought it best to walk around a bit before getting back on the road. Wandered into a used bookshop, and went slightly crazy, picking up a retold version of Faust, a literary critique of Mrs. Radcliffe, and Who Betrays Elizabeth Bennet?, a book of essays that work out obscure literary puzzles.

Gosh. What would have happened if I'd been blind drunk? "Hello, Mr./Ms. Bookseller, I *hiccup* would like to purchase a full, unabridged set of the OED. No, no, not the single volume in the slipcased cover with the magnifying glass. No, I want the full, multi-volume set. Thahnksssh...."

As it was, being only slightly tipsy, I joined the others later for a few rounds of pool at Twain's. Having not touched a cue in ages, I somehow managed to hit the balls into the pockets more often than not. The conversation ranged from the cataloging issues of setting up one's collection in Mediachest to "Is that Africa or South America tattooed on that woman's back? And are those tattoo flames coming out from her ass?"

March 27, 2004

An Unpleasant Discovery

Browsing at Tower Records on a late Friday night. We've picked out a few things but are still looking around. Some instore music starts playing, a Hall & Oates collection. I hum along as I thumb through the used CD singles.

It's only after several songs that I wonder if the staff is playing this particular music so customers will hurry up and leave for the evening.

March 11, 2004

Dissembling

I wonder sometimes if one of my cats is going to have a shorter lifespan because she's so high-strung. She's incredibly skittish and easily startled, even when we're the only ones around the house.

Walking around in a state of fear just isn't acceptable. It's too exhausting and unproductive. But sometimes my imagination goes in directions I'd prefer it didn't. Took the train to work, as usual. Today I was in the front car, and as it was crowded, I found myself standing just outside the conductor's door. And I realized it wouldn't be so hard to do something, if I was a coldblooded fanatic or insane or both.

Being in an open society involves a degree of trust - there's a social contract that we enter into so that we can live and work together and have civic byproducts such as public transit. It's just...what do you do, how do you comport yourself, when there are people willing to step outside of the acceptable ways to deal with each other? I read about the terrible train bombings in Spain, which happened during rush hour. So killing over 190 people and wounding at least 1200 other civilians is going to persuade people of the merit of your cause, whatever it is? How does that make any sense?

I go about my day, because I have things I'm supposed to do. Everything seems normal enough, if you don't think too much and act as if everything is normal.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:38 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 03, 2004

Oscarzzzzzzzzzzzz

Behind the curve, as usual. I'm a late adopter, what can I say? Or just late.

Made chocolate cupcakes, assisted greatly by Marco. If I never learn to make anything else, that's ok.

Made sundried tomato & basil pesto. Marco and I just about died after tasting it.

Settled in for dinner and to watch the Oscar pre-show and critique the fashions. What the hell was Uma Thurman thinking, wearing what looked like a tulle kimono? She usually has such exquisite taste (assuming she picks her outfits, unless it's a stylist). Scarlett Johansson and Nicole Kidman looked exquisite. Renee Zellweger seemed to have a post-modern bridal thing going on - of course, it was Carolina Herrera, and she looked beautiful. Please Renee, don't go Skeletor on us after you're done with Bridget Jones.

We filled out ballots to pass the time. I was happy to see LOTR win its awards, but it got boring real quick. But thank goodness all the Kiwis kept to short, sweet speeches, including the guy who gave his future wife two rats as a gift back in the 8th grade. For purely sentimental reasons I would have liked to see Bill Murray win.

The interesting bits were few and far between. Bill Murray's funny introduction for Lost in Translation. The "You're Boring" song by Jack Black and Will Ferrell. Ferrell's intentionally pompous pronunciation of Sting. The performance of the Triplets of Belleville song. Adrien Brody making reference to restraining orders and spraying some Binaca into his mouth before announcing the award for Best Actress. The Blake Edwards montage.

A long damn night, and for the most part bland. But the cupcakes were good!

March 01, 2004

Two women

Two women are sitting together on the morning train. One says to the other, with great solemnity and resignation, "Lucifer is busy today, that's for sure."

February 26, 2004

Happy Birthday!

She already had a party to celebrate, but today's actually Zeebah's birthday.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:41 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 11, 2004

Morning Commute

A man on the train is listening to some music. His headphones leak tinny versions of Meredith Brooks, followed by Alanis Morissette. Perhaps he's getting in touch with his inner bitch.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:03 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 24, 2004

Notes from a Dinner Party

So it may be the Year of the Monkey, and I may be a Water Ox, but I'm as sick as a dog. (Apologies to those of you who are actually Dogs according to the Chinese Zodiac. Find your sign here.)

The day of the party I had a tickle in the back of my throat. By yesterday it had become a full-blown flu - general fogheadedness, stuffiness, sore-throatedness. Lucky me. I'd be in bed right now except there are Canadians flying down from Nova Scotia to come look at our duplex with the realtor, and there are still dirty dishes from the Thursday night extravaganza. I'm really not looking forward to possibly having to move this summer.

But the dinner party. It's great to co-host at a duplex - there are two sets of kitchens to work with. We'd just shuttle back and forth whenever we'd have a dish ready for the buffet table. We pooled our tables together and covered them with red paper tablecloths and somehow scrounged up enough chairs. There were paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling with red bulbs. Everybody wore a bit of red.

There was an overabundance of food - afterwards we joked that we should've cooked for seven instead of fifteen. Damn these scrawny gay men who watch their figures! One of the guests, a friend of one of the other hosts, doesn't care for Chinese food; he brought a burger, fries and a milkshake from Zesto's. (Fortunately we'd known he would, otherwise I might have been a tad miffed.) The noodles went over well, and someone had made a marvelous chocolate torte with orange zest and some ultra-thin cookies that were a vehicle for more orange zest. Mmmmm.

It was a good party - good food, friends, and conversation. And I definitely enjoy co-hosting - that way it's a group effort, and less pressure to be individually brilliant (well, at least competent).We got to see a friend whom we hadn't seen since we were in New York. He and his girlfriend had just gotten engaged and I begged him to describe the ring and tell us about the proposal - a very funny, happy story. But weeknights are hard - it seemed that in no time people had to be getting home because we all had to get up for work the next day.

Anyway, we have enough, if we wanted, to throw a Finish the Leftovers Party. But even cold dumplings and noodles were a welcome lunch at my desk the next day.

January 22, 2004

Happy Year of the Monkey

It's Chinese New Year, and tonight we co-host a dinner party with our neighbors. Last count is 15(!) but it's fairly casual, sorta potluck, a mix of the homemade, the storebought and the takeout. Several kinds of Asian beer, some plum wine, and a California cabernet sauvignon that I picked up simply because there were cute monkeys on the wine label.

In the past few days I've had the excuse of going to the Chinatown area and the farmers market for special ingredients. And in the process, I discovered a second source for garlic bagels and now I have access to crumpets once more (at Publix, of all places)!

What I'm contributing:

Cold Szechuan Noodles and Shredded Vegetables - I'm using udon noodles instead of dried soba because I found those first. Unfortunately they're still thawing out so I couldn't let them marinate today. Will have to do it when I get home. Stayed up late learning how to julienne carrots and red peppers. The recipe calls for green onions, but I'm using chopped up chives instead so people won't be afraid to eat the dish.

These are all ready-made and easy to cook, though I might use the microwave instead of steaming or boiling if I'm pressed for time:

vegetarian dumplings of the pouch and gyoza varieties
vegetarian mini buns
chicken egg rolls

I also thought of chopping up some cucumbers and adding a spicy pickle sauce, but I think I'll skip that and just mix up some mild and spicy dipping sauces for the dumplings.

January 15, 2004

Alive and Kicking

Today was my first payday, hurrah! During lunch I marched down to the bank branch in my building and set up my free checking and savings accounts (so long as I direct deposit my paychecks). The banker told me our workplace banking plan was better than what the bank's employees get.

Settling into the job okay. A few flubs here and there, but easily corrected and no "omigodwhathaveyoudone" responses such as I was wont to hear in regard to equally minor incidents before. Could it be that people here really are this nice? Even the banker told me his brother works in our firm's DC office and that he likes it.

Was in Nawlins over the weekend. Stayed with my friend Herman - previously known to me only online. Amusing and surreal to be acquaintances yet still meeting in person for the first time. We shook hands and proceeded to try out his vintage pinball and skeeball machines - he has this lovely house filled with all manner of old toys. As a whimsical house gift we'd found him a Herman Munster bobblehead. He's another hardcore academic, so we didn't see him much over the weekend.

We ventured on our own around the Garden District and the French Quarter.
Realized we'd passed the Anne Rice house when we saw people taking pictures of it. Covered six bookstores in two days and tried to get a good sampling of the local fare. Surprisingly enough, drinking was not the highest priority, though I should've had a daquiri just so I could walk around with an open container.

For lunch, great burgers at Port of Call - a cheeseburger is presented with a mound of shredded cheese and a baked potato on the side. Full-size bottles of Tabasco at tableside - no surprise there.

Later, met up with Herman to get our name on the list at Jacques Imo's, another famed local joint, then came back in an hour to continue the wait for perhaps another hour and a half. Fortunately, when we each checked with the hostess during the wait, we spoke with different women, so we weren't completely harassing them. Ah, the food - completely worth the wait. The appetizer, Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake, was absolutely divine. Good green salads and hot cornbread all around. New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp for Scott, Paneed Duck with Sweet Potato Shrimp Sauce for me, an Eggplant Pirogue with mixed Seafood and Lemon Cheese Sauce for Herman. We also split a slice of complimentary triple chocolate mousse pie, headed back to the house and passed out - it was midnight by then.

Sunday was another day in the Quarter. Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde, bookstores, a brief ferry ride across the river and back, walking around taking pictures with the new digicam (to be posted soon). Lunch at Acme Oyster Bar (House?) - red beans & rice & sausage, some fried oysters, hushpuppies, hot sausage po-boy and gumbo between us. Late, but uneventful flight home.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:52 PM | Food , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 07, 2004

Brain is Toast

After my first two days on the job - I've been in training with my predecessor and the usual orientation stuff. Tomorrow I have to start proving myself. But judging by some of the perks - my own office, the fact that I can go to supply room whenever I want, breakfast every Monday, and the deluxe break room - a variety of coffees and chai, as well as the wall of microwaves, a toaster, and a bagel slicer - this is a much nicer firm than my last one. I'm a little skittish though as to how accessible I'll be online.

My new boss took me to lunch today. She startled me by asking me about my political leanings - I was startled more so by the simple directness of the question, as though she were asking me how I liked my coffee, cream and sugar. So without thinking I said I leaned to the left, which would have been enough, but I went on to express that I wasn't particularly happy with the current situation. That's as much as I said, but I realized I could have been more circumspect when she reacted with surprise and said how I'd balance out the spectrum in the department, as everyone else is fairly Republican. Nice, Lady C.

Well, she asked, didn't she? This Yankee liberal should remember that she's back in the South, where apparently it's no longer an issue for Southerners to have embraced the party of Lincoln. Anyway, the firm's not completely bluenose conservative; I gather that there are bluenose Dems as well. Oh well - I'm not one for political chitchat anyway - as much as I rant here on this space, such topics don't make for civil conversation in person.

January 02, 2004

Happy New Year!

Resolutions - this year I actually resolve to have some. I might even stick with them.

1. Be punctual. Turns out that the New Year's Eve party we were invited to was actually a dinner party. We turned up an hour late, thinking it was just a regular party. And we'd had dinner. Oops. So no more making others wait for me, or stressing out because I didn't give myself enough time to get somewhere.

2. Pay off debt. Student loans, credit cards, my sister.

3. Save up money. For a safety net, a house, retirement, for the next Pemberley trip to England.

4. Professional development. Need to keep up with professional reading, new research tools, association meetings. I want to do well at my job so that if another librarian position opens up at my firm, I can demonstrate that I'm the one for the job.

5. Become more organized. Still surrounded by boxes, although I've purged a great deal of stuff. Unfortunately there's still plenty to sort through. Need to be less sentimental about the things that were important to me, like, in the seventh grade. As a corollary, I should shop less impulsively - borrow more books and movies and CDs from the library, and consider whether I really need yet another pair of shoes. Even though my new Isaacs were totally worth it.

6. Cook more; eat out less. For Christmas, I was given some new cookbooks, a bakeware set, a crockpot, and my first Cuisinart (the mini-chopper). And we've just been invited to a potluck Chinese New Year dinner party, so I must continue improving my cooking skills.

7. Find a fitness regimen and stick with it. I've been walking around the neighborhood a bit, but it'll be too dark to do that when I get home from work. It seems I do better when I'm with other people, so I think I need a class. Maybe yoga, or kickboxing. Swashbuckling would be nice.

8. Quit the perfectionist streak. For instance, I could have two more resolutions to make it an even 10, but these are quite enough to work on.

December 24, 2003

Use Your Bootstraps

For More People in 20's and 30's, Home Is Where the Parents Are [Tamar Lewin, NYT, 12/22/03] - This article really ticked me off. I know the economy sucks, I know it's not a given that you'll identify your career goals by the time you get out of school. The first job out of college or the job that you take because you get to do what you love may not pay enough for you to support yourself on your own, especially if you live in a big, expensive city. Bad things can happen which make moving back in with one's parents the only viable option. But it's supposed to be temporary, not go on for years and years!

What I don't understand is how people can trade their pride in themselves, their independence, in order to live "at home." In my case I fiercely cherished the autonomy and privacy I gained while being away at school (on scholarship, which I earned by being a neurotic overachiever). It was miserable to come back and live with my parents again - I had no career goals, not even a car to get myself to interviews, let alone to visit friends. To cope I zoned out on the Internet, living in chat rooms and discussion groups.

Until I could support myself, I did not feel like an adult; living at home just reinforced that feeling. It didn't help that one of my sisters would bitchily remind me that my room was really the guest bedroom, so I was really just an unwanted guest in my family's house. I finally snapped out my funk to find a job, any job, that would get me out of the house, that would allow me to save up and move out. Eventually I did - the salary was horrible, but there was plenty of overtime. More importantly, the job helped me to recover my identity and self-respect; at work I was treated as a professional, as an adult. I didn't have to be the surly teenager living with my parents and sisters in the suburbs. As soon as I saved up enough money, I found an apartment with my friend Marco as a roommate, and I packed up and moved out. I was determined never to live with my family again. For my troubles - for not asking for permission, for their blessing; for not wanting or needing their financial support; for living with a roommate who was a guy - my parents stopped speaking to me for months.

I'm sure other people have much better relationships with their parents. But even so, if you have any respect for yourself, why would you remain dependent on your family and still live at home? It's not easy to figure out and then to get started in one's career. Housing isn't cheap - you may have to live with roommates for a long time. You're not settled down, you may not be married or have kids - but does that mean you should move back in with your parents (that is, if they even want you to come back home)? The path of least resistance isn't necessarily the best. Try to figure out what you want, then do something about it!

Yours, &c., LC at 06:20 AM | Slice o' Life , Sundries | TrackBack (0)

December 11, 2003

Three Letters

In the mail today:

1. Rejection letter from the academic library I'd applied to in October.
2. Letter from the county confirming my decision to decline the public librarian job.
3. Offer letter from the law firm for a position as a library assistant, accompanied by a three-page document spelling out their available benefits.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:38 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

December 09, 2003

Good News

I received a most welcome phone call today - the firm called with an offer of employment, to start in January, and I accepted.

I am very, very happy.

December 08, 2003

A good sign?

Zeebah called me today to tell me she'd been contacted as a reference. I immediately got on the phone to call most of my old supervisors, to let them know they might get a call as well.

I realize this is bad form; they ought to know ahead of time that I'm on the job hunt again, and would they please serve as a reference once more? It's what needs to be done, but I hate dropping off the face of the earth only to resurface and ask my former bosses to put in a good word for me. If I were really on the ball, at least I'd send a holiday card every year, right? Unfortunately, my last firm has the policy of not giving references, so my former supervisor can only confirm that I worked there. But Zeebah has a new job now, so she's free to attest to our working together.

As much as I dreaded the resurfacing, my former bosses were fantastically swell and promised to entertain all such inquiries. I'm so grateful - that they're so nice, and that they also happen to be partners in their firms. 'Cause it's all about status, baby.

December 07, 2003

Chockful

This week's schedule has been rather hectic - holiday party, meeting folks for drinks, catching a new print of Eyes Without A Face, going shopping for gifts with one of my sisters. Yesterday we traded in some of our unwanted CDs and of course, found new ones. Good scores include Utopia Parkway from Fountains of Wayne and Car Wheels on a Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams. Later, we went out for fondue at Dante's to celebrate a friend's birthday; she also turns 30 this year. Afterwards, since we were in the area, also checked out the used collection over at Tower Records, where I found the new Kelly Willis record.

Today was more leisurely - getting bagels and reading the Sunday NYT. This afternoon I'm dragging everybody to see the extended Fellowship of the Ring. It's gonna totally rock. A vital question, though: Do I dare to wear my Austrian woolen cape? While it is chilly enough to wear something so warm and snug, I'm not sure I want to be mistaken for a hobbit. ;)

Yours, &c., LC at 01:13 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

December 05, 2003

Am a Donkey's Posterior

So the other people called and were prepared to make an offer. Feeling lame for wasting their time, I explained that I had decided to pursue other opportunities. They were gracious, maybe secretly pissed with me, but it's done. The next person they make an offer to will certainly deserve it more than me.

If this other job I've interviewed for doesn't work out, I'm not at a loss. There are essentially temp agencies for librarians around here. I've met one of the consultants who works for one, and I just have to send my resume to her. At least it will make me feel like I'm making progress.

Recently I went to a holiday party for one of the professional associations, and I also met up for drinks with my librarian friends last night. It's nice to be meeting people who are so supportive and helpful. But I'm also ready to work again, to have a job, to be needed for my skills and to get paid for them.

I just have to be patient, and enjoy some of this time off while I still have it.

December 04, 2003

Post-Interview

I think it went well. Everyone seemed really nice; apparently this place has a rep for being a good firm to work for. Very little turnover. I hope to hear good news from them soon, because otherwise I'm going to feel a bit like a sucker turning down the other position. (I haven't yet, but they're going to call soon.)

Crosyafingas

Interview No. 2 today, one o'clock. Law library. Not actually a librarian position, but one that would give me good experience to move into one.

Hold a good thought for me - that I'll be fairly articulate, that I convince them that I'm the one for the job, that they'll make me an offer. Also that I won't have any more mishaps today, like banging my forehead right into the open door of the medicine cabinet. That should bruise nicely, woohoo.

December 01, 2003

Ooh Ooh Ooh

One can never go wrong with sending a woman flowers. One of my dearest girlfriends sent me a dozen deep pink roses from Martha's Flowers for my birthday. Even though FedEx only got to me today, the flowers were still in gorgeous shape, thank goodness. Thank you, Jen!

Yours, &c., LC at 07:08 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

November 29, 2003

Ho-Hum

A quiet day, my birthday. Bitterly cold one too; the feeble sunlight couldn't do much to warm up the day. Took a long brisk walk in the morning. Swung a bit on the swings. Lunch at Savage Pizza - pizza with garlic white sauce, salami and red onions. The musical selection during the meal was old country, the highlight being "Rocky Top."

The cat-napping continues; I bought a plastic box and lined it with an old bathrobe, setting it outside our back door in case the cat wants an alternative place to sleep. Rumor has it that the neighbors are merely fostering the cats, with the idea of eventually finding them homes. I should just ask, shouldn't I? She's been coming into the house and exploring; the other cats aren't exactly thrilled, but there's been no sign of vicious ill will, just the usual territorial posturing. I think everybody would get along.

More book browsing at the used shops. Found some nice fat books - a hardcover of The Mists of Avalon, The Mabinogion Tetralogy, and a Penguin paperback of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa, which is pretty damn huge. It's possible I could resurface after a few months whilst reading these books - I haven't even gotten to the new Harry Potter yet.

I have some birthday money, which I think I'll put towards a digital camera (the Lady Crumpet Monogram/Tattoo Fund will have to wait until I get a job, and oh, make a dent in existing debts). I've been chatting with my friend Mike who's been giving me good tips about which one to pick. FYI, some good sites for comparison shopping pricegrabber.com and bestwebbuys, which allow you to look for particular products and quickly find the best online deal.

Dinner was at a steakhouse; at least four other people were there for their birthdays, judging by the waitstaff's multiple singing ambushes. Fortunately my date for the evening wisely refrained from asking the same for me. We eventually headed to Jake's in Decatur with Marco in tow. It was a bit embarrassing; I had to ask the guy behind the counter if they did the free birthday scoop. Apparently this isn't universal policy at all locations, but they ultimately didn't charge me. The Pumpkin Piescream is pretty divine, I have to say. Played Uno at the table decoupaged with Nancy Drew pages and won not once, but twice. Hah!

A good day, overall.

November 28, 2003

Post-Holiday Recap

Stayed close to home. Scott got up way early to go run a half marathon, which, as everybody knows, is thirteen miles. He woke me up to point out the Thanksgiving contribution from the neighbor's cat - another vole, which I have now learned is the correct term for these poor little guys with no eyes or ears and are covered in dark gray fur.

During the day Marco and I made chocolate cupcakes and pumpkin pies. We should have had deeper pie crusts, but that's the fault of the grocery store for lumping all of the pumpkin pie stuff together in a special display. We poured the extra over broken ginger snaps in paper cupcake cups. Still highly edible, once baked.

During this time we discovered the joy of living in an old house. While washing dishes, a leak emerged from beneath the cabinetry - not directly beneath the sink, where you'd think, but no, where the cabinetry meets the hardwood floor. Yaaaaay. So for the moment I have to wash dishes next door.

Next we repaired to next door to get the dinner going - the ever traditional burritos. We chopped garlic, onions, green peppers, jalapenos, olives, set out salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and shredded cheese. Heated up both black and pinto beans, as well as some corn, and the do-it-yourself buffet was ready to go. I now have a much better appreciation for why Taco Bell isn't exactly the fastest of the fast food world. A mutual friend's sister came to visit and hang out with us. The dear girl brought some good wine, a syrah, and she made baby pumpkin cheesecakes - hot damn. Marco's new roommate also made some sort of Mexican casserole - also muy bueno.

We did a semi-serious group toast - after lunging in to sample our monster burritos, and all was good. We then went back to our place where all the desserts had cooled, and proceeded with generous slices of pumpkin pie, chocolate cupcakes and the pumpkin cheesecakes. We washed the sweets down with wine or hot cider, and played vicious rounds of Uno and Pass the Pigs. Definitely a fun, laid-back kinda day.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:31 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

November 27, 2003

Oh, Grow Up Already

I've been more obsessive than I thought I would be about turning 30. It's a nice round number, divisible by 3, which we know from Schoolhouse Rock is the magic number.

It's not like I want to be 20 and go through the angst and flailing around - emotionally, career-wise, relationship-wise - all over again. But then again, the idea is sinking in that I should be moving forward in some fashion, I should be more of an adult, I should get myself more together because that's what people do. I've been moving in the right direction, generally. It's not like I expected to turn wise. I guess I kind of hoped I'd feel less stupid. I mean, I know I'm fairly book-smart, but life-smart? That's something else, but it's not like most people think they've got all the answers, either. Those who do - well, I'm not sure I could wholly trust them.

The problem with a birthday around the holidays is that everybody is off doing holiday stuff with their families. I would be with my family except that they're not really into Thanksgiving this year and both my dad and one of my sisters have to be up extremely early the next day for work. But honestly, did I really want to throw a huge party and have five good minutes of conversation here and there with people? That's never been my thing, being the center of attention. And it's not like I'm being ignored or forgotten, as my in-laws have very kindly showered me with cards and gifts.

I did think I should do something dramatic to mark the milestone. I'm too much of a wuss to go sky diving or bungee jumping; roller coasters and other such rides scare me enough. For a while I considered hot air ballooning, which I still think would be worth doing sometime.

I've been revisiting the idea of a tattoo, which I've thought about on and off for years. I've also wanted to get some real stationery. What would these two random wishes have in common? Monogram design.

Anyway, I'll get over my snit-fit. I'll go out to dinner and get my free scoop at Jake's and then I'll attempt to finish my damned Nanowrimo novel. Anyway I have more important things to worry about - two librarian socials next week as well as Job Interview No. 2. This could be the one, but it's best not to get my hopes up.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:49 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

November 26, 2003

It's All How You Say It

My brother-in-law came down for a few days to attend a biblical studies conference. He stayed with us, which was great, as we haven't seen most of the family for some time, having been bogged down with the finishing up of advanced degrees. I even made chili for dinner one night, which turned out really well (I went back for seconds).

BIL is a big fan of chocolate, in whatever form he can get it. After being sufficiently sated by the chili, we took him to Jake's for an ice cream fix. One of the available flavors is the Chocolate Slap Yo Mama - very chocolaty, with chunks of chocolate as well. But BIL couldn't bring himself to say it - to our great amusement, he very hesitantly ordered a scoop in a cup of the "Chocolate Slap, er, Your Mother." "You mean the Chocolate Slap Yo Mama?" said the gal behind the counter, correcting him. "Uh, yes" said the BIL.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:09 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

November 14, 2003

TGIF

Especially since I'm done with the interview. I did try to prepare with questions and what I would say. But it's really hard to answer in any meaningful way when you don't have certain experience - like getting a library ready for opening for the day, or anything similar. Of course, I totally forgot to mention possibly related activities from college and whatnot. I guess I did ok, I tried to be enthusiastic, to listen well, to ask good questions, promote the transferable skills I did have, but I don't feel like I was stellar. The librarians were very nice, very friendly and the interview didn't quite feel like an inquisition. I'll find out by next week whether or not I got it, so the torture shouldn't be too over-extended. Even though public librarianship hasn't been my first avenue, I feel like it would be a good chance to work with people on a community level.

So I'm off to a cafe for something with ridiculous amounts of whipped cream to write my thank you notes and up my word count on my flippin' novel. This time I'll remember the industrial earphones to block out the other drama queens who also hang out at the cafe while being unemployed. *sigh*

November 12, 2003

Word Count: 1491

Yes, awfully pathetic, after two writing sessions. I finally went out to a coffee shop tonight to force myself to write, which got me over a thousand words. My inner critic is still fairly dormant; my inner nag, however, is trying to light a fire under my feet. Must consider notes and more extensive outline next year.

I'm supposed to finish this month's book club read - it's The Da Vinci Code. Much to my chagrin, I've learned that the President just finished reading it:

A Page-Turner for the First Couple

President Bush's taste in reading runs to political biographies and American history, but he and his wife recently finished a book that is neither — and that can't have thrilled Mr. Bush's more devout supporters. The president made his way through "The Da Vinci Code," the thriller with everything in it from eye-popping sexual rites to the Holy Grail. The novel, by Dan Brown, explores art, feminism, conspiracies and murder and is highly critical of the Roman Catholic Church.

"An interesting mystery, a great page-turner — and clearly fiction," the first lady said of the book, through her press secretary, Gordon Johndroe. The book has been at or near the top of The New York Times best-seller list for more than six months. No word from the White House on what the president thought.[NYT, 9/9]

I'll try not to let this prejudice my reading of the novel, which I'm inclined to think is something like The Name of the Rose lite.

November 10, 2003

First Interview

I have an interview with a county library this week. Panel interview - ugh, but I'll have to bear it as I can. The woman who called to set up the interview was very pleasant, so I'm hopeful that will set the tone for the rest of the process.

Thoughts on how to prepare, questions to ask, especially those of you who have worked or are working in public libraries? I'm checking the website, noted the proper address and spelling of names for thank you notes. Yes, I will have copies of my resume to hand out. I've looked through my closet to pick out my interview outfit. And yes, it's clean.

I submitted an application last month for an academic job, but my sources tell me it was highly competitive. So I'm not holding my breath. Time to look into temporary work, internships or volunteer opportunities to beef up my experience, improve my skills in the meantime.

Current strategy is to continue meeting up with fellow professionals at association meetings and socially, and to send my resume to some of the people that I've met - who did tell me to send them a copy, so no cold calling or anything like that.

November 07, 2003

Got a Present

One of the neighbors' cats brought us a present today - a dead mole on the back porch.

It's bad enough I adore someone else's cat, but she's not helping by bringing a gift, either. Tori's an outdoor cat, incredibly sweet. A Russian blue with gorgeous jade-green eyes and white socks and long white whiskers. She comes up to me when I park the car, then follows me to the porch to have a visit. I'll sit down, she hops up on my lap and meows for my ministrations. I adore her and want to take her in.

The neighbors are away and I'm not sure how often the cats are being looked after; another neighbor is picking up the slack for the people who ought to be checking on them. So I've started setting out some food and water for Tori - bad idea, I know, but I don't want her to go hungry.

I have always been a sucker for a furry little face looking at me through the back door. There was Oscar, whom I named as such, a small, pale brown tabby stray who was missing the corner of one ear - he was a rakish-looking scrapper. He was always a bit skittish, and would sometimes show his gratitude by swatting my hand as I set out some food for him. Sometimes, we'd let him come into the house. He'd venture in cautiously, then dash back out the door. I was hoping to take him in, once I made sure my other cats were up to date on their shots and all.

The day we were to head down south for Christmas, we headed to the post office to drop off some packages, a route we didn't often take. I saw something light by the side of the road. Before we got very far I asked if we could turn around, to make sure. It was poor Oscar, who must have been there for days. We ended up getting him cremated, I couldn't bear to leave him there.

I found yet another bookstore, this time in Decatur. Roaming the aisles was a gorgeous white longhair with lapis eyes. She very kindly let me give her a chin rub before I went on to peruse the offerings.

It's a small thing, but I'm always foolishly, giddily happy when a cat allows me its attentions.

October 28, 2003

Close Call

My dad got hurt in an accident today. But he's ok.

He's a temporary postal worker, temporary until he can get his own route, which apparently takes forever. He has to drive a shitty van that he had to purchase himself (permanent employees get real mail trucks, I guess). So he had the van in park, went to deliver some mail at a house, then saw that the van was starting to roll. He ran back, tried to get into the van to stop it, but he fell face down, chipping his teeth and busting his lip and badly scraping his face, arms and knees. A flower bed kept the van from doing serious damage to the house.

Nothing's broken or fractured, but my dad has to go in for a followup visit and then he has to go to a dentist. He doesn't have insurance, being temp, but worker's comp should cover him. My mom's freaking out because she thinks he might get fired. I don't think that will happen. He reported it right away and brought back his supervisor to document everything.

When I first got the call, it felt like my heart had stopped. My poor dad...he's a good man and he works so hard, and life keeps giving him bad deals. I talked to him on the phone and he's fine, saying it was no big deal but I'm sure he's playing it down to spare my mom. I'm glad he's ok. I just wish I could do something meaningful, to make life easier for them.

October 26, 2003

It's Not a Party...

until the cat has shat in the bathtub.

I'm Pathetic and No One Likes Me Having a joint birthday/housewarming party concept sounded good in theory, but inviting people at the last minute meant that no one I invited showed up. Even my sisters ditched me, having acquired free tickets to the Georgia game. So it became Mark's birthday party, as originally conceived, and we hung out in his side of the house.

Still, an Excellent Party Everyone got on well, and we had an excellent spread of munchies and cupcakes, which we made that afternoon. We bought way too much beer, which Mark will now have to finish off. We even made sangria, which turned out pretty well for having improvised the concoction. At one point we turned into our own "We Love the 80s" focus group, discussing the cartoons we liked - I'm so relieved I'm not the only one who remembers Jem and the Holograms! One guy's dad wouldn't buy him a Commodore 64, which was priced at $200, because his father didn't think computers were the wave of the future. Someone else speculated that in the future, kids will sit around and complain how their fathers wouldn't buy the first flying cars.


Birthday Boy
Birthday Boy

Party Girls
Party Girls

Crazy Doggo
Crazy Doggo

Antics
Antics

Dog Tired
DogTired

Bad Cat Mummy Since we opted to keep the party in one side of the duplex, I'd forgotten to reopen the closet containing the litter box. (I'd planned to keep the cats in the bedroom during the party.) It stayed shut until I sheepishly discovered my error the next morning. Tabitha immediately climbed in to use it, and Ginger sat right outside, awaiting her turn. And yes, I felt terrible.

When I flung open the shower curtain, about to perform my own ablutions, I discovered to my screaming horror that the cats had taken matters into their own paws. It's really not fun to have to suddenly scrub the bathtub whilst clad in a towel. Then again, I'm relieved that my cats picked the most sensible place for their emergency, as opposed to relieving themselves, say, on my bed.

October 25, 2003

And So to Bed

Couldn't sleep, hence the earlier posting. A quick encapsulation:

Happy Birthday, Marco! Actually it was yesterday, but we're having a joint birthday/housewarming party tonight. We went out for Thai at Royal Orchid, where we all had spring rolls and various curry dishes, washed down with bottles of Tsing Tao. Did you know that Jake's offers a free scoop on your birthday? We made sure that Mark took advantage, then got our own scoops of strawberry cheesecake (with actual cheesecake) and Chocolate Slap-Yo-Mama(TM).

Have been to Marietta twice in one day, though I did not live my life in one day nor speed my time away. The First Trip: Helped Mark out at his dad's estate sale - said dad and wife are moving to FLAHrida and needed to unload stuff. I set aside stuff to buy, just little things, like some makeup bags and a picture frame, but they wouldn't let me pay. And then his stepmom slipped me a $20 through Mark, and it was too late to give it back. I suppose this means I have gotten my first job, albeit unexpected and completely temporary.

The Second Trip: I met up with one of my sisters at her office in Midtown, then we drove up to her apartment in Kennesaw(!) to walk her dog, then go to Costco, one of those big warehouse shops. Sometimes bulk buying is too much - I had planned on buying soda, but I don't need 4 two-liter bottles of Coke at one time. So now I still have to go to the supermarket for some last minute things.

I can't wait for my sister's dog to get fixed - maybe he'll quit spazzing out everytime he sees me and alternately lunge up at me/hump my leg. Bulldog slobber is really unappealing.

Gee, I guess I should actually clean up the house today. But I'm going back to bed first.

P.S. I'm really loving No Doubt's cover of Talk Talk's "It's My Life." Says Gwen Stefani: ""It turned out so good. I'm so excited about it. It's just insane." Me too, I'm totally psyched. Gotta get a copy of both versions.

"Let Me Go Wild"

Last weekend, I was up in Long Island for a wedding, the guest of my friend Jen. Handsome groom, beautiful bride, I cried at the ceremony, there were tasty appetizers and free-flowing alcohol, as well as an ice sculpture. Since the groom was a big UT fan, the wedding took place on a non-game day. The use of Tennesee orange in the flowers and the wedding cake was remarkably restrained.

The DJ wasn't too annoying, although I hope my dance floor antics don't end up in the wedding video. The selection was a bit schizophrenic, going from Glenn Miller and polka to the Electric Slide and Enrique Iglesias to 80s music. I'd get up and dance, then find myself refusing to stay for the next song. I was about to head with Jen for her smoke break/escape from our table guests when ABBA came on over the speakers. I apologized - "I'm sorry, it's 'Dancing Queen'!" and promptly abandoned her for the dance floor. Later, it was the B-52s - you know when "Love Shack" comes on you simply must get up and gyrate, even if your dancing is like Fred Schneider singing.

The best musical moment, however, as a guest anyway, came just as the wedding cake was being served. I had just slipped off my strapless two-inch round-toe mules when I heard the opening strains of Violent Femmes. No way! "Blister in the Sun" at a wedding?!? You could feel and hear a collective gasp going through the room among people our age. We couldn't get to the dance floor fast enough. Somehow I managed to run in my heels and then contrive to stay in them while I practically jitterbugged. I didn't get any wedding cake, but the tradeoff was worth it.

Other random moments: the bagpipers serenading the bride and groom; the groom's guy friends dashing in to the theme from Hawaii Five-O and paddling like they were on a giant canoe, complete with miniature paddles; mortifying my tablemates with my ability to identify "Copacabana" within the first few beats, then revealing my new-found knowledge that an anagram of Barry Manilow is "Library Woman" (thanks, TinyLittleLibrarian!); "Rocky Top" as the penultimate dance floor song, which brought out the Tennessee folks in a big circle as the groom did reels with his friends. Ok, yeah, I sang along, but only the chorus.

Oh and then there was an afterparty that lasted till 3 a.m. I think I acquitted myself reasonably well.

Yours, &c., LC at 06:38 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 22, 2003

Family Values

An expecting coworker of some friends decided to use her pregnancy as an excuse to get rid of her cats. It's not unheard of - people might think it's too much work to take care of animals and a newborn, or maybe there's a fear of allergies, or that the animals might not adjust to having a new person around. And sure, pregnant women aren't supposed to handle the cat litter, but that's a problem that can be sorted out.

Decent people find new homes for their unwanted pets. If they can't do so personally, at least they take them to the pound, and hope that homes are found before the animals are euthanized.

This woman didn't want anyone else taking care of the cats. Perhaps she worried that there wasn't a good enough home for them. Instead, she had her baby daddy take the cats to the vet - to have them put to sleep! A woman who was there offered to take the cats, they were in fairly good health, there wasn't anything wrong with them, but he said he had sworn up and down to do this.

If you're going to needlessly kill your animals, you ought to have the guts to take them yourself. And if you're willing to dispose of living creatures so callously, then maybe you shouldn't be allowed to bring a child into this world either.

October 13, 2003

Sunday in the Cafe with Scott

Two girls, ten or eleven years old, are having lunch together with their families. They're absorbed in a matter of great import. They speak furtively, but loudly enough to be heard across the room, where we sit in a corner booth with our coffee and bagels, reading the Sunday Times.

Girl1: Hey, you know that song, "Stacy's Mom"?
Girl2: Yeah.
Girl1: Do you know what it's about? "Stacy's mom has got it going on." Do you know what that means?
Girl2: No, what?
Girl1: "Stacy's mom has got it going on." Stacy's friend likes her mom, not her!
Girl2: (gasps, scandalized) No way!
Girl1: (smugly) Yeah! Like, nobody knew what that meant.

October 12, 2003

Things to Be Happy About

I suppose there's something to be said for positive thinking. So I'm going to list some of the things that have given me bits of joy.

1. Let's start with the best. Zeebah got a new job! Congratulations! I knew you'd find a situation that's much better and saner and more rewarding for you! And I'm so thrilled, it's as good as my getting a job, which will happen eventually. Hurrah!

2. Peppermint choca chip ice cream at Jake's. That is some damn fine ice cream.

3. Getting together with my new book group to discuss A Fine Balance over drinks and tapas at Lunatique. Did five women split three kinds of dessert? You bet we did.

4. Watching Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. It doesn't have fancy production values, but I'm enjoying how London is portrayed as a fantastical place.

5. Brunch at the Flying Biscuit. Boy, did I miss this place.

Yours, &c., LC at 07:34 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 08, 2003

Night of 1000 Doughnuts

Krispy Kreme (John Spinks, AJC) (John Spinks, AJC)

So we went to the newly reopened, refurbished Krispy Kreme, where everything was bright and shiny and new. A line of cars inched patiently towards the 24-hour drive-thru windows. A giant Mayfield cow stood placidly on a truck bed, and a retro KK delivery car was parked out front. (Much cooler than the stupid PT Cruiser.)

We walked past the long window where you could watch fresh doughnuts being made, jiggering up and down in a contraption before landing into the hot oil, then flipping onto the conveyor belt, marching victoriously like a yeasty "Ride of the Valkyries" towards the "waterfall" - a pure white sheet of original glaze. Southern music played over the speakers, stuff like James Brown and Elvis.

A woman behind the counter welcomed us warmly, and I couldn't stop grinning. I asked for an original glazed and a New York cheesecake while Scott ordered a chocolate glazed creme filled and a glazed raspberry filled. The woman pulled my original glazed right off the conveyor belt. I told her how happy I was that they were back, and she smiled. At the register there were flyers and retro paper hats - the kind that Arnold wore on Happy Days, except with the logo. Of course I grabbed one.

There was a display of t-shirts and mugs and other souvenirs for sale. They make a onesie and matching booties with the Krispy Kreme logo - now I've got the perfect gift for the future niece or nephew we're expecting.

We sat and ate blissfully at a low counter opposite the view of new doughnuts being made. We also watched the people who came in after us, waiting in the suddenly long line. People were giddy and smiled openly. They eagerly accepted the free samples of doughnuts straight off the belt, then purchased boxes of dozens for home or the office for the next day. We listened as they watched the panoramic scene - two college guys stood mesmerized as the doughnuts went through the waterfall, then said longingly as how they would love to dive into a pool of original glaze. I even saw one of them whip out his digital camera (I'll borrow Mark's for next time!). I couldn't help but laugh, with my paper hat jammed onto my head.

October 07, 2003

Oh Happy Day

When I last lived here, the Krispy Kreme on Ponce de Leon was probably one of the safest spots in Atlanta. Scott and I would have a craving late at night for fresh hot doughnuts, we'd drive over and there would be cop cars from several jurisdictions. Sometimes ambulances or fire department vehicles too.

Apparently it's been closed for some time since I moved, but today it has reopened. Ok, so it's not like I couldn't get KKs in NY in my office building, or any time I want at Kroger or QT these days. But I want to make pilgrimage to Doughnut Mecca, where it will be a clean, well-lighted place and the neon sign will tell me that fresh hot original glazed Krispy Kremes are coming down the conveyor belt, and I will buy half a dozen and inhale them whole, washing them down with a cup of coffee, and I will declare them good.

I'll probably go tonight when I pick up Scott from work. Good thing I'll be walking my four miles with Marco before then.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:43 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 05, 2003

Close to Home

Woman Kills 2, Then Herself, at Atlanta Church

This happened just down the street from where I live. I didn't hear about it until late this afternoon from the neighbors, who only found out what happened when they saw all the news trucks converge on the scene.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:46 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 04, 2003

One Damn Cute Baby

Allow me to introduce to you Hayden, who is five months old. He enjoys eating, sleeping and other bodily functions and has otherwise rational adults completely wrapped around his little fingers. Imagine this image 75% larger, and you can understand why I awwwwwwwed out loud when I got the email. [Thanks, B, for letting me share this!]

Hayden, 5 months old
Yours, &c., LC at 05:26 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

October 03, 2003

Happy Birthday

To my sisters, who are flying somewhere over the Pacific at the moment.

September 26, 2003

Try, Try Again

Note to self: In the future, would be v. good idea not to shoot oneself in foot, stick foot in mouth, &c.

Dealing with administrative government does not give cause for leaping out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Rather, so as to slightly delay going to the county tax commissioner's office to get the car's tag/title transferred, I actually cleaned out the litter box this morning. (Amazing how two otherwise lazy cats manage to be quite productive.)

I checked the site numerous times. All owners present and accounted for, check. Emission inspection, check. Application, check. Proof of insurance and local driver's licenses, check. Acceptable method of payment, check. Proof of residency so as to avoid two years' worth of ad valorem taxes? What? WHAT? At that moment, I was deflation defined.

I had to console myself by going to the Container Store, which has all manner of items for organized domestic felicity. Seeing the varieties of containers for one's cotton balls and cotton swabs restored a modicum of faith in myself. Perhaps next time I won't fuck it all up.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:44 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 18, 2003

Svenska, Y'all

IKEA is coming! IKEA is coming!

Ok, ok, in Spring 2005, but omg, it's coming, it's coming!

Guess my books are going to stay in their boxes for a while longer. And now I'm actually glad my sisters have SUVs.

September 14, 2003

Destiny on a Silver Hanger

It was love at first sight.

I'm a taken woman, as my closet at home would amply indicate. Rummaging idly, I was looking just to look. You were there, in the back of the room, barely visible on the crowded rack of vintage. Your pattern intrigued me, shades of blue and green and indigo, with bits of white, bound by a haphazard grid of thick, black lines. I had the impression of modernist stained glass.

As I leaned in to reach for you, my fingers brushed your gleaming surface. Your vinyl caress startled me - I swear I heard thunderclaps, smelled the sizzle of lightning moving jaggedly across the horizon. Suddenly I was overcome with the desire to sing and dance along a curb in the middle of a torrential downpour.

Blindly I fumbled for your tag. What? A mere sixteen dollars for a lifetime of happiness? I was truly, madly, deeply and irrevocably besotted. Together we went before the full-length mirror, the oracle which would pronounce our fate.

I slipped you on like a second skin, fastening the shiny silver snaps. I flapped my arms about, testing the freedom of movement. I stuck my hands into your slim yet generous flap pockets. Finally I dared to look into the mirror.

I squealed. I twirled. I hopped in my high tops. I faced twinkling eyes and a grin of impish delight. Oh, we so go together, rama-lama-ding-dong.

I made giddy conversation with the shop clerks, discussing the necessity of precipitation and the benefits of having a cloud over one's head.

I want us to grow old together. When I am deaf, dumb and blind I hope that we will still venture forth, puddle-jumping.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:58 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 13, 2003

RIP

The Man in Black has moved on. I have now heard "A Boy Named Sue" more in the last two days than I'd ever heard it. I'm sure someone can school me on what songs I ought to know from Mr. Cash, besides "Ring of Fire."

No less sad, but more suddenly, John Ritter has died.

September 12, 2003

Boob & Tube, Reunited

I have satellite telly! An installer came to attach the dish and hook up the equipment. Don't worry, I still have three library books to read as well as all the others I own. Complete brain rot isn't on the agenda. But I now have BBC America. Woo!

After dropping Scott off at the train station yesterday I felt somewhat adrift. It was too quiet in the house. I was in the middle of a shower when that damn Lee Greenwood song came on the radio. I jumped out and slammed off the switch. Later I called Zeebah while she was still at home and told her what I'd last been up to: cleaning the litter box. She laughed, and I felt a little more grounded. We caught up for a bit, and then I got on with the business of unpacking.

Today while waiting for the FedEx guy to show up, I noticed a realtor's "For Sale" sign stuck into my front lawn. I knew this was a possibility, although given that we just moved in (and just attached a satellite dish to the house!), we're probably okay until next August. Marco's lease is up next month - surely reason will come to the fore and he'll be able to stay? Still, nice way to find out, rather than some kind of notice from the landlord, right?

Yours, &c., LC at 03:10 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 08, 2003

Weekend Recap

Oh no. I have become one of those expat New Yorkers who bemoan the quality of the local bagels. True, I did have a decent everything bagel at Einstein Bros, even though I'm sure they used to make garlic bagels, and that was what I hoped to have. And the cinnamon crunch bagels at Panera are also really good, especially with the hazelnut cream cheese. But what is it with the timid toasting down here? I specifically asked, very nicely, both times to have my bagels toasted, and while they were warm, they didn't have the toasted crunchiness one expects. *sigh* I'm going to have get all high-maintenance and spell it out for them: "I want it toasted - can you make sure it's well toasted, as in crisp and crunchy, but not burned?" My friend Marco thinks that they should ask you how much toasting you want - light, medium or dark, but I suppose this brilliant, sensible idea is rather beyond these establishments.

Friday night we went to a dessert reception hosted by the dean and his wife to welcome new faculty. Not long after we'd gotten there, I sorely wished to be back at home. A house completely full of strangers to whom I'm supposed to perform, and I'm merely someone's spouse, not even a networking contact. I drank my wine way too quickly, and the bits of dessert, delicious to be sure, seemed to stick in my throat.

But we slogged through. Scott did meet some people. I spoke briefly with a chemist, one of the university librarians, who told me to keep my eye out for some openings, and a Ukrainian physicist, who was a very nice man, but I wasn't sure if he kept talking to me to be polite, or if he was latching onto the conversation as desperately as I was. Eventually I found Scott talking with his department chair, and since it was near the end of the evening, I could finally let down a little of my reserve, which takes the form of giddy nonsensical talkativeness. The best part of the evening was when the dean's wife let the pets roam the house again, so I introduced myself to the family dog and cat, both of whom were eagerly receptive to my attentions. If only they'd come out sooner, I might have had someone to talk to! I suppose there will be more of these functions. Somehow I've got to get over this anxiety - I should be more like Lizzy, rather than Darcy. Perhaps with practice, I won't quite seem like a deer in headlights.

Saturday - Like a bee to honey, I was drawn in to one of the local used bookstores, Book Nook. And I did not come out empty-handed - a paperback of Nick Hornby's How to Be Good, a pocket Oxford edition of Wuthering Heights, a compendium of three Gothic novels (The Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho (abridged, alas) and Jane's Northanger Abbey, Samuel Richardson's Pamela, and season one of Buffy. And while it is rather pathetic that I'm already buying books when I've got boxes and boxes at home, I know I've still got stuff that I can bring in for credit. So it all works out. Or that's what I'm telling myself.

Kitchen and bathroom are pretty much done. Pantry is filled. CDs are mostly unpacked. Clothes need to be unpacked (and ironed, bleah). Living room is beginning to emerge. Office, is, well, a storage room at the moment.

The weather is beginning to cool. Have actually turned off the A/C. We went with Marco and his dog on a long, lovely walk to Candler Park, with a detour on the swings. Afterwards, I made black cherry Kool-Aid and we did an impromptu dinner - baby spinach & arugula salad with bits of carrot and honey roasted almonds with a balsamic vinaigrette, spaghetti and garlic bread. So Marco was our first official dinner guest, and we hope to do this cooking and gathering together on a regular basis.

September 05, 2003

Sighted at the DMV

An elderly man, wearing a blue shirt and garish yellow striped shorts. His wife, carrying a folded cane used by the blind or severely visually impaired, held onto his arm. He guided her to a seat, which she had to feel for before sitting down.

Later, we looked on in alarm as the woman was guided by her husband to the counter. Let's hope she wasn't getting her license renewed.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:28 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

September 03, 2003

DragonCon: Days 3-4

Sunday was another full slate for me. The 11:30 panel included Anne and several of her coauthors, Jody Lyn Nye, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, and Todd McCaffrey. At the end of the panel, Anne judged a selection of dragon eggs, rendered by artists who had 24 hours to decorate an ostrich egg, and the winning one would be chosen.

I stayed for the next session, a Q&A with James Marsters, but that proved not so interesting. Lots of giddy gushy questions. Unfortunately, someone in the crowd yelled for him to take off his shirt, he said no, and told the person who said that to get up onstage with him. A woman in an ill-fitting sleeveless black jumpsuit, some sort of costume, came up. He dared her to take off her shirt, and unfortunately, she did. He then teased her about her bra, and ACK! she took that off too. This was not an attractive, physically fit woman. It was just completely a grotesque sight. James told her she was braver than he, gave her a hug, and then she redressed and got read the riot act by the security working the room. If only they'd kicked her out of the con.

The 2:30 panel was with Todd McCaffrey, who was there to discuss the world of Nimisha's Ship. Another frustrating session, because every time he tried to articulate some idea, he was practically shouted down by people in the audience who would interrupt and correct him. He's a nice guy, and people meant well, but they took advantage of his being willing to entertain their remarks. It isn't pleasant to think about, certainly not for those close to Anne, but given that she had a heart attack and then a stroke in recent years, there's only so many books she has left to write, and their editors want to see more Pern books, rather than any set in the others of Anne's worlds.

The 4:00 session was with Jody Lyn Nye, who spoke about her own books as well as those she coauthored with Anne. She also talked a bit about her writing process and how she gets ideas. One question I'd been meaning to ask at one of these sessions is how a sci-fi/fantasy writer goes about doing research, so I asked Ms. Nye. Yes, she does go to the library, and she joked that one day the earth's crust will crumble because of all the writers buying reference works for their personal libraries. She also often asks people who work in a field of interest, because they spend all this time in school learning all sorts of specialized arcane information, but no one asks them about it once they're employed and applying their skills. She says they're usually more than pleased to talk about their area of expertise. Her brother, for instance, is a doctor, and she once asked him to give her any information he could tell her, because her book needed a plague. He faxed her something like four pages of single spaced text in 5 point type.

The last day there wasn't as much going on. I finally had some time to people watch, but hardly anyone wore their costumes. (I'll post the few pictures I took later.) I caught Anne and Todd's last session, another general conversation, Q&A arrangement. As with every other session, someone asked about whether there'd be any Pern movies. There are some eight contracts tying up movie rights, so who knows if anything will happen. What's happening with the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films is a good sign. Anne did mention at one point in an earlier panel that the popularity of Harry Potter has done well for her books as well - royalties for the Harper Hall trilogy tripled in 2002. While I'd love to see it happen, especially while Anne is here to see the finished product, I'd be content with the books. I'd rather not see an abysmal adaptation of her work.

One last dash through the Dealer's Room, as oftentimes you can find some discounts on the last day, but nothing called to us. Good thing, as I have enough junk at home. At the last moment I decided to try one last time to win a galley copy of Dragon's Kin. Scott and I came in toward the end of the last Pern panel, which seemed to be everyone listening to the Masterharper cd. They ran the raffle differently this time, having handed out numbers before I'd gotten there. I asked for a number, and a few minutes later, it was called. Finally! I was so certain I was going to be disappointed yet again. Todd had even signed it. So now I get to read it, but I'll have to get the official copy since all the corrections and edits will have been made by then.

A good experience for me, not so great for Scott, since there was less to hold his interest. We'll have to see how the schedule is next year.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:08 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

August 31, 2003

DragonCon: Day 2

I don't know, are four days a bit much for a sci-fi con? But as fortune would have it, there's something to interest me on each day. Today's wanderings:

Caught the tail end of the parade - what's the big appeal of being a stormtrooper? You're a clone, you're dispensable, those are not the droids you're looking for. But see a bunch of these (mostly) guys together, and it's like they've found their fraternity brothers.

People were already forming a line for the Anne McCaffrey signing around 10 am. Yikes. Scott promised to wait in line for me while I went to Anne's panel with her former editor Betty Ballantine at 11:30. That was a good session, a nice conversation between old friends. Amazing to think that at the time, sci-fi authors couldn't get publishers interested in books; the best one could hope for were stories in magazines. Ballantine helped to change that, and Anne was one of those pioneer authors in her field. One funny bit of trivia - the title for Anne's short story collection, Get Off the Unicorn, was actually intended as Get the Unicorn. But a proofreader didn't realize that, so it's a title that actually has an error in it.

I missed the last question, because I realized I needed to make the mad dash to the autograph line. I saw a woman with a whole small suitcase of books - did she honestly think Anne could sign all of them for her, with everybody else waiting behind her? I brought the Harper Hall books, hardcovers in editions I'd read back in seventh grade, which took me forever to find. But there was a limit of two books per person for the first 75 people, so Scott continued to stay with me in line, which extended well beyond us. In fact, we barely got in. I chatted giddily with the woman behind us to allay my nervousness.

The DragonLady herself was most gracious. I thanked her for writing such books and gushed how much they meant to me, something I'm sure she's heard millions of times. She signed my books, she signed the other book and program I'd given to Scott, and then we were off. I never thought I'd ever get to see her, let alone have the chance to say anything to her.

We took a quick run through the Dealer's Room, a place where one can drop lots of money on rather pointless, overpriced things. I do succumb, however, when I find a Giles action figure - Giles being the librarian/watcher for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We librarians need our idols too. Also on the same level are the tables for the Hall of Fame, where you can go meet your tv/film star and pay for an autograph or a picture. Lou Ferrigno and Marc Singer look awfully good for their age. Alas, Gil Gerard needed the benefit of his sign for us to know that Buck Rogers was in the room.

Caught the 2:30 session with the writer Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, also one of Anne's coauthors. I asked her whether there were any points of friendly debate
during the cowriting process. But she was rather practical - Anne was the more famous, the more published, so Anne won by default, which got a big laugh out of the room.

The next session was with Todd McCaffrey, son and another coauthor. Before the session began I was able to say hi and ask him to sign my program and my copy of Dragonholder. His session talked about Pern and what he stories he would like to explore set in that world, such as when the First Interval took place, or even stories about those who came out of the Nathi wars - Benden, Boll, etc. I feel much, much better - he really does have a sound knowledge about his mother's creations - after all, he did grow up with her dragons. I think he'll do a good job, and I will be eager to see what he comes up with. He mentioned that Anne was most emphatic that the Pern universe would not be tied in to the worlds of Anne's other novels.

After that panel, was done for the day. Dinner at the Wing Factory, stopped off at home, picked up Mark, picked up some snacks for the drive-in and headed for a triple feature: Blood Feast, 2000 Maniacs, and Trader Hornee. It took forever to get in, but it was cool there was so much interest. There were some old trailers and a Bugs Bunny cartoon between the flicks - the trailers, especially for Caged Virgins, was surprisingly racy. By 1 am, we were too tired ffor the third film, so we headed out after helping some students from Tech jump their car.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:50 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

August 30, 2003

DragonCon 'Aught Three: Day 1

This year's con is a spectacular treat, and perhaps one of the advantages of living down here again. The few that I've attended up north were puny in size and narrow in focus (horror, more Scott's hurrah than mine). Upon reading the program schedule, I marveled at just how much Anne McCaffrey is doing - at the age of 77, the woman hardly travels anymore - and she's published 78 works, which doesn't account for the translations in 22(?) languages, including Arabic, and soon Thai (in her Q&A she mentioned how the Thais have previously pirated her works, which is typical practice, I'm afraid, and yes, I'm freely slandering my native heritage. The Land of Smiles, among other Asian nations, is also the Land of Flagrant International Copyright Violations.)

Then I realized - she and her son, Todd McCaffrey, are publishing the next Pern volume, Dragon's Kin (out Nov. 25 in the US) under joint authorship, and Todd is completing a new work, Dragonsblood, on his own. The torch is being passed, and she notes that it is stipulated in her will that only he and her daughter Georgeanne are allowed to write any future works set in the universes she has created. Whether that includes their involvement with coauthors wasn't mentioned. Anyway, so my crass speculation as to her appearance at this year's con is to promote the new work, but also to Impress the fans to the new authorship. As much as I love the worlds of Pern, &c., as nice and knowledgable a guy as Todd McCaffrey is on the panels in which I've seen him, I really, really hope they don't bollocks things up.

But I'm sure it will all be fine. (holding her nose and taking the leap of faith between)

Anne told her favorite joke to close out the Q&A, which was held after she and Todd did a reading of the prologue and chapter seven from Dragon's Kin (brief, non-spoiler review - it reveals more about watchweyrs, and I can't wait to read it. I keep hoping I'll win one of the galley copies being raffled during the con, but we'll see.) Anyway, I'll try not to louse up the retelling:

A fly finds a sweet, delectable mound of horseshit and happily munches away. After a time, hearing some approaching noise, she realizes it's time to move on, but she's very full after such fine feasting. She spies a nearby pitchfork and climbs up the tines, the plan being to glide from the top of the handle to her next destination. The noise grows ever louder, and she finally reaches the top. But instead of gliding away, she falls straight down to the ground. The moral of the story?

Don't fly off the handle when you're full of horseshit.

Lady Crumpet (of Pern)'s Schedule

9:30-11:00 am Dropping off Scott's books for his office, waiting in line to pick up our convention badges, good for all four days. Why is the line so much longer than that for merely waltzing in that morning and breezing through the same-day purchase line? Of course, I could have picked up my badge last night, but perhaps that might have been a tad overeager. Plenty of stormtroopers, Jedis, Klingons, and aliens whose provenance I can't recognize milling about, and faux firelizards perched on shoulders. There's a woman with a Harry Potter scar in completely the wrong place, and a really convincing-looking Hagrid as well.

11:00 am - 12:45 pm Badges in hand, we grab a bit of breakfast in Peachtree Center and pore over the program to plan our schedules. Cries of "Who are these people?" from the non-con people are heard. The geeks have inherited downtown Atlanta, and we are not-so-meek in the safety of numbers. I rather suspect that the fully obscuring costumes and realistic laser rifles and sheathed blades would not fly in security-jittered New York. I'm just another girl in a cute checkered shirt and jeans and her bright blue Pumas, lugging a big flowery bag containing all three volumes of the Harper Hall trilogy and Todd McCaffrey's bio of his mother.

1:00 pm The opening of Weyrfest, the Pern programming track. Very nice people, lots of attendees because of Anne's appearance at the con. A bit much on personal info and in-jokes when only the schedule was discussed, and that was already in the paper program. For this I am missing James Marsters, gorgeous Spike of Buffy fame? I guess I could have walked out, but fortunately there was a free raffle for galley copies of Dragon's Kin. Didn't win, but I may still have a chance later.

2:30 pm Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey's reading from Dragon's Kin and their Q&A. I take lots of pictures which I'll still have to crop. Anne has a great smile and reading voice. Near the end, I venture a question: Were her children interested in her works growing up? Not surprisingly, they had to come around and be old enough to read the books. And of course, she was their mother first, author second, though when it was her writing time, the nanny or other caretaker had the charge of the children. Todd mentioned as how he was a teenager when he had finished his Heinlein and was looking for something else to read, and got hooked in by "Weyr Search." Her husband at the time told her she wouldn't ever make enough money to pay the phone bill, but she was determined, and was able to send all of her children to college and pay the phone bill. Her favorite tv show currently is Stargate, and mentioned how one of the actors would make the perfect F'lar.

4:00 pm That Vision Thing: Cordelia Dissected - a panel convened to discuss Cordelia's development as a character since Buffy and to bemoan her shoddy situation - left, indefinitely, in a coma. The one bit of useful information I got was that Charisma Carpenter didn't quit, she was fired, though no one talked about the circumstances or how they knew this information. So with Carpenter gone, Cordy is left without real resolution, which is a shitty thing to do to a core character, especially since we've had to put up with character arcs I couldn't care less about - Gunn and Fred and even Wesley. And then having to sit through Cordelia and Connor in "Rain of Ick" - I mean, come on! One person in the audience put it best - the last season has been a "buttload of badly." I could have done without the one guy braying inarticulately about how Angel has ripped material from X-Men. The one panelist who rather dominated the discussion kept talking about "fan wanking" and how the show's writers were always "blowing up the Death Star offscreen." I agreed for the most part, but I could have done without all the variations on wanking. At times I wondered if I should have been at the session with George Takei (Sulu of Star Trek) especially when Braying Comic Book Guy had the floor. Have got to sit near door in the future. Too much is going on this weekend to put up with someone else's wanking.

5:30 pm McCaffrey Trivia, hosted by the writer Jody Lynn Nye. Tough questions, though I felt rather stupid when I couldn't name the Rowan's full true name - Angharad Gwyn Raven, damn damn damn. Of course, I could have been the woman who correctly named Pride and Prejudice as the novel certain characters were reading in one of Anne's books, but then couldn't name the author of said novel. *palpitations* The whole room was aghast - hello, it's only OUR DEAR JANE AUSTEN! She tried to make allowances by confessing that she was French, but Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ! I'm a stupid American, but even I know Flaubert wrote Madame Bovary (and have even finally read it). Still didn't win a galley copy. Feh.

6:30-7:00 pm More panels I could have gone to, but Scott and I met up for a quick run through the Dealer's Room and Exhibit Room and then dinner at Azio's. Suddenly felt unwell, but better now in the comforts of home. Really ought to entertain prospect of sleep.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:46 AM | Jane , Slice o' Life | Comments (2)

August 27, 2003

Cable Woes

I have friends who for various reasons choose not to have television in their lives. Bully for them and their enlightened minds and pocketbooks. I, however, take comfort in being the intellectual peabrain, and will put down money to have the idiot box available.

Most of the utilities I have set up without a hitch. But there seems to be only one damned cable provider for my area, and they keep telling me that they do not service my address, although they do service at least one other address down the street apparently. What the f*ck am I supposed to do? I can't blow up at the poor person on the other line. I don't know what the previous tenant had, the landlord was the one who originally gave me the provider info, and I've done web searches to see if there are any other listings for my area (I live in the city of Atlanta, but I'm in Dekalb county - much of Atlanta is in Fulton.) I guess I'll have to try and ask the neighbors.

This should not be so difficult. And now I really feel like an idiot. I already lost half a day yesterday at Wal-Mart getting my tires changed - I might have had a little more time had somebody bothered to call me and tell me the car was ready, but no, I had to sit around reading Jane waiting for the call that never came.

I am Charlie Brown, trying to kick the football that the Lucys of the world keep snatching out of my way. Maybe it would have done Charlie Brown some good if he could have cussed rather than crying "Arrrrrrgh!" all the time.

*sigh*

Yours, &c., LC at 12:16 PM | Slice o' Life

Boxes, boxes everywhere

Ok, this isn't really a departure from my usual existence, but now that I have a nice apartment, I really have to get more Home & Garden around here rather than Self-Storage.

To fill you in on the drama that was moving:

1. It cost three times as much to rent a U-Haul leaving New York as it would have been to move from Atlanta to New York. Even the guy behind the counter when we returned the truck was shocked.

2. The toll for crossing the Verrazano was thirty-four dollars. Fortunately, we did a trucking route for most of the way down, so that was the first and only monster toll.

3. The truck didn't have a tape deck, so we improvised and used a little CD boombox in the cab. It seems the cats preferred to have music, as they whined whenever a CD came to an end.

4. We stopped over in Richmond for another fly-by-night visit with our friends Sarah and Tim. I was greeted the next morning in the living room by little Evelyn, who is up and walking and very gracious about letting strange people hold her. When I first saw her, she was standing, bent in half, looking at me upside down through her legs - a reasonable version of Downward Facing Dog.

5. Since arriving, the bed, television and the computer have been set up. Beginning to have some sense of how to arrange the furniture, some of which was merely brought down to tide us over until we can get better items.

6. Culinary comforts were indulged: tasty wings at Taco Mac, pizza at Fellini's, cinnamon crunch bagels at Panera, monster burritos at El Myr, burgers at Vortex. It's a bit of a walk, but my favorite brunch place, The Flying Biscuit, is nearby. I've yet to go there, but I'm merely building up the anticipation.

7. This weekend will be a geekfest - I'm going to DragonCon, where one of my favorite writers, Anne McCaffrey, will make an appearance, and Saturday night there will be a pulpy triple-feature at the Starlight Drive-In. I'm so psyched.

Ok, back to unpacking. And trying to get the effing cable company to set up cable here. I want my BBCAmerica!

Yours, &c., LC at 10:20 AM | Slice o' Life | Comments (5)

August 22, 2003

Made It

Much has happened. The days are all blurring together. Cats and people are in one piece, not too frazzled.

Jen and Mark are saints for taking days off from work and helping to load and unload respectively. I have way too much stuff and need to seriously do something about it.

The place is really nice, the coolest apartment I've ever had. Must make it all cozy and livable, and pleasant enough to invite people over without gritting my teeth. I know Atlanta's not as exciting as New York, but I hope friends will come and visit.

Back to the unpacking (and setting up my own computer so I don't have to borrow Mark's!). More later.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:55 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (5)

August 18, 2003

Exeunt, Briefly

I couldn't disappoint you by actually being ready on the day of loading the truck, could I? There's a little bit more to do, nothing too troublesome. But alas, it's time to dismantle the computer. (This gal needs a laptop, don't ya think?) Fortunately we merely load today. I'll get some sleep tonight. After cleaning, of course. I have left out my desert island Jane Austen omnibus (which inexplicably only contains 4 of the 7 extant works, oh well). And dearest, loveliest Jen has actually taken the day off to help us. Hurrah!

Gotham notes - because this city is so amazing, power was restored to the subways and the railroads in time for my social plans. I toured the city and escaped the heat in various coffee shops (ok, ok they were Starbucks) with Mike. Thanks for hanging out with this sentimental chick, my dear friend. Also did dinner at Gotham (the restaurant) with the Pemberley set - Golda, Karen and Jen. We were fab, the food was exquisite, the tab was (gasp!) suitably posh. Finished a lovely day by walking into the breezy night back to Penn Station. My toes aren't happy, but my eyes had their fill of the city lights.

This girl's a native New Yorker - wherever I go, a little bit of my heart will always be here. Talk to you soon.

August 12, 2003

Moving Update

I really hate packing. Given how much time I've had I should be done by now. Unfortunately I've become a tad too acquainted with the TLC lineup. Must really get done in the next few days, because I have social engagements coming up and it would be nice to actually enjoy them guilt-free.

Have suddenly gotten a cold in the last few days. Feeling better, but trying to rid it with vitamin C and medicine - don't want to be all red and sniffly when I'm supposed to be dolled up and fabulous this weekend.

Saw Seabiscuit over the weekend with my friend Julie. An uplifting, sentimental movie, and that's not an epithet. I would love to ride a horse. The closest I've gotten was riding on a pony in kindergarten. I thought I'd be able to yell "Giddy-ap!" and leap over the fence, but no, the pony and I were led placidly around the pen.

As of yesterday, Scott has successfully defended his dissertation, so he's now Dr. Scott. Hurrah!

Now must really get to packing, especially if I'm going to justify tagging along with some gals in Scott's department who are going shoe shopping in the Hamptons or thereabouts later this week.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:16 AM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

August 06, 2003

No More Wire Hangers!

This was the acknowledged, but unspoken agreement between us as we went through Scott's closet last night.

I'm officially a crankpot. The apartment is hot, stuffy and dusty, and I'm tired of the landlord traipsing in with potential tenants while I'm all dishabille, trying to pack up the place. I still live here, but people are opening my closets full of my stuff in my presence. Arrrgh. But I guess we both have to do what we have to do.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:51 PM | Slice o' Life

August 05, 2003

Ungainfully Employed

The packing goes on and on. Media is just about packed - books, videos, dvds, cds (of course a selection has been set aside for keeping me musically occupied). My shoes have been boxed up, and they've only required two boxes. Clothes are next. Scott has a really, really bad Cosby cardigan that simply has to go - it may be too ugly to donate even to Goodwill.

I've got a summer mix compiling in my head. Really digging the new Fountains of Wayne song, "Stacy's Mom." The video's a hoot; Rachel Hunter plays the ridiculously hot mama figure. Another one I like is "Move Your Feet" by Junior Senior. The video looks like an Atari game. Still lovin' Sugar Ray's "Mr. Bartender" - even though Mark McGrath's hair has been bleached like mad, he's still pretty darn hot.

So what are your summer songs?

Yours, &c., LC at 10:28 AM | Slice o' Life | Comments (2)

July 23, 2003

Lady of "Leisure"

Back from my trip on the cape. Of course, now that I'm done with work and I'm really ready to pack boxes in earnest, my landlord wants to bring over a prospective tenant tonight, meaning I'll spend today sprucing up the place. I'll pop back here once I have a breather and fill you in on the fabulous long weekend.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:53 AM | Slice o' Life

July 16, 2003

Shaddap Already

I haven't been getting much sleep. Putting in extra hours to leave things on a good note. No one wants to hear my complaints about all the little things that irk me about my job. I'm sick of hearing them myself.

I'm frazzled, I'm stressed, I'm hormonal. I'm happy about leaving, I'm sad about leaving some good friends and colleagues. I find it hard to let go and just relax. Unlike normal people, I can't seem to flake out, even though I'll be done with my job tomorrow. I have to be so goddamned conscientious. Everything will work out. I just wish I were done already. But I'm almost there.

Perhaps I should take up smoking. Or recreational Valium.

I have a minibreak coming up - going to Cape Cod this weekend to bond with my galpals at Camp Pemberley. I'm sure there'll be alcohol, chocolates, fawning over Colin Firth/Jeremy Northam/Ciaran Hinds, etc. It will be wicked fun.

It's hard to wax rhapsodic just yet because I have so much crap piled all over my desk. One of my other coworkers just told me that the assistant head librarian thought that the newest shipments of books should be unpacked and brought my way, because it didn't look like I had enough to do. I'm sorry, WHAT???? *hyperventilating*

Oh bloody bloody hell. Best get back to rolling my boulder up the hill.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:15 PM | Librariana , Slice o' Life

July 14, 2003

Countdown

My last week on the job; I'm done this Thursday and have a long-planned trip with my friends from Pemberley. Staring down mountains of paperwork and new books for the shelves. What will get done will get done. I can't do it all. Of course, I might get more done if I didn't have other people interrupting me, telling me how important it is to get certain books on the shelf, and if I need any help, just to let her know. Um, like I'm surrounded, about to drown, I even say "Sure, if there's anything you'd like to take to work on, please go ahead." But I guess that's too subtle for some people to understand.

Definitely having butterflies. I'm used to working, being employed. Not that I won't be again, but it's a point of pride for me to have someplace I have to go (even though there are days I'd prefer not to). But I will definitely be busy over the next few weeks. The list of things to do is getting shorter, as is the time I have left. No need to panic...just yet.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:22 PM | Slice o' Life

July 10, 2003

To My Fellow Commuters on the Lawn GuyLand Rail Road

1. Please don't clip your nails on the train. Just because we can't see you doesn't mean we can't hear you. We still know exactly what you're doing.

2. Please learn to modulate your voice when talking to your friends either in person or on your cellphone. No one wants to hear about your digestive tract, your business deals, your legal woes, your relationship troubles, etc. Perhaps your friends don't want to hear this, either.

3. When it is rush hour and the train is teeming with people, please don't hog the seats with your bags or your person. Don't spread across several rows when you could all sit cozily together. If you're a guy, please don't sprawl and invade the scant arm and leg space of the person next to you, just because she happens to be smaller than you.

4. If you're going to be stinking drunk, please be a happy or silly drunk. Or better yet, a sleepy drunk. Please don't bellow about how your dentist fucked up your wisdom teeth and you're gonna fuckin' sue, swilling painkillers and Jack Daniel's all the while. And please don't pick fights with the poor parents who are just taking their kids home from seeing the fireworks and would prefer that you not cuss up a storm in front of their family.

5. Yes, New York City is a very cool, exciting place. But just because you've taken your fat-ass child to see Mamma Mia doesn't mean she should be allowed to mangle "Dancing Queen" at the top of her lungs on the late-night train. Really, it's not adorable. Please get little Britney some singing lessons, then let her sing in a soundproof room. While you're at it, big Britney could use some lessons too.

We are stuck together for the duration of our ride, this is true. But the train is like the elevator - let us give each other some privacy, some space. Let us be decent and kind to one another. Or at least make it possible to ignore one another in peace and quiet.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:46 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (2)

July 07, 2003

My Firm Grossed $175,000,000

...and all I got was a three percent raise. The July 2003 issue of The American Lawyer is now out, with its annual AmLaw 100, which ranks the top law firms by various capacities (gross profits, profits by region, profits by partner, etc.).

Three percent doesn't even cover the cost of living around here. Yes, times are tough, the economy sucks. Yes, my job is entry level. But a glowing evaluation doesn't mean much if it doesn't translate into a meaningful financial recognition for the work that I do. And what's even worse is that the glowing praise isn't even that sincere. I'm so glad I have to leave this job.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:22 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

July 02, 2003

WEEKEND WHOPPER RECAP

I was offline a bit in the last few days. Much was accomplished.

Lady Crumpet, Lipstick Librarian - As of last Thursday, I took my very last session of the very last class for my master's program. I guess this means I've graduated. (Of course, better get in all that paperwork to that effect). I had to turn in a final exam, and with only 24 hours notice I had to participate in a mock interview. I was a bit of a wreck by the end, but hell, I'm DONE.

It's entirely possible to find an apartment you like in a day. So long as it's not New York, apparently. Got up before dawn last Friday for a six a.m. flight to Atlanta. One of my sisters picked me up and we went apartment hunting, which was ridiculously, beautifully easy. All these apartments, all these deals - it's entirely possible to pick and choose, the rental market is pretty good right now, since so many people are buying houses.

Crashed Friday night with my friend Marco, who'd tipped me to the fact that the other half of his duplex was up for rent. This was the only firm appointment I'd made before coming down to visit. Before I'd even seen the place, I knew I wanted to move in next door, just based on being in Marco's apartment. The other searching was just for show; I was looking for a compelling reason not to live in a cool house in a cool neighborhood, with one of my best friends for a neighbor. There's a bus stop right outside the door that drops one off at the nearest Marta station, less than a mile away. There's a washer/dryer, dishwasher, a gas stove, central heating/air, storage space, a backyard, a porch, the walls are painted nice colors. And the piece de resistance - a Murphy bed. How cool is that?!? We're a quick drive from Little Five Points, Candler Park, Virginia-Highland - all the kinds of places we liked to haunt when we lived down there before.

It's funny - Marco, my sister, the landlord and I all forgot to discuss rent when we walked through the apartment. I knew it wouldn't be unreasonable; we sorted that out soon enough over the phone. Future landlord was pretty much ready to hand over the keys (after I handed over various fees and deposits, of course). Quite possibly the easiest, breeziest apartment search ever.

Hanging Out Anyway, since we had so much free time, Marco and I got to have a nice lazy time bumming around. Walking around Piedmont Park for the Pride Fesival. Casual culinary hopping as well - Fellini's for pizza, Dakota Blue in Grant Park for burritos and sangrias, and Jake's for ice cream (ginger for me, lime sorbet for Marco). Dakota Blue is like a month old, and it's right there on Cherokee Ave. across from Grant Central (the pizza place). A friend of Mike's is one of the partners, and he came out to say hi to us. While we waited for our food, we grabbed some sidewalk chalk - I wasn't very creative, just scrawled out my name. Marco, ever the artistaman, did a groovy portrait. Good food - will definitely stop by again if I'm in the area.

Family Time Otherwise, hung out with my family. My sister's bulldog now has a face that only my sister could love. (He was so cute as a young puppy, I guess he's still cute to my sister.) This dog is like the grandchild our parents have been waiting for. A friendly dog, but boy is he strong - he was so excited to have a new person to play with he kept nearly knocking me down - looks like somebody seriously needs some training. Supposedly bulldogs are some of the stubbornest, stupidest dogs and don't pick up a lot. We'll see about that. He certainly knows how to sit prettily for a treat.

Frankly, I'm never going to own a dog that cannot clean its own ass. My parents and sisters are constantly having to use baby wipes on the dog after he's gone potty in the yard. I guesss the way bulldogs are built, they can't really get to where they need to in order to clean themselves. On the plus side, you don't feel skeevy whenever he feels like licking your face, slobbery pedigreed mutt that he is.

The poor little family dachshund is shunted to the garage whenever the dog is around - though granted, he's really old, and isn't up for puppy aggression, especially a bulldog pup. I wish I could take him, it doesn't seem my parents appreciate him, poor little old man. I made sure he got some extra lap time.

Homeland Security (Or, Hartsfield Sucks!) My trip back was mostly uneventful, except for going through security. Ok, it was probably my fault because I left my watch in my jeans pocket. Having been pulled aside to my mortification, the very polite woman proceeded to check me for illegal objects. While I was cooperative, I didn't really bother to disguise my aggravation. I wasn't rude, just unsettled. First, I had to remove my slides, after which she proceeded to wand my bare feet. WTF? The wand then picked up the studs in my jeans, my jewelry, my underwire bra, and the metal part of the rubber band for my hair. I kept forgetting to hold my arms out and would keep getting reminded to stick them out. Y'all should be relieved to know that no sharp pointy metallic objects which could be used as a deadly weapon were found in my feet or anywhere else on my person.

*sigh* I know they're just doing their jobs, but c'mon. I guess it was more embarrassment than anything else that made me so flustered. Although there's an attempt to standardize airline/airport security, procedures seem different from place to place. I guess I should be glad that they're doing it. And I did have a good, productive trip overall.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:27 PM | Librariana , Slice o' Life | Comments (4)

June 17, 2003

Four-Eyed, again!

My New Glasses
In the course of three lunch breaks, I got my eyes examined, checked out frames at six different shops, and picked out new glasses. I placed the order last Thursday, got a call yesterday that they were ready and swooped in on my fourth lunch break to pick them up. They're totally sassy, and I like them even better than the ones I lost on New Year's Eve.

The last time I got this excited about new glasses was in the fourth grade, when I had to get my first pair. And they were brown and ugly! My new ones have a tiny, shiny crystal embedded on the side of each arm of the frames. Most of the time they'll be hidden under my hair, so no one will know. But I know.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:40 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

June 13, 2003

Happy Birthday!

Today is Scott's birthday. He shares it with Yeats, David Gray, Dr. Hook, Malcolm McDowell, and MaryKateandAshley, among others. He was born the day the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers, for which Scott's mother still admonishes him, since she didn't get to read them, being rather preoccupied with his arrival at the time.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:44 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (4)

June 09, 2003

That awful leaden feeling

You know what really sucks? Getting a call from your doctor telling you to come in for an exam so she can take tissue samples, then having to fret about it for 16 days until your actual appointment.

Please please please please please let it be nothing.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:56 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (4)

November 26, 2002

Goodbye Yai

I called my sisters at work today. One of their departments is having a Thanksgiving luncheon, so they're going comatose over deep fried turkey and pumpkin pie, all that good stuff.

We're Buddhist, although I don't really practice much of anything. So one of my sisters tells me that she found our mother weeping this morning. During the night she awoke to the sound of crying and smelled the distinct scent of a medicinal ointment that our grandmother always seemed to be using. She kept waking up our father, who couldn't hear or smell anything.

Our mother believes that it was our grandmother's spirit telling her goodbye, because she is about to be reborn as some other person and have this whole new life. So the spiritual ties are now severed. Our grandfather passed away first, but our mother hasn't ever gotten a sense that this has happened for him yet. Apparently there's no timeline for when someone is reborn, but she likes to think his spirit was waiting to be rejoined by our grandmother's. Or maybe it's because he was rather a shit in his last life that he's having to wait his sweet time before being reborn.

So our mother is very sad and very weepy because she feels that she's lost her mother now for good, as though she's died a second death, even though what it means is rebirth. Now that I think of it, I remember our cousin once telling her father that she wished their spirits would always be reborn as father and daughter, she loved him so. My mother isn't some religious wacko; if she says she heard crying and smelled that scent, I believe her. And so I can't help but feel sad about it too, because my mom is sad. I hope for my grandmother to have a better life, because she deserves it.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:13 PM | Slice o' Life

August 23, 2002

Hanako rocks!

Vanity alert - There are few things in life that can be so quietly thrilling or horribly demoralising as a haircut. Happily I belong to the former category. After finding consistent rave reviews on CitySearch I threw my hopes into Rumor Salon. Paying top dollar for getting one's hair done seems frivolous, but I couldn't live with bad hair - I'd either have to make a stink about getting it fixed, or if I couldn't trust them, just go to a real place to get it fixed anyway. (The scary thing is, this isn't even top dollar in this town.) I've had a couple of really good hairstyles in life, and that's because I went to a salon instead of SuperCuts. But honestly, I think this is the best haircut I've ever had. The stylist, Hanako, looked at my pictures torn from magazines, looked at me, and figured out what would work with my hair, my face and my proportions. I wasn't asking for anything crazy, but I wanted interesting edges and layers - not just the plain, hang-down heavy hair that I've been growing out for months. She actually found waviness in my hair - it now feels lighter and has movement. But the best part - she gave me a hairstyle that's made to air-dry! I can dash out of the house with wet locks and sport fabulous tresses by the time I get to work.

What's also cool about Rumor is that everyone is super, super-friendly. No snotty salon attitude at all. The whole experience - this is how it's supposed to be!

Yours, &c., LC at 01:09 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (2)

August 13, 2002

Went to Atlanta to throw

Went to Atlanta to throw a baby shower for some of my dearest friends. I was a co-hostess, really the junior one, having flitted into town for the weekend while my partner Amy did all the legwork and came up with fantastic ideas for the rubber ducky/bathtime-themed event. I was happy for the chance to do even a little something for our friends. Fortunately there are some tasks that can be accomplished even from hundreds of miles away.

Friday - Shower preparation. Sally took the day off to hang out with me and help with our various tasks. I got to see her new puppy, all 11.5 pounds of him - absolutely adorable! Hanging out with Amy and her ridiculously agreeable kids was a blast. We bought flowers, we bought food, we chopped and whipped and dipped and stirred. I now know how to make chocolate-covered strawberries, which is quite possibly the most work I've done in a kitchen. We also went over to the church to decorate the room where the shower was to be held, sprinkling confetti, draping tulle and sunflower garlands, and arranging the seemingly endless varieties of rubber duckies. Amy is truly a Shower-Throwing Queen.

Saturday - My friend Mark and I seemed to drive all over Atlanta running last-minute errands. It was great to see familiar faces, there was lots of laughter and conversation, and the baby shower gifts elicited lots of oohs and awwws. One of the really cool presents was a recording of Old English childrens' songs, including something about Oliver Cromwell being dead and buried. A great, fairly relaxed, happy time had by all. Afterwards, Mark and I went on the town - edamame and noodles at Doc Chey's, then insanely good ice cream at Jake's. I had honey fig - the honey tastes as though it came straight from the beehive and there were whole frozen figs in my scoop of delight. Mark had the Key Lime Piescream, which contained actual chunks of pie. We'd hoped to catch either Rain or The Fast Runner, but the showtimes didn't work out for us. The downtime with Mark was a much-needed diversion, since I was spending what little other time I had with my family.

Sunday - more hanging out with my family, then dim sum to celebrate my parents' upcoming 30th anniversary. A quick stopover at Amy and her husband's house for a post-shower gathering with everyone, then it was off to the airport, and back to my sweetheart.

Final thoughts - Okay, so for three days straight, I've been surrounded by baby-oriented people, including grandparents-to-be, several pregnant women and their husbands, a two-year-old, and a five-month old and their parents. And Sally basically treats her puppy like a baby, so that counts too. Still no baby pangs, even seeing how my parents are with the puppy (so just imagine the response a grandchild would generate). I'm not sure if I should be concerned or relieved. But it was definitely a family-oriented weekend, which includes both the family you're born into and the people you choose for family.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:36 PM | Slice o' Life

July 31, 2002

During our foray into town

During our foray into town over the weekend, we also saw Lovely and Amazing. Catherine Keener plays an emotionally stunted woman - her way of dealing with unfortunate situations is by telling people to "Fuck off!" I laughed, sometimes nervously, because I can so relate sometimes. Not that I would really deal with people like that, because that's just not how people should talk to each other - such a word is powerful and aggressive. That doesn't mean that when I'm alone I won't swear like mad.

Scott used to share his office with a German colleague who used the F-word a bit too freely, often to comic effect. "Do I need to study that for the exam?" a student would ask. "Aww, fuck nooo." (Insert breezy German accent.) I don't think he ever quite got that such language isn't generally part of one's public vocabulary - but the rest us giggled like mad. After all, he'd never talk like that in German. I think.

The last of John Nash, I promise. Wired offers an overview of the game theory conference. (Thanks, Liz!)

Yours, &c., LC at 05:06 PM | Film/TV , Slice o' Life

July 27, 2002

Dead tired. I need to

Dead tired. I need to write down my recollections from the Neil mini-tour before the fine points vanish. But we're gonna be chic and urban and go into the city for a screening of Naked Lunch and possibly some Kurosawa/Mifune collaboration - gee, what a shock, another retrospective. I love this town.

Got another announcement from our friends Lori and Dave. The last one revealed their elopement to Hawaii. Now they have their first house. I'm sure I'll be hearing soon about the conception of their first towhead. At least I think I've figured out at last what to get them for a wedding/housewarming gift.

Don't get me wrong - I love to to be on one's announcement list, and I'm absolutely thrilled for my friends. Send me a pretty token of your good news; I save them for the day when I'll actually start my scrapbooks. I'm not so keen on, say, getting pregnancy announcements via e-mail. (Which has happened.)

I feel a twinge of jealousy? regret? frustration? that I'm not there yet and that I now have friends my age who are on-track and living the grown-up life. I've got student loans, scary credit bills, and before I even contemplate being a homeowner or future parent (gah!) I should try, just try, to quit living like a wacked-out college student with stuff everywhere. I have incentive to pare down on our stuff - we could be moving cross-country within the next year. I do not want to be toting boxes of crap that I should've thrown out in the first place!

My domestic porn is Martha Stewart Living. All this stuff I will likely never do, but you get a window into a world with approximate instructions about how to live the Martha life. (Although I must admit I have no interest in insider trading.) At least I know how things could be done - a girl needs inspiration and ideas, some of us more than others.

I want a brownie, the fairy-tale kind of creature who swoops through one's house at night and everything is immaculate in the morning. I guess in the modern world they call them maids, or mothers even. And putting out milk and cookies as appreciation won't cut it. I need to be my own brownie, since a) hired help is not in the budget, b) that would be utterly pathetic for people like us, and c) I'd be way too embarrassed to let them see the state we're in.

The surprise of running into John Nash has worn off for Scott. He keeps running into the man around campus and in the department. The man has been spotted wandering around the floor before going off to his ultimate destination. Can't say it would've been the most exciting experience - Poli Sci is a really bland floor. Maybe because no one accosts him, even though they recognize him, he likes being up there. Or maybe he just prefers the 7th floor men's bathroom to the ones on the other floors.

Yours, &c., LC at 08:26 AM | New York minutes , Slice o' Life

July 25, 2002

Something really cool happened to

Something really cool happened to Scott yesterday - on his way out of the department, he stopped by the men's room. (No, that's not the really cool thing.) While he washed up, an old man stepped out of one of the stalls and proceeded to wash his hands as well. Scott casually glanced over, and did a double take - the man bore a striking resemblance to John Nash (yes, the brilliant subject of the horrible film A Beautiful Mind). He was pretty sure it was him - there's an international game theory conference going on right now on campus and Nash was giving a talk as well.

So Scott's waiting for the elevator, when Dr. Nash comes along again. He wasn't really dressed up as academics tend to do when attending conferences (blazers, button-downs, slacks). Nash just looked like an old man, dressed in old man clothes. He mumbled something about one floor, and Scott asked him pardon? He said he only had to go down one floor and was considering whether to just take the stairs instead. (For a man his age, forgivable. For a whippersnapper college student, utterly lazy - but it happens. A lot.) But then the elevator arrived and Scott said he might as well. So they rode the elevator together - Dr. Nash one flight down to the Economics department and Scott down to the ground level. By this time he had spotted the name tag on the man's lapel, which said "John F. Nash." The man must've realized Scott recognized him, seeing the odd expression that was first on Scott's face, but neither made any big deal of it. Of course, Scott's gonna tell all his buddies about it.

As an aside, Scott and his department friends were thinking of attending Dr. Nash's talk. They mordantly joked that during the question period they should address questions to the young British man or the little girl or Ed Harris (if you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about - if not, believe me, you're well better off - read the biography instead). That's grad students for you - sick and twisted, which is probably a healthy way to approach academia.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:09 AM | Slice o' Life

July 18, 2002

Animal control has been contacted.

Animal control has been contacted. They will write up a report, a citation, and fine the neighbor. They're also going to quarantine the cats and make sure they're not rabid and whatnot. Maybe they'll be permanently removed and then the only remaining animals will be the neighbor's children.

Hard to focus at work today. I'm really excited about my Neil Finn mini-tour - I'm going to shows in New York, Boston, then New York again. Preparations have begun - camera, film, markers for autographs, musical immersion in the Neil/Crowded House catalog, the proper fun and quirky outfit - and learning how to make a proper paper plane. At least since the Crowded House days, if not during the Split Enz era, fans at shows have been making paper planes and sending them onstage. Song requests are usually scribbled on the planes and it's a great whimsy to see them flying onto the stage.

To other people this is just some concert. But there's a real communion between the fans and Neil. He's a great performer, really charismatic and engages the crowd, writes interesting, lyrical songs. There's something about his lovely tenor voice that just generates a marvelous, buzzy stir in your heart. And he's a really nice guy who acknowledges his fans, so of course we adore him right back. My friend Jen doesn't believe me when I say that people will be waiting in line and dash in to grab a spot by the stage and pretty much plant themselves for the night - I've been to shows in Athens (GA), Atlanta, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, and London. Except for the last one, which had assigned seating, every show's been the same - you get there early, you claim your spot, you take turns getting drinks, souvenirs, etc. and you hang out for the duration, including suffering any less than interesting opening acts. (Althought sometimes there have been pleasant surprises on that front.) Maybe when I'm too old for the crush of the crowd then I'll sit up in the balcony or hang towards the back. But for now I want the immersion, to sway in the crowd and bask in the sound and light at the feet of my favorite musician.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:04 PM | Music , Slice o' Life

July 16, 2002

One of my sisters was

One of my sisters was attacked by cats while trying to walk the dog. The puppy was actually the intended target – he’s maybe six pounds - much smaller than these cats! Sala scooped him up in time but the cats clawed up her legs, trying to get to the dog. A bottle of Bactine, 50-odd Band-Aids, and much agony later, she took a half day from work to get shots (at which point all the Band-Aids had to be removed, poor dear). The cats aren’t strays – they belong to the neighbor on the ground floor, who lets them run loose even though that’s against the rules. The management says they’ll write up an incident report and send a letter – like that’s going to solve the problem! They told Sally, who lives in the apartment, to call animal control. Um – perhaps if they enforced the tenant rules in the first place, this might never have happened. This is simply appalling.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:29 PM | Slice o' Life